Early Predictions for WWE Royal Rumble 2022 Match Card After Day 1

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistJanuary 3, 2022

Early Predictions for WWE Royal Rumble 2022 Match Card After Day 1

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    Credit: WWE.com

    With Day 1 in the rearview mirror, WWE is looking forward to its annual January extravaganza, the Royal Rumble.

    A staple of the pay-per-view calendar since 1988, the event is the jumping-off point for the Road to WrestleMania and the first indicator of what creative plans WWE will unleash on its fans.

    On the heels of the New Year's Day premium live event, though, what should fans expect from this year's card?

    Ahead of the 2022 edition of the popular event, take a look at the matches fans should be prepared to see play out and discover why they will comprise the lineup.

Men's Royal Rumble Match

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    To this point, Jackass star Johnny Knoxville is the only person announced for the men's Royal Rumble match.

    That will change in the coming weeks, with top stars joining the fray and attention turning to potential winners of the annual extravaganza.

    With most expecting Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns to clash at WrestleMania, the winner will presumably come from Raw. Might it be Big E, hellbent on avenging his loss at Day 1? Could Bobby Lashley win for the first time and cash his ticket to the biggest show of the year?

    What about Seth Rollins, who has won the match before and is firmly entrenched at the top of the red brand as one of the top contenders to the WWE Championship?

    The lack of an obvious winner helps create intrigue and excitement but also serves as an indictment against a creative team that has not built any stars immediately recognizable as WrestleMania-worthy.

Women's Royal Rumble Match

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    Assuming WWE holds the women's Royal Rumble match, it will have to include several surprises and NXT talent in order to get the number of participants to 30. As of Monday, the main roster features just 19 women, including Raw women's champion Becky Lynch and SmackDown women's champion Charlotte Flair, neither of whom figure to be involved.

    Assuming the company doesn't have an ace up its sleeve, the likelihood is that the winner will be someone on the roster. That could be one of two women based on booking trends.

    Either Bianca Belair will win the Rumble and challenge Lynch, looking to avenge her humiliating loss to Big Time Becks at SummerSlam, or Sasha Banks will win the match to set up a WrestleMania showdown with Charlotte Flair.

    Might a dark-horse candidate like Rhea Ripley emerge to cause some upheaval? Sure, but it feels fairly certain that the night will belong to one of the two women who headlined last year's WrestleMania.

SmackDown Women's Championship Match: Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte Flair

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    In October, WWE teased a rivalry between Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks but never followed up on it thanks to a sudden and unexpected heel turn by Shotzi, which stole The Boss' attention.

    Now, with a nearly nonexistent women's division on Friday nights because of releases and the sudden departure of Toni Storm, WWE may have no choice but to run with Banks vs. Flair sooner than it intended.

    Starting the feud at the Royal Rumble may not have been in the plans, but there are still plenty of opportunities to craft an epic storyline befitting a match of its magnitude. 

    A controversial finish that sees Flair narrowly escape with her title, a potential Rumble victory for Banks later in the night and a storyline that plays on the rich history the women share, dating back to their days in NXT, can help boost the program and give it the legs necessary to reach into April and the biggest show of the year.

    If nothing else, the star power and in-ring quality will be there to support it.

WWE Championship Match: Brock Lesnar vs. Bobby Lashley

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    As Brock Lesnar celebrated his sixth reign as a world champion in WWE on Saturday at Day 1, Bobby Lashley stared him down from the aisle, knowing damn well he had come within seconds of defeating The Beast and reclaiming the title for himself.

    The All Mighty did, after all, trap Lesnar in The Hurt Lock late and only relinquished control of the hold because Big E interjected himself in the match.

    Lashley has repeatedly expressed his desire to face Lesnar, and following the booking of the Fatal 5-Way match that headlined the latest premium live event, it looks as though the former champion is about to get his wish.

    Wrestling Observer Radio's Dave Meltzer reported Lashley vs. Lesnar is the direction in which things are heading.

    If booking and the early reports are any indications, the Royal Rumble is setting up to feature an extraordinary main event of dream-match proportions.