Breaking Down the Latest WWE Rumors on the Road to Royal Rumble 2022
The impending WWE Royal Rumble means the pro wrestling rumor mill hits its highest annual peaks in mid-January and doesn't let up until after WrestleMania.
That output looked set to be standard fare, at least until the Day 1 event, when Brock Lesnar shockingly entered a title match and bested everyone to become Raw's top champion. Now he's feuding with Bobby Lashley while Roman Reigns turns his attention to Seth Rollins.
And that's just the chaos unfolding at the top of each program's card. Add in the unpredictable nature of the Rumble, buzz about some big-name returns and quite a bit more, and this isn't the typical rumor mill.
Here's a breakdown of some of the biggest rumors with one of the biggest events of the year fast approaching.
More Forbidden Door Possibilities?
The Forbidden Door chatter has been in overdrive since All Elite Wrestling started openly collaborating with other promotions around the globe.
Naturally, it would appear WWE wants in on that fun too.
WWE got the ball rolling on this front with Mickie James, the Impact Knockouts Champion, as she will compete in the women's Royal Rumble this year. Whether that is a sign of things to come or just WWE linking up with a Superstar with whom it is familiar is hard to say.
But according to WrestleVotes, WWE is expected to try for a shocker of a Forbidden Door entrant in the men's Rumble too.
It's impossible to guess who that someone might be. Opening the door to Impact would be quite a bit different than opening it up to, say, AEW. But then again, somebody like Chris Jericho was welcomed with open arms on "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's podcast, so maybe that door isn't bolted shut.
Either way, WWE embracing it in any fashion would suggest a slight change in approach that makes the company's biggest events even more important.
Each year seems to feature major comeback talk, though this one is perhaps one of the most unexpected of all.
According to Randall Ortman of Cageside Seats, Paige, whose triumph at 21 made her the youngest Divas champion in history, could make a one-night return at the Royal Rumble on Jan. 30.
Paige last wrestled in late 2017 and was forced to retire because of neck injuries. At one point the clear-cut next big thing in women's wrestling, her run at the top was sudden, brief and historic.
So obviously, her getting clearance and making a big return, even for just one night, would make for another historic occasion. Fans would assuredly want to see more beyond that and quickly start fantasy-booking feuds as she enters a brand-new wrestling scene, but even just a moment would be some nice closure for all involved.
That said, Superstars with serious neck injuries once thought to be career-ending, such as Edge and Bryan Danielson, have come back from retirement in recent years, so there's a never-say-never allure to a possible moment turning into something more.
Changes to the Elimination Chamber?
While the Royal Rumble hasn't lost its impact as a key pre-WrestleMania pitstop, many of WWE's themed events have fallen short in recent years.
That includes the Elimination Chamber.
It would seem that WWE at least recognizes this and is taking steps to mix it up. According to Fightful (h/t Ortman), the next Elimination Chamber might take place overseas at an event in Saudi Arabia. And Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Newsletter said the company might change the name to "WrestleMania Chamber."
It's a smart move. For one, the gimmick just hasn't felt all that effective for a while. Second, most themed events have been flat lately. TLC seems to arbitrarily throw in tables, ladders and chairs into random matches, Extreme Rules doesn't feature a ton of namesake matches and Hell in a Cell has been a shell of its former self, with the structure randomly applied to matches.
If this is a sign of things to come with how WWE might look to breathe new life into stale events, 2022 could be a big-time year for the company.