WWE Royal Rumble 2022 Predictions for Most Eliminations, Surprise Entrants, More
While the actual winners take up the majority of the discussion, there is far more to the WWE Royal Rumble than just which man and woman will outlast the competition to claim victory.
There are, in fact, many opportunities for Superstars to make names for themselves even while coming up short, as the matches lend themselves to several different statistics and accolades.
Over the years, Royal Rumble records have been broken down into who lasted the longest or shortest times, who scored the most eliminations and other elements, which make for an interesting side bet for anyone making predictions.
Let's dive into some of the more overlooked aspects of the Royal Rumble contests and offer some predictions on how these stats might play out for the 2022 event.
Surprise Entrants for Women's Match
It was a surprise when WWE announced 19 of the entrants for the women's Rumble match, including several legends of the ring, in one quick burst this year.
The individual appearances of those icons would have made for surprise moments, but WWE must have figured advertising them in advance was a smarter strategy to create buzz and convince fans to tune in.
Still, while the lineup has been largely set, some spots remain a mystery.
WWE has yet to confirm Alexa Bliss or Xia Li. The former has been in vignettes recently, and the latter was missing for a while before returning to help Aliyah against Natalya last week on SmackDown. There shouldn't be any reason why they aren't in the match, but it's curious that the company hasn't announced either so far.
Sasha Banks is likely sitting out the Royal Rumble again, but three potential surprise returns could be Asuka, Bayley and Lacey Evans.
Sonya Deville hasn't been an active competitor for some time, but the WWE official may make an exception to specifically target Naomi and keep that feud going.
There should also be some surprises from the NXT roster. Raquel Gonzalez, Io Shirai, Cora Jade, Dakota Kai, Indi Hartwell and Kay Lee Ray have all been featured enough that they might get a chance to shine. Jinny from NXT UK is also someone to watch out for if she's traveled to the United States with her partner, Gunther, who has transitioned out of that brand to NXT recently.
Trish Stratus could be one final surprise on the legends side considering she was name-checked by Charlotte Flair recently and Lita is also in the field.
Surprise Entrants for Men's Match
There are far more men on the main roster than women, meaning WWE will likely fill nearly all the remaining spots of that match with wrestlers we see on a regular basis on Raw and SmackDown.
With several legends and outsiders in the women's match, there may be less of an inclination to do the same with the men's bout.
One return that's possible, though, is Elias. He hasn't been seen since August when he was filmed in a cemetery to indicate his character was gone, with no sign of when (or if) he would return.
Gable Steveson is a risky bet but not an unreasonable one. He is officially a member of the Raw roster, even though we've only seen him in the crowd.
The bulk of the potential for surprise entrants comes from NXT. If anyone's being called up to the main roster and appearing here, Tommaso Ciampa and Pete Dunne are the most likely. They've been working Main Event tapings lately and The Blackheart has even dyed his beard, which could be a sign of a transition to come.
LA Knight and Roderick Strong were on Main Event this week, too, so they are possibilities.
Call it a hunch, but it wouldn't be shocking for someone like Dexter Lumis to show up for a fun and more supernatural entrance, or Bron Breakker to coincide with his massive push.
Grayson Waller still may have lingering issues with AJ Styles, so if he appeared and factored into his elimination, that would make sense.
Above all, though, don't discount Roman Reigns or Brock Lesnar appearing if either drops his championship before the men's Rumble match on Saturday night.
Most Eliminations: Women's Royal Rumble
Shayna Baszler holds the record for most eliminations in a single Royal Rumble (eight) and the most cumulative eliminations (14). But she hasn't been booked as strongly as she once was, so it's unlikely WWE will keep that trend going with her.
Bianca Belair, though, is a solid bet to score the most eliminations. She tied The Queen of Spades for eight in 2020 and is on her tail for cumulative points with 12.
The EST of WWE is one of the favorites to win the women's match again this year and has lasted longest in the ring the past two years, so it's likely she start relatively early and last until the end once more.
Belair is trustworthy to go the distance and anchor the match, rather than someone with less stamina who needs to enter toward the end.
The only other true contender for that is Charlotte Flair. She also has a tendency to stay a long while, set the record for eliminations in 2019 and has 10 to her name overall. Since she's a champion (and, let's face it, she's Flair), WWE will book her to look strong and getting eliminations is a prime way to reinforce that.
A few outsider picks could be:
- Rhea Ripley (seven eliminations; the most last year) might do this to compensate for likely not winning the match.
- Liv Morgan shouldn't be counted out as a potential winner, given her massive fan support.
- Raquel Gonzalez could be one of the more physically dominant entrants. She could invoke the Diesel comparisons again and replicating his seven eliminations in 1994.
Most Eliminations: Men's Royal Rumble
If Lesnar or Reigns is involved in the men's match, they'll win and destroy the competition. They are WWE's top priorities, and there's no way they won't look like absolute monsters.
But there are other entrants who make even more sense.
If Seth Rollins wins the Universal Championship from Reigns earlier in the night, watch out for Kevin Owens. He's the next likely winner, and most of the Superstars who score the highest number of eliminations tend to be that year's ultimate victor.
Omos is the top pick, though. He's huge and has been kept strong even after splitting from AJ Styles. Big men don't often win the Royal Rumble, but they do well tossing people out. He can be in the match a short time but still rack up six or seven eliminations in just a minute or two.
Damian Priest is an honorable mention, along with Big E. The former had one of the best win-loss records of 2021 and the latter is coming off being a world champion and is one of the strongest in the match.
Iron Woman: Longest Time in Women's Royal Rumble
The past two years have seen Belair go the distance, as she started at No. 2 and went 56 minutes in 2020 and from No. 3 to the end last year.
It's doubtful WWE would do the same for a third year in a row, but if she enters anywhere close to the first half of the field, she'll likely last until the end.
This is where Flair may have an edge. In her three matches, she's entered at 13, 17 and 15, respectively. WWE seems to like putting her entry in the middle of the contest. Since she'll also last until the end, that gives her at least half the match to run up her time.
Flair also has a built-in reference where she can enter at No. 3 and try to win, just like her father in 1992.
One interesting option would be Natalya. She's been touting her entries in the Guinness World Records lately. Why not tell a story where she wants to enter at No. 1 and set another record? Even if she loses the match, she could still last beyond Belair's time.
Iron Man: Longest Time in Men's Royal Rumble
Since Edge won from the No. 1 spot last year, it's worth assuming the 2022 men's winner won't enter so early. But someone can still emerge at the beginning, last until the end and come up short.
If that honor goes to anyone, it should be a babyface like AJ Styles, Big E or Riddle. No one else could be trusted to have the stamina for that run and also appear as a possible winner.
Austin Theory is an outside pick for this. Perhaps Vince McMahon will put him in the first spot in an attempt to teach him a lesson. Then again, he has failed the WWE chairman quite often, so he might not pull that off if it's even put out there to begin with.
Kevin Owens may win this distinction by default. Some previous iron men have only been in the match between 22 and 40 minutes, so if he enters anywhere before the midway point and makes it to the end, that should do the trick.
As Natalya found out with her match against Aliyah, you can win a record by being the biggest loser.
While nobody can top Santino Marella's one-second stint in 2009, The Queen of Harts has an opportunity to set the record for the shortest time in a women's Rumble match this year.
All she has to do is last less than eight seconds and she'll overtake Liv Morgan's record from 2019. Since Morgan's stock has gone up considerably in recent months, it makes sense for WWE to take that dishonor away from her.
On the men's side, Johnny Knoxville and Sami Zayn are doing a comedic angle that lends itself perfectly to one of them being quickly in and out.
Celebrities aren't expected to stick around for long and Zayn's a goofball, so don't be shocked if one or both is gone before the next person enters.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.