Best Subplots to Follow in 2022 WWE Royal Rumble Matches

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistJanuary 26, 2022

Best Subplots to Follow in 2022 WWE Royal Rumble Matches

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    The men's and women's Royal Rumble matches may be all about setting the stage for WrestleMania and giving fans a taste of what they can expect at the biggest event of the year, but they are also home to the continuation of ongoing storylines and the ignition point for others.

    From family drama to triumphant returns of all-time greats, this year's pay-per-view features a number of subplots worth keeping an eye on come Saturday night, including what role Jackass Forever star Johnny Knoxville will play when he enters the match.

    Here are a few other storylines that could be part of this year's Royal Rumble contests.

A Father-Son Split?

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    The father is not yet ready to cede his throne to the son. Rey Mysterio has proved as much to Dominik the last two weeks, tossing him to the arena floor on Raw in a potential sign of things to come at the Royal Rumble.

    It's not the first time dissension has been hinted at between father and son. Dominik has appeared disinterested in listening to the advice of his father in the past, and with his own aspirations now threatened by his dad (and WWE 2K22 cover star), expect the family drama to rear its head in the men's Rumble.

    Whether it is Rey again dumping Dominik or the son turning the tables on his dad and ruining what might be the future Hall of Famer's shot at one last shot at a world title, it should serve to plant the seeds for what might be an emotionally charged WrestleMania 38 encounter.

Lita's Last Run

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    Lita's return to WWE and insistence that she has one last run in her sparked intrigue surrounding the Royal Rumble event and the possibility that she may win and challenge Charlotte Flair for the SmackDown Women's Championship at The Show of Shows in April.

    The lack of follow-up has dampened those expectations, but that doesn't mean the Hall of Famer should be discounted Saturday night. 

    Lita doesn't have to win the women's match to set herself up for a title opportunity. Competing for a lengthy period, sparring with Flair and perhaps eliminating The Queen in a nod to their previous encounter would be all that is needed for WWE to spark a rivalry that will result in a generational WrestleMania blockbuster.

    What the trailblazing performer does, who she interacts with and the outcome of her Rumble appearance will indicate what plans exist for Lita's final run in an industry she helped revolutionize.

Omos' Run of Dominance

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    Every so often, a Superstar comes along who demolishes the competition and establishes dominance in a Royal Rumble match. In 1994, it was Diesel; in 2001, Kane; and Brock Lesnar dispatched half of the field in 2020 before Drew McIntyre sent him packing.

    This year, it will be Omos.

    The big man has seen his role on WWE TV diminish slightly since the breakup of his tag team with AJ Styles, but he will be rejuvenated by what should be an awe-inspiring performance in the men's Rumble match.

    Will he win the thing? Absolutely not, but he will toss some of the filler and establish himself as the night's most dominant participant as the company looks to enhance the aura around the big man. 

    Omos will eventually be eliminated, presumably by one of the favorites to win the whole thing, but not before etching his name in the history books among those with the most eliminations in a single Rumble match. 

Charlotte Flair Chases History

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    For the first time in the relatively short history of the women's Rumble, a champion will enter the fray with the opportunity to win and choose her own opponent for WrestleMania.

    Charlotte Flair has spent her career rewriting history books and doing the things others before her could never dream of, let alone actually accomplish. With questions surrounding the plans for both the Raw and SmackDown women's titles at this year's Showcase of the Immortals, there is a real possibility WWE goes in a direction it never has before with a win for The Queen.

    Does she win? How does WWE Creative capitalize on the fans' reaction and does the company utilize her as it has Roman Reigns over the last few years, building heat and anticipation for her opponents in hopes that they ruin any chance of her winning?

    Those are the questions that will weigh heavily on the minds of fans as they watch this year's match, eager for anyone but the second-generation star to emerge with their arm raised in victory.

Planting the Seeds for RK-Bro's Demise

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    It was clear very early on in the RK-Bro tag team that it was a star vehicle for Riddle and Randy Orton would turn on his young teammate at some point.

    With the team now relieved of the Raw Tag Team Championships by Alpha Academy, the seeds have already been planted.

    At the Royal Rumble, with a world title opportunity on the line for the winner, what better way for Riddle to spark the split than by eliminating his tag team partner and drawing his ire?

    That is not to suggest there will be a massive blowup immediately and WWE Creative will have to milk a feud all the way to April 2-3, but it could be the start of the feud and a full-blown heel turn by The Viper to come in the weeks that follow.

    Make no mistake about it, though, the breakup is coming and the men's Rumble match is the perfect opportunity to start instigating it.

Good Friends Turned Bitter Enemies

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    Rhea Ripley has begun building momentum for herself with a few key wins leading into Royal Rumble that would suggest a win in the titular match is on the table. But a certain former tag team partner, and the WWE Universe's resident superhero, may prevent that.

    Nikki A.S.H.'s recent heel turn and sneak attack on Ripley on Monday's Raw will set her up to foil the Australian's WrestleMania aspirations.

    A feud between them will take precedence, and with Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch appearing busy with other potential opponents, Ripley will find herself out of a WrestleMania opportunity and faced with an intense rivalry with the woman she once called her friend. 

How Much of a Role Will Johnny Knoxville Play?

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    "Their ass is chicken and I'm Colonel Sanders," Johnny Knoxville told reporters Tuesday morning while addressing his upcoming appearance in the men's Rumble match.

    Referencing both Sami Zayn and Austin Theory in the interview, it would suggest the 50-year-old comedian and stunt performer will be directly involved with the two of them at some point in Saturday's match. 

    But how much of a role will he actually play in the Battle Royal?

    Drew Carey had several appearances throughout the 2001 Royal Rumble event but never got physical. Last year, Bad Bunny's physicality directly led to a WrestleMania match that many consider the best celebrity in-ring performance of all time.

    Knoxville will likely fall somewhere between in what is both an opportunity to add to his resume of WWE appearances and promote his Jackass Forever film.