The Real Winners and Losers from 2022 WWE Royal Rumble

Kevin Berge@TheBerge_Featured ColumnistJanuary 30, 2022

The Real Winners and Losers from 2022 WWE Royal Rumble

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    The 2022 WWE Royal Rumble had the chance to be something special. It's a rare night when WWE can rarely lose. With so many chances to surprise people, the company can let the talent shine while booking a few twists along the way.

    Unfortunately, it managed to fail this year when it should have been very difficult to do so. The 2022 iteration of the Royal Rumble was a genuinely bad show where even the quality wrestling was overshadowed by bad booking.

    Both Rumble matches stumbled along to a result that focused more on stars outside WWE than the talent who brought the company to this point.

    Brock Lesnar lost the WWE Championship, then entered the men's Rumble at No. 30 and won. Along the way, no one else got to shine. Even Drew McIntyre in the final two felt like an afterthought.

    Ronda Rousey came back as a surprise entrant at No. 28 in the women's match and dominated it. Much like Lesnar, she seemed unstoppable, though some of the young stars like Bianca Belair, Liv Morgan and Rhea Ripley did get some spotlight earlier in the contest.

    The bright spots came in the form of surprise performances. Bobby Lashley competed with Lesnar all the way to the bell, while Doudrop pulled off one of the best performances of her career against Becky Lynch.

    This night again showed how WWE struggles to understand what fans want to see, looking for mainstream moments rather than booking that will earn crowd appreciation. Many suffered major losses Saturday to underline that point.

Winner: Impact Wrestling

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    Impact Wrestling made a deal with WWE to allow Mickie James to appear in the women's Royal Rumble. That agreement clearly made sure she walked in with the Impact Knockouts Championships and her entrance theme.

    While most promotions would be expected to do more with a partnership, WWE has been notoriously stingy with promoting any other companies. This was a clear acknowledgement of Impact, though.

    If this relationship continues to grow, Impact stars could help in NXT 2.0, coming in for short runs that put a light on both promotions. There are some interesting possibilities for WWE to try if it's willing to give a bit back to Impact.

    What matters in the immediate sense is that James got a rub after an ugly departure from WWE. She did not get enough of a run to make this look like anything more than a one-off performance, but it was enough to feel respected.

Losers: Liv Morgan, Bianca Belair, Other Women Waiting for Their Moment

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    Ronda Rousey has always held a unique position in WWE. When she has been on, she has brought more eyes to the product than just about anyone else. Only her likely WrestleMania 38 opponent, Becky Lynch, can match her star power in the women's division.

    Her victory in the women's Rumble match felt inevitable the moment her music hit. It didn't matter that Bianca Belair had lasted longer than anyone else in the match and nor did it matter that Shayna Baszler was No. 30 and needed the rub. Rhea Ripley also slowly but surely became an afterthought.

    Liv Morgan did not even get that much time and was eliminated by The Bella Twins after around 20 minutes. The whole match was loaded with returning wrestlers, who mostly just filled time. Few took time away from the main names, but there is still no reason more of the younger stars could not have been highlighted.

    There is a possibility the WrestleMania 38 women's title matches are going to be Rousey vs. Lynch and Charlotte Flair vs. Lita. So many women who have worked for the past year to get over will be left in the dust, possibly not even on the card.

    Belair, Morgan, Ripley, Baszler, Naomi and others have earned more respect than this. It is important that Flair faces at least one young star in the coming weeks, and it is even more important that Rousey helps develop them after her match with Lynch.

Winner: Doudrop

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    While a mishap in the arena distracted from the action (the WrestleMania sign caught fire before the match), Doudrop pulled off the performance of her career. She came out firing against Lynch, who sold well for her while also working her like a true top challenger.

    It was a big match that many may forget, but WWE will not. The 30-year-old showed up, and on a night when legends outshined the young talent, she got the most rub of any young star.

    WWE will take some criticism for the booking of this event, but this match would have never happened without open minds about Doudrop's potential. She had struggled in short matches early on, only to show up big when her name was called.

    Big Time Becks will move onto Ronda Rousey, and the newer names may have to take a backseat for a while. However, Lynch deserves serious credit for the work she has done with Bianca Belair, Liv Morgan and now Doudrop to make them look like serious competitors-in-waiting.

Winner: Bobby Lashley

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    Bobby Lashley wanted his match with Brock Lesnar, and he got it. And he competed with The Beast Incarnate all the way to the end.

    The All Mighty may not have won without Roman Reigns' interference, but few can genuinely keep up with Lesnar given his booking.

    However, while Big E was a better titleholder than WWE booked him to be, it almost feels like Lashley never should have lost the gold in the first place.

    Many could step up to face him in the coming months. He is still a fresh champion with challengers from all sides. If Big E had not gone to SmackDown officially, he would have been first in line.

    Instead, the field is wide open. Reigns vs. Lesnar will headline WrestleMania 38, but The All Mighty is the fresher champion. He feels truly dangerous.

Losers: Big E, Drew McIntyre, Kevin Owens, Others Left Behind for Brock Lesnar

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    It was odd watching the men's Rumble match. It was like WWE had no idea what to do with the roster cultivated over the years. For long stretches, no one was allowed to stand out.

    AJ Styles was out early. The match started to look up at No. 21 when Drew McIntyre arrived to clean house, but he spent much of the match in a ring corner. Big E was a late entrant and a far-too-quick elimination.

    WWE looked at the landscape of the men's division and clearly thought no one was better than Brock Lesnar. While The Beast Incarnate is one of the top names in the company, no one should ever be booked the way he is. He won the WWE title on a whim at Day 1 only to lost it weeks later and then win the men's Rumble, overshadowing Bobby Lashley's victory.

    Lesnar even devalued McIntyre's 2020 Rumble run by establishing himself as better two years later. It's just an endless loop where The Beast is always on top. And it will be no surprise if he ends Roman Reigns' record-breaking Universal Championship reign at WrestleMania 38.

    No one else gets that rub. It's frustrating, and it's something WWE could change but simply refuses to.