Tonight is the night.
The Royal Rumble is one of two shows a year (with WrestleMania, of course) that everyone pays attention to, no matter how much of the WWE product they watch during the rest of the year.
As usual, there is speculation all over the place. This person is making their return to be a participant in a Rumble match. That person might be making their return. Then there’s these people, those people, and this wild card. How many of them will we end up seeing? That’s the fun in this show, folks.
Are you ready?
Because I’m ready.
If you’re ready, and if I’m ready, then I think there’s just one thing left to do, so say it with me…
LESS DEW EET!!!
(0:00) As always, the end of the pre-show is where we get the announcement of what match is starting things off during the main show. It was rumored that Brock Lesnar vs Bobby Lashley was going to go on first, but instead, it will be the other men’s World Title, with Roman Reigns vs Seth Rollins being the opener. Fuck yes.
(0:04) It looks like there are a million people packed into The Dome At America’s Center in St. Louis, Missouri. WWE has already announced “44,000” fans being there, but the real number is closer to 39,300. As of an hour before the show began, there was just over 400 tickets remaining, so if this isn’t a sell out, it’s really close to it.
(0:06) Still looks weird to see Roman Reigns making his entrance without Paul Heyman by his side. It is made even weirder by not having The Usos there, either, as per the stipulation from Smackdown.
(0:09) AYO!!! Seth Rollins makes his entrance to the old Shield music, wearing his old Shield gear, and is coming to the ring through the crowd. The mind games continue. Beautiful.
(0:12) Bit of a mixed reaction for Rollins during the pre-match introductions, but it was largely cheers. Reigns, on the other hand, continues to get super strong heel heat, no matter what and no matter where.
(0:14) Rollins is dominating the early portion of the match.
(0:15) As I post that, Rollins springboards into the ring and eats a punch to the pie hole. There goes that.
(0:16) One-man Shield Powerbomb through the announce table by Seth Rollins!
(0:18) Buckle Bomb into a Stomp gets 2.99999 for Rollins. Holy shit, that one got the crowd.
(0:18) I like that Rollins is dressed like Shield Rollins, acting like current day Rollins, and wrestling like a mix of every Rollins era.
(0:22) Roman has a busted up left eye. Looks like he has a big welt forming underneath it.
(0:24) A Spear attempt is countered into a Pedigree by Rollins for another 2.99999 count. These two are bringing it so far!
(0:25) Rollins eats a Spear, then sells it by laughing, offering Reigns a Shield fist bump, and telling Reigns that he will always love him. More mind games, but it appears to be working.
(0:27) Reigns locks the Guillotine Choke in, but Rollins makes the bottom rope. The Champ refuses to let the hold go, and Little Naitch is forced to call for the bell, disqualifying Reigns. Thunderous boos are reigning down from an upset crowd. Wow. Not a fan of that ending, but it makes perfect sense. They’re clearly building to something bigger, perhaps a WrestleMania rematch. Maybe that means Rollins wins the Rumble, or maybe it means a Raw wrestler wins the Rumble and Rollins makes his way back into the title picture.
(0:29) Reigns grabs a steel chair and re-enters the ring, absolutely dog walking Rollins with the chair over and over and over and over again.
(0:32) Huge heel heat on Reigns as he finally leaves the ring after destroying the chair on the back and arms of Rollins. I’ll be switching back to giving star ratings to the matches live, to keep with the honest and rapid-fire feel that these Running Diaries are supposed to have. That was 4.25 STARS, but I wouldn’t be mad if you wanted to go a little higher and give it 4.5 instead. I probably would’ve given it higher if it didn’t have a disqualification ending. Either way, it was a really good way to get the show started.
(0:36) It is now time for the women’s Royal Rumble match! Let’s go!
(0:37) The newly returned Sasha Banks, cosplaying as Sailor Moon, draws the #1 entrant. That look is going to be trending on Twitter, for sure. For. Sure.
(0:39) Starting the match with Sasha is a returning Melina, complete with the red carpet entrance and paparazzi snapping pictures.
(0:41) As the opening bell rings, Melina looks to have tears welling up in her eyes. She’s definitely happy to be back.
(0:41) Well… within seconds, Sasha just lifts Melina up and dumps her over the top rope. There’s the first elimination.
(0:42) Tamina is the next entrant.
(0:44) In the #4 spot, here comes Kelly Kelly, looking COMPLETELY different than she did when she was working for the company.
(0:46) Kelly Kelly is eliminated by Sasha. Okay then. Sasha apparently hates the past.
(0:46) #5 is Aliyah, looking to break all the records tonight.
(0:48) #6 is Liv Morgan, one of the early favorites to win the match. She would make a good pick, if we’re being honest.
(0:48) Liv goes to eliminate Sasha, but Tamina, like a fucking moron, attacks Liv and saves Sasha. What the fuck for?!?
(0:49) Queen Zelina is out in the #7 spot, looking like a child going trick-or-treating as a Queen on Halloween. Seriously, she looks like she’s four-feet-tall.
(0:50) ZELINA ELIMINATES SASHA BANKS! Whoa. I did not see that coming, especially this early on.
(0:51) Bianca Belair is the #8 entrant, looking to win back-to-back Royal Rumbles.
(0:53) Entering the match at #9 is the 24/7 Champion, Dana Brooke, accompanied to the ring by Reggie Reg Da Gawd. Dana goes to eliminate Aliyah right away, but Zelina prevents it. Again… what the fuck for?!? Can we not script Rumbles to have people looking like idiots? There’s no reason whatsoever for someone to prevent an elimination unless it’s your tag partner, sibling, etc.
(0:55) Michelle McCool is #10, and she immediately knocks Dana Brooke out of the ring, only for Reggie to catch Dana and put her back in the ring. It only lasts for a few seconds, though, and Dana gets eliminated, anyway.
(0:56) Sonya Deville, looking like an evil Circus Ringmaster, is #11. Showing her intelligence, she doesn’t even enter the ring, and joins the commentary team.
(0:58) #12 is Natalya, who will probably fall short once again.
(1:00) Natalya eliminates Tamina and damn near eliminates Bianca, before The EST makes her way back into the ring.
(1:00) #13 is former Funkadactyl, Cameron, and just like that, the workrate of this match has plunged off of a cliff.
(1:01) Sonya Deville apparently didn’t watch wrestling when Cameron was around, because she seems surprised when commentary says that Cameron is Naomi’s friend and former tag partner. She gets upset, finally enters the match, and then eliminates Cameron in quick fashion. Just like that, the workrate is back from the dead.
(1:02) To the surprise of nobody, Naomi is out at #14 for a showdown with Sonya. Nevermind about the workrate.
(1:03) Naomi and Sonya are brawling in the middle of the ring while everyone else kinda hangs out in the corner.
(1:03) Sonya Deville has been eliminated by Naomi. Thanks for being there, Sonya.
(1:04) Carmella is out at #15, and Corey Graves immediately squirts a nut in his skinny jeans. Like Sonya Deville, Carmella doesn’t get in the ring right away, instead going over to flirt with Corey Graves.
(1:06) In the #16 spot, we have Rhea Ripley. Things can finally pick up now. The crowd has been decent, but a ton of their overall excitement died when Sasha Banks was eliminated. Rhea grabs Carmella and tosses her into the ring, only to be met by a double-team from Carmella and Zelina.
(1:07) There goes that. Carmella and Zelina are both eliminated by Rhea. Good. Let’s clear the ring up a bit.
(1:08) Charlotte Flair is in the #17 spot, looking to win the Rumble as the Smackdown Women’s Champion so that she can pick and choose her own WrestleMania opponent.
(1:09) Aliyah is eliminated by the hands of Charlotte. Welp.
(1:10) The Naomi vs Sonya feud has to go on forever, as Sonya pulls Naomi off of the apron after Charlotte threw Naomi over the top rope. Naomi is eliminated.
(1:11) #18 is Ivory. Not just any version of Ivory, by the way. The Right To Censor version of Ivory. She cuts a promo as she enters the ring, only to get dumped out by Rhea Ripley. Hilariously, Ivory continued to cut the promo as she was picked up and dumped out.
(1:12) Brie Bella is out in the #19 spot, and it’s time for someone to get injured! Within seconds, she leads the crowd in “YES” chants. Of course she does.
(1:14) Mickie James, complete with the Impact Women’s Title, is #20. The on-screen graphics note that she’s the Impact Women’s Champion, and she is called that by commentary, too. Wild stuff.
(1:16) Mickie eliminates Michelle McCool, finally getting revenge for the “Piggie James” storyline.
(1:16) #21 is Alicia Fox. You know… WWE might want to boost their women’s division if they want to do matches like this. Almost half the match to this point has been one-off returns from the past, most of which get eliminated within seconds.
(1:18) Nikki A.S.H. is in the #22 spot. She sneaks into the ring to attack Rhea Ripley, who calls her a “little twerp” because this is apparently a 1980’s movie.
(1:20) Summer Rae is #23, also looking completely different than she did when she was last employed by the company.
(1:21) Sure enough, Summer Rae is eliminated in seconds.
(1:22) Nikki Bella is out at #24 to a big pop from the crowd. Nikkiharu Bellasawa immediately begins throwing strikes as only she can.
(1:23) Alicia Fox is eliminated by Nikki. Thanks for being here.
(1:24) Sarah Logan is #25, almost completely spilling out of her top. She better be careful in there.
(1:25) Liv Morgan cries for the 4,853rd time on WWE programming, locking eyes with Sarah Logan, but it doesn’t last and Sarah is eliminated by The Bellas, who then eliminate Liv. The crowd isn’t happy about that. Nikki puts the “L” on her forehead, as we’ve turned from an 80’s movie to a 90’s movie.
(1:26) Lita is #26 to a huge face pop.
(1:27) Mickie James will not be able to make history at WrestleMania because she has been eliminated by Lita. We then get a face-to-face showdown between Lita and Charlotte. Interesting.
(1:28) Mighty Molly is out in the #27 spot, and she gets attacked by Nikki A.S.H. before she can even enter the ring! Ha! I love it!
(1:29) As soon as Molly officially enters the ring, she is tossed out by Nikki A.S.H. to keep with the tradition of pointless entries from the past.
(1:29) RONDA ROUSEY IS BACK! She is the #28 entrant, and the crowd goes ballistic. The women in the ring all stop what they’re doing and watch her walk down the aisle.
(1:31) Nikki A.S.H. is eliminated by Ronda. Brie Bella gets revenge on her sister by eliminating her.
(1:31) Shotzi is #29, coming out to almost no crowd reaction. Ouch.
(1:32) Brie Bella is dumped out by Ronda Rousey. Sorry, Bryan.
(1:33) Shayna Baszler is #30, and she is met by a huge smile from her friend and training partner, Ronda Rousey. See, now this could be fun.
(1:34) Right as Shayna and Ronda look like they might square off, Charlotte attacks Shayna.
(1:35) Shotzi has been eliminated by Ronda, and Natalya gets eliminated by Bianca.
(1:35) Just for fun, Natalya gets back in the ring, only to be thrown out by Ronda this time. Cool beans.
(1:36) Lita is eliminated by Charlotte, and the crowd isn’t happy.
(1:37) Rhea is eliminated by Charlotte. Our Final Four… Bianca Belair, Charlotte Flair, Ronda Rousey, and Shayna Baszler. That’s pretty cool, actually.
(1:39) As Shayna and Bianca fought each other on the ropes, Charlotte runs over and eliminates them both. We’re down to Charlotte and Ronda. Here. We. Motherfucking. Go.
(1:40) Or Charlotte could just get dumped out seconds later. Ronda Rousey is the winner of the 2022 women’s Royal Rumble match! I find it very, very difficult to attach star ratings to Rumbles, battle royals, etc. This one was definitely fun. I can’t deny that. As I said, though, WWE needs to bolster their women’s division. Nearly half of the competitors this year are one-offs, which is sad.
(1:46) We go from one women’s match to another, as it is now time for Becky Lynch to defend the Raw Women’s Title against Doudrop.
(1:50) Becky gets more heel heat than I thought she would when she returned, but live crowds still want to cheer for her.
(1:53) As if often the case for matches that follow a Royal Rumble, the crowd is pretty quiet here. They spent a lot of energy making noise for about an hour, so this is a bit of a cool down for them, even with the super popular Becky Lynch involved here.
(1:56) According to fans in attendance, the lack of crowd noise here is also due to the WrestleMania sign in the building literally being on fire and raining sparks down below it. Sounds like pyro hit the sign and began melting it. The sign is apparently being removed, so a lot of the building is paying attention to that instead of the match. That certainly isn’t going to help anything.
(1:59) The fact that the match is moving at a slower pace isn’t helping either woman’s case right now.
(2:00) I love the stat that says Becky Lynch has been the Raw Women’s Champion for every day that she has been an active competitor for almost three years now. After winning the title at WrestleMania 35, she had a recognized reign of 398 days that only came to an end because she was pregnant. She was gone for over a year-and-a-half, then won the title on her first night back, holding it for the last three months now. That’s insane.
(2:03) Manhandle Slam from the middle rope (!!!) gets the win for Becky. The match wasn’t bad. It just felt like it never kicked into another gear. Might as well have been a match on Raw. I’ll go with 2.75 STARS.
(2:07) Oh, boy… oh, boy… it’s time for Brock Lesnar vs Bobby Lashley for the WWE Championship.
(2:07) As a further update on the WrestleMania sign, it was lowered and fully extinguished before being raised back up to its original placement again. Thank God. I was worried about what the men’s Rumble winner was supposed to point to after he wins the match. We might’ve had an R-Truth moment where the winner doesn’t realize he’s supposed to go to WrestleMania and proclaims he’s heading to Starrcade instead.
(2:13) As Lashley makes his entrance, he slaps hands with a bunch of fans. That’s almost weird to see.
(2:15) If that opening riff of Brock Lesnar’s entrance music (and the rest of it, too) doesn’t get you pumped the fuck up, you’re already dead, and you aren’t reading this, so I don’t know who I’m aiming this at.
(2:18) Opening bell. The clock is ticking. There’s no way this match lasts very long.
(2:20) Brock hits Lashley with a German Suplex, and then Lashley gets his revenge by hitting one of his own on Brock. It seems to impress Brock, who smiles and nods his head. This isn’t as fast-paced as a lot of recent Lesnar matches have been, but still very physical.
(2:22) Lashley’s lip or tongue is bleeding.
(2:22) It wouldn’t be a big WWE match without them using the same tired ass spot where someone crashes through the barricade near the timekeeper’s area. Lashley goes to hit a Spear, but Brock steps out of the way, and Lashley smashes through the wall.
(2:23) Ugly landing on a German Suplex by Lesnar, with Lashley nearly coming down on the side of his neck.
(2:24) Brock is ragdolling Lashley. That’s impressive as all hell.
(2:26) Brock goes for an F5, but it is countered into a Hurt Lock. Lashley has it in tight, but Lesnar reverses it by throwing Bobby into the turnbuckle, squishing the Referee. Lesnar picks Lashley up for an F5, but Lashley’s legs kick the Referee, who should be dead now.
(2:27) Roman Reigns comes out of fucking nowhere and hits Lesnar with a Spear! Reigns calls for Paul Heyman to hand the WWE Title to him, and Heyman does exactly that.
(2:28) A shot with the title belt to Brock’s head is enough to get the win for Lashley as a new Referee makes the count. Heyman leaves the ring with Reigns, smirking the entire way. Lashley is your new WWE Champion, and the Reigns vs Lesnar feud will continue on. When it was rumored that this match would open the show, the favored prediction was what happened… Heyman and Reigns screw Lesnar, Lashley wins the title, only for Lesnar to be a surprise entrant in the Rumble to win it and challenge Reigns at WrestleMania. With the match happening later in the show, we’ll see if it still happens. Brock and Bobby had themselves a fight. I’ll go with 3.5 STARS.
(2:31) Lashley slaps hands with a bunch of fans on his way to the back again, so there’s that.
(2:35) Up next is the super cool and not-at-all forced tagline of The Grit Couple vs The It Couple, with Edge and Beth Phoenix facing The Miz and Maryse.
(2:40) Beth Phoenix looks like she could still compete for titles in WWE. She looks to be in great shape.
(2:42) I was really, really hoping this feud would allow for The Miz to have more of a serious side. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case, and he’s the same old Miz, booked to look like a fool more often than not.
(2:44) Maryse with the slowest jog of all-time, followed by delivered the softest slap of all-time to Edge’s face. You can’t see it, but I’m shaking my head right now.
(2:47) Miz, the least intimidating wrestler to ever live, fails to intimidate Beth Phoenix, who proceeds to beat him up for a minute. Sounds about right.
(2:51) Beth hits Miz with a Powerbomb. Sounds about right.
(2:52) Maryse with a top-rope Hurricanrana on Edge. Sounds… about… right?
(2:53) Skull Crushing Finale on Edge gets a 2.99999 count. Another near fall that really got the crowd invested.
(2:54) Edge and Beth hit Miz with a double Spear, and then they take Miz and Maryse out with stereo Glam Slams for the win. Nice touch. The match was fun for what it was. It wasn’t a Match Of The Year candidate or anything, but it was never supposed to be. Let’s say 3 STARS. Let’s move Edge on to something bigger and better, though, eh? A feud with Dana Brooke and Reggie for the 24/7 Title, maybe?
(3:02) Men’s Royal Rumble time!
(3:02) AJ Styles is the first entrant. At the top of the entranceway, he hits the Shawn Michaels lean and flex pose, probably as an ode to Michaels winning the Rumble from the #1 spot before. That, or we’re getting AJ vs HBK at WrestleMania. At this point, would that shock anyone?
(3:04) Shinsuke Nakamura is #2, which just makes me sad, based on what could’ve been with these two a few years back. The Dome is rocking as the crowd “sings” Nakamura’s theme. It’s just like old times.
(3:05) Fun Fact: Nakamura has been the Intercontinental Champion for 718 days now, and has defended the title exactly zero times in that span.
(3:07) Austin Theory enters the match in the #3 spot. It wouldn’t surprise me if he’s one of the longest-lasting competitors in the match.
(3:08) Robert Roode is in the #4 spot, and the crowd doesn’t care.
(3:09) Roode and Styles have a staredown, and there’s an actual “T-N-A” chant from the crowd for a brief moment. Wow.
(3:10) Styles eliminates Roode. There goes that.
(3:11) #5 is Ridge Holland, complete with Sheamus’ face mask to protect his previously broken nose.
(3:11) Styles eliminates Nakamura, who will now go back to not defending his title.
(3:12) Montez Ford is coming in at the #6 spot. Let’s see what kind of superhuman athletic ability he can showcase here.
(3:14) Damian Priest is #7, ready to use his split personalities to have a better chance of winning this match.
(3:15) Sami Zayn is here at #8, clearly running from Johnny Knoxville and the Jackass crew.
(3:16) SHO NUFF, Johnny Knoxville is #9, and he’s accompanied to the ring by multiple members of the Jackass squizzad.
(3:17) Knoxville takes Sami down with a Double-Leg Takedown!
(3:18) Styles tells Knoxville he can hit him with one free shot, and it’s a doozy. AJ returns fire and beats the piss out of Knoxville with several stiff strikes.
(3:18) Sami eliminates Knoxville, but then gets eliminated by AJ seconds later. Poor guy. The conspiracy continues.
(3:19) Angelo Dawkins is out at #10. Michael Cole first calls him “Montez Ford” and then calls him “Angelo Hawkins” in case you were wondering how it’s going for him and how it’s going for Cole.
(3:20) #11 is Omos. Business is about to pick up.
(3:21) Dawkins is thrown over the top by Omos, and seconds later, so is Ford. Omos has eliminated The Street Profits all by himself.
(3:22) Ricochet is #12, but he gets splattered by Omos right away.
(3:24) After Omos slaps the soul out of Ricochet’s chest, Chad Gable comes out in the #13 spot. Gable immediately tries to round up the troops, saying that everyone should team up to eliminate Omos. Good idea. He’s definitely the smartest one.
(3:25) Well, Damian Priest gets eliminated.
(3:25) The cursed #14 spot goes to Dominik Mysterio! Oh, no!
(3:25) Omos is eliminated! Everyone teamed up to dump him, and AJ sent him over the top with the final blow.
(3:27) Happy Corbin is #15, and I do not give one single, solitary fuck.
(3:27) Corbin dumps Ricochet out, so we’ll have to wait a little longer for any real Ricochet push to take place.
(3:28) Dolph Ziggler is #16, and it is his 15th Rumble match, putting him behind only Kane for the most Rumble appearances of all-time.
(3:29) Corbin eliminates Dominik, making weeks of story between Dom and his dad pointless.
(3:29) Theory is eliminated by Styles. Aww. Vince McMahon won’t be happy.
(3:30) Sheamus is #17, but Ridge Holland gets eliminated right in front of him before he could even enter the ring. It was 12 years ago, in this very city, that Sheamus won the Royal Rumble.\
(3:31) Rick BOOOOOGS comes out in the #18 spot, and nobody knows how to react. Well, other than Pat McAfee.
(3:32) Boogs presses Gable above his head and heads to the ropes, but worthless piece of shit Kevin Dunn cuts away and we miss Gable’s elimination entirely. Fuck Kevin Dunn. Waste of fucking oxygen.
(3:33) Asshat Moss is #19, and I REALLY don’t give a fuck.
(3:33) Something needs to happen to pop the crowd soon. They’ve been quiet for a while.
(3:34) Asshat eliminates AJ Styles, which certainly isn’t going to help things.
(3:35) Riddle is in the #20 spot, so at least the crowd can enjoy that.
(3:36) Corbin eliminates Boogs. Darn.
(3:36) Drew McIntyre is back, and he’s here in the #21 spot. He is making a line straight for Goofy and Asshat, who put him on the shelf in the first place.
(3:38) Drew eliminates both of those dipshits within seconds of each other. Thank you, Drew!
(3:38) McIntyre leaves the ring under the ropes and continues his assault on Corbin and Moss as Kevin Owens enters the match in the #22 spot. McIntyre and Owens brawl outside the ring for a moment before climbing in.
(3:40) Rey Mysterio is #23, and since the crowd isn’t waiting for Daniel Bryan, Rey actually gets cheered for entering the Rumble.
(3:42) Kofi Kingston is here to enter the match in the #24 spot. Let’s see what wild spot he participates in this year.
(3:43) El-oh-el @ Kofi being launched out of the ring by Kevin Owens, and instead of being Spider Man and sticking to the barricade, Kofi slipped and touched the floor. Eliminated in seconds. You could tell that wasn’t supposed to happen by the Referee’s reaction to Kofi landing and having to reluctantly tell him he was eliminated. Poor Kofi.
(3:44) Otis is out at #25, causing Tucker to cry some sad, sad tears.
(3:45) Big E is the 26th entrant, but unfortunately, he doesn’t have either of his New Day brothers to be in the match with.
(3:47) Bad Bunny is back! He enters the match in the #27 spot, and he takes to the air immediately.
(3:48) Sheamus is eliminated after missing a Brogue Kick on Bad Bunny and going sailing over the top rope!
(3:49) Ziggler is eliminated by Rey and Bad Bunny.
(3:49) Shane McMahon is #28, and once again, we missed an elimination as Otis knocked Rey Mysterio out of the match. Fuck. Kevin. Dunn. Fuck his goofy, bucktoothed face.
(3:50) Kevin Owens is thrown out by Shane-O-Mac. Eh. No, thanks.
(3:51) After all these years, Shane still throws the wildest punches ever. He either connects legit and potatoes you, or he misses by several feet. There’s no in between.
(3:51) St. Louis’ own, Randy Orton, is now entering the match in the #29 spot. Orton is looking to join “Stone Cold” Steve Austin as the only three-time Rumble winners. Big E gets dumped out by Orton right away, and there goes Otis, too, as I type that.
(3:53) To nobody’s surprise, Brock Lesnar is in the #30 spot. Riddle probably didn’t give the right reaction, as he looked almost excited to see Brock.
(3:54) A pissed-off Brock is throwing everyone around, and then he eliminates Orton to huge heel heat.
(3:55) Brock hits Bad Bunny with an F5 and then eliminates him.
(3:55) Lesnar catches Riddle in mid-air and then deadlifts him over the top rope, eliminating him. As I type that, Brock eliminates Shane McMahon, leaving us with two men… Brock and Drew McIntyre.
(3:56) Well… that didn’t take long. Brock eliminates Drew to win the Royal Rumble. It was the expected outcome, but my goodness, both Lesnar and Ronda Rousey don’t need to win the Royal Rumble in 2022. That’s exactly what happened, though. Again, I don’t rate these types of matches, but it was fun. The laziest possible booking option, but fun nonetheless.
What say you, ReaderLand? Did you enjoy the Royal Rumble? The Road To WrestleMania is OFFICIALLY underway now. Thank you for reading, and be good to each other.