Courtesy of WWE Home Video, Matthew Roberts takes a look at their latest release, Royal Rumble 2022
The Royal Rumble is the annual “first step” on the Road to WrestleMania and there was certainly intrigue going into the event with a relatively strong line-up on paper.
And we kicked things off in a strong way with Roman Reigns putting his Universal Championship on the line against Shield brethren Seth Rollins. Who played some mind games by coming to the ring through the crowd and with the Shield music. It was perhaps imperative to do this to ensure that he looked like the babyface, even though really nothing else had changed about his current heel demeanour. This was a match of two halves almost. The first half was as good a wrestling match as you could wish for. In all honesty, the second half wasn’t bad either. But THAT finish. It would have been fine if it had been in someway a build for a feud. But it wasn’t. It seemed like a finish to protect Seth to a degree because it would all be forgotten about within a week.
The Women’s Rumble match was up next. The ones we’ve seen so far have generally been good but this one to me seemed a little, well, less good. With any luck it may have put paid to the “legends return to diminishing pops” stuff that we’ve now had every year. I get it, surprises are good. Mickie James returning for one night was cool. It’s nice for a new “legend” like Melina to make an appearance. But the same small cast of “legends” (who are really nothing of the sort) coming back year after year is just very dull. There were some good moments and some very much less than good moments. It really all built up to the return of Ronda Rousey, which as this isn’t AEW and as Meltzer isn’t on the payroll was heavily rumoured in the days leading up to the event. Overall an average at best Rumble.
The battle of the Celts was up next as Becky Lynch defended her Raw Women’s Championship against Doudrop. I actually like the idea of “lesser” names getting title shots on premium live events and this was a decent enough match. Of course there was no real dramatic tension as this was never going to be anything other than the champion retaining but I still enjoyed it.
Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley’s match for the WWE Championship followed the pattern of the earlier Universal title match. As in it was a very good match until a weak (ish) finish. Still, at least this one played into an actual ongoing storyline and propelled the whole Reigns/Heyman/Lesnar storyline forward. This definitely had that “big fight” feel and it’s never not fun seeing two slabs of prime beef wallop the hell out of each other.
I had very little interest in the mixed tag team match between Beth Phoenix & Edge and The Miz & Maryse. And not just because Maryse has blocked me on Twitter. That said the match was a perfectly enjoyable slice of sports entertainment. We’ve seen a lot worse.
Things ended with the Men’s Royal Rumble, which was one of the weakest in recent memory. And that was before Shane O’Mac made an appearance. But let’s not go into my utter contempt for him as a “wrestler”. When other non-wrestlers Johnny Knoxville and Bad Bunny are about the only highlights of a match it tells you how pedestrian this match. It all seemed to be killing time until Brock Lesnar made a “surprise” entrance at number 30 and finally eliminated Drew McIntyre to win.
Overall this was an up and down event. Two great World title matches for the men, albeit hampered slightly by the finishes and enjoyable Raw Women’s Title match and mixed tag match means there was plenty to be entertained by. But if the Royal Rumble lives and dies by the Rumble matches themselves it has to be deemed a disappointing evening. The women’s was arguably the worst they’ve had since it debuted and the men’s was one of the dullest in recent memory.
The special features add matches and segments from Raw and Smackdown leading up to Royal Rumble 2022!
6 out of 10 | Photographs courtesy of Fetch and WWE
Thank you to WWE Home Video for our review copy of WWE Royal Rumble 2022 which is out Monday 21 March on DVD and Bluray. You can buy your copy from WWEDVD.co.uk by clicking here.