The Royal Rumble, one of WWE’s biggest and funniest events of the year, returns Saturday night with a loaded card from the American Center Dome in St. Louis, Missouri. The event is the official start of the WrestleMania season and is the basis for this year’s signature promotion taking place April 2-3.
In addition to the traditional Royal Rumble on the men’s and women’s sides, WWE Champion Brock Lesnar, Universal Champion Roman Reigns and Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch will all be in the title fight. Finally, The Miz and Maryse will meet Edge and Beth Phoenix in a mixed-tag competition featuring four former champions.
With all of this in mind, a lot can happen on Saturday night, and almost everything will have a huge impact on WrestleMania.
Let’s take a closer look at who our CBS Sports experts predict will stand out at the WWE Royal Rumble.
2022 WWE Royal Rumble Predictions
Edge & Beth Phoenix vs. The Miz & Maryse
The rivalry should end on Saturday, with Edge and Beth Phoenix raising their hands. It was a natural ending to the rivalry between the two couples. Edge is clearly the A-side of WWE, and Phoenix shouldn’t be returning just to replace part-time Maryse. A raised hand by Edge and Phoenix is the most likely outcome. Pick: Edge and Beth Phoenix – Shakiel Mahjouri (also Brent Brookhouse)
Raw Women’s Championship – Becky Lynch (c) vs. Doudrop
It’s hard to imagine that Doudrop would win this tournament under normal circumstances, but with WrestleMania looming, it’s almost impossible to imagine. Lynch will appear in a featured slot at WrestleMania and will appear in that slot as the Raw Women’s Champion, possibly defending the winner of the Women’s Royal Rumble. Doudrop can boost her image with good performance, which should be the bigger goal here. Pick: Becky Lynch retains title – Brookhouse (also known as Majuli)
Universal Championship – Roman Reigns (c) vs Seth Rollins
My thought process is usually to do a Lesnar vs. Reigns match at WrestleMania without having both titles in the match. So, who lost the belt? Lesnar earned the title in a knee-jerk reaction to Reigns being fired the first day after his COVID-19 diagnosis. Meanwhile, Reigns had a record title reign. With that in mind, it makes sense to go back to the story of Lesnar hunting Reigns and generic titles, which means Rollins has to take the loss here. Pick: Roman Reigns retains the title. – Brookhouse
WWE seems keen to bring Seth Rollins to WrestleMania with the World Championship ahead of the chaos on Day 1. There’s a lot of storyline about Reigns’ inability to conquer his former Shield partner in the Championship. If Reigns is going to take part in the Royal Rumble and win Brock Lesnar’s chance (which we’ll get to later), he’ll have to hand Rollins the title that same night. Pick: Seth Rollins wins – Majuli
WWE Championship – Brock Lesnar (c) vs Bobby Leslie
As stated in the Reigns vs. Rollins prediction, WWE’s return to the Reigns being chased by Lesnar will require Lesnar to relinquish the belt. For a potential challenger to WrestleMania’s Lashley, Raw is in a much better position than Lesnar’s SmackDown. Lashley has plenty of ways to beat Lesnar, including a clean win. WWE has finally fully turned Lashley into a force that they can continue to build on at Rumble. Pick: Bobby Lashley wins the championship – Brookhouse
WWE just loves strapping the champ around the waist of former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar. It would be bizarre for a promotion to present the WWE Championship to one of its most accomplished stars, only to take it away after 28 days. Plus, Lesnar needs to look scary in the final rematch with the Reigns. Lesnar vs. Lashley is a coveted MMA and professional wrestling main course. Should make Lashley look competitive with Lesnar, but the end result will be “and static”. Pick: Brock Lesnar retains title – Majuli
Women’s Royal Rumble Competition
Frankly, more likely to win this year’s Rumble than Naomi. Reports of WrestleMania’s imminent return to Ronda Rousey have led people to believe she will be back on Saturday night. WWE could also correct their mistakes at SummerSlam by giving Bianca Belair a win over 29 other women. There are few better contenders than Naomi in the storyline. She’s been wronged by authority figure Sonia Deville at every turn, especially during her win over SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair. What better way to get around Deville’s betrayal than to win a rumble. Pick: Naomi wins – Majuli
Personally, I hope the fact that WWE has added women rumbles to wrestlers who aren’t even active WWE-signed wrestlers is an eye-opener for this promotion. While I appreciate Shak’s Naomi pick and the idea of her going to WrestleMania and winning the title, it doesn’t feel like the “big swing” WWE wants to take for their biggest show of the year. With that in mind, there are two solid options. First, they could allow Bianca Belair to win her second Royal Rumble match and truly build her legacy. Alternatively, they could call Ronda Rousey. With rumours of Rousey’s return continuing to spread, getting Rousey to win the Rumble and go on to battle the champions of both brands at WrestleMania is an easy task. Pick: Rhonda Rossi wins – Brookhouse
Men’s Royal Rumble Competition
As the final step of our three-step prediction, Lesnar had lost his title to Lashley earlier in the night – probably due to The Usos interference – immediately re-locking the Reigns and forcing his way into the Rumble. Lesnar then came out on top, then won the entire match and went on to pick Reigns as his WrestleMania opponent. To add a bit of momentum, the MVP and Lashley claimed that Lesnar escaped his Conqueror and could keep the replay in the back pocket for a rainy day. Pick: Brock Lesnar wins – Brookhouse
Let me be clear, Roman Reigns shouldn’t win the battle royale. Rumors have it that Raines is planning to lose the Universal Championship to Brock Lesnar on day one, while Seth Rollins is expected to take the WWE Championship that night. WWE could correct course by having Reigns lose to Rollins, possibly due to some shenanigans from Lesnar, and then go into Rumble to get revenge on “Beast Incarnate.” Pick: Roman Reigns wins – Majuli