WWE has the Day 1 pay-per-view (PPV) coming up on Jan. 1, but it’s never too early to look ahead to WWE’s more important January PPV. Royal Rumble 2022 is roughly five weeks away, so we should have some sense by now of who the favorites might be to outlast 29 other superstars for the reward of pointing at that very large WrestleMania sign.
I’m pretty sure I know who is winning the men’s Rumble match, and I’ll be writing about that in the coming weeks. But today I’d like to focus on the women’s match because it’s a harder nut to crack.
The question to always keep in mind when figuring out who will win the Royal Rumble is: what will the women’s championship matches be at WrestleMania? The Rumble winner gets to challenge either the Raw or SmackDown women’s champion at WrestleMania 38.
If we look at all the women on the WWE roster who have been active over the last two months, there are only a couple of potential WrestleMania championship matches that stand out to me. That would be Becky Lynch vs. Bianca Belair and Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks. I can squint and see a scenario where Becky Lynch fights Rhea Ripley, but Rhea was pinned on Raw in less than 60 seconds last week, which doesn’t sound like a wrestler who is on the cusp of winning the Royal Rumble.
Given that Lynch and Flair are the current Raw and SmackDown women’s champions in some permutation, that means Belair and Banks stand out as two potential Rumble winners. Belair just won the Royal Rumble match last year, so I think she is less likely to win it this year.
Therefore, Sasha Banks is a decent early prediction for the women’s Royal Rumble winner this year. But what if WWE books Flair vs. Banks as a singles championship match at the Royal Rumble? That would introduce a scenario where Banks is not even in the Rumble match itself. There is also some added uncertainty due to the spread of COVID and how that could force significant booking changes on the fly.
In the case where Banks is not actually in the Rumble match, we’d have to consider some of the current injured or inactive wrestlers to see who might be a surprise winner. There are some big names out of the mix right now, including Bayley, Asuka, Alexa Bliss, and even Ronda Rousey. I’m not confident enough about any of them showing up at Royal Rumble to pick them ahead of Sasha Banks, but I do think they all have a better chance to win than stars like Nikki A.S.H., Zelina Vega, Carmella, Liv Morgan, Shotzi, Dana Brooke, Toni Storm, Shayna Baszler, Xia Li, Natalya, and Aliyah.
Two women who I have not named yet include Naomi and Sonya Deville. Their long-term angle could very well pay off at WrestleMania, but it would take quite a significant creative shift to turn it into a championship program. I think the odds are against it.
Finally, could there be an NXT call up who is an immediate contender to win the Royal Rumble? I don’t really see it happening.
Add it all up, and I’m sticking with Sasha Banks as my early prediction for the winner of the 2022 women’s Royal Rumble match. But you should keep in mind that I’m also the guy who argued in January 2020 that Drew McIntyre was unlikely to win the men’s Royal Rumble match later that month. I could have picked any other name to write that article about and I would have been correct, yet I chose the one guy who ended up proving me wrong. The point is, I’m a moron and I should know better than to write this sort of post.
Okay Cagesiders, now it’s your turn. Let us all know in the comments below who you think will win the 2022 women’s Royal Rumble match!