I did not particularly enjoy either Royal Rumble match that took place Saturday night (Jan. 29) in St. Louis.
This isn’t me being mad online about the winners. I’m not fired up about Brock Lesnar or Ronda Rousey, safe choices which mostly highlight WWE’s failure to reinvigorate their rosters*. But I’ve had a lot of fun watching Rumbles where I didn’t like the winner, or wasn’t excited about the WrestleMania direction their winning pointed toward. The 2022 editions were just... meh.
What’s really driven home for me how lackluster these Rumbles were? The main things I remember two days later are what didn’t happen in them.
Kofi Kingston’s epic, acrobatic, creative ways of avoiding elimination have become a staple of the Royal Rumble throughout his legendary career.
The old head of the New Day missed last year’s Rumble due to a broken jaw. Maybe he and the producers wanted to make up for that. Maybe really insane spots like the one they put together are just in the rearview for the now 40 year old Superstar.
Whatever the case, trying to be pushed/leap from the top rope to the seats and catch himself on the top of the barricade without his feet hitting the ground turned out to be too much to ask.
The replay was clear. Kofi caved in his chest for nothing. Nobody was more crushed than the former WWE champion.
It’s all made worse by WWE’s decision to sacrifice a save for Naomi — the first to bring this tradition into the women’s Rumble — to her storyline with Sonya Deville. And American Ninja Warrior standout Kacy Catanzaro didn’t even get to work her magic, as the company opted to book 15 wrestlers not currently on any WWE roster for the women’s match instead of using NXT talent. All we got was Reggie catching 24/7 champ Dana Brooke. Yay?
Hopefully it’s not the end of an era, and Kingston or Naomi will amaze us with something (perhaps with a slightly reduced degree of difficulty) in 2023. We’ll just have to stay positive like our guy Kof...
Welp!— Sir Kofi Krampus (@TrueKofi) January 30, 2022
“It is Better to Try and Fail Than Never to Try at All.”
-someone said this
And who knows? Maybe they’ll actually have a new star take up the Rumble save mantle next year?
Don’t laugh. It could happen. Couldn’t it?
* Further emphasized by the fact some of the night’s biggest pops came during a heel vs. heel match, for callbacks to one of the last times WWE booking did make new stars: The Shield, an act that ended seven-and-a-half years ago.