A whole load of new potential spoilers, surprises, returns and more have emerged ahead of tomorrow night’s Royal Rumble, and we’re gonna take a big look at all of them this morning.
I’m Liam Winnard for WrestleTalk.com, and this is our audio news bulletin for January 28, 2022.
Listen to this morning’s round-up here:
There had already been several big reports about people who are set to make surprise appearances tomorrow night, but yesterday, lots of new ones came to light as well.
What we’ll do is go through the new ones, but also recap the rest for anyone who isn’t fully up-to-date.
Women’s Royal Rumble Spoilers, Surprises, Returns, Rumours & More
We’ll start with the women’s Rumble, which we already knew would include a lot of former WWE stars. The currently officially announced by WWE list of 21 entrants for that match is:
- Charlotte Flair (announced during January 7 SmackDown)
- Naomi (announced during January 7 SmackDown)
- Rhea Ripley (announced during January 7 SmackDown)
- Nikki ASH (announced during January 7 SmackDown)
- Brie Bella (announced during January 7 SmackDown)
- Nikki Bella (announced during January 7 SmackDown)
- Carmella (announced during January 7 SmackDown)
- Queen Zelina (announced during January 7 SmackDown)
- Lita (announced during January 7 SmackDown)
- Michelle McCool (announced during January 7 SmackDown)
- Kelly Kelly (announced during January 7 SmackDown)
- Dana Brooke (announced during January 7 SmackDown)
- Natalya (announced during January 7 SmackDown)
- Mickie James (announced during January 7 SmackDown)
- Tamina (announced during January 7 SmackDown)
- Shayna Baszler (announced during January 7 SmackDown)
- Summer Rae (announced during January 7 SmackDown)
- Aliyah (announced during January 7 SmackDown)
- Shotzi (announced during January 7 SmackDown)
- Bianca Belair (announced during January 17 Raw)
- Liv Morgan (announced during January 17 Raw)
You may remember a few days ago, we mentioned that PWInsider had reported that Melina and Ariane Andrew – who was Cameron of the Funkadactyls – were both set to return.
Well, there’s now an update on both of those, because they have both reportedly been spotted in St Louis, which is obviously where the Royal Rumble is taking place, so it’s very likely they’re both going to be in it.
WWE was actually interested in having Melina in the 2020 Rumble, but she was contracted to the NWA at the time, and you might recall talks for her to debut in NXT that year after she’d left the NWA, but that didn’t happen. The Rumble will be her first match in WWE since 2011.
As for Cameron, it’ll be her first WWE match since 2016, and she most recently wrestled for AEW in the 2020 women’s tag team tournament.
A completely new name that has emerged for the women’s Rumble overnight is Aksana, who PWInsider has reported is in St Louis and is slated for the Rumble match, and she hasn’t wrestled at all since her last WWE match which was in 2014.
So those are the newly reported names, but there have been plenty more throughout the last couple of weeks too.
One of the prominent of those is Ronda Rousey. As of last word, WWE was hoping for a Rousey return and the ball is in her court as to whether she wants to or not.
She gave birth in September and at least one WWE official flew to California for talks last week, and her makeup artist is scheduled to be at the show. WWE does have plans in place for WrestleMania for Rousey, and a Rumble return would likely be the kickstart for whatever those plans are.
Two other names who have both reportedly been discussed for returns are former Women’s Tag Team Champions together in Asuka and Kairi Sane, which were both reported by Fightful Select.
Asuka has been out of action since July due an arm injury, while there’s more of a story to Sane’s situation in that she left the United States to return to Japan in mid-2020, but has remained under WWE contract, and that contract doesn’t expire until next month.
A loose rumour that has been doing the rounds is that Paige could possibly return. She’s still signed with WWE despite having retired from in-ring action in 2018, but in recent months she’s talked a lot about possibly getting back in the ring. There haven’t been any reports or updates about her, so that one is just speculation more than anything else.
One of the most notable names who hasn’t been announced by WWE is Trish Stratus, and according to her, that’s because she won’t be in the Royal Rumble due to her obligations filming for Canada’s Got Talent, for which she is a judge.
And two names who we pretty much know for sure won’t be in the Rumble are Cassie Lee and Jessie McKay, the IInspiration, who were formerly Peyton Royce and Billie Kay, the IIconics.
According to Fightful Select, WWE did reach out to the IMPACT Knockouts Tag Team Champions, but they turned down the offer. Current ROH Women’s Champion Deonna Purrazzo also said on Twitter that she wasn’t interested.
Men’s Rumble Spoilers, Surprises, Returns Rumours & More
So that pretty much sums up the deal with the women so far, but there are plenty names who have been thrown around for the men’s Royal Rumble as well.
WWE has officially announced 22 entrants for this one so far, and they are:
- Johnny Knoxville (announced on Instagram on January 1, then confirmed by WWE during Day 1)
- Angelo Dawkins (announced during January 3 Raw)
- Montez Ford (announced during January 3 Raw)
- Rey Mysterio (announced during January 3 Raw)
- Dominik Mysterio (announced during January 3 Raw)
- Austin Theory (announced during January 3 Raw)
- Sheamus (announced during January 7 SmackDown)
- Damian Priest (announced on Twitter on January 10)
- AJ Styles (announced on Twitter on January 10)
- Big E (announced during January 10 Raw)
- Happy Corbin (announced on Twitter on January 14)
- Madcap Moss (announced on Twitter on January 14)
- Sami Zayn (announced during January 14 SmackDown)
- Kofi Kingston (announced during January 14 SmackDown)
- Kevin Owens (announced during January 17 Raw)
- Omos (announced on Twitter on January 24)
- Randy Orton (announced on Twitter on January 24)
- Riddle (announced on Twitter on January 24)
- Chad Gable (announced on Twitter on January 24)
- Otis (announced on Twitter on January 24)
- Dolph Ziggler (announced on Twitter on January 24)
- Robert Roode (announced on Twitter on January 24)
That leaves eight spots to fill, and it was reported by PWInsider that at least a couple of those are probably going to come in the form of NXT talent, namely NXT Champion Bron Breakker, and Gunther, the artist formerly known as WALTER.
Dave Meltzer also mentioned those two names, but did say that WWE is probably going to have some extra NXT talent on hand as ‘alternates’ in case any of the planned participants have to drop out, which is obviously quite a big concern now because of Covid. So if you see any NXT names reported and they end up not being in the match, they probably were at the Rumble, just as backup options that didn’t need to be used.
In terms of other names, Ringside News reported that Shane McMahon is set for a return in the Royal Rumble match. It’ll be his first match since last year’s WrestleMania, where he lost to Braun Strowman in a steel cage match.
Speaking on WrestleMania, it’s not confirmed yet whether there are plans for Shane, but one popular theory – you’ll see what I did there – is that Shane could be being brought back to set up a match with Austin Theory, who Vince McMahon has taken under his wing on TV in recent months.
Another name reported by Ringside News is Bad Bunny, who also competed at WrestleMania last year, teaming with Damian Priest to beat The Miz and John Morrison, in a match in which Bunny received a hell of a lot of praise for his performance. WWE recently promoted an upcoming Bad Bunny concert tour on TV.
The big names don’t stop there through, as Kurt Angle, Angle is set to be in St Louis after talks of him returning to WWE as an on-screen presence according to Fightful Select. It’s worth mentioning that the report didn’t explicitly say that Angle is scheduled for the Rumble match itself, and he’s expected to be involved in some of the other projects WWE is working on throughout the weekend.
Another name who will be at the Rumble is the Undertaker, although it’s expected that’s just to be backstage because his wife Michelle McCool is in the women’s Rumble. But who knows.
Onto more rumour-based names that have been going around, so take these ones with a bit more light-heartedly, and one of those is Corey Graves. Graves kind of teased on Twitter that he wanted to be in the Rumble, and it was then reported by Fightful that he’s been taken off of WWE’s no-contact list, hence his brief physcial 24/7 Title segment with Byron Saxton at the end of last year.
Again, take these more light-heartedly, but New Japan’s Kazuchika Okada is a name that has come up, and that’s because the official BT Sport WWE account posted a list of “wild” predictions, and he was included on that list.
Now, it’s unclear whether this post had to be approved by WWE, or whether it was done solely by BT Sport, but it kind of seems like a weird thing to do if there wasn’t anything to it.
WrestleVotes did report that WWE was discussing at least one “Forbidden Door” name for the men’s Royal Rumble, and maybe it’s Okada, or maybe it’s Cody Rhodes.
This is by far the most unlikely of the names that has been prominently talked about, but after revealing that he’s no longer under AEW contract, it’s technically possible, which at the very least, means there’s more of a chance of it happening than if he was under contract.
And that pretty much summarises all the Rumble shenanigans that we’re aware of so far. Of course, stay tuned to WrestleTalk.com throughout the day in case any more emerge, and there will also be a morning audio news bulletin tomorrow, recapping all the news as well as any last-minute Rumble stuff that emerges, so I’ll see you tomorrow morning for another round-up.
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