13 Ups & 9 Downs For WWE In 2022


9. The Royal Rumble Matches

Nikki Bella WWE Royal Rumble 2022

Recent reports confirmed that morale within the WWE locker room had been at an all-time low following this year's devastatingly bleak Royal Rumble.

Think about that; regardless of WWE being a television company more than a pay-per-view one now, the entire year is still shaped around the undeniable magic of WrestleMania and, for the wrestlers, the promise of making it on the biggest stage in the industry. In kayfabe and reality, the Rumble represents a passport to that paradise, and even if you're not the one pointing at the sign, you're on the road and exposed to all possibilities.

That both matches could suck so much and play to that much indifference speaks to how much faith had clearly been lost in former head honcho Vince McMahon. The vibe was destroyed by actual ticket-buying punters revealing themselves to not watch Raw on the reg when theme songs dropping didn't lead to popping. The booking was stubborn and/or beige with little wiggle room for fun runs, nostalgic thrill rides or overly optimistic hope spots. When the opportunity for nice things - Melina, Molly Holly and The Riott Squad's one night returns being potent examples - they were senselessly crushed just to remind us all who was still - but not for long - boss.

Father fired son after Shane McMahon tried to bogart all the coolest spots in the closing stretch of the main event, but beyond that, McMahon was never been further apart from what his audience - or roster - wanted. And think of the vast, vast acres of ground that covers.


Michael is a writer, editor, podcaster and presenter for WhatCulture Wrestling, and has been with the organisation over 7 years. He primarily produces written, audio and video content on WWE and AEW, but also provides knowledge and insights on all aspects of the wrestling industry thanks to a passion for it dating back over 30 years. As one third of "The Dadley Boyz", Michael has contributed to the huge rise in popularity of the WhatCulture Wrestling Podcast, earning it top spot in the UK's wrestling podcast charts with well over 50,000,000 total downloads. He has been featured as a wrestling analyst for the Tampa Bay Times and Sports Guys Talking Wrestling, and has covered milestone events in New York, Dallas, Las Vegas, London and Cardiff. Michael's background in media stretches beyond wrestling coverage, with a degree in Journalism from the University Of Sunderland (2:1) and a series of published articles in sports, music and culture magazines The Crack, A Love Supreme and Pilot. When not offering his voice up for daily wrestling podcasts, he can be found losing it singing far too loud watching his favourite bands play live. Follow him on X/Twitter - @MichaelHamflett