If big surprises are the most valuable currency in professional wrestling, the Royal Rumble is JPMorgan Chase.
The event is as much about swathes of unexpected faces showing up as it is setting WWE's programming up for the road to WrestleMania. Fans long conditioned to expect returnees, debutants, and other shockers to appear when the countdown hits zero and the buzzer sounds won't accept anything less, and while not the be all/end all, disappointing surprises usually mean a disappointing Rumble.
15 men's and nine women's spots remained in the over-the-top-ropers at the time of writing. Most of these will end up occupied by full-timers, but there'll likely be significant scope for surprises nonetheless. A broad, interesting, and exciting range of options means it would take a gargantuan effort for WWE to screw them up, too. There are a lot of fun wrestlers here. This should be a layup.
Last year saw Christian, Kane, Victoria, and Carlito lead the list of unexpected Rumblers. Who will it be in 2022?
From long-term injury absentees and returning legends to possible Forbidden Door options, let's run through some of the possibilities...