Roman Reigns’ opponent announced for WWE Royal Rumble, Brock Lesnar vs. Reigns teased

Jan 7, 2022 - by Marc Middleton

Seth Rollins will challenge WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns at the 2022 Royal Rumble pay-per-view.

Tonight’s SmackDown on FOX featured an angle where Adam Pearce had to pick the next challenger for Reigns. The show ended with a knock on the door of Reigns’ locker room suite, which turned out to be Rollins. Rollins entered the suite and had a brief staredown with Reigns. Rollins started laughing while Reigns seethed, and the first SmackDown of 2022 went off the air with Reigns expressing frustration over Pearce’s pick.

Rollins vs. Reigns taking place at the Royal Rumble is interesting as it was recently revealed that original plans for WWE Day 1 called for Rollins to win the WWE Title from Big E. However, Reigns tested positive for COVID-19 and was pulled from the Day 1 match against new WWE Champion Brock Lesnar. Lesnar was added to the WWE Title match with Rollins, former champion Big E, Kevin Owens and Bobby Lashley.

Rollins and Reigns have not wrestled on TV since the October 11, 2019 edition of SmackDown, in a bout that saw Rollins win by DQ. The former partners in The Shield have wrestled around 10 more TV/PPV matches over the years, including Rollins’ WWE World Heavyweight Title win over Reigns at Money In the Bank 2016.

On a related note, WWE is now teasing a big Title vs. Title match between Lesnar and Reigns.

Tonight’s SmackDown opened with Reigns delivering an in-ring promo, where he mentioned he never wanted to see Lesnar and Paul Heyman again following their reunion on this week’s RAW. Lesnar and Heyman then interrupted Reigns and Lesnar mocked The Tribal Chief on the mic. Lesnar also challenged Reigns to give the fans what they want, which is a Title vs. Title and Champion vs. Champion match. Reigns denied the challenge, and said SmackDown is his show and they do what he says, on his time, and on top of that, he doesn’t do business withh people who do business with trash like Heyman.

The knock from Reigns led to Heyman proclaiming how he loved and worshipped Reigns while Lesnar was away. This didn’t sit well with Lesnar, who yelled at Heyman to shut up as he explained himself. Reigns then warned Lesnar not to speak to Heyman like that, and Heyman asked Lesnar not to speak to Reigns in the way he responded. Lesnar told Heyman to shut up once again, but Reigns laid him out with a Superman Punch out of nowhere. The segment ended with Reigns making his exit, ranting about the Universal Title belonging to him, while a shocked Heyman looked on, watching Lesnar recover from the punch.

Lesnar is currently scheduled to defend his WWE Title against Lashley at the Royal Rumble on January 29, and he will be on Monday’s RAW to continue that feud. It’s been reported that Lesnar vs. Reigns is still the plan for WrestleMania 38, but there’s no word on if it will be for the WWE Title or the WWE Universal Title.

The 2022 Royal Rumble will take place on January 29 from The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis. Below is the updated card, along with related shots from SmackDown:

30-Man Royal Rumble Match
Austin Theory, Rey Mysterio, Dominik Mysterio, Montez Ford, Angelo Dawkins, 24 Superstars TBA

30-Woman Royal Rumble Match
SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair, Rhea Ripley, Nikki A.S.H., WWE Hall of Famer Nikki Bella, WWE Hall of Famer Brie Bella, Shotzi, Natalya, Michelle McCool, WWE 24/7 Champion Dana Brooke, WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion Carmella, WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion Queen Zelina Vega, Impact Knockouts Champion Mickie James, Tamina Snuka, Kelly Kelly, Aliyah, Summer Rae, Naomi, Shayna Baszler, WWE Hall of Famer Lita, 11 participants TBA

WWE Title Match
Bobby Lashley vs. Brock Lesnar (c)

WWE Universal Title Match
Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns (c)

RAW Women’s Title Match
Bianca Belair or Liv Morgan or Doudrop vs. Becky Lynch (c)

Mixed Tag Team Match
WWE Hall of Famers Edge and Beth Phoenix vs. The Miz and Maryse

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