Two Major Former WWE Superstars Reportedly Wanted To Return During The Royal Rumble, But Were Rejected

The WWE had at least two former superstars of note offer to drop by for a return during the 2022 Royal Rumble, according to a new report, but the organization apparently rejected both offers. Accounts from two different sources claim that both Kurt Angle and Rob Van Dam were ready and willing to make an appearance in the pay-per-view, and even stick around in the weeks leading up to WrestleMania 38.

What Happened With Kurt Angle?

News of Kurt Angle’s potential return first surfaced ahead of WWE’s Royal Rumble, though it wasn’t known what the plan was. Fightful Select recently revealed Angle did appear in St. Louis to film content, but that plans were nixed. It’s not known if Angle was going to appear in the Men’s Rumble event, but plans were discussed for him to insert himself in the feud between RK-Bro and Alpha Academy.

Another idea was that Kurt Angle would be the special guest referee during the upcoming Elimination Chamber match in Saudi Arabia. However, neither of those ideas are happening now. That could always change, of course, depending on what kept those discussions from going through in the first place.

What Happened With Rob Van Dam?

Sportskeeda spoke to Rob Van Dam recently, and the former WWE talent revealed he called WWE ahead of the Royal Rumble and offered to return as a surprise entrant in the event. RVD talked about the process and added that while it didn’t happen, he felt the WWE could call him back to the ring eventually. 

I let the WWE know that I was available if they wanted…needed me for the Royal Rumble. In the end, they did not call me in, but it could happen anytime.

The news that guys like Kurt Angle and Rob Van Dam were ready and willing to appear on WWE television around the time of the Royal Rumble is surprising, and it’s more surprising that the WWE didn’t utilize either of them. Of course, fans are well familiar with the news of the Men’s Rumble being handled so poorly that Shane McMahon was reportedly fired because of it. Angle and RVD could have improved the quality of the pay-per-view quite a bit had they appeared, but apparently, other plans were more worthy.

The good news is that there’s still opportunity for either Kurt Angle or Rob Van Dam to appear in the future, as Shane McMahon’s exit reportedly opened up a slot for a match in the late card. Bringing back a guy like Angle or RVD could fill that gap, or one in another match that woudl presumably then be elevated to the late-card position. 

One match that comes to mind fans might like to see is Riddle vs. Rob Van Dam. Both guys have the same not-so-subtle stoner gimmick in the WWE, and the match could serve as RVD passing the torch to the younger Riddle, who was reportedly rumored to win the Royal Rumble at one point. Those reports are disputed, but if the WWE is high on elevating Riddle’s status in the WWE, this might be a way to do it. Of course, if the WWE didn’t call RVD or do anything with Kurt Angle then, will they make any big moves before WrestleMania 38?

SmackDown airs on Fox Fridays at 8:00 p.m. ET and Monday Night Raw over at USA on Mondays at 8:00 p.m. ET. Anyone looking to catch up on either show can with a Peacock premium subscription, which also comes with access to all pay-per-views past and present. 

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick contains multitudes and balances his time reporting on big happenings in the world of Star Trek, the WWE, reality television, and other sci-fi shows.