ST. LOUIS — Downtown will see its fair share of leg sweeps, suplexes and powerslams this January.
Pro wrestling powerhouse WWE will host the 35th annual Royal Rumble on Jan. 29 at the Dome at America’s Center.
The event, one of the biggest of the year for WWE, is expected to draw more than 40,000 fans from far and wide to St. Louis to see the scripted spectacle and should bring a boost to the downtown economy, said John P. Saboor, WWE’s executive vice president of special events.
The rumble is headlined by two battles royal, one for male WWE superstars and one for the female contenders, in which 30 wrestlers pack into the ring two-by-two to duke it out accompanied, of course, by entrance music and smack talk. The winner goes on to a title match at the WWE championship, Wrestlemania, set for Dallas in April.
The Dome will be the largest venue to host the event since it launched in 1988.
The rumble was virtual-attendance only from Tampa, Florida, in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but brought 42,715 people to Houston in 2020 and 48,193 to Phoenix in 2019, according to the WWE.
The WWE’s Saboor said that St. Louis was chosen through a bidding process that included a review of its public transportation, hotel capacity, event spaces and history hosting large sports and entertainment events.
He added that St. Louis also has a long and rich history with pro wrestling, dating all the way back to the city’s Chase Park Plaza hotel hosting the popular pro wrestling TV show “Wrestling at the Chase” from 1959 until 1983, the center of the wrestling world for years.
National Wrestling Alliance, under new owner Billy Corgan, brings four days of competition to St. Louis.
“Our decision to present the Royal Rumble at the Dome is a powerful reminder of a special relationship built over decades with WWE and St. Louis,” Saboor said.
St. Louis has hosted the Royal Rumble once before, in 2012, when Sheamus, a spiky red-headed up-and-comer from Dublin won the event at what is today Enterprise Center.
St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones applauded the decision in a statement this week.
“St. Louis has the best sports scene in the country, and Royal Rumble will enhance it even more,” the statement read. “This event is an incredible opportunity for our city, bringing WWE fans from across the nation to St. Louis and helping keep our downtown vibrant during the winter season.”
Saboor said the WWE has grown in popularity around the world, and he expected domestic and international fans to attend the Royal Rumble. The rumble is also typically surrounded by a weekend of festivities, including meet-and-greets with the wrestlers.
Two St. Louis-area natives in the WWE may be featured in the Royal Rumble: third-generation wrestler and former WWE champion Randy Orton, who attended Hazelwood Central High School, and Reginald, a St. Louisan who signed a WWE contract in 2020.
Tickets for the Royal Rumble go on sale at 10 a.m. Oct. 15 at ticketmaster.com. Fans interested in presale opportunities can register at wwe.com/rumble2022. The rumble is a pay-per-view event or can be streamed at 8 p.m. Jan. 29 on Peacock.