Injury-hit Rovers surrendered their proud record of never having lost their first two matches of a Super League season as Wakefield rediscovered some traces of last year's form.
Three tries in 10 minutes, with Tim Smith pulling the strings, put the Wildcats in command midway through the first half, although Rovers summoned up plenty of defiance, getting to within four points before conceding two crucial tries scored by their old boy, Ben Cockayne.
After making unimpressive starts to the Super League season last weekend, both sides were conscious of a need to improve rapidly.
Wakefield's prospects of doing so in their first home game of the campaign seemed to improve markedly when Richard Agar was able to field his playmaker, Smith, after the architect of last year's unexpected charge to the play-offs missed the opener with an ankle injury.
"Last week was a bit of a shock to us and we've worked very hard this week," said Agar, who praised the work his forwards had done to give Smith space to create.
"If you give the ball to Tim in the right areas he will come up with the plays," he said.
Rovers, already without six first-choice players, lost Lincoln Withers to a clash of heads in the first tackle of the match. He was taken to hospital with a severe laceration.
Despite that unpromising start, the Robins held their own in an attritional opening quarter and would have been ahead but for Dean Collis's try-saving tackle on David Hodgson in the corner.
Rovers lost Graeme Horne to the sin-bin for repeated infringements and Trinity took the lead when Smith, over the try-line, dunked the ball down for Paul Aiton to score.
Paul Sykes added the goal, and the Wildcats went further ahead when Smith and Richie Mathers sent Reece Lyne over.
Wakefield had last season's confidence back and they showed all of it in the way Danny Kirmond kicked through for Peter Fox to touch down.
The first sign of relief for Rovers came courtesy of a battling solo try from Cory Paterson. A storming run by Andy Raleigh then exposed more cracks in the Wakefield defence and Craig Hall's try made it a mere eight-point margin.
Wakefield Trinity Mathers; Fox, Collis, Lyne, Cockayne; Sykes, Smith; Poore, Aiton, Raleigh, Lauitiiti, Kirmond, Washbrook. Substitutes used Wood, Amor, Mariano, Wilkes.
Hull Kingston Rovers Hall; Caro, Salter, Horne, D.Hodgson; Withers, Dobson; Paea, J. Hodgson, Walker, Mika, Paterson, Griffin. Substitutes used Tuimavave, Cox, Carlile, Ferguson.
Referee S Ganson (St Helens).
* Widnes will be boosted by Gareth Hock as they seek to make history by pulling off a first-ever Super League victory over St Helens at the Halton Stadium today. Saints have won the last 15 matches between the two, going back to Widnes's 20-17 triumph in the old Stones Bitter Championship in April 1994, but they lost at home to Huddersfield for the first time in the Super League era on the opening weekend.