Wrestling Review: WWE Greatest Royal Rumble (2018)

For the first time ever the WWE comes live from the King Abullah Sports City Stadium in Jeddah, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as it presents the Greatest Royal Rumble in history. Fifty men will compete in the over the top rope elimination battle royale, with the winner earning not only a magnificent trophy, but also the bragging rights of winning the biggest Royal Rumble match in the history of the WWE. Brock Lesnar will also defend his Universal Championship in a rematch against his opponent from Wrestlemania, Roman Reigns, but this time it will take place inside of a steel cage. The WWE Championship is on the line also in a Wrestlemania rematch, when AJ Styles defends against friend-turned-bitter-enemy Shinsuke Nakamura. Both the Raw and Smackdown Tag Team Championships will be on the line, as Smackdown champions The Bludgeon Brothers (Luke Harper and Erick Rowan) defend against the Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso), whilst The Bar (Sheamus and Cesaro) do battle with the Deleters of Worlds (Bray Wyatt and Woken Matt Hardy). A ladder match for the Intercontinentaly Championship, a grudge match for the United States Championship and the culmination of a tournament for the Cruiserweight Championship are also on the card for the Greatest Royal Rumble match in history.

+ 50-Man Greatest Royal Rumble Match: with a solid few workhorses playing MVP (Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler Elias and Strowman to name a few), this was a pretty good Rumble. The nature of the match meant that there was a fairly large number of ‘dead weight’ towards the beginning, but this was something the WWE obviously did on purpose, because when it was all said and done there were a few large notable omissions and missed opportunities. Nonetheless, this was billed as the GREATEST Rumble, and while I cant say it was the greatest, it was still pretty damn good
+ AJ Styles (c) vs Shinsuke Nakamura (WWE Championship): this was so much better than the Wrestlemania match, helped tremendously by a much more clear story going in – Nakamura being such a fantatic jerk is another huge plus – up until the frustrating ending at least. These two benefited from a crowd that was looking to enjoy the match, and it made for a significantly better match than their first
+ a middle of the show segment, highlighting some Saudi recruits to the WWE Performance Center devolved into some standard patriotic stuff, but the crowd reaction really pushed it into something fun
+ Seth Rollins (c) vs The Miz vs Samoa Joe vs Finn Bálor (Ladder Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship): the first of the big gimmick matches, this was easily the best match thus far. All four guys more than help their own, and an innovative and unique ending added to the surprise
+ Cedric Alexander (c) vs Kalisto (WWE Cruiserweight Championship): I guess the cruiserweights had to go half way across the world to get onto the main card. There was some great high-flying from both guys, including on incredibly stiff dropkick to the face, and this ended up being one of the better cruiserweight matches in the WWE in recent memory
+ John Cena vs Triple H: this was the opening contest, and while it started very slow, it soon picked up to be almost on par with their Wresltemania match from several years back. The crowd was molten hot for everything these two did, and by the end, this was a really solid match, if nothing particularly spectacular

Brock Lesnar (c) vs Roman Reigns (Steel Cage Match for the Universal Championship): even in Saudi Arabia the crowd was about 70-30 in favour of Lesnar. This was another match of the same boring suplex and superman punch spam from each man before a botched ending ruined it. This was just… these two need to not face each other ever again
The Undertaker vs Rusev (w/ Aiden English) (Casket Match): as a spectacle this was fun, and ‘Taker even busted out a few of his old moves. Rusev was significantly more agile of the two, but this was only ever going to go one way, and if that is what you want then it was fine. If, like me, you don’t enjoy these sort of things, then it was a waste of at least one guy
The Bludgeon Brothers (Harper & Rowan) (c) vs The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) (WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championships): this was another uninteresting tag team contest, which the crowd remained entirely silent for. There is not much else to say
Jeff Hardy (c) vs Jinder Mahal (w/ Sunil Singh) (WWE United States Championship): this was an awkward match, simply because neither guy is good enough to carry the other. One super obvious botch made the whole thing looks like a huge joke, and thankfully this was over relatively quickly
The Deleters of Worlds (Woken Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt) vs The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) (WWE Raw Tag Team Championships): no matter what you think of the match, the fireflies of Wyatt’s entrance were breathtaking. The crowd seemed to lose steam for this third mach of the show, with only half-hearted ‘delete’s. This match did make me realise we never got a real Wyatt/Cesaro match, but it wasn’t a good match

> This event took place from 1am (pre-show) / 2am (main card) to well past 7am, here in Australia. I don’t know whether to be proud of myself for pulling an all-nighter, or ashamed that this is what my life has come to

Should you watch this event: At over 5 hours long, with a near even split of good and bad matches, this was an event that you really only need to watch one match from. Watch the Rumble itself, and maybe Styles/Nakamura if you want to see a better match than their ‘Mania contest, but avoid Lesnar/Reigns, the US Title match and both tag team matches at all costs.


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