We are less than 72 hours removed from WWE’s live special from Saudi Arabia. How did our predictions hold up? Was the show a barn-burner or a snore-fest? Let’s dive into the results of WWE’s: The Greatest Royal Rumble.
1) The Audience and Production Value
While we all pretty much considered The Greatest Royal Rumble to be a nothing show from its onset, the WWE and Saudi Arabia did everything in their power to prove us different. The production was received very well on TV (or iPhones considering you were probably watching this at work), with the stage, lighting, and pyro making the show feel like a high quality Pay-Per-View.
The audience was, surprisingly, a mixed bag. At moments they seemed as hot as molten lava, while at other times they seemed more dead than a newly bought goldfish at the carnival. It should be noted that multiple sources are stating that everyone who sat on the floor seats were there via invite only, meaning that most of the “fans” closest to the ring were made up of people who didn’t care much for wrestling.
2) John Cena def. Triple H
There is little to no surprise with this finish, and its placement on the card shouldn’t be either. While it may seem awkward to see John Cena and Triple H being involved in the first match on any card, this was just the match to get the crowd excited for the rest of the night. The two would go on to have a solid performance, with the bout containing all the formulaic spots of a house show match: Tests of strength, pandering to the crowd, mocking one another’s finishing moves, and a high impact finish with Cena putting Triple H away with an AA.
Cena would then go to thank the crowd for giving them the honor to perform in front of them.
3) Cedric Alexander def. Kalisto for the Cruiserweight Championship
There are really no complaints for this match. Overall, this match was fun and fast paced, while also producing plenty of high flying spots. Both Alexander and Kalisto were able to show off their skills, and each man got their time to shine. The match ended with a stiff Lumbar-Check to Kalisto, capping off a well done Face vs Face match.
4) The Tag Matches: Bludgeon Brothers retain and Hardy/Wyatt win gold.
We’re clumping the tag matches together for the simple reason that they weren’t anything special. Sad considering that one of the matches was set to determine new champs, regardless of the outcome.
The SmackDown Live Tag Team Title match provided to be a glorified squash match for the Bludgeon Brothers. With only rare signs of offensive coming from the Usos, Harper and Rowan stomped all over the Uso Penitentiary. This result is completely out of place with the current storyline, which saw the Uso’s take a leg up in their feud with the Bludgeon Brothers after a distraction from the Queen of Glow herself on an episode of SmackDown Live. However, with Naomi (along with the entire Women’s Division on both brands) being held off the card in any capacity, the boys were on their own and were slaughtered like sheep on Rowan’s mask.
The Raw Tag Title match did not have much better of a showing, coming off as a basic house show match. The Woken Warrior’s antics were not well received from the Saudi crowd either. However, with the Eater of Worlds and the Woken Universe’s leader being crowned Raw Tag Team Champs, one could look forward to plenty of fun going forward for the Raw Tag Division.
5) Jeff Hardy def. Jinder Mahal for the U.S. Championship
There isn’t much to say about the match itself. This clash was clearly off and was a downgrade from their match on Raw. The match seemed to drag at times, and is most remembered for an extremely botched Whisper-In-The-Wind on Jinder. The match ended after Hardy hit a Swanton Bomb to pick up the win.
With this match in the books, Jinder and Hardy will move on to their respective brands.
6) Seth Rollins retains the Intercontinental Championship
Despite the crowd not being as excited and vocal as they could have been, the match itself was extremely entertaining. The use of the ladder was left at a minimum, but a sense of urgency from everyone kept up the pace, and set the vibe that anyone could win.
Besides a big spot from Samoa Joe hitting a tower-of-doom on Balor and Rollins, the highlight of the match came when Seth Rollins spring-boarded himself on to a ladder to steal the title from the grasp of Finn Balor.
7) WWE Title match ends in Double Countout.
In a match that could arguably be called better than their one from WrestleMania, AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura had a solid back and forth bout.
With more defined Face and Heel roles, the two worked a very different style than their one in New Orleans. While Nakamura did manage to hit Styles with a low blow, the dirty tactic only succeeded in pushing the Phenomenal One over the edge. Styles and Nakamura battled to the outside, with Styles hitting a Phenomenal Forearm on the King of Strong Style, causing a double countout.
Unlike other matches on this show, this match seems to not only respect the storyline, but actually advances it.
8) The Undertaker def. Rusev (with Aiden English) in a Casket Match
With all the “burial” jokes aside, it was not much of question that Rusev would be taking the loss in this one. However, this was by no means a squash match.
The ‘Bulgarian Brute’ went back and forth with the Deadman, with plenty of assistance from the former Vaudevillian, Aiden English, at ringside. Rusev had plenty of offense, even putting Taker in a Accolade. However it was Undertaker would eventually close the casket on both Rusev AND English after a scary looking tombstone.
Time wise, the match went way longer than Cena and Takers bout only weeks ago.
9) Brock Lesnar Def. Roman Regins via Escape….Kinda
Besides the Royal Rumble match later in the card, this match was believed to be the most important match for WWE on Friday. Virtually everyone seemed to agree that this was the moment that WWE would take to finally coronate Roman as the baddest man in the WWE. However, this would not be the case.
With a Steel Cage surrounding them, Lesnar and Regins had quality slobberknocker, with Roman and Brock beating the heck out of one another. Like their match at Mania, the duo traded finishers and signatures like hotcakes; with an uncountable number of superman punches, suplexs, spears, and F5s. The finish came with a monster spear from Roman that took him, and the Mayor of Suplex City through one of the cage walls. As both man rolled onto the floor, the bell rang, declaring that Lesnar’s feet had touched the floor first, thus he retained the title.
The controversial finish caused a stir, starting with the fact that it was clear as day that Regin’s feet actually hit the ground first. However the criticisms and questions that go beyond that. With Regins not winning the title, this leaves the Universal Championship, Brock Lesnar, and Roman Regins in a weird place. With Roman facing Samoa Joe at Backlash, what will WWE be doing with the Universal Title?
Along with this, there are serious questions as to what WWE’s plans are going forward when it comes to Regins and Lesnar. It’s unclear as to why WWE is getting cold feet when it comes to pulling the trigger on Regins going over Lesnar.
Is WWE setting up an even bigger climax than we can even imagine? It begs the question as to what more can creative squeeze out of Regins and Lesnar, and is there even a possibility that WWE will get the reaction they want.
10) Braun Strowman wins The Greatest Royal Rumble
Here is the list of history-making statistics after Friday’s event:
1) Longest Rumble ever
2) Most Entrants ever
3) Longest Time in the Match: Daniel Bryan (76 Minutes)
4) Most Eliminatons Ever: Braun Strowman (13)
Needless to say, this Rumble was without question historic and a lot of fun. While the bulk of the people involved were jobbers, low midcarders, and some developmental talents most have never heard of, there were still a few of memorable surprises, and entertaining spots/returns. Included are Hornswoggle’s cameo, Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio, New Day antics, Bryan’s endurance from the number 1 spot and chest getting chopped like crazy, Shane taking a massive bump through a table on the outside, and others.
The finish came when it came down to the final three: Bryan, Strowman, and Big Cass. Cass eliminated Bryan after Bryan narrowly eliminated Strowman by himself. As Cass flexed and taunted Bryan, Strowman stood tall and tossed out Cass for the win only minutes later.
Vince McMahon and the Saudi diplomats then joined Strowman in the ring, as he received the giant: Greatest Royal Rumble trophy, and a green title belt. Both of which do absolutely nothing for Strowman in the long run.
So how do YOU feel about the Greatest Royal Rumble? Let us know what you thought in the comments. Please like, share, and follow The Game Changer Sports Network online and on social media, and let us know what you would like us to cover next!
Photo Credits: wwe.com