|Date: April 27, 2018
|Venue: King Abdullah International Stadium |City: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
|Brands: Raw & Smackdown
|tweet me: @BastionBlogger
The show begins with the Saudi Arabia National Anthem. Which is followed by the American National Anthem.
A video package plays hyping up this big event. 7 big title matches, John Cena vs. Triple H and the biggest ever Royal Rumble match are on the menu.
Triple H vs. John Cena
Background: There’s no background to this one, just a big match announced between two legends with a lot of history.
Previous PPV matches: This is only actually the third PPV match between these two men, John Cena won one at Wrestlemania and Triple H won the second at Night Of Champions 2008.
Match: It’s a slow start to this one with both men trying to out-power the other. It’s weird to see some people in the crowd with their back to camera. Triple H has the advantage in the early going, out-powering John Cena. Cena counters a pedigree but Triple H then counters an attitude adjustment and five knuckle shuffle. The battle goes to the outside where Cena launches Triple H into the barricade and ringpost. Triple H counters a top rope fame-asser with a powerbomb. Cena locks on an STF but Triple H gets out of it, Cena hits an attitude adjustment but Triple H kicks out! Cena looks for another AA but Triple H counters and hits a pedigree for a near fall. Triple H looks for a second pedigree but Cena counters and locks on an STF. Triple H counters the STF and applies a crossface but Cena stands up and hits another attitude adjustment, a slingshot and then another attitude adjustment for the three!
Result: John Cena wins by pinfall.
Review: This match was ok. It was a classic Cena/Triple H match but there were no risks, it was very safe and quite slow. It’s hard to tell whether the crowd are into it or not because they’re so quiet. Cena wins though and I’m not sure it’ll mean anything in the long run but it’s a win nonetheless.
Cena gets on the mic after the match and says that it’s an honour and privilege to be in Saudi Arabia.
Next up is the terrible ad for the two brands doing joint PPV’s going forward. It’s not a terrible song but the superstars rapping over the top is terrible.
Cedric Alexander (c) vs. Kalisto – WWE Cruiserweight Championship match
Background: On the WrestleMania 34 pre-show, Cedric Alexander defeated Mustafa Ali in the WWE Cruiserweight Championship tournament final to win the vacant title. Two nights later on 205 Live, Buddy Murphy attacked the new champion during his celebration. Murphy was then scheduled to face Alexander for the title at the Greatest Royal Rumble, but he failed his mandatory weigh-in when he weighed 207 pounds, 2 pounds over the 205 pound weight limit. He was then removed from the match and banned from competing on 205 Live until he met the weight requirement. The following week, Kalisto earned a Cruiserweight Championship match at the Greatest Royal Rumble by winning a gauntlet match.
Previous PPV matches: This is a first time PPV match between these two men.
Match: Plenty of technical wrestling between these two high-flyers in the early going. The pace then picks up and hurricanranas and flips. Kalisto is super-slick in the ring. He hits an awesome 360 springboard senton to the outside on Alexander. Alexander then has his turn at diving to the outside on Kalisto. The pace slows back down again and there’s more mat wrestling which shows these guys have plenty of strings to their bow. Kalisto picks up the pace again, flying around the ring and hitting a big cross body and a spinning DDT. Alexander hits a Michinoku Driver for a near fall. Kalisto looks for a top rope hurricanrana but Cedric puts the brakes on just for Kalisto to hit a seated springboard Spanish fly for a near fall. Kalisto counters a lumbar check attempt and attempts the salida del sol but Alexanders counters it into a lumbar check for the three!
Result: Cedric Alexander retains his Cruiserweight Championship by pinfall.
Review: This was a good match. Two talented wrestlers showing they can mix high flying with technical wrestling. The pace was good throughout and slowing down the pace makes the fast-paced wrestling even more exciting. Cedric Alexander wins his first title defence as he should.
Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt vs. The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) – Tag team match for the vacant Raw Tag Team Championships
Background: Following Wrestlemania, Braun Strowman and his child partner Nicholas had to vacate the Raw Tag Team Championships because Nicholas had to go to school. It was then announced that a tag team eliminator would decide a team to face the former champions The Bar for the titles at Greatest Royal Rumble. The brand new team of Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt would win the eliminator defeating The Revival in the final.
Previous PPV matches: This is a first time match between these two teams.
Match: Cesaro and Matt Hardy kick off the match. They taunt it out before tagging out. Some nice double teaming from Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt. They clear the ring and then give themselves a round of applause. A cheap shot from Cesaro gives The Bar the advantage. Sheamus and Cesaro make quick tags to keep Matt Hardy away from his tag team partner. I’ll be surprised if The Bar win this match as they have since been drafted to Smackdown. Hardy finally makes the tag to Bray Wyatt who picks up the pace, taking out Cesaro with a big cross body. Hardy hits a twist of fate on Cesaro but Sheamus then clears the ring of Hardy. Sheamus motions for a brogue kick on Bray Wyatt but Wyatt spider walks. Matt Hardy then distracts Sheamus which allows Wyatt to hit Sister Abigail before tagging out to Matt Hardy. Wyatt and Hardy hit a double team version of an elevated twist of fate which gets them the win!
Result: Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt win the Raw Tag Team Championships by pinfall.
Review: This match was ok. I don’t know if the lack of crowd noise in making some of these matches seem worse than they are. It was a pretty basic tag team match though and it results in the bizarre team of Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt winning the Raw Tag Team titles.
We’re shown some footage of Jeff Hardy beating Jinder Mahal for the United States Championship on Raw 2 weeks ago.
Jeff Hardy (c) vs. Jinder Mahal – United States Championship match
Background: Jinder Mahal won the United States Championship at Wrestlemania but a week later he would get drafted to Raw and then get beaten by Jeff Hardy who took the title back to Smackdown.
Previous PPV matches: This is a first time PPV match between these two men.
Match: Jeff Hardy takes the fight to the outside from the outset and dives off the barrier. Sunil Singh then gets involved which distracts Hardy and allows Jinder Mahal to take the advantage. Jinder then dominates for much of the match until Hardy counters a gutbuster. Jeff gets distracted by Sunil Singh again which allows Mahal to roll Jeff up for a near fall. Jeff then hits a twist of fate and a swanton bomb which is enough for the victory.
Result: Jeff Hardy retains the United States Championship by pinfall.
Review: Yeah this match was pretty terrible. It just felt like both men put in half the effort they usually would. Jinder is a little out of his depth here too. Hardy wins, as you’d expect, and goes back to Smackdown as United States Champion.
There’s an ad for make-a-wish.
Byron Saxton has now gone off to the kick-off panel made up of Jerry Lawler, Jim Ross and Booker T. They go over what we’ve seen so far. There’s a VT about Jeddah and then back to the panel who have some awkward chat.
Mike Rome is backstage with Chris Jericho. Jericho says it’s great to be here and lists off some of the competitors. He seems very excited about Mojo Rawley being in the match. Jericho then puts Mike Rome and everybody else in sight on the list.
Back to the panel and then back to Mike Rome who is with Daniel Bryan. Bryan says that being back in the WWE and this match is a privilege and he intends on winning.
The Bludgeon Brothers (Harper & Rowan) (c) vs. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) – Smackdown Tag Team Championship match
Background: The Bludgeon Brothers beat The Usos in a triple threat tag team match at Wrestlemania for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships. The Usos would then beat The New Day to become number one contenders to the titles.
Previous PPV matches: These two teams have met in two straight up tag team matches on PPV before and The Usos won both.
Match: The Bludgeon Brothers start the match better, making quick tags and using their power to keep the advantage over Jey Uso. Jey manages to avoid offence from both Harper and Rowan and then tags in Jimmy. Feels a bit early for a hot tag but Jimmy picks up the pace and dives out at both opponents. Jimmy hits a running arse splat in the corner on Harper and then tags in Jey. The Usos double team Harper and then dispose of Rowan. Jey hits a splash on Harper for a near fall. The Usos look for splashes but Rowan disposes of one Uso and Harper crotches the other. Harper tags in Rowan and slaps him in the face before Irish whipping him into Jimmy. The two men then hit a double team full nelson slam which is enough for the win.
Result: The Bludgeon Brothers win by pinfall.
Review: This match felt really rushed. It felt short, like it didn’t even get time to get going. These two teams have put on some great matches given more time but this wasn’t a good one. The Bludgeon Brothers retain as you’d expect.
There’s a VT next hyping up the ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship.
Seth Rollins (c) vs. Finn Balor vs. The Miz vs. Samoa Joe – ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship
Background: This match was announced early on without any major build. Seth Rollins won the Intercontinental Championship from The Miz at Wrestlemania in a triple threat match also involving Finn Balor. Miz and Balor get another shot tonight and Samoa Joe is added to the mix.
Previous PPV matches: This is a first time fatal four way match involving these men.
Match: It’s a frantic start to the match with all four men going at it and getting some offence in. Rollins hits a big suicide dive on Balor and then Miz before introducing the first ladder into the match. Rollins and Miz form an alliance to take out Joe with the ladder before Balor dives out at both men. The Miz is the first man to climb the ladder but Rollins makes sure that he doesn’t make it to the top. Rollins and Balor climb the ladder but Miz and Samoa Joe push them off. Miz then wants an alliance with Joe but Joe headbutts that deal away. There’s a tower of doom with Joe powerbombing Seth Rollins off the top who in turn superplexes Balor into the mat. Miz then hits the skull-crushing finale on Samoa Joe onto a ladder! Miz and Balor go at it on top of the ladder until both men drop down and Miz hits Finn with a neckbreaker. Miz cleans house with the ladder but Balor knocks him down onto the ladder and then hits the coup de gras! Finn Balor climbs the ladder but Seth Rollins bounces out of nowhere onto the ladder and grabs the title before Finn can get it!
Result: Seth Rollins wins to retain the Intercontinental Championship.
Review: This was a good match. Plenty of good spots and they put on a fun match. Samoa Joe was the star of the match for me and actually Rollins was fairly quiet in it. Seth retains in his first defence of the belt he won at Wrestlemania.
There’s a VT next showing some of the international try-outs in Saudi Arabia.
Mike Rome is in the ring with four successes from the try-outs. Nassar, Hussein, Monsoor and Fisal. They are then interrupted by Ariya Daivari and Sean Daivari. They talk some smack to the trainees and big up Iran which gets a lot of heat. The trainees then take out the Daivari brothers!
There’s a video package next for AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura.
AJ Styles (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura – WWE Championship match
Background: After AJ Styles beat Shinsuke Nakamura at Wrestlemania, Shinsuke shocked the world when he hit AJ with a low blow. Since then Nakamura has attacked AJ Styles which has led to a rematch between the two men.
Previous PPV matches: This is a second PPV match between these two men, AJ won the first at Wrestlemania.
Match: Shinsuke has more of a swagger since his heel turn and also vocals on his entrance music. The match starts slowly with AJ looking to out-wrestle Nakamura whilst the challenger tries mind games. Nakamura takes the advantage with a big kick to the back of the leg. AJ hits a nice neckbreaker for a near fall. The crowd chant “ole” and Mexican wave. Shinsuke motions for Kinshasa but AJ counters with a roll-up and then locks on the calf crusher. Shinsuke gets out of it and hits a kick to the side of the face. Nakamura counters the phenomenal forearm to keep control of the match. Shinsuke then looks for a superplex but Styles counters. Nakamura locks on an armbar but has to break it when Styles rolls him up. Shinsuke ducks a phenomenal forearm and AJ nearly hits the referee. With that distraction Nakamura hits a big low blow on Styles and then rolls him up but AJ grabs on to the bottom rope. Shinsuke looks for a Kinshasa but Styles hits him with a forearm. Nakamura rolls to the outside and AJ goes after him and spears him over the announce desk. AJ then throws his challenger into the barricade and the referee counts them both out!
Result: Double count-out.
Review: This match was decent enough. The double count-out makes sense as their rivalry will continue into Backlash. Maybe with a gimmick. I do like Styles as WWE Champion but wouldn’t be too surprised to see Nakamura beat him for it down the line. A decent match tonight.
There’s a video package next for The Undertaker.
The Undertaker vs. Rusev – casket match
Background: This was another marquee match that was announced without any real build. If the Prince Of Saudi Arabia wants The Undertaker in a casket match that Undertaker in a casket match he shall get.
Previous PPV matches: This is a first time PPV match between these two men.
Match: Aiden English is present to sing Rusev to the ring. Rusev is freaked out by the casket which tends to be the case for Undertakers opponents in these matches. Rusev gets a few shots in on The Undertaker in the early going but from there it’s all Undertaker. He hits old school and then throws Rusev on top of the casket which freaks him out. Undertaker manages to roll Rusev into the casket but aiden English stops him from closing it. That allows Rusev to roll back out. Rusev manages to take control and locks on the accolade before calling for the casket to be opened by Undertaker sits up and sets up for a chokeslam but Rusev counters. Undertaker hits the chokeslam on the second time of asking and then rolls Rusev into the casket. Aiden English gets involved against so Undertaker chokeslams and tombstones him before dumping English in the casket with Rusev and shutting the lid.
Result: The Undertaker wins.
Review: This match was ok. It wasn’t a classic but I didn’t hate it. The crowd seem so flat, either that or the audio just isn’t picking them up. The Undertaker wins though which you’d expect.
There’s a video package next for Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns.
Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Roman Reigns – Cage match for the Universal Championship
Background: Brock Lesnar beat Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania to retain the Universal Championship. Reigns gets another shot at the title tonight but this time it’s inside of a steel cage.
Previous PPV matches: Technically this is only their second singles match against each other and Brock won the first.
Match: Roman looks for a superman punch out of the box but Lesnar ducks and hits him with four German suplexes. Brock then hits the F5 and looks for second but Reigns counters and hits three superman punches. Reigns climbs over the cage but Lesnar pulls him back in. Reigns hits three spears and pins Lesnar who kicks out at 2. Reigns looks to walk out of the cage door but Paul Heyman smashes the door into Reigns face. Heyman then hands Brock a chair but Roman spears him and pins Lesnar for a two count. Reigns lays into Brock with the chair and then hits a superman punch and a spear which sends Brock through the wall of the cage! Both men tumble to the outside but Brock Lesnar is named as the winner!
Result: Brock Lesnar retains the Universal Championship after getting speared through the cage wall.
Review: This match was decent. I always like a Brock match. This one was all about the big trademark moves. Plenty of false finishes as we have come accustomed to with these two. Brock Lesnar retains and I doubt this will be the last match we see between these two men. Roman Reigns goes on to Backlash to face Samoa Joe.
There’s an ad for some of the matches at Backlash, namely Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe, AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura, Seth Rollins vs. The Miz, Nia Jax vs. Alexa Bliss, Carmella vs. Charlotte and Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass.
There’s an ad for the WWE Network.
The Greatest Royal Rumble match
Background: The Saudi Prince wanted the biggest ever Royal Rumble match and he got his wish. A 50 man Royal Rumble match where the winner receives a trophy and a green title belt.
Match: Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler are the two men to start the match. They certainly have the stamina if they’re to go the whole way. I fully expect Dolph Ziggler to fly over the top a hundred times without being eliminated. #3 is the cursed entry number and Sin Cara is the man you can guarantee to be first eliminated. I don’t want to be mean but Sin Cara looks a little more out of shape than he has been in the past. Dolph ziggler eliminated Sin Cara, as predicted the first man eliminated. It’s nice to see returns to PPV for the likes of Curtis Axel, Mark Henry and Mike Kanellis. Mike Kanellis lasts about a second. Hiroki Sumi is #7 and is a sumo wrestler. Quite the surprise but I’d never heard of him. Kofi is in at #9 and he’s probably the first person since the first two that you can see lasting a while. Tony Nese from 205 Live makes his PPV debut at #10.
Some of the gaps between entrances are less than 75 seconds. Hornswoggle makes a big return to the ring at #12 and helps eliminate Dash Wilder. We get a Kofi Rumble moment with Kingston on Xavier Woods back as they teeter on the apron. Tony Nese then dances with The New Day which leads to Xavier and Kofi eliminating Nese. Kurt Angle at #16 get a huge pop. Kurt clears the ring of Bo Dallas, Primo and Dolph Ziggler as soon as he comes in. Goldust gets a good reaction too, they must be attitude era fans here. Elias gives a bit of a performance but then gets in the ring and eliminates Konnor, Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston at the same time! It’s very much a dream match to see Kurt Angle and Daniel Bryan go at it. Elias then eliminates Kurt Angle! This match marks a PPV debut for 205 Live’s Drew Gulak and NXT’s Tucker Knight. Rey Mysterio gets a good reaction, he was in the Royal Rumble match back in January but not seen since. Tyler Breeze doesn’t last long.
Roderick Strong is a surprise entry at 34, it’s a main roster PPV debut for him. Randy Orton enters at #35, hits Apollo with an RKO and then eliminates Karl Anderson, Mojo Rawley and Apollo Crews. #37 is Babatunde from NXT who wrestles on WWE PPV for the first time and he is a big unit. Titus O’Neil enters at 39 runs down to the ring, trips and slides under the apron. The commentators are in hysterics. Dan Matha is #40, he’s from NXT making his PPV debut. There’s a big showdown between Braun Strowman and Babatune but Braun eliminates him straight away. Braun then pretty much clears out the ring. At least half the field anyway. At one point we’re down to braun Strowman, Elias and Daniel Bryan. This show marks Bobby Lashley’s return to WWE PPV after a decade away. Speaking of returns to the ring, #45 is The Great Khali. There’s a nice moment with Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon going face to face before turning to Kevin Owens.
Big Cass is #49 returning to PPV following his injury. Everyone takes it in turns to take shots at Strowman, including Shane McMahon who hits coast to coast. Big Cass looks lost in there at times. Chris Jericho is the man that has drawn the highest ever Royal Rumble number. Bobby Lashley hits a brainbuster on Big Cass but he looked like he dropped him. Lashley didn’t look happy with Cass but does check on him. Shane looks for coast to coast on Kevin Owens but instead Braun Strowman grabs Shane and throws him through a table. The final three are Braun Strowman, Daniel Bryan and Big Cass. Big Cass eliminates Daniel Bryan and then tells him to go and throw out his trash. So the final two men are Braun Strowman and Big Cass, two big men which you don’t see very often and haven’t seen since the likes of Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker back in 2003. Strowman crotches Big Cass then then barges him over the top to win the match.
Result: (Elimination # – Eliminated By)
Braun Strowman wins, last eliminating Big Cass.
- Daniel Bryan (48 – Big Cass)
- Dolph Ziggler (12 – Kurt Angle)
- Sin Cara (1 – Dolph Ziggler)
- Curtis Axel (2 – Mark Henry)
- Mark Henry (5 – Dolph Ziggler & Daniel Bryan)
- Mike Kanellis (3 – Mark Henry)
- Hiroki Sumi (4 – Mark Henry)
- Viktor (6 – Daniel Bryan)
- Kofi Kingston (15 – Elias)
- Tony Nese (9 – Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods)
- Dash Wilder (7 – Hornswoggle, Daniel Bryan & Tony Nese)
- Hornswoggle (8 – Tony Nese)
- Primo (11 – Kurt Angle)
- Xavier Woods (14 – Elias)
- Bo Dallas (10 – Kurt Angle)
- Kurt Angle (16 – Elias)
- Scott Dawson (19 – Bobby Roode)
- Goldust (18 – Bobby Roode)
- Konnor (13 – Elias)
- Elias (41 – Bobby Lashley)
- Luke Gallows (20 – Rey Mysterio)
- Rhyno (25 – Roderick Strong)
- Drew Gulak (17 – Tucker Knight)
- Tucker Knight (23 – Big E)
- Bobby Roode (29 – Baron Corbin)
- Fandango (21 – Mojo Rawley)
- Chad Gable (24 – Apollo Crews)
- Rey Mysterio (37 – Baron Corbin)
- Mojo Rawley (27 – Randy Orton)
- Tyler Breeze (22 – Tyler Breeze)
- Big E (33 – Braun Strowman)
- Karl Anderson (26 – Randy Orton)
- Apollo Crews (28 – Randy Orton)
- Roderick Strong (30 – Baron Corbin)
- Randy Orton (39 – Elias)
- Heath Slater (34 Braun Strowman)
- Babatunde (31 – Braun Strowman)
- Baron Corbin (38 – Randy Orton)
- Titus O’Neil (35 – Braun Strowman)
- Dan Matha (32 Braun Strowman)
- Braun Strowman
- Tye Dillinger (36 – Braun Strowman)
- Curt Hawkins (40 – Braun Strowman)
- Bobby Lashley (45 – Braun Strowman)
- The Great Khali (42 – Braun Strowman & Bobby Lashley)
- Kevin Owens (47 Braun Strowman)
- Shane McMahon (44 – Braun Strowman)
- Shelton Benjamin (43 – Chris Jericho)
- Big Cass (49 – Braun Strowman)
- Chris Jericho (46 Braun Strowman)
Review: I actually enjoyed this match. I could watch a 100 man Royal Rumble match. I enjoyed the surprises like Tony Nese and Roderick Strong, I enjoyed Titus O’Neil sliding under the ring, there were a couple of other good spots but overall I enjoyed it because I love the Royal Rumble format. Braun Strowman wins the match which is a solid winner.
And that was The Greatest Ever Royal Rumble event. You know what, I actually enjoyed that show despite it being a glorified house show. It felt like a pay per view that didn’t take itself too seriously and was all about the entertainment. The first few matches weren’t great, except the Cedric Alexander vs. Kalisto match, that was good. We haven’t seen much of the cruiserweight division on PPV this year but they put on some fantastic matches and this one was no different. The Triple H/John Cena match was a bit of a throwback. Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt won the vacant Raw Tag Team Championships which is an interesting booking move. Jeff Hardy and The Bludgeon Brothers all retained their titles, as did Seth Rollins in a fun ladder match. AJ Styles beat Shinsuke Nakamura in a match that was better than their Wrestlemania contest. The double countout means that the feud will continue there. The Undertaker won what was essentially an exhibition match and then Brock Lesnar retained the Universal Championship against Roman Reigns in a Wrestlemania rematch. In the main event Braun Strowman won the biggest ever Royal Rumble match. I really liked this, I love a Royal Rumble match and this one had plenty of surprises. It also utilised a lot of guys that don’t usually get utilised on PPV. I don’t mind Strowman winning the match, it’s pretty rare a big guy wins and he’s really over at the moment. He wins a big green belt.
Overall Rating: 57/100 (ranked joint 221 out of 359)
Match Of The Night: The 50 man Royal Rumble match
Worst Match Of The Night: Jeff Hardy vs. Jinder Mahal
Surprise Of The Night: The likes of Hornswoggle, Dan Matha, Babatunde, Great Khali, Tucker Knight and Roderick Strong in the Royal Rumble match
Worst Booking Of The Night: N/A
Superstar Of The Night: Braun Strowman
The Greatest Royal Rumble Will Be Remembered For: Braun Strowman winning the biggest Royal Rumble match ever