It was meant to be the Greatest Royal Rumble Match ever, with 50 Superstars involved. It was meant to be “a spectacle of historic proportions”, to quote Vince McMahon. The Greatest Royal Rumble is a show we’ll never forget for many different reasons. Mostly for Titus O’Neil’s slide that made the night…
— STEELCHAIR Wrestling Magazine (@SteelChairMag) April 27, 2018
Despite the fact all 7 male title were on the line, none changed hands. Although we’ve seen him wrestling dozens of time before, Triple H and John Cena offered a nice opener for the show. In the Rumble match, Daniel Bryan made a treat to himself and the fans all around the world by proving he never lost the fire. AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura match was slightly better than at WrestleMania, will it be even better at Backlash next week? The controversial ending of the match opened the gates for it.
Two matches literally stole the show. The Cruiserweight title match between Cedric Alexander and Kalisto was everything we could expect from a high-flying, quick-paced, death-defying moves match. The Four-Way Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship was fabulous. All the elements you wanted to see in that kind of contest were there, the climbs, the ladder used as a weapon, the big jumps on or from the ladder. Every man could have won the match as they were all able to entertain us so well.
Also making Braun Strowman win the Rumble match made sense. He’s been a dominant force in the company but has been RAW Tag Team Champion for one day only. He has performed impressive matches, has always been steady and appreciated by the fans. In this Rumble match, he eliminated 13 men and broke the record. At some point, WWE will make this green belt turn red and Universal.
But way too many matches were hard to watch. The United States and SmackDown Live Tag Team titles matches were bad bouts. Jeff Hardy and Jinder Mahal never looked good at all. Despite a decent match, The Undertaker was not in great shape. When Byron Saxton said about the Rumble match “It was excruciating, It was painful”, you understood 50 men involved were too much.
Making Roman Reigns come up short again was another way for WWE to try to make him be accepted as the big guy. But the controversy is: Reigns’ two feet hit the floor before Lesnar’s did. It may be an angle to build up another match, even if we don’t want another match as this storyline must come to an end.
To sum up, the WWE Greatest Royal Rumble event was not bad, but not good too. It was like a WWE Live Event or house show, but on a higher scale. There was some good wrestling, but unfortunately some very bad too. I won’t go to the point of shouting “Delete!” like Matt Hardy, but too many bad matches killed the pleasure of the good ones.
Some SteelChair Mag writers had a few things to say about the show. Let’s find out what they thought of it…
The Greatest Royal Rumble was an unusual experience. All the elements were there, the production was top-notch, it had an epic feel (and run time), but it largely felt flat. The ladder match was exceptional, with a finish that has to be seen and deserves to be replayed. Cedric Alexander and Kalisto did a great job. A lot of the matches, though… just happened.
Neither Styles and Nakamura’s encounter nor Lesnar vs Reigns progressed their story for television, nor did most of the other encounters. It just seemed to prolong things before the next, scheduled PPV. This must be what going to WWE house shows feels like.
All this before we got to the Rumble. Despite some entertaining returns, a star turn from Kevin Owens, an epic showing from Daniel Bryan, an unfortunate moment for Titus O’Neill and an ending that saw two of WWE’s big men collide, Braun Strowman and Big Cass, we were reminded that bigger doesn’t mean better when it comes to shows.
I dared to believe the (mostly self-generated) hype and thought, for a moment, that something of any consequence would happen in-ring. When it turned out to be not much more than a very expensive house show, only I was to blame for the empty sense of disappointment I felt. But, what did you expect really?
In the end it was a mixed bag: a modestly fun show chiefly notable for a couple of amusing botches and an awkward feeling of sycophancy; no more so than when John Cena was forced to toe the company line and make an awkward declaration of love for the House of Al Saud.
Going forward, I imagine the WWE will be able to brush off the controversy surrounding the lack of female talent on the show until the circus rolls into Saudi Arabia again, presumably this time next year. Then expect continued cries of disapproval from fans and more metaphorical shrugging of shoulders from the head office.
What did we learn from event itself? The company rates Braun Strowman highly, is clearly going to give Big Cass a largely unwarranted push and Roman Reigns remains the man. Hardly earth-shattering stuff.
When a company is announcing they will do a PPV in Saudi Arabia, where women do not have equal rights, the same day they’re airing a documentary on Women’s Empowerment, you may ask yourself millions of questions. Same for Sami Zayn who was thrown out of the show because of his Syrian roots, just because Saudi Arabia and Syria relations have long been strained. This PPV was more like a common WWE house show than a major PPV or event.
WWE promoted this Greatest Royal Rumble as something huge. But we had zero title changes (titles rarely change hands out of the USA…), average and predictable matches (excepted for Intercontinental and Cruiserweight titles matches that were fantastic, great effort from Triple H and John Cena too), the void in the centre of the stadium for a supposed sold-out show, the ridiculous end of the Universal Title match. And cherry on the cake, this ugly green belt Braun Strowman will have to wear proudly… Kuddos to Titus O’Neil for his big slide… a 5-second moment that worthed way more than 5 hours of PPV.
Greatest Royal Rumble Full Results
* Singles Match: John Cena defeated Triple H
* WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match: Cedric Alexander (c) defeated Kalisto
* WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Match: Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt defeated The Bar (Cesaro & Sheamus)
* US Championship Match: Jeff Hardy (c) defeated Jinder Mahal (w/ Sunil Singh)
* WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match: The Bludgeon Brothers (c) defeated The Usos
* WWE Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match: Seth Rollins (c) defeated Finn Balor, The Miz and Samoa Joe
* WWE Championship Match: AJ Styles (c) and Shinsuke Nakamura fought to a double countout
* Casket Match: The Undertaker vs. Rusev (w/ Aiden English)
* WWE Universal Championship Steel Cage Match: Brock Lesnar (c) defeated Roman Reigns,
* 50-Man Greatest Royal Rumble: Braun Strowman won the match, the last 4 wrestlers were Kevin Owens (entrant #46), Daniel Bryan (entrant #1), Big Cass (entrant #49) and Strowman (entrant #41).
Daniel Bryan beat out Rey Mysterio for the longest time spent in a single Royal Rumble match of all time at an hour and 16 minutes. Strowman also achieved the most eliminations of a single Royal Rumble match at 13, beating out a record previously held by Roman Reigns with 12.
All pics courtesy of WWE.com