WWE’s Greatest Royal Rumble had it all, including controversy

The Greatest Royal Rumble present was very similar to the match itself — it began gradual and, although predictable, ended robust.

The WWE Community particular Friday in in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, felt half home present, half WrestleMania. There was loads of pageantry — even plenty of pyro — however a scarcity of substance outdoors of some matches.

The jumbo-sized card didn’t embody the WWE’s ladies, even on the kickoff panel, due to the nation’s legal guidelines. The corporate reportedly made greater than $100 million for the occasion and is claimed to be paying its ladies performers in a giant manner despite the fact that they didn’t seem on the present, which featured the primary 50-man Royal Rumble match.

Whereas not one of the seven titles defended modified fingers, the WWE didn’t depart Saudi Arabia with out controversy.

Roman Reigns must be the Common champion whether or not you want it or not and it doesn’t matter what the referee’s resolution was in his metal cage match in opposition to Brock Lesnar.

Reigns, in a bodily bout that was higher than their subpar conflict at WrestleMania, speared Lesnar by way of the cage onto the ground close to the ramp for the end. By rule, you may win the match by being the primary individual to depart the cage and have each ft hit the ground.

Although Lesnar’s again was first to hit, his ft didn’t hit earlier than Reigns’. Lesnar’s legs have been elevated on the destroyed portion of the cage as Reigns rolled off and touched the ground.

The commentary staff tried to clarify through the replays why the referee dominated Lesnar would retain his title, till they realized they couldn’t. At that time, whether or not you imagine it was deliberate or not, they relented that Reigns might have some controversy on his fingers.

WWE must ultimately construct off this. It is likely to be one of the best path to lastly placing the strap on Reigns.

The second — together with Titus O’Neil purposely tripping his manner underneath the ring whereas coming into the rumble match — was one of many highlights of a robust latter portion of the present.

The rumble itself moved rapidly even with 50 guys. Daniel Bryan – eradicated second to final by new rival Massive Cass — entered first and lasted a document one hour, 16 minutes and 5 seconds. Cass was eradicated by the victorious Braun Strowman, one of many clear favorites coming in. He was awarded a big trophy and a inexperienced belt after a document 13 eliminations.

Followers in Saudi Arabia react as they watch the Greatest Royal Rumble.AP

The match was a mid-card paradise for essentially the most half with sufficient legends and high guys to make it work. Returning Rey Mysterio and Chris Jericho each got their second. Even Hornswoggle made an look.

Shane McMahon pulled off his coast-to-coast and was eradicated when Strowman threw him from the highest rope on the announcer’s desk. Kofi surviving elimination whereas on Xavier Woods’ again was among the many regular Rumble spots that made the match satisfying, regardless of loads of unknown NXT call-ups.

Whereas there was a transparent winner to the Rumble match, the feud between WWE champion AJ Kinds and Shinsuke Nakamura continues to be looking for one after a double rely out.

This match was on an identical stage to their WrestleMania one and additional raised the warmth round their feud by exhibiting us a facet of Kinds we hadn’t seen earlier than.

After taking one other low blow and breaking the pin by grabbing the ropes, one thing snapped inside Kinds. He unleashed a bodily fury on Nakamura. Kinds dove into him and went crashing into the announcer desk, pounded him within the barricade, used a chair and hit one final Phenomenal Forearm. This feud ought to have your consideration in a giant manner now.

The Intercontinental title ladder match between champion Seth Rollins, Samoa Joe, Finn Balor and The Miz was arguably one of the best match on the cardboard, with pretty much as good a end as WWE has scripted shortly. It jump-started the occasion’s robust second half. The match was bodily, made good use of the ladder and created some suspense for who would win. Nonetheless, it can be remembered for its ending.

Balor cleared out Miz and Joe and the title appeared inside attain. Rollins climbed to the highest turnbuckle on the other facet and leaped onto the ladder. He jetted to the highest and raced to tear the championship off the hook earlier than a shocked Balor might even react to Rollins retaining.

It was some sensible storytelling as a result of it added a brand new chapter to the feud between Rollins and Balor. It additionally reestablishes Rollins because the opportunistic champion he thrived as throughout his WWE title run.

Undertaker’s casket match — whereas nonetheless a compilation of greatest-hits strikes — was higher than his conflict at WrestleMania with John Cena and quite a lot of that’s due to Rusev.

Rusev (who bought in additional offense than Cena and didn’t should take a Tombstone) offered extraordinarily properly and proved an excellent foil to The Deadman. Rusev freaking out when being placed on high of the closed casket was sensible. Having the match finish with Taker placing Rusev and Aiden English within the casket was additionally a pleasant contact.

Fortunately, matches like this one saved the Greatest Royal Rumble present from being an awesome massive flop due to what preceded them. Like WrestleMania, a stacked occasion restricted the undercard’s potential.

Different matches

Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt over The Bar to win the Uncooked Tag Group titles

The staff from “Uncooked” beat the staff now on “SmackDown Reside” for the Uncooked tag titles. No surprises right here in a generic match made extra for Uncooked than a particular occasion. Hardy and Wyatt’s push continues and may very well be inventive gold.

The Bludgeon Brothers over The Usos to retain the SmackDown tag titles

The match — like many early within the card — was brief, however this one was efficient sufficient. There a superb steadiness of the Usos’ velocity and Harper and Rowan’s energy. The Bludgeon Brothers regarded dominant whereas profitable.

Jeff Hardy over Jinder Mahal to retain america title

There was loads of silence from the gang throughout this match, which was brief, very uninspired and sloppy at occasions — including an terrible botch by Mahal on Hardy’s Whisper within the Wind transfer from the highest rope. He fell with out being hit. Hardy, even at this age, is best than this match and Mahal continues to principally underdeliver in massive spots.

John Cena and Triple H battle on the Greatest Royal Rumble.AFP/Getty Pictures

John Cena over Triple H

It was a sensible match to open the present as a result of the sight of those legends bought the gang into it. The match was gradual and dated with all of the cliché bells and whistles you’d count on. There was a take a look at of energy, a sleeper maintain, a DX chop and some mocking “You may’t see me” hand gestures earlier than Cena pinned Triple H after a 3rd Angle Adjustment.

Cedric Alexander over Kalisto to retain the Cruiserweight title

The quicker tempo and acrobatics juxtaposed properly with the methodical Triple H-Cena conflict. Alexander going with energy strikes to counteract Kalisto’s creativity was good in idea, however just a few excessive spots resonated with the gang. Alexander gained with a slick counter of the Salida Del Sol with a Lumbar Examine for the win, however bought little crowd response.

Greatest winner: AJ Kinds
Greatest loser: Jinder Mahal
Finest Match: Intercontinental title ladder match
Grade: C+


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