Firstly let’s take a moment to acknowledge all of the work WWE has put in towards gender equality over the past few years and ignore it like they have, for one night hopefully…Because…
The WWE are back with another several hour long extravaganza, we are less than a month removed from the last one, but this time it comes from Saudi Arabia for THE GREATEST ROYAL RUMBLE, well It might ok…
Kick off show – This started at 4PM UK time, therefore I had better stuff to do like make marmite crumpets and get some tea. It is worth noting there are conflicting reports from the presenting team that the Rumble will go up first or Cena V Triple H, who knows…
I will be adopting a simple bullet point system for each match, so here we go!
The show kicks off with pyro! Who paid for that? Not WWE, but the network special has began with a shot of the trophy which 50 Superstars will battle for and then the commentators talk about some culture plan Saudi Arabia has which we will hear more about later (I suppose this is what they will cram down our throats this time as opposed to ‘PAIGE HERE’)
Triple H V John Cena
- The capacity audience received both competitors well, John Cena looks tired… (it is a long flight)
- They spend the opening moments trying the get the less experienced audience going with the typical back and forth strength tests…
- Saying that we’ve had no unnecessary chants so far, apart from ‘CENA SUCKS’ which makes a change…
- Eventually we get into the match which stays in the ring and is the typical ‘exhibition’ type back and forth affair between two ‘faces’ to the crowd.
- The first threatening move comes from Cena with an STF(U)
- An Attitude Adjustment to HHH in which he kicks out at 2.99 seconds, was that the finish?
- ‘Big Match John’ (Cena) goes for another in which the game converts into a pedigree. The referee counts to 2 and a half this time, we’re still going…
- Roll up by HHH which is converted into another STF(U)…
- HHH counters into a crossface in which Cena lifts into another AA. HHH is straight back up for Cena to slingshot him into a corner and then to another AAA, One, two, three!
WINNER: John Cena – who then gets on the mic to extend his thanks for being there…
Verdict: Standard opener to get the audience going, I’m getting standard house show vibes here…
WWE Crusierweight Championship Match
Kalisto V Cedric Alexander (C)
- Lucha! Lucha! Lucha! Having seen Kaisto live in london, I know how impressive he is in the ring and with the crowd…
- Impressive flippy stuff to open the match with from both competitors. Again Lucha! Lucha! Lucha! A great double front flip from Kalisto onto Alexander from the ring to the outside.
- This time Alexander dives impressively out of the ring into his opponent and manages to land on both feet.
- Proceedings go down to the mat with Cedric out powering the Luchador.
- Kalisto powers out and does some more impressive flippy stuff and we get a near fall.
- An impressive michinoku driver from Alexander but Kalisto answers to a two count.
- They go up on the top rope corner with a powerbomb set up which Kalisto turns into another awesome flippy thing (spanish fly). Alexander kicks out.
- Lumbar check by the champion and the referee counts to 3.
Winner: Cedric Alexander retains WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Verdict: Kalisto was better but he didn’t win… I guess that’s the difference.
Raw Tag Team Championship Match – Belts currently vacant
Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy V The Bar
- Lets firstly acknowledge there is no Nicholas in this match #dissapointing
- Secondly the crowd zero reacted to Matt Hardy’s ‘delete’ chant…
- An early back and fourth between the teams, the crowd finally get into the whole ‘delete’ chant.
- Commentary is awful, getting the names of moves wrong, hang you head in shame Byron Saxton.
- Only notable move so far was Sister Abigail to Sheamus, the the eleveated Twist of Fate. They get the win.
Winner: Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy, new tag champs.
Verdict: It was a bit boring and again I’m getting house show feels towards this basic show..
United States Championship Match
Jeff Hardy (c) V Jinder Mahal
- Things get dare-devilish as they go outside early *edit I did run to the toilet so I missed the start..
- The Audience are vocal in their distaste for Jinder as dominates early on with some powerful moves.
- Hardy eventually counters out.
- Whisper in the wind attempt but nobody was home… potential botch there.
- Twist of fate by Hardy as he goes up to the top corner.
- Swanton bomb and he gets the cover.
Winner: Jeff Hardy retains US Title
Verdict: Basic title defence, ticked all the boxes for a typical good guy to win.
And now we see a propaganda type tourism video package, then they get on to the whole awkward women subject….
Then we get an interview with the returning Chris Jericho as he bigs up the rumble match and reintroduces us to the list. The crowd no react… Then we get a Daniel Bryan interview and again the crowd no reacts!
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match
The Uso’s V The Bludgeon Brothers (c)
- Eric Rowan begins off with a violent assault onto one of the USO;s and makes the tag to his partner. They tag in and out quickly.
- This is looking like a squash early on.
- The USO’s eventually get on top and fire up the flat audience. But the Bludgeons capitalize again.
- Double super kick by the USO’s to Harper and then a splash for a near fall as Harper kicks out.
- Again the Bludgeons take control and after a double team move they get the victory!
Winner: The Bludgeon Brothers retain
Verdict: Basic squash match to a flat audience.
Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match
Finn Balor V Seth Rollins (c) V Samoa Joe V The Miz
- Rollins and Joe go into one corner whilst Balor and Miz go the other way as the bell rings.
- Balor’s hand is already bleeding… he heads out and Rollins goes for a suicide dive. They land rather gently into the Saudi announce table. Seth runs back in and dives out the other side, we see the first ladder emerge and Balor runs in and dives out the other side. Good action to begin with here, let’s hope it gets the flat audience going.
- Joe is the first to set up a ladder before Rollins heads in and puts a stop to it. They exchange blows as Rollins is drove face down into the ladder.
- More attempts to climb the ladder come from the Miz, Rollins and Balor.
- Its looking to be a ‘protective’ style ladder match with every risk move well executed and pulled off in a softer style again referring to the house show style of the event.
- Samoa Joe slams Balor onto a ladder. Joe takes out Miz with the ladder next and starts to dominate.
- Balor turns it around and pushes Joe into the ladder, he and the hardware go down. Balor up to the corner with Rollins running up to him for a superplex. Joe moves into the mix and slams them both onto the mat.
- Good action so far, best match of the night currently.
- Skull crushing finale from the Miz to Joe onto a ladder, he’s all alone with the ladder now. The Miz is looking for his 9th IC title. He climbs but Rollins arrives on time! Rights and lefts and the top of the ladder as Rollins falls. This time its Balor’s turn, they swipe for the belt and fight up high.
- They go back down to the mat with the Miz still being dominant.
- The audience come to life with a ‘this is awesome’ chant.
- We see Balor kick the Miz and falls onto the ladder. Balor climbs up high in the corner and hits the coup de gras.
- Balor is on top now as he kicks Joe and goes to climb.
- Rollins out of nowhere springboards onto the ladder and snatches the belt away.
Result : Seth Rollins retains.
Verdict: A good very unpredictable match. Anything could and did happen, even though it still represented the house show nature of the event.
So now we see a group of guys who spent the week doing WWE tryouts. They have an interview in the ring until Daivari and Daivari come out to an abundance of boos. This is the typical good guy bad guy segment to get the audience going. Turns out the heel pair are Iranian, not the best of moves, but we see the potential try out guys take down the bad guys.
WWE Championship Match
AJ Styles (c) V Shinsuke Nakamura
- Lets hope this one is better than Wrestlemania
- The arena falls silent as the two competitors lock up with AJ on top to begin with. They dynamic of the match is slow to begin with, as expected, lets hope it heats up to something more impressive than chops and lock holds.
- The audience begin to get into the match as either competitor could threaten for the win. Nakamura goes for a front slamming suplex as he sets up for Styles to intercept. AJ hits the first big submission of the night in the middle of the ring.
- Nakamura grabs the rope to break the hold. There’s way more action in this version of their match…
- AJ goes for the phenomenal forearm only for Nakamura to evade. AJ almost hits the referee blocking his view for Nakamura to hit a low blow. Near fall as the title almost changes hands.
- AJ intercepts again with a high impressive kick as Nakamura rolls out of the ring.
- They both head out into the Saudi announce table as the referee begins to count. They continue to brawl and it looks like they are about to head into the ring but they dont, then the referee reaches 10!
- The bell rings but the fight continues as AJ grabs a chair and attacks Nakamura.
Winner: Double Count out so AJ retains
Verdict: Unpredictable match with some good action. Obviously a decent way to protect both performers by doing a double count out.
The Underaker V Rusev
- Fun fact: This was originally the plan, then it changed to Chris Jericho V Taker then it changed back, many rumors circulating that Rusev said something untoward about Taker. You should also buy my latest book The Teleporter…
- The bell rings and Rusev immediately bails, eventually Taker catches up and hits a devastating right hand.
- They go back into the ring and proceedings move towards old skool taking down Rusev. We’re getting all the typical Taker spots here as we see the leg drop onto Rusev from the apron.
- Rusev is rolled into the casket but Aiden English interferes enough for Rusev to roll out. Taker receives a kick from the Bulgarian and turns the tables. They exchange blows to the crowd’s enjoyment. This is less of a squash than the Cena match at Mania, Rusev is looking strong for the heel figure here.
- The ‘acolade’ or cobra clutch by Rusev which keeps the Undertaker down. He signals for the casket to open as the Deadman sits up.
- Chokeslam by the Undertaker to Rusev with the casket still open. He throws him in and just as he is about to close it Aiden English runs in and recieves a chokeslam followed by tombstone piledriver. He looks over to the casket and drags English into the casket with Rusev already in. They both fit as Taker slams the lid shut.
Winner: The Undertaker
Verdict: This looked to be a typical squash which indeed protected Rusev although he lost, he didnt take a tombstone. I enjoyed it.
STEEL CAGE MATCH WWE UNIVERSAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Brock Lesnar (c) V Roman Reigns
- The ‘Big Dog’ comes out first to a mixed but mostly positive reaction, that does depend on whether or not WWE production mute the audience.
- Brock Lesnar is looking red already…
- The cage is locked and the bell rings. They collide and its suplex city early on.
- The first F5 comes and the weirdly quiet audience stir. He goes for another for Reigns battles out and hits 3 super man punches. He goes for a spear but is caught in an F5 position, Reigns grips the metal cage and climbs up. They are both on the top rope as Lesnar knocks Roman down. Lesnar climbs up and goes to escape.
- Reigns pulls him down into a power bomb which rattles onto the mat.
- Roman begins to use the cage as a weapon by throwing Brock against it several times before hitting a spear and then another.
- Another spear and he goes for the cover for Brock to kick out at 2.
- Roman calls for the cage door to open and moves towards it, Paul Heyman drives by and slams the cage door into Reigns. Brock is there for an F5 for Roman to kick out at 2. Paul Heyman throws a chair into the ring.
- Brock removes his gloves to go bare knuckle he grabs the chair for Reigns to spear him down. Roman uses the chair on the beast several times and sets up for another super man punch which connects.
- He then hits an impressive spear into the cage and both of them go through it and onto the floor outside.
- We got ourselves a false cop out finish folks. Typical house show shenanigans.
Winner: Brock retains as the referees decide he got out first.
Verdict: A typical cage match with no real risk taking or anything new. This could have easily been a monday night raw main event.
THE GREATEST ROYAL RUMBLE MATCH
Entrance order/ Notable stuff that happened:
- 1. Daniel Bryan ‘yes’ ‘yes’ ‘yes’ ‘yes’ if only the audience joined him in saying that.
- 2. Dolph Ziggler
- 3. Sin Cara – impressive flippy stuff, then eliminated…
- 4. Curtis Axel
- 5. Mark Henry – Hall of Famer oh hell yeah – eliminates Curtis Axel
- 6. Mike Kanellis – Eliminated straight away by Henry #buried
- 7. Hiroki Sumi – famous sumo wrestler faces off with Henry and gets eliminated by Henry, Ziggler and Bryan then eliminate Henry
- 8. Victor – quickly eliminated
- 9. Kofi Kingston
- 10. Tony Nese
- 11. Dash Wilder
- 12. Hornswoggle! – first suprise of the night… helps eliminate Dash, delivers samoan drop to Kofi and then tries a tadpole splash but Ziggler superkicks. Then gets eliminated by Tony Nese.
- 13. Primo
- 14. Xavier Woods – new day team to eliminate Tony Nese
- 15. Bo Dallas
- 16. Kurt Angle – Well recieved by the audience, german suplexes for all, he eliminates Primo and Bo Dallas. He belly to belly’s Ziggler out for elimination.
- 17. Scott Dawson
- 18. Goldust
- 19. Konnor
- 20. Elias – comes out with a guitar and then runs in and eliminates Konnor and both of the new day.
- 21. Luke Gallows – fantastic showdown between Kurt Angle and Daniel Bryan, then Elias sneakily eliminates Angle.
- 22. Rhyno
- 23. Drew Gulak
- 24. Tucker Knight – eliminates Gulak
- 25. Bobby Roode
- 26. Fandango
- 27. Chad Gable
- 28. Rey Mysterio – eliminates Gallows
- 29. Mojo Rawley – eliminates Fandango
- 30. Tyler Breeze
- 31. Big E
- 32. Karl Anderson
- 33. Apollo Crews – Eliminates Gable
- 34. Roderick Strong
- 35. Randy Orton – eliminates Anderson, Mojo and Crews.
- 36. Heath Slater
- 37. Babatunde
- 38. Baron Corbin
- 39. Titus O’Neal – trips over and slides under ring? WTF botch or work?
- 40. Dan Matha
- 41. Braun Strowman – no Nicholas this time – eliminates Babatunde, Slater and Big E amongst others.
- 42. Tye Dillinger – eliminated by Strowman , Elias eliminates Orton
- 43. Curt Hawkins – never enters match and Strowman chases him down. Throws him in the ring.
- 44. Bobby Lashley – eliminates Elias after a botch slam, he faces off with Braun.
- 45. The Great Khali – eliminated by Lashley and Strowman
- 46. Kevin Owens – Daneil Bryan breaks record for the longest time spent in a Rumble Match 1 Hour 5 mins
- 47. Shane McMahon – coast to coast to Braun Strowman
- 48. Shelton Benjamin
- 49. Big Cass
- 50. Chris Jericho – Big Pop from the crowd. Eliminates Shelton Benjamin, gets KO into the Walls of Jericho.
The Finish: Bobby Lashley botches a suplex on Big Cass, Daniel Bryan is still in the mix along with Shane but Strowman launches him off the top corner and into an announcers table with an elimination.
Lashley eliminated by Strowman along with Jericho. Bryan and Strowman facing off as they battle to eliminate eachother. Big Cass still involved and eliminates Bryan.
Big Cass faces of with Strowman, the last two! Rights and lefts are exchanged. Cass tries to eliminate Strowman who converts. He eliminates Cass and wins.
Winner: Braun Strowman
Verdict: Most of the under card talent were present here, or mostly NXT. The usual rumble is way better, but overall the event was good. It needed women wrestling, but you know the situation there with the country they are in #backward…