WWE put a lot into promoting this event, probably more so than most other events so far. I guess they had a lot riding on it. So, was this the Greatest event they promised?
Not really. However, it was by no means a bad event per-say. And they did have Godsmack do the main theme, which was great!
So anyway, here is my review of Greatest Royal Rumble.
For a list of matches and results see HERE.
To be honest, there isn’t much point me talking about all the matches as they weren’t really anything special – at least nothing more than you would get in a regular WWE program – so I’d just be repeating myself if I reviewed them indivdually. They were fun to watch, just not amazing. But I will say that the worst match was Jinder Mahal versus Jeff Hardy – mostly due to a terrible botch on Jinder’s part. Hardy did a Whisper in the Wind and missed Jinder completely – only for him to fall over after realising he missed his cue. Even the commentary couldn’t cover up this **** up! And WWE wonder why fans dislike Jinder.
The Casket Match was also nothing to write home about, due in part to the Undertaker being slow and clumsy. Wrestlemania showed that he’s in no condition to fight anymore, so they should just let him retire. God bless Rusev and Aiden English for trying to at least make him look powerful, but this match was a bit of a dud.
However, there were some good parts. Underrated match of the night goes to the Cruiserweight battle between Kalisto and Cedric Alexander. Whilst it got off to a slow start, they have some amazingly good spots and counters to each other’s moves. Good to see the Cruiserweights pulling through and getting the respect they deserve.
The Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Title match was also (as the Miz would say) awesome, as the aforementioned Miz, Samoa Joe, Finn Balor and Seth Rollins put on a great show. In the end, when it looked like Balor would steal the title, Rollins did a high-class jump to the top of the ladder and grabbed the title, even busting up poor Finn in the process. I actually don’t think it’s possible to have a bad ladder match – but if there is, then this match isn’t one of them.
Next match I want to talk about is AJ Style versus Shinsuke Nakamura – which was a huge improvement over their match at Wrestlemania. With real heat behind it (Shinsuke actually proving to be a sound villain in recent weeks), there actually was some emotion to this fight. When they brawled outside it got really nasty really quickly! It’s a shame they copped out with a double count out, but AJ’s subsequent curb stomping of Nakamura made up for it. It still wasn’t the dream match that we were hoping for, but it was a step in the right direction. Hopefully the third match they had will be the one to watch.
The other match that was an improvement over their previous counterpart was Roman Reigns versus Brock Lesnar. This match was also fun and actually felt like a proper fight – even if they did spam their signature moves again and again. Paul Heyman even got involved, stopping Reigns from escaping. The match ended in “controversial” fashion when Reigns speared Lesnar through the cage (which I gotta admit was pretty frigging cool), but as Lesnar technically left the cage first, he was declared the winner. And so his joke of a reign continues.
Now onto the Greatest Royal Rumble match itself. With a record-breaking 50 competitors in this, one had to worry what kind of stops they would pull out for it. I must confess I thought it was going to get boring with 50 wrestlers instead of the usual 30 – but to it’s credit, it moved smoothly and kept me entertained throughout.
Like with previous Royal Rumbles, they had “special” guests. The aforementioned Rey Mysterio and Chris Jericho made their returns to the Rumble – and I was so glad to see them both; especially Jericho, who is still putting people on “The List!” And Mark Henry made his return after being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame – though he did look a little bit worse for wear and seemingly limited by what he could do. From NXT we had Roderick Strong, Tucker Knight (from Heavy Machinery), Babatunde and Dan Matha (neither of which I know anything about), but then we also had some strange entries like Hiroki Sumi (never heard of him), The Great Khali (who frankly looked like the walking dead!) and – Hornswoggle. Ok, I’ll admit it was kinda fun to see Hornswoggle again.
But the man of the match has to go to Titus O’Neil – who gave us THIS classic moment.
Honestly I cannot stop laughing! It’s even given way to the “Titus World Slide” meme! God bless you, Titus!
Daniel Bryan was clearly the favourite to win it, coming in at Number One and lasting almost to the end, but Big Cass ruined that dream. However, to my utter delight, who should win the match? None other than…
Yup! Braun Strowman emerged victorious! Finally he gets some recognition after being pissed around with. He even got a championship and trophy, given by Vince McMahon and (I think) the King of Saudi Arabia. You could say the trophy “Got these hands!”
To be fair, the Greatest Royal Rumble wasn’t so much a greatest show as it was a glorified house show. The matches were mostly just ok, and no title changed hands (save for maybe the RAW Tag Team Titles, which were always going to have a new holder anyway). But some of the matches just seemed weird. Why was Triple HHH and John Cena fighting again? Why was Rusev going into a Casket Match with the Undertaker? It might have helped if they built these up a bit more so that we could understand it.
Also, the crowd were a lot more reserved than most other crowds, so it was hard to tell if they were really into the event or not. Maybe they were just trying to be polite, which is fair enough I guess, but anyone who saw that might think “Well they aren’t enjoying it.”
It wasn’t all bad though – there were some pretty decent matches. The two title matches were improvements over their Wrestlemania encounters, and actually had thought-out resolutions. And the Greatest Royal Rumble match was actually rather good – even if some of the guests they included were questionable. I would have preferred it if Drew McIntyre and Aleister Black over Babatunde and Dan Matha myself. Conspicuous by his absence was Sami Zayn – though I expect he was omitted because of his Syrian heritage. I don’t think it’s a secret that neither Saudi Arabia and Syria don’t see eye to eye, so maybe this was done to avoid an incident (though you gotta feel sorry for Sami in this case).
But, as Braun Strowman fan, I was ecstatic to see him win it! He even broke the records for most eliminations in a Royal Rumble match (13, beating Roman Reigns’s previous 12 record). Whether or not he goes anywhere with this is down to WWE. But seeing as this guy couldn’t be any more over with the fans, WWE BETTER put a Universal Title on his waist sooner or later!
All things considered, I enjoyed Greatest Royal Rumble. Whilst the matches weren’t great, they weren’t terrible, so that’s something in it’s favour. I’d dare say I enjoyed this more than Wrestlemania if I’m being honest. We’ll see how WWE plan to expand this idea, given that they have signed a multi-year contract with Saudi Arabia; but based on first impressions, they’re off to a good (albeit slow) start.
Let’s see how Backlash goes from here.
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