Today we got to see the very first event in Saudi Arabia for the WWE when they brought the Greatest Royal Rumble. This event had to be rather compliant with many different requests from the country’s organizers, as well as laws, of course, therefore, they had to be really specific on what sort of show they’d be bringing.
The very first match of the night featured the Cerebral Assassin, Triple H, facing John Cena. The match started with some clash of strength by both of them, trying to show who was more powerful. This is certainly set to be an interesting show. Triple H was getting the upper hand at the beginning, going as far as mocking Cena’s “You Can’t See Me” hand gesture multiple times.
The match is really good and interesting, Triple H is going slowly, methodically, paused, and every single time Cena tried to attack back, Triple H was able to counter his attempts. This is a visual beauty of a match; however, Cena is looking too weak against The Game. I hadn’t seen such a weak John Cena since his Wrestlemania match against The Undertaker, but before that, I don’t remember seeing him in such a weak state.
Finally, Cena starts to fight back and goes as far as hitting an Attitude Adjustment on Triple H, but The Game was able to kick out. Right after that, Triple H got out of a second Attitude Adjustment to go into his Pedigree right away, but Cena kicked out at 2 as well.
Then, after a chain of an STF from Cena, to a crossed clutch by The Game, Cena hits Triple H with 2 Attitude Adjustments to win the match.
The second match of the event is for the Cruiserweight Championship between the current champion, Cedric Alexander and Kalisto. This starts completely different to the previous match, both competitors are going through some chain wrestling with the usual agility that is the main weapon 205 Live contestants bring to the ring. After a great match between them, the champion retains his title.
The third match of the event has The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) versus Woken Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt for the RAW Tag Team Championship. This is an interesting match given how The Bar is no longer part of RAW as they were moved to SmackDown Live during the Superstar Shake-Up.
At first, the newest Tag Team from RAW was dominating and animating the crowd, until The Bar started to play their heel roles during this match, which turned the table for the match.With great combination of a Twist of Fate with the help of Bray, Matt and Bray finally become the new RAW Tag Team Champions!
The next match of the event is for the United States Championship as we have Jeff Hardy defending against Jinder Mahal. The match starts with Jinder’s usual aggressiveness against Jeff, but the champion is able to counter him, keeping in mind that Jinder isn’t alone as he comes with Sunil Sighn.
There was an interesting botch in this match as Jeff tried the Whisper in the Wind but failed, and Jinder still went down, a few seconds late.
After an intervention by Sunil, Jeff is able to counter Jinder’s Khallas and use his normal Twist of Fate + Swanton Bomb to retain his title.
Now we have the SmackDown Tag Team Champions, The Bludgeon Brothers, defending their titles against The Usos. The former champions came into this match completely synchronized, using that to their advantage against the current champions. However, The Bludgeon Brothers are too strong, and fast, and they ended up retaining their titles.
The next match of the event is a Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship between Seth Rollins, Samoa Joe, The Miz and Finn Balor. This ought to be a great match, a contender to steal the show.
To nobody’s surprise, this was a great match all around. Every single one of the competitors went all in for the title, giving a good use to those ladders, of course. The Miz, former Intercontinental Champion, gave a great match, going against all of his opponents and coming out on top of them in multiple times.
In the end, surprisingly, Seth Rollins was able to retain his title due to how quick and agile he is, as Finn was about to reach the belt, but Seth jumped from the ropes to the ladder, and “stole” the belt from Finn.
Now we get the introduction of 4 candidates to join the WWE from Saudi Arabia, but in the middle of this promo, the Daivari Brothers come into the ring with the flag of their country: Iran.
The next match of the night is for the WWE Championship between AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura. First thing to note is that the WWE gave Nakamura’s entrance some lyrics, and the way in which Nakamura moved was completely different than what we are used to see. It is also worth saying: it is great to see AJ’s entrance with pyro.
After about 2 hours and a half of almost complete silence in the crowd, we finally see them chanting, moving, cheering. Saudi Arabia seemed to need AJ vs Nakamura to wake up, because they do not chant the usual out-of-the-ring count, they don’t chant the usual “1, 2,…” when there’s a pin going on. But now, the crowd is reacting, and it is awesome to see and hear.
In the end, AJ Styles retains his title due to a double count-out. This keeps Nakamura in the championship run for sure, maybe we’ll see them in a no disqualification match in a future PPV.
Next on we have The Undertaker versus Rusev in a Casket Match. After a rather quick and aggressive match, The Undertaker got both, Rusev and Aiden English into the casket to win the match.
It is now time to go into the Steel Cage for the Universal Championship match between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns. We have to admit how great entrances are when pyro is in place.
The match starts with a Suplex City, there was no time to do anything, Brock literally went in to kill Roman. Four consecutive German Suplex followed by one F5. This is overkill. Lesnar is only sweating because he sweats like a beast.
Roman finally counters with 3 Superman Punches followed by a spear attempt that Brock defends against. Roman is close to get out of the cage until Brock takes him back in, leaving him the space to get out of the cage himself; however, Brock doesn’t seem comfortable at all going up the cage, which gives Roman time to get back on his feet.
Roman hits the first spear on Brock, immediately followed by a second one. Brock is still alive in the match though, so he uses the same spear he used against The Undertaker in Wrestlemania 33, with some push from the ropes and counts, but Brock kicks out. Roman is about to get out of the cage through the door, but Paul Heyman closes it on Roman’s face to help his client. Brock hits the second F5 and pins Roman, but he kicks out. Heyman throws a chair into the cage and Brock takes his gloves off before taking the chair, but Roman hits his fourth Spear. Brock kicked out again.
Roman takes the chair and starts hitting Brock with it. Even the referee cringes to these hits. Roman hits the fourth Superman Punch of the match. Roman hits a Spear against the wall of the cage which breaks it, and the ref says Brock has retained the championship. Contested, Roman’s feet were the first ones to hit the floor. This won’t end like this.
It is time for the main event of the show: the 50 men Royal Rumble match. There’s a shiny trophy accompanied by a Championship Belt waiting for the winner of this match.
The very first entrant is Daniel Bryan, followed by Dolph Ziggler. There’s really no point on talking too much about what happened in the hour and 30 minutes that it lasted for, so let’s jump to what happened at the end, and which surprise contestants we got to see.
And, after 1 hour 16 minutes and 5 seconds in the match, Big Cass throws Daniel Bryan over the top rope, to get to the ending of this match between him and Braun Strowman, who has thrown over 10 men over the ropes. In the end, the winner of the very first Greatest Royal Rumble is Braun Strowman.
Overall, the show was really good, although, there were absolutely no changes in championship belts, which is highly disappointing. When it comes to the crowd, it was quiet for most of the show, which is also disappointing given how wrestling is alive thanks to fans’ reactions, and even though matches were super interesting, it is a rather bittersweet ending, with an awful ending to AJ vs Nakamura, a controversial ending to Brock vs Roman, a 50 men Royal Rumble in which most of the wrestlers didn’t last 5 minutes. At least, Braun has won this match, and I hope they do something with that quite stylish belt.