For the first time ever, a WWE show was broadcast from Saudi Arabia. The historical event saw all the main roster men’s championships defended and the first ever 50-man Royal Rumble. You had to have the day off to watch it live. The five hour event started at 11 AM central time.
Full result details on wwe.com.
John Cena def Triple H
It became very evident very quickly that the basis of this match was to just have two well-known wrestlers out there performing. The match underwhelmed and took the crowd out of it early. Cena getting booked to win made sense, at least. His main purpose is an in-ring performer, unlike Triple H, and he just got skunked by Undertaker at Mania. He needed this win, even though the match was pointless.
Cedric Alexander def Kalisto to retain the Cruiserweight Championship
The era of Cedric Alexander has been a good thing early on. This was probably the second best match of the night. Alexander is an entertainer and Kalito’s move-set gels well with that. Having Cedric stripped of the title this early would make no sense so it was the right move to have him win.
Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt def The Bar to win the Raw Tag Team Championships
Who would’ve guessed this? A Raw team beat a Smackdown team with the Raw Tag Team Championships on the line, crazy! The plot and logic hole in this match was a big one and made the match less intriguing. Then the match itself was pretty bad. I do think putting the straps on Matt & Bray is a fun idea and could lead to some fun feuds in the future. We’ll just have to see where WWE wants to go from here.
Jeff Hardy def Jinder Mahal to retain the United States Championship
I was expecting Jinder to get a better reception than he did but I also didn’t realize how far apart Punjab, India and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia still are. The match honestly wasn’t awful but it was largely due to Jeff Hardy being awesome. The strap stays off Jinder, THANK GOD. But I’m interested to see what’s next for Jeff Hardy.
Bludgeon Brothers def The Usos to retain the Smackdown Tag Team Championships
It was good to see the Bludgeon Brothers finally show a little bit of vulnerability to them but the finish was still extremely predictable. The Smackdown tag team division has had some good recent additions so we’ll see how much of a leash The Usos still have on them.
Seth Rollins def Finn Balor, The Miz, and Samoa Joe in a Ladder Match to retain the Intercontinental Championship
Easily match of the night, what we’ve come to expect with the current status of the Intercontinental Championship. The finish wasn’t a typical ladder match finish and I liked that about it. Finn Balor would look nice with the title around his waste but it’s coming sooner or later.
Saudi prospects dispel of the Daivari brothers
Ah, what would an international WWE event be without a little political controversy from Vince? This segment was too long but I understand you’re giving these guys their moment, which is cool of WWE to do. The reality is I doubt any of these four guys ever make it close to actually making it in the WWE. Showcase the hometown talent and give them a memory that will last a lifetime, no heavy complaints.
AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura ended in a double countout
It’s time to put the strap on Shinsuke. Period. With that said, I understand if WWE didn’t want to do it in this setting. If that’s the case, this was probably the best scenario to keep this thing going. Maybe you could’ve had the ref catch Shinsuke delivering a low blow. Either way, he must win at Backlash. AJ has had his time and a good run, but it’s Shinsuke time.
The Undertaker def Rusev in a casket match
The only thing that would’ve made this better is if it was a buried alive match. That way Rusev could been truly buried. Not only did he lose, he got the casket closed on him with Aiden English inside as well. Man, WWE sure listens to their audience, don’t they? Instead of some random that can handle a loss to the Undertaker, they give the most-over tandem in WWE an embarrassment result. Well done.
Brock Lesnar def Roman Reigns in a steel cage match to retain the Universal Championship
Please WWE, let this mean that you’ve given up on Roman being champion. Please. For the love of God, this match was awful. It was worse than Mania. The ending result was terrible. Since when has the rule book on steel cage matches changed? Hasn’t it always been the winner is the one who’s FEET touches the floor first? That was clearly Roman. Since when was it changed to body? I don’t know and honestly don’t care at this point. This feud was awful and will be awful if they try to continue or bring it back again.
Braun Strowman wins the Greatest Royal Rumble
I’d just like to mention that my favorite number is 41 and #41 has never lost a Royal Rumble match in history. With that said, this match was pretty boring and way too long. Let’s keep the Royal Rumble at 30 guys. Titus O’Neil eating it on the way to the ring was the highlight of the match. I was expecting a lot more surprise entrants but giving some younger guys some exposure on an international stage is cool of them to do.
Cool concept but a bad show. I’m sure with the setting that WWE didn’t have full plans to make it an astounding show. But when I spend five hours and a Friday afternoon on the product, I’d like to see a little bit better production. The back story to this show is a good one, I’ll give it that. But let’s focus on the next real show which is Backlash. They don’t have much time to do it.