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WWE Greatest Royal Rumble (April 27) Results & Review

WWE Greatest Royal Rumble (April 27) Results & Review

WWE Greatest Royal Rumble
April 27, 2018
King Abdullah Sports City Stadium
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Watch: WWE Network

Meet our Reviewers

  • Joe Lanza: Leader of the hardcore wrestling intelligentsia, certified breast augmentation expert, and champion of the double down.
  • Suit Williams: After attending WrestleMania in New Orleans, Suit Williams is here to watch the real big money show. You can hear him on this week’s Wrestling Omakase (right here on the VOW Podcast Network!), booking the best WWE vs New Japan supercard. He co-hosts the Smark Sports podcast, available on iTunes. Find him on Twitter, @SuitWilliams.

JOHN CENA def. TRIPLE H

Joe Lanza: A main event circa 2008, jerking the curtain ten years later. Probably so Trips could get that full energy “first guy out” pop on an eleventy billion hour show, and maybe also so he could high tail it out of the desert in case something bad happens later. Lots of TESTS OF STRENGTH and CHIN LOCKS and 1988 WWF house show style action here, but like the WWN China shows a few years ago, the crowd is mystified by it all so this was smart work. It took three AAs following multiple escaped A’s and STFUs to put away the mighty Triple H, because of course it did. Good, well worked match in front of a hot, easy crowd. ***1/4

Suit Williams: First thing to note, they went all out on this show as far as the presentation is concerned. Pyro, bright lights, and even laser beams! The crowd is hot and easy to impress, as everything these guys did got pretty big reactions. This was a house show style main event, as they didn’t go crazy, but they did all of their signature spots. There was a nearfall off of the first AA that was super close, but you know Triple H isn’t losing on one finisher. It took a couple attempts at the STF and 3 AA’s to get the job done. Basic stuff, but there was no need to go crazy as the crowd was happy with what they got. ***

WWE CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
CEDRIC ALEXANDER (C) def. KALISTO

Joe Lanza: This was well structured, with flippy fireworks to start, Ced working the back during the meat to soften up the challenger up for the Lumbar Check, and then typical hot, fast paced cruiser action as they raced to hit their signature moves. Ced got there first, using a reversal of a Salida del Sol to seamlessly land a gorgeous Lumbar Check for the win. Crowd was not nearly as hot for this as they were for the big stars in the opener. ***1/2   

Suit Williams: This was a fine first defense for Alexander, as it doesn’t burn off the Buddy Murphy match just yet. It is a shame that the matches on the big shows aren’t reaching the heights that the matches on 205 Live are reaching, but when I guess that’s to be expected on a Vince McMahon produced show. They did some dives to start, then eased up a little before the finish came. Kalisto reversed a Lumbar Check into a rana, but Alexander reversed the Salida Del Sol into a Lumbar Check for the win. Again, a fine match, but I keep hoping for a match that convinces people to watch 205 Live, and this wasn’t it. ***1/2

RAW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS
BRAY WYATT & MATT HARDY (c) def. THE BAR (CESARO & SHEAMUS)

Joe Lanza: Formulaic tag structure with Matt Hardy as the face in peril. The problem here was The Bar’s beatdown wasn’t all that compelling, and a Bray Wyatt hot tag is about as anticipatory as an STD test after a wild weekend in Vegas. They slapped a stamp on this one, a nothing match. The epitome of a two star special. **

Suit Williams: This was not compelling. The Bar are a decent enough team, but Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt are two below average wrestlers with nothing much happening. The crowd has gotten a lot quieter since the opener. Wyatt and Hardy got the win after an elevated Twist of Fate. Not bad, not good, not too much to say. **

WWE UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP
JEFF HARDY (C) def. JINDER MAHAL W/ SUNIL SINGH

Joe Lanza: At this point we had firmly entered The Big Event portion of the show, where everything is short and totally nondescript. Decent finish with Sunil Singh breaking up a Swanton, Mahal reversing a Twist of Fate into a sit down cradle and almost winning by holding the tigh-err, JNCO pants, but Jeff kicking out and going through his finishing sequence for the win. Nothing to see here unless you’re one of those masochists that enjoy Jinder awkwardly bumbling through spots while pretending he’s some sort of #ActuallyGood next level throwback worker. **1/4

Suit Williams: There is an extra bar of intro in Jeff Hardy’s music that annoys the hell out of me. Another nothing match, with one exceptional spot. Jeff went to the top rope to do Whisper In The Wind. He clearly misses Mahal, who was a good foot out of the way. Mahal then apparently gets electrocuted a second later and falls into the position he would’ve fallen into if the Whisper In The Wind had landed. “He’ll be fine as WWE Champion. You gotta give the new star a chance!” – Dweebs at this time last year. Twist of Fate, Swanton, Hardy retains. *3/4

WWE SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS
THE BLUDGEON BROTHERS (HARPER & ROWAN) (C) def. THE USOS (JIMMY & JEY)

Joe Lanza: Third match in a row where there wasn’t much to it, but in this case I have no problem with it as Bludgeon Brothers won pretty easily again, and they are doing a great job establishing the team as a dominant force. This is where star ratings can get dicey, and why I’ve often thought about quitting on them over the years. To me, this match was well worked and achieved what it set out to do. But by traditional star rating standards, it didn’t contain the elements of what usually constitutes a highly rated match. The problem with the generally accepted star rating scale, is the curve is largely set by great, dramatic world title style matches. That’s a completely different objective than what these four guys had. Anyway, I hate rating matches like this. So, I won’t! NR

Suit Williams: It’s weird how a character shift has completely changed how I feel about Harper and Rowan. I mean, Rowan is still an anchor on Harper’s leg, but I’ve seen these guys have exceptional tag team matches. I’ve seen them have great matches with the Usos in the past. But this goofy gimmick, this McMahon-stamped gimmick just makes me not give a damn about them, and I’m not the only one. They continue to get muted reactions, and their matches continue not to click. The Usos got a lot of offense in, but the Bludgeons cut them off and hit an assisted powerbomb for the win. **1/2

WWE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP – LADDER MATCH
SETH ROLLINS (C) def. FINN BALOR, SAMOA JOE, THE MIZ

Joe Lanza: Finn Balor had to bust out the less colorful Prince Devitt gear, because I guess references to Irish mythology aren’t welcomed in KSA. A very good ladder match, with nice touches like Miz forming an alliance with Joe only for Joe to predictably turn on and discard of him once he was no longer useful, but coming only a few weeks after two incredible ladder matches in New Orleans probably hurt it for me. Lots of unintentional blood, with Balor’s eye busted open and Rollins torso shredded from ladder bumps. This was the best match on the show to this point. ***3/4

Suit Williams: This match woke the crowd back up. You can tell they weren’t gonna kill themselves, but they worked hard and everyone got their chances to shine. Joe was a bulldozer for a while, then Miz took everyone out. Balor got control and looked to grab the title before Rollins hopped on the ladder and took the title right from in front of Balor. The best match on the card so far, and a good set up for a Balor/Rollins feud if they care to go that way. ***3/4

WWE CHAMPIONSHIP
AJ STYLES (C) AND SHINSUKE NAKAMURA FIGHT TO A DOUBLE COUNTOUT

Joe Lanza: This was a better match than the boring Mania wet fart, helped by a few things. One, it was post-Nak turn angle, an angle that really should’ve been done on Smackdown a couple of months ago to heat up the Mania match as opposed to after the Mania match. Two, the crowd was hot for it, unlike the New Orleans crowd that was waiting around for an all-timer that never ended up happening. As far as the double count out, the bout was heated, WWE doesn’t do DCO’s very much, and ~this feud must continue~, so to me the finish was fine. Enjoyed the post-match shenanigans as well, and I’m way more interested in this feud now than I was before the bout. Good stuff here. ***3/4

Suit Williams: Shinsuke’s new music is fire. As someone saw the first match live at WrestleMania, I can say this was much better. There was a fire here that was completely absent from their match in New Orleans, and the crowd was into it, despite their seemingly unconnected chants early on. Shinsuke hit AJ in the dick again, but AJ was close enough to the ropes to get a rope break. They fought on the floor and both men got counted out. AJ beat up Shinsuke and held up the title to end the segment. I was little disappointed with the finish. However,  it’s a good sign that these guys still have the chemistry, and that Shinsuke still has the capacity, to kick a match into that next gear. ***3/4

CASKET MATCH
UNDERTAKER def. RUSEV W/ AIDEN ENGLISH

Joe Lanza: Rusev literally buried. **3/4

Suit Williams: Shockingly, Rusev got a lot of offense here. He even put the accolade on the Undertaker. But we all know how this ended. Bury me softly, brother. ***

WWE UNIVERSAL CHAMPIONSHIP STEEL CAGEMATCH
BROCK LESNAR (C)  def. ROMAN REIGNS

Joe Lanza: You’ve seen this movie before, but they’ll have to use the alternate ending to get out of this mess. They can easily flip Roman’s feet touching first as a controversial finish, but make no mistake, either the announcers weren’t clued in on Brock’s back counting as an escape, or Roman botched and rolled to the floor too fast. The match was fine, but never reached the intensity of final dramatic moments of the WrestleMania match that I was seemingly the only human on the planet that enjoyed. The abrupt finish and the confusion in the aftermath was all quite amusing and kind of obscures the fact that ROMAN LOST AGAIN as they desperately try to put enough sympathy on this man to get him over. ALL OF THE STARS, for the absurdity of it all.

Suit Williams: The match was similar to the WrestleMania match, and I still didn’t like it that much. It felt too much like a video game where both guys have all five finishers and they just go for it. It’s the Goldberg/Brock match if they stuck an unnecessary five minutes on at the end. As for the finish, it was as confusing as it could be. Roman speared Brock through the cage, and Roman rolled off of the cage onto the floor. The official announcement was that Brock won via escape, and the announcers scrambled to find a way to explain it away. I’m praying that this is the end of the Roman experiment, and that Braun is going to be the number one guy now. That won’t happen, but a man can dream, can’t he? ***

THE 50 MAN GREATEST ROYAL RUMBLE MATCH
BRAUN STROWMAN WINS

Joe Lanza: I debated how to attack this blurb, as I never know how to review battle royals. I was going to do a stream on consciousness, but then I remembered there were 50 entrants so FUCK THAT. Bryan entered #1, which instantly had me thinking they were repeating my least favorite Rumble trope by having him go all the way. It didn’t quite work out that way, but it did temper my enthusiasm for a bit. The boring action until the final ten minutes or so didn’t help either, with the highlights being surprise entrants like late-aughts novelty acts Hornswoggle (who is eating well) & Great Khali (who received a monster pop), NXT’s Tucker Knight (but no Otis), Roddy Strong (who destroyed Bryan’s chest with WALTER like viciousness), Babatunde & Dan Matha (the latter two as big guy fodder for Braun to toss out), Shane McMahon (who took a bump from the apron through the announce table in the highlight of the match), and a bizarre appearance by some weird sumo dude who I thought was Fallah Bahh jumping from Impact. What the fuck was that? Look, it was fine, and provided some fun moments like Roddy caving Bryan’s chest and Titus O’Neil tripping and sliding under the ring like a goof. Probably in the bottom half of all time Rumbles, but not the worst way to burn a Friday afternoon. ***

Suit Williams: A star studded first ten people, as the first part of THE GREATEST ROYAL RUMBLE included luminaries like SIN CARA, MIKE BENNETT, and a RANDOM SUMO MAN. The next ten saw a little star power, as HORNSWOGGLE got a Road Warrior pop in Saudi Arabia, and Kurt Angle showed up. Random guys out of the Performance Center got paydays. They hauled the Great Khali’s carcass out there. One thing this Rumble has shown me is the absolute dearth of star power in this company. If you aren’t an established star like Daniel Bryan, Kurt Angle, or Randy Orton, this crowd doesn’t care about you. The final three were Daniel Bryan, Big Cass, and Braun Strowman. Bryan, who was #1 and went about an hour and fifteen minutes, had Strowman on the ropes before Big Cass booted him and eliminated him. Strowman threw Cass out and won a big trophy. If you saw the gif of Titus O’Neil tripping on the entrance, you saw what you needed to see. ***1/4


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