By Curtis Kosier
Today, the WWE begins its quest to invade the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with The Greatest Royal Rumble. Let’s dig into the matches.
Universal Championship (Steel Cage match) – Brock Lesnar © vs. Roman Reigns
This match is for what is to be considered the most prestigious award in professional wrestling.
The only problem is, the two men competing are the stalest superstars in the business. The good thing for WWE in this situation is that fans in Saudi Arabia are much different than those “hardcore” fans in cities like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. The fans in Saudi Arabia will likely cheer for Roman Reigns (who is normally booed out of the building, despite being a face), and boo Brock Lesnar. As far as the match goes, I see it being very similar to their bout at WrestleMania. The addition of the Steel Cage is nice, and will provide for some cool spots. Expect Lesnar to deliver about a dozen suplexes, and to see Roman busted open once again.
Prediction: Brock Lesnar
WWE Championship – AJ Styles © vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Styles/Nakamura was supposed to be the match of all matches at WrestleMania 34. They were supposed to put on a clinic and leave fans in awe of the wrestling they had witnessed, but they fell short of those expectations.
Thanks to a well delivered heel-turn, I am more excited for the rematch than the original WrestleMania bout. Heel Nakamura has been a million times more interesting than face Nakamura, and I look forward to seeing how much better this match is now that the characters and storylines have been more developed. I expect that this will not be the last we see of Styles/Nakamura, so I am going to give the edge to Mr. “Knee to Face.”
Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura
John Cena vs. Triple H
John Cena and Triple H are two legends who have captivated millions around the world for several decades combined. They don’t need a major buildup to put on a spectacular match, but it would have been nice. Both being part timers, neither really needs a win here, and neither will be hurt by a loss due to their legendary status. This match is as close to a toss-up as I can get. However, I lean towards Triple H due to Cena likely going away for a while to film some movies.
Prediction: Triple H
Intercontinental Championship (Ladder Match) – The Miz vs. Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe vs. Seth Rollins ©
This match will steal the show.
Write it down, and take it to the bank.
Balor and Rollins are two of the best in-ring guys in pro-wrestling today, The Miz is better than he’s ever been, and Joe is an absolute monster. The ladder stipulation for this match will give us many high spots that we wouldn’t otherwise see. A “coup-de-grace” off of the top of the ladder from Balor is something that will make fans everywhere jump out of their seats. Still, I see this match ending with a “Curb Stomp.”
Prediction: Seth Rollins
United States Championship – Jeff Hardy © vs. Jinder Mahal
This may be the shortest match on the card. I love Jeff Hardy, and I don’t really care for Jinder Mahal. Yet, Vince McMahon sees something in Mahal. Whatever that something may be, it is going to end up allowing him another title run at some point. Might as well be now.
Prediction: Jinder Mahal
Casket Match – The Undertaker vs. Rusev
First it was Undertaker vs Rusev. Then it was Undertaker vs Chris Jericho. Now it is back to the originally scheduled match. Rusev is very over with the crowd, but WWE seems intent on keeping him down in the mid-card range.
Pairing him with the legend that is The Undertaker is nice in a way, but it could also be doing him a disservice. At least the Casket match stipulation will allow Rusev to receive a proper burial.
Prediction: The Undertaker (RIP Rusev Day)
Smackdown Tag Team Championship – The Bludgeon Brothers © vs. The Usos
The Usos are a great tag team. However, the Bludgeon Brothers need to retain here to affirm their credibility as a monstrous duo.
Prediction: The Bludgeon Brothers
Raw Tag Team Championship – The Bar vs. Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt
Sheamus and Cesaro are two incredible talents, and their time as a tag team has been spent well, but their time together is nearing its end. Hardy and Wyatt on the other hand are a brand-new team, and one of the most interesting things on the roster right now. The newly formed duo will likely win here, and seek out new foes as The Bar may finally face DELETION!
Prediction: Woken Hardy and Wyatt
Cruiserweight Championship – Cedric Alexander © vs. TBD
I don’t really care for the 205 Live division, but Cedric Alexander is a good talent. He just won the belt at WrestleMania, so I think it is likely he will retain here.
Prediction: Cedric Alexander
50 Man Greatest Royal Rumble
This match is very intriguing.
For the first time ever, there is going to be a 50-man Royal Rumble match. However, the prize for this “Greatest Royal Rumble” match seems so small compared to the size of the event. The length of this rumble match could very well take an hour and a half to two hours. I don’t really know what all to expect from this match, and I don’t know for certain who will win it. With the prize only being a trophy, I think the winner needs to be someone who can really spend some time showing it off. What better way to show off a shiny trophy than a spotlighted concert?
And that’s it. 10 matches in a show that will last nearly 5 hours. This card has been compared to a dream PPV that someone would come up with on a WWE video game, and I agree. Some of the feuds for this show have been done very well, whereas others have been very bizarre or non-existent.
Speaking of non-existent, there are no women competing at the Greatest Royal Rumble due to laws in Saudi Arabia. So, the whole “Women’s Revolution” that WWE likes to brag about is being put on hold for the weekend.
Regardless, this show should be very good, and possibly better than WrestleMania. Only time will tell if having two Royal Rumble matches in one year was worth it, but I guess money talks. Until next time, this has been Running the Ropes!