Another Network-exclusive event takes place on Friday, April 27th as the WWE heads to Saudi Arabia for The Greatest Royal Rumble. The prize in this 50-man slugfest? An average looking trophy!
Don’t worry, there’s still a ton to be excited about for Friday’s event; the match card is stacked, and regardless of storyline implications it’s sure to be a great day of wrestling.
The WWE writers of Win Column Sports take a look at the matchcard for the event, set in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia!
- The Greatest Royal Rumble (50 Man Over the Top Rope)
- AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura (WWE Championship)
- Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns (Universal Championship)
- John Cena vs Triple H
- Undertaker vs Rusev (Casket Match)
- Seth Rollins vs Finn Balor vs Samoa Joe vs The Miz (Ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship)
- Jeff Hardy vs Jinder Mahal (United States Championship)
- Cedric Alexander vs Kalisto (Cruiserweight Championship)
- Bludgeon Brothers vs the Usos (Smackdown Tag Team Championships)
- Bray Wyatt & Woken Matt Hardy vs The Bar (RAW Tag Team Championships)
The Greatest Royal Rumble (50 Man Over the Top Rope)
Confirmed entrants (as of April 25): Daniel Bryan, Braun Strowman, The Big Show, Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, Elias, Baron Corbin, Big E, Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods, Apollo Crews, Shelton Benjamin, Sin Cara, Chad Gable, Goldust, Titus O’Neil, Mojo Rawley, Dolph Ziggler, Randy Orton, Shane McMahon, Rey Mysterio, Mark Henry, The Great Khali, Kevin Owens.
Spencer: Perhaps the biggest accomplishment of The Greatest Royal Rumble is that somehow, it’s managed to turn the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal into only the second-least relevant battle royal in WWE. It’s frustrating that this event has no storyline implications whatsoever; the winner gets a congratulatory pat on the back and a giant trophy. The rest of the competitors will all receive their very own Miz Participation Awards. In thinking that this will be the main event of the evening, I can’t see WWE letting the Saudi Arabian fans go home unhappy – and who better to put a smile on their faces than the ultimate babyface? Besides, after all those years of Royal Rumble atrocities, WWE owes this one to the YES! Man. Prediction: Daniel Bryan
Prince: No storyline implications, no title shot opportunity, basically no huge reward to the winner here. This is basically cramming as many superstars as you can (new and old) to make sure the middle east gets the most of out of their investment. The match itself should be fun, and seeing some old names return will be cool, but the actual importance of this match is pretty low. I’m going to go with Braun Strowman here, as he is easily one of the most over men in WWE right now and deserves something. Prediction: Braun Strowman
Parker: Well isn’t this a nice little mess. Weird what money does for Vince, hey? Featuring 50 men, you would expect a huge reward right? Perhaps a championship opportunity, as is par for the course in a Royal Rumble? Nah, take a statue. To me, even with the in-ring returns of greats like Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle, Rey Mysterio (allegedly) and others, this seems like its a three horse race. The most intriguing option is a returning Dean Ambrose. His time table for a return has ranged greatly, and they’ve been awful quiet about the Lunatic Fringe lately. Could he return? It would be a long shot, but it would be a cool way to bring him back. The second option is Braun Strowman. Duh. Finally, option three is Daniel Bryan. Who wouldn’t love to see him triumph over 49 other men? It’s up in the air, so i’m going with the big guy *Not Ryback*. Prediction: Braun Strowman wins the 50 man Rumble. Or, at the very least he eliminates 48 men to make the winner look strong.
WWE Championship Match – AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura
Spencer: Lots of people have complained that Roman Reigns earned another title opportunity after losing at WrestleMania; perhaps all he needed to do was throw a couple more stiff uppercuts to Brock Lesnar’s junk. That’s the case for Shinsuke Nakamura; three shots to AJ Styles nether regions and boom: rematch. This match, however, is one I’m looking forward to. While the Big Dog is more of a beaten puppy than a terrier at this point, Nakamura has been dangerous ever since turning. A loss here would be two straight losses to the champion, and would likely remove him from the title scene on Smackdown. I can’t see that happening now, and especially when Nak’s been better than he ever has been on the main roster. After four straight losses in championship matches, Shinsuke’s time is now. Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura
Prince: This match is going to be 10x better than their match at Wrestlemania and that’s due to the fact that we have a real heel vs face dynamic that Parker mentions below. I see WWE wanting to give this show some sort of importance and for that alone I think Nakamura wins here, leading to a rematch at Backlash. Prediction: Shinksuke Nakamura
Parker: This match has a simple story behind it: You can get what you want in life by punching people in the dick. Heel Nakamura rules. The King of Strong Style seems revitalized by his recent turn. Styles is Styles, and these guys should have a better match with a true heel vs face dynamic. The turn for Shinsuke has done great, but i just can’t see the title coming off of AJ here. Give these guys one last match at Backlash, where Nakamura can win there. Winner: Styles wins in a way to set up a rematch at Backlash.
Universal Championship Cage Match – Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns
— Spencer Love (@SpennyLove_WCS) April 24, 2018
Spencer: My above tweet says it all. God, do I not care. Prediction: Roman Reigns
Prince: The only way to redeem Reigns is to have what Lesnar did to him at Wrestlemania, but reversed. Reigns should leave Lesnar bloodied and destroyed and walk out with the championship in confidence. Is that going to happen? Probably not, but hey, a fan can wish. Roman Reigns probably wins in typical heroic fashion by overcoming the odds and escaping the cage. Yawn. Prediction: Roman Reigns
Parker: Third time is the charm? After a solid match at 31, and a terrible match at 34, WWE is at least hoping to split the difference here by putting it in a cage. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Vinny Mac swerve the fans again, but the reaction to a Reigns win is more than likely going to be positive here in Saudi Arabia than the Silverdome (brother). Now, I do still like Brock – the man is an attraction and the ratings do bump when he’s on RAW – but he doesn’t need the title. Put it on the show weekly and make it feel special again. I never thought I would want the title on Reigns, but… Prediction: Roman Reigns escapes the cage to win the Universal Championship, because there is no salvaging this feud *throws DX chop at Spencer*
John Cena vs Triple H
Spencer: This is perhaps the second Casket Match on the card, as both Triple H and John Cena are highly decorated in the art of burying their opponents. ZING! In all seriousness, Triple H doesn’t need storyline development, and Cena does. I think a second loss within a month will futher drive Cena into insanity, and while we may not see a full heel turn in the future, I do think he’ll start to move more toward the tweener category. In order to do so, I think he has to take another pinfall. Prediction: Triple H
Prince: Exactly what Parker said. Question is if the match itself will even be decent? I hope so. Prediction: John Cena
Parker: This match exists just for name value alone in the middle east. I’ll keep it short – they’re playing the “John Cena is a loser” game for the next little bit. With his squash at Mania to his extremely public breakup, I can see the man with 3 H’s getting a win here. In reality, who gives a care?
Prediction: Triple H
Casket Match – The Undertaker vs Rusev
Spencer: Look. I’m still of the belief that John Cena is going to wrestle the Undertaker again at WrestleMania 35. There’s no way that Cena will accept being squashed by a 53-year-old man on the Grandest Stage of them All – in fact, I think he’s going to take it rather poorly. This is the first time that the two men will be in the same building since ‘Mania 34; could we see Cena try and gain some revenge on the Deadman? Maybe, just maybe, would the honourable and righteous John Cena interfere in a match? It’ll either be genius or stupid of me, but at some point WWE has to capitalize on Rusev‘s popularity – what better way to put a guy over than a win over the Undertaker? As Corey Graves so astutely pointed out on Smackdown this week, ‘Taker hasn’t won a Casket Match on Rusev Day. I believe we’ll see the Streak continue on Friday. Prediction: Rusev.
Prince: Probably the most talked about match going into this event. I agree with Spencer that we haven’t seen the last of Undertaker and Cena, however WWE is not bold enough for Cena to interfere here. Rusev facing Taker alone shows that the company has some sort of faith in Rusev, but it makes no sense for the Undertaker to lose here. I just hope the match itself is not a complete squash. Prediction: The Undertaker
Parker: Taker isn’t losing here in his signature match, especially after his squash of John Cena. Granted, there are worse things then facing the Undertaker at a big PPV, so in no way is Rusev buried here. But Undertaker is absolutely not losing here. Prediction: Undertaker wins.
Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match – Seth Rollins vs Finn Balor vs Samoa Joe vs The Miz
Spencer: There’s a ton of possibilities coming out of this match, including the opportunity at another title switching brands should Samoa Joe or The Miz scale the ladder first. However, Seth Rollins is the most popular man on RAW – sorry, Finn – and I think he’s due a long title reign. Prediction: Seth Rollins
Prince: Since Joe and The Miz both got traded to Smackdown, the only two possible winners are Seth Rollins and Finn Balor. I don’t think Rollins drops the title this early, as I suspect a long reign for him that ends at Summerslam. Rollins retains in what will probably be the best match of the night. Prediction: Seth Rollins
Parker: I can safely say this’ll be a match of the night candidate, and probably the hardest match to predict (aside from the WWE Championship match). Unless you have Mahal win the US championship, it eliminates the Miz winning the belt back, as well as Samoa Joe. So, really it’s between Rollins and Balor to me – i think the IC Championship is staying on RAW. And to me, why have your hottest star, Rollins, have a short term reign to hot shot the belt back? Rollins retains through this & his rematch at Backlash. Prediction: Rollins retains, and feuds with Finn or Dean Ambrose through the Summer over the Intercontinental Championship.
United States Championship Match – Jeff Hardy vs Jinder Mahal
Spencer: Honestly, I’m just glad that this isn’t Jinder/Orton again. However, could we see Jinder Mahal become a two-time United States Champion at the Greatest Royal Rumble? My heart says no, but if Samoa Joe or The Miz win the IC Championship then this match becomes fairly predictable… unless Vincent McMahon swerves fans of sports entertainment. When has he ever done that? But I don’t see them taking the title off Hardy here this early. Prediction: Jeffrey Nero Hardy
Prince: It’s nice to see refreshing match-ups and its even more reassuring knowing that Hardy will retain here. The US title needs to stay on Smackdown so therefore, Hardy will win. I think both men will find their own rhythms on their own respective shows and I’m excited to see what the future holds for both. Prediction: Jeff Hardy
Parker: I thoroughly enjoyed the match these two had on the Superstar Shake up edition of Raw, and seeing Jinder in the midcard is a much more believable heel and character for him. He seems a bit less hindered there (hehe). With Jeff taking the US Championship back to Smackdown though, and the Maharajah’s backstage segment with No Way Jose, it seems that Hardy wins this one, starting up a feud with Randall Keith Orton. Besides, seeing Hardy kick off his singles run in WWE as a midcard champion, in the same mould as Cena when he held the US Championship, is great. Much better then another Jinder-Randy Orton feud. Prediction: Jeff Hardy retains.
Cruiserweight Championship Match – Cedric Alexander vs Kalisto
Spencer: Cedric Alexander wrestles 2nd-rate Mysterio to score an easy win in title defence. There’s your headline! Prediction: Cedric Alexander
Prince: Failed opportunity to give one of the better cruiserweight heels a title shot here. Drew Gulak or Tony Nese would have been my two options but oh well, I guess this will work. Prediction: Cedric Alexander
Parker: F**k Kalisto. Short of bringing back Enzo Amore or a babyface TJP, there really isn’t any way I could be less enthused about this. Call me a cynic, but I just don’t give a care. Kalisto is bland. Drew Gulak, Itami, Mustafa Ali, or, you know, the most famous cruiserweight in the world Rey Mysterio – who will BE IN SAUDI ARABIA FOR THIS VERY EVENT, and you go with Kalisto? Prediction: Cedric Alexander retains the Cruiserweight Championship.
Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match – The Bludgeon Brothers vs The Usos
Spencer: There’s no way that the Bludgeon Brothers lose here. After winning the championships at WrestleMania and thoroughly dominating the Usos for the last three weeks, what good would it do? Prediction: The Bludgeon Brothers
Prince: The Bludgeon Brothers are getting booked too strong to lose here. Especially after Naomi’s distraction on Smackdown, I’m sure they are out for blood. The Bludgeon Brothers retain and both teams will start new feuds as the Smackdown tag team division is STACKED. Prediction: The Bludgeon Brothers
Parker: I was very surprised they kept Jimmy & Jey on Smackdown, especially after the newfound depth of the division. However, a one on one match with E̶r̶i̶c̶ Rowan and L̶u̶k̶e̶ Harper again makes me very happy. For reference, watch their 2-out-of-3 falls match at Battleground 2014 to get excited for this. Expect the Bludgeon Brothers to retain here, setting up some great feuds with the new blood around Smackdown Live. I wouldn’t be too surprised if the Usos put over 2B here, and head to RAW to help a somewhat depleted tag team scene. Plus we know Naomi won’t be there to help them this time. Prediction: The Bludgeon Brothers.
RAW Tag Team Championship Match – Bray Wyatt vs Woken Matt Hardy vs The Bar
Spencer: DELIGHTFUL! While it may have taken a while to really take off, “WOKEN” Matt Hardy has firmly entrenched itself as one of the best gimmicks on RAW. Since being aided by Bray Wyatt in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, both Hardy and the Eater of Worlds have been highlights of Monday night’s, with Wyatt finally getting the babyface run that WWE fans have been begging for. Their chemistry is evident, and with the Bar moving over to Tuesday nights, I can’t see the Deleters of Worlds heading home beltless. Prediction: Deleters of Worlds
Prince: We all know how much Spencer loves Matt Hardy, and to be fair, I judged the “Woken” gimmick too early. Ever since the Ultimate Deletion match this gimmick has been on fire and having Wyatt assist Matt at Wrestlemania was a great start to this new tag team. The Bar got traded to Smackdown, so predicting a winner is pretty easy. I hope to one day see Sanity vs. The Woken Warriors. But as for this match, the result should be WONDERFUL! Prediction: Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy
Parker: The Woken Warriors are probably one of the best parts of RAW now, which is exceptional after a rocky start for Woken Matt. The Ultimate Deletion match was fantastic, and all the follow up with the Woken Universe has been great. Along with personal bias against The Bar (they’re great wrestlers, but I couldn’t give less of a shit about the two), this match seems easy to predict. I don’t expect the RAW Tag Team belts to head over to Smackdown with Sheamus and Cesaro, so… let these two maniacs go just batshit crazy. Let the Expedition of Gold begin! Prediction: Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy become RAW Tag Team Champions.
That’s our thoughts! Let us know what you think of tomorrow’s event by tweeting us @WCSportsCA, or telling us in the comments below!
WWE Last 5:
- Smackdown Live Preview: April 24
- Monday Night Hayden: Predictions for the 23/04/18 RAW
- PWA Recap and Reactions: Hysteria, Edmonton, April 21
- The Superstar Shakeup: A TradeCenter Analysis
- Spoiler-Free NXT Preview and Predictions