Welcome to POST Wrestling’s coverage of the WWE’s Greatest Royal Rumble event from King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Wai Ting and I will have a bonus show reviewing the card for members of the POST Wrestling Café late tonight. You can sign up at www.POSTwrestlingCafe.com.
The kickoff show began with Byron Saxton, Jerry Lawler, and Booker T. on the panel.
John Cena and Triple H will be opening the show.
Mike Rome interviewed Jinder Mahal backstage, he complained about his lack of time to prepare for Jeff Hardy and Chad Gable but has had weeks to prepare for tonight’s rematch with Hardy.
The Bar cut a promo on Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy. They called them “certifiably insane” and other forms of crazy.
Jim Ross joined the panel mid-way.
The panel interviewed AJ Styles to discuss the Shinsuke Nakamura match.
Paul Heyman interrupted during the panel’s preview of the Universal title. He said Roman Reigns doesn’t have a chance against Brock Lesnar.
The pre-show wrapped up with promos from Braun Strowman and New Day and their participation the Rumble match.
The main show began with the national anthem for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States.
The show featured an enormous pyro and fireworks display at the open.
Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Corey Graves are calling the show. This was a change recently made after initially announcing Ross and Lawler for the show.
TRIPLE H VS JOHN CENA
The reactions for the entrances were massive.
This is their first singles match since an episode of Raw in February 2010.
Cena had a lineup of children on the ramp for his entrance and fireworks display.
The audience was reacting to everything at the start. Collar-and-elbow tie-ups, a test of strength spot, with Michael Cole comparing it to a Bruno Sammartino style of match.
Hunter would cut Cena off whenever he got anything going. Hunter went for his own five-knuckle shuffle with a “suck it” gesture.
Cena went for a top rope leg drop and Hunter countered with a powerbomb.
Cena came back with a five-knuckle shuffle and AA for a near fall. Hunter came back with a pedigree moments later and Cena kicked out. Cena applied the STF, reversed by Hunter, and then Cena lifted Hunter and hit a second AA, slingshot into the corner, and a third AA for the win.
WINNER: JOHN CENA AT 15:12
This crowd reacted to everything and they could do no wrong in this match. It was well worked for the opener and started the show off well.
After the match, Cena addressed the audience and said it was an honor and privilege to be part of an event like this. He said regardless of what was going on with him, he was not going to miss this event. He thanked them and told them to enjoy the rest of the show.
CEDRIC ALEXANDER VS KALISTO FOR THE CRUISERWEIGHT TITLE
Kalisto landed a springboard seated somersault to the floor onto Alexander.
Alexander returned with a tope con giro moments later. Cole brought up Alexander being undefeated since December.
Cole explained a portion of the floor being sectioned off for the Saudi royal family.
Alexander nailed him with a big dropkick and grounded Kalisto. He made a spirited comeback with a big spinning tornado DDT in the middle of the ring.
The crowd was way down during this match.
Alexander blocked a top rope Frankensteiner, lifted Kalisto, who adjusted to hit a split-legged Spanish Fly off the turnbuckle for a near fall.
Salida del Sol was countered in mid-air with the Lumbar Check and Alexander won.
WINNER: CEDRIC ALEXANDER AT 10:14 TO RETAIN THE CRUISERWEIGHT TITLE
I really enjoyed the match and was a better match than Alexander had with Mustafa Ali at WrestleMania. The negative was the major comedown of the audience from the opening match to make this feel 205 Live authentic.
MATT HARDY AND BRAY WYATT VS SHEAMUS AND CESARO FOR THE VACANT RAW TAG TITLES
Matt Hardy and Cesaro started with dueling chants of “Delete” and “The Bar”.
Hardy engaged the audience with the applause spot and “Delete” chant.
The Bar got the advantage on Hardy after Cesaro clotheslined him on the floor.
Bray was tagged in, Matt hit a Twist of Fate to Cesaro and Sheamus threw Matt to the floor. Sheamus set up for a Brogue kick to Bray, who did the spider pose, ducked a Brogue kick and hit Sister Abigail.
Matt was tagged, they hit the double-team Twist of Fate onto Sheamus and Matt pinned him.
WINNERS: MATT HARDY (pinned Sheamus) & BRAY WYATT AT 8:50 TO BECOME RAW TAG CHAMPIONS
This was nothing special and the level you would expect for a house show match. The audience reacted to some of Matt Hardy’s interactions, but the match was average.
JEFF HARDY VS JINDER MAHAL FOR THE UNITED STATES TITLE
Sunil Singh introduced Mahal.
They explained Hardy working with a knee injury, which they played up this week when Sunil Singh clipped his knee from behind.
Mahal was soundly booed by the audience as he took over the match. The audience rallied behind Hardy as he fought back.
Hardy missed with a Whisper in the Wind, but Mahal still took the bump and Graves tried to make sense of it and looked terrible.
Hardy hit a Twist of Fate and Swanton for the win.
WINNER: JEFF HARDY AT 6:10 TO RETAIN THE UNITED STATES TITLE
The audience was into the two characters but the Whisper in the Wind spot was very noticeable and very bad. This was below the level of their match on Raw two weeks ago.
This was when the break occurred for prayer.
The panel reacted to the matches and threw to a promotional video for Saudi Arabia. Health Minister Dr. Modia Batterjee stated, “Everyone is welcome to come to Saudi Arabia”. They stated it was the “dawning of a new age” in the country and praise for Prince Mohammed bin Salman. They addressed females being able to drive, admitting it came late and movie theatres opening.
Mike Rome interviewed Chris Jericho, who listed off all the talent in the Rumble match with emphasis on Mojo Rawley. He kept calling him “Tom” and then put Rome on the list for correcting him. Jericho put the cameraman on the list and Ed Koskey off camera.
Daniel Bryan was interviewed and said it was a privilege to be back, to be in Saudi Arabia, and in the Rumble and will win tonight.
THE BLUDGEON BROTHERS VS THE USOS FOR THE SMACKDOWN TAG TITLES
Erick Rowan was sent shoulder first into the post but tagged Luke Harper before Jey Uso could capitalize.
Jimmy was tagged in and hit topes to both Harper and Rowan on opposite sides of the ring.
The Usos double-teamed with superkicks to both. Jimmy went to the top and landed a splash on Harper for a two-count. The Usos were sent to the floor.
Rowan nailed Jey with a spinning wheel kick and running splash to Jimmy on the floor. The audience wasn’t reacting to anything.
They returned to the ring with the double-team powerbomb and Rowan pinned Jimmy.
WINNERS: THE BLUDGEON BROTHERS AT 5:10 TO RETAIN THE SMACKDOWN TAG TITLES
This was far below the big match I was anticipating from the two. The Usos got their offense in, but this was closer to an average television match than anything of significance and really slotted The Usos back in the pecking order with the feud feeling it has hit its conclusion now.
SETH ROLLINS VS FINN BALOR VS THE MIZ VS SAMOA JOE IN A LADDER MATCH FOR THE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE
There was another enormous fireworks display during The Miz’s entrance.
Balor came out without his new “For Everyone” shirt.
Rollins and Miz use a ladder together to attack Joe on the floor, they were caught by a tope con giro from Balor.
Rollins drove Miz face first into the ladder set up in the ring. The audience reacted loudly to Rollins throughout.
Miz tried to work a deal with Samoa Joe and is attacked.
Balor was slammed by Joe onto the ladder, which Cole said was “bone cringing”. Balor responded with a running dropkick sending the ladder into Joe, climbed to the top and Rollins stopped a coupe de grace. Joe recovered and sent both off the top with a powerbomb.
Rollins and Miz fought on the ladder, Rollins was knocked down and Balor climbed with the ladder being tipped over.
The announcers were heavily focused on The Miz and his aggression.
Balor hit a coup de grace to Miz on top of the ladder. Miz rolled to the floor and Balor set up the ladder and stopped by Joe. Joe landed an uranage on Balor, Balor then tipped the ladder when Joe climbed. Balor climbed and Rollins springboarded onto the ladder and just snatched the title out of Balor’s reach for the win out of nowhere. Balor’s eye was cut from the belt being yanked down by Rollins.
WINNER: SETH ROLLINS AT 14:34 TO RETAIN THE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE
This was the best match on the show so far and didn’t need to rely on big ladder stunts to get the match over. The finish was clever, and they did a lot to keep the others strong.
They had a highlight video of the tryouts in Saudi Arabia over the past week.
Nassar, Hussein, Monsoour, and Faisal from the tryouts were introduced in the ring by Mike Rome. Hussein and Mansoour addressed the audience and received loud ovations.
They were interrupted by Ariya Daivari and his older brother, Shawn. They waved the Iranian flag and received the most heat on the show to this point.
Ariya ran down the tryout competitors as inferior athletes and praised Iran. Mansoour shoved down Ariya, Faisal landed a head kick and Hussein lifted Shawn for a big slam. It concluded with Nassar playing to the audience and tossing Shawn over the top.
AJ STYLES VS SHINSUKE NAKAMURA FOR THE WWE TITLE
Nakamura was in control at the beginning of the match.
Styles landed an Ushigoroshi and immediately went for a cover and got a two-count.
Nakamura set up for the Kinshasa, which was countered with a roll-up by Styles and then applied the calf crusher. Nakamura was out, selling his left leg and landed the running knee to the ribs with Styles draped on the top turnbuckle.
They exchanged forearms that the audience reacted well to. Nakamura took his back and went for an armbar, Styles kept his hands clasped, he rolled on top and was out of the submission.
Styles went for the phenomenal forearm, Nakamura moved aside, and Styles avoided hitting the referee with Nakamura hitting a low blow from behind. Nakamura rolled him up and Styles was at the bottom rope.
They went to the floor, Styles tackled Nakamura over the announcer’s desk and Styles continued his attack until they were counted out.
WINNER: DOUBLE COUNTOUT AT 14:27
Styles attacked Nakamura with both going over the barricade, Styles used a chair with the idea he’s snapped. Styles teased a phenomenal forearm, but Nakamura rolled away to the floor. Styles then connected with a pescado forearm to the floor and left.
I wasn’t surprised by the finish and would expect they redo this at Backlash next weekend and didn’t want to do a title change or have Nakamura pinned again with the recent turn. I felt the WrestleMania match was better.
THE UNDERTAKER VS RUSEV IN A CASKET MATCH
Aiden English introduced Rusev and was ringside for the match.
Rusev retreated to the floor immediately to sell his fear of the casket.
The audience was electric at the start of the match.
Cole said ‘Taker is coming off a tremendous performance against John Cena at WrestleMania and looking better than he’s ever looked in his career. Cole must have entered a time machine during that match and transported to 2009.
‘Taker hit Old School and sent Rusev on top of the casket and he freaked out. Rusev attacked him with strikes, ‘Taker sent him into the barricade and landed a leg drop on the edge of the apron.
He rolled Rusev into the casket and English prevented it from being shut. He went after English, returned to the ring and took a Machka kick. Rusev took over, called for the Accolade and couldn’t even apply it fully with ‘Taker staying on his knees.
‘Taker sat up after the hold was released, they exchanged strikes leading to a chokeslam from ‘Taker and sent Rusev into the casket, chokeslammed English and hit English with a tombstone. He rolled English into the casket and slammed the casket shut with both inside.
WINNER: THE UNDERTAKER AT 9:37
Well, it was certainly better than The Undertaker’s match with John Cena at WrestleMania and this was outcome was set in stone the second was the match was announced and re-announced. The Undertaker was one of the biggest stars on the show.
BROCK LESNAR VS ROMAN REIGNS IN A STEEL CAGE MATCH FOR THE UNIVERSAL TITLE
The announcers played it up significantly that Reigns can only lose so many times to one person. Graves explained that Lesnar asked for this rematch.
Lesnar immediately attacks Reigns with four German suplexes and an F-5 with minimal reaction. He went for another F-5, Reigns popped off his back and hit three superman punches and went for the spear and stopped by Lesnar. Reigns attempted to climb over the cage and Lesnar stopped him.
Samoa Joe was shown watching backstage.
Reigns hit a spear, didn’t go for the cover and instead hit the second one, ran the ropes and hit a third spear. Reigns climbed on top and Lesnar kicked out. Reigns went for the door and Heyman slams the door shut, Lesnar hits another F-5 and Reigns kicks out.
Heyman sent a chair into the ring. Lesnar took his gloves off and grabbed the chair but was speared a fourth time and he kicked out. There have been four F-5s and four spears.
Reigns attacked Lesnar with the chair, hit another superman punch, called for another spear and he speared Lesnar through the cage and both crashed to the floor. The bell rung, and they ruled that Lesnar hit the floor first.
WINNER: BROCK LESNAR AT 9:14 TO RETAIN THE UNIVERSAL TITLE
It was clear Reigns feet hit first and Graves had to explain that Lesnar’s back counted as hitting first.
This went over better than the WrestleMania match to the live crowd but the finish would leave most unsatisfied given the finish of the WWE title match on the same show.
50-MAN ROYAL RUMBLE
They announced intervals are 90 seconds, which I’m sure will fluctuate throughout the match.
1. Daniel Bryan
2. Dolph Ziggler
3. Sin Cara
Ziggler tossed Sin Cara out for the first elimination and hung on as Bryan tried to eliminate him.
4. Curtis Axel
5. Mark Henry
Henry received a notable reaction and has been in the country all week doing PR. He placed Axel on the apron and headbutted him out to the floor.
6. Mike Kanellis
Kanellis ran in and was immediately clotheslined out by Henry for the Santino Marella spot of the match.
7. Hiroki Sumi
They explained he is a sumo wrestler that was trained by Akebono.
Henry and Sumi have a showdown with Henry eliminating him and then Bryan an Ziggler dumped Henry over to the floor.
Bryan snaps Viktor’s arm over the top and pulls him over the top to the floor for the elimination.
They are keeping the ring empty with Bryan and Ziggler clearing out everybody.
9. Kofi Kingston
10. Tony Nese
11. Dash Wilder
Hornswoggle hit a Samoan drop to Kingston, climbed to the top and was superkicked by Ziggler.
Nese eliminated Hornswoggle.
Somewhere in the middle of this, Wilder was eliminated too.
Saxton casually noted that Primo has flown under the radar during his 10-years in the WWE.
14. Xavier Woods
Woods saved Kingston from elimination and caught him on his back, they both climbed, and Kingston leaped off Woods’ back for a crossbody.
Nese tried to dance with Kingston and Woods, they lifted Nese and dumped him to the floor.
15. Bo Dallas
16. Kurt Angle
Angle delivered German suplexes and quickly eliminated Dallas and Primo, followed by eliminating Ziggler with a belly-to-belly with Ziggler lasting over 21 minutes.
17. Scott Dawson
They have kept Angle and Bryan away from each other so far.
Graves mocked Woods for shooting a double leg onto Angle and immediately stopped.
Elias cut a promo on his way to the ring while playing his guitar. He went to sing, ran into the ring and dumped Woods, Kingston, and Konnor all at once.
21. Luke Gallows
Bryan finally went after Angle with a dropkick to the knee, attacked with kicks and Angle went for the ankle lock. Angle hit the Angle slam to Bryan and the straps came down. Elias took Angle and just tossed him to the floor. It was a very anti-climactic elimination of Angle.
23. Drew Gulak
24. Tucker Knight
Gulak jumped on the back of Knight and was tossed off to the floor.
25. Bobby Roode
Roode sent Dawson into the corner and he fell over and onto the steps, he grabbed his back and was out.
27. Chad Gable
Gable lifted Tucker Knight and delivered an Electric chair.
28. Rey Mysterio
Mysterio came out to a big reaction. Byron Saxton was stunned, and Graves said he is looked at the promotional material he would have been aware of Mysterio’s involvement. His left arm was wrapped up from his injury this past March.
Mysterio used a huracanrana to eliminate Gallows.
29. Mojo Rawley
Rawley immediately eliminated Fandango.
30. Tyler Breeze
Breeze was almost tossed out by Rawley, Fandango caught him and placed him back on the apron, and Rawley shoved him to the floor.
31. Big E.
32. Karl Anderson
33. Apollo Crews
Crews tossed Gable out of the match.
34. Roderick Strong
Strong eliminated Rhyno with a flying knee.
It is very quiet, and the drag of the match is apparent.
35. Randy Orton
Apollo dove off the turnbuckle and nearly spiked himself as Orton was supposed to RKO him in mid-air. Orton eliminated Crews.
36. Heath Slater
37. Babatunde Aiyegbusi
He is from NXT and a former football player that hasn’t made it onto NXT television yet.
38. Baron Corbin
Corbin eliminated Roode and Strong.
39. Titus O’Neil
Titus slipped on the floor and slid under the ring. The announcers were dying of laughter and they replayed it twice.
40. Dan Matha
41. Braun Strowman
Strowman dumped out Babatunde and Matha immediately. Then he threw out Big E. and Slater.
42. Tye Dillinger
Titus and Dillinger were thrown out.
Mysterio landed a 619 onto Strowman, followed by a RKO from Orton.
Corbin clotheslined Mysterio out, Orton clotheslined Corbin out and then Elias sent out Orton when he snuck up from behind.
43. Curt Hawkins
Strowman is standing alone in the ring, he chased after Hawkins up the ramp and brought him back and eliminated Hawkins quickly.
Bryan and Elias are on the floor selling.
44. Bobby Lashley
Lashley had pyro for his entrance.
Lashley was the one to eliminate Elias after he was in for 35 minutes.
Bryan fired up and attacked Strowman and Lashley with running dropkicks.
45. The Great Khali
Khali delivered chops to Lashley, Bryan, and Strowman.
Lashley and Strowman worked together to dump Khali over the top and out.
Bryan’s chest is destroyed from the chops.
Bryan has set the new record after passing 65 minutes in the Rumble.
46. Kevin Owens
47. Shane McMahon
Shane hit Owens with his “punches”, hit a tornado DDT and danced around.
McMahon and Bryan had a faceoff and the audience perked up for the tease. They double-teamed Owens with kicks.
48. Shelton Benjamin
Owens has everyone gang up on Strowman.
49. Big Cass
Cass nearly fell over entering the ring.
Shane climbed to the top and hit the coast-to-coast dropkick to Strowman.
50. Chris Jericho
Jericho hit a codebreaker and eliminated Benjamin.
Strowman chokeslammed Shane off the top turnbuckle and through the table on the floor to eliminate Shane.
Strowman went on a big spree by eliminating Lashley, Jericho, and Owens.
It was down to Strowman, Cass, and Bryan.
Cass dropped Bryan with a boot and tossed Bryan out after 76 minutes and 10 seconds. Unless they do another 50-man version, that’s a length that probably won’t be touched.
Cass was crotched on the top and eliminated by Strowman with a running shoulder block.
WINNER: BRAUN STROWMAN AT 77:21
There was a trophy and championship title presentation inside the ring.
The show concluded with the largest fireworks display you will ever see.