Greatest Royal Rumble was a professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event and WWE Network event promoted by WWE for their Raw and SmackDown brands. The event took place on April 27, 2018, at the King Abdullah Sports City's King Abdullah International Stadium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The event started at 7:00pm local time, it will aired live in the United States at 12:00pm eastern time, with a pre-show starting at 11:00am. The event featured all men's main roster championships being defended, in addition to the first ever 50-man Royal Rumble match. There has been controversy about the exclusion of female wrestlers in the event due to the limited rights of women in Saudi Arabia.
Since its creation in 1988 by Hall of Famer Pat Patterson, the Royal Rumble has been an annual event held by WWE and is typically shown on pay-per-view (PPV). The event is highlighted by the Royal Rumble match, a battle royal whose participants enter at timed intervals.
On March 5, 2018, WWE and the Saudi General Sports Authority announced the Greatest Royal Rumble, a live event to be held on April 27, 2018, at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The event is a part of a 10-year strategic multi-platform partnership between WWE and the Saudi General Sports Authority in support of Saudi Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia's social and economic reform program.
On March 19, 2018, WWE scheduled seven championship matches for the event: the WWE Championship, Universal Championship, Intercontinental Championship, United States Championship, Raw Tag Team Championship, SmackDown Tag Team Championship, and Cruiserweight Championship. On March 26, WWE announced three matches for the event: a ladder match between The Miz, Seth Rollins, Finn Bálor, and Samoa Joe for the Intercontinental Championship, a tag team match between Cesaro and Sheamus and The Hardy Boyz (Jeff and Matt Hardy) for the Raw Tag Team Championship, and John Cena against Triple H.
As revealed on March 22, 2018, the event will broadcast live on the WWE Network. It will also air on traditional pay-per-view in the United States and internationally. The event will also be the first WWE pay-per-view to feature Arabic commentary.
In the weeks leading up to the event, the WWE held tryouts in Saudi Arabia. From these tryouts, eight were selected to receive training by the WWE, which would include an opportunity to earn a spot in the Royal Rumble match itself.
On April 9, Brock Lesnar, who had renewed his WWE contract, was scheduled to defend the Universal Championship against Roman Reigns in a Steel Cage match, as a rematch from WrestleMania 34. On Raw following WrestleMania 34, Reigns expressed frustration about not being told about his future matches and opponents, singling out the steel cage match with Lesnar. Reigns alleged that there was a conspiracy against him. Samoa Joe, who had been out with an injury since January, came out and warned Reigns that Lesnar would beat him again.
On March 26, WWE scheduled a four-way ladder match between then-champion The Miz, Seth Rollins, Finn Bálor, and Samoa Joe for the Intercontinental Championship. At WrestleMania 34, The Miz lost the Intercontinental Championship to Rollins, thus making Rollins the defending champion.
On March 26, WWE also scheduled Cesaro and Sheamus to defend the Raw Tag Team Championship against The Hardy Boyz (Jeff and Matt Hardy). At WrestleMania 34, Cesaro and Sheamus lost the titles to Braun Strowman and 10-year-old Nicholas. The following night on Raw, Strowman and Nicholas relinquished the titles due to Nicholas being a fourth grader. Cesaro and Sheamus demanded their titles back, but Raw General Manager Kurt Angle instead scheduled them to face the winner of the four-team Tag Team Eliminator tournament for the vacant titles at the Greatest Royal Rumble.
At WrestleMania 34, The Bludgeon Brothers (Harper and Rowan) defeated The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) and The New Day's Big E and Kofi Kingston in a triple threat tag team match to win the SmackDown Tag Team Championship. On the following SmackDown, The Usos defeated The New Day to face The Bludgeon Brothers for the titles at Greatest Royal Rumble.
On April 11, after defeating John Cena at WrestleMania 34, The Undertaker was scheduled to face Rusev in a casket match, but he was replaced by Chris Jericho. This was explained with Rusev's wife Lana pleading with WWE officials to remove her husband from a dangerous casket match.
At WrestleMania 34, Jinder Mahal defeated Randy Orton, Bobby Roode, and Rusev in a fatal-four-way match to win the United States Championship. Eight days later, on the April 16 episode of Raw, Mahal was traded to Raw in the Superstar Shake-up and lost the championship to Jeff Hardy. After the match, Mahal immediately invoked his rematch for the Greatest Royal Rumble. Hardy was then traded to SmackDown the following night.
At WrestleMania 34, AJ Styles successfully defended the WWE Championship against Shinsuke Nakamura. After the match, as Nakamura was showing his respect to Styles, Nakamura attacked Styles with a low blow and a Kinshasa, turning heel. On April 17, after repeated attacks on Styles by Nakamura, it was announced that Styles would defend the title against Nakamura in a rematch at the Greatest Royal Rumble.
On the WrestleMania 34 pre-show, Cedric Alexander defeated Mustafa Ali in the WWE Cruiserweight Championship tournament final to win the vacant title. Two nights later on 205 Live, Buddy Murphy attacked the new champion during his celebration. Murphy was then scheduled to face Alexander for the title at the Greatest Royal Rumble, but he failed his mandatory weigh-in when he weighed 207 pounds, 2 pounds over the 205 pound weight limit. He was then removed from the match and banned from competing on 205 Live until he met the weight requirement. The followin week, Kalisto earned a Cruiserweight Championship match at the Greatest Royal Rumble by winning a gauntlet match.
The pay-per-view opened with John Cena facing Triple H. During the match, after trading finishers, and reversing each other's finishers, Cena hit Triple H with an Attitude Adjustment, a springboard into the corner turnbuckle, followed and another Attitude Adjustment to pick up the victory. Following the match Cena thanked the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for their hospitality, and expressed excitement over the event.
In the following match, Cedric Alexander defended the WWE Crusierweight Championship against Kalisto. The match ended when Alexander countered a Salida Del Sol attempt into a Lumbar Check to retain the title.
Next, the vacant Raw Tag Team Championship was contested between the team of Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy and the former champions, Cesaro and Sheamus. In the end, Hardy distracted Sheamus, allowing Wyatt to perform a Sister Abigail on him. Hardy and Wyatt then performed a wheelbarrow Twist of Fate on Sheamus to win the title.
Jeff Hardy then defended the WWE United States Championship against Jinder Mahal. Hardy performed a Swanton Bomb on Mahal to retain the title.
After that, The Bludgeons Brothers retained the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship against The Usos. Harper and Rowan retained their titles after performing a Double Crucifix Powerbomb on Jimmy Uso.
Next, Seth Rollins defended the Intercontinental Championship against Finn Balor, Samoa Joe and The Miz in a Ladder match. Near the end of the match, Finn Balor climbed the ladder to unhook the championship, but Rollins leaped from the top rope onto the ladder and managed to retrieve the title belt before Balor, thus retaining his championship.
Later, AJ Styles defended the WWE Championship against Shinsuke Nakamura. During the match, Nakamura resorted to various illegal tactics, such as a Low Blow, increasingly frustrating Styles. When the two brawled outside of the ring, the match ended in a double count-out. The brawl continued until Styles performed a Phenomenal Forearm over the top rope on Nakamura.
Then, The Undertaker fought Rusev in a Casket match, the first in 3 years. At the culmination of the contest, Undertaker hit a Chokeslam on Rusev before rolling him into the casket, however Aiden English prevented the former from closing it. Undertaker then retaliated by laying out English with a Tombstone Piledriver prior to dragging him into the casket alongside Rusev and closing it for the victory.
In the penultimate match, Brock Lesnar defended the WWE Universal Championship against Roman Reigns in a steel cage match. Lesnar delivered multiple German Suplexes during the match, and both men kicked out of each other's finishing moves. The match ended after Reigns speared Lesnar through the cage wall onto the floor. As Lesnar's back touched the ground first, he retained the championship.
Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler began the 50-man Royal Rumble match as the first two entrants. Bryan survived until the final 3, beating out Rey Mysterio for the longest time spent in a single Royal Rumble match of all time at an hour and 16 minutes. At the end of the match, Bryan eliminated Owens but was then himself eliminated by Big Cass. Cass then attempted a Big Boot on Braun Strowman, who ducked and knocked Cass over the top rope to win the match. Strowman also achieved the most eliminations of a single Royal Rumble match at 13, beating out a record previously held by Roman Reigns with 12. Post-match, Strowman received a trophy and a Greatest Royal Rumble belt.
|John Cena vs. Triple H||Preview|
|Cedric Alexander vs. Kalisto||Preview|
|Cesaro & Sheamus vs. Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt||Preview|
|Jeff Hardy vs. Jinder Mahal||Preview|
|The Bludgeon Brothers vs. The Usos||Preview|
|WWE Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match||Preview|
|A.J. Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura||Preview|
|The Undertaker vs. Rusev||Preview|
|Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns||Preview|
|50-man Royal Rumble match||Preview|
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- “Woken” Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt defeated The Bar (Cesaro & Sheamus) to win the vacated WWE Raw Tag Team Championship match (8:50)
- Jeff Hardy (c) defeated Jinder Mahal (w/ Sunil Singh) to retain the WWE United States Championship (6:10)
- The Bludgeon Brothers (Harper & Rowan) (c) defeated The Usos (Jimmy & Jay Uso) to retain the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship (5:09)
- Seth Rollins (c) defeated The Miz, Finn Bálor & Samoa Joe in a Ladder Match to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship (14:33)
- A.J. Styles (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura ended in a Double Count Out in a WWE Championship Match (14:26)
- Brock Lesnar (c) (w/ Paul Heyman) defeated Roman Reigns in a Steel Cage match to retain the WWE Universal Championship match (9:14)
Greatest Royal Rumble (4/27)
(Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson)
|Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson||3:35||Cesaro and Sheamus||Pin|
|The Revival||Pin||Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt||8:50|
|Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt||5:35|
|Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt||Pin|
(Titus O'Neil & Apollo)
Royal Rumble match entrances and eliminations
|1||Daniel Bryan||SmackDown||48||Big Cass||1:16:16||3|
|2||Dolph Ziggler||Raw||12||Kurt Angle||21:44||2|
|3||Sin Cara||SmackDown||1||Dolph Ziggler||1:18||0|
|4||Curtis Axel||Raw||2||Mark Henry||2:00||0|
|5||Mark Henry||Free agent||5||Daniel Bryan & Dolph Ziggler||3:27||3|
|6||Mike Kanellis||Raw||3||Mark Henry||0:03||0|
|7||Hiroki Sumi||Free agent||4||Mark Henry||0:46||0|
|10||Tony Nese||Raw||9||Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods||7:13||1|
|11||Dash Wilder||Raw||7||Daniel Bryan & Hornswoggle||1:26||0|
|12||Hornswoggle||Free agent||8||Tony Nese||1:00||1|
|13||Primo Colón||SmackDown||11||Kurt Angle||5:10||0|
|15||Bo Dallas||Raw||10||Kurt Angle||1:34||0|
|17||Scott Dawson||Raw||19||Bobby Roode||11:44||0|
|21||Luke Gallows||SmackDown||20||Rey Mysterio||9:16||0|
|23||Drew Gulak||Raw||17||Tucker Knight||1:47||0|
|24||Tucker Knight||NXT||23||Big E||10:08||1|
|25||Bobby Roode||Raw||29||Baron Corbin||17:44||2|
|27||Chad Gable||Raw||24||Apollo Crews||8:17||0|
|28||Rey Mysterio||Free agent||37||Baron Corbin||20:25||1|
|29||Mojo Rawley||Raw||27||Randy Orton||8:52||2|
|30||Tyler Breeze||Raw||22||Mojo Rawley||0:16||0|
|31||Big E||SmackDown||33||Braun Strowman||13:59||1|
|32||Karl Anderson||SmackDown||26||Randy Orton||4:25||0|
|33||Apollo Crews||Raw||28||Randy Orton||3:26||1|
|34||Roderick Strong||NXT||30||Baron Corbin||3:59||1|
|36||Heath Slater||Raw||34||Braun Strowman||7:38||0|
|38||Baron Corbin||Raw||38||Randy Orton||7:08||3|
|39||Titus O'Neil||Raw||35||Braun Strowman||4:42||0|
|40||Dan Matha||NXT||32||Braun Strowman||2:01||0|
|42||Tye Dillinger||SmackDown||36||Braun Strowman||0:29||0|
|43||Curt Hawkins||Raw||40||Braun Strowman||0:20||0|
|44||Bobby Lashley||Raw||45||Braun Strowman||14:38||2|
|45||The Great Khali||Free agent||42||Braun Strowman & Bobby Lashley||0:31||0|
|46||Kevin Owens||Raw||47||Braun Strowman||10:43||0|
|47||Shane McMahon||SmackDown||44||Braun Strowman||8:07||0|
|48||Shelton Benjamin||SmackDown||43||Chris Jericho||4:23||0|
|49||Big Cass||SmackDown||49||Braun Strowman||7:23||1|
|50||Chris Jericho||SmackDown||46||Braun Strowman||3:18||1|
Other on-screen talent
WWE has been criticised for holding the event in Saudi Arabia where women have limited rights which, as a result, omits female wrestlers from participating in the event. Triple H responded to the criticism: "I understand that people are questioning it, but you have to understand that every culture is different and just because you don’t agree with a certain aspect of it, it doesn’t mean it’s not a relevant culture...You can’t dictate to a country or a religion about how they handle things but, having said that, WWE is at the forefront of a women’s evolution in the world and what you can’t do is affect change anywhere by staying away from it....While women are not competing in the event, we have had discussions about that and hope that, in the next few years they will be." Women will be permitted to attend as fans, but only if accompanied by a male guardian. Forbes claimed "WWE will surely brandish countless shots of women in the crowd [...]. That’s not progressive. It’s propaganda" and stated that "backlash against WWE for its lucrative partnership with an oppressive kingdom has been relatively muted". Pink News posted an article about the corncern between the LGBT comminuty, since the country "prohibits homosexuality and gay people could be punished by death".
- WWE Greatest Royal Rumble Official Website
- WWE Greatest Royal Rumble kickoff show on WWE Network
- WWE Greatest Royal Rumble on WWE Network
- WWE Greatest Royal Rumble at CAGEMATCH.net
|2018 World Wrestling Entertainment pay-per-views|
NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia • Royal Rumble • Elimination Chamber • Fastlane • NXT TakeOver: New Orleans • WrestleMania • Greatest Royal Rumble • Backlash • NXT TakeOver: Chicago II • Money in the Bank • Extreme Rules • NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn IV • SummerSlam • Hell in a Cell • Super Show-Down • Evolution • Crown Jewel • NXT TakeOver: WarGames II • Survivor Series • Starrcade • TLC: Tables, Ladders, & Chairs