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.

Background

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.

Storylines

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.

A match between John Cena against Triple H was also scheduled on March 26.

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.

Event

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.

Main event

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.

Match Preview

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


Results

Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
(c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.

Tag Team Eliminator bracket

  First Round
Raw (4/9)
    Semifinals
Raw (4/16)
    Finals
Greatest Royal Rumble (4/27)
                           
  The Revival
(Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson)
Pin  
  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 Worldwide
(Titus O'Neil & Apollo)
5:07  


Royal Rumble match entrances and eliminations

     – Raw
     – SmackDown
     – NXT
     – Free agent
     – Winner
Draw Entrant Brand Order Eliminated by Time Elimination(s)
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
8 Viktor Raw 6 Daniel Bryan 0:51 0
9 Kofi Kingston SmackDown 14 Elias 16:34 1
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
14 Xavier Woods SmackDown 15 Elias 9:56 1
15 Bo Dallas Raw 10 Kurt Angle 1:34 0
16 Kurt Angle Raw 16 Elias 7:59 3
17 Scott Dawson Raw 19 Bobby Roode 11:44 0
18 Goldust Raw 18 Bobby Roode 10:04 0
19 Konnor Raw 13 Elias 2:25 0
20 Elias Raw 41 Bobby Lashley 34:04 5
21 Luke Gallows SmackDown 20 Rey Mysterio 9:16 0
22 Rhyno Raw 25 Roderick Strong 16:22 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
26 Fandango Raw 21 Mojo Rawley 3:42 0
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
35 Randy Orton SmackDown 39 Elias 10:58 4
36 Heath Slater Raw 34 Braun Strowman 7:38 0
37 Babatunde NXT 31 Braun Strowman 5:53 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
41 Braun Strowman Raw Winner 22:14 13
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

Commentators
Ring announcer
Interviewers
Pre-show Panel
Referees

Controversy

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".

See also

DVD release

  • Amazon.jpg [ WWE Greatest Royal Rumble on DVD]

External links

Greatest Royal Rumble previews

Greatest Royal Rumble MatchA.J. Styles vs. Shinsuke NakamuraIntercontinental Championship Ladder MatchJohn Cena v Triple HBrock Lesnar v Roman ReignsBludgeon Brothers v The UsosUndertaker v RusevJeff Hardy v Jinder MahalCesaro & Sheamus v Matt Hardy & Bray WyattCedric Alexander v Kalisto

2018 World Wrestling Entertainment pay-per-views

NXT TakeOver: PhiladelphiaRoyal RumbleElimination ChamberFastlaneNXT TakeOver: New OrleansWrestleManiaGreatest Royal RumbleBacklashNXT TakeOver: Chicago IIMoney in the BankExtreme RulesNXT TakeOver: Brooklyn IVSummerSlamHell in a CellSuper Show-DownEvolutionCrown JewelNXT TakeOver: WarGames IISurvivor SeriesStarrcadeTLC: Tables, Ladders, & Chairs

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.