Liam Hoofe predicts the results of WWE’s The Greatest Royal Rumble…
This Friday evening, the WWE will present their first ever ‘Greatest Royal Rumble’ event live from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The show will see every title defended (apart from the women’s, who are not allowed to perform at the show) and the first ever 50 man Royal Rumble match.
The company has put together a blockbuster card for the Saudi audience, so let’s take a look at each of the night’s matches and predict the results.
Seth Rollins Vs Samoa Joe Vs Finn Balor Vs The Miz for the Intercontinental Title
Rollins has been on fire so far in 2017, and he should be given a strong run with the Intercontinental title. Hopefully, after this match, Rollins and Balor enter into a feud, one which culminates in Finn getting his hands on some gold again. There is the possibility of The Miz winning here, and Jinder winning later in the night, but I don’t see that happening, Rollins is picking up the victory here.
Prediction: Seth Rollins Retains
Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt Vs The Bar for the Raw Tag Team Titles
Of all the matches on this card affected by the Superstar Shake-Up, this is the one that has definitely had the most excitement removed from it. The Bar’s move to SmackDown rules them out of picking up a victory here, and it looks as though Hardy and Wyatt are going to carry the tag division on Raw for the next couple of months. Hopefully, The Authors of Pain are instantly elevated up the card and are the ones to take the belts from them. As for The Bar, there are some mouth-watering prospects for them on Tuesday nights, so defeat here does them very little harm at all.
Prediction: Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt capture the tag team titles
Kalisto Vs Cedric Alexander for the Cruiserweight Title
The final match added to the card, the cruiserweight match between Kalisto and Cedric Alexander should be an entertaining, if not predictable outing. Kalisto won a gauntlet match on this week’s 205 Live to confirm his spot in this match, replacing Buddy Murphy, who failed to make weight for the bout. Of course, Murphy’s exclusion from the bout is kayfabe, and he will no doubt be facing Alexander at Backlash. Alexander is definitely retaining here, but this is still likely to be a great match.
Prediction: Cedric Alexander Retains
Jinder Mahal Vs Jeff Hardy for the US Title
Like the tag titles, the result of this was basically determined by the Shake-up. These two men actually put on a decent match on Raw, and Jeff managed to get more out of Jinder than the likes of Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura did during his WWE title run. This match should be fairly entertaining if they can recapture that, but there is no way Jinder is going to win the title back here.
Prediction: Jeff Hardy Retains
The Bludgeon Brothers Vs The Usos for the SmackDown Tag Team Titles
With the arrival of both Sanity and The Bar to Tuesday nights, the SmackDown tag team division is looking even better than it did before the shake-up, and there are plenty of exciting match-ups that we will be able to see in the coming months. The Bludgeons have been booked incredibly dominantly this year, and it makes sense to continue to build them until somebody can step up and stop them during the summer. The Usos will be fine here, providing they get to put in much more of a fighting effort than in their previous encounter.
Prediction: The Bludgeon Brothers Retain
John Cena Vs Triple H
A marquee match which has no rhyme or reason to take place other than the fact that the company needs a big match to promote in Saudi Arabia. Neither man has really bothered hyping this match, so it is difficult to decide which way it is going to go. Cena looks to be on a collision course for a rematch with The Undertaker somewhere down the line, however, so having him lose here would play into the story than Cena can no longer rise to the occasion anymore. Defeat won’t do either man any harm, but it would at least play into a bigger story with John Cena.
Prediction: Triple H Wins
The Undertaker Vs Rusev in a Casket Match
Well, this has been one hot mess of a match. In fairness, the crazy booking situation which saw Rusev removed from the match, only to be re-added, did at least add some excitement to the bout, and it does feel as though there is some sort of heat between the two stars heading into the match. This one is fairly straightforward to call though- The Deadman isn’t losing to Rusev here. In fact, don’t be surprised if, given Taker’s physical condition, this isn’t just a squash match.
Prediction: The Undertaker Wins
AJ Styles Vs Shinsuke Nakamura
Shinsuke Nakamura’s turn at Mania was the turn we all never knew we needed. The former NXT Champ has been excellent since turning heel and his character has developed more in the last few weeks than it did in the previous 12 months. Will he win the title at The Greatest Royal Rumble though? I don’t think so.
Fans have been desperate to see Shinsuke win the gold, and as a heel, he will no doubt make an excellent champion. The company should hold off just a little bit longer though, as there is plenty of mileage left in this feud yet. AJ should retain here, but a victory by disqualification, following yet another low blow from Shinsuke, is a smart move to continue the storyline and allow for a rematch later down the line.
There is every chance that these two men will steal the show on Friday night. The match between the two men at WrestleMania was a disappointment, but without the pressure of the grandest stage of them all, and with a legitimately interesting storyline running in the background, there is no reason these two men can’t deliver a match of the year candidate on Friday.
Prediction: AJ Styles wins via DQ
Roman Reigns Vs Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship (Cage Match)
Brock Lesnar’s victory over Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 34 was a huge surprise to everybody. Many fans expected Lesnar to be leaving the company for good after April 8th, with the former UFC champion likely to make a return to the Octagon. Of course, this didn’t come to pass, and Lesnar and Reigns will be meeting again in Saudi Arabia on Friday.
Will Reigns finally topple the Beast on Friday? I wouldn’t bet against it. The Jeddah crowd are likely to be much more welcoming of Reigns than a western one, and it also seems likely that the WWE would like to create some sort of historical moment at the event. Lesnar is, reportedly, on a pay-per-appearance agreement with the company, and if that is the case, it seems unlikely they would want to keep their top title on him for too long. The steel cage stipulation also allows Lesnar to lose the belt without eating the pinfall, which would protect him for when the company wants to use him again.
Prediction: Roman Reigns becomes the new Universal Champion
50 Man Royal Rumble Match
There is some serious talent involved in this match. With the prize being nothing more than just a trophy at the moment, the company could go any number of ways. They could give the victory to a legend, someone like Chris Jericho or Rey Mysterio for the sake of it, they could give it to someone completely out of left field like Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas to instantly establish them as a star in the company, or they could give it to someone who needs the win to just push them over the line into title contention. The latter of these seems most likely, and I’m torn between Braun Strowman and Daniel Bryan. I’m flipping a coin for this one and going with Brauuuuuun.
Prediction: Braun Strowman Wins