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KELLER’S WWE GREATEST ROYAL RUMBLE REPORT
APRIL 27, 2018
JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA
AIRED LIVE ON WWE NETWORK
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
-They opened with the Saudi Arabia national anthem followed by the United States national anthem playing over the sound system.
-A video package previewed the biggest matches on the show.
-Pyro blasted as Cole, Graves, and Saxton introduced the show. Graves said they were excited to be part of Saudi Arabia as they move toward cultural diversity as part of a 2030 plan, which Cole said they’d be talking about as the show progressed.
(1) TRIPLE H vs. JOHN CENA
Triple H walked to the ring without any special fanfare. Cole said Cena and Triple H asked to be in the opening match so they could have the honor of being the first match in this historic setting. Cena came out onto the stage with a lot of kids dressed in his merchandise.
They opened with a test of strength, which Cole called “old school.” He compared it to the late Bruno Sammartino. Hunter broke up the test of strength by kicking Cena, then mocked the “You Can’t See Me” routine. The crowd reacted to that with boos. Cole discussed how infrequently these two have wrestled over the years, but said their first match was in 2006. Byron said, “This is trademark Triple H, a slow, methodical pace.”
Hunter whipped Cena hard into the the corner turnbuckles and then strutted around. Graves said he was soaking up the moment, knowing he is in full control. The first near fall came after a knee driver to Cena’s face. Cole sold it like a possible finish. Cena countered a Pedigree attempt with an AA attempt, but Hunter held onto the top rope. Cena then gave Hunter a side slam and went into the You Can’t See Me routine. The crowd cheered as he held his hand up. Hunter countered with a back suplex which Cena sold he was knocked out by a sledgehammer. Hunter delivered a Five Knuckle Shuffle for a near fall.
They fought at ringside briefly where Cena shoved Hunter into the ringpost. Cena leaped off the top rope, but Hunter caught him mid-air and slammed him with a spinebuster for a two count. Cena kicked out. Hunter hit another spinebuster for another two count. Byron said how familiar they are with each other. Graves said they have likely studied tapes. (What are “tapes”?) Cole said “as we said earlier” it’s the first time in years they’ve gone one-on-one, which almost seemed like a counter to Saxton saying they were so familiar with each other.
Cena went into the You Can’t See Me routine again. Cena then hit the AA for very near fall. The crowd popped, thinking it was the finish. They showed kids in the crowd reacting with shock and excitement. Cena went for another AA, but Hunter countered with a Pedigree for a believable near fall. Cena followed up with an STF. Hunter countered into a crossface mid-ring. Cena stood while in the hold and delivered an AA. He catapulted Hunter into the corner and then hit another AA for the win.
WINNER: Cena in 16:00. (**)
(Keller’s Analysis: Very much what you’d expect from these two. Very basic, with a reliance on signature moves and spots the fans would be familiar with. They didn’t anything too risky.)
-Cena said: “What an honor and a privilege it is to be allowed to be a part of an event like today.” (Yeah, “allowed” is the key word.) He said regardless of what is going on in his universe, he wouldn’t miss this event for anything in the world. He thanked the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its unmatched hospitality that extends beyond this evening. He told them to enjoy the rest of the night and dropped the mic. Cole said it is “indeed an honor and a privilege” to be there. (I don’t think they know how poignant that word “privilege” is in this situation, considering the women actually aren’t given that “privilege.”
-A WWE Network commercial aired with the wrestlers singing about the two-branded PPVs.
(2) CEDRIC ALEXANDER vs. KALISTO – Cruiserweight Title match
During ring introductions they went to a three man announce team from Saudi Arabia. The lead announcer looked not a day over 14 years old. Cole said Kalisto began his career with a tour through Saudi Arabia. Cole noted Cedric hasn’t had a “televised match” since WrestleMania, and wondered if that would be a factor. (Not sure why televising his match would make him less rusty than wrestling matches that aren’t televised.) Cole cited the standing ovation Cedric got in the Cruiserweight Classic Tournament against Kota Ibushi which led to Triple H signing him. Kalisto did a springboard flip dive off the top rope a minute in. Cole said this is the first singles match between these two.
After a wide overhead shot they showed the Saudi Royal Family has space reserved at ringside, which included some empty seats. Cedric nailed Kalisto with a high dropkick to the head. Then they settled into a bearhug on the mat. Kalisto dazzled Cedric with a flip to the apron and then round kicked him in the head. Cedric tried to come back with a tilt-a-whirl move, but Kalisto also countered and scored a near fall mid-ring.
Cedric and Kalisto battled on the top rope, and Kalisto came out with a flip power move for a near fall. The crowd wasn’t responding nearly as much to these near falls and big moves as they did with Triple H and Cena. Cedric hit a Lumbar Check to counter the Selida del Sol for the win.
WINNER: Alexander in 11:00 to retain the Cruiserweight Championship. (**1/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: Nice match. They sprinkled in some more graceful athleticism than in the opener.)
(3) MATT HARDY & BRAY WYATT vs. THE BAR – WWE Raw Tag Team Championship
As Byron struggled to explain what happened to Bray, Cole jumped in and curtly said, “He fell in a lake and came out awoken.” It almost seemed like he was exasperated with Byron’s befuddlement at what happened. Cole said since they are guaranteed new champions, tag team titles in WWE will have changed hands in ten countries as of tonight because Braun Strowman & Nicholas vacated them because Nicholas had fourth grade class to attend. Graves touted the chemistry between Cesaro & Sheamus. Cole listed past Raw Tag Team Champions and said The Bar has held them more than any of them. Bray and Matt played to the crowd to encourage applause, but did so in a weird way, as Graves noted.
Cole said Sheamus & Cesaro are part of Smackdown Live at this point, but would return to Raw if they win this match. Cole said he’s not sure if the Saudi Arabian fans are sure what to make of the Leader of Worlds. Byron said, “Count me in on that.” Graves said it’s a long process, but everyone will eventually understand everything “except for you Byron.” Graves said Bray was freed of Sister Abigail who was a wicked succubus. Cole wondered if Bray’s finisher is still called Sister Abigail, then. Bray did the crab walk and then hit Sheamus with the Sister Abigail. He then tagged in Matt, who gave Sheamus an elevated Twist of Fate with Bray for the win.
WINNERS: Hardy & Wyatt in 9:00. (*1/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: Rudimentary match built around the quirks of the wrestlers more than seeming like a championship caliber battle. But it was fine for this spot on the card.)
-A video package aired for the U.S. Title situation.
(4) JEFF HARDY vs. JINDER MAHAL (W/Sunil Singh) – U.S. Title match
The crowd booed when he introduced Singh from the stage. Cole wondered about how Jinder will react to two losses this month on Raw, to Hardy for the U.S. Title and to Chad Gable. Cole said in 43 years of U.S. Title history, only two wrestlers have had a shorter reign than Jinder. Graves chided Cole for throwing salt in the wound. Hardy leaped off the ringside barricade early. Members of the Saudi royal family right on the other side of the barricade were standing with their backs turned during the ring, which looked peculiar. “What good is having a friend if they won’t help you cheat in a fight, Byron?” asked Graves. Replied Byron, “Apparently we have different lives.”
Jinder took over and dominated with what Graves called “Ruthless Aggression.” Jinder told Cole that he is the hometown wrestler because his hometown is only 2,300 miles away, whereas Cameron, N.C. where Hardy is from is 6,800 miles away. Graves said, “You can’t argue with those numbers. Math is math.” Hardy avoided a gut-buster and made a comeback and scored a near fall. Sunil distracted Hardy, giving Jinder an opening. He rolled up Hardy with a yank on his jeans for a near fall. Hardy fired back with a Twist of Fate. Jinder shifted into perfect position for the Swanton Bomb, but otherwise couldn’t move as Hardy climbed to the top and landed it. Hardy stood and applauded mid-ring as he celebrated and soaked up some cheers from the fans.
WINNER: Hardy to retain the U.S. Title in 6:00. (*1/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: Another rudimentary house show level match. A step above “going through the motions,” but not by much.)
-A Make-a-Wish video aired starring John Cena being knocked over by little kids dressed as super heroes.
-They went to the announcers at ringside, but it was just Graves and Cole. They joked about Saxton having gone missing. Then Cole explained he joined the panel – Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, and Booker T. Byron asked what they think so far. Ross said it’s been a little spicy because of the amazing atmosphere. Booker smiled and said, “And The Miz is coming up later.” Then he laughed uproariously for reasons that seemed completely lost by the panel, which awkwardly looked on and tried to figure out what to say next. Saxton said the community has opened their doors to WWE since their arrival.
-A video package aired about Saudi Arabia. The narrator said it’s a dawning of a new era because of the crowning of a new 32 year old prince. It spoke about the government moving forward “yet maintaining our culture and our heritage.” They talked about encouraging kids to participate in sports and “entertainment is one of the main pillars for human happiness.” (Having fun has never sounded so… clinical.) A woman talked about having a chance to drive and she teared up as she talked about how happy she is. She said Saudis are confident enough now to show their treasures to the world.
-Back to the panel, Saxton said everybody is appreciative of how they’ve been treated in their stay so far. He said it’s a night they’ll never forget. Lawler said they’ll never forget it. Booker said the menu has been the best and then laughed really loudly.
-An unnamed man (Mike Rome) interviewed Chris Jericho who called him both Mike and Tom. Mike told Jericho he’s been gone for a while and his name is Mike, not Tom. Jericho said he knows his name is Tom. He said Tom has a real beard and hair, whereas Tom’s beard is fake and he wears a wig. Jericho said because he told him his wrong name, he’s made “The List of Jericho.” Jericho began yelling at tech people who are making the list including the camera guy. He even named Ed Koskie, whom he said he saw in the background.
-Back to the panel, they talked about Jericho and Rey Mysterio coming back for the Greatest Royal Rumble. (It’s amazing what a giant payday will do to draw people back.) Booker said he was waiting for the invitation. Lawler said he’ll be waiting for his entrance music. Ross said this is Braun Strowman’s match to win and if he wins, “watch out.” (That’s what you say when there’s actually nothing concrete at stake.) Then they talked about upcoming matches.
-Rome interviewed Daniel Bryan backstage who said he appreciates wrestling more than ever after it was taken away and he plans to win the Rumble. “Yes!”
-Lawler said he likes Bryan in this match. Booker said he doesn’t. He said Bryan will have a bullseye on his back because he was the boss at one point. “You want to take a guy like that out,” Booker said. Byron threw back to Cole and Graves, who told Saxon he’s welcome to stay there at the panelist table and they could take it from here.
(5) THE BLUDGEON BROTHERS vs. THE USOS – Smackdown Tag Team Title match
Cole said Deuce & Domino beat Paul London & Brian Kendrick the last time a Smackdown-exclusive tag team championship changed hands outside of the United States. The Bludgeon Brothers went on early offense. Jimmy made a comeback and dove through the ropes onto both Brothers. He scored a two count in the ring against Luke Harper seconds later. Jimmy ducked a Harper lariat and landed a kick and then a hip attack in the corner. Harper no-sold it and charged into Jimmy in the other corner. Jimmy tagged in Jey. They double-teamed Harper. Jey landed a frog splash onto Harper’s face for a near fall. They went for a double splash off of opposite corners, but Rowan yanked Jimmy off the top rope. Harper took over during the distraction and tagged in Rowan. He slapped Rowan to get get him hyped up. They delivered their double-team powerbomb finisher for the win. Graves said he’s wondering if they can be stopped.
WINNERS: The Bludgeon Brothers in 5:00. (*1/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: This doesn’t help the Usos look like serious contenders when they lose this quickly and decisively. Who is going to be presented as a threat to the Bludgeon Brothers? Another rudimentary and short match.)
-A video package with wrestlers in the next match, a ladder match for the Intercontinental Title, speaking about it.
(6) SETH ROLLINS vs. SAMOA JOE vs. THE MIZ vs. FINN BALOR – Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Title
Cole said Seth is undefeated in ladder matches in his career. Samoa Joe came out second. During Miz’s entrance, a fireworks show blasted. Balor came out in plain black trunks with a silver stripe on the side, perhaps because he wants to go home after this event.
Seth dove through the ropes into Balor at ringside a couple minutes into the match, then did the same to Miz. Seth pulled a ladder out from under the ring, but Joe ran up and tried to take it. Seth and Miz shoved Joe into the ring apron, then Balor flip dove onto Seth and Miz. Joe jabbed Balor with the ladder, then slid it into the ring. Everyone battled for a chance to climb it. Seth blocked a Skull Crushing Finale attempt and shoved him head-first into the ladder. Seth yanked Seth off the ladder and then climbed it. Seth yanked him off it. When Seth and Balor climbed opposite sides of the ladder, Joe and Miz tipped it over. Miz then begged off when Joe gave him a look. He suggested they work together. They shook hands, but Joe didn’t let go and yanked Miz into him with a hard shoulder.
Joe leaned the ladder in the corner, but it fell. Joe then slammed Balor not the ladder. He leaned the ladder in the corner again and threw Seth into it. Balor gave Joe a Slingblade and dropkicked him into the ladder. The ladder fell onto Joe. Balor climbed to the top rope. Cole freaked out at the prospects of a Coup de Grace. Seth intervened with a superplex attempt. That led to Joe powerbombing both of them hard to the mat.
Miz gave Joe a Skull Crushing Finale on the ladder mid-ring. He looked around, alone in the ring, and set up the ladder. Seth ran in to stop Miz as he reached for the belt. Balor climbed next, but Miz knocked him down with a barrage of punches. Miz yanked him back to the mat. Miz gave Balor a neckbreaker, then turned to top Seth over as he climbed the ladder. Miz then gave Seth a DDT. Cole said this has turned into a Miz highlight reel.
Miz knocked Seth off the ring apron with a shove of the ladder. Balor then knocked Miz into the ladder and landed the Coup de Grace on Miz. Miz rolled to the floor. That left Balor in the ring alone. He set up the ladder and climbed. Joe ran and yanked Balor off of the ladder. Balor landed the Pelé kick. Joe came back seconds later with the Coquina Clutch. Balor countered and looked up at the IC belt again. Joe have Balor the urinage a minute later. He eyed the ladder, then climbed it. Balor stood and tipped the ladder over, knocking Joe onto the top rope. Joe rolled to the floor. Cole said this could be Balor’s night.
Balor climbed the ladder, but Seth leaped onto the ladder from the top rope and quickly grabbed the belt in a sudden sequence.
WINNER: Seth in 15:00. (***1/2)
(Keller’s Analysis: Good ladder match, well-paced, every big spot had room to breath. The finish was especially cool.)
-They went to the announcers at ringside. They showed to footage of tryouts held in Saudi Arabia last week. Matt Bloom held the tryouts. Triple H was also present giving his pep talk to them.
-Rome stood mid-ring with the four top prospects from the tryouts. Nassar, Hussein, Monsoour, and Fisal were each introduced to cheers. As they were speaking about what a great experience they’ve had with WWE, Shawn & Ariya Daivari came out. Shawn was waving the Iranian flag. They were booed. Ariya asked, “Is this what you call athletes in Saudi Arabia?” Boos. He called them pathetic and said they’re not real athletes. He said the best athletes in the world come from Iran. Ariya shoved Fisal. Fisal shoved Ariya down which got a big pop. Hussein kicked Shawn. Then Monsoour gave him a body slam. Then Nassar threw Shawn out of the ring into the arms of his brother. The crowd stood and cheered.
-An ad aired for Bruce Prichard’s podcast on demand on WWE Network, advertising that the latest episode is about Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage on-air and behind the scenes.
-Cole talked about passing time in the car with Graves on a road trip a couple years ago on the way to WrestleMania. Then he threw to a video package on the WWE Title match.
(7) A.J. STYLES vs. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA – WWE Title match
Nakamura brought the energy to his ring entrance with the remix of his entrance theme. Then Styles came out. Cole said Styles is so proud to defending his WWE Title with Bruno Sammartino on his mind. Nakamura bailed out at ringside after an early exchange. Styles planted Nakamkura with a faceplant. Both were slow to get up. Styles hit a neckbreaker over his knee. The crowd began singing Nakamura’s song even though they were popping for Styles. Nakamura gave Styles a spinning wheel kick. Both were down and slow to get up again. Nakamura stood first and face planted Styles again. Nakamura set up a kinshasa kick, but Styles countered with a roll-up. Styles then rolled Nakamura into a Calf Crusher. Nakamura cried out in agony. He eventually reached the bottom rope to force a break.
Nakamura suddenly up-kicked Styles. Styles springboarded toward Styles, but Nakamura caught him mid-air. He set up a top rope superplex. Styles slipped underneath and dropped Nakamura face-first over the top turnbuckle. They exchanged punches mid-ring. The crowd yelled along with each punch. Styles dropped Nakaura with a punch to the jaw, but then went for kicks. Styles ducked, but Nakamura slipped Styles into an armbar.
Styles springboarded at Nakamura, but Nakamura ducked and Styles almost hit the ref. Nakamura then gave Styles a low-blow. Styles grabbed the bottom rope to stop the count on Nakamura’s cover. Nakamura went for the Kinshasa against, but Styles popped up with a forearm. Nakamura rolled to the floor. Styles went after him at ringside seconds later. He charged and tackled Nakamura into the Saudi Arabia announce table. They continued to fight and got counted out. The crowd booed the finish.
Graves said this is so deeply personal, Styles wants to settle the score. Saxton said Styles just wants to hurt Nakamura. Styles tackled Nakamura over the barricade into the time keepers area. Styles then hit Nakamura with a chair.
WINNER: Styles retained the WWE Title in 15:00 after fighting Nakamura to a double countout. (***)
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m not surprised by the finish, or non-finish. It felt too early in the feud for Styles to win outright, but I didn’t anticipate a title change here. This just is a placeholder match until they continue their feud on the main PPV events in the U.S.)
-The announcers threw to a video package on Undertaker vs. Rusev.
(8) UNDERTAKER vs. RUSEV (w/Aiden English) – Casket Match
English sang on the stage as he introduced Rusev. Graves asked Saxton when was the last time the Undertaker won a Casket Match on Rusev Day. Saxton said he wouldn’t dignify that. As Taker walked out, Cole said no matter what continent he haunts, the reaction is the same. He called him the most awe-inspiring Superstar in WWE history. Taker gave fans their money’s worth on his long slow walk to the ring. They cut to a Rusev and English looking on with a sense of awe and intimidation. Cole noted that his first Casket Match was against Kamala and he’s had 16 in his career. When the lights came up and Taker stood the ring, the crowd burst into cheers.
Taker asked for the casket to be opened right after the bell rang. Rusev bailed out and paced in anger and angst at such a gesture. Rusev entered, then bailed out to ringside again. Taker pursued him this time and punched him and then threw him into the ring. Rusev stomped away at Taker when Taker re-entered the ring. Taker did the top rope walk and came down with forearm. Rusev freaked out when he rolled out of the ring and landed on the casket. English tried to calm him down and told him it wasn’t open, so relax. Cole said Taker’s opponents say casket matches against Taker are the most intimidating of their careers.
Rusev went after Taker at ringside, ramming him into the ringside barrier. Taker reversed Rusev into the ringside barricade. Then he rammed Rusev into the announce table. A loud “Un-der-taker!” chant broke out. Taker then gave Rusev a guillotine legdrop across his throat on the ring apron. Taker called for the casket to be opened. He rolled Rusev into it, but English blocked it being closed. Taker chased English up the ramp briefly. Rusev rolled out of the casket as that was going on. Cole said it was back to square one for Undertaker.
Rusev caught Taker with a round kick as Taker walked toward him in the ring. He kicked and stomped Taker. Taker came back with a punch that dropped Rusev. Then he delivered a headbutt. Rusev came back with a spinning wheel kick to the head. Rusev then applied an Accolade mid-ring. Taker appeared to be out, so Rusev released it. Then Taker sat up and went for a chokeslam. Rusev slipped out of it. They exchanged punches and Taker came out ahead and then chokeslammed Rusev. He put Rusev in the casket again, but English ran in and distracted Taker from closing the lid. Taker then chokeslammed English and gave him a Tombstone and a piledriver and put him inside the casket and closed the lid to win. Pyro blasted as Taker celebrated.
WINNER: Undertaker in 10:00. (**1/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: Again, formulaic but satisfying. Rusev and English were really good foils for Taker, and Taker looked like his body has been through a lot of battles but he did his signature spots and looked the part as much as he ever has.)
(9) BROCK LESNAR (w/Paul Heyman) vs. ROMAN REIGNS – WWE Universal Title match
Heyman took over introductions for Lesnar. Lesnar got a nice pop as he came out. Reigns was cheered but not as loudly during ring entrances. Lesnar hit four German suplexes at the start for a believable near fall. Lesnar followed up with one F5 and then went for another, but Reigns slipped free and landed three Superman Punches. When he went for a spear, Lesnar caught him. They showed Samoa Joe watching on a monitor backstage.
Reigns speared Lesnar two more times. Lesnar eventually stood. Reigns speared him a third time and scored a two count at 6:00. Reigns asked for the cage door to be opened, but when he tried to leave, Heyman slammed the door on his head. Cole said this is a no DQ match so that was technically legal. Lesnar then gave Reigns another F5 for a near fall.
Heyman slid a chair into the ring. Lesnar picked it up and swung, but Reigns speared him for a fourth time for another near fall. Cole said Lesnar has hit four German suplexes and two F5s and Reigns has his four spears and they’re still fighting. Reigns stood and bashed Lesnar across his back with a series of chairshots. Reigns hit another Superman Punch and then speared Lesnar again and they both went through the wall of the cage. Lesnar landed first on his back, so he was declared the winner. As Cole lamented the rules, Graves said those are the rules and everyone knew them. Cole called it a freaky accident.
WINNER: Lesnar in 9:00 to retain the WWE Universal Title. (**)
(Keller’s Analysis: They went through the motions well with their signature moves, but it’s starting to feel quite stale with a “been there, done that” vibe along with fans largely not having a passionate investment in the outcome. It was hard to get a read on the fans here, other than they weren’t the story of the match.)
-They announced that Styles vs. Nakamura was booked in a rematch for the WWE Title at Backlash.
-An ad aired for WWE Network.
(10) GREATEST ROYAL RUMBLE
The winner gets a trophy and commemorative belt.
Daniel Bryan came out first. Then Dolph Ziggler. Cole wondered what an achievement it would be for either of these wrestlers to survive the entire match. The crowd counted down the clock loudly and out came Sin Cara third. Ziggler eliminated Sin Cara (1). Curtis Axel came out next (with his own entrance theme, by the way). Then Mark Henry, who got a nice pop. Henry eliminated Axel (2).
Mike Kanellis came out next. Henry eliminated Kanellis (3) immediately. Out next was Hiroki Sumi. Cole said there were rumors he might be an entrant and talked about his 294 wins as a sumo wrestler. Henry eliminated Sumi (4) after which Ziggler and Bryan eliminated Henry (5). Out next was Viktor (from The Ascension). Bryan eliminated Viktor (6). Kofi Kingston entered next to a big crowd reaction. Then Tony Nese.
Then Dash Wilder (of The Revival). And then Hornswoggle, who eliminated Dash (6) with some help. Graves said with his low center of gravity, nobody is going to get him out of the match. Ziggler cut off Hornswoggle’s attempt at a Tadpole splash with a sueprkick, then Nese eliminated Hornswoggle (7). Out next was Primo and then Xavier. Kofi and Xavier eliminated Nese (8) together. Out next was Bo Dallas to his own Bo-lieve theme.
Then Kurt Angle came out for a big pop. Fans even sang the “You suck!” lyric to his music. Angle eliminated Bo (9) and Primo (10) next. Ziggler superkicked Angle, but Angle came back to eliminate Ziggler (11).
Out next was Dawson, then Goldust, then Konnor, and then Elias. Elias got the crowd to say the “Walk with the Elias” line along with him. He said “Elias is Universal!” Elias then surprised Konnor (12), Kofi (13), and Xavier (14) from behind with a shove as Kofi and Xavier were trying to shove Konnor out, eliminating all three about 28 minutes into the match at this point.
Luke Gallows came out next. Elias eliminated Angle (15). Rhyno entered. Then Drew Gulak and Tucker Knight (of Heavy Machinery). Knight eliminated Gulak (16). Bobby Roode came out next, who eliminated Goldust (17). Dawson tumbled over the top next (18). Next out were Fandango and Chad Gable. Then out came Rey Mysterio. Saxton and Cole were way too surprised to see Rey; Graves said they should have read the promotional material. Rey quickly eliminated Gallows (19). Mojo Rawley came out next and eliminated Fandango (20). Tyler Breeze was the 30th entrant. Mojo eliminated Breeze (21)
Big E came out next. He brought pancakes with him. Big E eliminated Tucker Knight (22). Then Karl Anderson entered, followed by Crews, who eliminated Gable (23) after a standing moonsault. Roderick Strong entered next, and he eliminated Rhyno (24) just past the 45 minute mark. Randy Orton entered next. He got a legacy star pop.
Orton gave an RKO to Crews as he flew off the top rope at him. He then eliminated Anderson (25), Mojo (26), and Crews (27). Heath Slater came out next. Then Babatune (from NXT), who once played some preseason games for the Vikings just Brock Lesnar once did. Baron Corbin entered next and he eliminated Roode (28) and Strong (29). Titus entered next. He ran down the ramp and actually fell under the ring. Cole and Graves could barely continue, they were laughing so hard. The camera actually missed it live, which indicates (as much as Titus’s penchant to be clumsy) that this wasn’t planned. Cole said, “That may be the greatest moment in Royal Rumble history. That may be the greatest moment ever.” (The happiest man in the world is Fred Ottman, a/k/a The Shockmaster at this point.) Cole told “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, winner of two Rumble, “Top that, Stone Cold!” Dan Matha from NXT entered next.
Braun Strowman came out to a big pop and quickly eliminated Babatunde (30), Matha (31), and Slater (32). Tye Dillinger came out next. Strowman eliminated Titus (33) and Dillinger (34). Mysterio eliminated Corbin (35). Orton eliminated Corbin (36). Elias eliminated Orton (37). Curt Hawkins entered next, about an hour into it.
Bobby Lashley entered next. Lashley eliminated Elias (38) which made Cole sad. Bryan returned to the ring with such fanfare and rallied against Strowman and Lashley. Great Kahli entered next, whom Cole said we hadn’t seen since he helped Great Khali win the Punjabi Prison match against Orton. Strowman and Lashley eliminated Khali (39).
Kevin Owens came out next and hit a series of cannonballs on various wrestlers. Cole said Bryan just broke the record for lasting the longest in a Royal Rumble at 65 minutes. Shane McMahon came out next. The crowd cheered. Cole said he has never been in a Rumble match before. KO awaited Shane’s arrival eagerly. Shane charged at KO to start. Shane and Bryan together kicked KO. Shelton Benjamin came out next. Owens got the other heels to attack Strowman with him. Big Cass entered next. Bryan went right after him. Shane climbed to the top rope, nearly lost his balance, and landed the Coast 2 Coast on Strowman.
The final entrant was Chris Jericho, who got a huge legacy star pop. He had Christmas Tree lights flashing on his vest. Jericho eliminated Shelton (40). Strowman saw Shane on the top rope and threw him onto an announce table to eliminate Shane (41) about 75 minutes in, revenge for giving him the Coast 2 Coast earlier. Strowman then eliminated Owens (42) and Lashley (43) and Jericho (44). Bryan went after Strowman, but Strowman wouldn’t budge. Cass gave Bryan a big boot and eliminated Bryan (45). (There are just a few missing eliminations, but they’re covered below.)
So it came down to Cass and Strowman. They turned and stared at each other. Strowman led the fans to cheer with his arms extended. Cass clotheslined Strowman and tried to give him a big boot to knock him over the top rope. Strowman dropped Cass over the top rope and shook it with Cass straddling it. Graves said if you’re seven feet tall, that still hurts. Strowman then eliminated Cass (46) to win. He got a big pop from the crowd.
-Tucker Knight of Heavy Machinery
-Babtunde (from NXT)
-Dan Matha (from NXT)
-Sin Cara (via Ziggler)
-Curtis Axel (via Mark Henry)
-Mike Kanellis (via Henry)
-Hiroku Sumi (via Henry)
-Mark Henry (via Bryan and Ziggler)
-Vicktor (via Bryan)
-Dash (via Bryan & Hornswoggle)
-Hornswoggle (via Nese)
-Nese (via Kofi & Xavier)
-Bo (via Angle)
-Primo (via Angle)
-Ziggler (via Angle)
-Konnor (via Elias)
-Kofi Kingston (via Elias)
-Xavier Woods (via Elias)
-Kurt Angle (via Elias)
-Drew Gulak (via Knight)
-Goldust (via Roode)
-Dawson (via Roode)
-Luke Gallows (via Mysterio)
-Fandango (via Mojo)
-Breeze (via Mojo)
-Tucker Knight (via Big E)
-Chad Gable (via Apollo)
-Rhyno (via Strong)
-Karl Anderson (via Orton)
-Mojo Rawley (via Orton)
-Apollo Crews (via Orton)
-Bobby Roode (via Corbin)
-Roderick Strong (via Corbin)
-Babtunde (via Braun)
-Dan Matha (via Braun)
-Big E (via Braun)
-Heath Slater (via Braun)
-Titus (via Braun)
-Tye Dillinger (via Braun)
-Rey Mysterio (via Corbin)
-Baron Corbin (via Orton)
-Randy Orton (via Elias)
-Curt Hawkins (via Braun)
-Elias (via Lashley)
-Great Khali (via Strowman, Lashley)
-Shelton Benjamin (via Jericho)
-Shane McMahon (via Braun)
-Bobby Lashley (via Braun)
-Kevin Owens (via Braun)
-Chris Jericho (via Braun)
-Daniel Bryan (via Cass)
-Big Cass (via Braun)
WINNER: Braun Strowman in 77:00.
-The announcers commented on replays of highlights from Braun’s performance. Cole said Shane still hasn’t moved since he landed on the announce table.
(Keller’s Analysis: This was very long, but also fast moving without any long dull stretches. It will forever be k known for the Titus stumble. That is seriously one of the funniest things in all of human history. Putting over Braun makes sense as his character should be the guy who just wins matches like this. Bryan’s chest was a completely mess of welts. Bryan got the consolation of breaking the record for lasting the longest of anyone in history. Shane got to be his usual Geek Show self by taking the big bump off the top rope through the table at ringside which was the bump of the light. Having Owens interact with both Shane and Jericho made sense and played off of their history. Big Cass being there in the end in a high profile finish with Strowman further solidifies that he’s a featured star on the rise, too.)
-Vince McMahon stood in the ring with Strowman and a rep from Saudi Arabia. Strowman held up the green belt and stood in front of the giant trophy. Fireworks shot off above the stadium in a glorious massive display. Cole signed off.