WWE Greatest Royal Rumble
by Scrooge McSuck
- Presented LIVE on the WWE Network on April 27th, 2018 from the King Abdullah International Stadium from the beautiful city of Jeddah in the wonderful Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where women have little rights, homosexuality is illegal and punishable by death, and yet their dirty oil money was tempting enough for WWE to sign up and put on a WrestleMania caliber show where their roster of women aren't allowed to compete. Probably a good bet we aren't getting Finn's "Balor Club is for Everyone" LGBT entrance, either, unless WWE wants to risk a lynching. Don't worry, I won't harp too much on how deplorable it was for WWE to sell-out, because it's wrestling. Since when have standards and decency ever been a thing, especially in business?
- Byron Saxton, Jerry "The King" Lawler, and Booker T (and a mid-show appearance from Jim Ross) make up the expert panel on the Kickoff Show. Tons of line flubs and forgetfulness throughout. I don't usually rag on the Kickoff Show stuff, but this one was obviously below par and didn't do that good of a job of hyping the show, as if a bunch of people were forced to put over a product in a country they don't respect.
John Cena vs. Triple H:
We've got ten matches, including a 50-Man Royal Rumble. Please Hunter, DON'T GO THIRTY MINUTES. I have a life and a job to worry about, I don't have 19 hours on a Friday afternoon to recap Royal WrestleMania 34-B. Cena's "special entrance" is having to interact with some local children. They were probably forced at gun point to participate. They do the old Bruno and Hulk Hogan "lock-up and toss each other" spot to milk it, then a test-of-strength. They trade shoulder tackles. Hunter gets rolled up but pops up right away and hits a clothesline for two. Cena with two hard bumps into the corner. His comeback is cut short with a sleeper. Five Moves of Doom is interrupted. Hunter wins the slugfest, hitting Cena with a knee to the face for two. Cena counters the Pedigree and resumes the 5-Moves, but Hunter cuts off again and hits his own 5-Knuckle Shuffle for two. Cena blocks another Pedigree and sends Hunter to the floor. He goes for a missile dropkick but Hunter plants him with a Powerbomb. Hunter counters the STF and hits the spine-buster for two. Cena with the back suplex and 5-Knuckle Shuffle on the 3rd attempt, followed by an AA for two. Hunter with the Pedigree for two. Cena counters a sunset flip with a lazy transition into the STF, and Hunter counters that with his own cross-face. Cena powers up with Hunter on his back, hits an AA, slingshots him into the corner, and hits another AA for three at 15:45. Standard action across the board. Like a combination of late 70's style brawling, late 80's style house show formula, and the big exchange of finishers we know today. **1/2
WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match:
Kalisto won a Cruiserweight Gauntlet Match on 205 Live to earn this title opportunity. So much for smart money being on Mustafa Ali getting that spot. Lockup and Cedric goes for the arm. They flip through a series of counters until he settles with an arm-bat. Kalisto lands on his feet to counter the handspring hurricanrana and hits his own. He sends Cedric over the top rope and follows with a springboard 450 plancha. Alexander comes back with a roundhouse kick and somersault senton for two. Dropkick to the face for two. Kalisto escapes a waist-lock bear-hug, hits a roundhouse kick, followed by a springboard body press. Superkick to the midsection, short-rana, and Tornado DDT for two. Cedric with a Michinoku Driver for two. Kalisto counters the springboard clothesline and takes Cedric down with a Super Spanish Fly for two. They do a big sequence of counters, ending with Cedric turning the Salida del Sol into the Lumbar Check for three at 10:14 to retain. Good match. Short on time, but they squeezed in what they needed. ***
Cedric Alexander (c) vs. Kalisto:
WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Match:
The Finals of the "Tag Team Eliminator." Apparently, the word "Tournament" is now banned, too. Sheamus and Cesaro will move back to Raw if they are to win tonight. Cesaro and Hardy lockup to the corner. The clean break turns into an exchange of words ("Delete!" And "The Bar!"). Wyatt and Hardy with a combo shoulder tackle and back breaker. Sheamus with a boot to the face but Wyatt comes back with a clothesline. Hardy and Wyatt with a leg drop and senton combo. This crowd does NOT care for the Woken Warriors outside of the "Delete" chant. Hardy with a neck breaker on Sheamus for two. Cesaro hangs Hardy up across the top rope to swing momentum on their side. Double clothesline and knee to the chest for two. Cesaro with an uppercut and gut-wrench suplex for two. Sheamus with a knee to the face for two. Hardy with a surprise roll-up for two. Cesaro with the Decapitation Elbow for two. Hardy with the Side Effect and hot tag to Wyatt. He hits a clothesline, followed by a corner avalanche. Crisscross and Wyatt with the mid-ring collision for two. Sheamus interrupts Sister Abigail and hits an assisted White Noise for two. Cesaro gets taken out with a Twist of Fate. Sheamus sets for Brogue Kick, but Wyatt Spider-Walks to stop him in his tracks. Hardy with the distraction and Wyatt with Sister Abigail. Assisted Twist of Fate finishes at 8:52. Paint-by-Numbers action. **1/4
Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt vs. Sheamus & Cesaro:
WWE United States Championship Match:
If Mahal wins, the United States Title returns to Monday Night Raw. Mahal immediately targets the injured knee of Hardy. Hardy creates separation with a jaw buster, followed by a dropkick. He follows Mahal to the outside and gingerly runs the barricade to hit a plancha. Singh with a distraction, buying Mahal a moment to rock Hardy with a forearm. Mahal springs off the bottom rope with knees across the chest. Mahal with a swinging neck breaker and jumping knee drop for two. Mahal avoids a Twist of Fate and both men go down on the double clothesline. Hardy counters a gut-buster. Dropping the legs across the midsection and hitting a basement dropkick for two. Hardy with a double boot in the corner. They blow Whisper in the Wind in spectacular fashion, and Mahal sells it anyway! Hardy with a slingshot double-boot into the chest. The shirt comes off, and I'm amazed one of the Saudi guards doesn't shoot him. Hardy blocks the Khallas. Mahal with a roll-up and handful of jeans for two. Hardy with a "Twist of Fate" and Swanton Bomb to retain at 6:12. These guys weren't on different pages, they were in different sections of the book shelf. The usual effort from Jinder Mahal (Worst Match of the Night candidate). *
Jeff Hardy (c) vs. Jinder Mahal (w/ Sunil Singh):
WWE Smackdown Live Tag Team Championship Match:
We know Naomi won't factor into the finish, so expect the Bludgeon Brothers to win a short contest. Michael Cole has spouted off tidbits all night about "the last time such-and-such title changed hands outside of America." In the SD Tag Titles case (old version), DEUCE and DOMINO were the ones to do it. I'm glad I stopped watching at that point. Jey lays into Rowan (who has a first name, again) but runs into a dropkick. Harper with strikes in the corner. Rowan with a pump-handle into a back breaker, followed by a splash for two. Rowan with a head vice as Cole incorrectly identifies Sgt. Slaughter as deceased. Rowan and Harper both miss corner attacks, allowing Jimmy to get the tag. He hits Harper and Rowan with no-hand planchas. Back inside, Jimmy with a body press on Harper for two. He ducks the discus lariat and hits a spinning roundhouse kick. Jimmy with the running hip attack. Harper pops up to sandwich him in the corner. The Usos with a double boot and double Super-Kick. Rowan gets taken out with double Super-Kicks. Jey with the Splash on Rowan for two. Rowan pulls Jey off the top rope and lays him out with a heel kick. Jimmy gets dumped and Rowan runs him over too. Back inside, Rowan with the avalanche, and the assisted Powerbomb finishes at 5:11. Same old non-stop action match these teams have been having for weeks. **1/2
The Bludgeon Brothers (c) vs. The Usos:
WWE Intercontinental Championship; Ladder Match:
With Jeff Hardy retaining the US Title, it seems almost inevitable that Rollins is walking away Champion when this one is over. If the Miz were to win, he'll tie Chris Jericho for most reigns (9). Miz/Balor and Joe/Rollins are the splits. Balor rolls through a sunset flip and hits Miz with a basement dropkick. Joe sends him to the corner and hits the spinning roundhouse kick. Rollins with boots to Miz and Joe, followed by a double Block Buster. Balor avoids the knee, Rollins blocks 1916, and sends Balor to the floor. He follows with a Suicide (Bomber) Dive in front of the Saudi commentators. Miz and Rollins sandwich Joe against the ring with a ladder and Rollins takes everyone out with a tope con hilo. Joe drop toe holds Rollins onto a ladder and works Balor over in the corner. Balor comes back with a leg sweep and double stomp with Joe resting on the piece of hardware. Miz pulls Balor off the ladder and boots him in the face. Rollins blocks the Skull Crushing Finale and clotheslines Miz out of the ring. Balor and Rollins get wiped out attempting to climb. Miz asks for mercy and gets none from Joe. He plants Balor with a slam across the ladder, then uses it as a battering ram on Miz. Balor with a sling-blade and shotgun dropkick. He rests the ladder across Joe for a Coup de Grace, but Rollins interrupts for our obligatory Tower of Doom. Miz with the Skull Crushing Finale on Joe across another ladder.
Seth Rollins (c) vs. Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe vs. The Miz:
Miz fights off both Rollins and Balor at the top of the ladder. Back breaker and neck breaker to Balor and a short DDT to Rollins. Miz uses the ladder to knock Rollins off the apron and onto the table. Balor knocks Miz onto the ladder and comes off the top with a Coup de Grace. Joe returns, only to eat a Pele Kick. He rips Balor off the ladder and hooks the Coquina Clutch, but Balor rolls through and hits another double stomp. Joe revives again, planting Balor with the uranage. Joe with his first climb attempt but Balor pushes him over. Rollins jumps in from out of nowhere and snatches victory from Balor's hands to retain at 14:35. That was out of nowhere, but a pleasant change from the usual Ladder Match finishes. Best match of the night, so far. Not much when it comes to creative spots, but a lot of good use of the ladder and everyone looking crisp. ****
- We get an in-ring segment celebrating some of the trainees at the latest Performance Center tryouts in Saudi Arabia. Ariya and SHAWN DAIVARI interrupt for some cultural uncomfortableness. They get worked over by the potential recruits in a segment that's a waste of my time.
WWE Championship Match:
Rematch from WrestleMania. Nakamura has hit Styles in the genitals every week on Smackdown since turning heel, and has a remix version of his theme song, with lyrics, to discourage fans singing along with it. Nakamura escapes a waist-lock, working on the left arm. Styles rolls through into a counter. Nakamura with a boot to the chest before rolling to the floor for a breather. Back inside, Styles with a side headlock. Nakamura forces a break in the ropes and taunts. Styles takes a knee to the midsection but quickly comes back with a dropkick. Snap mare out of the corner and kick to the back for two. Nakamura catches Style in the corner with a boot to the face. They get caught in the ropes again, and this time Nakamura clips the knee and stomps Styles out of the ring. Nakamura rolls out, hits a running knee to the side of the head, and comes off the apron with a knee across the back. Back inside, Nakamura with repeated pin attempts for one-counts. Nakamura with Good Vibrations in the corner, followed by a snap mare and knee drop for two.
A.J. Styles (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura:
Styles with elbows to escape a chin-lock. He flips out of an Exploder and connects with a sit-out face-plant. Styles with clotheslines, snap mare, and sliding forearm. Diving forearm in the corner followed by the Ushigoroshi for a near fall. Nakamura makes it to the ropes to block a Styles Clash attempt. Whip to the ropes is countered with a knee and Shinsuke with a spinning heel kick. Shinsuke slides in with knees to the side of the head, then plants Styles with a sit-out gourd buster. Nakamura sets up in the corner for the Kinshasa, but Styles counters with a roll-up for two. Styles with the Calf-Crusher, but Nakamura gets to the ropes. Styles goes for the leg again and gets caught with an enzuigiri. Nakamura meets a double boot in the corner but is aware enough to catch Styles trying to springboard in. He rests Styles across the top turnbuckle and hits the running knee lift for two. Nakamura positions Styles across the top rope and hits him with a roundhouse kick. Styles slides between the legs to avoid a Super-Plex and sweeps Nakamura off, dropping him face-first across the turnbuckle pad.
They trade forearms in the center of the ring. They each go through a big flurry of strikes until Nakamura goes for the cross arm-breaker. Styles counters, stacking Nakamura up for two. Styles with the Pele Kick. He sets up on the apron for the Phenomenal Forearm, but Nakamura ducks and hits him low blow behind the referee's back. Cover and Styles grabs the ropes at two. Kinshasa is countered with a diving forearm, knocking Nakamura out of the ring. Styles follows, tackling him over the Saudi announcer's table. Styles tosses him into the barricade as the referee counts both men out at 14:27. Styles keeps punishing Nakamura, clotheslining him over the barricade, into the time-keepers section. Nakamura bails out of the ring, so Styles hits him on the floor with a slingshot forearm. Better match than WrestleMania but with a worse finish to keep things alive for Backlash. ***1/2
Casket Match: The Undertaker vs. Rusev (w/ Aiden English):
We'll set the over/under at 5-minutes for this one. I can't imagine it going too long, or being too competitive, after watching Cena get squashed at WrestleMania 34. For those keeping track of this sort of thing, from opening gong until the music ends, Undertaker's entrance is 5:47. Twice the length of his match with Cena. Rusev plays the cowardly heel when he sees the casket open. Undertaker follows him to the floor and unloads with rights. Rusev works Taker over in the corner but Taker no-sells, tosses Rusev into the corner, and gives him a flurry of strikes. Undertaker wrings the arm and goes Old School. Rusev gets tossed onto the casket and he freaks out again. Rusev drags Taker out and pays for it, being thrown into the barricade. Undertaker with the leg drop across the apron. English prevents the casket from being closed, buying Rusev time to recover. Rusev takes control with a roundhouse kick. Taker gets the better of a slugfest. Whip to the ropes and Rusev with a spinning heel kick. Rusev with the Accolade. Taker sits up and plants Rusev with the Choke-Slam. English runs in to take a Choke-Slam, gets planted with the Tombstone Piledriver, and Undertaker closes the lid on both of them at 9:38. Casket Matches in general are hard to make good, and when it's a meaningless match, there's no interest. ½*
WWE Universal Championship; Steel Cage Match:
I'm sure the Saudi Arab will get behind Roman instead of Brock... right? Lesnar side-steps Roman and takes him down with the usual release German suplexes. I feel like I'm playing a video game where someone spams the same moves over and over when I watch Lesnar. It was cool the first time, and ever since, it's been more and more annoying. Lesnar with an F-5, as if that's enough to keep a Big Dog down. Reigns slips out of a second F-5 and hits Lesnar with three Superman Punches. Reigns charges into the corner and gets caught on the shoulders. He gets on the cage and climbs, but Lesnar pulls him back by the chest protector (wuss). Roman somehow stops Lesnar from the slowest climb in history and takes him down with a Powerbomb. Roman connects with two Spears. Roman bounces off both sides of the ring for a third Spear for a near fall. Heyman slams the door on Reigns' face and Lesnar plants him with an F-5 for two. Heyman tosses a chair into the ring. Reigns surprises Lesnar with the 4th Spear for another two-count. Roman with chair-shots across the back. Reigns with a 5th Spear, taking both men through the cage wall! Heyman argues Lesnar landed first... and indeed, is declared winner at 9:17. "Are you kidding me?" Michael Cole with the line of the night. Same old match until the cheap finish. **3/4
Brock Lesnar (c) (w/ Paul Heyman) vs. Roman Reigns:
50-Man Royal Rumble Match:
Remember that WWF No Mercy game on N64, with the 100 Man Rumble Mode? We're half-way there in real life. This is going to be a long recap, so grab a cup of coffee or something. 90-second intervals (allegedly) for those keeping track (and we all know you are). #1 is Daniel Bryan and #2 is Dolph Ziggler. To quote Gorilla Monsoon, I can guarantee that neither of these men will be there in the end. Both immediately start trying to toss the other, unsuccessfully. Whip and Dolph with a dropkick. #3 is Sin Cara. Geek Count #1. He hits both men with an Asai Moonsault. Crisscross and springboard body press on Bryan followed by a flying senton. Sin Cara counters the Super-Kick the first time, but not the second, and he's gone at 3:07. #4 is Curtis Axel. The best part about him is the Mr. Perfect theme remix. He works over Dolph in a very boring manner. #5 is Mark Henry (I luckily predicted that before he came out, and with an accelerated clock). He's out of retirement for ONE NIGHT ONLY. Henry puts Axel over and out at 5:50. Bryan and Dolph from behind with no luck. #6 is Mike Kanellis. Like Axel, the best part of him is the music. He's in MUCH better shape since he debuted on Smackdown last year. Henry clotheslines him out at 6:49 as they try to break the old record of 1.2 seconds. #7 is Hiroki Sumi. Uh... Google it, I don't care. They have the least heated stare-down in Rumble history. Henry throws the fat bastard at 9:00, then Bryan and Dolph dump Henry at 9:06. Dolph with his first true teased elimination spot. #8 is Viktor. Dolph with another tease. Flying high knee to Bryan. Bryan cranks the arm from the apron and pulls Viktor out at 10:21. #9 is Kofi Kingston. This match is meaningless, let him win. He takes down both Ziggler and Bryan and hits the Boom Drop on Dolph. #10 is Tony Nese. They bothered to import Cruiserweights for this match?! He shows off his athleticism and lays into Kofi with leg strikes.
#11 is Dash Wilder. This Rumble is starting to resemble 1995 when it comes to geek-to-star ratio. Wilder lays out Nese with a stomach buster. #12 is Hornswoggle. Aere you f#%&ing kidding me? Please tell me he's not eliminating someone. He pulls Wilder out at 14:38. WOW. He hits Kofi with Shin Music and hits a Little White Noise. Hornswoggle goes to the top and Dolph knocks him silly with a Super-Kick. Nese pulls him to his feet and hits him with a knee for the elimination at 15:46. THANK YOU. #13 is Primo. For such a hot location, there's no heat. Primo blows a spot in the ropes. Could be worse, I guess. Bryan with a Tornado DDT on Kofi. #14 is Xavier Woods. As if he'll work with Kofi to eliminate anyone. Kofi ends up on Woods back on the apron for our big tease. Kofi's starting to run out of ideas. Woods climbs the ropes, with Kofi still on his back. Kofi uses Woods as a platform to take out Primo, Dolph, and Bryan. Nese joins their celebration and this guy has upgraded to Super Geek. Woods and Kofi hoist him up and toss him at 19:20. #15 is Bo Dallas. Graves compares Bo looking for a career resurgence, like Tim Tebow joining the Mets. #16 is Kurt Angle. Finally, a star... from the early 2000's. He hits all the geeks with release German suplexes. Dallas is tossed at 21:24, and Primo at 21:27, both by Angle. Dolph charges and takes a belly-to-belly over the top at 21:44. #17 is Scott Dawson. The Revival have become so insignificant, I wrote his name as "Dawkins." SAD. #18 is Goldust. He plants Woods with a snap power-slam. Bryan with a flying knee on Kofi. Goldust tries tossing Bryan, but he hangs onto the ropes. #19 is Konnor. Is Konnor going to win the Royal Rumble? The answer is no. Woods and Kofi work over Konnor as this crowd continues to nap or pray or whatever the f*ck they do in their spare time. #20 is Elias. Michael Cole marking out for him is up there with Matt Striker at the 2010 (or was it 2011) Rumble. For the record, that's not a good thing, that's a bad thing. Is it sad ELIAS counts as a star appearance in this geek-fest? He dumps Konnor, Woods, and Kofi in one swoop at 27:28.
#21 is Luke Gallows, one half of the Good Brothers, Club, and Magic Killers. Angle throws Bryan on his head, but Bryan no-sells, clips the leg, and lays into Angle with Yes-Kicks. Angle blocks the roundhouse and goes for the Ankle-Lock. Bryan escapes, so Angle takes him down with the Angle Slam. The straps come down and Elias tosses Angle at 29:08. #22 is Rhyno. He gets thicker every time I see him. #23 is Drew Gulak. Hmm... I thought he wasn't allowed in, for whatever reason. He stomps Bryan down in the corner. #24 is Tucker Knight. Of the NXT guys to use...? Bryan and Gulak try having a wrestling match in this sea of nothingness. Gulak hops on his back for a sleeper but Knight tosses him at 32:41. #25 is Bobby Roode. I like how the action is a complete afterthought for his entrance. Shows how meaningless the action is. Roode hits Elias with a Block Buster. Goldust gets dropkicked off the apron at 33:58. Roode tosses Dawson in an awkward slingshot spot at 34:25. #26 is Fandango. Even the commentary team has given up taking this thing seriously. #27 is Chad Gable (with American Alpha music). He plants Knight with an electric chair drop. #28 is Rey Mysterio. Graves laughs at Cole and Saxton for not looking at the promotional material when they act surprised. He takes Gallows out with a head scissors at 37:27. 6-1-9 to Roode is interrupted by Fandango. He throws Rey into Gable and Rey plants him with a Tornado DDT. #29 is Mojo Rawley. Nobody cares. He knocks Fandango out at 38:31. Lots of hugging taking place. #30 is Tyler Breeze. He goes after Mojo and gets tossed to the apron. Instead of getting knocked out, he jumps into Fandango's arms. Back to the apron and Mojo casually pushes him off at 40:09. Cute spot.
#31 is Big E. This match is never going to end. He offers Tucker a handful of pancakes and spanks his booty in an abdominal stretch. Big E with the Big Ending, and Tuckey is gone at 42:10. #32 is Karl Anderson. He plants Roode with a spine-buster. Big E runs him over and tosses him to apron, but he hangs on for dear life. #33 is Apollo Crews. I see he has his last name, again. He hits Gable with a roundhouse kick and standing moonsault before tossing him at 44:15. Bryan fights out of an elimination attempt from Apollo. #34 is Roderick Strong. He comes out to Undisputed Era's theme music. He chops everyone and hits Elias with a dropkick. Back breakers to Elias, Anderson, and Mysterio. End of Heartache to Big E. Rhyno gets thrown over and knocked out with a jumping knee at 46:07. Strong and Bryan have a chop-off. #35 is Randy Orton. RKO to Apollo coming off the top rope. Anderson gets tossed at 47:14. Mojo is gone at 47:20. Crews is thrown out at 47:25. #36 is Heath Slater. Bryan's chest is disgustingly red. Slater runs wild but can't get Elias out. #37 is Babatunde. He's a giant from NXT who's so green he's not allowed on TV or to work longer than 3-minutes at shows in front of 300 people. He runs the ropes and hits Roode with a shoulder tackle. #38 is Baron Corbin. He pulls Elias out of the ring and throws him into the steps. Rey hits the ropes and takes the best Deep Six of all-time. He counters Strong's jumping knee with a clothesline, then tosses Roode at 51:16. Strong is gone at 51:22. Corbin goes after Babatunde for an anti-star classic. #39 is Titus O'Neil and HE F*CKING EATS IT RUNNING TO THE RING, FALLING AND SLIDING UNDER THE RING. Seriously, that might be the greatest moment in Royal Rumble Match history. WE GET INSTANT REPLAY for the historic moment. Screw the rest of the match, the best moment already took place. #40 is Dan Matha. Another odd choice from NXT, especially since he debuted only as a punching bag for Samoa Joe. Here's another replay of Titus' entrance. Screw Rey going 62 minutes or Shawn going coast-to-coast, THIS IS THE GREATEST MOMENT IN THE HISTORY OF THE SPORT.
#41 is Braun Strowman. Time to clear the ring. He throws Babatunde with ease at 55:14. There goes Matha at 55:21. He fights out of Big E's grip and throws him out at 55:34. Heath Slater is the next victim at 55:47. Yet Titus is still in the match. The rest of the field (sans Bryan, playing dead) gang up on Strowman. #42 is Tye Dillinger. Seriously, he couldn't come out at #10?! Strowman does the monster roar spot and tosses Titus at 56:44 ("go back under the ring, Titus!"). Dillinger goes flying at 56:54. Orton with a dropkick to Strowman, Mysterio hits the 6-1-9, and Orton caps it with an RKO. Mysterio with a seated senton on Orton. Corbin tosses Rey to the apron and knocks him out at 57:37. Orton clotheslines Corbin out at 57:44. Elias sneaks in and tosses Orton at 57:48. #43 is Curt Hawkins. He runs like hell away from the ring, but Strowman catches up to him, drags him to the ring, and throws him out at 59:17. Elias avoids a charge, sending Strowman into the post. #44 is Bobby Lashley. He gets pyro! He runs over Elias with a clothesline and plants him with a slam. Lashley with a running shoulder to the midsection. Elias escapes a suplex and hits a high knee. Lashley catches him off the ropes with a back breaker and tosses Elias at 61:26. Bryan sneaks back in and hits Strowman and Lashley with corner dropkicks as he surpasses Rey's record for time in a Royal Rumble Match. #45 is The Great Khali. How many immobile giants are allowed in this crap? Hassan-Chop to all three men in the ring. Strowman and Lashley team up to toss him at 63:49. Wow, what an appearance. Lashley and Strowman go down with a double clothesline. #46 is Kevin Owens. He's getting the honors to toss Bryan, isn't he? He hits everyone with cannonballs. Owens hangs Bryan up across the top rope and hits a Pop-Up Powerbomb. #47 is Shane McMahon. Is there a cage he can fall off of? He throws some ugly punches at Owens and comes off the ropes with a diving elbow. Bryan (looking absolutely brutalized) and Shane have a face-to-face but decide to work on Owens. #48 is Shelton Benjamin. He has a track record of not lasting long. He takes Shane down and unloads with rights and lefts. Strowman shoves him off trying to a hit a step-up knee strike. Owens tries to rally the troops to get Strowman, but he's unbeatable. #49 is Big Cass. DANIEL BRYAN IS STILL IN THERE. Cass slips coming in (caught in the traffic of another monster roar spot). Shane hits the Coast-to-Coast on Strowman, knocking him through the ropes. Cass with a fall-away slam on Lashley.
#50 is Chris Jericho, finally rounding out the field. I swear, I wrote the line about Bryan being there at the end as it was happening live. Jericho and Owens have their slugfest as everyone else plays dead. Jericho with an elbow and the Lionsault. Springboard dropkick to Cass. Code Breaker to Shelton, and a clothesline eliminates him at 72:36. Jericho avoids the Pop-Up Powerbomb and turns Owens over with the Walls of Jericho. Big Cass breaks it with a boot to the side of the head. Lashley blows his delayed suplex, hitting Cass with an accidental brain buster. Bryan with a tear-drop suplex on Owens. Shane goes to the top, but Braun throws him off through the announcer's table, eliminating him at 74:25. Now we know why he made the trip. Strowman catches Lashley and tosses him at 75:13. Jericho's code breaker is blocked and he's out at 75:22. Kevin Owens is thrown out at 75:29. Bryan tries, but Strowman shrugs off his strikes. Cass with the big boot to Bryan, and he tosses him out at 76:08. Wow. Bryan didn't break the record for time in a Rumble, he obliterated it. NO ONE is breaking that Rumble time. Ever. Cass with clotheslines. Strowman blocks a boot and straddles Cass on the top rope before tackling him out for the victory at 77:21 (and his 13th elimination, breaking Roman's record from 2014). The highlights of the match featured Titus O'Neil eating sh*t on the way to the ring. There were some good spots, most of them involving Daniel Bryan or Kevin Owens, but this was a geek match for the sake of putting on a spectacular. The crowd was quiet for almost the entire thing, and the action was mostly uninspired. One of the worst Rumble matches of all-time. **1/2
Final Thoughts: This was pushed hardcore on television as such a big deal, and it turned out to be a bloated, over-hyped house show, where none of the titles (except the vacant Raw Tag Titles) changed hands, there were bad finishes in key matches, and the timing of everything suggested this was anything but a major Pay-Per-View or a once-in-a-lifetime event. The Rumble Match, while fun at moments, was a chore to sit through, to the point I ENJOYED THE COMMENTARY BURYING EVERYTHING. Watch the Rumble Match for the train-wreck factor, the rest of the show is just a show. Buy a ticket to the next live event in town. You'll get the same quality work both in the ring and from the bookers.
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