Wednesday, April 25, 2018

WWE Greatest Royal Rumble Preview & Predictions

Welcome to another round of WWE Predictions here at!  

Coming off the heels of what I consider one of the best WrestleManias of the past 10 or so years, WWE is venturing to Saudi Arabia for a special Network Event that is nearly as stacked as 'Mania, capped off with the biggest Royal Rumble in history.  It's felt to me like Triple H has had a much bigger hand in the booking in 2018, and while 'Mania included some major head-scratchers that clearly bore Vince's fingerprints, the company seems to be on a creative upswing.  Last week's roster shakeup created some pretty exciting prospective matchups for the spring and summer, and this show feels like the second half of a season finale before we get to the new stuff.

So let's get to the predictions.  None of us did well on our 'Mania picks, thanks to the aforementioned baffling wins and losses.  Dave is in the lead with 57% (8/14), while the rest of us have a measly 43% (6/14).  Yeesh....

Cruiserweight Championship: Cedric Alexander vs. Kalisto

Cedric is coming off his 'Mania pre-show win, and his first major defense is against the diminutive lucha.  As usual I give less than a shit about this division, but the match should be fun.  Have it go on first and get the crowd going.

Justin: Cedric retains since he just won the thing.
Dan: Ok
Landon: Cedric.  I need to start watching 205 Live again.  Apparently it's gotten awesome.
Dave: Sure, Cedric

Smackdown Tag Team Championship: The Bludgeon Brothers vs. The Usos

Another new set of champs, The BB steamrolled The Usos and New Day three weeks ago and I expect them to do the same here.  This'll be another short contest I think, as Harper & Rowan continue their reign of terror.

Justin: BB
Dan: Yes
Landon: Bludgeon Brothers
Dave: BB

RAW Tag Team Championship: The Bar vs. Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt

This match is the aftermath of possibly the stupidest thing to happen at 'Mania, when Braun Strowman won the belts with the "help" of a 10-year-old kid, only to relinquish them the next night.  This led to the "Tag Team Eliminator" (Vince has inexplicably banned the word "tournament," because he's senile) which boiled down to these two teams.  What a fucking pointless angle.  Anyway, Matt and Bray are pals now for some reason and will probably have a title run before Bray turns on Matt and we get that feud again.

Justin: Matt & Bray
Dan: Take me to the Lake of Reincarnation
Landon: Who could possibly care about any kind of tag team in this fucking company?  Matt & Bray.
Dave: Gotta be Matt & Bray

US Championship: Jeff Hardy vs. Jinder Mahal

Thank Christ Jinder got moved to RAW again - keep him nowhere near the WWE Title (I'm not worried about him ever winning the Universal belt on the overloaded red show).  Jeff on the other hand got moved to Smackdown, so either he and Seth each retain their belts or they each lose them to guys from the opposing roster.  I'm gonna go with the former.  This match will be a throwaway.

Justin: Jeff retains
Dan: I hope so.
Landon: Jinder lost the title as he came to RAW.  He's lost twice now on RAW, so of course he regains the title.
Dave: Hardy, no one needs Jinder as champ.

Casket Match: Undertaker vs. Rusev

Christ, what is the point of this?  Taker returned for a 3-minute squash at 'Mania, much to the delight of, well, not me anyway.  Is this gonna be his thing now, a cameo at all the biggest shows?  I can't see this going more than ten minutes with Taker's body in the shape it's in.

Justin: Taker obviously
Landon: Undertaker
Dave: Come on man, Taker

John Cena vs. Triple H

This is completely out of nowhere and obviously just tacked on because the casual fans in Saudi Arabia know them both.  I can't see this going very long either, and Cena's only been good lately when very motivated.  I imagine this'll be phoned in.

Justin: Cena wins for the feelgood moment
Dan: Cena needs this win.  After all, he just got his heart broken....
Landon: Cena wins the house show match.
Dave: HHH

Fatal 4-Way Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match: Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe vs. The Miz

This could be the match of the night.  Seth, Finn and Miz had a helluva good opener at 'Mania, and the addition of Joe and ladders should improve on that.  There's an outside chance Joe makes good on his promise to bring the I-C belt to Smackdown but I kinda doubt it.  Seth probably retains and maybe continues feuding with Finn over the belt.

Justin: Seth retains
Dan: I think Joe takes it.
Landon: Miz wins because we have to break every fucking record we have because that makes our wrestlers viable, right?  Right?
Dave: Seth

WWE Championship: AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

These two had a very good but slightly underwhelming WrestleMania match, but the real story has been Nak's heel turn, which I freakin' LOVE.  Nakamura is so much better as an antagonist, and thus this match should be a big improvement over the first.  Hopefully they get more time here.  It's possible Anderson & Gallows get involved somehow but I hope it's just a straight-up match.  The only outcome that makes sense here is for Nak to win and keep the feud going.

Justin: Nakamura wins
Dan: Heel Shin
Landon: Live show, doesn't count.  AJ wins.
Dave: Styles

Universal Championship Steel Cage Match: Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns

What an odd turn of events.  Everyone was SURE Roman was finally dethroning Brock at 'Mania.  And then he didn't.  And people were ironically pissed.  I thought that match was pretty awesome, brutal and balls to the wall.  The live crowd shit all over it, but if you turn the sound down and just watch the match, these guys worked hard and delivered a match on par with their first.  This match probably won't be as good as that one, given the cage limitations, but the Saudi audience will probably be much more receptive, particularly if Roman wins (which is undoubtedly why Vince decided to hold off at 'Mania).  Again, I'd love it if Roman wins and takes Paul Heyman as his new manager.

Justin: Roman wins
Dan: Roman
Landon: Brock wins
Dave: Roman, but who cares?

50-Man Greatest Royal Rumble

So far only 26 names have been announced for this.  I have to think the entry intervals will be 60 seconds.  Otherwise you're looking at a 90-minute running time, which would be excruciating.  Thus far there are only a handful of people who could realistically win this: Braun Strowman, Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, Kevin Owens, and a way outside chance of Big Show (but he kinda gets canceled out by Braun).  I'm gonna go with Braun, since his big 'Mania match was pointless and he's not even really feuding with anyone right now.  Pretty shabby treatment of one of the company's hottest new stars really.  I'd love to see D-Bry win this one but Strowman seems a much safer bet.

Justin: Braun
Dan: He's the only logical choice, right?
Landon: Braun
Dave: Sure, Braun

That's your card.  It's pretty stacked and should be presented as a WrestleMania-esque deal, so it'll be fun.  Then 9 days later we get Backlash.  Jeezus, between this stuff and NJPW's smorgasbord of special events there aren't enough hours in the day....

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