This week in WWE: The Greatest Royal Rumble takes the focus off Raw and SDL
Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns previewed their match at The Greatest Royal Rumble that will take place this Friday. Elias defeated Bobby Roode in the first match of the night with a roll up. Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt defeated The Ascension in preparation for their Raw Tag Title match against The Bar this Friday.
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn debuted their new show, The Sami and Kevin Show. Their first guest was Kurt Angle. In typical fashion, the guys went overboard with their trolling and got punished by Kurt by being placed in a tag match against Bobby Lashley and Braun Strowman. Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre defeated Titus World Wide. McIntyre grabbed the mic after the match and explained he’s not “ the man the WWE wants.” He’s “ the wake up call and reality check this company needs.” Chad Gable made his Raw debut upsetting Jinder Mahal with a Roll Up.
Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley bulldozed through Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens in a brutal tag match. Finn Balor and Seth Rollins defeated the now abandoned Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas. A Ten Women Tag Match saw Bayley, Sasha Banks, Nia Jax, Ember Moon, and Natalya team up against Alexa Bliss, Mickie James and the Riott Squad. The match would end in a DQ after Ronda Rousey get involved trying to help out her friend, Natalya, who had sustained an injury from a Sarah Logan chop block.
The Miz opened the show with intentions of hosting Miz TV with Daniel Bryan as his guest. Instead, Big Cass showed up and explained exactly why he holds so much disdain for Bryan. Backstage, Bryan was treated by the medical staff for an injury he appeared to have sustained while making his way to the ring for Miz TV. The Iconics defeated Becky Lynch and Auska after Peyton used the ropes for leverage when pinning Lynch. Jimmy Uso defeated Eric Rowan thanks to a distraction from Naomi.
In typical contract signing fashion, Carmella was attacked by her opponent, Charlotte, for being obnoxious. Charlotte ended the segment lunging a table on top of the Champion. Shelton Benjamin defeated Randy Orton thanks to a distraction from Sunil Singh. Daniel Bryan revealed to Renee Young that Paige accepted his request to challenge Big Cass at BackLash. The team of Nakamura, Rusev and Aiden English defeated AJ Styles, Gallows, and Anderson. Styles attacked Nakamura after the match, but ended up receiving another low blow. Nakamura, then, focused his attack on Styles’ friend, Karl Anderson. Styles could only watch along as Nakamura kneed Anderson in the face.
The Greatest Royal Rumble was the focus this week and that made the shows suffer a bit. Raw threw a bunch of tag matches together. Granted, there’s filler episodes all the time, but it felt really excessive on this week’s show. The most compelling thing about Raw, is Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt working together. Their chemistry and story all points to them winning the Raw Tag Titles. Meanwhile, the Authors of Pain and Ziggler and McIntyre continue to cause hell. The biggest issue with Raw prior to the shake up was the tag team division, it seems to have been addressed very well.
SmackDown continues on the roll it has been on for a few weeks now. The fact that the show was so good without Samoa Joe and with Andrade and Sanity still left to debut, is very encouraging. I do not know what the end game is with Cass, but, like it or not, he will be a focus on this iteration of SmackDown. From top to bottom, the show is absolutely refreshed. Styles and Nakamura are in a great main event program, the tag division has two interesting feuds, and Carmella is proving to be a great obnoxious heel champion. All in all, the steady pace the show has been on continues to impress me.
The Greatest Royal Rumble is a weird, and quite frankly unique, situation the WWE has placed itself in. It will air live on the WWE Network this Friday, at 11 am no less, but it hasn’t necessarily been built with the luster of a Pay-per-view. Perhaps it is because of the distance, since the event will take place in Saudi Arabia. Ultimately, in some cases, we are seeing far more interesting circumstances than the ones we saw a few weeks ago at 'Mania. All in all, I think the show will be fun. I expect there to be some surprises, but at this point, I am no longer convinced Brock Lesnar drops the Universal Title. Frankly, it will be kind of fun to wake up to live wrestling for once.