Follow Mr. Tito on Twitter.com: @titowrestling
Bookmark Mr. Tito’s Column Archive to read the current and past columns.
Guess who is back? Back again… Tito’s back, tell a friend. Welcome to the GREATEST Royal Rumble review by yours truly, Mr. Tito exclusively here at LordsofPain.net. Being honest here, I did NOT write this column as the event was happening, much as I do other Pay Per View shows. Sorry, but I can’t quite do that for a Friday afternoon show. I caught parts of it on my iPhone as it happened and then filled in the blanks later. Thus, I’m writing this review after-the-fact.
Let’s discuss the “elephant in the room” first… Location, location, location. 2 weeks ago, I actually drafted a column that was thrashing the WWE for its LACK of women on this “Greatest Royal Rumble” show. I went as far as digging into WWE’s corporate policies on being an equal opportunity employer, promoting diversity, and had a bunch of quotes from Stephanie, Triple H, and Vince McMahon regarding diversity. But then I listened to Jim Ross‘s podcast… Thought better of it. Granted, he’s a WWE employee but what he said made. In that area, you cannot undo centuries of culture with 1 entertainment show. The WWE has a 10 year deal with that country and by year #10, maybe things will be different. Their culture and society is undergoing some changes recently that promotes more freedoms to those denied in the past… It takes time. If you don’t believe me, look at the United States trying to push Democracy in the Middle East for the past 40 years and again, it’s trying to undo thousands of years of culture and politics.
Think about it this way… WWE holds a major event in this specific country that gets a ton of press. Then, many of the children from that country, inspired by the WWE Greatest Royal Rumble show, log into YouTube.com to see what the WWE offers on a weekly basis for free (RAW, Smackdown, NXT)… And then they see WOMEN wrestling. Not just women wrestling, but ones wearing next to nothing while doing so… Now, I’m not suggesting that females from that country start dressing like Sasha Banks, but it’s a representation fo what freedoms given to women in the United States can provide. And then they watch Wrestlemania 34 and become curious about Finn Balor‘s shirt and entrance… You have to plant seeds of change and not force it overnight.
If you want to boycott the WWE Network because of this show, that’s your choice. But if you truly did that, what took you so long? So THIS event offended you and not how WWE called female wrestlers “Divas” for the longest time? Divas Search contest didn’t offend you either? So whatever… If anything, I wish that country would have banned bad creative teams in addition to an entire gender…
Why? Because the Greatest Royal Rumble kinda sucked…
For one, we’re just a few weeks removed from Wrestlemania 34 and also the Superstar Shake-up that followed. There’s a ton of “WWE fatigue” in the air right now. I took a few weeks off and damn it, I needed it… Just too much wrestling. I praised the WWE for merging RAW/Smackdown Pay Per Views together, but if we’re going to replace brand split Pay Per Views with multiple international shows… That will burn everyone out. Additionally, much of the matches on the Greatest Royal Rumble were already featured on Wrestlemania 34. What are you expecting out their rematches? Were you expecting to pull a rabbit out of a hat and crap additional stars for a match? Come on…
Overall, the WWE needed to be prepared for wrestling in front of a different crowd who hasn’t seen WWE live much. That, and it’s a different culture… Arena was massive and the crowd was often silent for big moments in matches. It almost seemed like many wrestlers were paralyzed out there because they were too used to feeding off the crowds in the United States. They kind of forgot how to wrestle an in-ring that told a story instead of relying on high spots to get a cheap pop from the crowd.
The OPENING MATCH was actually the BEST match of the night between Triple H vs. John Cena. Just two veterans going at it and provided that they have worked together before, they were comfortable in the ring together. My only issue was the LACK of psychology about the match. There should be a reason why these two are wrestling on this particular show instead of just being booked. I would have enjoyed something on RAW where HHH and John Cena bumped into each other backstage… Maybe John Cena mocks HHH about Ronda stretching Stephanie, and then Triple mocks Cena for losing so fast to the Undertaker. Hell, maybe HHH can mock Cena about his recent engagement break-up with Nikki Bella. SOMETHING.
And that was my exact issue with Rusev vs. Undertaker in a Casket Match. Why did this match even happen? Usually, a “Casket Match” during an Undertaker match was done because a score needed to settled with an opponent. The confines of a regular wrestling match weren’t enough, thus the humiliation of placing someone in a casket would “settle the score”. The Buried Alive matches were also another specialty match for the Undertaker to “settle a score”. There was no rhyme or reason why Rusev had heat with the Undertaker to merit a Casket Match immediately. If anything, it goes to show you how the WWE treats Rusev right now. They are completely ignoring the natural “Rusev Day” stuff that is GETTING OVER and just told fans that the character died by placing it in a Casket. Just in a matter of weeks, Rusev eats a pin by Jinder Mahal at Wrestlemania 34 and now loses a Casket Match to the Undertaker that had zero build up. Match was OK, but it really did nothing for Rusev because old man Taker beat him in an unnecessary Casket Match.
Rest of the night was Wrestlemania 34 retreads with almost carbon copies of the same matches that we saw there.
I would suggest that Nakamura vs. AJ Styles was slightly better than their Wrestlemania 34 outing, but their WM34 match was disappointing. This match was better because you had a defined HEEL and a defined BABYFACE in place for a change. Nakamura feels more natural as a heel and it thus upgraded the match. However, this isn’t even close to their Wrestle Kingdom effort that everybody is clamoring to happen in the WWE. I just don’t see it with Nakamura in the WWE… He cannot use his stiffer style that was used in New Japan and thus he’s confused on his offense to use in the WWE. Nakamura may need a new finisher, as I’m never sure which type of kick is his true finisher. I was OK with the finish because Nakamura can spend time to work on his character… OH WAIT, they will have yet another match at WWE Backlash 2018? Nevermind…
By the way, Backlash 2018… Yeah, that’s on May 6th. Remember that point about “WWE Fatigue” that I just made?
Happy for Bray Wyatt & Matt Hardy… Too obvious that they’d win because the Bar (Sheamus/Cesaro) have moved onto Smackdown. So now, after losing to Braun Strowman + a child at Wrestlemania 34, they join Smackdown as “damaged goods” because a thrown together tag team can defeat a well-established tag team in the finals of the RAW Tag Titles. Just a CREATIVE MESS, folks… And I hope that Wyatt and Hardy figure something out. Sorry, but the “Wyatt” and “Woken/Broken” stuff has never impressed me. Too weird for a wrestling show. At the end of the day, pro wrestling is about being the best performer in the promotion and winning titles. However, when your character traits dominate your purpose in the WWE, it diminishes the character. See the Undertaker from 1992-1996. He was 100% about his “Deadman” characters and never took challenging for the World Title seriously. Then, he starts going after top stars during 1997 and chasing the World Title… That’s when the Undertaker really took off as a character and top draw for the WWE.
Seth Rollins retained in the Fatal 4 Way for the Intercontinental Title… Like I said, you could just swap this match in for one of the multiple bodies midcard title matches at Wrestlemania 34 and nobody would notice.
I did like Jeff Hardy retaining over Jinder Mahal. Jinder losing to Chad Gable had me WORRIED… It is good to see Jeff Hardy getting some faith by WWE Management as US Champion. He is 40 years old and these are the last years of his prime as a wrestler. After several fumbles as a top guy previously, he has to get this one right or else the WWE will move on… Best of luck to him.
Bludgeon Brothers destroying the Usos was an embarrassment. Sorry, but I have to say it. Harper and Rowan have a terrible look, terrible attire, terrible entrance music, and won’t draw as no-selling hosses. Pure silence anywhere they go and the Usos gave the Smackdown brand great matches during 2017 to NOT deserve this. That, and Luke Harper proved himself as a potentially viable singles wrestler when he gave Randy Orton his best singles match in years. Coming to the ring in throwback Kane costumes with stupid hammers looks ridiculous.
Meh to Cedric Alexander vs. Kalisto. 205 Live needs a creative booker to oversee it, like a Paul Heyman, to give CHARACTER to its wrestlers. Everybody just walks to the rings like robots and then hits their typical spots without any psychology. They performed to dead silence at Greatest Royal Rumble.
Then, we had Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar in a CAGE Match for the WWE Universal Title. You know what was funny? Both guys seemed kind of lost because they were forced to STAY IN THE RING as opposed to doing brawling stuff on the outside. Both wrestlers are extremely dependent on that, as that’s the only way you can hurt Lesnar and about every Roman Reigns match destroys those announcer tables. I did like the use of the chair, however, as that’s the kind of weapon that is dangerous in a cage where there is “no where to hide”. The usual “hit many Finisher Moves” kind of match. I honestly had no problems with the “Sports Entertainment” finish with the Spear through the cage. As you can already see online, many are debating “who landed first”. In a SHOCKER, Lesnar retains his WWE Universal Title once again…
However, where is the demand to even see yet another Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns match? Demand is just not there as wrestling fans have “Roman Fatigue”. I’ll keep saying this until I die as a wrestling fan… WWE botched 2017 badly regarding Braun Strowman. Following SummerSlam 2017 where Braun looked great against Brock Lesnar, they should have kept Braun AWAY from Lesnar until Wrestlemania 34. That No Mercy 2017 match should have NEVER happened, as Braun was not ready yet to attempt to enter Suplex City. Braun should have won Royal Rumble 2018 and then become “the guy” to defeat Brock Lesnar 100% clean at Wrestlemania 34. But noooooo, we’re on this endless quest to get a no-talent, two left feet, and awful personality Roman Reigns over as the top babyface instead. The Doc on the podcast that I attended pegged Roman Reigns 100% correctly. He’s that entitled High School athlete who knows that he is entitled… Hence, why his personality isn’t attaching itself to fans as a loveable babyface.
WWE had Braun Strowman win the 50 Man Royal Rumble match… Match was fun, as I thought Daniel Bryan lasting a while was a good thing ALTHOUGH it was Big Cass who tossed him. YET AGAIN, it’s another younger wrestler that the WWE is rushing to the top. So much talent now on the Smackdown roster and yet a green Big Cass, who is just coming back from an injury, could be getting a big push. For every Undertaker that is out there, there are many Great Khali or Nathan Jones wrestlers out there. Yes, Big Cass and Baron Corbin are tall, but what else do they bring to the table besides size? Can they talk? Are they charismatic? Can they perform power moves? Because Big Cass CAN’T. On top of that, everyone loved Big Cass’s latest promo… Yet, by comparison of his other promos, how could it not sound good for him? It sounded a bit too scripted to me…
What was lacking from the 50 Man Rumble was the LACK of a “sense of urgency” about the reward for winning it and also for the fact that the Rumble match only happens once a year. By buttering up your new 10 year customers at a tune of 10-30 million dollars per year, you are reducing how “special” the January Royal Rumble is and should be. 30 Man Rumble? Forget you, we’re doing a 50 man Rumble in April just to impress a new country. Whatever, man… There is also a price for having a 50 man Rumble, as many of the participants were kind of lame… 205 wrestlers, NXT wrestlers, and tag team wrestlers. Whoopee. There were 2 “tall glasses of water” from developmental that I figure Vince McMahon was creaming all over as they performed in the ring.
The ABSOLUTE BEST MOMENT OF THE SHOW, however, happened during that 50 Man Rumble when Titus O’Neil arrived at #39. Holy cow, I laughed so hard at that! O’Neil tried to run to the ring and slide underneath the bottom rope for his entrance… Yet, he tripped and then dove head-first into the side of the ring! Things are made funnier when the WWE announcers actually acknowledged that it happened and then showed many replays of it… Wow… In this day and age of video replays being made instantly online, it’s good attention to the WWE brand… But damn, it is creating a “Shockmaster” moment for Titus that will probably cause his character to become mocked for the rest of his career. I wouldn’t doubt that Vince McMahon will cause his character to fall everywhere, moving forward. If anything, enduring 5 hours of WWE wrestling is totally worth it to see that hilarious moment!
LAST WORD: Honestly on the Greatest Royal Rumble… I’m giving you nitpicks here. It should be truly treated as an extended HOUSE SHOW that the WWE Network just so happens to be airing. They tried to make it feel big and legitimate but it fell flat from feeling like a Wrestlemania or a Royal Rumble. I’d recommend watching it in smaller doses, as these 5 hour marathon shows by the WWE, just weeks apart, will wear you thin as a wrestling fan. ESPECIALLY when they aren’t delivering any matches close to 5-stars to blow your mind. Match quality has been lacking on big WWE shows as of late and it’s due to the WWE’s inability to make Main Event stars. Everybody heads into most WWE events with disappointment on who is getting pushed or where the match is placed on the card. I’ll go [ C ] as my grade for the show. Not that it was a terrible show, but just nothing new or special from anything hyped. And I’m sure that will be the exact same feeling from Backlash 2018 next freakin’ week.
SO JUST CHILL… ‘TIL THE NEXT EPISODE!
Comments and feedback are welcome. Follow and Tweet me @titowrestling or login in below to post comments.
Bookmark Mr. Tito’s Column Archive to read the current and past columns.
© Mr. Tito and LordsofPain.net – 1998-2018
THE BEST OF MR. TITO