Friday afternoon, 50 Superstars will compete in the Greatest Royal Rumble, the namesake of the WWE Network special that will emanate, for the first time ever, from Jeddah, Saudia Arabia.
On top of that massive match, featuring Superstars of past and present, all of WWE’s top championships will be up for grab.
Both the Universal and WWE Championships will be on the line, Brock Lesnar will make a rare in-ring appearance and The Undertaker will return to the squared circle for the first time since his 2:45 win over John Cena at WrestleMania 34.
A historic card, it will serve as the perfect followup to the Showcase of the Immortals and the jumping-off point for both Raw and SmackDown in this post-Superstar Shake-Up WWE.
Available exclusively on WWE Network
12 p.m. ET
- 50-Man Greatest Royal Rumble Match
- Steel Cage Match for the Universal Championship: Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar
- WWE Championship Match: AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
- Casket Match: The Undertaker vs. Rusev
- Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship: Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins vs. The Miz vs. Samoa Joe
- United States Championship Match: Jeff Hardy vs. Jinder Mahal
- Raw Tag Team Championship Match: Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt vs. The Bar
- SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: The Usos vs. The Bludgeon Brothers
- WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Cedric Alexander vs. Kalisto
Roman Reigns In Must-Win Situation
WrestleMania 34 did not go the way so many figured it would for Roman Reigns.
Everyone and their mothers expected The Big Dog to roll into New Orleans and defeat Brock Lesnar to win the Universal Championship. It was the moment so many years of Reigns’ steady push would lead to. He would conquer The Beast and stand tall in the center of the ring, confetti falling from the ceiling and pyro penetrating the night sky.
That did not happen.
Reigns was defeated in a flat, unstructured and nondescript main event and suddenly, his future as the top star in Vince McMahon’s company in doubt.
If he arrives in Jeddah and loses again inside a steel cage, to a man that has consistently had his number, the whispers about his status as the leader of this generation grow louder and more passionate. Braun Strowman begins gaining steam as his replacement. Seth Rollins’ calls for Raw to be built around him gain credibility.
Reigns needs the win. Continued failure on grand stages paints him as a loser. Not only did he drop the WrestleMania match to Lesnar, he lost the Royal Rumble. He was the Superstar pinned by The Beast at SummerSlam last August. He may be at the forefront of Raw but he has more losses than anyone in that role should.
A defeat Friday in Saudi Arabia threatens his ability to be accepted in that role, especially with a more popular (and protected) Strowman waiting for that one last push to the top of the card.
Rusev’s Big Moment
It was on. Then it was off. Friday afternoon, the Casket match between The Undertaker and Rusev is on and for the Bulgarian Brute, it represents the biggest match of his career since the WrestleMania 31 bout with John Cena.
Since then, he has undergone numerous start-and-stop pushes but managed to get himself over thanks to a ridiculous Rusev Day catchphrase that struck a chord with a WWE Universe looking for any reason to get behind him.
His push has not been representative of his recent popularity, though. Friday, he has the opportunity to force WWE management to open their eyes and recognize the star he can be on Tuesday nights when he faces the last real gunslinger in professional wrestling, the greatest phenom in WWE history, The Undertaker.
A Casket match is always an interesting one in that so much time is wasted playing to the gimmick that the overall quality dips. It will be up to Rusev to provide the athleticism against an older, more hobbled Undertaker than the one who reigned over WWE for nearly three decades.
If he can get a solid match out of a wrestler who looked downright old a year ago at WrestleMania, Rusev will demand respect and attention. If he does not, or if he falters in the slightest, his journey up the card may prove fruitless.