There were huge expectations coming out of WWE's Greatest Royal Rumble event on Friday. It can be argued WWE did not even come close to living up to them. A show that was jam-packed with A-list WWE Superstars, this should have been one of the company's best offers to fans, second possibly to only WrestleMania 34. It will be lucky if this pay-per-view ends up ranking anywhere outside of the bottom three.
There were so many ways this was not an ideal show for WWE and there are few excuses as to why. The card was strong, the surprises available and the options open, yet WWE chose not to move forward with many if any of the wise choices they could have made. Perhaps the only logical decision was booking Braun Strowman to win the Rumble match itself, but even that choice is up for debate with clear fan favorite being Daniel Bryan.
After watching all six hours of the longest-feeling and most 'meh' pay-per-view in recent recollection, here are the many reasons The Greatest Royal Rumble may go down as the worst pay-per-view WWE holds this year.
Title Changes? What Title Changes?
There were all sorts of rumors WWE was going to move heavy on the title changes for this show. We're not here to suggest that's a wise course of action, but when, out of seven matches available for a title to swap hands, the only one that does is in a match where there wasn't actually a reigning champion, there's a booking problem.
WWE chose only to give new titles to Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt and that was likely the most expected outcome of all the championship matches on the card. Why? Because The Bar (Sheamus and Cesaro) had moved to SmackDown Live and likely weren't taking the Raw Tag Titles to Tuesday nights.
The WWE Championship match ended in a double count-out, the Universal Title ended in, what appears to be, an unplanned botched finish, the United States Championship, Intercontinental Title and other titles didn't move at all. In fact, there was never so much as a glimpse of any worry that they would. WWE treated this show like a live event where the belts never change hands because the company wants to save big moments for television. It's like WWE forgot they were broadcasting this on WWE Network.
Surprises? What Surprises?
If there's one thing a Royal Rumble should be good for, it's surprising fans. There are so many opportunities to bring someone in that fans aren't expecting that there's really no excuse to not at least blow the roof off the arena with at least one shocker. The big surprise of the night here? Hornswoggle.
WWE blew all of the surprises by advertising who was coming to the Rumble in advance. They told us Chris Jericho would be there, said Rey Mysterio would come back and Mark Henry would come out of retirement. Still, that left some 27 names to shock us and what did they do? They brought in NXT guys, a sumo wrestler, and talent from 205 Live. Fine, leave some of those guys on the card, but could they not have even picked one or two spots out of those remaining holes to give us someone surprisingly awesome?
Not only was the Rumble match a letdown in that regard but so were most of the matches. There were no twisted endings, no swerves and no run-ins. Anything that did happen — like the ending of the Reigns vs. Lesnar match — wasn't done on purpose.
Best Moments Were Strange And In Front of Dead Crowd
It took 12 years for my brother and I to share a WWE stage together. To make it even sweeter, it was on the biggest show in WWE history. We always had the same hard work ethic when it came to wrestling, and tonight was the ultimate payoff. A moment I'll cherish forever. #WWEGRR pic.twitter.com/pIKjjdv5VE— Ariya Daivari (@AriyaDaivariWWE) April 27, 2018
The moments that stole the show were completely unintentional, topped off by Titus O'Neil tripping on his way to the ring and sliding under the ring apron. WWE announcers and the broadcasting crew had a field day with this and many fans are pointing out that if not for Titus' embarrassing blunder, the show would have been almost unwatchable.
Not only that but because the crowd was so dead through most of the night, it was moments like these that got the best reaction. Perhaps the crowd was most responsive to the return of the Daivari brothers against WWE's new Saudi Arabian recruits and that's excusable but, nothing else? Not one more thing?
Sure, Titus' slip up will live on forever and be in highlight packages long past his retirement but something better should have come out of the show and gotten the crowd involved. Perhaps it's the culture of the people of Saudi Arabia to be more reserved but, at times, they were almost non-existent.
No WWE Female Talent
Finally, you don't realize how much you miss something until it's gone. It wasn't long ago WWE used to run shows that rarely if ever included women. Today, their weekly shows are full of their involvement and this pay-per-view suffered because of it.
From the kickoff show to high-quality matches the ladies of WWE put on every week, this is the one show that won't include them all year and it will lose marks because of that. Sure, WWE wasn't allowed to include them and it's well within their rights to take the show and the payday that comes from it anyway, but the event lacked because names like Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Asuka, Becky Lynch and Bayley were not a part of it.
A Blown Opportunity
For a ton of reasons, this show was terrible when it should have been spectacular. WWE is going to have to work hard to outdo it in terms of worse entertainment value in 2018 and because they promoted it so heavily as the show not to miss, they should have made a more conscious effort to provide something of value.
When you give your fans something to expect, you need to deliver.