While the Universal Championship is on the line, there’s no end to the amount of straps that could change waists: every major men’s title from both the red and blue brands are on the line, which means we’ll likely see a few popular titles change hands.
Absent from Friday’s event are the women: given the social and cultural climate of Saudi Arabia, the WWE women’s wrestling revolution won’t be dazzling crowds in the Milddle East — a huge blow to the overall product.
In any case, it’s a surprisingly big show just a few weeks after WrestleMania and just nine days prior to WWE Backlash, which could shake up the landscape for the main product for months to come.
(All times Eastern.)
WWE Greatest Royal Rumble 2018 results
Seth Rollins (c) defeats Samoa Joe, The Miz, Finn Balor, Ladder Match to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship
2:02 p.m. FINISH: Finn Balor knocks Samoa Joe off the ladder and climbs. Seth Rollins springboards onto the ladder and scales it, ripping the title away from Balor at the last second. Cool finish to the match.
1:58 p.m.: Miz moving along, now. Just became MizTV in the middle of the ring.
1:56 p.m.: Samoa Joe keeps moving along.
1:52 p.m.: Rollins and Balor jockeying for position on the ladder. Back and forth they go.
1:51 p.m.: Miz and Rollins form a temporary alliance to stop Joe’s momentum. Pace is slowing down now.
1:45 p.m.: This should be the match of the night.
The Bludgeon Brothers (c) vs. The Usos for the WWE “SmackDown” Tag Team Championships
1:37 p.m. FINISH: After some Usos offense, Rowan hits a big corner splash on Jimmy Uso, and they hit the Full Nelson/Power Bomb combo for the 3-count. Disappointingly short match.
1:36 p.m.: Near fall, as Harper kicks out of an Uso Splash. Looks like the Bludgeon Brothers are gonna pull this one out.
1:33 p.m.: So far it’s the Erick Rowan show, as he’s dominating Jey Uso. Jimmy finally gets a tag in.
1:30 p.m.: And after some video packages and backstage segments, we’re back to the action. “SmackDown” Tag Titles up next.
1:24 p.m.: Everyone’s making the list! Jericho is backstage and just put backstage reporter Mike Rome on the list. Well, that’s rude.
1:19 p.m.: Well, apparently we are in an intermission right now. So, grab some water or whatever. Stay hydrated.
Jeff Hardy (c) defeats Jinder Mahal to retain the United States Championship
1:14 p.m. FINISH: Really benign finish, as Hardy hits a Twist of Fate and then a Swanton Bomb for the 3-count. Not the best.
1:13 p.m.: Big blown spot, as Hardy goes for the Whisper in the Wind and nobody is home. Then Mahal bumped. Really odd.
1:08 p.m.: Here we go. I expect Jinder to pick up the win here. He will not be hindered.
Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt defeat The Bar to win the WWE “RAW” Tag Team Championships
1:02 p.m. FINISH: After some weird spots and sloppy pacing, Bray Wyatt nails Sheamus with a Sister Abigail. Soon after, Hardy and Wyatt team for an Elevated Twist of Fate for the 3-count. Surprising.
1:01 p.m.: Crowd is a bit out of it. Some sloppy spots and weird pacing.
12:52 p.m.: I’m such a big fan of The Bar. They are fantastic together. Sheamus really gained a lot from this team, and Cesaro is one of the best on the roster.
12:49 p.m.: Lots of “fireflies” in Jeddah as Wyatt and Hardy make their way to the ring. Still the best entrance in WWE, I feel.
Cedric Alexander (c) defeats Kalisto to retain the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
12:46 p.m. FINISH: Kalisto attempts the Salida del Sol and Cedric Alexander counters it into a Lumbar Check for the 3-count. That was a really fun match.
12:45 p.m.: Kalisto just hit Cedric Alexander with a seated springboard Spanish Fly. Innovative, if nothing else.
12:40 p.m.: Alexander hits a massive, massive dropkick on Kalisto that snapped his head back. Brutal.
12:38 p.m.: Kalisto trying to get the crowd into “LUCHA LUCHA LUCHA” but it’s not happening, not quite yet. Good back-and-forth action so far. Alexander with his swan-dive plancha, and connects.
12:34 p.m.: Next up, Cruiserweight action!
12:33 p.m.: That was a good match to start the show, a real crowd pleaser. Well, everything will be a crowd pleaser tonight.
John Cena defeats Triple H via pinfall
12:29 p.m. FINISH: Cena hits an Attitude Adjustment, slingshots Triple H into the corner, then hits another AA for the 3-count. Good match to start the show.
12:27 p.m.: Cena and Triple H trade finishers and both kick out at 2, nearly 3.
12:25 p.m.: Close, but no cigar.
12:18 p.m.: Back-and-forth tests of power so far in this match. Triple H currently controlling the bout.
12:13 p.m.: Triple H has a magnificent beard.
12:11 p.m.: It’s pretty odd to hear John Cena unanimously cheered. That hasn’t happened in 15 years.
12:07 p.m.: We start the show with Triple H vs. John Cena. Slightly surprising.
12:06 p.m.: We got pyro! We got pyro! That’s how you know this truly is the Greatest Royal Rumble.
12:01 p.m.: We start the show with the Saudi National Anthem.
11:58 a.m.: Just minutes away from start time. Here we go…
11:48 a.m.: Paul Heyman cutting a promo on the panel.
11:30 a.m.: Jim Ross joins the panel as the area continues to fill.
11:15 a.m.: I guess the winner gets … a trophy?
11:00 a.m.: We’re an hour away from the official start of the Greatest Royal Rumble. Right now, Byron Saxton, Jerry Lawler and Booker T. on the kickoff show. I miss Renee Young already.
10:45 a.m.: Hello, and welcome to SN’s live coverage of the Greatest Royal Rumble. While you’re waiting for opening bell, check out Kevin Eck’s latest piece here.
WWE Greatest Royal Rumble 2018 matches, card
— 50-man Royal Rumble match
— Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Roman Reigns in a Cage Match for the WWE Universal Championship
— Seth Rollins (c) vs. Finn Balor vs. The Miz vs. Samoa Joe in a Ladder Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
— The Undertaker vs. Rusev in a Casket Match
— Cesaro and Sheamus vs. Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt for the vacant “RAW” Tag Team Championship
— The Bludgeon Brothers (c) vs. The Usos for the “SmackDown” Tag Team Championship
— John Cena vs. Triple H
— AJ Styles (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the WWE Championship
— Jeff Hardy (c) vs. Jinder Mahal for the WWE United States Championship
— Cedric Alexander (c) vs. Kalisto for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
WWE Greatest Royal Rumble 2018 predictions
— Roman Reigns finally wins the Universal Championship as fans around the world cry.
— The Miz climbs the ladder and brings the Intercontinental Championship over to “SmackDown.”
— The Undertaker buries Rusev. Literally and allegorically.
— The Usos win back their tag titles.
— John Cena puts away Triple H.
— Cesaro and Sheamus win the tag titles again, as Hardy and Wyatt feud again.
— AJ Styles retains the WWE Championship.
— Jinder Mahal brings the U.S. Title over to “RAW.”
— Cedric Alexander defeats Kalisto in the most fun match of the night