Bigger But Not Always Better
On April 27th, WWE will present their first ever Pay Per View Event from Saudi Arabia titled the Greatest Royal Rumble. The selling point of this show is the massive 50 man over the top rope Royal Rumble that will feature a veritable pantheon of iconic WWE stars. Rey Mysterio, John Cena, Daniel Bryan, Chris Jericho, and many others will slug it out in front of more than 60,000 screaming Saudi fans. Every major championship in WWE will be defended at the show with the glaring exception of all women’s championships and the NXT title holders. Otherwise, the show is stacking up to be a six hour bonanza that should be a riveting experience. Of course it takes place in the early afternoon and runs through dinner time if you are on the East Coast but who cares? It’s WWE on the network!
Is Bigger Better Though?
In the past WWE has attempted a similar feat when it comes to the size of the Royal Rumble Match. They held a 40 man royal rumble in 2011 which was much faster paced and that was not as well received as previous rumbles. The issue is that with an expanded Rumble, the elapsed time between entrants is less which prevents some of the story telling by the talent. Many unique pairings and odd interactions are what make the Rumble such a draw. With that being said, the 50 man Rumble presents us with both positive and negative potential.
On the Up Side
The positive potential for the Greatest Royal Rumble focuses on the enormous number of wrestlers who have yet to interact with each other ahead of the show who may have the opportunity to make some magic throughout the match. The thought of Finn Balor crossing paths with Rey Mysterio or Chris Jericho has to be exciting for any die hard fan. Other pairings that you may never have thought of hold the promise of something special like Bobby Lashley coming face to face with Braun Strowman or Samoa Joe going toe to toe with the Big Show. In addition, you have multiple matches aside from the Rumble match itself that offer their own levels of mystique. The Undertaker facing Rusev in a Casket Match, The Cage Match between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns, and of course a heel Shinsuke Nakamura facing AJ Styles.
How they can shake things up!
We need to have some surprise entrants thrown in. Possibly a return for Neville. An appearance by the suddenly insanely popular Nicholas would bode well. The arrival of a new independent star on the level of say Matt Riddle or Jeff Cobb would be amazing. Here is another way outside the box thought but what about bringing in a cross promotional star. Jericho appeared for New Japan. Can imagine the historic feel of Hiroshi Tanahashi making an appearance? How about a one-off appearance by Kenny Omega. OK … Now I am getting ahead of myself. They have to do something amazing to really sell this match.
The Potential for a Let Down
Unfortunately, there is a chance that WWE creative messes the whole thing up as they often do. They will, more than likely, book safe and keep the match predictable. The entrants may enter so fast that no story can be told. They will bring in The Great Khali just to get the local pop from the crowd. Jinder Mahal will last a long time after challenging for the United States Championship earlier in the show. There will be some crazy Balor Club/Bullet Club reunion. Braun will eliminate 20 guys himself because … why not? In the end, I suspect that WWE will forgo the opportunity to truly make history from a wrestling standpoint and instead, we will see a lackluster creative script. We will see a couple title changes. In the end, we will see the same stuff we see every week on Raw and Smackdown Live. If we are all lucky, WWE and their creative team will blow us all away with amazing new concepts. We will get incredible pyro entrances. There will be the crowning of several interesting new champions and new feuds born during the event. And in the end, I will keep dreaming.
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