Saturday, April 28, 2018

Not So Greatest Royal Ramble: The 2018 Oil Rumble

Fun Fact: The Oil Rumble is the name of an actual porno film that exists. For this reason and also for reasons that might be offensive to their new customers, the WWE opted to dubbed their Saudi Arabia event The "Greatest" Royal Rumble. As one can tell from history, whenever you slap on the word "Greatest" onto anything, you're only setting yourself up for disappointment and indeed, that's what we got here in droves.

For all the hype that WWE has put behind the event, for all the controversy it has garnered due to the lack of women on the show and having to do business with a backwards group of people that really sullies the credibility of Saudi Arabia, and for all of the hoopla and discussions that has been brought forth as a result, this big WWE show that touted numerous championship bouts, a meeting between 2 WWE veterans, a Casket match, and a 50-man Royal Rumble turned out to be a standard, run of the mill house show that ended up being a complete and utter waste of time if you were going into this expecting anything of any real significance to happen here.

But, in any event, let's go through the matches real quick.

John Cena defeated Triple H in a pretty straightforward and routine opening contest that got the people pumped up if nothing else. Highlights included Triple H doing his own Five Knuckle Shuffle for the two-count that is followed by a shot of a child in the audience with about as much emotional investment in the match as you'd expect from someone named Dixie Carter who once owned a wrestling company and let's just leave it at that. There have been better Cena vs. H matches in the past and this really doesn't come close to reaching those levels of greatness as it were, but this was a decent little opener that got the crowd going and was perfectly acceptable fare.

Cena then cuts a promo (in English) sucking up to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and telling people to enjoy the show.

We then get a commercial where a bunch of Superstars sing a boring sounding song to hype up the upcoming co-branded ten hour PPVs for the rest of eternity. Joy.

(Fun Fact: The commercial featured women and that prompted the kingdom of Saudi Arabia to apologize for showing women to their people. #LOLWomensRevolution and all that jazz.)

Cruiserweight champion Cedric Alexander (who won the title at the Wrestlemania pre-show) defeated Kalisto in your usual 205 Live style match to retain the title. This was fine for what it was, but since I don't watch 205 Live, it made it difficult for me to care about what was going on. At the very least, it wasn't boring, so kudos for that.

Now there's a WWEShop commercial using the stupid fan chants to push their merch. Yeah, I'm not buying.

Woken Broken Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt defeated Cesaro and Sheamus to win the vacant RAW Tag-Team titles. The titles were vacant since one day after Wrestlemania, where Cesaro and Sheamus lost the titles to Braun Strowman and a five-year-old and obviously the titles had to be given up because... look, I'm just happy there's a proper team holding the titles again, even if the match wasn't anything to write home about.

U.S. champion Jeff Hardy defeated Jinder Mahal to retain the title in a match so forgettable I had to watch the match twice to catch the one both where Hardy misses Jinder by a mile when doing his flip move and Jinder sells it anyway. That was quite hilarious and the only real highspot worth mentioning since the rest of the match was just... meh.

After the match, the crowd gets about ten to fifteen minutes of prayer time. So while WWE respects the traditions and allows the people to pray, they proceed to insult the WWE Network subscribers watching this show by showing us propaganda packages sucking up to the Arabs and telling us how great of a country it is. When watching the panel, you could almost sense the snipers readying their shots in case one of them goes awry. And while we're at it, how about some more WWE marketing bullocks about how much of a caring and progressive company they are? So progressive they are that they're holding a show in a country that doesn't admit women wrestlers.

Ah, but that's out of my soapbox. On with the rest of the show... unfortunately.

Smackdown Tag champions The Bludgeon Brothers defeated the Usos to retain the titles. Short and sweet match; that's all there is to it.

Intercontinental champion Seth Rollins defeated Finn Balor, Miz, and Samoa Joe in a ladder match to retain the title. A pretty paint-by-numbers ladder match with all the usual spots save for one thing; while Finn Balor is doing the slow climb to the top of the ladder, Seth Rollins jumps onto the ladder, climbs up really fast, and takes the title hanging above. This makes Seth Rollins the smartest motherfucker on the planet since he doesn't conform to the usual cliches of slowing climbing for dramatic tension. Just grab the fucking belt and WIN. What a concept!

The match between WWE Champion AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura ends in a double countout since we need to save a proper finish for the Backlash PPV that's taking place in the good ol' USA. Not a bad match, almost on par with their Wrestlemania encounter... but like the rest of the show, really nothing special. I guess they're saving the better show for the show that truly matters.

Next up is the Casket match, at which point I went for a bathroom break and made myself a sandwich. By the time I got back, Undertaker had just won the match by not only stuffing Rusev in there, but also Aiden English. I'd go back and re-watch the entire match, but since I've sworn off watching any more Undertaker matches going forwards, I'm not about to do that.

Universal champion Brock Lesnar defeated Roman Reigns in a boring-as-fuck cage match that saw Roman spear Brock through the cage and Brock landing first on his back to retain the title. If there was a match where I had absolutely zero fucks to give whatsoever, this would be it. Roman Reigns is officially the modern-day Lex Luger; always getting the "big" wins over name opponents, but also choking when it really counts. I hate to say it, but maybe it's time to kill off the Roman Reigns experiment once and for all because he is damaged goods at this point. No matter how hard they try, I am never going to care about anything Roman does because it really doesn't matter. Big win over this guy, big win over that guy, but when it comes to slaying the beast... nope, doesn't work for him, brother.

I'm done with Taker. I'm done with Reigns. And I'm done with Brock. These three are the modern-day WWE Divas division; whenever they show up, I take a piss break and if any of them main event, I'm going to bed early. I'm done with that crap, man.

And then we have the 50-man Royal Rumble, where the winner gets a trophy and a championship title belt that looks moderately decent. Only three points worth noting here;

Daniel Bryan came in at number #1 and lasted up until the very end where he was eliminated by Big Cass. It wasn't a win, but it was still a strong showing that more than made up for the abysmal showing he had the last time he was in a Rumble match - and it furthered the build to the match between Bryan and Cass at that Backlash show.

Titus O'Neil came in at number whatever and immediately speared the ring apron. I don't know why he speared the ring apron and I don't know why everyone thought this was a funny bit, but I wasn't laughing. You know, that ring apron had a family, dammit! It got kidz and shit... okay, I kid. Titus tripped and speared the ring apron and that was the best thing I've seen in this entire show.

Oh fuck, they brought Hornswoggle back? What. was Head unavailable?

Other than that, it was a really uneventful Rumble that ran way too fucking long and had a bunch of names that I wasn't familiar with. Surprisingly, they didn't shoo in Roman Reigns into the match and instead we got Braun Strowman win the Rumble. You know what? I'm okay with that. Braun deserved better than to be fighting for the tag titles at Mania and this more than makes up for it. Hopefully, these leads to a big push that might include a title run... oh, who am I kidding? They're just going to try and get Roman over again, aren't they?

Because THIS TIME FOR Fuck you.

This was a televised house show where nothing of note happened, the audience was slapped with propaganda material galore, and it was just way too fucking long. If you didn't catch this the first time around, you are really not missing much and I urge you to spend your six hours doing anything else.

Now I'm debating on whether I'd want to watch Backlash next Sunday. We'll see, I suppose.

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