WWE Greatest Royal Rumble Results: Braun Strowman's Crowning and Top Takeaways

Kevin Berge@TheBerge_Featured ColumnistApril 28, 2018

Credit: WWE.com

There have been 31 Royal Rumbles in history, so it is a monumental statement to call one the "greatest." Thus, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, was given the task of living up to such a claim with a jam-packed card for the night.

From every male championship being on the line to a 50-man Rumble that included basically the entire men's roster who hadn't already performed, WWE Greatest Royal Rumble was a certainly a memorable spectacle, but the event was never going to quite live up its billing.

Far from a conclusive event with no title changes, the show was basically defined by its main event, where Braun Strowman conquered the field to emerge as the first-ever Greatest Royal Rumble champion. He, along with Iron Man Daniel Bryan—who lasted a record 76 minutes—defined the show with their performances.

Despite not being the all-encompassing masterpiece that fans craved, it was still a show that answered multiple lingering questions and perhaps set the course for the future of the brand.

Credit: WWE.com

Strowman finally gets his first taste of gold in WWE

It is remarkable just how little The Monster Among Men has accomplished during his impressive and memorable run over the last year. Going from simple big man to fan-favorite attraction, Strowman has just a one-day tag team title reign to his name.

Most expected the big man would eventually break out, and this night may have been the start. Strowman eliminated 13 Superstars along the way to his impressive victory, more than anyone else has ever eliminated in a Rumble.

His reward for toppling stars such as Bobby Lashley, Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, Shane McMahon and more was a trophy as well as a championship belt. No clear statement has been made about whether this new title will be regularly defended or if it is just another prize to be occasionally remembered.

Without a future world title opportunity on the line, this feels more like a symbolic crowning of The Abominable Strowman, who has now been solidified as the top rising star on Monday Night Raw.

Bryan returns to his role as WWE's ultimate underdog

Bryan's recent return to the ring has many excited to see The Beard immediately head to the top of the card, but it was tough to trust WWE felt the same way. As WWE's defining underdog in his last run, Bryan rarely got a chance to make a serious impact beyond his huge run into WrestleMania XXX.

It looks like Bryan's time away may have allowed WWE to reassess just how important he is to the brand. The American Phoenix may have had the most memorable performance of the entire night as he opened at number one and lasted long past the 50th entrant.

Even his elimination was one of the best story moments of the night, as his rival Big Cass finally took him out after getting an easy ride from number 49 to the final two. It was the perfect way to showcase how great Bryan is and further develop his Backlash feud.

Hopefully Bryan doesn't end up hurting too bad from the match, showing the scars of battle visibly on his chest. He proved he is back and can outwork anyone given the chance. It will be exciting to see what comes next for one of SmackDown's elite stars.

WWE willing to censor the product considerably for Saudi Arabia

Putting on a show in Saudi Arabia was always going to be a dubious choice. From the first announcement, it was clear there were no plans to feature any of the female stars at the show. This felt like a slap in the face of the talent, who are working at the highest level WWE's women's division has ever seen.

That was not all that WWE did to make this pairing work. Finn Balor's inclusive LGBT message was stymied with his rainbow tights turned in for pure black. Sami Zayn was not allowed to attend the event, reportedly due to his Syrian heritage, per Raj Giri of Wrestling Inc.

While Triple H defended the decision to host an event in a country with questionable human rights laws in a recent interview with The Independent's Matty Paddock, the company's choices to stifle so many important messages for the sake of this event feels backwards.

WWE can hope that the country will change with time, but it is unlikely this business deal will push those in power to do so. It will be a matter of time and greater humanitarian efforts in Saudi Arabia before it is clear if WWE is corrupting its own message to make money overseas.

     

Credit: WWE.com

Brock Lesnar is here to stay and needs a new challenger

It was easy to assume Roman Reigns would leave WrestleMania with the WWE Universal Championship. The same was true going into this show. Most just assumed the plan was always to have Lesnar pass the torch to The Beast.

Those assumptions look silly now. While Reigns did lose to Lesnar under questionable circumstances, the time has passed for The Big Dog to dethrone Lesnar. If Reigns is going to complete his journey to the world title this year, it should come against a different champion.

The Conqueror has defeated almost everyone at the top of WWE now, with only Strowman well positioned for an eventual rematch. Lashley is an intriguing name to consider for Lesnar's next rivalry, but it will take some time to build him to that stage.

Regardless of the worthiness of Reigns as world champion, it is disappointing that fans will sit through more months with Raw's top champion absent. It is unlikely The Beast works again too soon, especially after working such a long stretch into 'Mania through the Greatest Royal Rumble.

    

Despite all the hype, the Greatest Royal Rumble was more house show than momentous event

Going into the Greatest Royal Rumble, the promise was championship bouts with the likelihood of multiple titles changing hands along the way. However, no champion lost on Friday. Every championship left on the same shoulder it came in on, except the vacant Raw Tag Team Championships.

While the win for Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt will have major implications for WWE going forward, the result was basically predetermined with Sheamus and Cesaro now on SmackDown. The Woken universe will now take over Raw's tag team division as it was always expected to.

The problem is that those who missed the event have little to catch up on. The matches were solid for the most part, but they could easily be skipped. It remains to be seen if anything is done with Strowman's Rumble victory and the gold he supposedly now holds.

If the Greatest Royal Rumble was meant to stand as a spectacular can't-miss attraction rivaling WrestleMania, it failed, despite all the build to the moment. It came off more as a cash-grab house show that happened to air on the WWE Network.

The event was a fine experience as a whole, but WWE hyped the show and its importance far too much for what came of the event. It is likely WWE Backlash will far outshine this show in just over a week.

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