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WWE Greatest Royal Rumble predictions

WWE returns to pay-per-view (PPV) — if your cable provider is carrying the event, of course — tomorrow (Fri., April 27, 2018) live from the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for its Greatest Royal Rumble event starting at 11:00 pm ET with the Kickoff show leading right on into the main course at 12 pm ET on the WWE Network.

Set for the card: a 50-man Royal Rumble match, Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns in a steel cage match for the Universal championship, Undertaker vs. Rusev in a Casket match, and much more!

Luckily for you Cagesiders, our staff of learned wrestling blowhards is here to help figure out just how the event is going to play out with predictions for each match on the card.

Let's get to it.


Greatest Royal Rumble

Geno Mrosko: It seems like this is a good place to give Daniel Bryan the Royal Rumble win they never wanted to give him before. Why not? It’s not like the winner is going to get much of anything out of it. Then again, if that’s true, it makes it perfect for The Miz to eliminate him and take that away. The cycle continues. Pick: The Miz

Sean Rueter: The beauty of no stakes is anything can happen. Well, except for a Chyna/Beth Phoenix/Kharma-like surprise appearance that is. It’s time for somebody to pick up their first main roster gold, even if that comes in the form of a big-ass trophy. Pick: Sami Zayn

Kyle Decker: 50 guys with no real build and nothing on the line? Outside the fact that this will be the greatest, there’s a bunch of unknown to this. I’m going with Strowman since he’s a big dude they continue to build as a monster. And it’s not like they have to give him a title shot if he wins so if they aren’t ready to put the strap on him, winning today doesn’t affect that. Pick: Braun Strowman

Cain A. Knight: This match is completely meaningless so I think it makes the most sense for a babyface to get the win. The obvious choices are Daniel Bryan or Braun Strowman. Bryan has multiple enemies that could screw him over in the form of Big Cass, Miz, Kevin Owens, and Sami Zayn. Therefore I think Strowman will be the last man standing, much to my dismay. Pick: Braun Strowman

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: 50 men, only just over half of which have been announced as I write this, and without a concrete prize aside from the trophy it’s even harder to eyeball who even has a chance of winning this thing. So I’m just going to dig down, think hard about who I most want to see get their hand raised in victory, and of course, there’s only one man that fits the bill. The American Dragon himself, freshly unretired and triumphant. Pick: Daniel Bryan

Pete Sweeney: If we are going strictly by numbers, this Royal Rumble match is the most important Royal Rumble of all time. That is why it is so silly that the competitors in it have nothing to play for except this lavish trophy that has somehow managed to look worse than the same NCAA trophy given out for every sport sans football. The fact that there is nothing on the line with no impact on any title shot or push makes me think that there is only one choice for the winner of this bad boy. Pick: Dolph Ziggler

Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns

Geno Mrosko: Oh boy. I’m utterly convinced Roman Reigns is winning here but I’ve been utterly convinced of that too many times to count, and he just can’t seem to beat “The Beast.” Pick: Brock Lesnar

Sean Rueter: I bet “I don’t care anymore” isn’t the reaction Vince was going for. Pick: Brock Lesnar

Kyle Decker: I’m torn the most on this one. I can see the Greatest Universal Title Cage Match going both ways. If it were me, I absolutely would not put the title on Reigns here. The time to do that was at WrestleMania. It’s what the story dictated. And even if they wanted to put it off to give the Saudi crowd a big title change and have Roman win in front of a more favorable audience, they could have set it up better. Roman was destroyed at WrestleMania. If they wanted to delay things two weeks, they should have protected him more in the finish so this rematch felt deserved. Then they could have given him something legit to talk about the last two weeks instead of whining about Brock still not showing up. A win here after that booking certainly isn’t going to endear him any more to the crowd who dislikes him already and just makes him look weaker overall. Now that I established why I think it would be a terrible move to put the belt on him tomorrow given the booking the last two months, I’m going to say they definitely do because WWE never really knew how to handle Roman winning a title. Pick: Roman Reigns

Cain A. Knight: It was shocking to see Brock win at WrestleMania, but my best guess is that decision was made because Vince wanted to have a huge moment that matters on this card in Saudi Arabia. Roman Reigns really needs to win this match regardless of whether he remains babyface or goes heel, otherwise he looks like a total chump who can’t get the job done. Pick: Roman Reigns

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: Hoo boy. Do we have to? WrestleMania 34’s main event seemed like such a slam dunk and yet they found the one way to make it disappointing and confusing, and now we have an immediate steel cage rematch for... reasons. I guess I appreciate it as an inadvertent tribute to the late, great Bruno Sammartino, though. As for the result... I’ve lost the thread. Maybe the story is that Roman actually isn’t good enough and we have more Brock in our future. Maybe the story is that the third time’s the charm. All I know is I’m not satisfied by any of this at this point, and the sooner we move on, the better. Pick: Roman Reigns

Pete Sweeney: I begged the WWE to make me look ridiculous with my Roman Reigns Wrestlemania 34 pick, and it obliged. For the weeks leading up to ‘Mania, WWE made Reigns look weak. Every Monday night, Lesnar confidently walked down the ramp, and when he walked back up, Reigns was writhing in pain. On the day of the big show, more of the same—Reigns lost soundly. I think Reigns wins here because I just can’t think of a kayfabe scenario in which he would understandably deserve another title shot after losing again. And Reigns is the, um, direction, right? Or is he? Well done, WWE. My doubts are back. Pick: Roman Reigns

AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

Geno Mrosko: We’ve come to a point that Styles should have some sort of defense for the nut shot. If he gets hit with even one more low blow, he deserves to lose his title. I’m confident he’ll be looking to protect the ol’ jesus zipper. Pick: AJ Styles

Sean Rueter: Time to punch some nuts, up to AJ’s guts. Pick: Shinsuke Nakamura

Kyle Decker: This Greatest WWE title match is in a tough spot. I really don’t think they do a change here, but I also don’t see Nakamura take a clean loss immediately after turning heel. What I think is going to happen is AJ Styles is going to take a low blow when the ref isn’t looking, survive it, and eventually give Shinsuke a low blow of his own because he’s had enough. The referee will see that one and call for the bell, giving Shinsuke a win and keeping the belt on AJ. Pick: Shinsuke Nakamura

Cain A. Knight: Shinsuke Nakamura will probably be too focused on damaging AJ’s testicles to remember that he actually needs to win this match via pin fall or submission to win the title. Styles will retain, probably when Nakamura gets disqualified for yet another low blow. Pick: AJ Styles

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: I don’t think we get a title change here, but I do think AJ gives Shinsuke a taste of his own medicine with a well-placed right hand to the gentleman’s area ahead of a no DQ rematch of some kind at Backlash. Bonus points if Nakamura adopts more of his Chaos stablemate Toru Yano’s catalogue of shenanigans on the way! Pick: Shinsuke Nakamura

Pete Sweeney: After Shinsuke Nakamura lost at Wrestlemania, the ball’s right back in his court. His new entrance theme rocks, and when he makes his heelish post-match facial expressions, he looks nuts. In Saudi Arabia, a land that offers some of the finest grapes and grapefruits in the world, I think Nakamura finally captures the crown jewel of crown jewels, leaving AJ Styles blue without his coveted WWE Title. Pick: Shinsuke Nakamura

Undertaker vs. Rusev

Geno Mrosko: We know how this goes by now. Can only hope they manage to make it fun along the way. What am I talking about? There’s no such thing as a “fun” casket match. There’s never been a good one. Pick: Undertaker

Sean Rueter: They don’t call Chris Jericho the “King of The Casket Match” for nothi... what’s that? Really? Huh. What’s up with that? Long story, you say? Alrightee then... Pick: The Undertaker

Kyle Decker: Sorry, Rusev. You’re not winning the Greatest Casket Match. Hope you’re buried softly, brother. Pick: Undertaker

Cain A. Knight: This match isn’t going to help or hurt Rusev. Undertaker is going to squash him, Rusev will show up on SmackDown with the same thunderous fan response that he always gets, and everyone will move on like this whole thing never happened. Pick: Undertaker

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: After his WrestleMania match against John Cena went as well as it did, I for one welcome our sprinty fresh undead wizard overlord. Pick: Undertaker

Pete Sweeney: I’m happy that Rusev is back in this match because after taking Rusev Day with Aiden English and making it the phenomenon that it has become, he deserves it (hold the chant). That being said, I think the Undertaker return tour has just begun, and Rusev will not be the guy to give him a speed bump, especially in the gimmick match he made famous. Pick: The Undertaker

John Cena vs. Triple H

Geno Mrosko: This is genuinely intriguing to me because someone is going to have to do a job here and I can’t decide which of the two is going to be okay with it. You gotta think Triple H cares more, right? Cena seems ... I don’t know ... beaten. Pick: Triple H

Sean Rueter: Does Vince McMahon take pity on his Superstar during an emotionally trying time? Or is he a little pissed there won’t be a wedding to promote? Is this part of a long-range plan for Cena? Well, odds are it’s not that last thing, which seems even less likely than Vince getting soft on relationship issues in his old age. But he didn’t break up any couples in the Shakeup, so maybe? Pick: John Cena

Kyle Decker: I keep forgetting the Greatest One on One match is on the card. Two guys who definitely don’t need a win but at the same time, lose all the time. I’m actually going with the Game right here. John Cena’s story right now is he’s a big loser. May as well keep running with it. Pick Triple H

Cain A. Knight: I never really thought I’d say this, but John Cena is a loser. He hasn’t won a match on pay-per-view since SummerSlam, and he was squashed at WrestleMania by an old man. Triple H is probably going to win this match to help make up for all the recent WrestleMania losses. Pick: Triple H

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: There are two ways this can play out in my mind. Either Cena gets murked in three minutes like he did against Undertaker, and that’s our story now (which I’m all for), or Triple H gets his way and this is a feature-length main event epic with lots of Hunter’s trademark DRAMA, which is less interesting. The fact that the show is going to be long doesn’t give me faith I’m getting my way, but either way, the play here is the same. Pick: Triple H

Pete Sweeney: How is this match taking place at Greatest Royal Rumble? I would have liked to see at least a little buildup for this match, but given the careers and pedigree (I said it) of those in it, it really doesn’t need any. It will be a huge deal anyway. My personal hope is that the trend of Cena losing to some of the better superstars in the history of the business continues, leading up to the deeper long-term story of Cena questioning whether he has it or not anymore. I tend to think that’s the direction WWE is heading in, and that’s why I’m going with H. Pick: Triple H

Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor vs. The Miz vs. Samoa Joe

Geno Mrosko: I’m trying to convince myself they have plans to swerve us all and flip flop titles back around considering how this show is booked and how Backlash is shaping up. So I could absolutely buy a title change here. I’m not going to predict that, though, because I’m a coward. Pick: Seth Rollins

Sean Rueter: Truly believe Seth only won so all The Shield bros could be in the rapidly expanding Grand Slam Club. Also think this belt is headed back to SmackDown. Miz’s big summer feud won’t need the belt, so let’s try someone new. Pick: Samoa Joe

Kyle Decker: While this hasn’t been promoted much, the Greatest Ladder Match has a chance to be the best match on the card. And it’s a title that could change hands. However, if a title changes hands here, it’ll probably change in the US title match too. (Though not necessarily. They can get all the titles right at Backlash.) However, I’m going to say that they aren’t going to change the brand titles here, meaning Balor or Rollins win. Since Rollins just won the belt and hasn’t had a defense yet, I’m going with him to retain. Pick: Seth Rollins

Cain A. Knight: After all the smack talk Samoa Joe has thrown at Roman Reigns, wouldn’t it be kind of strange if the Destroyer can’t even win a mid-card title? Regardless, Rollins and Miz appear to be the favorites here. I really hope WWE keeps the IC Title on Raw away from Miz, because it’s time for WWE to stop doing the same tired storyline over and over again with him. Rollins and Miz are scheduled for another match at Backlash, so it really doesn’t matter which one wins this match at the Greatest Royal Rumble. They might as well change the title here to make the Backlash match more interesting. Pick: The Miz

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: This one feels like grounds for a change, the only problem is to whom. Joe is on SmackDown and staying that way, so he’s out. Ditto the Miz, although it’d be very tempting to get the title Daniel Bryan drafted him for back in 2016 as a central part of the show. So if we get a change, it would have to be to Finn, so... why not? Even better that the excellently inclusive and rainbow-bedecked Balor picking up a title victory in Saudi Arabia on a show where women aren’t allowed to wrestle tickles my funny bone. Pick: Finn Balor

Pete Sweeney: You know that saying, if you say something enough, it starts to become true? I feel like the Miz has been telling us how he made the Intercontinental Title relevant again for the past year, and at this point, it truly feels that way. He talks about the title so much I feel like it belongs to him. I’d like to say the Miz wins here because being a member of Smackdown Live, it will be his last chance for a long time. But I cannot. I think Seth Rollins is just getting started on his Intercontinental Title campaign and he keeps it. Add Finn Balor and Samoa Joe to the mix, and this is my match of the night favorite. Pick: Seth Rollins

Jeff Hardy vs. Jinder Mahal

Geno Mrosko: Again, I can see them switching things around here but, again, I am a coward. Pick: Jeff Hardy

Sean Rueter: Switcheroonie. Mahal with the red, white and blue belt makes too much sense, and Willow’s alter-ego needs to be in the WWE Title picture. Pick: Jinder Mahal

Kyle Decker: Since I don’t have the IC belt changing hands, I don’t see a change in the Greatest US title match either. SmackDown booking really feels like we’re getting Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy for the US title at Backlash. Plans change, but I bet that’s the way we go. (Maybe I just don’t want to see another Jinder vs. Randy match though.) Pick: Jeffrey Nero Hardy

Cain A. Knight: Jinder Mahal can’t even beat Chad Gable, so how the hell can he possibly beat Jeff Hardy? Pick: Jeff Hardy

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: As much as I’d like to predict a swap back for the midcard titles, Jinder Mahal has already said if he wins he’s taking the title back to SmackDown, so that’s a no-go. Ergo, the Charismatic Enigma takes this one and it’s a clean sweep for the Hardy Boyz in Saudi Arabia. Pick: Jeff Hardy

Pete Sweeney: Every show needs a mid-card title. Maybe WWE should run these matches simultaneously? Pick: Jeff Hardy

The Deleters of Worlds vs. The Bar

Geno Mrosko: When Cesaro & Sheamus mentioned going back to Raw by way of winning the tag titles here it made me think they might actually do that. And then looking at the rosters, it makes a certain kind of sense. But they spent too much time at the top of the red brand to go right back there and continue that run. It’s time to freshen things up. Pick: The Deleters of Worlds

Sean Rueter: Remember that rumor about how WWE wanted New Day to set a record for most Tag Title reigns. I think it was right, but they had the wrong team. Cesaro and Sheamus will be 40x champs by the time they’re done. And when they head back to Raw with these titles, they can trade the belts back and forth with Wyatt and Hardy some more! Pick: The Bar

Kyle Decker: The Bar did a good job putting some doubt in my mind here. Telling the New Day that they’ll just head back to Raw if they win the titles puts that possibility in my head. However, the fact they were talking to the New Day at all makes me think the Bar will not be victorious in the Greatest Vacant Tag Title Match. tomorrow. Pick: The Deleters of Worlds

Cain A. Knight: It was pretty clear the Bar was finished on Monday nights once they lost the tag titles to Some Kid at WrestleMania. Pick: Deleters of Worlds

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: When are two men like a bar? When they’re about to be... DELETED! ...look, they can’t all be winners, folks. Pick: Bray Wyatt & Matt Hardy

Pete Sweeney: In my opinion, Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt’s Deleters of World tag team is one of the best things in pro wrestling right now, and I think they go over here. The Bar starts anew in the Smackdown Live tag team division. Pick: The Deleters of World

The Bludgeon Brothers vs. The Usos

Geno Mrosko: Naomi won’t be around to save Jimmy and Jey this time. Pick: The Bludgeon Brothers

Sean Rueter: When is Backlash? Sunday? Next Sunday? Eh, we’re doing this (and a bunch of other matches on this card, probably) again there, so let’s do a DQ due to too much ass-kicking. Pick: The Usos

Kyle Decker: Without Naomi around to lend a hand to hubby Jim and Uce-in-law Jey, the Usos don’t really have an advantage in the Greatest Other Tag Team Match on the Card. My real question is if a loss here finally pushes the Usos to the back of the line. Pick: The Bludgeon Brothers

Cain A. Knight: Based on how these teams have been presented, there’s really no reason to think the Usos can win this match. Pick: Bludgeon Brothers

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: we know if hammers are legal in Saudi Arabia? Has the local athletic commission weighed in on this? In any case, I love the Usos dearly, but you can’t keep Harper and Rowan locked up if you’re unconscious. Pick: Bludgeon Brothers

Pete Sweeney: The storyline in this match is that Naomi has served as a protector of her husband, Jimmy Uso, but she won’t be in Saudi Arabia for obvious reasons. WWE writers have created a reason for the Bludgeon Brothers to be angrier than usual, which means I predict utter destruction in this match. This is a squash in favor of the reigning champions. Pick: The Bludgeon Brothers

Cedric Alexander vs. Kalisto

Geno Mrosko: There’s no compelling reason to do a title change here. Pick: Cedric Alexander

Sean Rueter: We get it, 205 Live is a competitive showcase where the traditional strictures of the pro wrestling morality tale don’t have to apply. Can we get a face/heel match-up after this, though? Pick: Cedric Alexander

Kyle Decker: Kalisto’s win on Tuesday felt out of nowhere as he hasn’t been near the title picture but instead chilling with the Lucha House Party Without any build, I don’t see any reason to undercut Cedric’s win so soon after it happened. The belt likely stays where it is in the Greatest Championship Match Featuring Men Under 205 Pounds (93 Kilograms If You’re Metric). Pick: Cedric Alexander

Cain A. Knight: I don’t think Cedric got through an entire tournament and WrestleMania championship victory just to lose the title right away to Kalisto. Pick: Cedric Alexander

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: As awesome as the gauntlet on 205 Live to get us here this week was, I can’t help but wish Mustafa Ali or Drew Gulak had gotten through to this one. Nothing against Kalisto, I like the guy a lot going back to the days when he was Samuray del Sol in Dragon Gate USA and Evolve, but Gulak and Ali are the hot hands and Kalisto turns this into a house show match that should be quite good but we all know how it ends... Pick: Cedric Alexander

Pete Sweeney: The cruiserweight match on the program seemingly always delivers, and for that reason, I think this match is very good. I also think it’s too soon for Cedric Alexander to lose the title as they try to rebuild the cruiserweight division without Enzo Amore. My pick is Cedric in a strong match. Pick: Cedric Alexander

That’s how we see the card playing out.


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