The WWE has been in a bit of a transition period lately with WrestleMania season over and the Superstar Shake-up. New feuds have commenced, and fresh talents have had the chance to show what they can do in their new surroundings. To add to that, the television shows were mainly spent hyping not only the Greatest Royal Rumble event on Friday in Saudi Arabia but also the Backlash pay-per-view on May 6. It was a busy week in the wrestling world, and here are the top slams of the week.
Rousey saves the day
Similar to the men’s 10-person tag match to close Raw the previous week, there was one last week with the women in the main event. Shortly into the match, Sarah Logan hit Natalya with a chop block, injuring Natalya’s knee. As doctors tended to Natalya outside the ring, the match broke down as Nia Jax took everyone out. Mickie James was the first woman up after Jax’s attack and promptly went to work on Natalya’s hurt knee. Soon, Ronda Rousey’s music hit, and she came down to save her injured training partner. When James tried to attack Rousey from behind, Rousey, a former UFC champion, quickly locked her in an armbar, diffusing the situation. The confrontation will likely lead to a tag team match in which Rousey and Natalya will face off with Mickie James and her ally Alexa Bliss. Rousey’s WWE career so far has been impactful, and this appearance followed suit.
Cass continues attacks
Following his move to Smackdown and the ambush of Daniel Bryan at the end of the previous main event, Big Cass continued his ways last week. At the start of the show, The Miz called out Bryan to address their issues of the past. Cass, who emerged and bashed Bryan’s size and appearance, answered the call. The words were not the extent of the attack Tuesday, though. Later in the night, Bryan was discovered unconscious backstage, and it was later figured out the attacker was Cass. After doctors tended to Bryan, he was interviewed and stated he and Cass would settle their differences at the Backlash event in May. It’s an interesting matchup, and the feud will get only more heated as time goes on.
Kalisto wins the gauntlet
The least-discussed WWE weekly show, it seems, is 205 Live. It showcases the Cruiserweight division and puts on sneaky, good matches. Last week’s episode was an example, as there was a five-man gauntlet match. For those unfamiliar, a gauntlet match is a series of matches in which the winner of each advances to the next matchup until all participants have competed. The wrestler who wins the final match is the victor. Five of the top cruiserweights competed in one this week for a Cruiserweight championship match at the Greatest Royal Rumble event. Mustafa Ali started it and defeated TJP but then fell at the hands of Drew Gulak. Gulak beat Tony Nese to advance to the final match, but “The Lucha Dragon” Kalisto topped him. Kalisto earned his championship match but lost to Cruiserweight champion Cedric Alexander on Friday in a fast-paced match.
Ciampa, Gargano reignite feud
Johnny Gargano earned his NXT roster spot back on WrestleMania weekend after defeating his former friend Tommaso Ciampa in an instant classic. The feud looked to be over. Gargano moved on and set up a match with Aleister Black for the NXT championship. As he made his entrance, Ciampa brutally attacked him from behind. After Ciampa drove Gargano through a table, Gargano was packed into an ambulance as his archenemy waved goodbye. The feud is evidently far from over, and I am excited to see more great matches the two can put on.
Greatest Royal Rumble takes place in Saudi Arabia
In one of the more interesting events in some time, the WWE hosted the Greatest Royal Rumble in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Friday. It was a unique show, as the world of pro wrestling met the culture of the Middle East. There was an intermission in the show for those in the crowd to complete a daily prayer, and the ringside section was reserved with throne-like chairs for royal family of the country. The event had a stacked card, including seven championship matches and a 50-man royal rumble match. Only one championship changed hands, as Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt defeated the Bar for the vacant Raw tag team championships. A.J. Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura fought to a draw in their WWE championship match, setting up a future rematch. Brock Lesnar retained the Universal championship against Roman Reigns in a steel cage match when Reigns speared Lesnar through the cage. By rule, Lesnar escaped the cage first and received the victory. The night was capped with the rumble match, which “The Monster Among Men” Braun Strowman won. Bryan set a record for the longest amount of time in a single rumble match but came in third place. The show sent the crowd home happy and made tons of money for the WWE, and it was fascinating to see a new cultural aspect of the show.