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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 June 2018

Roman Reigns, the Undertaker and Shinsuke Nakamura: Talking points from WWE's Greatest Royal Rumble

A look at five of the WWE's Superstars, including Daniel Bryan and Braun Strowman, who had a good night in Saudi Arabia and what is next for them

The Greatest Royal Rumble took place on Friday in Saudi Arabia. You can read about how the action went down here. Here is a look at five of the Superstars who had a good night in Jeddah, even if they did not actually win.

Roman Reigns

Given he failed again to win the Universal title from Brock Lesnar, it seems odd, on the surface of things, to credit this as a good night in the ring for Reigns.

But he looked the most competitive he has been allowed to look against Lesnar, and his offence against the former UFC champion was well put together.

If it was odd that Reigns did not get the title earlier in April at WrestleMania 34 then it was even more baffling that in front of an enthusiastic crowd in Jeddah he missed out again.

Reigns is still going to be the man to depose Lesnar, it is just a case of when now. Whether that is in the next month or so or if the WWE wait until SummerSlam is the question.

The narrative here might be that the more Reigns misses out the more desperate he becomes and this could be the catalyst for the heel turn as he finally embraces his dark side and uses nefarious means to become a four-time champion.

Reigns looked like a champion against Lesnar. The only thing that is now missing is the title belt. It should have left Saudi Arabia with him but it is coming.

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Read more

Samoa Joe on the WWE's Greatest Royal Rumble in Saudi Arabia: 'It is going to be one wild brawl'

Mark Henry Q&A on the Greatest Royal Rumble in Saudi Arabia: It is like WrestleMania

Daniel Bryan interview: On returning to the ring at WrestleMania 34

WATCH: WWE Superstars Alexa Bliss and Kane visit The National

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The Undertaker

The Deadman looked as good as he has done in many years as he defeated Rusev in their casket match.

It was a fun encounter, which gave Taker the chance to showcase some of his classic moves, while allowing Rusev to have some good moments himself.

At almost 10 minutes in match length it was triple the time of Taker's squash win over John Cena at WrestleMania and highlighted that there is still life in the 53-year-old yet as an in-ring performer.

Hopefully he will compete again before WrestleMania 35 next April in New Jersey. He is clearly in a much better physical state then he was at WrestleMania 33 when he struggled through his main event with Reigns.

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Braun Strowman

Another good night for the WWE's monster as he won the biggest ever Royal Rumble, throwing Big Cass over last to triumph.

Strowman has been booked strongly since his face turn in October last year.

He was one of the sole survivors in the Survivor Series main event, he eliminated four men before losing to Reigns in the No 1 contender's match at the Elimination Chamber, and effectively won a handicap match to win the Raw Tag Team titles at WrestleMania 34.

This was another big showing for Strowman, the highlight arguably being when he threw Shane McMahon off the top turnbuckle and through the announcer's table.

Strowman is white hot right now and it seems baffling he is not in the main event scene.

Lesnar v Reigns does not look as if it is done yet, but when it is Strowman has to be the next contender.

Daniel Bryan

Bryan is back and he has come back with stamina. He competed for 76 minutes in the Royal Rumble, the longest any superstar has competed in a match in the WWE.

Given he has only just returned to ring action after being ruled out by medical staff for the past three years over concerns over concussions it was a great effort.

Bryan was the heartbeat of the match as the No 1 entrant and the Saudi crowd were clearly upset when he was eliminated by Big Cass.

It makes for a good story going forward, with Cass and Bryan meeting at Backlash on May 6, but also underlines that Bryan is as good in the ring as he was before his hiatus.

If he keeps that level of performance up the question is how long do the WWE wait to put him back in the main event scene.

Shinsuke Nakamura

Another title challenger who did not win, yet who comes out with credit.

Nakamura has been rejuvenated since turning heel at WrestleMania 34 and he is clearly benefiting from being able to be more aggressive and intense with his ring work.

He gets another shot at AJ Styles's WWE World Heavyweight title at Backlash after Friday's match ended in a double countout, a result that left Styles still champion.

Nakamura deserves a run with the championship, particularly in his heel persona, and it feels like the momentum is now with him to leave with the title at Backlash and become Japan's first WWE world champion.

Greatest Royal Rumble results

John Cena pinned Triple H in a singles match

Cedric Alexander retained the WWE Cruiserweight title against Kalisto

Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt win the Raw Tag Team titles against Cesaro and Sheamus

Jeff Hardy retained the United States title against Jinder Mahal

Bludgeon Brothers retain the SmackDown Tag Team titles against the Usos

Seth Rollins retains the Intercontinental title against The Miz, Finn Balor and Samoa Joe

AJ Styles remains WWE World Heavyweight champion after he and Shinsuke Nakamura are both counted out

The Undertaker beats Rusev in a casket match

Brock Lesnar retains the WWE Universal title against Roman Reigns in a steel cage match

Braun Strowman won the 50-man Royal Rumble by eliminating Big Cass last