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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

The Undertaker's casket match and title glory for Roman Reigns: WWE talking points ahead of the Greatest Royal Rumble

Analysing some of the big matches to happen in Jeddah on April 27 and why John Cena's losing run should continue

The Undertaker, left, will go up against Rusev in a casket match at the Greatest Royal Rumble. Image courtesy of WWE
The Undertaker, left, will go up against Rusev in a casket match at the Greatest Royal Rumble. Image courtesy of WWE

The WWE's Greatest Royal Rumble is now just a week away from happening on April 27 at the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in Saudi Arabia on April 27.

Ahead of the action for the event in Jeddah, which is also being shown on the WWE Network, here are some talking points on what to look out for in some of the leading matches.

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The Undertaker's physical level

It is has been a little bit confusing this week in the build-up to the Greatest Royal Rumble in Saudi Arabia with regards to the Undertaker.

Namely who is he facing in the casket match on April 27 at the King Abdullah Sports Stadium in Jeddah?

One day it was Rusev. Then it was Chris Jericho. Now it is back to being Rusev.

To be honest, it really does not matter too much who the Deadman faces in the ring in Saudi Arabia as the WWE's Middle East fan base are going to be thrilled to see him in action live.

He is winning the match, that is a certainly so whether it be Rusev or Jericho it was always going to be about who could have a competitive outing in the ring with the veteran.

What will have WWE fans across the globe watching for is how long a match it is between Taker and Rusev.

When he lost to Roman Reigns in the main event at WrestleMania 33 in Orlando last year, the Undertaker looked a spent force and it was hard to watch one of the industry's greatest names struggling as much as he clearly was.

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Having had a reported hip replacement, the Undertaker looked in much better shape when he returned to the ring at WrestleMania 34, where he swept past John Cena in a match that lasted only two minutes, 45 seconds.

Whether that was for timing purposes due to an incredibly lengthy show in New Orleans, or that is how long the Deadman can now physically last in the ring is unclear.

That is why the match with Rusev will be fascinating in terms of how long it lasts. It is likely to be short anyhow, because Rusev, despite his popularity, has never been booked in such a way to be on a par with one of the biggest legends of the industry.

If it is really short, less than three minutes, then it does look as if that is maybe all the Undertaker now has in his locker stamina wise. Which is still good for a man who debuted back in 1990 and turned 53 last month.

If it is between five to 10 minutes then this might give hope of more matches to come as he is builds up his endurance.

This will be a lot of fun for the fans in Saudi. They are seeing the Undertaker live, and winning a match. It is how quickly he triumphs that will be the interesting thing to watch for.

Roman Reigns set for Universal title

There is a lot of history that is going to be made in Saudi Arabia with the Greatest Royal Rumble.

Most notably is of course the 50-man Royal Rumble, the biggest staging of the format to ever be held, beating the 40-man held by the WWE in 2011.

But a WWE world title has a very serious chance of changing hands at the event.

Roman Reigns winning the WWE Universal title, the top championship on the Raw brand, from Brock Lesnar in a steel cage match, could be the icing on the cake of the WWE's first live Network Special in Saudi.

It was a shock when Reigns lost cleanly to Lesnar in the main event at WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans, but it feels like his moment has been delayed for Saudi.

Firstly, it will give the event an even more special feeling of seeing Reigns end Lesnar's title reign, which has lasted for more than a year.

Plus he will get a more welcoming reception from an excited Saudi crowd then he would have got in New Orleans, where fans were openly booing the three-time WWE world champion.

There will be a redemption arc to the story as Reigns finally gets a victory over Lesnar he has been trying to get for three years and doing it at such a new event will make it even more memorable.

It should be a great night for Saudi, the WWE in the Middle East as a whole and for Reigns as he begins what will likely be a long fourth title reign.

Triple H needs to beat John Cena

There has been little to no build-up thus far for Triple H v John Cena, which is the first time the two men, with a combined 30 world title wins between them, have faced each other in a singles match on a Network Special since 2008.

This should be a good match in Triple H can still go, as his impressive showing in the mixed tag match at WrestleMania 34 proved.

Cena lost a very quick encounter with the Undertaker and has been on something of a losing streak of late.

This is, other than the 50-man Royal Rumble, the only match on the card without a title at stake. For that reason, with a lot of faces due to win, Triple H should pick up the victory.

Cena is the more regular competitor of the two, but another high profile loss would maintain a storyline that the 16-time world champion no longer has it.

In 2018 he failed to win the Royal Rumble, lost a six-pack challenge match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and was beaten in 165 seconds by a 53-year-old veteran.

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Losing to Triple H, a part-timer, who has not won a singles match on WWE television since March 2016, can add another blow.

This means that when Cena does come back and tries to go for a record 17th WWE world title there is a great narrative of whether he can do it or not.

The WWE tried a similar story with him in 2012 after he lost to the Rock, trying to claim he had endured a miserable year subsequently before he beat the Rock 12 months later at WrestleMania 29.

The problem was he beat Lesnar, won the Money in the Bank briefcase match, albeit he became the first person to unsuccessfully cash in, and was largely booked as strong as ever in that period so the story of him lacking confidence did not stack up.

The WWE now have that and even though he is not a regular an angle of Cena not being able to get the job done anymore will resonate with fans and that is why he should lose to Triple H.

The Greatest Royal Rumble card as it stands

50-man Royal Rumble - names entered so far include Braun Strowman, Daniel Bryan, Kurt Angle, Big Show, Kane, Chris Jericho, The New Day and Elias

Universal Championship Brock Lesnar (champion) v Roman Reigns in a steel cage match

WWE World Heavyweight Championship AJ Styles (champion) v Shinsuke Nakamura

Intercontinental Championship Seth Rollins (champion) v The Miz v Finn Balor v Samoa Joe

United States Championship Jeff Hardy (champion) v Jinder Mahal

SmackDown Tag Team Championship The Bludgeon Brothers (champions) v The Usos

Raw Tag Team Championship (currently vacant) Cesaro and Sheamus v Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt

Casket match The Undertaker v Chris Jericho

Singles match John Cena v Triple H

Cruiserweight Championship Cedric Alexander v tba

 

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