Following the go-home editions of both Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live, we have a pretty solid indicator of the list of WWE superstars from both brands who are being excluded from the 2018 Greatest Royal Rumble event—at least, as far as what is currently being advertised.
By the sheer virtue of this event holding a 50-man Royal Rumble, there is certainly PLENTY of room for more people to be added to the mix (as well as a necessity, since the 50 men haven’t been announced), last minute changes to the card and more announcements over the next few days, but for now, we have a good feel of what talent is booked for the pay-per-view and who will likely be sitting it out.
As always, some of these omissions make perfect sense, while others are more confusing and questionable, so let’s take a look at the list of wrestlers and breakdown the superstars missing from the lineup.
The Entire Women’s Division
Let’s just address the elephant in the room right off the bat.
After all the progress from the Women’s Evolution over the past few years, going to Saudi Arabia for this event just proves how much work still needs to be done around the world, as every single woman in WWE is unable to compete at this event.
This is a shame, as even though the card is totally stacked as it is, an entire market is being left off the card just due to political problems, and it’s unlikely anything will happen to try to make a statement against that.
WWE clearly values this partnership with Saudi Arabia immensely in order to invest the resources to try to overload this event, meaning they aren’t going to be stubbornly playing around and being coy by doing something like airing a video package that says “we also have some great women’s wrestlers you should check out” with clips from Asuka, Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, and so on.
Here’s hoping there’s a time somewhat soon in the future where this isn’t an issue.
From the Cruiserweight Division
The Cruiserweight Championship will be on the line with Cedric Alexander defending against Kalisto, who won a gauntlet match on this week’s 205 Live to earn this title opportunity as Buddy Murphy was replaced by not making the weight limit.
Per normal, there is almost never more than one match on a card representing 205 Live, which means all of the other men in the cruiserweight division are in a limbo state where they will either potentially compete in the 50-man Royal Rumble match, or not do anything at all.
For those keeping count of the other cruiserweights, the list is as follows: Akira Tozawa, Ariya Daivari, The Brian Kendrick, Buddy Murphy, Drew Gulak, Gentleman Jack Gallagher, Gran Metalik, Hideo Itami, Lince Dorado, Mark Andrews, Mustafa Ali, TJP and Tony Nese, as well as the injured Noam Dar and the man who is still in a contractual dispute, Neville.
The following are the main roster men who have not yet been announced for the 50-man rumble or any other matches on the card. As mentioned before, it can be assumed that most, if not all of them, will be competing in the battle royal, but that is certainly not set in stone.
- Aiden English — There is no chance Rusev goes out for his casket match against The Undertaker and doesn’t have Aiden English not only ringside for it, but also getting involved.
- Andrade “Cien” Almas — Despite being called up to the main roster with the Superstar Shake-up, he’s only being advertised as “coming soon” to SmackDown Live, meaning they’re likely holding off on him because they don’t want him to lose here as a first impression. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he doesn’t show up until after Backlash.
- The Ascension — Konnor and Viktor will be sacrificial lambs if they’re even lucky enough to get two of the 50 spots.
- The Authors of Pain — Actually, I wouldn’t be shocked at all if Akam and Rezar don’t wrestle on this card. They didn’t make an appearance on this week’s episode of Raw and they’re going to be protected, so if WWE can avoid using them in the Royal Rumble match and having them look weak at all with an elimination, they probably will. Don’t be shocked if they’re kept away.
- Big Cass — While Cass has been confirmed for a match at Backlash against Daniel Bryan, he’s still not listed in the ranks for the Greatest Royal Rumble competitors. It would surprise me if he wasn’t involved, but if there are enough people without him, he may just sit this out anyway. He’s been on at least one poster, though, so that should be some evidence of his inclusion.
- Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel — There’s no way these two don’t show up for quick eliminations, or at least in a backstage segment with The Miz to talk about how they miss him. They’re also on at least one poster.
- Bobby Lashley — He’s been featured in some promotional material, but is still not listed in any official capacity, even though he’ll assuredly be one of the 50 names.
- Breezango — Both Tyler Breeze and Fandango have been featured in some promotional material, but are among the names who have yet to be confirmed, for some reason.
- The Colons — Epico has been out with an injury for quite a long time, and even though that didn’t stop Primo from competing in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania, with this being a Royal Rumble format with individual entrances, I think it’s less likely to see him get his own spot. If they have enough people and don’t need him, don’t be surprised if he gets cut.
- Curt Hawkins — You know he’ll be in this and get absolutely wrecked.
- Dean Ambrose — The Lunatic Fringe is still out with the same injury that has kept him from competing since December 2017.
- Drew McIntyre — With his call-up to the Raw roster and his alignment with Dolph Ziggler, who is confirmed for the Royal Rumble match, it’s hard to imagine he wouldn’t be featured unless WWE specifically doesn’t want him to be eliminated.
- Heath Slater and Rhyno — Both Slater and Rhyno are pretty much guaranteed to be fodder for the Royal Rumble match.
- Jason Jordan — Jordan has been out of action since February 5th, dealing with a neck injury. He was just mentioned by Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, though, so he might make his return here to eliminate them.
- Kane — The Big Red Machine was actually advertised for this match originally, but his name was pulled from the list. It can be assumed this is due to some sort of scheduling conflict with his campaign.
- Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows — While both Gallows and Anderson have been featured on promotional material as well, they’re still missing from the official list on WWE.com
- Mike Kanellis — In his shake-up interview, Kanellis came off as a babyface, but he subsequently lost to Zack Ryder on the Main Event tapings. This may be an indication of WWE not knowing what to do with him yet, and that might be a sign that he’ll come up short when looking for a spot here.
- No Way Jose — Baron Corbin is in the match and these two are feuding, somewhat, so it would make a lot of sense for No Way Jose to have his conga line entrance and to be eliminated by Corbin (or vice versa) if they want to progress this feud.
- R-Truth — Having been out for many months, R-Truth just recently returned to television with the Superstar Shake-up. If he’s ready to go, you can bet he’ll be one of the names in the rumble.
- Randy Orton — As with many others, he’s been on some posters, but WWE never made any point to acknowledge him as a confirmed participant. Still, he’s a guarantee for this.
- The Revival — Remember when Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder had all the momentum in the world to come up to the main roster and be the top team, and then they suffered injuries and have never been given a chance to turn things around? MIA…
- SAnitY — Similar to the situation with Andrade “Cien” Almas, they haven’t made their SmackDown debuts and probably won’t until after Backlash.
- The Singh Brothers — Samir Singh is still out with an injury, while Sunil is a surefire bet to accompany Jinder Mahal to the ring for his match against Jeff Hardy, as well as possibly wrestle in the battle royal.
- Tye Dillinger — He’s been featured in some promotional material, but is still not listed in any official capacity, even though he’ll assuredly be one of the 50 names. Take a shot if he’s #10 for the third time in a row.
- Zack Ryder — Originally, Ryder was advertised for this, but he suffered an injury during his match against Mike Kanellis on Main Event and will be undergoing an MRI instead.
The NXT Roster:
As far as I’m aware, nothing has been stated about whether or not the NXT roster is eligible to be competing in the rumble here, but since we’ve seen at least one member of the NXT crew in the previous normal Royal Rumbles over the past few years, it can be assumed that at least one person will make the jump from the yellow brand for a quick appearance.