The subject of WWE doing shows in Saudi Arabia brings up a lot of controversy, this is not an article on that though. Focusing on the (mostly) positives I have comprised a list of the 5 best matches WWE has put on during the Saudi shows that you have to go out of your way to see.
Honourable mention: The Greatest Royal Rumble Match.
A Royal Rumble is always good for a surprise, so with an extra 20 participants on top of the usual 30, it was worth tuning in for. And while the match threw a couple of “who the hell are they” moments (Babatunde anyone?) we were treated to a superhuman performance by the former Daniel Bryan. Coming in at number 1 and lasting until the final 3, Bryans 76 mins in the match is the stuff of legends and not just because Roderick Strong left Bryans chest looking like hamburger meat but because this was only his 2nd match back after retiring 3 years earlier. The guys a machine.
5: Finn Balor vs Andrade: Super showdown 2019
Call me biased but I just love seeing Finn Balor in his “Demon” face and body paint, even though his lightening for his entrance was too bright for that kind of dark, demonic side of Finn, it is still an awesome sight to behold. The match itself was nicely worked with a few high spots and some really nice, crisp counters from both men. At one point, Andrade hits a good combination of a spinning back elbow followed by a handspring backflip double knee to the back of Balor’s head. Finn kicks out of Andrade’s hammerlock DDT finisher and soon after Finn counters a superplex into an avalanche face buster that then sets up his Coup de Grace finisher for the hard-fought win.
4: Rollins vs Balor vs Miz vs Samoa Joe, ladder match
4: Rollins vs Balor vs Miz vs Samoa Joe, ladder match: The Greatest Royal Rumble 2018
Multi-man ladder matches are usually total car wrecks of awesomeness, but this was more of a thender bender. It wasn’t bad by any stretch, given the talent in the match it was always going to be a well worked but you just got the impression that all four men didn’t want to risk injury and so never really got out of 3rd gear. The Miz was his usual cowardly self, taking advantage when the opportunity came around and planted Joe with a skull crushing finale on the ladder that looked like Joe caught his jaw on. The match wasn’t overloaded with high-risk spots so I’m sure there are plenty of other ladder matches you would prefer to watch but the ending was different to what we usually see in these types of matches. After Balor got rid of Joe and Miz he was home free, on his way up to the ladder completely uncontested until Rollin’s springboards off the ropes and onto the ladder in a flash and nabs the title from the grasp of Balor in a blink and you will almost miss it moment.
3: AJ Styles vs Samoa Joe: Crown Jewel 2018
While these 2 men have had much better matches in the past, they rolled out the greatest hits here and put on a decent match. The commentators played up the personal storyline of Joe invading AJ’s home, but you never really got the impression this was a blood feud, it was really just a well wrestled match. The finish did seem to come out of nowhere though with AJ being sent over the ropes only to land on the apron and hit a phenomenal forearm for the win. Another 5 minutes and a few near falls and this would have been a banger.
2: Edge vs Seth Rollins, hell in a cell: Crown Jewel 2021
The trilogy and conclusion of this feud between one of the greats of the past and one of the greats of the present did not disappoint. Kicking off the show in style, the crowd was hot for this match from the very beginning as they knew these two guys would give them a hell in a cell match to remember. Rollins bumped around for edge like a madman and sold everything to full effect, getting shoved off the top rope, bouncing off the cell only to fall a good 10 feet through a table was a great spot that we hadn’t seen before. Calling back to Edge’s head a neck injury a month prior at Madison Square Garden was a nice touch with Rollin’s going as far as to wrap a chain around his foot and superkick Edge in the side of the head seemed to have Edge out for the count. Edge was able to survive before finally putting Rollin’s away with a stomp onto a steel chair. A great Hell in a Cell match and a great way to open the show.
1: Mansoor vs Cesaro: Crown Jewel 2019
A strange choice for my number one pick but bear with me on this. Mansoor was the hometown boy, and the crowd was fully behind him more than any other of the bigger stars in WWE and for me a crowd can make or break a match. The crowd was molten for Mansoor from start to finish, even if the result was pretty much a full gone conclusion. Cesaro is arguably the best wrestler in the world and could have a 4-star match with a broom stick of asked to do so, luckily Mansoor is far better than a broom stick and the 4- year rookie really shone here. The work was fluid and crisp, and the hits nice and stiff, Cesaro catching Mansoor with a beautiful European uppercut as he was flying between the ropes to the outside looked great. There was an awesome spot where Cesaro is going for a gut wrench suplex off the top rope that Mansoor was able to turn into a sunset flip bomb erupted the crowd. Moments later Mansoor was on the top rope hitting a picture perfect moonsault for the 1,2,3. The crowd came unglued and Mansoor was a made man if only for one night.
Author: Richard Othen
Follow Richard on Twitter: @ricothen22
ON SALE NOW!!!
DOWNLOAD YOUR COPY STRAIGHT TO YOUR PHONE HERE