It’s that time again. Time for another show from Saudi Arabia. I’m not saying these shows have a reputation or anything but it never seems to be that much of a fun time when I’m watching them. Moral politics aside, it just seems like WWE never really cares when they put them together. That being said, let’s give this one a chance shall we. There was some history made and a title change that put a smile on my face. Let’s get into it shall we?
Carrillo’s Time to Shine
So, the pre-show battle royal to set a contender for the US Title was fine. It was your standard battle royal focusing on Harper and Rowan killing everyone. There were also some 24/7 title shenanigans as R Truth reclaimed the title from Sunil Singh. Though he did lose it again later after running into a door. The winner, Humberto Carrillo, mainly survived because Harper and Rowan turned on each other. He was there to take advantage and pick up a title opportunity. This was an obvious choice due to recent interactions with the champion, Styles but oh well, at least it was someone different. He had his match with Styles later in the show. It was pretty good but obviously, he didn’t win with Styles getting the better of him. Either way, this was a big moment for Carrillo and a big sign that WWE have some faith in him, giving him two massive opportunities in recent weeks.
It may not have been the greatest match. Nor may it have been the biggest win due to the fight’s circumstances. What can be said is, WWE got a women’s match in Saudi Arabia. Natalya and Lacey Evans had a match in a country so tough on women, that it kicked off over a WWE trailer featuring women in attire. Now in tights and t-shirts, two women got to inspire women all over the country. Women fought in Saudi Arabia and now the door is open for future opportunities I would hope. It’s a very small step on the long march to progress but let’s not downplay the impact it will have had for the women of that country. Natalya can now claim she was the first woman to win a WWE women’s match in Saudi Arabia.
I’m not going to pretend to give a damn about Hulk Hogan or Rick Flair. This match earns it’s positive for giving a whole host of talent a meaningful spot on the card, tying in a bunch of feuds and stories. It was a great romp of action between two teams of people with reasons to hate each other. It was enjoyable and chaotic enough to actually be enjoyable. Plus, the crowd seemed into it for the most part. Randy Orton gets some monster pops in Saudi Arabia. Chad Gale, Ali and more got an extra rub from being in the same match as notable faces like Roman Reigns and Drew McIntyre. It just benefitted everyone in it. Good job on this one. Team Hogan won when everyone came together to set Orton up for a Spear from Roman.
A Fiendish Win
Okay, let me preface this by saying that the match they had wasn’t the best. The red light, though a cool gimmick, is not enjoyable to watch and the action going everywhere was messy but unlike a lot of people, I actually kind of dug this match. What I will focus on is the spot fest antics and the eventual win of The Fiend as the Universal Title. This makes me happy on so many levels. He has the best character and is definitely on of the most interesting on the roster right now. However, he is on Smackdown so how are they going to fix this one? But forgetting that little wrinkle, WWE now actually have a big champion people want other than Becky Lynch. Yowie Wowie. Also, I need to credit how Seth Rollins has acted in both of his matches, he has genuinely seemed terrified and desperate in both matches. He has done the Fiend justice in how he has reacted to him and the lengths he has gone to try and win. I can’t ignore that. The Fiend survived death by electricity so that was cool.
A Passionate Crowd
So, in the first ever review for a Saudi show, I complained about the crowd. Now it seems they have fully embraced WWE (except women’s attires) and get into it with a furious passion. There are children and families enjoying the spectacle. Fans who want to cheer and boo and enjoy themselves, something that a lot of WWE shows lack in. They were there to have fun. The camera cuts to the crowd more often than not showed happy faces, passionate fans and not people on their phones or holding up obnoxious signs. It was a nice sight.
The World’s Longest Gauntlet
I wanted to be positive about this. It wasn’t bad by any stretch and WWE’s biggest focus on tag team wrestling in a while but oh man was it dull. Too many teams, taking too long. It was a match that I tabbed out of on more than one occasion as I knew I wouldn’t miss anything. Good showing for some tag teams, a dull affair for others. The OC won in the end getting the final pin on the Viking Raiders. That means they will probably be the next tag team title feud for the RAW Tag Titles. That’s not too bad to be honest.
This was bad. Really really bad. I was hoping Fury/Strowman would be a quick affair where one man won dominantly and that was that but instead we got a long, drawn out bout with no clear conclusion. Fury won by countout. COUNTOUT. This should have been a match won by a KO. No one cares about the outcome of this match. Let’s at least make it something worthwhile. Instead it was just another dull, throwaway bout. I’m not going to comment on Fury’s wrestling as I know he hasn’t had much training so he did fine under the circumstances. Lack of selling aside anyway…
All that for this?
2 to 3 minutes. All that build for two minutes of Brock Lesnar dominating Cain Velasquez. I have no idea who benefits here. It all seems so pointless. Anyone who does any semblance of research knows that Velasquez can wrestle. I’m sure they could have had a proper match if they planned it more. What’s more embarrassing with Velasquez is he was forced to tap with a Kimura Lock as he was beating down Brock. I don’t think this is bad per se, just benefiting no one. Brock put the exclamation mark on the segment by F5-ing Cain onto a chair. Velasquez better get revenge in the near future.
The Hometown Hero
Mansoor is a very interesting person when put under a microscope. He gets big wins on his home turf but never anywhere else. He’s an NXT jobber usually and only ever seems to do anything of note when he is in Saudi Arabia. I get that this is probably done to be inspirational to the people of his home country but well, shouldn’t it reach past Saudi Arabia if that’s what they want to do? He should be seen more away from his country. Doing things on TV and picking up wins that matter. It’s shouldn’t just be a home country thing. Go all in on it or don’t. It’s a very cynical display otherwise.
So I guess the positives just to say win this round. Look to me most of this show was dull. I wasn’t exactly a fan of a lot of the matches but I can’t argue that overall, it was a much more positive viewing experience than previous shows. Some history was made, the crowd loved it and we got the Fiend as Universal Champion. It wasn’t perfect but at least there’s some positives coming out of the show. I didn’t hate this one. I thought it was quite dull but it was short enough not to drag and had some entertaining moments. Let’s hope WWE use the Fiend properly now. If they don’t there’ll be hell to pay.
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