@Mohammed Abdu Arena on the Boulevard in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
WWE’s relationship with Saudi Arabia continues as Super ShowDown threatens to derail Wrestlemania plans and give the WWE Universe some idea of what to expect in Tampa. The partnership with Saudi Arabia has long drawn the ire of fans. But the latest offering from Riyadh sees a short but well-rounded card that could have ramifications felt for the next few months.
The last time WWE made the same long journey, the vast majority of the roster was stranded on the Saudi airport tarmac, missing the live Smackdown show back in the USA. Fortunately, NXT stars stepped up to the plate, but surely a business-like WWE will not be burnt again.
That being said, all eyes will turn to the logistical operation of moving Superstars the nearly 8,000 miles back to American soil within 24 hours for Smackdown.
The card features a surprising WWE Championship match between Ricochet and Brock Lesnar. The contrast of styles should make for interesting viewing – the worry being Ricochet is nothing more than a warm-up session for Lesnar. With Drew McIntyre waiting to face off against the winner at Wrestlemania, it is difficult to see Ricochet as a Wrestlemania main event player at this stage of his WWE career. WWE would do well to let Ricochet push Lesnar to his limits, as speed matches brute force.
As has been the case at all the shows to take place in Saudi Arabia, a familiar face from the past returns for one of the bigger matches of the night. Goldberg may have been a previous WWE Universal Champion, as well as one of the biggest stars of WCW in its heyday, but in the twilight of his career, shots at the title are few and far between.
To his credit, Goldberg has been game to play his part against The Fiend. With rumour and inuendo in full flight during Wrestlemania season, any result is possible here. Every Superstar, whether full or part-time, is looking to make a play for a Mania match.
We have mentioned previously that we don’t believe The Fiend needs the title to look strong. A Goldberg win sets up unlimited possibilities in terms of opponents. A Fiend win bestows some much-needed kudos to the Wyatt, who has started to feel somewhat irrelevant in recent weeks.
We can only hope that the steel cage match between Roman Reigns and Baron Corbin signals an end to one of the most drawn out and overplayed rivalries in recent memory. There is very little we can add to previous previews, other than this match will take place inside a steel cage. The intention to keep both men in the ring and others out, feels like a natural conclusion. Surely, at this stage, no one is looking for this feud to roll through to Tampa and instead both men should be allowed to move to a fresh program far away from each other…
Another women’s match in Saudi Arabia shows the progress WWE continues to strive for. With the Smackdown Women’s Championship on the line, the match has some weight and it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that Naomi could dethrone Bayley as a statement win to create further history.
A couple of tag title matches, as well as a bizarrely named Tuwaiq Trophy Gauntlet match round out the card. WWE have reported Undertaker has been spotted in the area and with John Cena scheduled for Smackdown on Friday, the next couple of days could prove crucial on the road to April 5th in Tampa. At the very least the quirky amphitheatre style Mohammed Abdu Arena, should provide some great visuals, whether the action matches up, will soon be revealed.
Full Match Card and Rushonrock predictions:
WWE Championship Match: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Ricochet
Universal Championship Match: “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Goldberg
Andy: The Fiend
Steel Cage Match: Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin
SmackDown Women’s Champion Match: Bayley (c) vs. Naomi
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: The New Day (c) vs. The Miz and John Morrison
Andy: New Day
John: New Day
RAW Tag Team Championship Match: Seth Rollins and Murphy (c) vs. The Street Profits
Andy: Seth and Murphy
John: Seth and Murphy
First-ever Tuwaiq Trophy Gauntlet Match: AJ Styles vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Rey Mysterio vs. R-Truth vs. Erick Rowan vs. United States Champion Andrade
Andy: AJ Styles
John: AJ Styles