First-ever WWE Greatest Royal Rumble wows 60,000 in Jeddah

John Cena, right, in action against Triple H at the show in Jeddah on Friday. (AFP)
Updated 29 April 2018
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First-ever WWE Greatest Royal Rumble wows 60,000 in Jeddah

  • In another landmark moment for Saudi Arabia, women were free to attend and enjoy the show
  • Four Saudi tryout WWE candidates also made an appearance, receiving a deafening reaction from the crowd as they took on Persian duo the Daivari brothers

JEDDAH: The first televised World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) event in the region was a huge success, with 60,000 delighted fans cheering their heroes at the King Abdullah Stadium on Friday night.

In another landmark moment for Saudi Arabia, women were free to attend and enjoy the show.

WWE pulled all the stops to ensure the success of its Greatest Royal Rumble, with all seven men’s titles on the line.

WWE legends The Undertaker, Rey Mysterio, Chris Jericho and Mark Henry were part of the loaded roster.

This was the first WWE event with a 50-man “Royal Rumble” match, rather than the traditional 30.

Four Saudi tryout WWE candidates also made an appearance, receiving a deafening reaction from the crowd as they took on Persian duo the Daivari brothers.

In the first bout of the night, John Cena defeated Triple H. Cedric Alexander then retained his cruiserweight title against Lucha sensation Kalisto, while Jeff Hardy held on to his US championship title against modern-day maharaja Jinder Mahal.

In the fatal four-way intercontinental championship ladder match, Seth Rollins came out on top against Samoa Joe, The Miz and Finn Balor.

Meanwhile, A.J. styles defended his WWE championship title against Shinsuke Nakamura, while the legendary Undertaker defeated Rusev in the Kingdom’s first casket match.

The battle between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns for the universal championship proved to be too much for the steel cage that was supposed to contain them, with Lesnar ending up the winner after the pair destroyed part of the structure.

The final match was the 50-man Royal Rumble match, which was down to Big Cass and Braun Strowman. Braun ran into Cass and knocked him to the floor to win the Greatest Royal Rumble match.


Rwanda’s rhino population grows, tourists expected to increase

Updated 25 June 2019
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Rwanda’s rhino population grows, tourists expected to increase

  • There are only about 1,000 black rhinos left in the wild, Jes Gruner, the Akagera National Park manager, said
  • In 2017 tourism earned Rwanda $437 million

KIGALI: Rhino keepers who successfully delivered five endangered black rhinos to Rwanda spent months hugging and coddling them inside their transport boxes to prepare them for the journey, a rhino handler said as the animals were freed on Monday.
The two male and three female eastern black rhinoceroses were flown from Safari Park Dour Kralove zoo in the Czech Republic, where they had been getting to know each other after arriving from separate European parks.
“The preparation process took several months. It started in autumn last year when two animals were brought here from Denmark and England. They started to bond, which always takes weeks because black rhinos are very alert and nervous animals,” said rhino handler Jaromir Sejnoha from the Dvur Kralove Safari Park.
“In the final phase (of preparations) the rhino is trained to stay inside the box for several minutes. We feed them and hug them in there, so they aren’t scared of the box and become accustomed to it, and so on the day of transportation they don’t get nervous and the whole transportation goes smoothly.”
There are only about 1,000 black rhinos left in the wild, Jes Gruner, the Akagera National Park manager, said. The new arrivals mean Rwanda is home to 25 of them.
Tourism is a key foreign exchange earner in the East African nation, home to mountain gorillas and the so-called “Big Five” African game animals — lions, rhinos, elephants, buffalo, and leopard.
“Every year our tourism numbers are going up and bringing these rhinos I am sure will help,” Gruner said.
The park received 44,000 visitors who generated over $2 million last year, Gruner said.
In 2017 tourism earned Rwanda $437 million. Clare Akamanzi, chief executive of the Rwanda Development Board, said 2018 numbers were not yet ready due to a change of methodology.
The push for tourist dollars in not without controversy. The government’s 2018 deal to pay British football club Arsenal £30 million ($38 million) to have “Visit Rwanda” emblazoned on the team’s jersey was criticized by politicians in some donor nations who questioned whether it was a good use of money by a government still heavily dependent on foreign aid.