The WWE served up another massive success in Saudi Arabia on Friday as some of the biggest stars thrilled and surprised a packed crowd in Riyadh at the Crown Jewel event at King Saud University Stadium.
Almost four hours of action kicked off with Rusev taking on defending US champion Shinsuke Nakamura, with the latter retaining his title. This was followed by a surprise appearance by Hulk Hogan, who was revealed as the host of the event.
The World Cup contest, featuring The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, Jeff Hardy and five other contenders, ended in bizarre fashion when SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon won even though he was not competing. When The Miz was injured in the final, McMahon refused a forfeit and took his place, outclassing Dolph Ziggler.
A Tag Team championship match between The Bar (Sheamus, Cesaro and Big Show) and The New Day (Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods) ended with The Bar retaining their title. The WWE Championship went to A.J. Styles after a riveting stand-off with Samoa Joe.
The Universal Championship match ended with a shock victory by Brock Lesnar over Braun Strowman, after he hit “The Monster Among Men” with a whopping five F5s, Lesnar’s signature finishing move.
The showpiece bout featured the return of Shawn Michaels. He and his D-Generation X partner, Triple H, faced off against the Brothers of Destruction, Kane and The Undertaker, for the first time in WWE history. Michaels was the hero when, while suspended in the air, he poked Kane in the eye before a mustering a vicious kick to the Undertaker’s throat, setting up his partner for victory.
A fireworks display rounded off what was another memorable evening for wrestling fans in the Kingdom.
• Arab News photos by Basher Saleh.