Fans go gaga over WrestleMania 33

Fans go gaga over WrestleMania 33
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The Hardy Boys Jeff, pictured, and Matt after winning the Raw Tag Team Championship in a Fatal 4-Way Elimination Ladder Match.
Fans go gaga over WrestleMania 33
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Brock Lesnar and Goldberg during their third and most epic confrontation yet, with Lesnar winning the Universal Championship.
Fans go gaga over WrestleMania 33
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Roman Reigns celebrates after beating the WWE institution,The Undertaker, in a no-holds-barred match. (Photos courtesy of WWE)
Updated 04 April 2017

Fans go gaga over WrestleMania 33

Fans go gaga over WrestleMania 33

ORLANDO, Florida: An estimated 75,245 fans packed the Camping World Stadium for WrestleMania 33 on Sunday.
The annual WWE event proved a success with fans as the card left a lasting impression for all those in attendance.
James from Manchester, England told Arab News that WrestleMania is an amazing spectacle. ” I enjoyed the Randy Orton-Bray Wyatt match,” said the fan from Manchester.
Juwaid from India said that coming to WrestleMania was his childhood dream and he was happy to experience it with his friends. ” I loved the Undertaker Roman Reigns match. It was the match I came here to see.”
Matias from Munich, Germany, said WrestleMania was amazing. “I was disappointed to see Chris Jericho lose tonight.”
Chris from Wisconsin said that he always comes to WrestleMania weekend for the past three years and was having the time of his life.
“I’m here to see all the matches I can’t really say I have a favorite one.”
The PRW show opened with the king of the cruiserweights Neville retaining his title against Austin Aries. The final moments of the match saw Neville kick out of a two count and Aries followed by putting him in an STF. Neville gouged the eye socket of Aries, but the referee did not stop the match. Neville followed up with the Red Arrow for the win.
Mojo Rawley won the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal trophy.
Kalisto, Simon Gotch, and Heath Slater were the first three participants to be eliminated. Strowman and Big Show continued to eliminate anyone who came across their path early on. The remaining talent ganged
up on Big Show and Strowman, but Strowman then eliminated Big Show. Strowman was eliminated next, and the two early favorites to win were both out already. After a series of fast-paced eliminations, the final four were Jinder Mahal, Sami Zayn, Mojo Rawley and Killian Dain. Dain quickly eliminated Zayn. Jinder and Mojo brawled in front of Robert Gronkowski from the New England Patriots. Jinder threw a drink at Gronkowski, and Robert hopped over the fan barricade. The security stopped him, but it appeared to have been a mistake and the referees ran over and called out security. Gronkowski got in the ring and speared Jinder. Mojo high-fived Gronkowski before he left the ring. Mojo eliminated Dain after a series of running punches, and it was down to Mojo and Jinder. Jinder tried to suplex Mojo outside, but Mojo blocked it and hit a running forearm on Jinder to knock him down for the elimination. Mojo celebrated with Gronkowski after the match.
Dean Ambrose retained his intercontinental title against Baron Corbin. The final moments of the match saw Corbin get frustrated and started throwing elbows at Ambrose. Corbin went for the End Of Days, but Ambrose escaped and hit the Dirty Deeds for the win.
The show kicked off with Aj Styles defeating Smackdown Commissioner Shane McMahon. The final moments of this fast-paced bout came to an end when Shane went up the top rope for a Shooting Star Press, but AJ rolled out of the way and Shane crashed on the ring. AJ followed up with the Phenomenal Forearm for the three count.
The next bout was for the US championship, which saw former friends turned enemies Chris Jericho defending against Kevin Owens. Owens powerbombed Jericho onto the corner of the ring apron and rolled Jericho back in the ring to win the championship.
Next was a fatal four-way elimination match for the Raw women’s title with Bayley defending against Nia Jax, Charlotte and Sasha Banks. The final two participants were Bayley and Charlotte. The match’s final moments saw Charlotte go for a moonsault off the top on Bayley but Bayley rolled out of the way and covered her for a near-fall. Bayley went to the top but Charlotte caught her in mid-air and slammed her. Charlotte went for the Figure Four and Figure Eight but Bayley broke the hold. Charlotte continued working on Bayley’s knee and went for a spear in the corner, but Bayley moved. Bayley followed up with the flying elbow drop off the top rope for the win to retain.
The bout that followed was the triple threat ladder match for the Raw brand tag team title. The match was set to be Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson defending against Sheamus and Cesaro and Big Cass and Enzo Amore. However, The New Day came out to announce that the match is now a Fatal Four Way with a massive surprise that made all the fans in the Camping World Stadium cheer as they saw the return of Matt and Jeff Hardy to the WWE.
The match ended when Jeff Hardy climbed a ladder that is nowhere near the title, and hit a huge Swanton Bomb on Cesaro and Sheamus through the ladders. Back in the ring, Matt grabbed the title belts for the win, and The Hardy Boys are now the Raw Tag Team champions.
John Cena and Nikki Bella defeated the Miz and Maryse in a mixed tag team match. After the match, John proposed to Nikki Bella and she accepted.
Seth Rollins beat Triple H after Stephanie McMahon grabbed Rollins from behind and Triple H went to hit him, but Rollins ducked and superkicked the multitime world champion who bumped into his wife causing her to fall off the apron through a table. Triple H was furious and turned around to Rollins, hitting him with a Pedigree for the win.
The WWE title changed hands when Randy Orton hit an RKO out of nowhere to defeat defending champion Bray Wyatt . Orton celebrated with the WWE World Championship in the ring before he left.
Brock Lesnar beat Goldberg after executing 10 German suplexs, then hitting the F-5 for the win. Lesnar and his advocate Paul Heyman celebrated with the WWE Universal Championship in the ring.
Naomi defeated Alexa Bliss, Natalya, Carmella, Mickie James, and Becky Lynch after performing a suicide dive on everyone at ringside, then back in the ring she locked defending champion Alexa into submission to win the Smackdown women’s title.

Roman Reigns defeated The Undertaker with a spear. This match marked the end of the legendary career of the deadman from Death Valley


Turkish F1 canceled, replaced by second Austrian GP

Turkish F1 canceled, replaced by second Austrian GP
Updated 37 min 45 sec ago

Turkish F1 canceled, replaced by second Austrian GP

Turkish F1 canceled, replaced by second Austrian GP
  • Turkish Grand Prix, which was drafted onto the calendar as a replacement for the cancelled Canada GP two weeks ago, was axed Friday
  • Covid-19 protocols forces Formula One chiefs to return to the sport's safe haven of Austria

PARIS: The Turkish Grand Prix, which was only drafted onto the Formula One calendar as a replacement for the canceled Canada GP two weeks ago, was itself axed on Friday.
Formula One chiefs, forced into another change due to Covid-19 protocols, announced that they will instead return to the sport’s safe haven of Austria.
The decision was made in the wake of the “announcement of new travel restrictions imposed by several countries in which F1 teams are based, affecting travel from Turkey,” they said.
“Following discussions with the promoter in Turkey and relevant stakeholders, it will not be possible to have the race in Turkey between June 11-13.
“The promoter has requested that we look at the potential opportunity for the race to be rescheduled later in the season if possible, alongside China who made the same request earlier this year.”
Formula One confirmed that there will now be two races in Austria, back to back, with the first race, the Styrian Grand Prix, taking place on June 25-27 and the Austrian Grand Prix taking place on its original date of July 2-4.
As a result of this change the French Grand Prix will move one week earlier to June 18-20.


Barcelona must wait as Xavi signs on at Al-Sadd

Barcelona must wait as Xavi signs on at Al-Sadd
Updated 14 May 2021

Barcelona must wait as Xavi signs on at Al-Sadd

Barcelona must wait as Xavi signs on at Al-Sadd
  • Spanish World Cup winner touted as Ronald Koeman’s replacement will now have fresh shot at AFC Champions League

RIYADH: It will not have escaped the attention of Barcelona President Joan Laporta that former boss Pep Guardiola won his third English Premier League title on Tuesday just as Ronald Koeman’s men drew with Levante to leave hopes of a La Liga title fading.

However, there was a bit of good news for Koeman this week when Xavi Hernandez signed a two-year extension to his contract as head coach of Qatar’s Al-Sadd. The Dutchman has never really looked secure in Spain and it did not help having a potential Guardiola Mark II waiting in the wings.

The name of Xavi, a former team-mate of Guardiola and a key member of his team that won four La Liga titles and two UEFA Champions League prizes and plenty more besides, has long been swirling around the Catalan city. Ever since the Spanish star, a visionary midfielder, hung up those boots, he has been talked about as a future Barca boss by people who know what they are talking about.

In 2019, Guardiola said: “Xavi was already a manager when he played. His eyes sparkled watching football. You have to give him time. Sooner or later, he will manage Barcelona. It would excite me to see him manage Barcelona.”

The current Manchester City boss is not the only one to manage Xavi and see his coaching potential. The midfielder became World and European champion with Spain under Vicente Del Bosque. “The time will come when he will be the ideal man for Barcelona,” Del Bosque said last year.

For some that time is now. Guardiola was 37 when he took over the first team, Xavi is 41, but while a return to Barcelona is surely going to happen, he may not quite be ready to follow in the footsteps of his former team-mate and boss just yet.

In May 2019, Xavi took his first coaching job, not in Spain or even Europe, but Qatar. He had finished his playing days with Al-Sadd and stayed in Doha in a different role. There were a couple of cups in 2020 but there has rarely been, anywhere, such a dominant campaign as the Qatar Stars League (QSL) just finished. Al-Sadd, full of Qatari internationals, not only won the title but did so unbeaten with a goal difference of, wait for it, plus 63.

Solid at the back, Al-Sadd were unstoppable going forward. Led by the fantastic Santi Cazorla and the prolific Algerian attacker Baghdad Bounedjah with the 2019 Asian Player of the Year Akram Afif darting around on the wings, the team carried threats from all over the pitch.

With such dominance at home, it was understandable Al-Sadd’s ambitions were turning toward the AFC Champions League long before the QSL season finished. If Xavi could add the continental title to his domestic success, then his status as one of the world’s most promising coaches would be assured.

He had Asian experience. The four-time UEFA Champions League winner led Al-Sadd to the last four and an exciting defeat at the hands of Saudi Arabian giants Al-Hilal in 2019. In 2020 there was a second-round loss to Persepolis of Iran. Expectations this year were high, especially as the group was winnable. There was Al-Nassr of Saudi Arabia, a team that entered the tournament on the back of inconsistent league form, Foolad — not one of Iran’s powerhouses — and Jordan’s Al-Wehdat.

Yet Al-Sadd fell at the first hurdle. It started with a draw against Foolad and a loss to Al-Nassr. Back-to-back wins against Al-Wehdat, making their first appearance in the tournament, and then victory over Foolad brought the second-round within sight. All that was needed was a draw in the final game to make it to the last 16 but Al-Nassr ran out 2-1 winners.

Xavi complained about the conditions of the pitches and refereeing decisions, but he did make some mistakes, especially in the two games with Al-Nassr. Under coach Mano Menezes, the Riyadh team drew Al-Sadd forward, and kept their nerve, shape, and discipline to hit on the break. It was the perfect tournament performance from the Saudis.

In the return match, there were some questionable decisions but ultimately, Al-Sadd failed to get through a group they should have got through.

It suggested that Xavi, who has already turned down an approach from Barcelona, needs more experience before heading to his former club. Two more years with Al-Sadd, and more challenges, could be a wise move.


Lankan experts highlight Saudi Arabia’s potential to build own cricket team

Lankan experts highlight Saudi Arabia’s potential to build own cricket team
Updated 14 May 2021

Lankan experts highlight Saudi Arabia’s potential to build own cricket team

Lankan experts highlight Saudi Arabia’s potential to build own cricket team
  • Saudi Arabia urged to liaise with international allies to promote the sport

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka, a World Cup cricket champion, has welcomed Saudi Arabia’s interest in the sport, with experts saying the Kingdom has the “full potential” to develop its cricketing skills and compete in the field.

To facilitate the process, Saudi Ambassador in Colombo Abdul Nasser Al-Harthy told Arab News on Monday that he would coordinate with the Kingdom’s Sports Ministry to discuss “how best Sri Lanka and Saudi Arabia could cooperate in developing this sport.”

Earlier in March, Prince Saud bin Mishal Al-Saud, chairman of the Saudi Arabian Cricket Federation (SACF), announced a series of initiatives focused on promoting the game among Saudis and expatriate residents in
the Kingdom.

These included the launching of a corporate-level cricket tournament, a cricket league for expatriate workers, and a social cricket program across cities in the country to increase participation at the community, club, and international levels.

Several SACF initiatives have already been launched this year, among them the National Cricket Championship, played across 11 cities and part of four programs that the organization signed with the Saudi Sports for All Federation.

Launched in February, it is the largest cricket tournament ever held in the Kingdom.

Welcoming the initiative, cricket legend Roy Dias, who was the first Sri Lankan to score 1,000 test runs and 1,000 One-Day runs in 1984, told Arab News on Monday that the Kingdom has the “full potential to develop the sport at a competitive level.”

“I have watched Saudi cricketers playing alongside Pakistani sportsmen during friendly matches in the Middle East, and they performed very well,” Dias, 68, said, adding that he hoped that Saudi Arabia would form its indigenous cricket team soon.

Dias, who visited GCC countries between 2001 to 2010 as a national cricket coach for Nepal, said that Oman, Qatar, the UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain were “already active in the field of cricket.”

“Saudi Arabia is most welcome to this cluster,” Dias, a former cricket coach for the island nation and currently employed with the Sri Lanka Cricket Board, said, predicting that a Saudi team would bring in “new experiences coupled with resourceful skills.”

For this purpose, he added, Saudi Arabia could start by introducing school-level cricket for under-15 students, “which would kindle children’s and parental interest, which are sine qua non to develop good cricket.”

He also advised the Kingdom to coordinate with its international allies for expertise in the field.

“Sri Lanka can assist Saudi Arabian cricket in coaching through the Asian Cricket Council so that Sri Lanka could cooperate with the Kingdom in developing the cricket skills of its nationals by participating in council’s tournaments,” he said.

Shums Fahim, a senior editor of the Thinakaran Tamil daily and an expert on the game, agrees: “Saudi team is one of the active players in the Soccer World Cup and I sincerely wish that its cricketers could show better skills to reach the World Cup level in cricket too.”

According to data from 2017-2018, more than 30 percent of the Saudi

population are expats, with the total number of non-Saudis estimated to be 10,736,293.

In the early 1970s, cricket was played mainly by expatriates in the soccer-crazy country. This remains the case even today, with most players in its cricket team hailing from Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

In 2001, under the royal patronage of Princess Ghada Bint Hamoud Bin Abdulaziz, Saudi attained legal status to organize cricket in the Kingdom.

In 2003, it became an affiliate of the International Cricket Council (ICC).


Djokovic sweeps into quarters in front of ‘great’ Rome crowd

Djokovic sweeps into quarters in front of ‘great’ Rome crowd
Updated 14 May 2021

Djokovic sweeps into quarters in front of ‘great’ Rome crowd

Djokovic sweeps into quarters in front of ‘great’ Rome crowd
  • Fifth seed Tsitsipas ended the run of home hope Matteo Berrettini 7-6 (7/3), 6-2 in one hour and 36 minutes

ROME: World No. 1 Novak Djokovic swept into the Italian Open quarterfinals on Thursday with a straight-sets win over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in front of spectators at the Foro Italico.

The five-time Rome champion won 6-2, 6-1 in 70 minutes against the 48th-ranked Spaniard, with the venue filled to 25 percent of capacity for the first time amid the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

“It was not good, it was great. I missed the crowd,” said the 33-year-old, who next plays Stefanos Tsitsipas in a rematch of last year’s French Open semifinal which the Serbian won.

Fifth seed Tsitsipas ended the run of home hope Matteo Berrettini 7-6 (7/3), 6-2 in one hour and 36 minutes.

“It always feels like home coming back to Rome,” said Djokovic, who has never failed to reach the quarterfinals in his 15 appearances in the clay court event.

“Honestly, with the amount of love and appreciation that I get and respect from people here, not just on the court, but outside in the organization here, from the drivers, the restaurant, people in hotel, everyone is really super kind to me.

“Maybe it helps that I speak Italian. Probably does. I love Italy. Who doesn’t?

“Each year the love affair grows even more because the bond is stronger and stronger.

“Hopefully I can feel a little bit of that love more tomorrow so I can keep on progressing in the tournament.”

After losing his opening service game, Djokovic powered back with five breaks of serve, outclassing his rival, despite a late fightback, to seal the win on his sixth match point.

“He started well, but I managed to break back straight away and establish the control and consistency,” said the 18-time Grand Slam winner.

Djokovic has a 4-2 winning head-to-head record against Monte Carlo champion Tsitsipas who knocked out Madrid Open runner-up Berrettini.

“I hope to do better this time,” said Tsitsipas, who lost a five-set marathon to Djokovic at Roland Garros last year.

Djokovic has won his past seven quarter-finals in Rome, with an 11-3 record in the last eight. Tsitsipas reached the semi-finals in Rome in 2019.

American Reilly Opelka also advanced to his second Masters 1000 quarter-final with a 7-6 (8/6), 6-4 victory against in-form Russian Aslan Karatsev.

The 23-year-old hit 18 aces and saved two set points at 4/6 in the first-set tie-break to set up a meeting with either Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime or Argentinian Federico Delbonis in the last eight.


UEFA Champions League final moved from Istanbul to Porto due to UK-Turkey travel restrictions

The match has been switched to the Estadio do Dragao, home of FC Porto, to allow English spectators to attend as travel between the UK and Turkey is suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Reuters/File Photo)
The match has been switched to the Estadio do Dragao, home of FC Porto, to allow English spectators to attend as travel between the UK and Turkey is suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Reuters/File Photo)
Updated 13 May 2021

UEFA Champions League final moved from Istanbul to Porto due to UK-Turkey travel restrictions

The match has been switched to the Estadio do Dragao, home of FC Porto, to allow English spectators to attend as travel between the UK and Turkey is suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Reuters/File Photo)
  • The match on May 29 has been switched to the Estadio do Dragao to allow English spectators to attend

PARIS: UEFA announced on Thursday that the Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea had been moved from Istanbul to Porto.

The match on May 29 has been switched to the Estadio do Dragao to allow English spectators to attend as travel between the UK and Turkey is suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier, European football’s governing body announced up to 6,000 supporters from each club will be able to attend.

“We accept that the decision of the British Government to place Turkey on the red list for travel was taken in good faith and in the best interests of protecting its citizens from the spread of the virus but it also presented us with a major challenge in staging a final featuring two English teams,” UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said in a statement.

“After the year that fans have endured, it is not right that they don’t have the chance to watch their teams in the biggest game of the season,” he added.

UK citizens returning from red list countries are required to quarantine at a government-approved hotel for 10 days.

Earlier this week, newspaper reports claimed the match would be played at Wembley Stadium.

Supporters groups from the Blues and City had requested the game be moved to England.

The UK’s Transport secretary Grant Shapps said he would have welcomed the fixture being played in London.

“The difficulties of moving the final are great and the FA and the authorities made every effort to try to stage the match in England and I would like to thank them for their work in trying to make it happen,” Ceferin said.

UEFA said coronavirus rules in the UK made it difficult to hold the fixture in the English capital.

“UEFA discussed moving the match to England but, despite exhaustive efforts on the part of the Football Association and the authorities, it was not possible to achieve the necessary exemptions from UK quarantine arrangements,” it said.

The final capacity at the ground in northern Portugal is still to be set.

Last season’s final as well as a ‘Final 8’ tournament for the quarter-finals were also held in Portugal, but in the capital Lisbon.

“Once again we have turned to our friends in Portugal to help both UEFA and the Champions League and I am, as always, very grateful to the FPF (Portuguese Football Association) and the Portuguese Government for agreeing to stage the match at such short notice,” Ceferin said.

The last round of the country’s top-flight Primeira Liga will see spectators return to stadia on May 19, with a limited number of people permitted, the league said on Wednesday.