WWE Super Showdown kicks off in Jeddah

From left, Mojo Rawley, Kofi Kingston, Triple H, Mansour Al-Shehail and Seth Rollins during the press conference on Thursday. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 07 June 2019

WWE Super Showdown kicks off in Jeddah

  • WWE makes a return to the Kingdom
  • WWE Champion Kofi Kingston set to face two-time former champion Dolph Ziggler

JEDDAH: World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) superstars are in Jeddah this week, as the General Sports Authority (GSA) hosts the company’s Super Showdown event.

One WWE superstar of Syrian decent, Mojo Rawley, will don traditional Saudi attire for the event, and told Arab News that he picked up his thobe and shomagh (traditional head dress) last time he visited Jeddah.

“It’s a tribute to the Saudi people, my parents met and got engaged in Saudi and my dad’s whole side of the family still lives here. In Riyadh my uncle and my cousins came to the show last time, it was one of the coolest moments in my career to wrestle in front of them,” said Rawley. 

WWE Champion Kofi Kingston, who is set to face two-time former champion Dolph Ziggler, said that he will not underestimate his opponent at all. “Dolph Ziggler and I have had several matches on Raw, Smackdown and Pay-Per-View. We have gone at it quite a bit so I know how good Dolph is, and he is at his prime.”

WWE Universal Champion Seth Rollins, who will defend his title against Baron Corbin, said that he always feels humbled in the Kingdom. “The fanbase here is so passionate, it is so humbling to come halfway across the world and have people wearing your t-shirts, chanting your theme song, knowing who you are and being appreciative of the art you perform. It is a cool thing to come across a place where the culture is different from what I am used to, but we all get along so well, because we are all in love with the same thing,” he said.

 

 

Executive vice president of talent and live events, wrestling legend Triple H, said that when it comes to Saudi Arabia, the WWE like to go above and beyond. “These are big events for us. Big stadiums, they are packed, they are sold out and to see the Undertaker and Goldberg for the first time ever along with the biggest Battle Royale ever that will have Saudi’s first signee competing in. Mansoor Al-Shehail is looking forward to representing his country.”

The first Saudi WWE superstar Al-Shehail is living his dream. He told Arab News that one of the low points of his journey to becoming an in-ring competitor was when his family did not take him seriously, and thought he was wasting his time.

“My father, who once said I was play acting and wanted me to go to study and become a doctor, saw me last year, in a ring with 60,000 people from my home country. He said that I looked like I didn’t belong anywhere else in the world than in the ring, and I knew then he understood. I want to give that momentum to any Saudi who wants to be a superstar in the future,” said Al-Shehail.

US champion Samoa Joe said that he noticed the level of appreciation shown by Arab fans. “Coming out and putting on a show is a cool experience — it is always nice to be appreciated. The hospitality is out of this world as it makes you want to go out there and put on a better show,” he told Arab News.

Reigning five-time 24/7 champion R-Truth said this title was more work than any championship he had held. “You have to defend it 24 hours a day. In the morning, mid-day, afternoon, night, evening anywhere, anytime, anyplace. I was ambushed by Jinder Mahal on the tarmac when talking to my wife on my way here.”

The WWE Super Showdown will be held at the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in Jeddah, Friday at 9 p.m.

 


Daniil Medvedev wins inaugural Diriyah Tennis Cup final in Saudi Arabia

Updated 15 December 2019

Daniil Medvedev wins inaugural Diriyah Tennis Cup final in Saudi Arabia

  • The Saudi event makes history as the first to use Hawk-Eye Live technology

RIYADH: Daniil Medvedev has won the inaugural $1 million Diriyah Tennis Cup in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Medvedev beat Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-2 in Saturday’s final.

Earlier in the tournament he beat Jan-Lennard Struff and Belgium’s David Goffin — also in straight sets.

The Diriyah Tennis Cup, sponsored by Saudi Aramco, will certainly go down in history as eight of the world’s best tennis stars met in the Diriyah Arena for the first international tournament played in the Kingdom.

The event also made tennis history as not only the first in Saudi Arabia, but also one of the first to use Hawk-Eye Live technology.

Replacing the need for line judges and providing more accuracy, Hawk-Eye Live sends visual and audio cues to the chair umpire and off-court monitors within a tenth of a second of a ball bouncing, to show faults and out-of-bounds shots without relying on the naked eye.

In the first of the two semifinals, Fognini overcame the spirited efforts of the ever-entertaining Frenchman Gael Monfils.

In the second semifinal, Medvedev — a standout performer on the ATP Tour in 2019 — maintained his remarkable form to outgun David Goffin, 6-3, 6-3 to ease his way into Saturday’s historic final.

BACKGROUND

The Diriyah Tennis Cup, sponsored by Saudi Aramco, will go down in history as eight of the world’s best tennis stars met in the Diriyah Arena for the first international tournament played in the Kingdom.

The Russian has won four titles in 2019 in Sofia, in Cincinnati, in St. Petersburg and in Shanghai. 

He was the finalist in Brisbane, Barcelona, Washington, Montreal and at the US Open.

Ranked No.5, Medvedev played his last match on Nov. 15 when he was defeated by Alexander Zverev in London.

The first day as part of a three-day tournament saw all eight players in action.

First up on court was Italian Fabio Fognini taking on American John Isner, ranked no. 19 and the holder of the third fastest serve of all time in men’s tennis.