RIYADH: WWE’s Crown Jewel event took place in Riyadh on Thursday, and the action in the ring wowed seasoned wrestling fanatics and gave rise to a whole new set of fans in the Kingdom.
Highlights included Humberto Carrillo winning the early 20-man Battle Royal to face off with AJ Styles for the United States Championship later in the evening, Tyson Fury beating Braun Strowman, history being made with the first female match in Saudi Arabia and Brock Lesnar defeating former UFC fighter Cain Velasquez.
One fan, Rashid Hussein, flew in all the way from the UAE with his older brother and said: “I’m here to attend the Crown Jewel for my brother, he’s a big Velasquez supporter and he didn’t want to miss the show.”
The Crown Jewel event converted Saudi Khaled Al-Malki who, as a father wanted nothing more than for his kids to enjoy the action, told Arab News that he enjoyed it probably more than they did.
PHOTOS: WWE Crown Jewel event in Riyadh
“I’m not a follower of the sport, but I came with my kids who love it, and even as an observer, I can proudly say it was flawless,” he said.
“WWE is running for ten more years (in Saudi Arabia), but the amount of dedication and work I’ve seen poured into it the past two years, and without error, it’s tremendous work,” he added.
Another new Saudi fan Abdulaziz Al-Anezi, who attended with his young daughter Nora, said: “It was a beautiful evening made possible in our home instead of traveling abroad and going out of our way to see it. All of these wrestling champions came and it was entertaining for both adults and children.” Nora gushed over Natalya’s win in the female fight: “I want to be like her, and I want to see many more women wrestling.”
Robin and his son Paulo from the Philippines, who came to the event to cheer for Roman Reigns, said it was an honor to witness the first women match taking place in Saudi Arabia: “It’s history in the making.”