RIYADH: The highly anticipated WWE Super ShowDown in Riyadh on Thursday night was everything that wrestling fans could have hoped for.
The crowd inside Mohammed Abdu Arena on the Boulevard were treated to some impressive fireworks — both literally, in the form of pyrotechnics, and figuratively, thanks to some incredible action in the ring.
Local hero Mansoor played his part in ensuring the crowd went home happy when he won his match against American grappler Dolph Ziggler.
“Your voices carried me tonight,” the Saudi star told his ecstatic fans as he saluted them after the fight. “When I had nothing it was you who lifted me up. Tonight we showed WWE we are here to stay.”
Later, he said: “Inshallah I want 20, 30, 40, 50, 100 more wins. This wasn’t the first and won’t be the last, I guarantee you 100 percent.
“And it won’t be just me, it’s gonna be Hussein, it’s gonna be Faisal, it’s gonna be every other person who gets signed and comes to the WWE. I am so proud and so thankful to be the first one to do that, to pave the way,”
Mansoor added that he hopes to see many more Saudis join the WWE, and urged those who are interested to take part in upcoming tryouts in Riyadh.
“I want Saudi vs Saudi in the ring,” he said. “I want the crowd to not know who to cheer for.”
The evening began with a tag-team victory for The O.C. over The Viking Raiders that warmed up the crowd on cool Riyadh evening. The opening bout was followed by a procession of crowd favorites that got fans on their feet and cheering.
The Undertaker, a perennial favorite in Saudi Arabia, delighted the audience by unexpectedly entering and winning the five-man Tuwaiq Trophy Gauntlet match. This was followed by one of the biggest clashes of the night, as the brash John Morrison and The Miz defeated reigning SmackDown Tag Team Championship title holders The New Day. A day earlier, The Miz had told fans to “expect the unexpected, expect new champions” — and duly delivered on the promise.
“The New Day put on a hell of performance but ours was just a little better,” said Morrison. His partner was a little less modest about the win.
“We were exceptional,” said The Miz. “Let’s put it this way: The New Day gave us everything they had to offer.” He was also full of praise for the fans who turned up at the event, saying: “I loved the audience. I was really surprised by them.” Morrison added: “We would definitely come back.”
Reigning WWE Raw Tag Team champions Seth Rollins and Murphy held onto their title with victory over The Street Profits and did not hold back on the celebrations.
“I feel so good about my performance,” said Rollins. “I’m very proud of myself and this young man here; he really stepped up tonight.”
In the other bouts, Angel Garza defeated Humberto Carrillo in a singles match, defending champion Brock Lesnar saw off challenger Ricochet in a WWE Championship match, and Bayley held onto her WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship title with victory over Naomi.
Roman Reigns defeated King Corbin in a Steel Cage match, while Goldberg toppled reigning champion “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt in the evening’s final bout, the WWE Universal Championship.
The WWE superstars spent the day before the Super Showdown making new friends as the traveled around Riyadh, including players from Al-Nassr Football Club, the Saudi soccer champions. Thanks to their performances in the ring at WWE Super Showdown, they made a few more.