Victory for Saudi wrestler Mansoor is a highlight of WWE SuperShowDown in Riyadh

1 / 7
Midway through the night, local hero Mansoor won his match against Dolph Ziggler, ensuring the crowd would go home happy. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)
2 / 7
Midway through the night, local hero Mansoor won his match against Dolph Ziggler, ensuring the crowd would go home happy. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)
3 / 7
Midway through the night, local hero Mansoor won his match against Dolph Ziggler, ensuring the crowd would go home happy. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)
4 / 7
John Morrison and The Miz overcome The New Day in the SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match and claim their title. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)
5 / 7
6 / 7
Young fans in Riyadh enjoying the action as WWE wows the crowds in Saudi Arabia once again. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)
7 / 7
Young fans in Riyadh enjoying the action as WWE wows the crowds in Saudi Arabia once again. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)
Short Url
Updated 28 February 2020

Victory for Saudi wrestler Mansoor is a highlight of WWE SuperShowDown in Riyadh

  • Also spoke about desire to see more Saudis enter WWE
  • The Undertaker, a perennial favourite in Saudi Arabia, delighted the crowd by winning the 5-man Tuwaiq Trophy Gauntlet match

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.


Mind games begin ahead of the return to Saudi football as Hilal boss Lucescu challenges Nassr coach

Updated 42 min 27 sec ago

Mind games begin ahead of the return to Saudi football as Hilal boss Lucescu challenges Nassr coach

  • Victory in this Riyadh Derby will take the three-time Asian champions nine points clear of Al Nassr with just seven games remaining
  • There has been good and bad news for Al Nassr as Brazilian centre-back Maicon Pereira has arrived in Riyadh from Galatasaray and has been cleared to play

DUBAI: There may have been no football in Saudi Arabia for five months but the mind games are in full flow as ahead of the crucial top of the table clash in the Saudi Pro League on Wednesday, Al Hilal boss Razvan Lucescu has told Al Nassr coach Rui Vitoria that the pressure is all on him.

In the first game since March when the season was suspended due to coronavirus, Al Nassr in second, six points behind the leaders with eight games to play, can’t afford any slip-ups in the Riyadh Derby if they are to successfully defend the title they won last season.

“We are six points ahead and the opponent is under more pressure as they know they have to reduce the difference,” Lucescu told reporters at the pre-match press conference to the eagerly-awaited Riyadh Derby that will take place with no fans in the King Fahd International Stadium.

That points gap means that the smart money is still on Al Hilal to take league title number 16. Victory in this Riyadh Derby will take the three-time Asian champions nine points clear of Al Nassr with just seven games remaining.

Not only that but Al Hilal have looked to be in better shape than their challengers in recent warm-up games with a 2-2 draw with second tier side Al-Shoalah following a 4-0 win over Al Riyadh.

“We have been looking forward to this game for a long time,”  Lucescu, who took Al Hilal to the AFC Champions League title in 2019, added. “The league suspension has been long and it has not been easy but we have focused on the mental side of things and aim to return strongly.”

The Romanian has been boosted by the return to fitness of Brazilian star Carlos Eduardo who has recovered from last week’s knock. With the league’s leading goalscorer Bafetimbi Gomis signing a contract extension in July, Lucescu is in a positive frame of mind.

“We know the way they play and we know that it will be a tough game …but everyone is affected by the long pause and we all start at the same level. We are just going to take it step by step and stay focused.”

There has been good and bad news for Al Nassr as Brazilian centre-back Maicon Pereira has arrived in Riyadh from Galatasaray and has been cleared to play. The former Porto star will be needed as fellow defenders Omar Hawsawi and Abdullah Madu could miss out through injury.

While Hilal may have the points gap, in terms of the personal battles between the two coaches, Vitoria has the upper hand. The Portuguese boss has yet to lose in three meetings with his Romanian rival in big games in Europe as well as Saudi Arabia.

In a final play-off to reach the group stage of the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League, Vitoria led Benfica to a 5-2 aggregate victory over PAOK, coached by Lucescu. After a 1-1 draw in Lisbon, the Portuguese powerhouse won 4-1 in Greece.

Earlier this season, Al Nassr inflicted Al Hilal’s only loss in the league this season so far with a 2-1 win at Hilal’s King Saud International Stadium in October with Moroccan forward Abderrazak Hamdallah getting both goals.

A similar result at Al Nassr’s home on Wednesday would breathe new life into the title race. Vitoria has stressed that recent friendly games were a chance to try out tactics and give players a run-out. Losses against Al Raed and Al Fateh however have given the Portuguese boss much to think about.

At the other end of the table.  Al Ittihad are just three places of the bottom of this 16-team league and in danger of the drop. The two-time AFC Champions League winners face a game on Tuesday at mid-table Abha where victory would provide the Jeddah giants with some much-needed breathing space.

The race for third and a place in the 2021 AFC Champions League is also a fierce one. Al Wehda are currently in the driving seat and host Al Shabab while Al Ahli in fourth and just two points behind host the struggling Al Hazem. Al Faisaly, Al-Taawon and Al Raed also have an outside chance of booking a place in next year’s continental competition.

All eyes will, however, be on the top of the table clash as Hilal can take a huge step towards the title. “I am happy with how the players have returned from the suspension and I am confident in  their abilities,”said Lucescu. “All we care about is winning the next match and that will help us win the league.”