RIYADH: WWE superstars made special appearances at a WWE press conference at Mrsool Park Stadium in Riyadh on Nov. 4 ahead of their big fights at the stadium on Saturday night.
Fans eagerly watched as Braun Strowman, Omos, Roman Reigns and Logan Paul, as well as female wrestlers Bayley and WWE Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair, made special appearances, flexing their muscles in the lead-up to their respective matches.
This year’s contests mark the eighth WWE event in Saudi Arabia, and this time the affair is an even grander occasion, featuring a village constructed around the stadium with food and entertainment kiosks for fans.
Part of Riyadh Season, which runs until Dec. 22, the WWE Crown Jewel is staged under the Kingdom’s General Entertainment Authority, formerly the General Authority for Entertainment, set up by royal decree in May 2016 in tandem with Saudi Vision 2030 to regulate and develop Saudi Arabia’s entertainment sector.
Turki Al-Sheikh, chairman of the GEA, told the press conference that entertainment in the Kingdom has become the focus of the world’s attention due to hosting the best international shows.
Riyadh Season’s diverse international activities bring fun to all, he added.
“Welcome to the WWE launch conference in Riyadh Season 2022. The international competitions of WWE have become part of Riyadh Season, and this sport is followed by hundreds of millions of people with enthusiasm and enjoyment around the world,” Al-Sheikh said.
“We are thrilled to be here, especially as part of Riyadh Season, and to showcase in this beautiful country,” Stephanie McMahon, chairwoman and joint CEO of WWE, told the conference.
“WWE wants to sincerely thank the king, the crown prince, his excellency and all of the wonderful teams here in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for their continued partnership and friendship.”
In the fight lineup, Bayley will face Belair for a Last Women Standing contest title, a match that Belair discussed in a previous interview on the “Mayman Show” for Arab News.
“It’s an honor to be here and be a part of the Last Woman Standing match. I’m going against Bailey, I’ll be defending my title. We’ve been having this feud for basically going on two years. So it will be exciting to see who the last woman standing is, and finally, hopefully, put an end to this. But I’m just excited to do it here in Saudi Arabia in front of the crowd,” Belair told the press conference.
Two of the most powerful wrestlers, Braun Strowman and Osmos, will go head to head; and the Undisputed Tag Team Champions the Usos will face off against the Brawling Brutes, with the latter aiming to capture the title belts after close misses in recent years.
Meanwhile, the Usos seek to maintain the dominance of the Bloodline, the stable led by Roman Reigns and featuring real-life cousins the Usos and Solo Sikoa.
But the headline match will see Reigns, who recently celebrated his 10-year anniversary with WWE, adding more spark to the event as he defends the Undisputed Universal Championship against the clever Logan Paul in a fans’ favorite showdown.
Fans will be watching in Riyadh and around the world as these WWE superstars go head to head in pivotal fights that could make or break their standing.
Paul told Arab News: “Honestly, like it just doesn’t feel real. I look around and I’m seeing my mug listed on this giant screen and my picture facing the face of the WWE and the pillars that are columns all around. It’s insane.”
The wrestler will have his brother Jake, a boxer and social media personality, in his corner.
“I will have the person who I love most in the world in my corner for the biggest moment of my life,” Paul said.
“This is surreal. I cannot believe this is real life. I’m going make the most of it, man. And you can bet your bottom dollar, I’m coming for that title.”