The bi-annual event of WWE in Saudi Arabia is set to take place this Thursday, on the national holiday of Halloween. This is WWE’s fourth event in the Middle-East, after Greatest Royal Rumble and Crown Jewel in 2018, and Super ShowDown earlier this year.
The event was set to be an all-men event once again, until earlier today, when WWE announced a historic first-ever matchup between female superstars.
Saudi Arabia events are often treated as non-canon in WWE, and WWE doesn’t work too hard to promote this PPV. However, two major debuts are set to take place at the Saudi show this year, which makes it an extremely marquee event for the company.
We look at the match card and give our thoughts and predictions for the event.
20-Man Battle Royal For a Shot At United States Championship
The individuals of the company who couldn’t find a place on the main-card will compete in the multi-man matchup to determine the No.1 contender for the United States Championship. The winner will take on AJ Styles later in the night for the title, which gives the match more meaning than some other multi-men bouts.
The mid-card of RAW and Smackdown Live are vying for a shot at the US title in this pre-show battle royal, and we could see a recent rival of AJ come out on top.
A babyface will surely come out on top in this battle royal, and it could be a RAW superstar
Prediction: Humberto Carillo wins the battle royal
Lacey Evans vs. Natalya
The historic matchup between Lacey Evans and Natalya will take place at WWE Crown Jewel, which is a landmark achievement for WWE and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Until recently, the women of Saudi Arabia weren’t even allowed to drive vehicles in the country, and now we’ll see two women compete in front of the crowd.
It is safe to assume that the newer talent will come out on top in this match-up, which will be yet another installment in their recent rivalry.
Prediction: Lacey Evans wins
Mansoor vs. Cesaro
The PPV is filled with quite a few random matches, and this is surely at the top of the list. Saudi Arabia’s first-ever export to the WWE kingdom, Mansoor will take on the Swiss Cyborg Cesaro.
Mansoor won a huge 51-man Battle Royal earlier this year at WWE Super ShowDown in front of his home crowd, and will once again start as a favorite against Cesaro, who is currently on a losing streak.
Prediction: Mansoor wins in front of his home-crowd
Tag Team Turmoil Match
Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode vs. The Revival vs. The New Day vs. The Viking Raiders vs. Heavy Machinery vs. Lucha House Party vs. Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins vs. The OC vs. The B Team.
The tag-team divisions of both the brand will be in action in a turmoil match to determine the Best Tag-Team in the World. This serves as a sequel to the Best in the World tourney at Crown Jewel last year, which was controversially won by Shane McMahon.
Unless we have a major controversy like last year, The New Day should end up on top in this matchup. With a title match against Revival in 24 hours after this show, the New Day could use some momentum after a defeat to Roode & Ziggler last week.
Prediction: Big E and Kofi Kingston are crowned Best Tag Team in the World
United States Championship: AJ Styles vs. TBA
AJ Styles will defend his US title against the winner of the previously mentioned Battle Royal. Styles’ US title run has been marred with several false finishes and lackluster feuds, as he had to play the third wheel in the Rollins-Strowman rivalry last month. Following that, Styles is yet to have a proper feud on the RAW roster.
Saudi shows are generally glorified house shows and hence, Styles losing his title on a PPV which isn’t even considered canon will be a major shocker.
Prediction: Styles retains
Braun Strowman vs. Tyson Fury
Continuing the trend of weird matchups, undefeated lineal boxing heavyweight champion Tyson Fury will make his first appearance in a professional wrestling ring when he takes on the Monster Among Men, Braun Strowman.
This match is a complete remake of the Big Show-Floyd Mayweather fight from a decade ago minus the height difference. Fury’s few displays in recent weeks are an indication of how this match will probably go down. A lackluster bout with Fury winning with a knockout punch is the most plausible outcome.
Prediction: Tyson Fury wins and continues his undefeated streak
Team Hogan vs. Team Flair
Roman Reigns (Hogan Captain), Rusev, Ricochet, Shorty G, and Ali v. Randy Orton (Flair Captain), Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Drew McIntyre
The midcard of WWE is in focus as the seemingly babyface unit of Hulk Hogan will take on the heel army assembled by Ric Flair. Ten supremely talented individuals of WWE will square off in the latest installment of the Hogan-Flair rivalry, to settle the question of who is the greatest superstar of all time.
The ten-man encounter has its own mini rivalries as well, as Ali-Nakamura, McIntyre-Ricochet, Lashley-Rusev, and Corbin-Reigns have had their issues in recent weeks.
Prediction: Team Hogan wins
WWE Universal Championship (Fall Count Anywhere – “Cannot Be Stopped For Any Reason”): Seth Rollins (c) vs. Bray Wyatt
First of the two world title bouts will see a rematch of the horrific Hell in a Cell main event. Rollins will defend his red brand title against SmackDown superstar Bray Wyatt, who is currently yet to be pinned in his new avatar.
The match carries a lot of intrigues regarding the finish, as Wyatt winning could mean the title moving to SmackDown, while Rollins winning will mean Wyatt’s new gimmick has reached an unsatisfying end at a C-level PPV.
One way to handle this situation could be by moving Wyatt to Monday nights, which would keep the red title on the red brand.
Prediction: Bray Wyatt wins and moves to RAW
WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar(c) vs. Cain Velasquez
The rematch from a UFC Heavyweight Championship bout will take place later this week, with MMA veteran Cain Velasquez making his debut for WWE. This will be Velasquez’s second professional wrestling encounter, after making his debut for AAA at TripleMania.
Similar to the previous bout, this one will surely have an interesting finish. Velasquez and Lesnar have a huge history behind them and their feud will surely go further than just one match in a foreign land.
Prediction: Brock Lesnar retains