WWE presented their first Saudi Arabian pay-per-view of 2020, Super ShowDown, from Riyadh and officially marked the fifth event under WWE’s 10-year partnership with the Saudi General Sports Authority.
A total of five championships were on the line and only two changed hands despite WWE teasing the crowning of a couple more champions throughout the decent build. The women’s match was one of the major highlights of the night and so was Goldberg’s title victory amidst the huge display of eye-dazzling fireworks that show how much money is being spent on producing these Middle Eastern events.
Here’s how the PPV went down, with our grades and analysis for the inaugural Saudi Arabian PPV of the decade.
Event: WWE Super ShowDown
Date: February 27, 2020
Location: Mohammed Abdu Arena, Riyadh,Saudi Arabia
Pre Show: The OC vs. The Viking Raiders
A classic display of textbook tag team wrestling from Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson prevented Erik and Ivar from building any sort of momentum. Ivar went for a big top-rope moonsault – nobody home – Anderson knocked Erik off the apron and double teamed with Gallows to score the victory off a Magic Killer.
Result: The OC def. The Viking Raiders
Analysis: Both teams have been feuding for quite some time on RAW, so the matchup isn’t something out of the blue. However, given the last-minute booking and overall performance, the bout was a filler at best.
Tuwaiq Mountain Trophy Gauntlet Match: R-Truth vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Rey Mysterio vs. AJ Styles vs. Erick Rowan vs. Andrade
R-Truth and Bobby Lashley kicked things off; the former 24/7 Champion dodged a spear and rolled The All Mighty up for a pinfall elimination. Furious and livid, the eliminated Lashley unleashed a brutal assault on Truth forcing the referee to check on the latter as the United States Champion Andrade hit the ring.
Andrade and R-Truth bumped heads and the 49-year-old Superstar fell on top of El Idolo to score the second elimination of the match. Fourth entrant Erick Rowan used the steel steps on R-Truth and got himself disqualified in the process. The self-eliminated Rowan continued to assault Truth for a couple more minutes before heading to the back with his mysterious pet cage.
AJ Styles came in at #5 to a huge pop. The Phenomenal One locked R-Truth in the Calf Crusher and forced his opponent to tap out. Fans continued to chant for AJ despite his heel antics.
Rey Mysterio’s music played but a backstage beatdown at the hands of Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson ensured that Mr. 619 never made it down to the ring. Styles demanded that the referee declare him the winner by forfeit. The crowd began chanting for The Undertaker and out came The Deadman before the decisive count of 10; having destroyed The Good Brothers already, The Phenom planted The Phenomenal One with an iconic chokeslam to win the inaugural Tuwaiq Mountain Gauntlet Match.
Result: The Undertaker won the Tuwaiq Mountain Gauntlet Match
Analysis: Truth’s solid performance was a throwback to Kofi Kingston’s career-changing gauntlet match that gave birth to KofiMania. Hopefully, Truth will get a steady boost out of this exciting display of class, resiliency, and endurance.
It’s been made clear that The Undertaker and Styles will collide in less than forty days at WrestleMania 36. The WWE Universe should brace themselves for an exciting build in the weeks to come.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship: The New Day (c) vs. The Miz and John Morrison
Kofi Kingston blocked a Skull Crushing Finale and rolled Miz up for a two-count. John Morrison landed a chair shot on Kofi while the referee wasn’t looking, to seal The New Day’s fate; The Miz rolled him up for three count to win the SmackDown Tag Team Titles.
Result: The Miz and John Morrison won the SmackDown Tag Team Championship
Analysis: The tag team title defense delivered a thorough dose of entertainment; The New Day once again proved that they can work with just about anyone while Miz and Morrison showed the wired that they haven’t missed a step after all these years. What remains to be seen is whether WWE will keep Big E and Kofi in the title picture at WrestleMania 36 or replace them with the immediate next favorites, The Usos.
Angel Garza vs. Humberto Carrillo
The cousin rivalry opened up a completely new dimension with more stories to be told as heel Angel Garza scored the shock victory off a seated pinning combination.
Result: Angel Garza def. Humberto Carrillo
Analysis: Lucha Libre skills were on full display as both Latino Superstars showcased a smooth session of high-flying maneuvers. Garza’s victory essentially indicates that this rivalry is far from over and hopefully, Carrillo will have the final laugh sooner than later.
RAW Tag Team Championship: Seth Rollins & Buddy Murphy (c) vs. Street Profits
Seth Rollins and Buddy Murphy dominated throughout the match while ensuring that Street Profits also had their moments. Angelo Dawkins blasted Murphy over the announcers’ desk with a huge pounce but that didn’t present the Monday Night Messiah from keeping the momentum intact.
The Best Kept Secret distracted the referee, allowing Rollins to Curb Stomp Montez Ford on the apron and covered him to retain the titles.
Result: Seth Rollins & Buddy Murphy retained the RAW Tag Team Championship
Analysis: A predictable outcome spoiled the match for the most part; the title defense felt like a regular RAW bout and lacked the big PPV feel. What’s certain is that the ongoing rivalry is set to grow into a bigger title feud leading up to WrestleMania.
Mansoor vs. Dolph Ziggler
Prior to the match, Robert Roode had a heated verbal exchange with Mansoor before the latter knocked him out with a dropkick. The referee ejected The Glorious One from ringside to neutralize Dolph Ziggler’s advantage.
The Saudi Arabian Superstar planted The Show Off with an inverted Sliced Bread into a big DDT and followed it up with a top-rope moonsault to pick up the victory.
Post-match, Mansoor cut a heart-felt promo to thank The Kingdom for its love and support.
Result: Mansoor def. Dolph Ziggler
Analysis: Once again, the outcome was quite predictable as the hometown boy went over to extend his winning streak in Saudi Arabia. Veteran Ziggler made the young Mansoor look like a million bucks and sold the moonsault extremely well despite the high-risk maneuver almost missing it’s intended target during the finish.
WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Ricochet
The title defense lasted for about two minutes as Brock Lesnar took Ricochet on a ride to Suplex City and followed it up with an F-5 to retain the gold.
Result: Brock Lesnar retained the WWE Championship
Analysis: Perhaps the worst match of the night, neither Lesnar nor Ricochet could deliver anything extraordinary mainly because the WWE Universe was already aware of the inevitable outcome. Although the chance of a potential title change was zero to none, Paul Heyman’s promo on the kick-off show managed to instil a tiny amount of hope among the fans who wished for a massive upset.
Steel Cage Match: Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin
King Corbin attacked Roman Reigns early on as the latter was busy shutting the door with a chain and lock. The Big Dog fought out of the corner and countered a top-rope powerbomb to turn the tide. Corbin attempted to escape the cage but Reigns dropped him with a Superman Punch.
The former Universal Champion thwarted a few more escape attempts before nailing Corbin with a chain-assisted Superman Punch for the victory.
Result: Roman Reigns def. King Corbin
Analysis: Perhaps, this was the final chapter in the Reigns vs. Corbin storyline and the Steel Cage showdown seemed to be the perfect blow-off. WWE should now have Reigns and Corbin go their separate ways despite the fact that both men have been advertised for the Men’s Elimination Chamber match next month.
SmackDown Women’s Title Match: Bayley (c) vs. Naomi
Naomi unloaded on Bayley right off the bat, giving the champion little room to throw in any shots. Bayley soon turned the tide and both women enjoyed a fair share of momentum before the bizarre finish. Bayley trapped Naomi’s legs in the shorts she was wearing and drove her face-first into her knee and mat for the pin to retain.
Result: Bayley def. Naomi to retain the SmackDown’s Women’s Championship
Analysis: As the second women’s match to ever take place in The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the bout lived up to the hype and although the performance was a bit lackluster, it is to be noted that both women had to work a different style in the conservative country. Hopefully, Naomi’s title endeavors won’t fade away with this loss; in fact, The Glow may come out even stronger if WWE can book her properly leading up to a title rematch at WrestleMania.
Universal Championship: “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Goldberg
Both Goldberg and The Fiend’s entrances lit up the arena owing to the sheer contrast in their themes; the challenger was accompanied to the ring by a splendid round of pyros while the champion made his way amidst red lasers that pierced through the darkness.
Goldberg landed the first shot – a spear – but Wyatt kicked out. The masked monster quickly applied the Mandible Claw but The Myth overpowered him and countered with another spear. Two more spears followed but Wyatt refused to stay down.
A second Mandible Claw brought Goldberg to his knees but the veteran managed to break out of the hold and planted The Fiend with a vicious Jackhammer in the middle of the ring to win the second Universal Title of his long illustrious career.
Result: Goldberg def. The Fiend to become the new Universal Champion
Analysis: The absence of the red light essentially meant The Fiend wasn’t invincible on the Saudi Arabian soil; nothing could save the masked monster from the wrath of Goldberg who simply powered his way through and hammered the unbeatable Superstar with his limited set of moves. The match was quick – nothing different from the ones Goldberg has worked since returning to WWE – and the fact that red hot Fiend was fed to the part-timer Myth ahead of WrestleMania, questions the company’s booking strategies.