Editor Note – Before launching into this article I thought I’d share what we are doing this time. As always for the Saudi Arabian shows we are giving up our social media production and revenue earned from this article to charity. I noticed that Sami Zayn is launching a fundraiser, that coincidentally seems to start the same time as the WWE Event. All profits to the fundraiser will be donated to Sami’s Fundraiser after the event is over. We’ll also be donating 1p for every word written on this blog post and the next blog post to help Sami build the mobile clinic in Syria to help get medial aid to those who desperately need it most.
Of course, Sami’s fundraiser is not live yet. So our social media posts will instead promote the great work that The Syrian American Medical Society do. If you can afford to do so, please donate to this worthy cause, and now – on with the article!
WWE World Championship
Kofi Kingston (c) vs Dolph Ziggler
For right or wrong, Dolph Ziggler has spent a lot of his time within the WWE compared to other wrestlers – Mr Perfect, Shawn Michaels etc. He’s now drawing comparison with another Hall of Famer … Kane. Not because Ziggler’s appearance or in-ring style is comparable with the Mayor of (google wherever Kane is Mayor of) but because he’s the ideal opponent for a new-ish World Champion on their first run with belt. They have enough kudos to be a decent achievement in beating, but they’re not enough of a threat where anyone actually expects them to win, so the champ automatically looks a bigger star Occassionally they do win, but usually they don’t.
And in this case, they won’t. Credit to WWE for not making Kingston’s title reign look a fluke (as they so easily could have done); a win on a big stage like this will certainly help him in the short term. Dolph is one of those wrestlers who has the ability, with the right opponent, to pull out a really great match (as does Kofi) and these two have wrestled each other countless times already. But, if you’re betting on a ‘star rating’ though, I think the Saudi crowd will stay quiet here and the match will feel the effect of it, sadly. Kofi to win in solid, maybe good, probably not great, match.
Prediction: Kofi Kingston Wins
WWE Universal Championship
Seth Rollins (c) vs Baron Corbin
It would be some strong bantz to have Big Banter Corbs win the title here. It really would. It might also be the only scenario where a Lesnar title win is both cheered and welcomed. But I don’t see it happening. For the betting aficionados, this is one of the safer bets of the evening.
It’s very, very clear that WWE are high on Baron Corbin though, so don’t put *all* of your money on this. I don’t think there’s a chance that Corbin leaves with the title, but – given the whole build about him “being the man who retired Angle” he might be the person who beat the Kingslayer… via DQ or Countout
Some kind of shady win for Corbin works on a number of levels. It gives Corbin a “win” for him to brag about and sets up another match for Rollins to get a quick, clean win later on. As much as many fans care little about Corbin, the company clearly do, so consider this with your betting.
This remains an outside shot though, so if you’re betting on who wins, go with Rollins as the more likely victory. Just hold some cash back. I don’t predict a Lesnar cash-in here either. Brock ain’t going to Saudi.
Prediction: Seth Rollins Wins
WWE Intercontinental Championship
Finn Balor (c) Andrade Cien Almas
I started typing this with the header to this match containing the words “w/Zelina Vega” but I’m guessing she’s not allowed there? If she’s not there, it would be a great storyline for Almas to be slacking off with the boss out of the country (turning up 5 minutes late, taking extra for his lunch, checking his Fantasy Football mid-match) and to lose the match because of this, but I don’t think things are thought out like that.
This is the match on the card I’m most looking forward to. Both men are exceptional wrestlers in their own right and their interactions during the recent Money in the Bank match gave strong impression that these two will have fantastic chemistry for a match on the big stage.
For those unaware and interested, Balor and Almas met previously in a New Japan Best of Super Juniors Block match in 2010 (Almas wrestling as ‘La Sombra’ at the time’). In this match, Balor (well, Prince Devitt, since I’m referring to Almas as Sombra) won in just over 7 minutes. And whilst Devitt beat Sombra though, I’m predicting Almas beats Balor.
With WWE desperate to push this show as a ‘Wrestlemania Equivalent’ it would be useful to see some big title changes. I’m predicting both World Titles to stay where they are, so this seems a good bet here. Balor can wrestle at whatever level WWE let him and the IC belt gives Almas a useful boost.
Prediction: Andrade Cien Almas Wins
Goldberg vs. The Undertaker
They have a combined age of 105. There have been Tag Team matches where this isn’t the case. Whatever happens in this match, it’s still two guys in their 50s and it has to have a ceiling because of this.
It’s a tough match to call the winner – the result isn’t really important for any long (or even short) term story telling. It’s an exhibition match of a fight that would have been really interesting 21 years ago. There’s also an odd benefit that *both* men have a record of beating people quick, so losing sharpish won’t hurt either man also.
Goldberg seems the more stubborn about his wrestling and who he’ll lose to (he once apparently claimed it was unrealistic for SCOTT STEINER to beat him in a pre-determined fight) so I’m going for a Goldberg win for this reason alone. If you want an interesting bet on this match, go for the only thing we’re really having this match for – the entrances. I fully expect the match will last shortly than both men’s entrances combined. Likely to go shorter than just Takers too.
Seriously though – combined age of 105.
Prediction: Goldberg Wins
Triple H vs Randy Orton
Kinda hard to make jokes about people being too old for this s**t when you’ve got Goldberg versus Undertaker on the same card isn’t it? At 49, Trips is the youngest of the three. Given H’s ‘one or two matches a year’ status and Randy’s patchy win/loss streak, this is another match without any real short or long term story attached.
A curious statistic for you though: Triple H and Randy Orton last fought in a straight ‘one on one’ match in 2008 (their 2009 Wrestlemania 25 match has stips attached). This aforementioned match was on RAW with Triple H winning. Orton’s last win over Triple H in a straight up singles match was 13 years ago on a 2006 Monday Night Raw. In fact, if you remove all tag, stipulation and title matches – this is actually a rubber match for Orton / HHH with both at (only) 2 wins a piece since their first match in 2002.
Take THAT when you say these two have fought too many times before, eh?
Since this is now officially a rubber match – and I LOVE the idea that Triple H is well aware of this fact – I’m going to predict that Hunter wins to ‘take the feud’.
Prediction: Triple H Wins
50 Man Battle Royal
I’m curious about how you get 50 men into a single ring for a Battle Royal. Seriously? It’s not like these are all small lads either is it? The Super Showdown Saudi Series has so far been about ‘that thing we’ve done – only bigger or older’ so a 50 Man Battle Royal seems like a logical continuation of this.
The curiosity of this match now is as much about who is actually being flown out to Jeddah for this nonsense as it is about who wins it. I expect the match to be filled with a mixture of main roster talent, NXT and 205 stars. Perhaps the NXT UK guys get a run out here too (someone like Ligero feels perfect for this) and maybe even one or two surprises.
I will say this though – I hope that this *isn’t* where Bray Wyatt makes his in-ring return. Not in this match at least. Even if he wins, it’s not the match for it.
Also on a side note; don’t forget the rumour was that Hiroki Sumi was apparently booked in The Greatest Royal Rumble because Saudi’s wanted Yokozuna – undeterred by him having died 18 years previously. Hopefully we get more of that randomness here.
The winner will be a high enough up the card name to benefit from a win whilst making the Battle Royal itself look important. I was originally going to say Drew McIntyre, but given what they’ve put him through recently, I’m going to predict someone else.
Prediction: The Miz
Roman Reigns vs Shane McMahon
I asked this in my last prediction – when did Shane McMahon become an actual wrestler? This is serious question. During the late 90s / early 2000s he was never presented as a serious threat – in his matches with Blackman, Test – even his absolute banger with Kurt Angle at King of the Ring – any offence was presented as luck and moxey, rather than wrestling skill. But now, Shane is literally the best in the world. He’s an equal at worst to the guys he’s wrestling. It’s the increasingly bizarre fetishizing of The Attitude Era which means WWE views even Shane O Mac as being on the same level as today’s superstars.
This match has no right to go longer than 5 minutes, so expect it to go over 10. Against almost anyone but Reigns, I’d actually think that Shane could win this. But The Big Dog be The Big Dog so Roman will get his ‘hard fought and needed win’ over the former Smackdown Tag Champion and European Champion Shane McMahon.
Screw it. Go on you cowards, Shane McMahon to win via Triangle Choke around the 25 minute mark.
Prediction: Roman Reigns
Lars Sullivan vs. Lucha House Party
I’ve never been a fan of handicap matches for a very simple reason – it’s impossible for anyone to come out looking good. Surely that’s a massive benefit of a pre-determined sport isn’t it? That you can have people come out of it looking better than they went in? Ideally if *everyone* comes out looking better, surely?
But in a handicap match – let’s use this as an example – it doesn’t work. If Lucha House Party win, then it took three people to beat one man. They don’t look better for it and Sullivan loses to a team who the company (from a storyline sense) thought had so little chance as individuals that they were booked 3 on 1. If Sullivan wins, then Lucha House Party look awful and Sullivan beat people who look awful – therefore not benefitting either.
I think whoever booked this doesn’t think like that though and believes that Sullivan will look like an all-conquering mammoth by beating tres Luchadors at the same time. Put your money on a clean Lars win “showing his
newly learned racial tolerance strength”
Prediction: Lars Sullivan Wins
Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Lashley
Aka. BIG LADS WRESTLING. It’s becoming increasingly hard to see what the plans (if any) are for Braun Strowman. He feels like he’s drifted away from the World Title picture for now, although – given his size – it’s not hard to rehab him for this. The same could be said for his opponent here, Bobby Lashley, too. I’m not sure what the solution would be for them both either.
This is likely to be a traditional hoss match circa 9 minute WWE match with one or two big spots thrown in. If it was going on last, I’d almost be predicting a ring-break / superplex finish.
Both guys feel like they need something more right now, and neither could really do with losing. If you’re going to put some cash on it, go with BRAUN but if you want to get a longer odds result this could be a good shout for a double DQ / double count-out as well.
Prediction: Braun Strowman wins
Those are our predictions, what are yours? Please leave them in the comments below!