The problem with these Saudi shows happening twice a year is that I’m sort of running out of things to say about them. I will say the placement of this one is really weird. I’ve said plenty of times that I don’t think there should be a PPV between the Rumble and Mania, but to put one of the big “Wrestlemania-sized” shows in there? Seems a little bit redundant if you ask me.
As it stands, the card for this show actually looks pretty decent for the most part. I’m sure it’ll fall victim to the usual issues of these shows, but I’m going to maintain a cautious optimism about the quality of the show because…well for the sake of my own sanity to be perfectly honest.
Let’s get predicting, shall we?
Andrade vs Bobby Lashley vs AJ Styles vs Rey Mysterio vs Erick Rowan vs R-Truth
(Tuwaiq Trophy Gaunlet Match)
Jesus Christ, talk about pointless…
Seriously, what is the point? It’ll be mentioned for one, maybe two weeks after the fact (if that) and then we’ll all move on completely forgetting about it so very quickly. Couldn’t it have at least been for the US title or something instead of a totally pointless trophy? I looked up what Tuwaiq is and while I don’t understand the exact geological terms, it’s essentially a big canyon, it’s like having the “Grand Canyon” trophy, or the “Death Valley” trophy and while that second one actually sounds pretty awesome, my point still stands that this whole thing is pointless and stupid.
I’m not even sure the match will be all that interesting to watch either. If Andrade & Styles get some time in the ring together that should be pretty good and I imagine Rey & Andrade will also go on a bit of tear against each other, but I expect this to be more along the lines of the Tag Gauntlet match from Crown Jewel last year. A bunch of quick pins with little action between until someone inexplicably wins.
Speaking of winners, I’m not overly confident but given the rumours that a match with The Undertaker is on the horizon, I’m going with AJ Styles.
Roman Reigns vs King Corbin
Oh, thank the lord! I thought we were going to get a break from this feud for five fucking seconds, you had me worried there WWE, good to know you’re still pushing on with this.
I made a big song and dance in the last entry about it being a pointless match, but when it comes to this one, I mean come on, who’s honestly still invested in this story? At least with their match at the Rumble, I could understand the desire to cap it off with Roman getting his win back so he could move on to bigger and better things, but at this point, what is there for anyone to gain from winning this match? If Roman wins, then it means basically nothing because he’s already beat Corbin several times over in various forms of matches and if Corbin wins, it’ll feel like a massive anti-climax and we’ll probably have to suffer through more of this bollocks until Elimination Chamber.
On top of that, it’s in a Steel Cage, which means it’s virtually guaranteed to be a snooze fest and an absolute cluster fuck with all kind of people needlessly getting involved. Roman Reigns is going to win, because if he doesn’t then I may sigh so hard that all of the gas in my body gets expelled at once and I’ll suffocate.
Seth Rollins & Murphy(c) vs The Street Profits
(Raw Tag Team Championships)
Well, there’s not going to be a great deal of tension in this one, but it should at least be fun.
When Rollins & Murphy first won the Raw tag titles, I was a bit sceptical. I thought it would’ve served AOP better to have the titles and I worried that it would continue the descent of the titles to be totally forgotten amongst a singles feud between Owens & Rollins, but actually, I think things have been going pretty well. Rollins is doing a great job of making his heel persona this time around feels different to what it was during his initial turn in 2014/15, he’s still got that slight cowardly edge, but it doesn’t dominate his character and it feels a lot more calculated. He’s surrounded himself with other tough guys, not because he doesn’t want to fight his own battles, but because it protects him from babyfaces like Owens getting one over on him every week, and most importantly, it’s actually working.
Compare this to Corbin’s alliance with Ziggler & Roode and you can see exactly why that doesn’t work. It’s partly because Roman is out-smarting them at every opportunity, but also it feels like there’s no cohesion between them as a unit. They’re not brothers in arms fighting for a common cause, they’re just three people who don’t hate each other at the moment. Looking back at Rollins, Murphy & AOP, it’s clear to me that there’s a lot more thought behind this and at least some semblance of a long-term goal, so I’m quite happy with how things have been going.
…what was I here to talk about again? Oh yeah, the match. Not really much to say if I’m honest, Seth Rollins & Murphy are definitely winning and it wouldn’t surprise me if it ended up being a glorified squash. That said, if Street Profits are actually given a chance to make this competitive, then I think it could easily be a match of the night contender; fingers crossed, I guess.
The New Day(c) vs The Miz & John Morrison
(Smackdown Tag Team Championships)
Don’t get me wrong, I like John Morrison, but was bringing him back just for this really worth it? I understand that there isn’t exactly much room for him in the singles division at the moment, but when I envision John Morrison’s return, this isn’t exactly what I had in mind.
I’ll admit though, I’ve enjoyed watching his reunion with The Miz and it’s clear there’s still some great chemistry between them. Whether that chemistry extends to the ring remains to be seen, but I have confidence that these guys will pull something great out of the bag. As it stands, I don’t think there’s a better team for them to go against right now than The New Day. From a character perspective, they have that comedic edge that Miz & Morrison can bounce off of so well and when it comes to the ring, they’re easily the best in WWE right now, so a good-to-great match is all but guaranteed.
When it comes to picking a winner, I’m not as confident as I probably should be, but I’m going with The Miz & John Morrison to pick up the titles. Morrison losing his first big opportunity following his return would make the whole thing feel extremely pointless and it’s not like The New Day have anything to lose right now and in fact, having them chasing the titles going into Mania might make for a more compelling story.
Bayley(c) vs Naomi
(Smackdown Women’s Championship)
After Crown Jewel last year where Saudi Arabia finally allowed a women’s wrestling match to take place in their country, I can only hope that they’re going to slowly but surely loosen up the restrictions on what these women can do in the ring. Nevermind the fact that WWE are congratulating Saudia Arabia for doing this, even though they’re still a number of centuries behind the rest of the world, I’m hoping that this will actually get to be a match, rather than an over-glorified training routine.
Don’t get me wrong, the match between Evans & Natalya at Crown Jewel was absolutely an important and necessary first step, but you can’t deny that they wrestled an extremely safe, by-the-book and boring match that was entirely designed to be as inoffensive as humanly possible. If this happens here it would be an incredible disservice to these two great performers who I think, given the chance could put on a really great match.
I have absolutely no idea what the plans are for the Smackdown Women’s Championship at Wrestlemania (and if the dirt sheets are to be believed, neither do WWE) but I think it would make the most sense to have Bayley go in as champion. I know Naomi has the heat of the return, but there’s been basically nothing in the way of build to this match, so a Naomi win would seem very strange and out of nowhere.
Brock Lesnar(c) vs Ricochet
You know that scene from the first Avenger’s film where The Hulk smashes Loki into the floor over and over? Yeah, that. That’s what’s going to happen.
I’d love to live in a fantasy world where Ricochet gets a chance to look competitive against Brock and essentially spends 10 minutes flipping circles around the Beast, but let’s be real, it’s just not happening. This match isn’t going to last very long and it’s going to consist of Ricochet’s internal organs being turned to paste before Brock Lesnar walks out with his title.
The Fiend Bray Wyatt(c) vs Goldberg
No! Not again. Please don’t do this to us again.
This match is in a weird position because my perspective on whether or not it’s a good idea depends entirely on the outcome. If this is a chance for The Fiend to get a really strong win before facing off with Roman at Wrestlemania, then I think it’s fantastic and will benefit The Fiend even past him inevitably losing his title to Roman at Mania. However…if the result of this is Goldberg carrying the title in Wrestlemania, then I’m absolutely against it.
I actually think Goldberg vs Roman could be a pretty fun match for Wrestlemania, but it’s not worth sacrificing everything that has been built up around The Fiend for. I’ve said this so much over the past 8ish months, but The Fiend is something unique and special and has all the potential in the world to go down as one of the all-time great gimmicks in wrestling, but it won’t happen if he’s unceremoniously sacrificed to Goldberg here.
As for match quality, it could go either way. I don’t think it’ll be very long, but we’ve seen a whole host of short but good Goldberg matches since his 2016 return. Maybe it’s just denial, but I refuse to accept the fact that Goldberg could be Universal Champion TWICE in the space of 4 years in the modern era. I’m going with what I believe must happen, which is The Fiend Bray Wyatt retaining.
And there you have it! Thank you very much for reading these predictions, be sure to leave your own predictions either in the comments below or on Twitter @10ryawoo. Finally, make sure to come back here Friday, where I’ll be running down all of the matches