WWE LIVE will return to Saudi Arabia with three events at King Abdullah Sports City Sports Hall in Jeddah on Thursday 8 October, Friday 9 October and Saturday 10 October marking the first time WWE LIVE has been to Jeddah.
Tickets went on sale Monday and are available through www.ticketmaster.ae or by calling International +971 4 3662289.
Fans attending WWE LIVE will be able to see their favourite Superstars, including WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins, John Cena, Chris Jericho, Dean Ambrose, Ryback, Big Show, The Miz and WWE Tag Team Lucha Dragons.
“After successful shows in Abu Dhabi earlier this year, we are excited to return to the Middle East and underscore our commitment to the region,” said Gerrit Meier, WWE Executive Vice President, and International.
“Fans can expect WWE LIVE to deliver the same non-stop action and family fun that they know and love from our programming on MBC, OSN and OSN WWE Network.”
The events represent the second collaboration between WWE and FLASH Entertainment, headquartered in Abu Dhabi. Alongside their local Saudi partners, TIME Events, FLASH Entertainment has worked with WWE to bring WWE LIVE to the Middle East.
“We are delighted to be working alongside WWE and Time Events again,” said John Lickrish, CEO, FLASH Entertainment. “Last year’s event proved to be enormously successful and this year we intend to raise the bar even higher for the people of Saudi Arabia to enjoy an unforgettable show.”
The wrestling universe was in mourning last week as news filtered through of the death of one of its most iconic stars; ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper.
Piper died in his sleep following a heart attack at the age of 61 in his home in California and ever since the WWE, and the wider community, has paid homage to the Canadian of Scottish descent.
It is little wonder that Piper’s death hit so many, so hard.
Combining controversy, character and an in-ring skill rarely equalled before or since, Piper had a little bit of everything and endeared himself to WWE fans across four decades of his association with the company.
For Piper’s millions of fans, it was love at first sight.
From the moment he debuted in 1984 in his interview segment Piper’s Pit, ‘Hot Rod’ became the heel that everybody loved to hate. Feuds with Jimmy Snuka (whose wife also sadly announced on Monday night that he has been diagnosed with cancer), Mr. T (who he had a real-life feud with – more on that later) and Hulk Hogan followed, which culminated in a showdown with the latter two at the very first WrestleMania.
Piper was less than a year into his run in the WWE and he had already etched his name in the company’s history books. It was something that he would continue to do over the course of his career as he pushed the expected boundaries of pro wrestling.
Never shy of controversy, Piper was determined to push the limits whenever he entered the ring or was handed a microphone.
When looking back on two of his most controversial moments in history, it is a sad reminder of the difficulties that face professional wrestlers, particularly those that broke out in the 1980s and ‘90s.
Piper first drew heavy criticism for his WrestleMania VI promo ahead of meeting mixed-race opponent Bad News Brown as he appeared on screen with half of his face and body painted black.
Nearly half of the competitors (14 of 36) from that WrestleMania VI card are now dead, with 13 of those (Dusty Rhodes aside) failing to make it past 64. It is an alarming statistic that further highlights the critical problems wrestlers faced during a time of steroid abuse and a lack of understanding about concussions.
Fast forward to Piper’s 2003 comments on Real Sports with Bryant Gumble and you see a man describing a dislike for his own image on TV and, now prophetically, claiming that he would not reach 65 years of age. It makes for emotional viewing in light of this week’s tragic news of his passing but shows what made Piper such a popular wrestler: he was honest to a fault.
WWE legend Rowdy Roddy Piper, who died earlier today at age 61, in a 2003 interview saying he wouldn’t live to 65 pic.twitter.com/8SPA4W1r7a
— Ryan Songalia (@ryansongalia) August 1, 2015
At the time, Piper was released by the WWE for his revealing honesty about drugs in wrestling but he would end up returning to the company in 2005 when he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
These are the images that will remain in the memory. The former WWE tag-team and Intercontinental champion, dressed in a kilt with bagpipes in hand, will always be remembered as one of the most talented heels and most loved characters of a troubled generation of wrestlers.
Tweets of the week – #RIPHotRod
— WWE (@WWE) August 4, 2015
Roddy Piper was one of the most entertaining, controversial and bombastic performers ever in WWE… (1/2)
— Vince McMahon (@VinceMcMahon) July 31, 2015
…beloved by millions of fans around the world. I extend my deepest condolences to his family. (2/2)
— Vince McMahon (@VinceMcMahon) July 31, 2015
— WWE Universe (@WWEUniverse) August 4, 2015
— UFC (@ufc) August 2, 2015
— LANA (@LanaWWE) August 4, 2015
— Triple H (@TripleH) July 31, 2015
— Nikki & Brie (@BellaTwins) August 4, 2015
— Gene Okerlund (@TheGeneOkerlund) August 1, 2015
— Chris Jericho (@IAmJericho) August 1, 2015
Roddy piper a great entertainer & one of the best pro wrestlers in the world my prayers go out to his family & friends he will be missed
— KEN SHAMROCK (@ShamrockKen) August 1, 2015
Mada Abdelhamid, the only Arab contestant on WWE’s Tough Enough, was eliminated last week after a grueling Focus Challenge and here is his interview following elimination.
WWE’s Tough Enough After Show | Mada Abdelhamid Interview | AfterBuzz TV: https://t.co/T4TuZKfc9S
— informado24x7 (@informado24x7) July 29, 2015
What is the one thing you will take away from this experience?
My love and passion for the WWE. Having a taste of it – being in the ring, being a part of Monday Night RAW and Tough Enough was such an honor and a blessing. I loved being part of it and this is not the end for me. I hope to be back.
What is your reaction to your overwhelming popularity amongst Arab fans?
It is very humbling to see and I take a lot of pride in it. There has never been an Egyptian WWE superstar and I got a lot of support from the Egyptian fan base as well as fans from across the Arab world. I appreciate everything they do for me, especially the hashtag #BringMadaBack. It is truly amazing and I cannot wait to be in WWE so that I can represent them as well.
What does your family in Egypt think about your journey on Tough Enough?
At the start of the show they were a little hesitant because they did not know a lot of about WWE. But once I explained what WWE was and what this opportunity meant, they were a 100 per cent behind me. They actually helped me a lot, especially with reaching out to the people in Egypt through social media. My dad actually started a fan page for me on Facebook, which got a 120,000 fans in three weeks. So, my family is very supportive and very proud of me.
Who are you betting on to win Tough Enough?
For me, from the guys I think Josh is going to win it – I think he is the strongest competitor amongst the guys. Among the girls, I think Gigi is going to win as she has the best overall package of personality, accessibility and athleticism. They are my two picks.
What was the most surprising thing about training for Tough Enough?
It felt new – that was the crazy part. It was stuff that I had never done through before in my life and I am personal trainer, so I train a lot. Coming to WWE, there was something new every day. It was a completely new experience – it was a lot more exciting but it was also very challenging.
Has being part of Tough Enough made you work harder to become a WWE Superstar?
This has made me work even harder and I am going right back into training. I am heading home to DC, back to my family in a couple of days. I want to get back home as soon as possible and start training towards achieving my dreams of becoming a WWE Superstar.
The Egyptian Pharoe Mada Abdelhamid pic.twitter.com/LJKtctcTaa
— mo3taz nassar (@mo3taz3333) July 2, 2015
How does it feel to be the only Arab competitor on Tough Enough?
I am very proud to be representing the Arab World in WWE. I really appreciate all the support and the fans are very helpful. Even though the time difference is insane, they stay up till 3 and 4 in the morning to watch me on Tough Enough. I greatly appreciate it and it is very humbling to see that and I cannot wait to get back to WWE and represent them better by winning a WWE championship. I know they had my back the whole way.
Final thoughts or words for fans in the Middle East
I love all my fans and I wouldn’t be here without them; the WWE wouldn’t be what it is without the fans. They have always been so supportive and rallied behind me. I have had fans come up to me on the street and encouraging me. It is great to get that kind of reaction, especially from the kids and I like talking to the kids. Once I was a kid looking up to these WWE Superstars and the now it’s my turn to give back to them.