The WWE rolled into Jeddah this past week, with a number of top-tier title matches and heavy hitters that delighted Saudi Arabia wrestling fans.
It was the first time the WWE’s LIVE event visited the Kingdom, following on from the Abu Dhabi event that delighted avid followers in the UAE earlier this year.
According to local reports, thousands flocked through the King Abdullah Sports City Sports Hall gates in Jeddah over the course of the three days’ action that ran from Thursday 8 to Saturday 10 October.
Superstars in attendance included WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins, United States champion John Cena, Chris Jericho, Dean Ambrose, Ryback, Big Show and The Miz.
Fans were treated to a street fight between Rollins and Cena, a repeat of the same matchup that took place at the Zayed Tennis Stadium in the UAE capital in February.
Nonetheless, fans were left delighted by the action, the Saudi Gazette quoting 21-year-old Muhannad Abdul Wahab as saying: “I always wanted to watch Cena in action and am very glad to see him live here in Jeddah.”
The same paper spoke to Abdullah Banajah, who took his two sons along to the event, who said: “That was awesome and the crowd went berserk watching the fight. John Cena is very popular and he is the main reason my sons insisted to watch this event.”
Banajah’s 11-year-old son, Nader, told the Gazette: “I love WWE show on TV but this time I got to see them in real. A really enjoyable experience.”
The Middle East is an emerging market for the WWE and one they are tapping into with more and more urgency.
As well as the two live shows in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, OSN also brought the WWE Network to fans in the UAE, while the company also has a permanent home in Dubai.
Here, we look at the best tweets from the action-packed show.
— Joey Styles (@JoeyStyles) October 12, 2015
— Orton’s German Girl (@MelissaH25) October 10, 2015
— Akshay Cenation (@CenationAkshay) October 10, 2015
— Charles Robinson (@WWERobinson) October 10, 2015
— John Laurinaitis (@JohnLaurinaitis) October 9, 2015
WWE superstars arrive in JEDDAH to perform live In SAUDI ARABIA this weekend pic.twitter.com/5b7j9uHzI0
— WaQaR AzEeM (@waqarazeem186) October 9, 2015
— John Laurinaitis (@JohnLaurinaitis) October 8, 2015
— The Miz (@mikethemiz) October 6, 2015
Billed as the most brutal of the WWE’s many formats, Hell in a Cell is as bloody as it is brilliant.
Next month, the WWE Universe is treated to the ninth Hell in a Cell pay-per-view since it was given its own annual place on the WWE calendar.
Ever since the first ever Hell in a Cell, at WWF’s 1997 Badd Blood (no, Taylor Swift did not appear), the matches have been ferocious – serving up some of the most memorable moments in WWE history.
This year’s offering promises to be no different with the October 25 PPV at the Staples Centre throwing up some mouthwatering prospects.
Not only will Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt do battle in the 20ft high, five-tonne structure, The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar will also decide their rivalry in what will surely be a match up not for the faint-hearted.
The anticipation was ramped up this week thanks to Paul Heyman’s microphone mastery and in order to get in the mood for the encounter, Sport360 brings you our top-5 Hell in a Cell matches from the 30 that have delighted to date.
5) Kurt Angle, Undertaker, Triple H, Steve Austin, Rikishi, and The Rock (Armageddon – Dec 10, 2000)
This may not have been the best match in Hell in a Cell history but the sheer brilliance of the six names pitted against each other in the steel battleground is enough to get the blood pumping.
This was the height of the Attitude era’s dominance and it left you not quite knowing where to look as the action spilled over between some of the WWE’s most iconic wrestlers.
Rikishi being sent from the top of the Cell into a backed up truck sticks in the memory.
4) The Undertaker vs Triple H (WrestleMania XXVII – April 1, 2012)
One of just two times – and the most recent – that Hell in a Cell has featured at WrestleMania, as the two most experienced combatants in the format served up a treat.
Shawn Michaels was guest referee and joined his peers in hitting finisher after finisher in one of the most physical Cell matches there has ever been.
A poignant moment closed out the fight with all three embracing as Michaels and ‘Taker helped a battered Triple H out of the ring.
3.) Triple H vs Shawn Michaels (Bad Blood – June 13, 2004)
Any match between the old D-Generation X compatriots is worth a mention.
But chuck them in Hell in a Cell on the back of months of no-holds barred feuding and you’re definitely on to a winner.
Michaels’ elbow drop from a ladder that put Triple H through a table, with both men covered in blood, had the crowd on its feet.
2) The Undertaker vs Mankind (King of the Ring – June 28, 1998)
Put together the man who created Hell in a Cell and hardcore legend Mick Foley (in his Mankind guise) and what do you get?
Quite simply blood, brutality and one of the best spots in history as Foley was hurled from the top of the cage and through a table.
Reckless, dangerous and outright brilliant.
1) Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker (Badd Blood – October 5, 1997)
The match that started it all, this was the culmination of a legendary feud between two of the best wrestlers in WWE history.
Not only was this notable for the match itself, it also led to the late, great Paul Bearer bringing ‘The Big Red Machine’ Kane to the ring for the first time.
It ended months of speculation that The Undertaker’s half-brother was coming for him and sparked a historic run for the WWF and its Attitude era.
This week WWE TLC takes in the gripping rivalry between the Undertaker and Brock Lesnar. The two men share a genuine dislike of eachother and here are five reasons that wrestling fans just can't get enough of it.
The Phenom vs The Beast Incarnate.
A legend for the ages and the man that ended the streak. WWE’s oldest stalwart and its youngest ever champion. Whichever way you look at it, The Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar is a rivalry that will go down in history.
Granted, that was guaranteed when Lesnar took ‘Taker’s streak at WrestleMania, but for a number of reasons this feud will be remembered in the wrestling annals for years to come.
From a very genuine dislike of each other to the showmanship of both wrestlers, TLC looks at five reasons why ‘Taker vs Lesnar is a rivalry to revel in.
1) THE HATRED IS REAL At UFC 121, moments after Lesnar lost his World Heavyweight title to Cain Velazquez, the ringside ‘Taker made his feelings perfectly clear, calling out the fallen champ.
Since then, Lesnar has explained that words have been exchanged through a mutual friend and the pair, although enjoying a good relationship in the ring, personally cannot stand each other.
Every punch thrown is one you truly feel has been thrown in anger and there is nothing better than that to be sold on a storyline. 2) WRESTLEMANIA AND SUMMERSLAM
Their past two encounters in the ring were marvels.
First, the ending of the streak at WrestleMania 30 was as controversial and dramatic as it was enthralling.
Likewise, SummerSlam’s encounter was funny, physical, highly controversial and set up a mouth-watering third act. 3) OH, THE THEATRE
Both these guys are masters of the art of showmanship, but in very different, equally brilliant ways.
The Undertaker’s entrance is the most menacing in WWE history, his in-ring ‘catchphrases’ and look are iconic.
And loving being a part of it all is Lesnar. Not one to buy too much into a storyline, Lesnar’s simplicity is his biggest draw. Just cast your mind back to that infamous uttering of ‘Suplex City, b****’ as reference. 4) ANYONE CAN WIN
Wrestling fans are a much wiser breed these days.
Soap opera-like storylines are taken for what they are, wrestlers are breaking the fourth wall and the WWE Universe is lapping it up.
It means that WWE Creative has to really nail its booking as scrutiny is higher than ever before.
Luckily, either of these two can come out as winner and fans will find it believable.
For a wrestler who has put paid to the best in the business time and again and the man who makes the current roster his plaything as he takes them on a trip to Suplex City, this is key. 5) PAUL HEYMAN
This match doesn’t need much selling.
The history, the dislike, their respective status’ in the WWE are enough to make it compelling.
However, one man that elevates this feud to the next level is Paul Heyman.
The longer he gives us moments like the conclusion of SummerSlam and he draws on real life to heighten the tension, the longer this rivalry can run without any in-ring action.
For two pretty much part-time wrestlers, Heyman’s ability to sustain momentum without orchestrated violence is invaluable.