Two athletes from last year’s historic WWE tryout in Jeddah have begun training at the Performance Center.
Faisal Kurdi and Hussain Aldagal, both from Saudi Arabia, reported to WWE’s Orlando training facility several weeks ago after being selected from nearly 30 athletes who took part in the Jeddah tryout.
That was the same tryout attended by current NXT Superstar Mansoor, who won the 50-Man Battle Royal at WWE Super ShowDown.
Kurdi boasts a background in amateur grappling, Muay Thai boxing and mixed martial arts, and has placed in championship competitions in the Middle East. He stands 5-foot-8 and weighs 182 pounds.
The 6-foot-3, 211-pound Aldagal has previous athletic experience in volleyball and bodybuilding. Outside of his athletic endeavors, he is also a civil engineer.
The WWE rolled into Saudi Arabia again this weekend with another spectacular show.
With practically the whole of the men’s roster at the event it was always going to be jam-packed with action – and plenty to discuss.
Now the dust has settled on Super ShowDown in Jeddah, here are some of the main talking points post-event.
For those watching the event on TV it seems the crowd noise and enthusiasm, or perceived lack of it, often jumps out as a talking point and is used as a stick to beat the events in Saudi Arabia with.
Truth is, the crowd is hot. There is plenty of passion, and plenty of noise. The pops for Triple H and Randy Orton were excellent; Seth Rollins got plenty of support, as did Kofi Kingston.
Fans were wild for Goldberg and Undertaker (particularly the entrances), and of course their own hero Mansoor.
Naturally, there are quiet points, but that mirrors every WWE show you will ever see – anywhere. Cards are designed with peaks and troughs, that’s just the way it is.
Are you going to get the same reaction for Orton v Triple H as Lars and the Luchas – quite simply, no.
So while fans overseas may talking about it, truth is whether it be at live events or promo activities the fans in the Kingdom are wild.
It’s fun, everyone would like to see it more. End of.
MANSOOR’S BATTLE ROYAL WIN
When this happened part of me cringed inside. The NXT rookie defies all odds to usurp some huge names from RAW and Smackdown to win the biggest Battle Royal in WWE history, in front of his home fans.
It is pandering in the extreme. But, do you know what, does it matter?
In the grand scheme of WWE storylines this will have no real impact, and for the reaction of the crowd it was more than worth it.
Children literally crying with joy, the sight of one of their own living out their dreams.
That emotion, on any level, is pretty special.
Let’s hope for Mansoor this can now provide a springboard for him in NXT.
This is not something that can be solved quickly, we have to face facts, look at the progress and trust the process.
Let’s look at what’s happened so far.
First event in Jeddah – no female involvement.
Event two in Riyadh – Renee Young on commentary.
Event three in Jeddah – Renee Young on commentary, Natalya and Alexa Bliss taking part in community activities.
Of course, we all want to see female talent competing in the ring and that will come. In neighbouring UAE, it took some time before Alexa and Sasha Banks stepped into the ring, and it will be the same here.
The day will come.
THE USE OF LEGENDS
This is a tricky one.
It’s clear that some of the talent requests are not coming directly from WWE themselves and that that Saudi authorities are requesting certain superstars.
So far in the three shows, we have seen Triple H and Undertaker perform on all three, Shawn Michaels and Kane saw in-ring action last November, and this weekend saw the return of Goldberg. Oh and we’ve had a non-wrestling spot for Hulk Hogan in there too.
Sadly, among those names, only Triple H still has the ability to hold-up a match of any kind of length and impact – as he proved again at the weekend.
The Undertaker remains a loyal and treasured worker for WWE but needs some in-ring support to really make things work. He didn’t get that from Goldberg – who in fairness to him was likely suffering concussion after a serious whack on the turnbuckle.
The point of all this being, fans don’t want to see two legends limping through sloppy matches, and while some may need to appear on the card, it needs to be alongside talent who can nurse them through a match. We don’t need to see anyone getting hurt.
Natalya and Alexa Bliss were among a group of WWE Superstars to visit the King Faisal Hospital in Jeddah.
It is the first time in-ring female talent has visited Saudi Arabia since with WWE started shows in the Kingdom last year.
Renee Young commentated in Riyadh in November, but the arrival of Natalya and Bliss can be seen as something of a landmark moment for the company – despite the fact there was no in-ring competition between the two.
The pair were joined by Roman Reigns, Ricochet, Robert Roode, Mojo Rawley and Apollo Crews on the visit where they met patients and staff at the hospital.
As with similar events leading up to Super ShowDown, the superstars were mobbed by enthusiastic and passionate fans.