North America-based wrestling fans may be surprised to find that there is a WWE pay per view on during the middle of their work day on Friday, especially so soon after WrestleMania. Indeed, WWE is holding a monster six-hour show with a packed card called the Greatest Royal Rumble, live from Saudi Arabia.
But fans are no doubt confused about this new addition to the WWE schedule, so we’ll try to answer a few questions they might have.
What is the Greatest Royal Rumble?
WWE announced the show early last month, saying it would be produced in partnership with the Saudi General Sports Authority. The event will be held in the coastal city of Jeddah at the 62,000-seat King Abdullah International Stadium.
As the name of the show suggests, the card will feature a Royal Rumble match. The key difference between the annual January Royal Rumble and this event is that the Rumble match will feature 50 participants instead of the usual 30. That gives WWE plenty of opportunities to bring back stars from the past to surprise the crowd.
WWE is treating the show like a really big deal, not just another foreign house show. In addition to the Royal Rumble, the card also includes seven title matches and bouts featuring Triple H and the Undertaker.
Why is it in Saudi Arabia?
This is a little trickier. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is currently in the midst of a massive PR campaign called “Vision 2030” as the country aims to modernize itself. The Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman, visited the United Kingdom the same week the Greatest Royal Rumble was announced the Saudi government launched an advertising blitz before his arrival to tout the prince’s role as a “reformer” in anticipation of protests against the Saudi-backed war in Yemen.
The Greatest Royal Rumble is the first in a 10-year partnership between the Saudi government and WWE. Women’s rights are still restricted in Saudi Arabia so female wrestlers will not be allowed to compete but WWE executive Triple H said in an interview with Britain’s Independent newspaper that he hopes women will be allowed to compete at WWE events in Saudi Arabia in the near future.
What is the card?
• 50-man Greatest Royal Rumble
• Triple H vs. John Cena
• Undertaker vs. Rusev (Casket match)
• Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns (Universal championship)
• AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (WWE championship)
• Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor vs. The Miz vs. Samoa Joe (Intercontinental championship)
• Jeff Hardy vs. Jinder Mahal (United States championship)
• Woken Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt vs. Cesaro & Sheamus (Raw tag team championship)
• The Bludgeon Brothers vs. The Usos (SmackDown tag team championship)
• Cedric Alexander vs. 205 Live gauntlet match winner (Cruiserweight championship)