WWE has a big show Saturday afternoon happening in Saudi Arabia, featuring a unique main event and two matches with big meaty men slapping meat. Oh, and that high alert security warning that the Saudis sent to the U.S.? Don't worry about it.
PWInsider reports that WWE has been monitoring the situation since before the news went public, and the threat is in a completely different part of the country. The report says WWE will have "security protocols and emergency contingencies in place for any issues." Both Paul "Triple H" Levesque and Stephanie McMahon are scheduled to be at the event, running it.
Here's a preview of the card and my predictions.
Undisputed WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Logan Paul
This is absolutely going to be a spectacle. And Roman Reigns will do everything to make Paul look good enough where you might believe for a second he might actually win. But, we all know the finish here. Reigns is retaining Logan's brother, Jake Paul, is rumored to be appearing in Logan's corner for this one. Reigns will have the Bloodline in his corner. One person who will likely not be in Reigns' corner is the honorary Uce, Sami Zayn. Zayn has not appeared on any Saudi shows. He is of Syrian descent, and Saudi Arabia has been embroiled in war with Syria for decades.
Last Woman Standing Match for the Raw Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair (c) vs. Bayley
The women will have an uphill battle ahead of themselves to get the crowd engaged on this one, but these are two great athletes and I'm sure they'll have a fun match. I see Bianca retaining.
Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship: The Usos vs. Ridge Holland & Butch
Usos have always been delivering and this will likely be one of the best matches on the show. But there is no way Usos aren't leaving without the belts.
Brock Lesnar vs. Bobby Lashley
Big meaty men slapping meat! I am honestly looking forward to this match more than any other on the show. I feel like Lesnar is winning here, but I hope this match crushes it.
Steel Cage match: Drew McIntyre vs. Karrion Kross
Another test for Kross. So far, his main roster return hasn't been that exciting for me. If Drew can't get a good match out of him here, I don't know what more Kross can do on the main roster. I feel like Drew is winning this one, since Kross won last month.
Braun Strowman vs. Omos
I just hope this match is short, but it has the potential to be another spectacle. I predict Braun wins.
The OC (AJ Styles, Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows) vs. The Judgement Day (Finn Balor, Damian Priest & Dominik Mysterio)
Karl Anderson ditched a New Japan booking for this match. I'm sure it will have some moments. Ultimately, I expect one of the O.C. members who isn't AJ to take the fall here, likely to Dominik.
WWE Women's Tag Team Champions Alexa Bliss & Asuka vs. Dakota Kai & IYO SKY
These two teams had a great match on Raw and I'm sure this match will be just as good, if not better. I love seeing Asuka in the ring with Iyo. I expect that Alexa and Asuka retain.
Bray Wyatt to appear
Who the hell knows where this is going? But it seems like Wyatt is setting up a feud with… himself?
AEW had a very eventful edition of Dynamite this week, and I wanted to recap some of it. In one of the most confusing decisions, Jeff Jarrett debuted as an onscreen character, affiliated with Jay Lethal's group, to start a feud with Sting and Darby Allin (likely leading to a tag match at the next PPV). Jeff Jarrett, at 55, as an onscreen character in 2022 in AEW is not something I could've predicted. Jarrett will also be working behind the scenes in AEW as director of business development, to help expand AEW's live event offerings in 2023.
Another thing I would never be predicting is that Shibata would show up on Dynamite to challenge Orange Cassidy to a match. Shibata had a life-changing head injury in 2017 that almost cost him his life, after headbutting Okada but he's doing his first official wrestling match on Rampage?! Okay, let's go!
We're also getting teases that the Elite are coming back to face Death Triangle at the PPV, which should be an incredible match.
The MVP cameo was definitely Rick Ross, the boss, who is affiliated with Swerve Strickland.
Perhaps, most surprising was the return of Colt Cabana. It felt very much like a pointed move, especially with Excalibar calling Colt "Marsha Cabana's baby boy" making reference to Punk's criticism of Colt sharing a bank account with his mother. According to Dave Meltzer, this was all Tony Khan's idea to give the locker room a morale boost after what happened.
Ultimately, it was a confusing episode of the show. AEW has been relying a bit too much on outside interference to end matches. I miss the days of old, where matches had clean finishes and storylines progressed week to week. AEW's strength is having the best wrestling in North America and they should focus on that.
What's on TV this weekend?
Officially announced for Smackdown tonight at 8pm on Fox:
- WWE Intercontinental Championship: Gunther (c) vs. Rey Mysterio
- No DQ match: Liv Morgan vs. Sonya Deville
Since WWE is in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, they pre-taped Smackdown last week. You can read spoilers here.
AEW Rampage is live tonight at 10pm with a crazy main event for longtime New Japan fans.
- AEW All-Atlantic Championship: Orange Cassidy (c) vs. Katsuyori Shibata
- Britt Baker & Jamie Hayter vs. Madison Rayne & Skye Blue
- Ricky Starks promo
- Mike Tyson on commentary
If you want to get into New Japan, this weekend is a great time to start on NJPWworld. Here’s the card for their big show this weekend:
- IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship: Will Ospreay (c) vs. Tetsuya Naito
- IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler) (c) vs. United Empire (Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb)
- Kazuchika Okada & Tama Tonga vs. Jay White & KENTA
- Parejas Increibles: Master Wato, Taiji Ishimori, El Desperado & Hiromu Takahashi (pairings TBA)
- IWGP World Television Championship tournament semifinals: Zack Sabre Jr. vs. EVIL
- IWGP World Television Championship tournament semifinals: SANADA vs. Ren Narita
- Hikuleo vs. Yujiro Takahashi
- Hiroshi Tanahashi, Toru Yano, David Finlay & Alex Zayne vs. United Empire (Aaron Henare, Gideon Gray, Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher)
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: TJP & Francesco Akira (c) vs. BUSHI & Titan
News and Gossip from the Internet
According to the Wrestling Observer, Ricky Starks hasn't been on TV in recent weeks due to something "not wrestling related."
R-Truth looks to have injured his quad during last week's edition of WWE NXT. He will likely be out for months.
WWE has confirmed their WrestleMania week of events in LA.
Matt Hardy defended the Bucks and Omega on a recent episode of his podcast, Extreme Life of Matt Hardy. "I will say this right here and right now, those guys didn't do anything wrong in the situation. If anything, they were the victims. I'm telling you that from a first person perspective. I was there. I witnessed it all. I love all three of those guys. I've known Matt and Nick forever. I've just gotten to know Kenny while I've worked with AEW, but I am very happy they are returning to TV and they're back and they're back in the mix. They deserve to be in the mix.”
Young Rock returns tonight on NBC and Dwayne Johnson shared photos from the premiere, which features Becky Lynch appearing as Cyndi Lauper.
Bryan Danielson revealed to Inside the Ropes that he almost signed with ROH in 2018 “My contract with WWE was up in 2018, and I was considering going to Ring of Honor. I was talking to The Young Bucks and I was talking to Cody
He continued, “So that was part of the discussion. When you are looking at it in 2014, you don’t envision The Young Bucks starting a YouTube channel and it is going to become super hot and a catalyst for change in pro wrestling. You also don’t envision that even if there is someone with money who backs them and whatever it is, is it going to be someone who is really willing to be fully invested in it the way that Tony Khan is? So you could never have imagined it. But I think that given that, it’s really cool.”
Baltimore Ravens quarterback LaMar Jackson was in attendance at Dynamite and even got called out by Chris Jericho. Jackson commented on being at the event saying "I got called out! I wasn't thinking he was going to call me out, you know, Chris Jericho called me out. I didn't really hear what he said at first and then they told me and I started laughing, I'm like this man is crazy. I enjoyed it though because growing up I was a huge fan of wrestling."
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Do you enjoy pro wrestling? Knotfest Wrestling has a bi-weekly column filled with wrestling news. Read previous editions of this column here. You can always follow me @robinjection on Instagram and Twitter and @Squaredcirclpit.