7 Best And 7 Worst WWE Matches In Saudi Arabia

The WWE began holding live events in Saudi Arabia in 2014 and, after announcing a partnership with the Saudi Arabian government, has held yearly televised events in the country since 2018. There have been eight live-streamed WWE events in Saudi Arabia so far.


The WWE's decision to work with the Saudi Arabian government has come under a fair share of scrutiny. The country's human rights issues, the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and some sketchy travel issues have caused fans and media members to speak out about the event. Some wrestlers like Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens notably still refuse to perform in the country. There has also been a problem of quality of shows in Saudi Arabia — the first few years' worth of events were largely panned as glorified house shows, with some of the matches being boring or nonsensical in terms of booking.

Fortunately, the last handful of WWE shows in Saudi Arabia have provided some entertaining matches, including women's matches — which were finally allowed to occur by the Saudi government, albeit with some clothing restrictions. This list looks at some of the best and worst matches that the eight WWE shows and counting in Saudi Arabia have had to offer so far.


Best: Seth Rollins vs. Finn Bálor vs. The Miz vs. Samoa Joe, Greatest Royal Rumble 2018

Nothing beats a multi-man ladder match, and the Intercontinental Championship has proved to be the perfect title to defend in that type of match.

The WWE's first televised live event in Saudi Arabia was the Greatest Royal Rumble in 2018. It wasn't a great show by any means, with just a handful of decent matches and an overly-long Royal Rumble match that wasn't really a true-to-canon Royal Rumble. There was one standout of the bunch, though: a four-way ladder match between Seth Rollins, Finn Bálor, The Miz, and Samoa Joe. There wasn't a ton of buildup to this match — Rollins had defeated then-champion Miz and Bálor in a triple threat match at WrestleMania 34 prior to the Saudi Arabia event, so this was more or less a rematch that included Joe as well.


The match wasn't a crazy spotfest like many ladder matches can be, it was just good wrestling between four legends who all could have believably gone home with the belt. The ending was memorable, as Rollins bounced from the top rope to the ladder and yanked the title away from Bálor's reach.

Worst: D-Generation X vs. Brothers of Destruction, Crown Jewel 2018

It took eight years for Shawn Michaels to finally come out of retirement, but it's a shame that it was in this match that he chose to do it.

At WrestleMania XXVI in 2010, Undertaker defeated Shawn Michaels in a streak vs. career match, meaning Michaels had to retire after his defeat. Over the years many fans wanted Michaels to return for one more match, but he stuck to his word that he was officially retired. That was until he was convinced to return for what ended up as one of the worst matches of his career. Michaels teamed up with Triple H to reform D-Generation X and take on Undertaker and Kane, otherwise known as the Brothers of Destruction, at Crown Jewel in 2018.


The reason why this match was bad didn't really have much to do with Michaels, however, as he actually showed he had some in-ring juice left. It was more Undertaker and Kane moving at a slow rate of speed and Triple H tearing his pectoral muscle during the match. Overall, the match was a slog and a nostalgia grab that didn't show much other than that those four wrestlers shouldn't have been in the main event spotlight over younger talent.

Best: Mansoor vs. Cesaro, Crown Jewel 2019

The WWE strangely decided to push Mansoor only in front of the Saudi Arabia crowd while failing to do much of anything with him anywhere else, and it's a shame because he has plenty of talent and charisma.


Mansoor's talent was on display in front of his home crowd in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia at the 2019 Crown Jewel event. Mansoor took on Cesaro, one of the best pure in-ring workers today and probably the perfect wrestler to pair Mansoor with in order to make sure he looked good in front of his home crowd. Both Mansoor and Cesaro got in some good-looking offense in this quick, 12-minute banger, including a wicked tope-suicida-turned-uppercut by Cesaro and a bunch of near falls by Mansoor that drew big "ohs" from the fans. Mansoor ended up hitting Cesaro with a surprising powerbomb from the top rope and then finished with a moonsault, capturing the victory and earning a huge pop from his home crowd.


Worst: Shane McMahon vs. Roman Reigns, Super ShowDown 2019

The WWE's Super ShowDown event in 2019 is probably the worst event the company has held in Saudi Arabia. Most of the matches were boring, bad, or a mix of both, and one of them was Roman Reigns vs. Shane McMahon.


The WWE continued their effort of getting babyface Roman Reigns over in 2019 by sticking him in a feud with Shane after Reigns had hit Vince McMahon with a "Superman punch." Wrestling fans were sort of sick of Shane by this time and some thought it was silly that the WWE tried to book him as a credible threat to Reigns. Nonetheless, the WWE went through with the match and it was a boring nine-minute contest that didn't feature many exciting moments.

The match ended with Drew McIntyre hitting Reigns with the claymore kick while the referee's back was turned, allowing Shane to inexplicably get the win over Reigns. The only thing the match really did was put McIntyre over as a credible threat, but not much else.


Best: Edge vs. Seth Rollins, Crown Jewel 2021

The Hell in a Cell match between Edge and Seth Rollins is probably still the best WWE match to happen in Saudi Arabia to this day.

The match kicked off Crown Jewel 2021 which was a great idea to capitalize on an excited crowd. It was the blowoff to a long feud between Edge and Rollins which saw both of them capture wins over each other. The two had decided to finish their rivalry in a cell after Rollins invaded Edge's home. The match itself was brutal with plenty of awesome spots, including one where Edge pushed Rollins off the turnbuckle, causing Rollins to fly into the side of the cell and into a table.


The finish was brutal, too. After putting Rollins in a crossface with the help of a wrench, Edge finished the match by curb-stomping Rollins onto a steel chair. It was a poetic ending to a great feud between two of the best in the business.

Worst: Undertaker vs. Goldberg, Super Showdown 2019

The Undertaker and Goldberg capped off one of the worst WWE premium live events of all time — Super ShowDown 2019 — with one of the worst main events of all time.

By the time this dream match happened, both men were in their 50s and not wrestling regularly. The extreme heat from the outdoor event didn't help either. This all led to a culmination of botched moves by both wrestlers, including Goldberg almost dropping Undertaker on his head when attempting a jackhammer. The match ended with Undertaker falling off of Goldberg's shoulders, getting back up and hitting Goldberg with a chokeslam that barely got any air.


The match was criticized heavily by fans, media and other wrestlers. After the match, WWE superstar Matt Riddle called Goldberg "the worst wrestler in the business" on Twitter (h/t Fightful). Even Undertaker and Goldberg expressed disdain for the way the match occurred. The match made Undertaker question whether it was time for him to retire, while Goldberg called it a "perfect storm of crappiness" on the "Reality of Wrestling" podcast. Needless to say, it was one of those matches that people would like to forget.

Best: Becky Lynch vs. Bianca Belair vs. Sasha Banks, Crown Jewel 2021

In 2019, women were finally approved to compete in WWE events in Saudi Arabia. Two years later, three women put on a banger of a triple threat.

At SummerSlam 2021, two months prior to Crown Jewel, Becky Lynch had defeated Bianca Belair for the "SmackDown" Women's Championship in a matter of seconds. Sasha Banks eventually finagled her way into the feud, leading to a triple threat match for the title in Saudi Arabia. The three put on a great match with so many awesome spots — Belair kept Lynch in the air mid-suplex, stomped on Banks and then finished the suplex; Lynch put Belair in an armbar while Banks held Belair in a crossface at the same time; Lynch later put the disarm-her on both Belair and Banks at the same time.


The match ended with Lynch getting a cheap rollup on Banks and grabbing the ropes to assist her pin for the win in classic heel fashion. Overall, this was a memorable triple threat between three of the best women to step into a wrestling ring.

Worst: Tyson Fury vs. Braun Strowman, Crown Jewel 2019

The WWE is obsessed with bringing in high-profile celebrities and athletes to compete in the ring, so the company jumped at the chance to bring in heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury for a match in Saudi Arabia.


The WWE's opponent of choice for Fury was Braun Strowman, who had begun feuding with Fury after taunting him in the crowd. Pairing boxing's best heavyweight with the WWE's biggest heavyweight was a good choice on paper, but the match didn't live up to the hype. WWE may have been better off pairing Fury with a better in-ring worker. Not that Fury was bad — he was actually solid in his debut — but the match was slow-paced and fans didn't really care about it or the outcome.

The finish was ridiculous, too: Fury hit Strowman with a knockout punch which caused Strowman to fall off the apron and out of the ring, and Strowman lost via countout. The ending didn't really do much except make Strowman look dumb and like less of a monster.


Best: Becky Lynch vs. Lita, Elimination Chamber 2022

The WWE held its first previously-established event in Saudi Arabia in 2022 with Elimination Chamber. The best match to come from that event was Becky Lynch defending her "Raw" Women's Championship against returning WWE Hall of Famer Lita, which was a dream match for wrestling fans.


It was Lita's first singles match (not counting a one-off against Heath Slater in 2012) since 2006. Lita quickly proved that she still "had it" when she went toe-to-toe, move-for-move against Lynch, hitting some of her most iconic moves. There was a point near the end of the match when it looked like Lita would actually capture the championship after she hit Lynch with a "twist of fate" and a moonsault. However, Lynch narrowly kicked out and shortly after hit Lita with a man handle slam, escaping with a win.

This was an epic match and moment of nostalgia for fans, especially for those who grew up watching Lita. It was also a great "passing the torch" moment for Lynch.

Worst: Brock Lesnar vs. Cain Velasquez, Crown Jewel 2019

Yup, Crown Jewel 2019 had two matches featuring heavyweight combat sports athletes facing WWE's best heavyweight wrestlers. And this one actually managed to be worse than Fury vs. Strowman. Much worse, actually.


This match between Brock Lesnar and mixed martial artist Cain Velasquez didn't even last two minutes and didn't actually involve any wrestling. Instead, the two put on a worked-shoot MMA-style fight that ended with Lesnar tapping out Velasquez with a kimura lock. This match was also inexplicably for the WWE Championship as well, which was silly because everyone knew the WWE was not going to put a wrestling belt on an unseasoned Velasquez.

So instead of this being a good match with a real buildup and intriguing aftermath, this ended up just being a one-off that seemed like it was more about giving Lesnar closure for losing the UFC Heavyweight Championship to Velasquez back in 2010.

Best: Bianca Belair vs. Bayley, Crown Jewel 2022

Bianca Belair and Bayley put on one of the most chaotic matches in Saudi Arabia at Crown Jewel 2022.

Belair defended her "Raw" Women's Championship against Bayley in a Last Woman Standing match, a continuation of their feud that included a ladder match for the title at Extreme Rules. Both competitors brewed up some super creative spots in this bout. Bayley tried to trap Belair under steel steps to keep her from reaching her feet before the count, and later tried to run over Belair with a golf cart. Bayley's use of the golf cart ended up backfiring though when Belair drove it down the entrance ramp with Bayley on top of the cart and then pulled Bayley off the cart and onto a table.


The finish to this epic women's title match was creative as well. Belair won by trapping Bayley inside of a ladder and then sliding the ladder under the turnbuckle, keeping Bayley from reaching her feet before the 10 count. This was an excellent match that added another layer to an already-entertaining feud between two current greats.

Worst: Brock Lesnar vs. Ricochet, Super ShowDown 2020

Super ShowDown 2020 had two title matches that were downright terrible, and one of them was Brock Lesnar defending his WWE Championship against Ricochet.

Ricochet earned a championship match a few weeks prior by beating Bobby Lashley and Seth Rollins in a triple threat match. Nobody really expected Ricochet to beat Lesnar for the title, but the match could have at least established Ricochet as a credible threat. Instead, the point of this match was apparently to show how much of a beast Lesnar was, despite the fact that everyone already knew that.


Ricochet got zero offense in, and Lesnar hit him with four suplexes and an F-5 for the win. The match lasted less than two minutes and did nothing to help Ricochet — in fact, it hurt him and made him look like a jobber. It made fans ask the question: Why put Ricochet in the match in the first place?

Best: Roman Reigns vs. Logan Paul, Crown Jewel 2022

The main event of Crown Jewel 2022 had absolutely no right to be as good as it was. It was an example of a celebrity appearance gone right.

Roman Reigns defended his Undisputed WWE Universal Championship against Logan Paul in what was only Paul's third wrestling match. The buildup to the match pushed the idea that Paul only needed "one lucky punch" to win. The two really sold that idea with Paul delivering punches to Reigns with his hand that has steel screws inside of it. Paul also delivered one of the coolest spots in recent memory when he grabbed a phone and recorded himself hitting Reigns with a splash from the top rope onto the announcer's table.


The ending of the match was a bit overbooked with the Bloodline fending off Paul's brother Jake and their goons, but that can be overlooked with the match being so darn entertaining. Reigns ended up winning by hitting Paul with a spear, but Paul was pretty much solidified as a star who can clearly go toe-to-toe with anyone in a wrestling ring.

Worst: Goldberg vs. The Fiend, Super ShowDown 2020

At Super ShowDown 2020, the WWE decided to follow up a men's title match that lasted two minutes with another men's title match that lasted three minutes. A bold decision, surely, that did not pay off.


"The Fiend" Bray Wyatt defended his WWE Universal Championship against Bill Goldberg in the main event. Wyatt was unstoppable as his Fiend character leading up to this match, but apparently all it took to defeat him was a few spears and a jackhammer from a 50-year-old part-timer. Goldberg won the title and killed the Fiend's momentum as an unstoppable force. The whole point of having Goldberg win was to have him defend his title against Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 36, but that didn't end up happening due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, Goldberg ended up dropping the title to Braun Strowman, which was the only good thing to come out of this match.