Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 14 July 2020

From Lana's abaya by an Emirati designer to The Undertaker's return: 5 takeaways from Super ShowDown in Saudi Arabia

Other top moments from the show include Mansoor's home-town welcome and the women's match's place on the card

Super ShowDown took place in Riyadh. Courtesy WWE
Super ShowDown took place in Riyadh. Courtesy WWE

WWE Super ShowDown has wrapped up. The event, held at the Mohammed Abdu Arena in Riyadh, had some title changes and come backs (hello, Undertaker), but also a momentous occasion for women’s wrestling in the region as Bayley and Naomi competed in the first women’s title match. While we were in town for two days for the show, here are our five takeaways from Super ShowDown:

Lana’s golden abaya created by an Emirati designer

The Ravishing Russian (as she’s known) sported a stunning gold abaya as she led Bobby Lashley out for his Tuwaiq Mountain Trophy Gauntlet Match. The beautifully crafted piece was created by Emirati designer Sara Al Madani, who also put together some other highly fashionable abayas including this sparkly one for Naomi seen below:

The Undertaker’s influence in the region

The Undertaker has been in the WWE since 1990 and even though he doesn’t wrestle as much these days, his appeal in Saudi Arabia is still at an all-time high. There were fans in attendance still wearing his merchandise. One fan, Samah Azhari, brought a special sign indicating how happy she would be if she saw him wrestle. She's been watching wrestling for 15 years, since the age of six:

Evelyn Lau / The National
Samah Azhari's sign for Super ShowDown. Evelyn Lau / The National

Luckily for the fans, they were able to catch a glimpse of The Phenom as he made his return during the Gauntlet match. WWE Superstar Mansoor also shared stories of how he remembers The Undertaker’s popularity in the region. “He was so popular, there were even rumours he converted to Islam,” he told The National.

The WWE is a family affair

While not too surprising, there were a number of children in attendance. For some, this was brought about because of a shared bond over the WWE. Syrian Mahmoud Kasim got his son Wissam into wrestling and so decided to attend the show together.

Mahmoud Kasim and his son Wissam. Evelyn Lau / The National
Mahmoud Kasim and his son Wissam. Evelyn Lau / The National

“If I see wrestling, he wants to watch with me,” says Kasim. While he’s a fan of The Undertaker, his son prefers Roman Reigns, who he likes “because he’s strong", says Wissam.

Another family attended Super ShowDown because their young children Laith, 8, whose favourite wrestler is Roman Reigns, and Naya, 4, were fans rather than themselves.

Laith, 8, and his little sister Naya, 4. Evelyn Lau / The National
Laith, 8, and his little sister Naya, 4. Evelyn Lau / The National

Nada Alkaf also attended with her young nephew Omar whose favourite wrestlers are Edge and Bayley. She admits that he was actually the reason why she got into wrestling to begin with after watching him watch shows.

The women’s match leading up to the main event

In a big moment for the region, the first women’s title match in Saudi Arabia between WWE Smackdown Champion Bayley versus Naomi happened right before the main event. It signals a big shift in the country’s focus on women’s wrestling by putting the match in such a coveted slot. With women and young girls also in attendance, it was a very bright spot in the night for them.

Mansoor’s deserving home-town welcome

While he gets the honour of being the first Saudi to wrestle for the WWE, Mansoor's love for wrestling precedes WWE’s ventures in the country. Mansoor trained under Dory Funk Jr and even studied acting at NYU – both combinations making for a great start in the wrestling industry. He received a warm welcome with fans even holding “Mansoor Section” signs up in the crowd.

Updated: February 29, 2020 04:31 PM

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