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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 15 November 2018

WWE Crown Jewel: Braun Strowman to win Universal title in Saudi Arabia as Shawn Michaels has triumphant return

AJ Styles and Kurt Angle to be among the other big winners at the show in Riyadh

Braun Strowman is predicted to win the Universal Championship at WWE Crown Jewel on Friday in Saudi Arabia. Image courtesy of WWE
Braun Strowman is predicted to win the Universal Championship at WWE Crown Jewel on Friday in Saudi Arabia. Image courtesy of WWE

The WWE holds its second show of 2018 in Saudi Arabia on Friday as WWE Crown Jewel at the King Saud University Stadium in Riyadh.

One new champion is set to be crowned with the vacant Universal title up for grabs, while the inaugural WWE World Cup is also being staged.

Here are some predictions for the night's actions, with the event live on the WWE Network, with proceedings starting from 8pm UAE time.

Strowman to beat Lesnar to win vacant Universal Championship

Riyadh will see history made on Friday with a WWE world champion set to be crowned in Saudi Arabia for the first time.

The context is a sad one though, because Roman Reigns, who had been set for a long run with the belt, has had to vacate the title to take time away from the business to fight leukaemia.

The easy option for WWE is to go with tried and tested and put it back on Lesnar and have him just show up at the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania.

But having a stay away champion really hurt Raw when Lesnar had his 17-month reign ended in August and they must not repeat it, especially with the Beast Incarnate’s UFC interests to contend with too.

Strowman must win this. He was white hot earlier in the year and it was a surprise the WWE did not pull the trigger on him as the face of the company, or at least give him the chance.

The heel turn for the Money in the Bank cash in on Reigns has hurt him a little, but he has turned again following the sad developments for Reigns, and fans immediately accepted him back.

Strowman has charisma, is a big man who can have good matches, and has proven he can work well with the majority of the roster.

He has a ready-made feud with Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler ahead of him, and WWE should give him the ball and see if he can run with it.

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Read more

WWE in Saudi Arabia: New Universal champion to be crowned at Crown Jewel as Shawn Michaels returns

Strowman claims 50-man Royal Rumble and the Undertaker wins casket match: WWE in Saudi Arabia results

WWE set to increase presence in the Middle East with 10-year deal for shows in Saudi Arabia

WATCH: WWE Superstars Alexa Bliss and Kane visit The National

WWE's Sasha Banks on making history in Abu Dhabi and putting the spotlight on the women's division

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AJ Styles to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Samoa Joe

This match-up was put together on SmackDown on Tuesday after Styles beat original No 1 contender Daniel Bryan.

Styles and Joe had a great feud in the summer and another match between the pair is no bad thing.

Styles will retain, though, to ensure that his epic reign at the top stretches to run for more than a year since he won the belt from Jinder Mahal.

Triple H and Shawn Michaels to beat The Undertaker and Kane in a tag match

This is a follow on from Super ShowDown, where the Brothers of Destruction attacked Triple H and Michaels post-match.

This is the first time since WrestleMania 26 in 2010 that Michaels has competed in a match and it will be fascinating to see what physical condition he is in.

It will be likely a match where Michaels spends most of the match on the sideline as Triple H plays the face in peril.

But he will get the decisive pin, almost certainly on Kane, to enjoy a victorious return to the ring, and lay the foundations for a possible one-on-one clash with the Undertaker, the man who retired him, at a later date.

Kurt Angle to win the WWE World Cup

Hard one to call as this is a wide open tournament, which will be made up of eight superstars competing in a knockout format which leads to a final where the World Cup winner will be decided.

The fact SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon has thrown in the red herring that if a SmackDown superstar loses in the final they will be fired from the brand.

This could be a curve ball, but with WWE lacking heels on Raw, there is definitely a possibility that Randy Orton could head to Raw to bolster things and be a possible opponent for Strowman in the coming months.

The winner is likely to come from Raw and given Dean Ambrose will likely cost Seth Rollins his chance of victory, this feels set up to be a popular nostalgia win for Kurt Angle.

Angle to beat Orton in the final, with Orton then moving to Raw to make Angle's life a misery.

Sheamus and Cesaro to retain the SmackDown Tag Titles against The New Day

Given Sheamus and Cesaro have just won the belts there is no way they are dropping them here.

This should be a fun match, with likely interference from Big Show along the way, as the champions win to continue their build towards a multi-man match-up at Survivor Series in November.