The time has nearly arrived for WWE to venture back over to the Middle East and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the company presents the latest installment of the Crown Jewel event on Thursday in Riyadh. This is probably the most star-studded Saudi Arabia card to date since the 10-year partnership began last year. The reigning lineal heavyweight boxing champion of the world is set to enter a WWE ring while a former UFC heavyweight champion makes his WWE in-ring debut against a very familiar foe. In addition, we will also get a rematch for the universal championship on the heels of the controversial ending to the Hell in a Cell PPV.
Due to SmackDown being moved to Fridays, this event will take place on a Thursday afternoon with the show beginning at 1 p.m. ET and likely lasting three hours or so, with a kickoff show getting things started at noon ET. Let's take a look at what we know -- and what we expect -- for WWE's return to the Middle East.
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2019 WWE Crown Jewel matches
Universal Championship -- Seth Rollins (c) vs. "The Fiend' Bray Wyatt (Falls Count Anywhere): Despite the fact that Wyatt was moved over to SmackDown, WWE is presenting this cross-branded match on the show. Fans were none too pleased with the finish of their Hell in a Cell bout, so it will be interesting to see what WWE does for a result here considering it would not make any sense to put the title on Wyatt at this juncture.
WWE Championship -- Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Cain Velasquez: After Lesnar took only seconds to win the WWE championship from Kofi Kingston in the main event of SmackDown's debut on Fox, he was physically dominated by Velasquez. Velasquez is the man who took the UFC heavyweight championship from Lesnar in October 2010. After a brief stint in AAA, rumors emerged Velasquez would sign with WWE or AEW. Following his surprise debut on SmackDown, WWE held a press conference announcing Velasquez would battle Lesnar for the title and that he's also signed a multi-year deal with the company.
Braun Strowman vs. Tyson Fury: Lineal heavyweight boxing champ Fury also found himself in the mix at SmackDown's Fox debut, first engaging in a staredown with Strowman, and then jumping the barricade before being held back by security. On Raw, the two men again got into it, leading to a lengthy pull-apart brawl that saw security and the locker room barely able to contain the big men. Confirmed at the same press conference as Lesnar vs. Velasquez, it seems this match taking place in Saudi Arabia will be used as an effort to promote Fury's upcoming rematch with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.
Team Hogan: Roman Reigns, Ricochet, Rusev, Ali & Shorty G vs. Team Flair: Randy Orton, King Corbin, Shinsuke Nakamura, Bobby Lashley & Drew McIntyre: One month ahead of Survivor Series, fans will be treated to a five-on-five elimination match as Hall of Famers Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair corner teams after a verbal altercation when the pair appeared on "Miz TV." Over the course of the past few weeks on television, the teams have now been completely filled out with Roman Reigns and Randy Orton serving as respective team captains.
Lacey Evans vs. Natalya: Evans and Natalya bring their rivalry to the Middle East for the first-ever WWE women's match in Saudi Arabia. The two had feuded for a few months, including a Last Woman Standing match, before they were sent to different brands in the recent WWE draft.
20-man battle royal for United States championship shot -- Participants in the battle royal have not yet been announced. Though, if the men who enter the ring for this match are not pulling double duty from earlier matches, there will be well over 50 wrestlers appearing on the card. The winner will earn a shot at U.S. champion AJ Styles later in the show.
United States Championship -- AJ Styles (c) vs. TBD: See above.
Tag Team Turmoil: WWE announced the "largest Tag Team Turmoil match in history" for Crown Jewel. The World Cup and the title of "best tag team in the world" will be on the line in the match featuring The New Day, The Viking Raiders, Heavy Machinery, Lucha House Party, Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins, The Revival, The O.C., Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode and The B-Team.
Mansoor vs. Cesaro: WWE announced this match on Twitter, and it is largely a match for the local crowd as it'll have a hero to cheer on. Cesaro is a great hand who will likely make Mansoor look like a million bucks in front of a crowd who will be dying to see him get the win.
2019 WWE Crown Jewel predictions
The Undertaker? We know very little about what will go down at Crown Jewel, but it seems likely Undertaker could be involved in some fashion. He has, after all, been central to the big-money Saudi Arabia shows to this point.