WWE held a press conference today in Las Vegas to officially announce a pair of matches for its big upcoming Crown Jewel show on Oct. 31 in Saudi Arabia.
One of them pits Brock Lesnar, current WWE champion and longtime star in pro wrestling, plus former UFC heavyweight champion, against Cain Velasquez, who has some minimal pro wrestling experience and is also a former UFC heavyweight champion, and beat Lesnar badly in the Octagon back in 2010.
That’s a big get, the obvious headliner for the show, but there’s another novelty match coming, too: WWE star Braun Strowman will face LINEAL!!!! boxing heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in what will be Fury’s in-ring pro wrestling debut. (Probably. I suppose it’s possible, maybe even likely, they have him do some sort of exhibition on TV before Oct. 31.)
Here’s a bit from the presser:
Fury and Strowman have had a couple of interactions recently on WWE, one on last Friday’s SmackDown’s FOX premiere and another on the following Monday’s Raw on USA. Both were hokey pro wrestling stuff, as all pro wrestling stuff generally is, especially of this sort. We wondered if it would lead to a match, and there were two possibilities: WrestleMania next year, which is far too close to Fury’s proposed rematch with Deontay Wilder, or this show in Saudi Arabia, which are, like, semi-canon events that WWE gets paid a lot of money by the Saudi government to stage in their country.
I fully understand most of you serious geniuses are too scholarly for the daftness of professional wrestling, but if you’re not, read on and I’ll take a run at a prediction for how this will go down.
Strowman’s Big Show Jr act basically sets him up perfectly for this sort of event. Fury’s not going to have to take a bump or anything, probably — maybe one or two, but likely nothing serious, and Strowman is a pro who will be able to take care of him if they do go there. My guess is they’ll “throw hands” for a couple minutes and Fury will win. Won’t hurt Strowman in WWE — his credibility as possible top guy is already long in the toilet, he’ll have lost a slugfest to a legitimate top-level pro boxer, and most importantly, it’s almost certain to be forgotten for WWE TV purposes literally as soon as it’s over, similar to past WWE matches like this (Big Show vs Floyd Mayweather, Big Show vs Akebono in a sumo match, etc.)
It’s all a chance, as mentioned before, for Tyson Fury to build some actual name value as a star in the United States, which his fights on ESPN+ against Tom Schwarz and Otto Wallin just have not done. They’ve struggled to sell tickets or create any buzz for him over here, and he’s got a big contract with Top Rank and ESPN based on the idea that his charisma was going to translate and he’d become some big mainstream sports star. It hasn’t yet, and a lot of that is down to the fact that neither of his 2019 fights were compelling on paper.
There’s no time to get him a big fight between now and the proposed Wilder rematch in Feb. 2020, so this shot in the dark will have to do. It can’t hurt, really, unless he actually literally gets hurt, and again, Strowman’s a pro, these type things have been done many times in pro wrestling, they’ll lay it out so that risk is minimal.
The event will stream live on WWE Network, and if you get morbidly or just regular-style curious, they do offer a free month for new subscribers.