RIYADH — Mansoor is making a habit out of shocking the world.
WWE’s first Saudi Arabian-born Superstar added another chapter to his growing underdog story in front of his native country at WWE Crown Jewel, knocking off Cesaro in their first one-on-one encounter.
Mansoor had previously introduced himself to the WWE Universe in a big way the last time he competed in Saudi Arabia, outlasting 50 other Superstars to win the largest Battle Royal in WWE history at Super ShowDown this past June.
The plucky underdog stared down a different kind of challenge this time around, facing the veteran Cesaro, who entered the bout not lacking for motivation after being eliminated by Mansoor en route to his Super ShowDown victory.
The Swiss Cyborg’s nearly two decades of squared circle experience figured to perhaps be the bout’s biggest difference-maker, but the early goings featured the less-seasoned Mansoor overwhelming Cesaro with a fierce attack, as Mansoor’s home crowd roared in approval.
After seizing the advantage by turning Mansoor’s tope suicida attempt into a jaw-crushing European uppercut, Cesaro displayed his esteemed acumen. However, the match quickly turned into a back-and-forth classic.
Drawing energy and strength from his fellow countrymen, Mansoor showcased a variety of offense that included a diving senton over the top rope, tornado DDT, slingshot neckbreaker and a crisp superkick that nearly ended the match.
Mansoor’s counter of Cesaro’s bid for a second top-rope, gut-wrench slam into a powerbomb created an opportunity for the underdog. Mansoor seized the moment, connecting with a soaring moonsault and following with the pinfall to send King Fahd International Stadium into a frenzy.
Though it’s not clear what’s to follow in his rapidly rising career, an emotional Mansoor said afterward during an in-ring interview, “This may have been the most important victory in my life. But I cannot wait for what we do next.”