Logan Paul will challenge Roman Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship at Crown Jewel on 5th November. The card will emanate from Mrsool Park in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The bout will only be Paul’s third in WWE and the first time he has headlined a Premium Live Event.
The Saudi shows, controversial as they are, have often existed in a bubble from main WWE storylines. Consequential happenings have occurred on the events, such as Goldberg defeating The Fiend for the Universal Championship in 2020, but this is rare. In terms of mainstream attention at least, Paul vs Reigns is the biggest match ever hosted in the Gulf state.
The genesis of the storyline came about on the YouTuber’s ‘Impaulsive’ podcast, where Roman and his manager Paul Heyman were guests. An indignant Reigns stormed out of the show after taking exception to some comments from the host. Heyman stayed behind, where he fielded a challenge from Paul to his client.
The matter was taken onto WWE television on last Friday’s SmackDown, with Logan making his challenge in person. Reigns was not on hand to accept, but he did turn up to a press conference in Las Vegas on Saturday to formally announce the bout.
Paul has impressed during his two WWE encounters so far. The controversial influencer showed presence and physicality beyond expectations in teaming with The Miz to defeat Rey and Dominik Mysterio at WrestleMania. His second match was even better, this time opposite The Miz at SummerSlam in a very good match for a non-wrestler.
The handling of this match will be fascinating. Reigns has been built as the undisputed number one competitor in WWE, with everyone else presented as not being on his level. The fact that Reigns was allowed to beat Drew McIntyre at Clash At The Castle, despite the chance to appease 62,000 fans in a hot market with a home win, speaks volumes. If Reigns is supposed to look like an insurmountable badass in all that he does, Paul surely can’t be allowed to last more than five minutes with him.
At the same time, Logan Paul is the biggest mainstream name currently associated with WWE. An international celebrity far beyond any of the active roster, you have to look to WWE-adjacent talent like John Cena and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson to find star power that rivals that of Paul.
With Reigns vs Brock Lesnar having been done to death, Randy Orton on the shelf, Edge busy feuding with Judgment Day and Seth Rollins currently tied up with Matt Riddle, there are not many headline-level names left. Drew McIntyre would have been an option in a rematch, but it seems like they’re steering him into a series with Karrion Kross. Paul has the star power the Saudi Royal Family, who amazingly have input into these shows, is accustomed to on their WWE cards.
With Paul being seen as a long-term drawing card for the company, rather than just a one-off celebrity cameo like Bad Bunny, Floyd Mayweather and Machine Gun Kelly have been over the years, there is a temptation to protect him somewhat. While WWE cannot afford to make him out to be Reigns’ equal, you can expect the champion’s Bloodline faction to get involved to help him secure a win, protecting Paul’s standing somewhat in the process.
This is arguably the most prominently a celebrity has been used on a major WWE supercard since Mr T headlined the first WrestleMania. It is the first time a celebrity has been given a world championship match since actor David Arquette’s ill-fated reign as WCW Heavyweight Champion in 2000. While this could be a short-term ploy to get them through one of their disruptive Saudi shows, which often derail long-term plans, it is still a big box office pairing. It will be interesting to see how much of Paul’s fanbase are willing to tune in to watch him headline a WWE event. If enough do switch on then expect this to be the first of many such main events for the online star.