Last week, WWE went to Saudi Arabia once again for the second annual Crown Jewel. As stated in the preview a while back, this was the second time this year that the company traveled over there in the calendar year, with Super ShowDown taking place back in June. Much of these events have been surrounded in controversy but as a […]
Last week, WWE went to Saudi Arabia once again for the second annual Crown Jewel. As stated in the preview a while back, this was the second time this year that the company traveled over there in the calendar year, with Super ShowDown taking place back in June.
Much of these events have been surrounded in controversy but as a fan and my path to being a sports writer, I felt that it was necessary to write my thoughts on the matches alone.
A little late in the review but here are my thoughts and grades on Crown Jewel.
Humberto Carrillo last eliminated Erick Rowan in 20-man Battle Royal to earn a United States Championship match (pre-show)
A 20-man battle royal kicked off the pre-show, with the winner facing United States Champion AJ Styles later in the night for the title.
It was a typical battle royal, with the lesser name getting thrown out early while there was a few superstars that shined. Former tag champions Harper and Rowan came face-to-face, teasing a reunion and took out a lot of the competition.
Another highlight here was that after Cedric Alexander was eliminated, R- Truth rolled up Sunil Singh to win the 24/7 Championship, giving that title and division some love during the night, which was a nice touch.
Back in the ring, Harper and Rowan punished Humberto Carrillo but the constant clashing between the former Bludgeon Brothers allowed Carrillo to escape with the victory.
It was an okay battle royal with a predictable winner. Carrillo already had a title shot against Styles and someone like Harper for example would have been something different. However, WWE is high on Carrillo and has been impressive in recent weeks. The future is bright for the young superstar and more on his match later.
WWE Championship – Brock Lesnar (c) def. Cain Velasquez
Given, this was Velasquez first-ever WWE match but it looks that he may need to develop a little more before he transitions into a WWE ring. The match was also a little over two minutes and it was more of a setup match between Lesnar and Rey Mysterio.
The WWE Championship felt like an afterthought during this bout and as your top title in the company, I am not a fan of that. It’ll be interesting to see what direction WWE will go with for Velazquez but we will now get Lesnar vs. Mysterio for the WWE Championship at Survivor Series.
WWE Tag Team World Cup – The O.C. last eliminated The Viking Raiders
This was a fun match and a cool concept to showcase the tag team division in WWE. There was also good booking here, as the teams that needed to shine did here. Not only that, we got a surprise finish here.
Although it would have been nice for a tag champion to win here (The Viking Raiders or The Revival), we got a twist. The O.C.’s Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows have long been misused in WWE unlike their time in Japan and this is one of their biggest WWE accomplishments.
The heels are talented in the ring and on the mic and no doubt can only use this as momentum going forward. Will see what happens for them next. Also give credit to The New Day and Heavy Machinery, who were really impressive here in the match.
Mansoor def. Cesaro
Man, I have no clue why WWE doesn’t push Cesaro to the moon. This guy puts on great matches with ease and can work with literally anyone. The fact that he was able to put over a performer with little ring time and put on a solid match is amazing.
Mansoor did not fold under pressure here. To go up against a veteran and put on a showing was impressive. I believe Mansoor has a bright future and hopefully, WWE can capitalize that. And hopefully, Cesaro can get a World Title run.
Tyson Fury def. Braun Strowman by count-out
Nothing against Strowman, I am a huge fan but please WWE, book him and give him a legit title run. Too many times we have seen the same story where Strowman is built as this monster yet never gets to the top.
The match itself was nothing special. It was clear Fury was going to win here and at times looked to struggle in the WWE ring but credit to him as it was his first time. Fury looks to focus on his next fight with Deonte Wilder but let’s see where Strowman goes from here.
United States Championship – AJ Styles (c) def. Humberto Carrillo
The crowd loves Styles but Carrillo did not get any reaction from the crowd, which is a shame because they did put on a quality match. Both competitors had great in-ring chemistry.
Like I mentioned in the pre-show battle royal, WWE is keen on making Carrillo their next big star. He’ll no doubt be in the title picture once again but maybe wait on it a bit as they did battle twice in two weeks.
Natalya def. Lacey Evans
One of the main controversies with these types of shows is that the female superstars are not allowed to compete in Saudi Arabia.
However, that all changed at Crown Jewel. For the first time ever, two women squared off in Saudi Arabia as Natalya and Evans battled once again. The crowd was in favor of this, with loud cheers and pyro for their entrances which followed by a handshake from the two before the bell rang.
You can always count on the veteran Natalya to have a great match and Evans is a rising star in the women’s division. The grade gets boosted to an A for WWE adding the women to this show.
While the shows itself are something fans are not huge fans of, you have to give the company credit for being able to get females on the show. Hopefully, we can see more female superstars in future Saudi Arabia shows.
Team Hogan def. Team Flair
This was a really good multi-man match that showcased some of WWE’s best and some rising stars in the company. Everyone got their chance to shine here with no weak points here.
The heels got the early momentum but the babyface comebacks got the crowd into it. Add a few RKO’s from the legend, Randy Orton, you got yourself a quality match.
Roman Reigns was the star here, Shorty G is getting a solid push, and the inner rivalry between Bobby Lashley and Rusev was shown here nicely.
Universal Championship – “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt def. Seth Rollins
This is how Hell in a Cell should have ended!
I was away in Tokyo, Japan for two weeks around the time Hell in a Cell was going on, so I never got the chance to do my predictions and review but after seeing it, I’m glad I missed it, mainly due to the ending. That being said, WWE got it right here. “The Fiend” is red-hot with the crowd and putting the title on him was the right call.
A solid match between the two that showed the resiliency of Rollins and the strength of Wyatt not going down worked perfectly here. The ending of the match was good too, with Wyatt walking away after an explosion to take down Rollins.
With Wyatt on SmackDown and Brock Lesnar to Raw, Rollins seems to be out of the Universal Championship picture. As of now, there looks to be no program starting for the new champion but there are plenty of potential feuds here and I am excited to see what the company does now.
As controversial as the Saudi Arabia shows are, I have to say that I enjoyed Crown Jewel this year. Take away the Lesnar/Velasquez and Fury/Strowman matches, it was a solid card from top to bottom. The tag team turmoil was a great way to showcase the tag teams in WWE while the Team Hogan vs. Team Flair bout was great also. Add a historic first even women’s match and “The Fiend” going over, it was a great pay-per-view.