Will the Crown Jewel shine in the desert or will the event fall flatter than the storyline setting it up? Let’s dig in for Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia!
While this event has been talked about more for the political dealing behind the scenes than the actual matches or wrestlers, I wanted to take this in and see if this could live up to what we expect out of a Pay-Per View in modern times.
As an appetizer for the event, I watched the press conference hosted by Michael Cole and I got exactly what I expected. Not only was it pandering but the pacing was just strange. There was a shift in tone repeatedly as they shift between normal WWE and pretending to be the UFC. It was odd and a bit sad.
Let’s skip ahead as I was as bored watching this as you were reading me recounting it!
Kickoff Show – 20-Man Battle Royal
In a classic setup, the winner of this match will be the number one contender for U.S. title and face AJ Styles later tonight. While it looked like the fans were behind Luke Harper towards the end of the match, Carillo ended up out maneuvering Rowan and Harper’s attempt to eliminate him and won the match.
Carillo may have a push going but I don’t think he’s ready for the belt.
Crown Jewel Begins!
Brock Lesner vs Cain Velasquez, accompanied by Rey Mysterio
Kicking off the event and strangely not headlining, this was one of my least anticipated matches. We’re starting a wrestling card with a non-wrestler and a man who wrestles because it pays and is safer than MMA. The only thing that got me excited is Paul Heyman but he could sell me anything.
The match started and ended as I expected. We knew Rey wouldn’t interfere and that neither Cain nor Brock could hold this for longer than a few minutes. Brock locked in the kimura and that was all.
After the match Rey, attached Brock with a chair in an attempt to stop The Beast. Brock threw Rey out of the ring before taking the chair to Cain. That’s when the fun started. Rey returned to the ring with another chair and hit Brock over and over with a chair. This looked good and I wouldn’t be surprised if Brock’s hand was injured during one of the wild shots. Brock left the ring telling Rey he was the champ. Not sure if we’re going to see Rey seek vengeance but it was a good ending to a lame match.
10 Man Tag Match Turmoil Match
Thankfully we’ve seen one of these before as the rules are a little unique but I like it, as twenty men in one ring is just too much to tell a good story. WCW found that out! I could write a thousand words on what happened in this match going over the spots but we’ll leave this with a quick summary of the eliminations.
- Ziggler and Roode beat Lucha House Party and then easily beat Ryder and Hawkins
- Heavy Machinery beat Roode and Ziggler
- New Day enters and takes down Heavy Machinery, B Team, and The Revival.
- The OC takes down an exhausted New Day and The Viking Raiders.
While I would have liked this to go to New Day, The OC has the pedigree to be considered the best tag team in the world, or at least WWE’s world.
Mansoor vs Cesaro
Amazing athleticism and technical ability in this match, possibly the best of the men’s matches tonight! Some great high spots from both wrestlers here. They called it an upset but I think we all knew Mansoor would win tonight. Not only is it his home town/country, but Cesaro has been putting over the next generation, which is a bit sad for me. He’s been a staple in the WWE but I guess he is looked at as a veteran in comparison to many of these younger wrestlers.
Mansoor has been getting a huge push recently but he needs to work on his lines not sounding like a bad sports movie monologue.
Braun Stroman vs Tyson Fury
Yet another match booked completely on the fame of a non-wrestler. Stroman may like to talk about “these hands” but he’s not a professional boxer. When you have matches like this, you walk the line of keeping your superstars looking good and not injuring someone who doesn’t have the proper training to take a bump.
Surprisingly, Fury seemed to have done some training on this but not enough for this to look believable. Somehow Stroman was hit with simple moves and didn’t even win. A TKO win was awarded to Stroman, making him look weak. At times it felt like I was watching a Tough Enough match. I don’t care how big Fury is, this didn’t feel real.
AJ Styles vs Humberto Carrillo
Styles proved again that he can make anyone look amazing. Carrillo has talent in regards to his moves but his timing and storytelling still needs work. While Carrillo has been getting a push and is probably one of Vince’s favorites, AJ kept his title and The OC celebrated their night.
Natalya vs Lacey Evans
It was surprising when we heard that they were allowing a Women’s match in Saudi Arabia but we quickly realized that it was all about the clothing and how covered up they could be. This was a last minute change, with both competitors forced to wear full-length bodysuits with t-shirts over their tops. This may have been one of the weaker women’s matches in recent history but it was nice seeing the women represented here, even if they weren’t allowed to wear their normal attire. Unsurprisingly, Natalya won this one and we saw a fitting celebration for this first women’s event in Saudi Arabia.
Team Hogan vs Team Flair
This was actually a decent match, which is hard to do when the 10-Man Tag match doesn’t have an elimination rule. There were tons of hot tags and some great spots from Rusev and Lashley but the best part of this match was seeing Jimmy Hart at ringside. Such a classic! It looked like Orton had this in the bag when Reigns hit him with a spear for the win.
This could have been so much worse and I’m glad they didn’t try to have Flair do something and hurt himself.
Seth Rollins vs The Fiend
This feud should have been over after Hell in a Cell but somehow continues. They are trying to show Rollins being more “unhinged” but this feud is stale to me. With the hilarious repeating that the match would not be stopped for any reason, I feel like this was WWE’s way of apologizing to us for the Hell in a Cell stoppage.
This match was what I expected after their previous encounter, with all the trappings of an attitude era falls count anywhere match. We saw most of the action take place at ringside but also had some action in the crowd. There were a few weapons used but the best spot was probably Rollins being shoved off the turnbuckle into a stack of tables at ringside.
The Fiend took Rollins up the entrance ramp and to the side, utilizing the stage for a great drop from The Fiend onto some nearby moving crates. This couldn’t stop The Fiend, who surprised Rollins with a Mandible Claw and then hit the Sister Abigail, becoming the new Universal Championship.
While I don’t think he needs the Championship, I’m hoping this ends the feud and we can see The Fiend take on a better challenger. Oh, and apparently the 24/7 Championship changed hands a few times. Goodnight everybody!
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