Well, anybody that is strongly against WWE doing business with Saudi Arabia in the first place got even more ammunition to use this week with the rumors of an “imminent” attack on the country by Iran. Obviously, that could put a giant target on Mrsool Park, where Crown Jewel is being held. Iran denies any attack is going to take place (as if they would come out and admit the time and place that they plan on doing anything), and you have to assume due diligence has been paid for the safety of everyone planning to be in the stadium today.
So… here we are.
Fingers crossed that we can get through the show without anything wild and crazy happening out of the ring.
Brock Lesnar vs Bobby Lashley
Pros: – So far, this crowd is red hot, especially for Brock.
– Brock Lesnar’s selling. He doesn’t have to do it much, so people tend to forget how great of a seller he really is.
– The match result allows for a third match between these two now that they have both won a match against each other.
Cons: – WWE uses that lame ass “Wrestler A spears Wrestler B through the ringside barricade near the timekeeper’s area” spot AGAIN. It’s the same thing at every show. Find something different. These wrestlers look dumb as all hell for even going out there and standing in that area.
– The match was too short. I wasn’t expecting them to go 45 minutes or anything, but there are too many of these types of matches in WWE.
Match Rating: 2.5 Stars. I’m not quite sure how to rate that one, so I’m just going to go with an “average” rating. It was an absolute squash match, with Lashley dominating Lesnar from the start, but Brock got the “lucky” pin to get the win. It was an exciting squash, sure, but a squash nonetheless. I am looking forward to their third match, though, whenever that takes place, as long as they get more time to work with. That could be special.
Alexa Bliss & Asuka vs Dakota Kai & Iyo Sky – WWE Women’s Tag Team Title Match
Pros: – The women looking good while still following the rules about needing to cover themselves up in Saudi Arabia. When the WWE women first started wrestling there, it was all about covering them up. Now, they’re able to have their own personal touches on their ring gear, and it looks great.
– The in-ring chemistry that Dakota and Iyo have as tag partners. They work together really well. Pretty impressive when you consider they’ve only been teaming up for a brief period of time.
– The pace. This has been full of action from the opening bell.
Cons: – Having to hear Alexa’s entrance music. The music itself is horrible, but it sounds like a 12-year-old wrote the lyrics. “STAND UP, SHUT UP, AND FIGHT MAYYYYY” Nah, you shut up.
– The WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles continue to be damn near pointless. Another short run where the champions didn’t get to do anything.
Match Rating: 3.5 Stars. That was a lot of fun, but my goodness, these titles have a rough history. I’ll say it yet again… I fully expect the belts to change hands again soon, possibly before 2022 is over. Then, they’ll change hands quickly again, this time to a randomly put together team of two singles wrestlers with no history together. That reign will be quick, and the cycle will probably continue until the end of the world. I thought it was just a Vince McMahon issue, but it’s still happening in the new regime. At least the match itself was good, so there’s that.
Drew McIntyre vs Karrion Kross – Steel Cage Match
Pros: – The pace. It hasn’t been like watching Rey Mysterio Jr. vs Juventud Guerrera in 1997, but it isn’t supposed to be. These two are working a good, methodical pace that is full of physicality.
Cons: – Pre-show analysis. On the Kickoff Show earlier today, Paul Rosenberg and whoever else is on that show kept talking about how neither man in this match were going to want to escape the cage because they want to punish their opponent. Two minutes into the match, Karrion Kross attempted to escape the cage. Okay then.
– Drew looking like a moron. He’s preparing to go for the Claymore, but Scarlett climbs onto the side of the cage and says “no” repeatedly, but it’s enough to distract Drew, allowing Kross to get back on offense? Come on, Drew. She wasn’t even a threat there.
– Drew looking like a moron again. He tries to escape the cage, only to be sprayed with mace by Scarlett. Again. This is the match you wanted, but you’re trying to escape when you know Scarlett is going to at least try to prevent it? Come on, Drew. Man, Paul Rosenberg really sucks at what he does.
– The ending. Drew goes to escape AGAIN, but Scarlett closes the door and locks it again. Instead of going back to pin Kross, Drew simply decides to climb out, which means Scarlett has to scramble to unlock the door so that Kross can try to escape. Drew looked silly at the top of the cage, having to wait for Scarlett, but he hits the floor before Kross does.
Match Rating: 3 Stars. It was a perfectly acceptable match, but it was put together in such a weird fashion that it hurt things a bit for me. This doesn’t exactly do much to help Karrion Kross regain everything that he lost during his last main roster run.
The O.C. (AJ Styles, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson) vs The Judgment Day (Finn Balor, Damian Priest & Dominik Mysterio)
Pros: – Gallows and Anderson turning back the clock. This is the best they’ve looked in a long time. Will that continue? Who knows? It’s just good to see them not be the clear weak points of a match for once.
– The crowd. As they have been for the entire show, these fans are red-hot for everything.
Cons: – Commentary still acting as if Dominik Mysterio is 14 years old. Stop calling him a “kid” and things like that. He’s 25! It sounds ridiculous to make it seem like Dom is an actual child that ran away from home to join some weird cult.
– Michael Cole is really obnoxious. He’s nowhere near as bad as he was when he was a heel and made WWE programming unlistenable, but he is REALLY laying it on thick with his hate for Dominik here. He’s just yelling about how much of a “punk” Dom is and hating everything he does and doesn’t do.
Match Rating: 3.5 Stars. A really fun house show-style six-man tag. Everyone involved put in work, and that includes Rhea Ripley on the outside. She is absolutely fantastic in this role.
Braun Strowman vs Omos
Pros: – Braun selling his ass off for Omos. Not that Omos needs a lot of help to look like a physical specimen, but Braun is bumping all over the ring to make Omos look like an all-time great “monster.”
Cons: – A complete copycat of the opening match. Omos dominated 99% of the match, only to lose at the end. At least it was Braun’s finishing move this time around, and not a fluky pin, but still… this match layout wasn’t necessary after seeing it earlier in the show.
Match Rating: 2.75 Stars. Braun picked up the victory here, but Omos is the one who comes out of the match looking like a winner. I think this was the best Omos has looked in the ring by a mile. Do I want to see him pushed to the top of the card? No. It’s really good to see some improvement, though. So far, every match on this show has been at least decent, but we haven’t had a great one yet. Three matches to go. We’ll see what happens.
The Usos vs The Brawling Brutes (Butch & Ridge Holland) – Undisputed WWE Tag Team Title Match
Pros: – “We Want Sami” chants. It is very well documented why Sami Zayn doesn’t travel to Saudi Arabia for these shows, but now, the chants for him are adding a lot to this match. The chants for Sami are already getting to Jey, who is allowing the crowd, and Sami himself, to reside in his head.
– Believable, dramatic near falls. Ridge hits Jey with White Noise, and Butch is preventing Jimmy from breaking the pin, but it gets 2.999 and the crowd reacts as such. That was a lot of fun. Coming in, I don’t think anyone thought the Brutes would win, but they seemed to buy it there.
– The finish. The 1D is a good finisher to begin with. It’s even better when Jey is standing atop the middle rope, lifting Butch up, and then falls back into Jimmy landing the move. That was a really cool visual.
Cons: – Prior to the match, Michael Cole reveals that Jey Uso may have suffered a broken wrist during the recent European tour. Jey will have an MRI on Monday to determine the total damage. It would be a damn shame if an injury puts an end to not only this current title reign for The Usos, but whatever it will do to affect the entire Bloodline story.
Match Rating: 3.25 Stars. There wasn’t a lot of real drama about who would win this match, especially with New Day waiting to challenge the winners on the upcoming episode of Smackdown, but both teams did really well here. As I said, though, I hope Jey’s wrist injury isn’t too serious. I guess we’ll find out in a couple days.
Bianca Belair vs Bayley – Last Woman Standing Match for the Raw Women’s Title
Pros: – Creativity. We had some creative usage of ring steps, an equipment cart, and a golf cart so far. Not always GOOD usage, mind you, but creative usage nonetheless.
Cons: – The pace to start. Bayley goes to grab a weapon, fails to use it multiple times, then gets hit… and we wait to see if she can get up before a ten count. Then, Bayley goes to grab a different weapon, fails to use it multiple times, gets hit… and we wait to see if she can get up before a ten count. Lather, rinse, repeat. These types of matches can often be way too slow, but they’re making it so much worse.
– The finish. Bianca sandwiches Bayley between a ladder and then pushes the edge of the ladder underneath the bottom turnbuckle. The idea is that Bayley will be stuck and unable to get out before a ten count. However, Bayley wiggles and wiggles and wiggles, and she finds a way to get her entire upper half out of the ladder sandwich. What does she do? Continue wiggling to get completely out, right? Nope. She keeps trying to push the ladder up, like a doofus, and gets counted down, losing the match.
Match Rating: 3 Stars. I’m really disappointed with how that turned out. For one, Bayley loses for the 836th consecutive time to Bianca Belair. Most importantly, though, the creative spots that I gave praise to didn’t really go anywhere. It was pretty much the epitome of being a good idea in theory, but piss poor in execution. The golf cart spots were terrible, with Bayley driving the cart at approximately the same speed that a 98-year-old moves with a walker, but Bianca still has to stand there and wait for it as if it’s going to be a threat. Then, Bianca has Bayley hanging on to the roof of the cart, and she just drives down the ramp and… stops the cart? Why? Then we got the finish, which was also a great idea in theory, but ended up looking really dumb. When Bianca and Bayley weren’t handcuffed by the stupid, unnecessary spots, they put on a good show.
Roman Reigns vs Logan Paul – Undisputed WWE Universal Title Match
Pros: – The moment isn’t too big for Logan Paul. Early on, he actually looks like he belongs in the ring with a man who has completely dominated WWE for over two years.
– The crowd. Once again, they are red hot for everything. They’re SUPER supportive of Roman, but they’ve also been receptive of everything Logan has done. They haven’t quite reached the point where they’re truly ready to cheer for Logan Paul, but hey, it’s a start.
– The trash talk game of Roman Reigns. That’s one of my favorite aspects of his game over the last two years. He talks so much shit during his matches, but he does it really well. He’s out there spitting bars that would be worthy of being on a top-tier hip-hop track, and doing so while he’s whipping someone’s ass.
– A VERY believable near fall. Logan hits the “one lucky punch” and then his own Superman Punch, getting a 2.9999999999 count that literally had me jump out of my seat. Good Lord.
– The match itself. Holy shit, that was epic. So much better than it had any right being. If WWE doesn’t find a way to get Logan Paul in as a full-time performer, they will have failed. That motherfucker GETS IT.
Cons: – A lack of a “big fight” feel. Perhaps that’s the point, as WWE continues to sell that this SHOULD be a huge mismatch but COULD be a monumental upset. It just doesn’t feel the same as pretty much all of Roman’s title defenses have felt over the last 797 days.
– Logan’s Sweet Chin Music. There have been a few nods to Shawn Michaels, who has been training Logan Paul for this match, but that Sweet Chin Music attempt was atrocious.
Match Rating: 4.5 Stars. Every bit of the great Sports Entertainment main event that it needed to be. Logan Paul gets to silence the doubters out there, but Roman Reigns gets to continue one of the greatest title reigns in the history of the business. What a match, booked to perfection.
When a show has eight matches, and none of them get the “bad” tag, I guess you have to count that as a win. Crown Jewel won’t win any Show Of The Year awards, but it was a perfectly acceptable watch from start-to-finish. Storylines were advanced, new champions were crowned, a new star was born, and we even got some rematches set up. I’ll take it.