Hey gang! So, it's that time again. WWE Crown Jewel time. That special time when WWE puts aside whatever morals they have and accepts a very large payment of blood money from Saudi Arabia and tries to spin it as opening up our good ol' American values to a country that still commits human atrocities on a near-daily basis. But hey, the check cashed and Vince gets to buy a new Mercedes, so let's put on a shitty "wrestling" show!
Kick-Off Show: The Usos vs. Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin
Basically, just a standard house show match here, and folks, if you haven't seen a WWE Crown Jewel event before, this will for the most part be par for the course. These guys are just trying to get through the day, not put on an all-time classic and I can't blame them for that.
It's not bad, as everyone in the ring is a solid veteran and they can all put on a serviceable match without too much effort.
The Usos end up putting on the Superkick showcase and follow it with a top rope diving Usos Splash for the pinfall.
Winners: The Usos
Edge vs Seth Rollins – Hell In A Cell Match
Ok, so during Rollins' entrance, they cut to a bunch of guys to the side of the stage holding camels there right in front of the big pyro. Very odd visual, but also potentially a horrible accident with innocent animals? Hey, clearly common sense is out of the window just by doing this event every year, so whatever.
A fine match here between two guys that you should expect nothing less from. The Cell doesn't really need to be here, but then I could say that about any Hell In A Cell Match over the past 15 years, as it now serves as a setting more than anything in the now toothless WWE.
There is a really good spot where Rollins sets up a table ringside and goes to the top rope, but Edge pushes him off the turnbuckle into the cage and then he falls through the table.
Edge follows this up by bringing the ring steps into the ring for some fun.
They then trade some of each other's big moves and get some near falls to get the crowd into a frenzy. Edge then heads under the ring to pull out a ladder. They each get their shots on the other with it, but it all comes to fruition when Rollins puts Edge on a table in the ring and climbs the ladder, where he's met at the top by Edge and Rollins Sunset Flips him through the table for a two count.
Rollins gets ahold of a chain and wraps it around his foot before Superkicking Edge. He then sets up Edge on top of the chair and gets ready for the Curb Stomp, but Edge rams the chair into Rollins' crotch mid-air (aww, poor Becky…).
Edge takes the chain from Rollins' foot and puts him in a Crossface with it, but then swaps it for a wrench and again applies the Crossface with the tool.
After releasing the hold, Edge then Curb Stomps Rollins onto the chair and gets the pinfall.
A very good match here, though it could have just been a Hardcore Match and achieved everything just the same. Either way, great stuff from two of the best.
Mansoor vs Mustafa Ali
Here's your local-pandering match of the evening, as the Saudi Arabian Mansoor seemingly is only used for WWE Crown Jewel-related events over the past few years.
A very slow and developmental-looking match, as I guess Mansoor is very green and limited. Lots of wristlocks and waistlocks here!
Ali does the heavy lifting here throughout and Mansoor gets to Hulk-up at the end and hits a Vaulting Neckbreaker for the pinfall to pull off a rare feat in WWE: winning in your hometown.
After the match, Ali jumps Mansoor from behind and stomps him down in the corner, until some guy comes out wearing a Karate outfit and an Arab headdress covering his face. Once in the ring, he reveals himself to be Tareg Hamedi, the Karate Silver Medalist from the Tokyo Olympics (Michael Cole of course makes an ass of himself and calls him a "karate player"). He kicks Ali unconscious before celebrating with Mansoor.
RK-Bro vs AJ Styles & Omos – Raw Tag Team Championship
Riddle rides a camel to the ring because he has to be the most obnoxious person in any country he's in.
Alright, so, this match is the same boring crap you get on Raw every Monday night for this seemingly never-ending boring feud. Everyone does their same old program, while Omos continues to show he's like if Bret Hart and Kurt Angle had a child. I mean come on, he's obviously the single greatest technical wrestler in the industry, at least since Giant Gonzalez.
Orton and Riddle each hit their finishers on Styles and retain.
Winners and still Champions: RK-Bro
Doudrop vs Zelina Vega – Queen's Crown Tournament Finals
The ladies of WWE finally got their own King of the Ring Tournament and it's to be decided in a place where women are treated as second-class citizens. There's some WWE logic for you!
And of course, the women of the roster are forced to wrestle in full-body tight AND an oversized t-shirt covering them. What a special place, huh?
It's a pretty standard big vs small match here. Vega eventually hits a Code Red Powerbomb to get the pinfall and win the tournament.
Winner and Queen's Crown Tournament Champion: Zelina Vega
Goldberg vs Bobby Lashley – No Holds Barred Match
Goldberg is here, which means there's a big payday to be had for minimal work, which means it's either Wrestlemania or Crown Jewel time in WWE. And what better place to pretend it's 1998 than a country that is perpetually stuck in the past?
Lashley pulls a chain from his pants and wraps his fist right as the match starts, unbeknownst to Goldberg, who quickly gets pounded with the metal fist of Lashley.
Lashley then wallops him with a chair and gets a table that he leans in the corner (gee I wonder what happens…). Lashley continues committing elder abuse, putting Goldberg's leg in the chair and jumping off the ropes to stomp on it.
Goldberg dodges the Spear from Lashley and Lashley goes running through the table. Goldberg then hits the Spear and the Jackhammer but doesn't go for the pin.
He instead takes his gloves off and throws Lashley outside. Goldberg follows him out and Spears him through the crowd barricade.
He drags Lashley around the ringside area over to the front ring steps and tries to smash him with them, but Lashley dodges it. Goldberg chases him up the ramp to the stage, where the Hurt Business comes out with Kendo Sticks, but Goldberg takes them out effortlessly. He then beats Lashley with the Kendo Stick and Spears him off of the side of the stage through some tables (heavy crash pads) to get the pinfall.
This one was dumb, but at least Goldberg didn't almost kill The Undertaker tonight? I guess that's something?
Finn Balor vs Xavier Woods – King Of The Ring Tournament Finals
A very nice straight wrestling match here to crown the new King Of The Ring. No silly stunts or craziness, just two talented guys putting on an intense contest and making it look like they each really want to win it.
Some excellent momentum shifts and great near-falls here, especially after Woods plants Balor with a top rope Superplex that he rolls over into a lateral press.
All good things come to an end though, as Woods hits a Blockbuster and follows with the Top Rope Diving Elbow for the pinfall.
Winner and new King Of The Ring: Xavier Woods
A really fun match and a guy who I think everyone is happy to see get a major accomplishment.
Big E vs Drew McIntyre – WWE Championship
A decent heavyweight match here. They're working quickly, not slowing down much, and getting a lot of big impact moves in. Neither guy really leaves their comfort zone, but that's ok because it does come off as they're evenly matched and they're convincing in what they're doing.
The action escalates as they go, with McIntyre kicking out of a Big Ending and hitting Big E with a top rope Bulldog. McIntyre finally hits the Claymore, but Big E kicks out on a very near two count.
McIntyre tries to hit Big E with a Big Ending of his own, but Big E escapes and hits the move on McIntyre for the pinfall to retain.
Winner and still Champion: Big E
Bianca Belair vs Sasha Banks vs Becky Lynch – SmackDown Women's Championship
An ok match with some creative spots and nice transitions. The standout moment comes early when Belair does a one-handed Gorilla Press on Banks in a serious show of strength.
Unfortunately, the match gets sillier as it goes, with Lynch, in particular, undercutting any actual tension with her cartoony bullshit and goofy moments while the other two remain serious.
Banks and Belair really bust their asses here and carry the whole match. All of the big and exciting action moments are them and their reversals are really terrific.
Lynch of course prevails though after rarely coasting through the match while the other two did the heavy lifting and gets an inside cradle on Banks while grabbing the rope for the heelish pinfall.
Winner and still Champion: Becky Lynch
Roman Reigns vs Brock Lesnar – Universal Championship
Yeah, we've seen these two face each other too many times, and yeah it's mostly a big spot-fest. But it's actually fun in a Godzilla movie kind of way and definitely the best match these two have had with each other.
They throw it all at each other and kick out of everything and then the ref is accidentally wiped out and Heyman throws the belt into the ring point-blank and yells "you know what to do with it!", so we don't know who it was too. Lesnar ends up with the belt, but The Usos arrive and Superkick him, and Reigns clocks Lesnar in the face with the belt to get the pinfall.
Winner and still Champion: Roman Reigns
And that's that for another WWE Crown Jewel event from Saudi Arabia and honestly, it's probably the best one they've done. No titles changed hands and there were no major developments, so it's hard to say this was an important or impactful show. But looking at the history of this event and the very low expectations WWE fans always go into it with, they didn't have any colossal screw-ups as they have in the past and some of the matches were actually really good.
If you look at it like an over-done house show, it's not too bad and actually, pretty ok all things considered. And for WWE these days, especially considering the event and its horrible history, that's kind of a win.
Now let's hope they are allowed to leave on time tonight and get home safe and sound.
Till next time friends!