Welcome to another edition of eWN Round Table, where we gather some of the most active writers here on eWrestlingNews and share the platform to answer some questions surrounding a centralized topic, upcoming event, etc.
This is meant to showcase the potential for both a wide range of perspectives as well as how sometimes, there can be a group consensus no matter what your viewpoint is, so we also invite all of you to join in on the discussion by answering these questions yourself in the comments section below.
For this particular volume, we’ll be focusing on WWE Crown Jewel 2018.
Participants for this round = Anthony Mango, Richard Staple, Ethan Absler and Kyle Dunning.
1) “Do you think WWE should have cancelled Crown Jewel, moved it to another location/date, or did they make the right call keeping it on as scheduled?”
MANGO: This is a tough situation as it makes you judge the angle from the perspectives of morale against business. I can see why WWE wants to keep their agreement for monetary purposes and not looking like they’re backing out of a deal, but considering all of the momentum other companies have had with bailing out of Saudi Arabia, it’s hard to keep up the argument that they should have kept it going. I understand it’s hard to book a new venue, but considering there is a live event on Saturday, maybe they could have done Crown Jewel there and boosted that arena’s value for those fans instead. I won’t be delusional enough to think that I have all the numbers and backstage knowledge to make a fully informed decision, but I do think if WWE would have backed out, it would have been much more forgivable than the backlash they’ve received from continuing on with it…
STAPLE: They should have canceled it, but I understand why they are going on with the show. In the wake of the journalist controversy and Saudi Arabia’s established history of homophobia and misogyny, WWE really shouldn’t be holding any events in that country. However, the 10 year agreement which will bring WWE a lot of money must have been difficult to refuse. WWE just can’t pretend, however, that they approve or endorse SA’s actions. There’s no greater irony than WWE having an all women’s PPV’s and a PPV where no women are allowed in the same week. There’s a reason for that.
ABSLER: I believe that WWE should have moved Crown Jewel to another location. Cancelling the event altogether seemed like overkill, especially when it was plausible to just move it. Not only was WWE advised and pressured by the public and various celebrities to pull out of the show, but keeping it in Saudi Arabia sends the message that WWE will not condemn the murder that took place there. In addition, the event being held in Saudi Arabia means that John Cena and Daniel Bryan will both not be present.
DUNNING: I believe WWE cannot see into the future, otherwise in hindsight it’s easy to say they should’ve not agreed to run the event. After The Greatest Royal Rumble earlier in the year, I can understand why they wanted to go back if it was good business. But with what’s happened in the news, WWE knows it’s having to limit the damage and is just trying to get to the light at the end of the tunnel. They did right by not punishing those who didn’t want to go over there, but I can imagine many superstars were reluctant to do so as they don’t have the same pull backstage as Cena/Bryan. It would’ve been wrong for WWE to cancel so soon before the event, as much as it pains them and fans it’s going ahead. Contracts were made, so you can’t break those.
2) “Which superstar do you feel is the biggest omission from this card, and how would you add that person to the lineup if you could?”
MANGO: Ignoring Roman Reigns, who is the true answer for me but obviously not someone who could be booked on the card, I think it’s ridiculous that Shinsuke Nakamura is off his third event in a row. Even with Dean Ambrose and Drew McIntyre, that’s weird that they’re not booked, but maybe they’ll interfere at some point. Nakamura is just a flat out “no” from the creative committee and that’s alarming.
STAPLE: It really feels like I’m beating a dead horse with Shinsuke Nakamura. I feel like when I’m asked who’s the biggest omission from the card, his name is always brought up. Every male championship will be represented at Crown Jewel except the United States Title. I’d book him by putting him in the tournament. I don’t know why Jeff Hardy should be in the tournament anyway. He doesn’t add anything. If you have Rollins in the tournament, a dual championship holder, why not have the US Title represented? It’s sad, really.
ABSLER: I don’t know exactly how I would include him, but the absence of Dean Ambrose on the card seems fishy to me. I assume he’s going to interfere with Rollins’ spot on the card.
DUNNING: Daniel Bryan. But I wouldn’t change that because it’s his personal choice. I was really, really looking forward to Bryan vs. AJ.
3) “How do you feel about the World Cup consisting entirely of American wrestlers?”
MANGO: Goes to show how little WWE truly values things like this and how they do not care about putting in effort to make things come off better. It isn’t like there aren’t non-American options. Balor, Nakamura, Almas, Mahal, McIntyre, Rusev….but nope. It was more important to put on the older stars and that was their priority. Lame that they’re not just calling it the Crown Jewel Cup in that scenario.
STAPLE: I haven’t even noticed that until now. It’s not a big deal to me in all honesty. They had Nakamura at GRR, so there’s that.
ABSLER: I have a serious problem with the WWE World Cup consisting entirely of Americans… because it isn’t a World Cup. Simply this is a “Best In The US” tournament and I actually have no clue what was going through creative officials’ heads when they wrote this out. I would have no problem with a random tournament with all Americans, but then don’t call it the World Cup.
DUNNING: Stupid as ****. As an Englishman and Football fan, in my eyes the World Cup is a tournament which should feature as many countries around the world as possible. They should’ve brought back King of the Ring .. that would’ve made more sense.
4) “Which match are you most excited to see on this pay-per-view?”
MANGO: Styles against Bryan would have taken the cake for me, but I can’t apply the same to a fourth (or is it fifth now?) match between Styles and Joe. Instead, if the tournament works out to produce Rollins vs. Mysterio, that’ll be the thing I’m looking out for the most, outside of Strowman’s title win just happening in general. Strowman/Lesnar isn’t something I’m too into seeing, I just want Strowman to win the belt.
STAPLE: I guess I am most excited to see who’s in the finals for the tournament, but everything else are versions of matches we have already seen. I’m not excited to see AJ and Samoa fight again since they’ve done everything they possibly could have done with each other. Another regular match won’t do anything for me. Braun Strowman and Brock Lesnar in singles competition ended in disappointing fashion at No Mercy last year. Whoever is in the Finals of the WWE World Cup, which I predict to be Seth Rollins and The Miz, will probably steal the show.
ABSLER: I am most excited for Brock Lesnar vs Braun Strowman, or the Brothers Of Destruction vs DX.
DUNNING: It used to be Bryan vs. AJ, but now it’s Strowman vs. Lesnar. I just want to see Strowman carry the Raw brand for a while. WWE should have given him the green light earlier in the year when he was red hot. If Lesnar gets the title again it hurts Strowman for a long time. I have no faith in WWE doing the right thing.
5) “Rumor has it, Hulk Hogan will make an appearance. Do you think that will happen? What should WWE do with him?”
MANGO: Boy, WWE is really pushing it if after all the flak they’re getting from going to Saudi Arabia, they also put Hulk Hogan on the card and run the risk of criticism from those who still aren’t the biggest fan of him, after all that controversy. That’s super risky. If not just to avoid that PR nightmare, I think they’d be better off keeping him out of the mix and putting him on the pre-show in a non-aired capacity, or waiting to utilize him until a future event like the Hall of Fame. If they DO plan on using him, though, they should have him do something positive, like beat up Baron Corbin or something.
STAPLE: What is he going to do at Crown Jewel? Leg drop a jobber and collect a paycheck probably.
ABSLER: I don’t think Hogan will show up this Sunday, but if he does then good for him. I don’t know whether he would be in a GM role or backstage or what, but I’m interested to see how fans react to the Hulkster.
DUNNING: Hogan’s the past and as much as I appreciate everything he’s done for the business, bringing him back because Cena and Bryan pulled out reeks of desperation. They needed to bring Hogan back the right way .. probably with an apology to the fans like he did with the locker room.
6) “Are Bobby Lashley and Samoa Joe good enough replacements for John Cena and Daniel Bryan, or do you think WWE should have handled that differently? If so, how would you have done it?”
MANGO: Considering the circumstances, WWE could have done worse, but I can’t act like this was the best possible scenario, either. I would have liked to see some qualifying match on Raw to fill Cena’s spot, with Lashley, Balor, Elias and a few others all competing, but their beatdown idea was good enough. With Joe, I think they missed the opportunity to give that spot to Andrade “Cien” Almas by having him take a step up. I’m not complaining too much, but I’m also not showering them with praise.
STAPLE: I suppose they couldn’t find anyone better. Finn Balor is very pro-LGBTQ, and if he wasn’t that way, I’d probably replace him with Bobby in a heartbeat. I do also think since a dual champion in Seth Rollins was selected. I suppose Joe was the only heel that makes sense to face AJ as an impromptu decision, but it’s bordering on tedious.
ABSLER: I think Bobby Lashley and Samoa Joe were good replacements for Cena and Bryan, but then again, Finn Balor who is a large omission from the card, as well as Dean Ambrose or even an NXT star could have been a cool replacement.
DUNNING: I guess so. They pulled out late so there wasn’t much WWE could do at such short notice. They couldn’t really do much more than announce the changes and move on.
7) Here is our predictions tally, for those who want to keep track of who get the most right/wrong.
|The Bar vs. The New Day||The Bar||The Bar||The Bar||The Bar|
|AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe||AJ Styles||AJ Styles||AJ Styles||AJ Styles|
|World Cup Tournament||Rey Mysterio||Seth Rollins||Rey Mysterio or The Miz||Seth Rollins|
|D-Generation X vs. The Brothers of Destruction||The Brothers of Destruction||D-Generation X||D-Generation X||The Brothers of Destruction|
|Braun Strowman vs. Brock Lesnar||Braun Strowman||Braun Strowman||Braun Strowman||Brock Lesnar|
Big thanks to everyone who took part in this edition!
Those are our thoughts, but what do you have to say about these issues? Keep the discussion going by chiming in via the comments section below!