Last year’s Crown Jewel event was a bumbling failure, main eventing with four past their prime superstars literally tearing each other’s muscles apart. Let’s see if this year’s edition will fare any better.
Brock Lesnar (C) vs. Cain Velasquez – WWE Championship
At Crown Jewel, I anticipated that WWE would probably incorporate both WWE and UFC styles of wrestling into one. It just didn’t work out for me. You build up Cain and what he did to Lesnar 10 years ago, and you make Brock seem like he’s scared of Cain, only to have him essentially squash him?
I just don’t get it. This all just seemed like a wasted effort. I’m completely okay if you want to give Brock his redemption, but the basis of the story you told for this match was that Cain demolished Lesnar the last time they fought. The least you could do is pretend to have a competitive match and make it seem like Brock was in trouble again. This was a pathetic effort. Yuck. *
The OC Win the Tag Team World Cup
First, I just want to talk about the structure of this match. It is fundamentally flawed. So the winner of this tag team turmoil match will be called the best tag team in the world. However, the kind of match that they did here isn’t a good way of determining who the best tag team in the world is.
First of all, this is a gauntlet match. That means it’s all about the luck of the draw. So the tag team that enters last will have the biggest advantage. So instead of having to go through multiple teams to win the World Cup, you’ll only have to go through one.
What I will say is that the world cup actually turned out to be a well-worked match overall. I’m not really a fan of gauntlet matches that stretch for an extended period of time, but I thought each team got a good opportunity to showcase their skills. The most important part is that I didn’t fall asleep, so a big plus there.
I was also surprised at The OC winning. When the Raiders came out last, anyone would have betted that a team that hasn’t been pinned so far on the main roster would have defeated a team that they have defeated on a consistent basis on RAW.
So, giving The OC this victory was a surprise. However, they have to follow up on this. If this is just going to build up to a RAW Tag Team Championship feud with The Raiders, they’ll be in a no better place than where they were before this Cup. However, as a singular match here, this was pretty solid. ***1/4
Mansoor def. Cesaro
Everyone knew that Mansoor would be defeating Cesaro in this match, but it was all a matter of how good Cesaro could make him look. This match was absolutely excellent. It’s been a while since I have said that about a WWE match. However, this match had structure, ebbs and flows, and a great story told.
Mansoor was throwing ambitious offense throughout the entire match and Cesaro kept cutting him off with his overwhelming strength at each turn. However, Mansoor kept fighting and his endurance rewarded him. I also liked how they showed Cesaro gradually getting frustrated at Mansoor getting the better of him.
This is exactly how you make a first impression, and Cesaro was the right person to do it. This match actually gave me similar vibes of Cesaro’s match with Aleister Black at Extreme Rules. It’s matches like these why it’s absolutely criminal Cesaro is used the way he is. Just put in two talents, have them bust their asses and let them do what they do best and this is what you get. It’s not hard.
Excellent match, a great showing from Mansoor and props to Cesaro for bringing his working boots. ****
Tyson Fury def. Braun Strowman by Countout
I wasn’t feeling this match. Props to Fury for not looking like a complete buffoon, but all I saw was just two grown men throwing each other around. Thankfully, my expectations for this match was incredibly low. I viewed this more as a special attraction match as opposed to something that was supposed to be taken seriously.
In all fairness, the scenes where they were “fighting” each other on RAW to build up to this match was more entertaining. There was hardly any drama, the crowd really didn’t get into it from what I saw, and you top it off with a BS count out finish. God bless the announcer’s team for trying to save face by calling it a “TKO” victory for Fury, but give me a break.
The sky is blue, the grass is green and Braun Strowman loses another signature match. Big surprise for sure. Maybe at Crown Jewel next year, Strowman will challenge Big Show again, and he may lose that too. Shoutout to Fury for securing a $12 million dollar bag for this. *
AJ Styles (C) def. Humberto Carrillo – United States Championship
This was a fine match, but I do think their RAW match was much better than the Crown Jewel showing. Humberto was probably the obvious winner after Monday, but this one didn’t connect as much. Maybe it was the crowd, but I believe the pacing was a bit slower in this one.
The crowd chanted “THIS IS AWESOME” even though it was nowhere near awesome, but then again, they only get WWE coming to town a couple of times every year. Might as well hype up anything that you can, right?
This is probably a part of the slow build that I said WWE might be planning with Humberto in my predictions column, and I think it worked to an extent. However, there never really felt like there was a moment where AJ was in serious trouble. A lack of drama and extended time to set up certain spots kind of ruined how good this match could have been. They should have resembled the formula Mansoor and Cesaro had. **1/2
Natalya def. Lacey Evans
Honestly, if you watched the hundreds of matches that they have had on RAW this year, this wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. However, the importance in this match wasn’t in the match itself, but rather the historic nature of the match.
This was a last minute addition, and it did break some barriers for women. So often, we talk about the women’s revolution as a buzz term, but we do not really highlight significant changes. A women’s match in Saudi Arabia is absolutely something worth praising and all the credit in the world for Natalya and Lacey for being the ones to break that barrier.
I’m not sure if this will be the new norm, but it damn well is a good way to start. The match itself was relatively average, but that’s meaningless in the larger scope of things. Crown Jewel 2019 was definitely a stepping stone for the women to be proud of.**1/4
Roman Reigns, Ali, Ricochet, Shorty G and Rusev (Team Hogan) def. (Team Flair) Randy Orton, Bobby Lashley, Shinsuke Nakamura, King Corbin and Drew McIntyre
This match at Crown Jewel seemed to be a warm-up for Survivor Series next month. Honestly, the match was kind of dragging to begin, and I guess that was because of the amount of men in the match. However, once Roman Reigns got the hot tag, the match picked up immensely.
I seriously wish this was a match of consequence of some sort, and not just something meant to settle a grudge between two men in their 70s, but at least it produced something watchable. The match was pretty solid throughout, and the last half of the match made up for the typical “heels have face in a corner” trope they like to do with these tag matches.
All in all, a very commendable effort by all 10 men involved, and something for the crowd to really cheer about. ***1/2
The Fiend def. Seth Rollins (C) – Universal Championship (Falls Count Anywhere, Match Cannot Be Stopped For Any Reason)
Ugh, I don’t even know where to start. First, let’s get the positive out of the way. Bray Wyatt is the Universal Champion. That’s the most important thing out of all of this. The right decision was made, and although he should have been champion a long time ago, better late than never. That, I like.
However, it seems like there are also a lot of unlearnt lessons in this match. First of all, the lighting is still freaking horrible. I literally could not see anything that was happening at the time of the deciding pinfall. Changing the brightness on my television didn’t help, either.
I get that they were going for the dark theatrics, but you can accomplish that without doing too much. Also, if you’re going in a heavily crowded area and you decide to make it dark red, how the hell is anyone supposed to see anything?
Also, the action just kind of dragged as well. What made the Hell In a Cell match awful was that it was the wrong kind of match. It should have been just The Fiend destroying Seth to within an inch of his life. Not Seth hitting 30 Curb Stomps in a row. That’s not a good match in any capacity.
The story was that The Fiend had forced Seth to go to this deep, dark place and forced him to be desperate beyond compare. However, I felt like that was accomplished more in the HIAC match. You had Seth strike Bray in the face with a sledgehammer with a chair over him and had him hit what felt like an endless supply of finishers.
All of this just kind of felt like your average RAW brawl. With Bray’s victory, he joins Brock Lesnar, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns as the only guys to win the WWE and Universal Championships.
That’s good for him, but now both world titles are on the SmackDown brand. This is why the draft is always stupid. WWE can just choose to break their own rules that they themselves establish on a whim. How are they going to try and pass this off? Are The Fiend and Bray Wyatt going to be considered two separate entities?
I don’t know what it is, but while the result of this match was the correct one, the match itself still did not work for me at all. This entire feud was pretty much a robust failure. Maybe this is leading to a slow Seth Rollins heel turn. After all, Balor turned heel after just one encounter with The Fiend. It makes sense, but for the last couple of months, the feud has been hard to watch. Let’s move on. *1/2
Crown Jewel: Very Uneven
At this point, Saudi Arabia is going to have to start asking for their money back. Crown Jewel definitely some bright spots in the show with Mansoor being the best part of the night. The tag team match was also good when it got to the end and the tag team turmoil was more decent than I thought. The women also competing on the show is also a bigger deal than people probably realize.
However, all of the special attraction matches on this show, from Fury and Strowman to both world title matches absolutely sucked. WWE just cannot deliver a complete show these days and it showed here. Thumbs in the middle, leaning down for Crown Jewel.
But hey, RAW vs. SmackDown vs. NXT for Survivor Series? TAKE. MY. MONEY!