Wrestling Review: WWE Crown Jewel (2018)

It’s an international affair as the WWE presents Crown Jewel, a night where three championships are on the line, including the guaranteed crowning of a new Universal Champion. Following Roman Reigns’ vacating of the title due to illness, Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowman will go one on one for the vacant championship. The WWE Championship will also be decided as a rivalry which has become more than personal continues, when AJ Styles looks to extend his near year-long title reign against the dangerous Samoa Joe. Also on the show, an eight man tournament will decide who is the best wrestler in the world, a four men form Smackdown and four men from Raw face off with the two winners going on on one to earn the accolade. Seth Rollins and Bobby Lashley, The Miz and Jeff Hardy, Rey Mysterio and Randy Orton, and Dolph Ziggler and Kurt Angle will face off until there are only two left when WWE presents Crown Jewel.

+ The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) (c) (w/ The Big Show) vs The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Big E) (w/ Xavier Woods) (SmackDown Tag Team Championships): this was easily the most PPV-like match of the show, and I really enjoyed it. Cesaro is always fantastic, but these two teams have some genuine chemistry where I’m even okay seeing Big E and Sheamus interact. Throw in the third man on the outside for each time and this was the only match that felt even a little bit special
+ Kurt Angle vs Dolph Ziggler (w/ Drew McIntyre) (WWE World Cup Tournament First Round Match): it was great to see Angle back in the ring (the battle royale he won as Los Conquistador notwithstanding), and this was a good match between two very good amateur wrestlers. But for Angle’s big return since Wrestlemania, this was a bit of a let down. Nonetheless, both guys looked good, and this was probably the better match of the Raw two
+ Rey Mysterio vs Randy Orton (WWE World Cup Tournament First Round Match): this was good, as you would expect from these two and the history they have, but it was very short. I really enjoyed the ending, though

– D-Generation X (Triple H & Shawn Michaels) vs The Brothers of Destruction (Kane & The Undertaker): this was just heartbreaking to watch. Undertaker vs Triple H was fine enough for what it was, but I hoped that was the last time they went one on one, and now I might just extend that thought to any combination of tag matches. Seeing these four guys lumber around, particularly seeing HBK look as lost as he did half the time just ruined the memory I had of him. I’m pretty sure Triple H injured himself, and if so, there is legitimately nothing good to come out of this match at all
– World Cup Tournament Final: absolutely horrid. This made no sense, and I don’t give a shit if the live crowd loved it, this was the most ridiculous and insulting outcome possible
– Braun Strowman vs Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman) (Universal Championship): the Universal Championship is cursed, and I wish a curse on whoever is in charge of how this is being written. Fucking hell, it’s ridiculous
– AJ Styles (c) vs Samoa Joe (WWE Championship): this was so, so boring. I can’t believe how much I have hated this last almost-a-year of AJ Styles title reign, and I don’t think he has had a single four-star plus defense against anyone. Joe should be monstering the Smackdown roster like Lesnar/Strowman is Raw, but every match he and Styles have he always come across as a geek, even when he wins. This match was disappointing, with such a flat finish I can’t even believe they bothered to do it
– Raw World Cup Tournament Semi-Final: holy smoke this was a boring match. Like the match on the Smackdown side, this was another we have seen a billion times in recent memory (which I guess could be a spoiler, but damn it, this was bad enough I want to spoil it). Just… avoid this
– SmackDown World Cup Tournament Semi-Final: this was okay, and definitely did not go the way I thought it would (so it gets the surprise factor, at least). Both guys have had good recent history, and despite the fact that almost no combination of matchups was going to be fresh, I think we saw this one not more than a few weeks ago
– Seth Rollins vs Bobby Lashley (w/ Lio Rush) (WWE World Cup Tournament First Round Match): these two could have a good rivalry, but this was not the time or place to have them go all out, and frankly it showed. This was not good, but I hope one day it could be
– Jeff Hardy vs The Miz (WWE World Cup Tournament First Round Match): this was fine, but it was nothing special, especially considering how beloved and despised Hardy and Miz usually are, respectively. This simply should have felt like a bigger deal than it did

> I don’t think the commentators (which included Renee Young, by the way) mentioned that they were in Saudi Arabia once throughout the four hour show. Smart move, I guess.

Should you watch this event: Absolutely not. Real world issues aside, there was nothing on this show that is must see, and even the few positives, above, are not worth the nearly four hour slog where things were made to be meaningless on the show itself. Without even going into the fact that the final three matches were some of the worst wrestling and booking you’ll ever see, this was forgettable in every aspect.

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