It is Halloween night in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh plays host to WWE Crown Jewel. Both of WWE’s top titles are on the line, as WWE Champion Brock Lesnar faces a rival from his UFC years in Cain Velasquez, whilst Seth Rollins defends the Universal Champion against recent thorn in his side, The Fiend Bray Wyatt, in a match where falls count anywhere, and the match can only be stopped by declaring a winner. Also on the show will be the greatest tag team turmoil match in history, where nine of the top teams int he WWE will battle in a gauntlet to determine the Best Tag Team in the World and take ownership of an extravagant trophy. Plus, Saudi Arabia’s own Mansoor will face Cesaro, AJ Styles defends the UNited States Championship, and for the first time ever, two WWE women, Natalya and Lacey Evans, will compete live in Saudi Arabia.
+ AJ Styles (w/ Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson) vs Humberto Carillo (WWE United States Championship): this was good, and probably the match of the night, which, as much as I did enjoy this, is faint praise. It flabbergasts me that they remind you that Humberto is a Garza, and Angel Garza even mentions as such on NXT, but they still don’t let him BE a Garza. Styles is great and the crowd loved him, and overall this was a lot of fun
+ Mansoor vs Cesaro: this was pretty good, thanks in large part to how damn good Cesaro is, and how wildly popular the hometown hero, Mansoor, was to the Riyadh crowd. That might sound harsh, because this was good, but were it not for Mansoor’s Saudi heritage, you can be sure he would never even be on WWE TV, outside of the occasional NXT squash
+ “World’s Greatest” Tag Team Turmoil: Lucha House Party looked great for their part, as did Heavy Machinery. Only the B Team looked out of place, as teams like The New Day, The Revival and the Viking Raiders added some (relative) star power. Overall, I enjoyed this as one of the highlights of the show
– Seth Rollins (c) vs “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt (WWE Championship): the first five or ten minutes here were so enjoyable I was willing to look past that irredeemable dumpster fire that was Hell in a Cell… but then it all devolved into the same old bullshit. I cannot fathom who thought the match going the way it did was a good idea after the mainstream press response to that previous match, and if there is anyone out there that thought this was good (immediate ending aside) then may Vince McMahon himself come to my house and I will shine his shoes
– Team Hogan vs Team Flair: all this talent, and it was clear from the very beginning how this was going to end (pro tip: have a look at who gets all the pyro in their entrance). I wanted to enjoy this, and as much as the crowd was going nuts for certain wrestlers in particular (looking at you, God-King Randall K. Orton). It is nuts to see how far someone like Nakamura, Ricochet and Gable have fallen from the last few years, compared to their times in New Japan or NXT. With so much talent it is a shame how standard this match was
– Natalya vs Lacey Evans: yes, a women’s match in Saudi Arabia. This was fine, but we’ve seen this particular match so much that even the writers at WWE thought so, and they made these two friends, so this match didn’t make sense except that the WWE clearly wanted two blonde, white women to be in the first women’s match in KSA. In terms of significance, this may end up being something special, but as a match it was not good
– Tyson Fury vs Braun Strowman: this was horrendous. Technically, visually and in terms of story telling, this was one of the worst matches I’ve ever seen, fitting that the last Crown Jewel show featured Goldberg vs Undertaker
– Brock Lesnar (c) (w/ Paul Heyman) vs Cain Velasquez (w/ Rey Mysterio) (WWE Championship): to call this match garbage would be unfair – garbage at least had some use at some point. At best, I can only commend Lesnar and Velasquez for making what must be millions of dollars to do this
Should you watch this event: Maybe it was fate that this was on Halloween, because sitting through this was a nightmare. If you’re a tag team aficionado, seek out the Turmoil match, but don’t bother with anything else at all.