Wrestling Review: WWE Crown Jewel (2022)

The city of Riyadh, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia once again plays host to one of the largest premium live events of the WWE calendar, as superstars from Raw and Smackdown come together for Crown Jewel. In the main event, the incumbent, unstoppable Tribal Chief, Roman Reigns, looks to continue his legendary two-year championship reign when he defends the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship against Logan Paul, the YouTube sensation that has only two matches under his belt. Paul has claimed that no man is undefeatable, and if Logan Paul is to win the championship in the biggest upset in wrestling history, he only needs to land that one lucky punch. Also, all three members of Damage CTRL will be in action across two matches: firstly, Bayley will challenge Bianca Belair one more time for Belair’s Raw Women’s Championship, but this time will be in a Last Woman Standing Match. Bayley’s cohorts will also be competing at Crown Jewel when they face the team that defeated them for the Women’s Tag Team Championships less than one week ago, the returning Asuka and Alexa Bliss. Meanwhile, the only way to contain the rivalry between Drew McIntyre and Karrion Kross is to put the two inside a steel cage, with only pinfall, submission or escapef rom the cage determining a winner between these two dangerous men. Not to be outdone, two absolute monsters will share the ring when Braun Strowman faces literally the biggest challenge of his career when he attempts to stand up to the Nigerian Giant, Omos. After months of back and forth attacks and trading singles victories, The OC reuintes to battle The Judgement Day at full strength: AJ Styles teams up once more with Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows to battle FInn Balor, Damien Priest and Dominik Mysterio, with Rhea Ripley as the X-factor on the outside. Finally, kicking off the show will be the clash between two of the most decorated combat athletes in the world, let alone the WWE, as Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley collide. Lesnar made his shocking return a few weeks ago and in doing so essentially cost Lashley his United States Championship. The two will settle whatever differences they now have when they go face to face at Crown Jewel.

+ Roman Reigns (c) vs Logan Paul (Undisputed WWE Universal Championship): this was not a great match by any means, but it was a lot better than I think anyone was expecting. Of course Logan Paul is hella athletic and clearly takes this whole ‘wrestling’ thing seriously, but a lot of praise has to go to Reigns who was clearly leading Paul through the match and simultaneously playing his own character perfectly. Logan Paul’s brother was there which I personally felt was a waste of time, but whatever, I’m not really a fan of either of them. Also of note, Logan hit a picture perfect ‘Buckshot Lariat’, which I can only imagine was a shot at CM Punk
+ Bianca Belair (c) vs Bayley (WWE Raw Women’s Championship) (Last Woman Standing Match): truthfully I wasn’t expecting much from this, solely due to the location of the match, but this ended up being an absolute banger and probably the best match on the show, all the way up to and including the ending. Both women were clearly going out there to put on the best match, and I got a kick out of Bayley talking some trash to the people at ringside. There were a lot of objects in this one, and it just made everything so much more impactful
+ The Usos (Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso) vs The Brawling Brutes (Ridge Holland & Butch) (Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships): overall this was a real positive, and the best way to describe it is that it felt like a PPV match rather than a long TV match. The crowd was chanting for Sami which is funny for some non-wrestling-related reasons, but they still got behind all of the stuff that the Brutes did. I know Ridge is not a particularly great wrestler, but something about him is really doing it for me lately. I think he’s found his groove after the Big E injury, which is admittedly not the ideal timing
+ The OC (AJ Styles, Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows) vs The Judgement Day (Finn Balor, Damien Priest & Dominik Mysterio) (w/ Rhea Ripley): hot damn, this was really good, especially because the crowd was hugely invested. Styles and Balor were both great, but Dominik barely had to do anything to get the crowd going nuts against him. I was also genuinely shocked that Michael Cole mentioned both the Bullet Club and Anderson’s NEVER Openweight title by name
+ Alexa Bliss & Asuka (c) vs Damage CTRL (Dakota Kai & Iyo Sky) (WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships): this was pretty good, but I wasn’t particularly thrilled to have the match happen again so soon after the Raw title change. It all ended up playing out as you’d expect, but I could have done without seeing it so soon. Both Asuka and Iyo were on their tip-top A-game, and Dakota is always good, but it was Alexa who surprised me and looked as good as she ever has. I wasn’t a fan of the finish, but that seemed to be the theme of the show
+ Brock Lesnar vs Bobby Lashley: these Lesnar sprints are always exciting, and I enjoyed this. Bobby Lashley looked great, and I think that was important based on the build, and the fact I don’t imagine Lesnar is sticking around. Shame the ending was so lame

Bray Wyatt spoke to the WWE Universe in the same sort of segment we have seen for weeks now. I am a huge fan of Bray Wyatt as a creative mind and even a wrester (when he is not acting Fiendish), so I am keen to get him moving onto something a bit more substantial. There may have even been a tease of something on this show
Braun Strowman vs Omos: this was objectively not a good match, but hot damn I was completely invested in this. I’m a sucker for big meaty men bumping meat, and that’s exactly what this was. Omos showed some real character as he trash talked the smaller Strowman (which are words I never thought I’d use)
Drew McIntyre vs Karrion Kross (w/ Scarlett) (Steel Cage Match): Scarlett’s Saudi-approved attire combned with her facial make-up to give off an almost Pinhead vibe. WWE cage matches always go the same way, and this was barely an exception. It never makes sense to me when the good guy tries to win via escape rather than get their revenge on the bad guy. Drew was too big for Kross to throw him around, and the way the story has gone it woudln’t have made sense for Drew to dominate. This was not great, and by now these two really need to do something other than face each other

Should you watch this event: Aside from the Omos/Strowman monster match, there was not an unwatchable match on this show, and even that match was not meant to be a technical masterpiece. Bayley/Belair, Reigns/Paul and the Usos/Brutes tag match were all well worth seeking out, but truthfully this is one of those shows that you can easily watch in full (as long as you skip the huge amount of wasted time between matches).

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