WWE Crown Jewel





WWE Crown Jewel

By Big Red Machine
From November 02, 2018

WWE Crown Jewel
OPENING VIDEO PACKAGE - If I'm commenting on this, you know it's either really good or really bad, I thought this one was pretty darn great.

HULK HOGAN PROMO - Well... they found somewhere where Hogan is still really over and people aren't tired of his shtick and tired of his other sh*t yet (though it was definitely more the fifteen and over crowd who was excited for him rather than the children. He said "I found out the power of my Hulkamaniacs was strong than ever right here in the Crown Jewel, brother!" It was basically your show-opening fluff promo.

ANNOUNCER STUFF - They have an Arabic commentary team now, which seems like a natural thing to have that they didn't have last time. For those wondering, Renee is covered from her neck to her toes, with the exception of her fingers, but her head is not.

They not only gave the ring announcer's name (it's Greg Hamilton), but had a graphic for him that included plugging his Twitter. That's certainly a deviation from the norm.

WWE WORLD CUP QUARTERFINAL MATCH:
Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Randy Orton - 4.75/10


Decent opener. Rey won clean via roll-up, but then got RKOed and beaten up because Randy is a sore loser. I figured Jeff Hardy would come out to make the save but he never came.

BYRON SAXTON INTERVIEWS THE MIZ - Miz's promo was very good. This is a much better role for Saxton.

WWE WORLD CUP QUARTERFINAL MATCH:
The Miz vs. Jeff Hardy - 5.75/10


Miz wins basically clean. That was surprising on both counts.

WWE WORLD CUP QUARTERFINAL MATCH:
Seth Rollins vs. Bobby Lashley (w/Lio Rush) - 4/10


A pretty decent power vs. speed match while it lasted. Rollins wins clean, with no Dean Ambrose anywhere in sight. The announcers spend a lot of time talking about how" dominant" Lashley was during the match, and how this loss putting him in a bad mood could mean trouble for the other Raw Superstars, which I assume was their attempt to protect him despite the clean loss.

BYRON SAXTON INTERVIEWS KURT ANGLE - This was by far the best interview Kurt has given since he returned to WWE, simply because he actually sounded believable and natural rather than like a mediocre actor reciting a poorly-written script.

WWE WORLD CUP QUARTERFINAL MATCH:
Kurt Angle vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/Drew McIntyre) - 7/10


Kurt got the year of Kurt's debut wrong (it was Survivor Series 1999, not 1998). These two had a great match with an extremely shocking result of Dolph winning clean. In fact, not only did he win clean, but he kicked out of an Angle Slam and survived quite a while in the Angle Lock before managing to reverse it.

WWE SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
Sheamus & Cesaro(c) (w/Big Show) vs. New Day (w/Xavier Woods) - 6.25/10


New Day rode a "magic carpet" to the ring. Graves and Renee both wondered if this was "wizardry," which is something that will get you executed in Saudi Arabia. Kofi was the babyface in peril but was able to make a hot tag to Big E. New Day got a few spots in for their comeback, but then Big E. got put down by a WMD from Big Show and a Brogue Kick from Sheamus.

BYRON SAXTON INTERVIEWS THE MIZ AGAIN - GREAT! Miz apparently got kicked in the throat by Jeff so his voice was quite raspy here. This interview gave Graves some much-needed ammo to cast Miz as an underdog even though the beating Rey took from Orton was much worse (and after the match).

BYRON SAXTON INTERVIEWS REY MYSTERIO JR. - Great promo by Rey.

WWE WORLD CUP SEMIFINAL MATCH:
Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. The Miz - 6.5/10


Miz worked over Rey's ribs, which were apparently injured by Orton's attack. In yet another shocker, Miz won clean.

BYRON SAXTON INTERVIEWS SETH ROLLINS - Fine.

WWE WORLD CUP SEMIFINAL MATCH:
Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/Drew McIntyre) - 7.5/10


Ziggler works the neck and gets the win because of interference by McIntyre. Great match.

BYRON SAXTON INTERVIEWS DOLPH ZIGGLER - Another good promo by Dolph.

WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH:
AJ Styles(c) vs. Samoa Joe - 6.75/10


A disappointing match, all things considered, though a lot ofthat is going to be due to the fact that they only went 11:20. Joe worked the head while AJ worked the knee... and then AJ randomly won with a Phenomenal Forearm instead of the Calf Crusher he had been setting up for. This was great (because with these two, it's be hard for it not to be, and especially in a match lacking any sort of shenanigans), but it in no way felt like a world title match on a major show.

SINGLES MATCH FOR THE VACANT WWE UNIVERSAL TITLE:
Braun Strowman vs. Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) - 1.5/10


Baron Corbin came out to watch the match from ringside. He was met by silence from the crowd, but by groans of exasperation from be because his otherwise unnecessary presence here just screams "F*CK FINISH!"

Corbin got in the ring to present the title to the referee, but this was a ruse to allow him to hit Braun with the belt from behind. Brock then hit an F-5 after the bell but Braun kicked out. Then we got another F0% for the nearfall... and props are due to Brock, Braun, and whoever came up with this idea, because I actually bit on both of those false finishes. I didn't bite on the third one, though, because at that point I became certain Braun was winning.

Brock then picked Braun up and F-5ed him all the way down to the floor for another false finish on the count-out. Braun managed to escape a fifth attempt, hit Brock with a boot... and then got caught with another F-5... and that was the finish.

I had A LOT of trouble rating this match, simply because I actually thought it was going somewhere really good until that final F-5 and then the finish. They teased us with the idea of a match with an actual story, but then it turned out to be just another short Lesnar finisher-spam title match, and we're back to Brock Lesnar: absentee champion, the same place we've been for YEARS. And now we've got this f*cking Survivor Series graphic letting us know that it's going to be Brock vs. AJ, meaning not only are we getting the same stupid concept as last year, but they're even repeating a match, with both guys on the same show and in the same position.

As for Corbin, I actually think Braun might well be the best opponent for him, but this was now YET ANOTHER F*CK FINISH IN A UNIVERSAL TITLE MATCH (okay, so the f*ckery was in the beginning in this case, but it prevented Braun from every having a chance, so it still counts as a f*ck finish to me). This belt doesn't mean sh*t at this point.

WWE WORLD CUP FINALS:
The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler - no rating, didn't happen


Shane McMahon came out to watch this match along with Corbin. The ref ejected Drew from ringside preemptively. Drew gave Dolph a pep talk on his way to the back, and Miz took advantage of this to attack Dolph from behind. They fought for a bit (mostly Miz on offense, but Dolph hurt Miz's knee, as well) while the ref kept insisting on trying to break them up rather than calling for the bell.

Miz sold his leg as if he had a serious knee injury. Instead of calling medics out, the referee called for more referees. Miz was eventually announced as being unable to compete, but Shane insisted "it's not going down like that! This is the finals!" Shane then decided that the best replacement for Miz would be... HIMSELF!

All three announcers thought this was BS. And apparently Corbin's consent was not necessary, even though this is an inter-brand match. On the bright side, if Shane loses, he'll have to fire himself and then he'll be gone!

WWE WORLD CUP FINALS:
Dolph Ziggler vs. Shane McMahon - 0.75/10


Shane beat Dolph up a bunch. Corbin grabbed Shane's leg to interfere so he got ejected by the referee, who the announcers insisted must be doing Shane favors because he is "Smackdown referee." I didn't realize they had different refereeing crews. If they do, they really should bring back the blue shirts for the Smackdown refs so we can tell the difference.

Shane being distracted yelling at Corbin allowed Dolph to hit the Zig-Zag, which Shane kicked out of. Shane then beat Dolph up a bunch, hit a Coast-to-Coast, then pinned Dolph cleanly to win the WWE World Cup. Shane then grabbed the trophy and di a big victory lap, apparently being proud of winning a this tournament that he did not earn his way into the finals of and beating a man who had already wrestled two previous matches tonight. At least at WrestleMania IX Hogan was correcting an actual injustice. Shane has got to be a heel now, right?

Oh, who am I kidding? Last year he Pearl Harbored his unsuspecting opponents, leading his roster in a gang-beatings of not just Raw wrestlers, but even defenseless production people, and I was still supposed to think he was a babyface. Five bucks says on Tuesday they'll have him come out and talk about how great he is and how he set an example for his Smackdown guys and name himself the captain of Team Smackdown which he will lead into battle to defeat Raw at Survivor Series to prove once and for all that Smackdown is the dominant brand and that Vince totally doesn't love Stephanie more than him and that the fact that Vince has been using Photoshop to replace him with Hunter in family portraits and how many TitanTrons has Stephanie jumped off of, dad? ZERO! That's how many! So WHY WON'T YOU PAY ATTENTION TO ME?!

D-GENERATION X vs. THE BROTHERS OF DESTRUCTION - 7.5/10


I went to take a quick bathroom break in what I figured was the middle of Taker's entrance. When I got back, he and Kane were still on the ramp and his music was still playing. I believe this entrance was longer than the previous two matches combined, and was probably longer than at least a third of the matches on this show.

And while we're on the subject of entrances, HBK is well-known for crossing himself and praying that no one will be injured before every match (usually on the stage or at the bottom of the ramp). He didn't do that this time. But yeah. There is totally progress being made here and tolerance and liberalism being promoted by doing this show.

The referee is just standing around, not doing sh*t, as all four guys are on the outside and Taker is about to put HBK through a table. He watched Kane very deliberately chokeslam Hunter through a table and didn't call of a DQ. Hunter was then checked on by the ringside doctor for a long time (I guess being an executive means you get a real doctor, not referees like Miz got) so HBK could be the babyface in peril.

HBK knocked Kane's mask off by just punching so hard but Kane was able to get his mask on before being separated from it for too long caused him to turn back into Corporate Kane, much like how Thor turns into Donald Blake when he is separated Mjolnir for too long. HBK was also nice enough to knee Kane right in the head on his moonsault to the outside, which hurt Kane even more than usual because without his mask, he had no hair to protect his head.
Hunter recovered and got the hot tag and made the made the comeback. Then they went in their finisher tease and false finishes and so on until the finish, which was Hunter pinning Kane after a Pedigree.

I know I'm going to be in the minority here, but I thought this match was great. Yes, it went long, but I never felt like it dragged, and never felt like they were stalling. Yes, there were some moments that did not look good (Hunter and Taker going into the barricade being the worst of them), they were often moving slowly, yes, but the movement always felt like it had a purpose; something was always coming. The psychology was solid, the match was dramatic, and while they clearly weren't as great as they once were, they were still able to put on a great performance, at least for this one night.

Final Thoughts
So yeah. This was a pretty darn bad show. Most of the matches were way too short, so that even some of the few that did manage to deliver on some level (AJ vs. Joe, Angle vs. Ziggler) were still disappointing relative to expectations, and the booking was... counterproductive is nowhere near strong enough. It almost felt like trolling. When the best thing I can think coming out of a show is "well... at least they didn't air a propaganda video for a dictatorial monarchy that treats women like second-class citizens, will put you to death for being gay, won't allow the public practice of a religion other than theirs, has demanded that certain people not be brought to their shows due to their country of origin, and just a few weeks ago murdered a dissenting journalist," that's not a good sign. In fairness to WWE, though, I will say that they did a good job of truly making this feel like just a show in a part of the world that rarely gets them rather than the constant, inescapable spouting of propaganda we got last time. While I was watching the show, they had me pissed off at the poor quality of the show rather than everything else surrounding it. This show could have been a lot sleazier than it wound up being. But again: "it wasn't as sleazy as I expected" is in no way a compliment.

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