Reviews

The John Report: WWE Crown Jewel 2021 Review

WWE Crown Jewel 2021 featuring Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar, Big E and more.

It’s time for WWE Crown Jewel pay-per-view featuring Roman Reigns defending the Universal Title against Brock Lesnar, Big E defending the WWE Title against Drew McIntyre and Becky Lynch defending the Smackdown Women’s Title against Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks in a triple threat match.

Crown Jewel’s main show started at 12pm ET due to the time difference in Saudi Arabia, so it’s an afternoon show for me. There is one match on the Kickoff Show and then nine matches on the main card.

The announcers for the Kickoff Show match are Michael Cole from Smackdown as well as Raw’s Corey Graves and Byron Saxton. They don’t send all of the announcers for the Saudi shows.

The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) vs. The Hurt Business (Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander)

The Smackdown Tag Team Titles are not on the line. They are both heel teams, but the crowd is solidly behind The Usos. After Jey hit a move, the crowd popped big and then Alexander used a Benjamin distraction for Alexander to hit an armbar takedown. Benjamin with kicks on Jey and Alexander tagged in with a jumping knee on Jey for a two count. Alexander with a chinlock, Jey got out and Alexander hit an overhead suplex for two. Benjamin back in with a shoulderbreaker on the left arm of Jey followed by an arm drag. Benjamin worked on Jey by the turnbuckle, Jey fought out of a move, but then Benjamin hit a spinebuster. Alexander tagged in to work over Jey’s arm and stomped on the arm a bit. Benjamin pulled on Jey’s arm against the rope. Jey started a comeback with punches (the fans cheering every punch) and Jey hit a spin kick. Jimmy tagged in against Alexander with Cedric hitting an uppercut and Jimmy hitting a clothesline, a kick, a punch and a lifting powerslam for two. Jimmy hit a running hip attack against the turnbuckle. Jimmy got a rollup, Alexander kicked him into the ropes and Alexander got a cheap shot on Jimmy. Alexander hit a brainbuster for two. Jey helped Jimmy avoid a double team, Jimmy punched Alexander, Benjamin with a running knee and an Angle Slam by Shelton got two. Alexander with a jumping kick, Benjamin hit the Paydirt move that he used as a finisher and that got a two count. Jimmy fought out of a Powerbomb, Jimmy with a superkick, Jey tagged in for a double superkick. Alexander was legal, the Usos avoided him and Usos hit a double superkick. Jey up top and he hit an Uso Splash for the pinfall win at 10:39.

Winners by pinfall: The Usos

Analysis: *** A pretty good tag team match by four experienced veterans. There was no story going in, but The Usos wrestled as the faces with Jey as the Uso in peril for most of the match and then Jimmy got the hot tag leading to the finish soon after. The Usos know the formula to have a three-star match like that every time they get ten minutes and Benjamin has been in many tag matches in his career. The Usos are still heels, but the fans loved these guys as the team with more star power.

That was the only Kickoff Show match. The Kickoff Show panel was Kayla Braxton, Matt Camp and Peter Rosenberg talking about the matches while they aired a lot of video packages and some interviews as well. Bring on the main show.

=====

WWE Crown Jewel
From Mohammed Abdu Arena on the Boulevard in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
October 21, 2021

The opening video package showed some highlights of past Crown Jewel events followed by some clips promoting the big matches on this year’s show with Reigns/Lesnar at the end of it.

There was an impressive pyro display by the entrance and then more pyro going off in the open-air stadium as well. Lots of cheers. Plenty of kids in the crowd as well.

The announce team of Smackdown’s Michael Cole and Raw’s Corey Graves & Byron Saxton were at ringside to call the action. The Arabic announce team was shown at ringside as well.

The red Hell in a Cell structure was lowered around the ring. That match is up first.

A video package aired about Edge’s Hell in a Cell match with Seth Rollins. Edge beat Rollins at SummerSlam, then Rollins beat Edge on Smackdown at Madison Square Garden (with Edge doing a stretcher job to sell The Stomp) and Rollins wanted one more match. Rollins even entered Edge’s home with nobody in it at one point. Edge said let’s do it in a Hell in a Cell match. The story has been going for about three months since Rollins cost Edge the Universal Title at July’s Money in the Bank, so there’s been a long build to it.

Seth Rollins was up first. Impressive pyro display for him. It was mentioned by Cole that it will be Seth’s fourth Hell in a Cell match. Rollins was booed by the crowd. Edge got a big pop for his entrance as usual and the pyro display is always awesome when he enters for a match.

Hell in a Cell Match: Edge vs. Seth Rollins

The referee for this match is Jessika Carr, who is the first female WWE referee for a match in Saudi Arabia. She had to wear a long sleeve shirt under her referee’s shirt. The fans were hot right away as Edge sent Rollins throat first into the top rope and hit a boot to the face. Rollins with a necksnap across the top rope, then Rollins up top and he hit a knee to the head. Rollins went for a suicide dive, Edge moved and Rollins hit the red cell. Edge rammed Rollins into the cell a few times. Edge grabbed two chairs from under the ring and back in the ring with an Edgecution DDT by Edge for two. Edge grabbed a piece of the steel chair to try a submission, but Rollins fought it off and went for the eye, but Edge fought him off. Rollins with a Slingblade neckbreaker for a two count. Rollins with a baseball slide dropkick knocking Edge off the apron to the floor. Rollins whipped Edge into the cell two times. Rollins was looking under the cell for something, so Edge hit him with a baseball slide dropkick into the cell. Back in the ring, Edge hit a shoulder tackle to the ribs. Rollins was back in control with a chair shot to the back two times followed by more chair shots to the back/upper body of Edge. The fans chanting “you suck” at Rollins. Seth teased a Conchairto attack, but Edge was able to trip up Rollins. Edge went for the Crossface submission, Rollins got a hold of the steel bar from the chair and jabbed it into Edge’s face. Edge was selling the left eye and Rollins punched a chair into Edge’s face. Rollins up top and he hit a Frog Splash for two. Good sequence of moves by Rollins. Seth grabbed a table from under the ring leading to “yes” chants from the crowd. Rollins went back into the ring for some eye-gouging. Edge tried a move, but Rollins countered it into an Unprettier, which is Christian’s finisher even though Cole said it was Edge’s own move. Rollins went up top, Edge shoved Rollins into the cell and Rollins crashed through the table! Damn! What a bump. That was brutal. I haven’t seen a bump like that in Hell in a Cell, so that was cool by Rollins.

Edge moved around some furniture by taking apart the steel steps and sliding the bottom half of the steps into the ring. Edge got a hold of Rollins and hit the Edge-omatic sitout neckbreaker on the steps. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Edge jumped off the ropes with a steel chair onto Seth’s body on the steps. Edge ran into a superkick from Rollins and Rollins hit a Pedigree for two. Edge caught Rollins going for The Stomp, he hit a Buckle Bomb (a Rollins move) into the turnbuckle and a Spear for two. There’s Rollins kicking out of Edge’s finisher with the fans chanting “this is awesome” for them. Edge brought a table into the ring and even a ladder with the fans popping big because they know Edge’s ladder history. Edge rammed the top of the ladder into Seth’s face. Edge set up the ladder against the turnbuckle and then Rollins whipped Edge into that ladder. Rollins set up Edge on the table in the ring. Rollins put the ladder near the turnbuckle, Rollins climbed the ladder, Edge got back to stop Rollins and Edge teased a suplex through the table. Rollins with an eye gouge and Rollins hit a sunset flip Powerbomb through the table for two! The crowd popped while Rollins was frustrated. Rollins with a superkick, a kick to the leg, another superkick to the head and Edge was down. Rollins grabbed a steel chain, he put it around his right foot and tried to tie it while Edge was down in the ring. Rollins went for The Stomp with the steel chain around the boot so Rollins superkicked Edge with the chain. Edge sold it like he was knocked out. Rollins: “This is how your fairytale ends.” Rollins had Edge’s head placed on a steel chair. Rollins went for The Stomp, but Edge used the chair and the edge of the chair hit Rollins in the groin for a low blow. Rollins was holding his groin and Edge hit a superkick. The fans chanted “one more time” so Edge hit another superkick on Rollins, who was on his knees. Edge used the chain to pull back on Seth’s mouth. Rollins had a wrench, but then Edge got the wrench and did the Glasgow Grin pull on the head submission. Edge let go while Rollins nearly tapped out and thought about his next move. Edge hit The Stomp on the steel chair for the one…two…and three…pinfall win at 27:40.

Winner by pinfall: Edge

Analysis: ***** What a great match! Wow! That’s five stars, my friends. I loved everything about it. The timing of the match felt right, the weapons they used, the finality of it with Edge hitting The Stomp on a chair to win. I think all the nearfalls were tremendous as well like the Powerbomb through the table, the Buckle Bomb/Spear combo that got two for Edge and then near the end when Edge could have got the win by submission, but he wanted to cause even more pin and that led to the final pinfall. I’m not surprised that they had an epic match because they’re two of the best in-ring performers in WWE, they know how to set up the big spots and it was a logical conclusion to this great storyline. Rollins was terrific as the heel that showed no remorse for his past actions while Edge was the heroic babyface that was easy to root for in this match and this story. The finish was fine with me because it’s payback for Edge after Seth’s repeated attacks and doing The Stomp into a chair makes it more devastting. I picked Rollins to win, but it does make logical sense for Edge to win since Rollins cost him the Universal Title and did many attacks as well. This is probably the best WWE match in Saudi Arabia, one of the best PPV openers ever and one of the best Hell in a Cell matches ever.

Both guys sold it like they were exhausted and they probably were. Edge was laying down beside Rollins with Edge face first. They might have been talking to eachother there. Anyway, Edge slowly got back to his feet and the crowd gave him a huge ovation. Edge was emotional as he looked out into the crowd as some pyro went off and Rollins left the ring. Edge left the ring looking satisfied.

Analysis: I’m so happy for both guys, especially Edge. He has come back after a nine-year layoff, a serious neck injury and now in his late 40s he’s having some of the best matches of his career. Edge vs. Rollins was a dream feud for a lot of us. They made the dream a reality. This is probably the best WWE Feud of the Year or at least a top contender.

A commercial aired for Survivor Series on November 21 hyping the Raw vs. Smackdown theme of the show. There were more commercials.

A video aired about Bianca Belair talking about her life and career. She begins officially on Raw on Monday.

Mustafa Ali was up first followed by his opponent Mansoor, who is from Riyadh and he got a big pop.

Mansoor vs. Mustafa Ali

They battled over headlocks and armbars early on. Mansoor got a takedown leading to a standing moonsault and a dropkick. Ali left the ring and told the crowd to shut up. Back in the ring, Mansoor with a waistlock takedown, Ali with a back kick and a chop. The fans were fired up for Mansoor getting some chops, Ali into the ropes, then Ali held on and bailed to the floor. Mansoor with a dropkick to the floor. Ali pulled on the ring apron to trip up Mansoor, who took a back bump on the apron. Ali whipped Mansoor’s back into the barricade and Ali got a rollup for two. Ali grounded Mansoor with a Camel Clutch submission, Mansoor got out of that, Ali went to the turnbuckle and hit an impressive Tornado DDT for two. Ali stomped on Mansoor while calling him a loser, worthless and telling Mansoor he is nothing. Mansoor blocked a kick, then Mansoor fired back with a jumping kick, an atomic drop and a spinebuster. There were “Mansoor” chants as he punched Ali and stomped on him. Ali got a boot up, then he charged and Mansoor hit a clothesline leading to Ali bailing to the floor. Ali blocked a diving attempt with a dropkick. Ali went up top and went for a splash, but Mansoor moved and Mansoor hit an overhead belly to belly suplex into the turnbuckle. Mansoor hit a picture-perfect moonsault off the top, but then Mansoor was selling a neck injury. Ali countered a pin attempt into a Koji Clutch submission attempt around the head/neck of Mansoor, which lasted for a while until Mansoor got his left arm on the bottom rope to break. Ali went for a 450 Splash while Mansoor was near the ropes and Mansoor jumped over the top with a neckbreaker for the pinfall win at 9:58.

Winner by pinfall: Mansoor

Analysis: **3/4 A pretty good match here with a predictable result since Mansoor is undefeated in Saudi Arabia matches since WWE wants to put him over for the local crowd. I think ten minutes was the right amount of time for it. The finish worked fine since it was a basic story of Ali going for a big move off the ropes, Mansoor moved and Mansoor capitalized on the mistake to get the win. Don’t bet against Mansoor in Saudi Arabia matches.

After the match, Mansoor celebrated the win. However, Mustafa Ali attacked him. Some unfamiliar music played as a man walked out in white gear along with his face covered. Ali was confused by it while the fans were cheering. This man walked into the ring to reveal it was a silver medallist Karate competitor Tareg Hamedi from the Olympics, so the fans cheered when they saw him. When Ali charged, the guy kicked him in the head and Ali went down. The guy picked up Mansoor and they hugged. The fans loved it. Mansoor and Hamedi posed on the stage together. The fans cheered again.

Analysis: It was a fun moment for the local crowd. I know that Tareg Hamedi isn’t a big name to the worldwide audience, but it makes the local fans happy and sometimes it’s smart to do stuff like that. This worked really well.

A commercial aired for NXT’s Halloween Havoc special next Tuesday.

There was an in-ring segment with WWE Global Ambassador Titus O’Neil and Natalya in the ring with four women holding pink WWE Titles for breast cancer awareness month. Titus said that these four women have defeated breast cancer and they plugged the Zahra Breast Cancer Association in Saudi Arabia. Titus and Natalya urged on the crowd, so they cheered.

Analysis: Good for those women. F**k cancer.

The Raw Tag Team Title match was up next with the challenger AJ Styles and Omos up first. Big ovation for the championship RK-Bro duo of Randy Orton and Riddle although Riddle didn’t have a scooter – he made his entrance riding a camel with a handler. Cole said it was actually a dromedary since it’s a Camel with one hump. It was Orton & Riddle who beat Styles & Omos for the titles at SummerSlam.

Raw Tag Team Championships: RK-Bro (Randy Orton & Riddle) vs. AJ Styles & Omos

Styles faced off against Riddle with the fans chanting “bro” repeatedly. Styles go in a few punches, Riddle with kicks to the chest and Riddle with a kick on a running Styles. Orton got a nice pop when he tagged in with kicks to the body. The fans chanted “RKO” so Orton tried it, but Styles shoved him off. Orton with an uppercut followed by some stomps on the body and a boot to the head. Riddle jumped off Orton for a twisting splash followed by a gutwrench suplex in the corner near Omos. That led to Omos tagging in for the first time with a body slam, Riddle slipped out of a move and brought in Orton with the fans loving Orton. Orton with punches, Omos no-sold that and hit a shoulder tackle. Omos picked up Orton on the shoulder leading to Omos sending Orton into the turnbuckle. Styles with stomps, Orton with punches and Styles hit a dropkick for two. Omos back in with a squeeze on the left shoulder, so Orton did an eye gouge and Riddle tagged in against Styles. Riddle with a jumping kick, Riddle with forearms on both guys, and a suplex. Riddle hit a broton splash and a running kick for two. They exchanged strikes with Riddle hitting a jumping knee to the head. Orton back in, he sent Styles into the ribs of Omos and Orton hit a powerslam. Orton wanted a DDT, Omos grabbed Orton and Riddle grabbed Omos. Orton sent Omos throat first into the top rope. Styles punched Orton, Styles went for a Phenomenal Forearm, but Orton avoided it and hit an RKO! Huge pop for that. That was great. Riddle hit a Floating Bro off the top for the pinfall win on Styles at 8:40.

Winners by pinfall: RK-Bro (Randy Orton & Riddle)

Analysis: **3/4 It was just an average match with the champions retaining thanks to that RKO outta nowhere and then Riddle’s splash on Styles to get the win. It’s not a surprise that Styles was the guy that got pinned instead of Omos, who is protected and yet to be pinned in WWE. That was the expected result.

Becky Lynch, the Smackdown Women’s Champion, was interviewed by Kevin Patrick. Lynch didn’t like Kevin asking about Sasha Banks beating Becky Lynch. When Kevin mentioned Becky can lose her title in a triple threat match without being pinned and Becky knows how a triple threat works. Lynch said that it’s time for the champ to remind everyone just who the hell she is.

A commercial aired for a new era of Smackdown on Friday night.

There was a video showing Charlotte Flair highlights while mentioning she joins the Smackdown roster on Friday.

Zelina Vega entered first for the Queen’s Crown tournament finals and then Doudrop was next. There wasn’t a big reaction for either woman.

Queen’s Crown Tournament Finals: Doudrop vs. Zelina Vega

Both women were wrestling in pants, long sleeve shirts and t-shirts on top. Doudrop used her power to shove Vega down. Doudrop blocked a kick and headbutted Vega. Vega with a necksnap into the top rope, Vega jumped off the middle rope, Doudrop caught her and Vega could not get a pin attempt. Doudrop with two double axhandles along with an elbow drop. Doudrop to the middle rope, Vega grabbed the leg and Vega hit an impressive Tornado DDT for a two count. Vega with a kick for a two count. Doudrop drove Vega back first into the turnbuckle. Vega went for a move, but Doudrop came back with a clothesline. Doudrop went for a cannonball in the corner, Vega with double knees to the face and knees against the turnbuckle for a two count. Vega charged, but Doudrop hit a sidewalk slam for a two count. Doudrop with a running senton splash for two. Doudrop went for the running splash, Vega moved and Vega hit the Code Red (sunset flip Powerbomb) for the pinfall at 5:50.

Winner by pinfall: Zelina Vega

Analysis: ** It was okay for the time given. Big difference in size, but the smaller Vega found a way to hit some big moves and I thought she did that finisher on Doudrop really well. They got about double the time that most of the Queen’s Crown tournament matches got, so that’s good at least.

After the match, Zelina Vega walked onto the stage where she put on a cape, a crown and grabbed the scepter. Vega sat on the throne. Ring announcer Greg Hamilton announced: “All hail Queen Zelina.” It led to Zelina doing some waving and she walked back with her queen’s attire.

Analysis: Going with a heel Queen Vega was the right move. I think she’ll continue to do some strong promo work and this will make her more of an egotistical heel as well.

There was a video shown about some of the events from Riyadh Season that started one day earlier.

A video package aired about Goldberg’s feud with Bobby Lashley leading to their No Holds Barred Match at Crown Jewel. It’s a personal rivalry.

It was announced that this was a No Holds Barred Match (which we already knew) where Falls Count Anywhere as well. That was added to the match today. Bobby Lashley was up first as the heel in the match with the fans booing the former WWE Champion. The fans were chanting right on cue as Bill Goldberg’s music hit, then there was a knock on his dressing room door and Goldberg made his entrance. There was an impressive pyro display as usual as Goldberg made his way onto the stage. The fans were definitely behind Goldberg here.

No Holds Barred Falls Count Anywhere Match: Bobby Lashley vs. Bill Goldberg

Lashley had his hands wrapped with a chain, Goldberg attacked with punches and Lashley punched Goldberg with his chained hand. Lashley whipped Goldberg shoulder-first into the turnbuckle and ring post. Lashley brought a steel chair into the ring and hit Goldberg in the back several times. Lashley sent Goldberg into the turnbuckle again with Goldberg’s shoulder hitting the turnbuckle. Lashley brought a table into the ring. Lashley was standing on the left knee that had a brace on it. Lashley set up a table against the turnbuckle, Goldberg was back up and Lashley hit a shoulder tackle to the left knee. Lashley put a steel chair on Goldberg’s left knee and stomped on the chair. Lashley jumped off the bottom rope with a stomp on the chair. When Goldberg stumbled back up to his feet, Lashley charged and hit a Spear through the table (that he set up) because Goldberg moved. When Lashley finally got back up, Goldberg hit a Spear. Goldberg went for a Jackhammer and he actually connected with it. I was a bit surprised by that, but Goldberg hit it perfectly. Goldberg took off the two black gloves he had on. Goldberg sent Lashley out of the ring, Goldberg was limping and Goldberg gave Lashley a Spear through the barricade at ringside. Goldberg looked under the ring for something, he found nothing and sent Lashley into the barricade. Goldberg sent Lashley into the top of the announce table. Goldberg put Lashley’s head against the bottom half of the steel steps and Goldberg tried throwing the top half of the steps onto Lashley, but Lashley moved out of the way. Lashley stumbled back to his feet and walked up the ramp with Goldberg following him. When Lashley made it nearly up the ramp, that’s when Shelton Benjamin and Cedrick Alexander of the Hurt Business showed up. They had kendo sticks. Goldberg kicked Benjamin and did a back body drop on Alexander. Goldberg hit Lashley in the ribs with a kendo stick. Lashley was standing on the top of the ramp, so Goldberg gave him a Spear off the ramp and they landed on piled of tables that were under some black covers. It was probably a 10-15 foot bump onto the tables. Goldberg covered Lashley there and got the pinfall win. Lashley had blood on his right arm. It went 11:25.

Winner by pinfall: Bill Goldberg

Analysis: *** It was a physical, hard-hitting match as expected. Lashley dominated the first half, then Goldberg hit the Spear and Jackhammer that usually won him matches, but he wanted to do more than that in this match. That led to more intensity from Goldberg as he finished off Lashley with the Spear off the ramp through the tables. That was better than I thought it would be and also longer than most Goldberg matches. I thought Lashley should win, but I guess WWE felt like Goldberg deserved to get his revenge and put him over at the same time. It makes sense for the story. To Goldberg’s credit, this was probably his best match in several years. It was certainly longer than most Goldberg matches.

Goldberg celebrated with some kids at ringside. Lashley was getting helped up. Goldberg spoke to the camera saying you shouldn’t mess with his family.

The announcers talked about the Goldberg/Lashley finish and how Goldberg was more intense than ever. They talked about the Reigns/Lesnar match and showed a quick Paul Heyman interview from the Kickoff Show earlier in the night.

King of the Ring Finals is next with Finn Balor up first and then Xavier Woods. The fans liked both guys.

King of the Ring Finals: Finn Balor vs. Xavier Woods

Balor and Woods did a fist bump out of respect since they are both babyfaces. Balor with a tight headlock to get control early, Woods got out of it and hit a Russian legsweep. Woods with a sunset flip attempt, Balor got to his feet and hit a low dropkick. Balor with a headlock, Woods with a belly to back suplex, Balor held on and Balor went for a Crossface submission, but Woods got to the ropes. Woods with a jumping side kick, a senton the back, drop toe hold into the ropes and a dropkick to the back. Woods with a kick to the head, Balor caught Woods and did a double leg takedown into a stomp. They got into a chop/strike exchange and Balor hit an elbow drop into reverse DDT for two. Balor with a Slingblade neckbreaker, but Woods came back with a superkick for two. Woods with chops, then punches, Balor sent him into the ropes, they exchanged strikes and Balor hit an overhead kick to knock both guys down. Woods lifted Balor, who came back with elbows and Woods got an inside cradle for two. Woods went up top, Balor with a leaping kick and Balor was up top, so Woods hit him with an uppercut palm strike. Woods hit a superplex for two. Woods went up top, he walked the ropes and jumped with the elbow drop, but Balor got the knees up for a two count. Balor with a Slingblade neckbreaker followed by the shotgun dropkick into the turnbuckle. Balor up top, he jumped off, Woods moved and Balor missed the double foot stomp. Woods with an inside cradle, kick to the head and a suplex into the knees. Woods went up top again, he walked the ropes again and delivered the top rope elbow drop for the pinfall win at 9:40.

Winner by pinfall AND NEW King of the Ring: Xavier Woods

Analysis: ***1/4 Good stuff here. The biggest win of Xavier’s singles career and I thought he was the right choice. I like that it was a back and forth match, it was fairly even the whole way, then Woods hit a series of moves and that was enough to put Balor away. The top rope walk into an elbow drop is an impressive looking finisher because of how far Woods can jump and how high he gets. Balor wasn’t able to hit his Coup de Grace finisher during the match, so it made sense for Woods to win. I don’t think Balor will be hurt by the loss. I hope he’s a top guy on Raw.

Xavier Woods went over to the throne that was on the stage. Woods put on the scepter and the crown. Woods tried to put the cape on, but the cape fell off. Woods said they’ll fix it later. Woods was announced as King Xavier, but Woods said “All Hail King Woods” so that’s it will probably be.

Analysis: I think King Woods sounds better than King Xavier, but that’s something they can figure out in the future. I’m happy for Xavier, who has talked about wanting to be king for a long time, so I hope he has fun with it.

A video aired about the WWE Championship match between champion Big E and challenger Drew McIntyre, who is a two-time WWE Champion. It’s another match between two faces that have respect for eachother.

Drew McIntyre was up first followed by the WWE Champion Big E. Both guys were cheered of course since they are both faces. The two wrestlers stood in the ring as the ring announcer Greg Hamilton did the introductions. I think Greg is fantastic at his job.

WWE Championship: Big E vs. Drew McIntyre

I’m sure most of you reading this already know, but Big E is staying on Raw and Drew is going to Smackdown starting this Friday. They did a couple of shoulder tackles early with nobody getting the advantage. Drew with an armdrag into an armbar. Big E with a leapfrog, Drew ran the ropes and Big E hit him with an elbow smash. Big E wanted a move on the apron, but Drew rolled out of the way. Drew hit a belly to belly suplex on the floor. That was impressive. Back in the ring, Drew with chops and Drew got a takedown with a side Russian legsweep for two leading to an armbar. Big E bounced off the ropes with Drew hitting a jumping spinebuster for two. Big E made the comeback with a belly to belly overhead suplex followed by a belly to belly side slam and running the ropes, but Drew hit another belly to belly suplex across the ring. Drew with a neckbreaker. Big E was back up with another belly to belly side slam followed by a running splash. Drew used his legs to rollup Big E for two and then Drew hit a Michinoku Driver (sitout powerslam) for a two count. Drew jumped over the top to the apron, then Drew up top and Big E avoided an attack. Big E with a uranage slam for a two count. Drew with the Glasgow Kiss headbutt (more like headbutting his own hand), Big E got a rollup for two and Drew hit a Future Shock DDT for two. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for this match with a lot of two counts. Drew went for a Claymore Kick, Big E caught him and hit a Powerbomb! Great counter. Big E applied the Stretch Muffler submission stretching the left leg around the neck, Drew sold it really well and countered it. Big E kicked Drew off him and Big E hit the Big Ending for two. That is Big E’s finishing move, so that’s a big kickout right there.

Big E tried to set up Drew on the top rope, then Drew stumbled off and Big E got a hold of Drew on the top rope. Big E teased a Big Ending off the top, but Drew punched him to stop that. Drew hit a bulldog off the top for two! Great counter move there. Big E was back up, Big E ducked out of the way of a charging Drew and Drew hit the mat after the missed Claymore Kick. Big E ran the ropes, Drew surprised him and hit a Claymore Kick for two. The fans chanted “holy shit” briefly, then “this is awesome” and “one more time” as well. McIntyre went for a move off the ropes, Big E got a hold of him, spun Drew around and Big E hit the Big Ending for the pinfall win at 13:31.

Winner by pinfall: Big E

Analysis: **** That was a fun match. Drew always delivers great PPV matches and Big E is certainly capable of it as he keeps getting chances to show what he can do. It wasn’t necessarily a long match, but it was all about having a lot of action right off the bat and a lot of nearfalls as well. Sometimes guys go 13 minutes and spend half the match doing chinlocks. This was not that. This was all action and well worked by both guys. This was exactly what it needed to be with Big E beating McIntyre in a competitive matchup to help solidify Big E as a credible WWE Champion. When Drew kicked out of the first Big Ending, it was obvious that Big E was kicking out of the Claymore Kick and since that’s such a protected move, it meant a lot for Big E to kick out of it. Big E winning was obvious since he won the title recently, Drew is going to Smackdown and Big E is going to stay on Raw as a top guy on that show.

After the match, Big E said “salute to you” Drew and Drew was up in the aisle, so he gave a thumbs up gesture to Big E. That led to Big E saying “respect to you” and he’s just getting started.

Analysis: Drew McIntyre is out of the WWE Title hunt now and onto Smackdown. A feud with Roman Reigns is certainly coming soon although they might wait a bit to do it.

They showed highlights of The Usos beating Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander on the Kickoff Show.

A video aired about WWE’s Be A Star rally in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. There were a bunch of kids there and then WWE superstars spoke to the kids there. It was the first time they did a “Be A Star” rally in Riyadh, so that’s cool for the superstars and the kids.

The Smackdown Women’s Title match didn’t get video package treatment. The SD Women’s Champion Becky Lynch was up first. Big star reaction for her and Sasha Banks got a big pop too even though she’s a heel. They did show match highlights showing how they got to this match, but not a video package like some of the other matches. Bianca Belair was last and the fans really liked her. Ring announcer Greg Hamilton did the introductions when the three women were in the ring.

Smackdown Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks vs. Bianca Belair

Like the other women’s match, the women are wrestling in pants, long sleeve gear under that and then t-shirts on top of that. It’s a regular triple threat where the first pinfall or submission wins the match.

Belair showed off her power early squashing Lynch against the turnbuckle and a fallaway slam on Banks. Belair with a press slam on Banks and Belair even did it with one hand. Lynch pulled Belair out of the ring and sent Belair into the barricade. Banks with a takedown using her legs and Banks rolled through for two. Banks with a slap to the face leading to an arm drag off the ropes, but then Becky bridged out of a pin attempt. Banks sent Lynch into Belair, who was on the apron. Becky’s kick got caught by Banks and Sasha hit a Meteora double knee attack for two. Banks with a bulldog on Lynch while kicking Belair off the apron. Belair sent Banks into the turnbuckle and kicked her. Banks with a headscissors on Belair into Lynch. Banks with knees to Lynch. Belair with Banks on her shoulders and then Lynch hit a missile dropkick off the middle ropes for a two count. Lynch with a flipping neckbreaker on Belair, leg drop and elbow drop. Belair avoided a leg drop from Lynch, then Lynch grabbed the ankle and Lynch hit a bulldog for two. Banks on the apron, Lynch kicked her and Lynch jumped off the middle rope with a leg drop for two. Lynch hit Bexploder Suplexes on both women for two counts. Lynch said she’s the history maker and game-changer. Lynch jumped off the top, then Banks/Belair caught her in her arms and they tossed Lynch into the turnbuckle. Banks and Belair took turns getting nearfalls, then Banks hit an arm drag and Belair hit a shoulder tackle on Banks. Belair with a backflip into a dropkick and Banks countered a suplex into a suplex of her own. Sasha hit the Three Amigos suplexes for Eddie Guerrero and some fans knew it so they chanted “Eddie” after that. Banks went up top and she went for a splash, Belair moved and Banks landed on her feet. Banks with knees to Lynch and sent Belair into the turnbuckle. Banks charged, but Belair got in the way and shoved Banks into the ropes. Lynch and Belair each got pin attempts on eachother. Lynch with a kick, but then Belair came back with a spinebuster for two. Belair had Lynch on her shoulders, she used Lynch’s feet to knock Banks down, Lynch landed on her feet and Belair hit a gutbuster. Belair wanted a splash, but Lynch got her knees up to block it. Three women went for a few moves and Belair showed off her power with a suplex on Banks. Belair with a moonsault attempt, but the other two women moved. Banks with a Bank Statement on Belair while Lynch applied a Disarm-her on Belair and they (Sasha/Becky) let go to fight eachother. Lynch with uppercuts followed by a kick. Lynch jumped off the top with nothing because Banks moved and Banks did a Backstabber into the Bank Statement submission. Belair was back in the ring with a moonsault on both women for two counts on both women. Banks with a knee to the jaw of Belair and a headscissors. There were some “Sasha” chants, but not that loud. Banks grabbed Belair’s hair leading to kicks to the body. Belair used the hair to trip Banks into a pin and then Lynch broke up the pin attempt. Lynch with forearms on both women, Banks hit Belair in the corner and Lynch hit the Manhandle Slam on Banks for two with Belair breaking it up with a punch. Belair battled Lynch, Belair went for a move, Lynch sent her to the apron and Lynch hit Belair with forearms. Banks jumped off Belair leading to a knee to Lynch. Banks with a knee to Belair. Belair did a backflip off the apron, Banks with a kick to the gut and Lynch jumped off the announce table onto both women. No countouts in a triple threat match.

Lynch rolled Belair back into the ring and Lynch hit a double underhook slam. Lynch applied the Disarm-her on Belair. Banks back in, so Lynch tripped up Banks too and Lynch went for the Disarm-her on both women. Belair powered back up, but then Banks hit a Backstabber on Belair. Lynch with a spin kick on Banks and Banks fought out of that. Belair with a Kiss of Death (KOD) on Lynch, but Banks prevented Belair from pinning. Lynch rolled up Banks in an inside cradle by tying up the limbs of Banks and Lynch grabbed the rope for the pinfall assist. The announcers noted it’s not a DQ since there’s no countout or DQ’s in a triple threat match. It went 19:25.

Winner by pinfall: Becky Lynch

Analysis: ***3/4 I enjoyed the match. It was technically sound with a lot of pin attempts and moments where it felt like any of the women could win. It went a bit long because I think when you do triple threat matches, there’s so much action already and I am not a huge fan of those kinds of matches going 20 minutes like that. The fans were into most of it, but then there were moments where they were quiet for several minutes because it was a bit long. I thought they did a nice job of putting over Belair’s power throughout the match, Banks was very crafty as kind of a tweener and Lynch was pure heel even though the fans cheered her a lot. There wasn’t a finishing move that was used to win the match. It was an inside cradle with the ropes that showed that Lynch had to get an assist to get the win rather than win in a clean manner.

Becky Lynch celebrated with the Smackdown Women’s Championship even though she’s on Raw and Raw Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair is on Smackdown. While Lynch held up her title in the ring, there was a pyro display. Belair looked heartbroken about the loss while Banks was frustrated.

Analysis: It will be interesting to see what they do with the women’s titles. It could be a case of Lynch and Flair swapping the titles like New Day/Street Profits did last year, but I don’t know if WWE wants to do that again or try something else.

A video aired about the WWE Network content on Peacock.

The announcers talked about the Edge/Seth Rollins classic Hell in a Cell match to open the show. Edge beat Rollins to get the win.

After 3 hours and 30 minutes of the main show, it was time for the main event video package. It’s Universal Champion Roman Reigns defending the title against Brock Lesnar. The story was that Brock returned at SummerSlam, he claimed Paul Heyman knew and that led to Roman Reigns questioning Paul’s loyalty to him. Heyman was a big part of the story going into the match and Heyman’s acting skills were on full display in the last two months. Lesnar was fun as a babyface in the build to this match too. Reigns has been his usual awesome self.

The Universal Champion Roman Reigns was up first with the “Wise Man” Special Counsel Paul Heyman by his side. The Riyadh crowd gave a huge reaction to Reigns as he entered the stage. Reigns held up the Universal Title and a lot of pyro went off in the stadium. Reigns took a long time to get down to the ring because that’s what he does. The fans were loud during the entrance while Heyman held the Universal Title up in the air. I like Roman a lot, but not sure if Cole calling him the “suplexorcist” is going to get over.

Brock Lesnar was up next rocking the short hair, the beard and the ponytail. The crowd popped huge for Lesnar as soon as his music hit. That pop was enormous. Lesnar got some pyro as he got on the apron as well. This is Lesnar’s first match since WrestleMania 36 in April 2020 so that’s about a year and a half between matches. Greg Hamilton did the championship introductions as Brock and Roman had a staredown.

WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Brock Lesnar

Lesnar looks in great shape for his first match in over a year and at 44 years old. They did an initial lockup with neither guy getting the advantage and then Lesnar got in some punches. Reigns fought back with elbows and punches. Lesnar lifted Reigns into the turnbuckle leading to shoulder tackles. Reigns with forearms, Lesnar went for a German Suplex and Reigns held onto the rope. Lesnar managed to get a hold of Reigns and hit a German Suplex leading to “Suplex City” chants. They left the ring with Lesnar kicking Reigns into the barricade, but then Reigns sent Lesnar into the ring post. Lesnar lifted Reigns back into the ring. The fans chanted “Let’s Go Roman/Suplex City” a bit. Lesnar was on the apron and Reigns hit him with a Superman Punch to knock Lesnar down. Reigns ran the ropes leading to a huge dive over the top onto Lesnar on the floor. The camera was behind Lesnar for the move, so it looked like Reigns was jumping into the screen. Back in the ring, Reigns hit a Spear for two. That’s a Spear in the first five months for just a two count. Reigns with a Superman Punch, Lesnar was stunned as he bounced into the ropes. Reigns with another Superman Punch that knocked Lesnar down. Reigns did his yell, he charged for a Spear and Lesnar jumped over him! Wow. Reigns bumped into the turnbuckle. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them as Lesnar smiled. Lesnar hit a German Suplex two more times with Cole noting that’s three total and fans chanting “one more time” for Brock. Lesnar hit a third straight German Suplex. Lesnar had Reigns on his shoulders and hit the F5 for a two count. Lesnar was stunned that it was only a two count. Lesnar went for an F5 again, but Reigns countered it into a Guillotine Choke submission that Reigns has used as a finisher at times. Lesnar fought out of the submission, picked up Reigns and hit a spinebuster. Lesnar hit the F5 with Reigns landing on referee Charles Robinson, who was bumped and unable to count. The fans chanted as Lesnar covered Reigns, but there was no referee. Lesnar stared at Heyman at ringside. Lesnar picked up and dropped Robinson, who bumped out of the ring to the floor. When Lesnar turned around, Reigns was back up and hit a Spear. Both guys were down selling.

There was a shot of Heyman at ringside and he didn’t know what to do, so he tossed the Universal Title between both guys. Heyman shouted “you know what to do with it. Lesnar grabbed the title first, then Reigns grabbed it and The Usos were in the ring with a double superkick on Lesnar. Reigns hit Lesnar with the Universal Title. A new referee Chad Patton went down to the ring and counted the pinfall win for Reigns. It went about 12:20.

Winner by pinfall: Roman Reigns

Analysis: ***3/4 That was a very entertaining main event match with big moves throughout. The referee bump makes me groan a bit, but I’m not that surprised by it because then it led to the spot with Heyman tossing the title in and then the fans have to decide who he was throwing the title to. The spot with The Usos saving Reigns is consistent with many of Roman’s title wins over the last year including WrestleMania when Jey helped Roman in that match as well. Lesnar really worked well as a babyface. It’s been a long time since he’s been in that kind of babyface role, but he pulled it off very well. The problem with the second referee spot is logically you could say Chad Patton saw the illegal interference and the belt shot, so why would he count the pin? In reality, that’s a normal question, but in WWE land, they don’t bring that up. They just ignore it and move on. It could certainly lead to another Reigns/Lesnar match with a stipulation that prevented The Usos from interfering like a Steel Cage or Hell in a Cell or something like that. Anyway, the 400+ day title reign of Roman Reigns continues. I expected that to be the case.

Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman went up the ramp with The Usos. The announcers pushed the story of who Heyman was tossing the title to. Reigns stared at Heyman as Paul handed Roman the title. Lesnar was shown in the ring looking angry. That was the end of the show after four hours.

Analysis: The story of who Heyman was tossing the title to is going to be played up big time in the coming days. Heyman can say it was Roman, but clearly, Heyman tossed it between both guys because he wasn’t able to decide who to throw the title to.

This event had a runtime of 3:58:59 on WWE Network.

I guess we’ll be seeing Brock Lesnar on Smackdown.

 

Five Stars of the Show

  1. Edge
  2. Seth Rollins
  3. Big E/Drew McIntyre
  4. Becky Lynch/Sasha Banks/Bianca Belair
  5. Roman Reigns/Brock Lesnar

I cheated and named more than five. It happens sometimes.

 

Final Thoughts

I’m going with an 8 out of 10 for this show.

It was a great show for the most part with the top matches all getting a lot of time and delivering in terms of having awesome matches. A lot of the finishes made sense. The best match was definitely Edge vs. Rollins with a five-star Hell in a Cell match. After that, I think it was pretty close between the Big E/McIntyre match, the triple threat with Becky/Sasha/Bianca and then Reigns/Lesnar too. I’m also happy for Xavier Woods as much as anybody on the card.

This was also the best WWE show in Saudi Arabia since they started doing them a few years ago. No doubt about that, really. I thought the fans were great for most of the night. There were some down parts, but for a four-hour show they did a pretty good job of reacting to everything well.

I liked Crown Jewel a lot. It had a big show feel to it, there was a lot of hype and most of the matches delivered. There really wasn’t anything that bad.

 

Here are my rankings for WWE PPVs in 2021 so far.

Money in the Bank (July 18) – 8.5

WrestleMania 37 (April 10 & 11) – 8

Royal Rumble (January 31) – 8

Crown Jewel (October 21) – 8

WrestleMania Backlash (May 16) – 7.75

SummerSlam (August 21) – 7.25

Elimination Chamber (February 21) – 7.25

Extreme Rules (September 26) – 7

Hell in a Cell (June 20) – 7

Fastlane (March 21) – 6.5

As a reminder, I have a listing of every WWE PPV that I reviewed in order by year. Thank you for supporting us at TJRWrestling. We appreciate you.

===

Thanks for reading this review. My contact info is below.

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport