It’s WWE Crown Jewel with Roman Reigns facing LA Knight, Seth Rollins against Drew McIntyre, Rhea Ripley facing four opponents and more.
This year’s WWE Crown Jewel is the second Saudi Arabia show of 2023 with a card full of big names. There are still some big name stars not on the card like Intercontinental Champion GUNTHER, Kevin Owens, Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair to name a few, but you can’t get everybody on there. It’s cool to see John Cena in a singles match while Roman Reigns has to defend his title on a PLE for the first time since SummerSlam three months ago.
It’s also taking place on Saturday, November 4th, which is my birthday. It’s an afternoon show for me with a 1 p.m. ET start time here in southern Ontario, Canada. I hope I don’t have people coming over in the afternoon for the birthday, but it might happen and if it does then I have to step away from the review for a bit rather than say “hey jerk, I have a wrestling show to write about.” Anyway, I do like the card for the most part.
The card has eight matches counting the Kickoff Show. Seven of those matches are singles matches and there is one five-way match. I think the card could have used a tag team match to break up the repetitiveness of so many singles matches.
I’ll be doing this preview solo as well as our future previews solo. We aren’t going to have Features on TJRWrestling any more as we are focusing more on News content as well as the Reviews as usual. I want to thank our PPV preview team for helping me with these previews for several years now. They did a great job and it’s nice to get more than one perspective on these matches, but this is just how we are doing things moving forward. I’ve been writing previews for every WWE PPV since mid-2009 when I started writing full-time and even a decade before that as well when it was more of a hobby. Anyway, I’ll probably post the previews one day before the PPVs take place for WWE and AEW shows. Let’s get to it.
Sami Zayn vs. JD McDonagh
This is pretty straightforward with the bigger star Sami Zayn facing off against JD McDonagh, who is trying to gain entry into The Judgment Day group. Zayn was beloved by the Saudi Arabia fans earlier this year and should get one of the biggest ovations of the night. McDonagh is a talented guy capable of good matches with anyone, so it will be interesting to see if they get 10+ minutes or if it’s a shorter match. Zayn has lost a couple of Raw matches recently, so I think this is a match to get him back on the winning track. I would be very surprised if Zayn lost here.
Winner: Sami Zayn
United States Championship: Rey Mysterio (c) vs. Logan Paul
It’s the title match that will most likely feature a title change. Rey Mysterio is a fine US Champion, but he also doesn’t need a long title reign at this point in his legendary career. Logan Paul has won one singles match in over a year in WWE (he beat Ricochet at SummerSlam), yet he gets a title shot because of his star power. If Rey wins that’s fine, but I’m going with a Logan Paul victory. I also think they’ll have a very good match since Logan is athletic enough to keep up with Rey and we know Rey sells so well so he’ll make Logan look powerful.
It will be interesting to see how often Logan Paul defends the US Title moving forward because while I could see him wrestling at Survivor Series later this month, I wonder when he would wrestle again. We already have a part-time singles male champion on Smackdown with Roman Reigns so do we really need another part-time champion like Paul? It’s going to happen, but booking wise I don’t know how they are going to handle it.
Winner AND NEW United States Champion: Logan Paul
WWE Women’s Championship: IYO SKY (c) (with Bayley and Dakota Kai) vs. Bianca Belair
There could certainly be a title change here just because of how much WWE likes to push Bianca Belair, who is a great performer. Sky recently beat Charlotte Flair to retain the title thanks to her Damage CTRL friends, so I can see something similar happening here. While I like Triple H’s booking of the main roster in general, he really likes booking interference finishes to protect the loser, so that’s what I think will happen in this match.
It wouldn’t shock me if Belair or Charlotte wins the WWE Women’s Title from Sky before year’s end or at the Royal Rumble or something like that. I think WrestleMania 40 will probably be Flair vs. Belair and possibly Jade Cargill in the mix as well. It sucks for IYO SKY because she’s a great champion, but I think those other women will be featured more as we get closer to WrestleMania season. Anyway, this should be a very entertaining match between two talented wrestlers. Belair could win. I just think Sky finding a way to retain is more likely.
Winner: IYO SKY
Cody Rhodes vs. Damian Priest
It seems like Damian Priest of The Judgment Day has been feuding with the same four guys for the last six months. In the case of Cody Rhodes, it has been a few months at least. They put the WWE Tag Team Titles on Cody & Jey Uso for less than two weeks and in that match, Priest gave Cody a low blow as well as a Razor’s Edge through a table, so that is what set up this match.
Since Damian Priest is already a WWE Tag Team Champion that’s also Senor Money in the Bank, he will be just fine if he loses this match. I don’t think Cody should be losing a singles match on the road to WrestleMania 40, so if anything other than Cody winning happens I would be very surprised. Look for Priest to try to get help from The Judgment Day allies like Finn Balor & Dominik Mysterio, but I think Jey Uso will show up and maybe Sami Zayn too to even up the odds. This should all lead to WarGames later in the month at Survivor Series as well. Give them about 15 minutes and I think Cody wins clean.
Winner: Cody Rhodes
WWE Women’s World Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Nia Jax vs. Shayna Baszler vs. Zoey Stark vs. Raquel Rodriguez
Rhea Ripley has been booked as one of the strongest women’s champions in WWE history, so now she’s in a match against four opponents where Ripley could lose the title without being involved in the pinfall. That could lead to a title change although I think Ripley holding that title for at least a year going into WrestleMania 40 seems very possible.
It would be a surprise if Nia Jax took the pin because it seems like WWE is building up to a Ripley-Jax singles match. Raquel Rodriguez is usually booked strong, so I doubt she is going to take the loss. That leaves Baszler or Stark as the most likely to lose and if I had to pick one I’d go with Stark. Since Stark is still relatively new on the main roster, she can afford a loss and it’s not going to hurt her that match. They’ll probably give Stark plenty of offense before she loses. I expect all five women to look strong throughout the match although I definitely have Ripley winning and pinning Stark. As I have written many times in the past, I think WrestleMania 40 will be Ripley against Becky Lynch and they will be kept apart until then.
Winner: Rhea Ripley
John Cena vs. Solo Sikoa
This is an intriguing match in terms of who goes over. I think in terms of match quality, John Cena’s matches in the last year or two haven’t been outstanding matches like he was doing five years ago or before that when he was wrestling more often. That’s my way of saying that at 46 years old he’s showing his age and slowing a bit, so I’m not expecting a classic match. With that said, Solo Sikoa has a lot of believable offense while Cena sells well, so all Cena has to do is raise a hand in the air and the crowd will go wild, which means just the basics from Cena should be enough.
The story going in is about Cena trying to show he has something left in the tank and he can still win big matches. This is interesting in terms of a story because Cena hasn’t won a PPV/PLE match for a few years. It’s the classic question of does the veteran wrestling legend still have what it takes to beat a rising star like Solo Sikoa? My prediction is that Solo Sikoa wins thanks to interference from Jimmy Uso. I think WWE wants to keep Solo strong while this could lead to Cena facing Jimmy perhaps at Survivor Series and Cena can beat Jimmy there. It could go either way, but I think Solo winning makes more sense.
Winner: Solo Sikoa
WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Seth “Freakin” Rollins (c) vs. Drew McIntyre
This match interests me a lot because I’m a big fan of both guys and I think in terms of match quality it might be the best on the show. We know there are a lot of reports about if Drew McIntyre has re-signed with WWE ahead of his contract expiring around WrestleMania time next year. Frankly, I think sometimes there are times when people re-sign that are never reported or that aren’t reported correctly, so who knows what is legit regarding that story. I think Drew is likely going to stay in WWE long-term and if he doesn’t stay I would be very surprised.
The build for this match has been very good with both guys possibly using The Judgment Day as allies. It makes me think a title change is more possible than it was when Rollins was facing Shinsuke Nakamura at the last two PLEs. During the Rollins-Nakamura feud, they didn’t really tease Damian Priest possibly cashing in Money in the Bank that much, yet in the last month they have teased it more. It makes me think that Rollins will find a way to win a grueling match and instead of a handshake after the match, Drew will destroy Rollins with a cheap heel attack. That will lead to Damian Priest cashing in Money in the Bank and leaving this show as the World Heavyweight Champion.
With all that said, if Drew McIntyre leaves as World Heavyweight Champion I would strongly support that too because I think he deserves a title reign. Rollins has done a great job of establishing the World Heavyweight Title as a valuable commodity for six months, but I think if Rollins lost the title here it would be perfectly fine. The reason this match interests me the most is because while I think Rollins leaving as champion is certainly possible, I think Priest leaving as World Heavyweight Champion is my choice while McIntyre leaving as champion would work too. They could do it where The Judgment Day helps Drew, but Drew doesn’t necessarily want their help, yet he’s smart enough to use it and leave with the title.
That’s a lot of rambling and I’m sorry for that. My official pick is that Rollins finds a way to win, Drew beats up Rollins after the match and Priest cashes in to win the World Heavyweight Title. I think Priest would only hold the title for a few months until perhaps the Royal Rumble or something like that.
Winner: Seth Rollins…but Damian Priest cashes in Money in the Bank to become the New World Heavyweight Champion
Undisputed WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns vs. LA Knight
The rise of LA Knight has been fun to watch this year because the fans are truly behind the guy. I don’t know if I’d call him great in the ring or anything like that, but he’s certainly good enough and it should be an entertaining match with Reigns. The story has mostly been about Knight having the confidence that he would beat Reigns while Reigns doesn’t feel like Knight is on the same level as him. It works as a story because Reigns has been the top champion in WWE for over three years and has every right to be a cocky heel while Knight showing confidence makes the fans like him more. The fans believe that Knight could be the guy to beat Reigns even though most of us watching probably think that Knight has absolutely no chance.
It’s not a slight on Knight to think that he has no chance, but that’s just the reality of the situation. I doubt anybody truly believes Reigns is losing his title (or titles) until WrestleMania 40 and frankly, I think it should be Cody Rhodes who takes those titles in that match. Since Reigns is apparently not working Survivor Series this month, we may not see another title defense until January’s Royal Rumble PLE. That means if you’re a Reigns fan then try to enjoy it because title defenses are rare these days.
The usual prediction for a Reigns match over the last three-plus years follows the same formula where the opponent nearly has the match won and then somebody affiliated with Reigns helps Roman get out of that. We have seen Roman lose tag team matches, but not singles matches. I think that formula will come into play again where there’s a referee bump or some sort of distraction leading to Reigns getting an assist from Solo Sikoa, Jimmy Uso or somebody else. LA Knight is super popular and should remain so, but I don’t think he’s going to leave this show as the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion. The “Tribal Chief” Roman Reigns wins again.
Winner by pinfall: Roman Reigns
The Match I’m Looking Forward To The Most
There are a few, but I’m going with Rollins/McIntyre just because I’m intrigued by how it is booked and how McIntyre reacts if there’s a loss as well as the possibility of a Money in the Bank cash-in by Damian Priest too.
The Match I Care About The Least
Rey Mysterio vs. Logan Paul. I don’t mind it as a match, but I think Logan Paul should earn a title shot by winning more than one singles matches in a year.
Roman Reigns vs. LA Knight. Most Roman Reigns PLE matches go 20+ minutes and usually close to 30 minutes, so I’ll go with that around 25 minutes.
Solo Sikoa vs. John Cena. I think it will go around 10-13 minutes.
Excitement Level on a Scale of 1-10 (1 being low, 10 being high)
It’s a 7.75 for me. It’s a very good card in terms of match quality and some of the matches are unpredictable, so that’s something worth getting excited about. They have built most of the matches well. It certainly feels like a bigger event than Payback and Fastlane were. There are plenty of stars, lots of title change opportunities, and hopefully some memorable moments too.
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