WWE presented the fourth installment of the bi-annual Saudi PPVs, with the second ever Crown Jewel event taking place on Halloween day this year.
The event was extra special because of two major debuts taking place on the show, and the first-ever Women’s Match in Saudi Arabia between Lacey Evans and Natalya.
We look at a rundown of the show and give our thoughts on what went wrong and what went right at the PPV.
Pre-Show: 20 Man Battle Royal
The mid-card and the lower-card superstars of the company took part in the battle royal on the pre-show to determine the number one contender for AJ Styles’ United States Championship.
Saudi shows are incomplete without a multi-man matchup, and this one came with a chance to feature in the main card of the show.
R-Truth won his 21st 24/7 title during the matchup. Humberto Carrillo took advantage after Rowan turned on Harper to win the match.
Result: Humberto Carrillo won by elimination
Analysis: The recent push for Carrillo has been tremendous to see, and it finally results in a victory for the luchador. After facing and losing against Seth Rollins and Styles in the last two weeks, Carrillo fared well in a victory in the multi-men encounter.
WWE Championship Match: Brock Lesnar (c) vs Cain Velasquez
Brock Lesnar starred in the opening match of the night as WWE decided to open the show with a rematch from a decade ago. A quick matchup saw both the superstars trying to recreate their MMA bout before Lesnar applied the Kimura submission maneuver for a quick tap out victory.
Post Match, Lensar continued to attack Cain and Mysterio, but Mysterio cameback with a chair shot to gain an upper-hand. Lesnar retreated with the title.
Result: Brock Lesnar defeated Cain Velasquez to retain WWE Championship
Analysis: After the major hype surrounding this match, the final product turned out to be a dumb squib. Cain Velasquez was presented as a total geek, which is a saddening sight. Velasquez excelled in his professional wrestling debut match, bursting out several aerial moves. However, he was not allowed to use that style in WWE, and that took a lot out of his arsenal.
The feud will surely continue in the coming months, and hopefully, it is much better than this match.
Tag Team Turmoil To Determine Best Tag-Team In The World
Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode took out the Lucha House Party and the team of Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder. Otis and Tucker provided some entertainment for the Saudi crowd and took out the former RAW Tag Team Champions. Heavy Machinery were joined by the New Day, and the two teams provided some comedy before Kofi and Big E hit the Midnight Hour to eliminate the Heavy Machinery.
Kingston eliminated the Revival with a roll-up, following which they were taken out by The OC. The OC overcame RAW Tag Team Champions Viking Raiders to win the turmoil match.
Result: The OC defeated The Viking Raiders to become the Best Tag Team In The World
Analysis: It is great to see The OC finally get some recognition, as Gallows and Anderson have sadly been shadows of their former selves in WWE. The turmoil match served as a good reminder of the talents of the tag-team division in the company and even helped to set up further rivalries.
AEW is currently excelling in its tag-team division, and hopefully, WWE uses the talent on its roster to compete with the depth of AEW’s division.
Cesaro vs Mansoor
Hometown Hero Mansoor made his way out to a big pop by the Riyadh crowd. The match drew This is Awesome chants from the passionate crowd. Mansoor brought his A-game against the Swiss Superman and eventually won the match with a moonsault on Cesaro.
Post Match, Mansoor delivered a promo, which made the fans go crazy for the hometown superstar.
Result: Mansoor defeated Cesaro
Analysis: The Saudi shows are usually known to be glorified house shows, and this was a typical house-show match. The babyface pandering to the crowd, taking down the villainous heel, and delivering some eye-pleasing offense were the highlights of the match.
Cesaro’s current status of putting over upcoming talent is a decent role, but his abilities are worth much more in the company.
Tyson Fury vs Braun Strowman
Tyson Fury made his grand entrance in a traditional Sheikh attire, and the mega matchup between the two superstars went underway.
Fury delivered some kicks and big right hands to Strowman throughout the match as the Monster Among Men tried to overpower the lineal heavyweight champion.
Fury delivered a big right punch to Strowman, keeping him knocked out for the ten-count and taking the victory.
Result: Tyson Fury defeated Braun Strowman via count out
Analysis: There were very little expectations from Tyson Fury, but he punched (no pun, intended) above his weight in this match. The match could’ve been a massive botch fest but both the superstars co-ordinated to produce a decent encounter.
The ending works really well for both the stars, as Strowman doesn’t eat a pin from a non-wrestler, while Fury doesn’t have to lose a match.
WWE United States Championship: AJ Styles (c) vs Humberto Carrillo
The battle royal winner Carrillo got an opportunity to face Styles for the US Title, after losing to him in a non-title match earlier this week. Carillo and Styles tried to take each other down with their wide range of offensive maneuvers, but couldn’t hold each other down.
Carrillo twisted his knee while defending himself from a maneuver, and Styles immediately hit him with the Calf Crusher.
Carrillo somehow made his way out of the submission predicament, only to eat a massive Phenomenal Forearm, as Styles continued his US title reign.
Result: AJ Styles defeated Humberto Carrillo to retain the US Title
Analysis: The match was a solid encounter between two vastly talented in-ring workers. Carrillo is quite young, and AJ Styles has wrestled for a longer duration than Carrillo has been alive. The defeats for Carillo at this point are no big reason to worry, as he’ll definitely find a proper spot in the future.
Styles could now move on to a new rivalry, and according to the rumors, former NXT Champion Aleister Black is waiting to get his hands on the Phenomenal One.
Lacey Evans vs Natalya
The historic first-ever Women’s Match in Saudi Arabia saw the two recently-turned friends go at it against one another. Dressed in full-body suits with t-shirts on top, the two superstars soaked in the grand applause from the passionate crowd.
Natalya tried to end things with the Sharpshooter but was blocked by Lacey who delivered a springboard moonsault for a two count. Natalya once again locked in the famous Hart Dynasty submission move, and Evans tapped out.
Result: Natalya defeated Lacey Evans
Analysis: The match was a perfectly fine encounter for the show, and it was highlighted due to its cultural significance. Propaganda or not, WWE and Saudi Arabia made history with this encounter, and both the superstars looked genuinely happy to perform in front of a vocal and enthusiastic audience.
As for the finish, Saudi shows are house shows at heart, which makes Natalya’s win over the newer superstar Lacey Evans quite unsurprising.
5-on-5 Tag Team Match: Team Flair vs Team Hogan
The heels tried to isolate Ali and then Ricochet to work on the much smaller babyfaces. The heels initially took turns attacking Ali, before Ali found an opening to tag-in Ricochet. Ricochet tried to up the ante with his fast speed offense, but the heels quickly turned the pace down.
All the five members of the respective teams took turns hitting their signature moves before the team captains Roman Reigns and Randy Orton stepped in for the finish.
Reigns kicked out of an RKO from Orton, which was rather surprising. Reigns eventually hit the Spear on Orton for the pinfall victory for Team Hogan.
Result: Team Hogan defeated Team Flair
Analysis: The match was the major highlight for the show, as Hogan and Flair rallied their teams in the latest installment of their 35-year-old rivalry. All the ten superstars in the match got their moment in the sun, while individual rivalries like Corbin-Reigns, Ricochet-McIntyre and especially Rusev-Lashley progressed in this encounter.
WWE Universal Championship Match: Seth Rollins (c) v ‘The Fiend’ Bray Wyatt
The two superstars faced off in a rematch from the horrific Hell in a Cell encounter from earlier this month. The lights turned to red for this match once again. Rollins tried his best to keep the Fiend down, but the masked monster refused to stay down.
Seth Rollins brought out the sledgehammer, which proved to be the reason behind the no contest at Hell in a Cell, and hit Wyatt with the weapon. Wyatt shoved Rollins into two tables outside of the ring. Both the superstars delivered their finishers for two-count inside the crowd section.
Wyatt dragged Rollins on the ramp and tried to throw him off the stage. Rollins countered and delivered a flurry of stomps, but they couldn’t keep Wyatt down.
Rollins threw Wyatt off the stage, as pyro went off. Wyatt got up unscathed and delivered a Mandible Claw followed by the Sister Abigal for the victory. NEW CHAMPION!
Result: The Fiend Bray Wyatt defeated Seth Rollins to become the new Universal Champion
Analysis: Although the match went long and felt dragged at points, Wyatt winning is the perfect move and one of the best decisions taken by the company in recent times. Wyatt is super-hot currently and WWE has struck while the iron is hot.
With Wyatt on Smackdown, the Universal title moves to the blue brand, leaving Monday Night RAW with zero top titles. How WWE handles the situation will be extremely interesting to see and it adds an extra layer of intrigue to Wyatt’s appearance on Miz TV on Friday Night Smackdown this week.
Grade: A (simply because of the finish!)