The WWE Crown Jewel event took place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Friday, November 2. 2018 -Full WWE Crown Jewel recap Here!
Match 1 (kickoff show): Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev (United States Championship)Summary: Rusev was on top during the first couple of minutes of the match, notably landing an impressive suplex, but Shinsuke Nakamura quickly took control after connecting with a strong knee to his opponent’s back. With the crowd fully behind him, Rusev was milliseconds away from getting the win after Nakamura jumped from the second rope and ran into a superkick. Moments later, the US champ escaped an Accolade by using his head to hit Rusev with a low blow. He then followed it up with a Kinshasa for the win.Verdict: This was way better than it had any right to be. Rusev genuinely looked like he would get the victory on a couple of occasions, especially when he connected with a sensational superkick on a flying Nakamura. The unpredictability of this match made for a nice change from the usually predictable kickoff show format. Shoutout to the crowd, too — they were electric for Rusev!
Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura
Match 2: Rey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton (World Cup quarter-final)Summary: One of the biggest moments came in the first minute when Randy Orton caught Rey Mysterio in midair with a huge dropkick. Mysterio soon gained momentum of his own, attempting an early 619, but Orton reversed it into a DDT from the middle rope. Moments later, the high-flyer rolled his opponent up with a unique pinning combination to get a shock victory. Within seconds of the match ending, a furious Orton hit Mysterio with an RKO before continuing the assault at ringside.
Verdict: This was very good considering how short the match was. Orton’s dropkick in the early stages was a particular highlight, while the post-match attack immediately added some extra intrigue to the rest of the tournament.
Winner: Rey Mysterio
Match 3: Jeff Hardy vs. The Miz (World Cup quarter-final)Summary: Jeff Hardy and The Miz traded shoulder tackles before Miz went for an early Skull Crushing Finale, which Hardy reversed into a pinfall. After a spell of dominance for Miz, the hugely popular Hardy turned things around and came close to getting the win after reversing a Figure Four into a unique pinfall. In the end, Miz reversed a Twist of Fate into a Skull Crushing Finale to set up a semi-final match against Rey Mysterio.
Verdict: The crowd chanted “This is awesome!” towards the end of this match but, in all honesty, it wasn’t any different to the kind of encounter you’d expect to see on Raw or SmackDown Live. Miz was at his cheating best (or worst, depending on how you look at it) and was immediately disliked by the crowd.
Winner: The Miz
Match 4: Seth Rollins vs. Bobby Lashley (World Cup quarter-final)Summary: After some pre-match encouragement from hype man Lio Rush, Bobby Lashley lived up to his “Dominator” nickname by controlling 95 percent of this match. Then, out of absolutely nowhere, Seth Rollins leapfrogged an attempted spear from Lashley before hitting a stomp on his opponent for the win.
Verdict: I expected the quarter-finals to have some short matches but the manner of Rollins’ victory here was very surprising. I don’t want to say this made him look weak, but he sure didn’t look like “the best in the world”. It was a little disappointing that Rush didn’t have a live mic at ringside — “Lashley! Lashley!” would’ve been epic in front of this crowd — but I guess this was less about Lashley and all about Rollins.
Winner: Seth Rollins
Match 5: Kurt Angle vs. Dolph Ziggler (World Cup quarter-final)Summary: Kurt Angle rolled back the years early on with three suplexes in a row. He then attempted to hit another one off the apron to the outside, but Dolph Ziggler was able to counter before launching the Hall of Famer into the steel steps. With Drew McIntyre watching on, Angle connected with three more German suplexes before getting a 2-count from an Angle Slam. In the end, the veteran rolled through an attempted pinfall and locked in an Angle Lock, which Ziggler only just escaped before hitting a Zig-Zag on his opponent for the win.
Verdict: I expected this to be a quick victory for Angle, so it was surprising to see Ziggler get the win in a competitive match. If you’d have said when Angle re-signed with WWE in 2017 that it would take 18 months for him to compete in a one-on-one match, I doubt anyone would have believed it. Let’s hope he becomes a regular member of the roster going forward.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Match 6: Sheamus & Cesaro vs. Big E & Kofi Kingston (SmackDown Tag Team titles)Summary: Kofi Kingston gained the upper hand on Cesaro early on with a dance taunt, complete with Xavier Woods trombone playing, followed by a dropkick. The Big Show got involved at ringside, clawing the face of Kingston while the referee was distracted. Once Big E finally tagged in, he began to take control against Cesaro until “The Swiss Cyborg” got his knees up from a splash. Moments later, with the ref distracted again, The Big Show hit Big E with a KO punch and Sheamus followed it up with a Brogue Kick to get the win for The Bar.
Verdict: This mostly revolved around Kingston’s attempts to tag in Big E. The fans enjoyed it, with another “This is awesome!” chant breaking out at one point. However, like with Jeff Hardy vs. The Miz, I felt like this was another standard match that we usually see on regular television every week. It wasn’t bad by any means but everything about it was very predictable.
Winner: Sheamus & Cesaro
Match 7: The Miz vs. Rey Mysterio (World Cup semi-final)Summary: Rey Mysterio, still not fully healed from his early attack at the hands of Randy Orton, landed his trademark baseball splash to the outside of the ring in the early stages of the match. The Miz soon took control, sending Mysterio flying halfway across the ring after reversing an attempted hurricanrana. Mysterio rallied and almost got the win with an athletic cross-body from the middle rope. In the end, the high-flyer kicked out of a Skull Crushing Finale before hitting a 619, followed by a frog splash, moments later. However, Miz got his knees up from the splash and pinned Mysterio for the 1-2-3.
Verdict: This was very good. I didn’t expect Miz to get the win, so credit to WWE for keeping everyone guessing throughout the show with unpredictable finishes. This was easily Mysterio’s best match so far since his return to WWE. Roll on his inevitable rivalry with Randy Orton.
Winner: The Miz
Match 8: Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler (World Cup semi-final)Summary: Dolph Ziggler wasn’t quite Bobby Lashley levels of dominant here but he was still in control for large spells against Seth Rollins, who struggled with a neck injury throughout the entirety of the match. One of the biggest moments came when Rollins dodged a superkick and connected with a knee, earning a 2.99-count from the referee. Moments later, Rollins launched himself through the middle rope to take out both Ziggler and Drew McIntyre. He then kicked out of a Fame Asser and a Zig-Zag before being thrown from the top rope by McIntyre, allowing Ziggler to capitalise with a superkick to get the victory.
Verdict: Hopefully I’m wrong but it looked like Rollins was struggling with a legitimate injury in both of his matches — he was nowhere near his usual fast-paced, energetic tempo. This wasn’t at the level of the previous Rollins vs. Ziggler matches that we’ve seen in 2018, so it’s difficult to grade it any higher than a B-.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Match 9: AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe (WWE Championship)Summary: Samoa Joe struggled with a knee injury at Super Show-Down and recently on SmackDown Live, so AJ Styles looked to exploit that with a series of kicks early on. Joe gained momentum when he launched himself through the ropes to send Styles flying into the announce desk, while he later withstood a spell of dominance before connecting with a suplex and hard-hitting clothesline on the champion. In the end, Styles survived a Coquina Clutch and hit a Phenomenal Forearm on Joe to retain his title.
Verdict: The positive? This was another solid match between two of SmackDown Live’s best performers. The obvious negative is that this was announced just three days in advance, so the outcome was very predictable. The finish was also a little underwhelming — the fans barely reacted to the forearm — but this was still a match worth watching.
Winner: AJ Styles
Match 10: Braun Strowman vs. Brock Lesnar (Universal Championship)Summary: Acting Raw GM Baron Corbin attacked Braun Strowman with the title before the match began. Brock Lesnar then hit Strowman with three F5s but he kicked out every time, so he went one step further by throwing Strowman out of the ring with a fourth F5, only for “The Monster Among Men” to get back into the ring after a 9-count. Lesnar then hit a fifth F5 to finally pick up the win, becoming a two-time Universal champion.
Verdict: I don’t like the outcome here — it’s clearly been done so Lesnar can attend UFC 230 on Saturday with the title — but the story of the match was told really well. Strowman deserves to win the title but yet another setback here will only make fans support him more, making his inevitable victory even bigger when it happens.
Winner: Brock Lesnar
Match 11: Shane McMahon vs. Dolph Ziggler (World Cup final)Summary: Drew McIntyre was sent to the back before the match began. The Miz then landed awkwardly on the outside of the ring, seemingly putting out his knee, so Shane McMahon put himself in the match. The SmackDown Commissioner had the support of the fans and picked up the win when he landed a Coast-to-Coast on Dolph Ziggler from the other side of the ring. Following the match, Shane ran around the ring and soaked up the adulation of the fans (and fireworks) as if he really is “the best in the world”.
Verdict: Shane is turning heel, folks! We’ve seen 15 guys compete over the last month for a chance to be crowned World Cup winner, yet a ‘babyface’ authority figure rocks up and inserts himself into the final to win the whole thing. I mean, WHAT? I’m not against this outcome — I’m all for surprises — but this was some WWE 2K19 Universe Mode stuff right here. Wow…
Winner: Shane McMahon
Match 12: D-Generation X vs. The Brothers of DestructionSummary: Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker traded their classic DX and ‘Rest In Peace’ taunts before ‘Taker floored Michaels with a big boot. The Brothers of Destruction were in control early on, with HBK getting caught up in the tree of woe in the corner at one stage. Michaels rolled back the years with some of his trademark moves — an elbow drop on Kane and Sweet Chin Music on The Undertaker — but the Hall of Famer was unable to cover either man. The Brothers of Destruction continued to dominate, with Kane chokeslamming Triple H through the announce desk, while they took turns destroying Michaels with frequent tags. HBK turned things around when he punched Kane in the corner, causing his mask to come off (yes, really!), before landing an incredible moonsault onto his opponents from the top rope. In the end, Michaels raked Kane’s eyes to prevent synchronised tombstones before hitting both of the Brothers of Destruction with superkicks. Triple H then struck Kane with a pedigree to pick up the win for DX.
Verdict: The story of this match was perfect. Michaels started well, doubted himself when The Brothers of Destruction took control, and then the confidence and swagger of “The Showstopper” returned when he landed his moonsault from the top rope. Fans chanted “You still got it!”, as they do to any returning veteran, but they weren’t lying here — Michaels hasn’t lost it one bit. The focus was obviously on HBK, but credit also goes to The Undertaker — he looked better here than he has in a lot of his recent matches. Overall, Crown Jewel was absolutely bonkers but this main event was fantastic.
Winner: D-Generation X
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