Today at WWE Crown Jewel, the Brothers of Destruction and D Generation X settle their rivalry in the main event of the show from Saudi Arabia. Plus, a WWE World Cup winner is crowned and Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowman fight to determine a new WWE Universal Champion. All that and more at WWE Crown Jewel!
Jonathan “The Coach” Coachman, David Otunga, and Booker T host the pre-show.
Pre-Show Result: WWE United States Champion Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Rusev by pinfall.
We are LIVE from the King Saud University Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Renee Young have the call for today.
WWE Crown Jewel Hulk Hogan kicks off the show, complete with fireworks during his entrance. Hogan says it feels good to be in front of the WWE Universe and in front of his “stark-raving Hulkamaniacs.” Hogan says the power of his Hulkamania is even stronger at Crown Jewel and he says the show starts right now. Hogan flexes and poses under a huge fireworks show and we have hit fever dream levels early. The ring announcer introduces His Excellency Mr. Turki Al-Sheikh.
WWE World Cup First Round: Rey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton
Randy Orton brings our fireworks displays counter of the day to three before the match.
Orton snaps Mysterio down. Mysterio with kicks and punches back. Mysterio slides under Orton for more kicks and gets dropped to the apron. Head kick from Mysterio and he springboards into a dropkick from Orton for a nearfall. Orton drops Mysterio on the top rope and he stomps the body of Mysterio. Mysterio sat up top and Orton pulls at the mask. Mysterio elbows away momentarily and they fight up top. Mysterio headbutts out and lands a crossbody. Wheelbarrow bulldog by Mysterio gets a nearfall. Enzuigiri sets up a 619 attempt that is caught by Orton for a hangman’s DDT. RKO blocked for a victory roll by Mysterio.
Winner by pinfall: Rey Mysterio
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Short and sweet opener that played all the greatest hits that the crowd was hot for, but mostly to set up the post-match attack.
Post-match, Orton lands an RKO out of frustration and throws him under the bottom rope to the floor. Wheelbarrow drop onto the announce table by Orton.
Byron Saxton with The Miz backstage and he asks how he is feeling going into his match with Jeff Hardy. Miz says there is no stopping him from proving that he is the best in the world. Miz says he will walk through Hardy and a broken-down Rey Mysterio to step over into the finals. Miz says with the way the tournament is lining up, he feels awesome.
WWE World Cup First Round: Jeff Hardy vs. The Miz
Miz with a side headlock and shoulder tackle to start. Hardy comes back with a shoulder tackle and hip toss off a reset. Miz worked into the corner. Hardy misses a corner splash and victory rolls for a nearfall. Jawbreaker connects, but Miz kicks Hardy away on a pendulum dropkick attempt. Miz with a rear chinlock and he pulls Hardy down for a nearfall. Corner dropkicks from Miz. Hardy with a clothesline out of the corner to start the comeback. Inverted atomic drop and wishbone leg drop followed by the dropkick for a Hardy nearfall. Twist of Fate blocked and Hardy elbows out of the corner to land a Whisper in the Wind for a nearfall. Miz snaps the head of Hardy down on the top rope and kicks the leg in the corner. Figure-Four Leglock by Miz rolled up for a nearfall. Hardy sends Miz out for a baseball slide dropkick and lands a dive off the barricade. Hardy looks for a Swanton Bomb inside, but Miz rolls away to the opposite corner. Miz drops Hardy to the second turnbuckle and rolls him up, but gets caught with his feet on the ropes. Miz celebrates to the referee, but Hardy turns him for a Twist of Fate. Miz grabs him for a Skull-Crushing Finale.
Winner by pinfall: The Miz
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
A bit longer than the opener produces a more solid match overall.
WWE World Cup First Round: Seth Rollins vs. Lashley (w/Lio Rush)
Lio Rush hypes Lashley up before the match.
Lashley shoves Rollins down to start. Rollins comes back with an enzuigiri to send Lashley out. Rollins sets up for a dive, but Lashley runs in for a one-armed spinebuster for a nearfall. Lashley works Rollins down and in the corners. Neckbreaker nearfall by Lashley and an inverted DDT connects. Rollins knees out of a delayed vertical suplex and clotheslines Lashley outside. A pair of suicide dives connect for Rollins, but Rollins smacks the back of his head on the barricade in the process. Lashley and Rollins fight up top inside. Rollins looks for a powerbomb out of the corner, but Lashley lands on his feet falling out and lands a spear to the back in the corner. Rollins up on the shoulders of Lashley, but he falls out and sidesteps to send Lashley into the post. Rollins with the Stomp.
Winner by pinfall: Seth Rollins
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Another fine, but abbreviated tournament match.
Byron Saxton with Kurt Angle backstage and Angle talks about people doubting him throughout his career. Angle says he here to write a new chapter in his career and prove that he is the best in the world. Oh, it’s true, it’s damn true.
WWE World Cup First Round: Kurt Angle vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/Drew McIntyre)
Angle brings our fireworks counter to four and five pre-match.
Ziggler and Angle exchange takedown attempts to start and Angle gets the waistlock takedown into the front facelock. Ziggler takes the back with a sleeper and a shoulder tackle. Angle catches him for a belly-to-belly suplex and a release German suplex. Angle with another German and Ziggler grabs the ropes. Angle looks for a German suplex off the apron and Ziggler elbows him off. Ziggler sends Angle into the steps on his shoulder and lands a neckbreaker inside for a nearfall. Ziggler back to the sleeper. Angle kicks out of the corner and lands a trio of German suplexes for a nearfall. Angle Slam blocked for a DDT by Ziggler for a nearfall. Angle ducks a Famouser for the Angle Slam. Nearfall and Ziggler kicks away an Ankle Lock to land a Famouser for a nearfall of his own. Angle blocks the Zig Zag and rolls through a sunset flip for the Ankle Lock. Ziggler gets a fingertip away from the ropes, but Angle pulls him back out to the middle. Ziggler rolls through and trips Angle up. Angle sent to the post and hit with a Zig Zag.
Rating: 1.75 out of 5 stars
A bit slowed down and limited because of what Angle is these days, still not too bad of an effort overall.
The New Day make their way to the ring on a magic carpet, just in case this show wasn’t cringeworthy enough on its own merit.
WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championships: The Bar (c) (w/Big Show) vs. The New Day (w/Xavier Woods)
Big E and Sheamus start and Big E with a shoulder tackle. Sheamus with a kick to the midsection, but he gets a hip toss blocked by an E clothesline for a nearfall. Kofi Kingston in with a flying stomp to the arm of Sheamus. Sheamus works Kingston back to Cesaro for the tag. Cesaro flips Kingston out of the corner and Kingston lands on his feet for a dropkick nearfall. Kingston leapfrogs and ducks to land a hurricanrana into the second turnbuckle. Crossbody out of the corner gets a nearfall for Kingston, but Cesaro with a clothesline to bring in Sheamus. Big Show gets involved outside as E gets inside the ring and draws the referee’s attention. Bar double-team clothesline gets a nearfall and they continue to work Kingston down. Kingston fights up with chops, but Sheamus with a body kick for a Cesaro nearfall to stop the tag. Cesaro with a front facelock and Kingston works him backwards. Cesaro swings at E and allows Kingston to land a back bodydrop. Sheamus makes a tag to knock E off the apron and prevent the tag. The Bar uppercut Kingston in the corner and land a back bodydrop and suplex combo for a nearfall. Kingston kicks and strikes out of the Bar corner, but Sheamus makes a tag. Kingston runs Sheamus into the post.
Hot tag made to E on Cesaro and E with belly-to-belly throws. A splash lands on the knees of Cesaro. Sheamus in and he runs into a uranage in the corner by E for a nearfall. Apron spear blocked by a knee from Sheamus. Sheamus punches E in the New Day corner and Kingston sneaks a tag. Double stomp and powerbomb combo gets a nearfall broken by Cesaro. Trouble in Paradise sends Cesaro out and E pops Kingston out on top of Cesaro. Big Show with the apron distraction and Sheamus misses a Brogue Kick. The referee ducks away in the corner with E coming in and Big Show lands a punch. Brogue Kick lands.
Winners by pinfall and STILL WWE SmackDown Tag Team Champions: The Bar
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Best match of the show by far, though the crowd wasn’t as hot for it and the finish was a little predictable.
Byron Saxton interviews Miz and Rey Mysterio backstage before their semifinals match.
WWE World Cup Semifinals: The Miz vs. Rey Mysterio
Miz and Mysterio exchange a pinning predicament to start and Mysterio with a penalty kick for a nearfall. Mysterio sent under the bottom rope and he rolls through to come back for a baseball slide dropkick. Mysterio with a sliding dive to Miz on the floor outside. Mysterio with mounted punches in the corner, but Miz with an alley-oop for a nearfall. Bow and arrow submission by Miz in and Mysterio fights up, but gets dropped by a knee to the body from Miz. Miz with a bodyscissors and Mysterio fights up, only to get thrown to the floor again. Miz bounces Mysterio on the barricade outside. Abdominal stretch from Miz inside. Miz with elbows and a claw to the body. Mysterio elbows the leg and turns around to land a tornado DDT to break the submission. Both men down and both exchange strikes as they get up. Mysterio gets the upper hand with punches and a springboard crossbody gets a nearfall. Mysterio with a hurricanrana and he punches Miz down in the corner. Miz sent into the second turnbuckle and Mysterio looks for the 619. Miz recovers and wheelbarrow drops him onto the top turnbuckle. Skull-Crushing Finale lands for a nearfall. Miz looks for kicks and Mysterio with a victory roll again for a nearfall. Drop toehold onto the second rope by Mysterio and the 619 connects. Frog splash from Mysterio lands on the knees of Miz and Miz rolls him up.
Winner by pinfall: The Miz
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
The first semifinal picked things up a bit with Miz working the body throughout to get the win at the end.
Byron Saxton interviews Seth Rollins before the semifinals.
WWE World Cup Semifinals: Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/Drew McIntyre)
Rollins and Ziggler exchange chain wrestling on the mat to a stalemate to start. Ziggler works the neck of Rollins and lands a side headlock takeover. Rollins fights up and catches a Ziggler crossbody for a slam. Rollins clotheslines Ziggler out and throws him into a barricade outside. McIntyre cuts Rollins off getting into the ring and Rollins dares him to hit him. McIntyre steps away and Ziggler recovers enough inside to land a DDT. Ziggler works Rollins down and lands a neckbreaker for a nearfall. Ziggler works the side headlock and Rollins misses a corner splash. Ziggler with a nearfall after Rollins hits the turnbuckle on the missed splash. Rollins fights out of the corner and lands chops, but a Ziggler uppercut gets a nearfall. Ziggler kicks at Rollins to toy with him, but Ziggler whips Rollins into the corner on the injured neck and another neckbreaker gets a nearfall. Ziggler frustrated and locks in a submission, but Rollins backslides for a nearfall. Pinning predicaments exchanged until Rollins gets Ziggler up for a powerbomb. Ziggler rolls through for a nearfall and Rollins gets a ripcord knee for a nearfall. Rollins calls for the superkick and McIntyre gets to the apron. Rollins knocks him down and catapults Ziggler outside. Suicide dive by Rollins takes out McIntyre and Ziggler. Rollins springboards inside and runs into a Ziggler Famouser for a nearfall. Superplex from Rollins lands and he rolls through for a Falcon Arrow, but Ziggler falls out and snatches the Zig Zag. Rollins able to kick out.
Ziggler looks for the Zig Zag again. Rollins shakes him off and lands a superkick. Rollins with a suicide dive on McIntyre. Ziggler meets Rollins up top, but Rollins knocks him off. Ziggler favors his ankle and the referee checks on him, allowing McIntyre to knock him off the top rope and to the mat. Ziggler capitalizes with a superkick.
Winner by pinfall: Dolph Ziggler
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars
Good match here, with Rollins selling the neck injury and Ziggler needing the interference to finally put Rollins away. These two always seem to have good to great matches under the right circumstances.
Byron Saxton interviews Dolph Ziggler coming up the ramp and Ziggler says no one has believed in him, but next time you see him, he will have his trophy and he will be the best in the world.
Video package for the WWE Championship match between champion AJ Styles and challenger Samoa Joe.
WWE Championship: AJ Styles (c) vs. Samoa Joe
AJ Styles brings fireworks counter to six.
Styles opens with a leg kick and he chop blocks the knee. Joe chops out of the corner and they fight outside. Styles sends Joe into the barricade and Styles breaks the count, allowing Joe to recover and drop Styles on the barricade. Joe moves back inside and he lands a knee to knock Styles back to the floor. Joe with a suicide dive that bounces Styles off the announce table. Back in the ring, Styles works Joe in the corners. Joe lands an enzuigiri for a nearfall as Styles gets his foot on the bottom rope. Chop from Joe drops Styles and he works him down. Styles fights up and Joe with chops and a spinning backfist. Styles with an enzuigiri to drop Joe. Styles with chops and Joe chops back. They exchange strikes and Styles looks for the Styles Clash. Styles elbows out of the corner and lands a moonsault Scorpion Deathdrop for a nearfall. Joe rolls outside and Styles with a slingshot forearm outside. Phenomenal Forearm sees Joe run under and land a powerslam for a nearfall. Joe with a lariat that turns Styles inside out for another. Joe looks for a corner slam, but Styles rolls through to the Calf Crusher. Joe able to get to the bottom rope for a rope break. Styles rolls Joe out of the corner for a nearfall and Joe rolls through into the Coquina Clutch. Styles grabs one of the legs Joe hooked around him and works the ankle lock to break the submission. Styles looks for the Calf Crusher, but Joe knees out. Styles connects on the Pele Kick. Forearm from the apron and a springboard Phenomenal Forearm connects.
Winner by pinfall and STILL WWE Champion: AJ Styles
Rating: 3.25 out of 5 stars
Another very good match, though it never felt like Samoa Joe was going to win throughout.
WWE Monday Night Raw Acting General Manager Baron Corbin makes his way out to stand by the WWE Universal Championship.
WWE Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Braun Strowman
More fireworks. I’ve lost count.
Corbin takes the title to the back of the head of Strowman before the bell rings. Lesnar lands an F5, but Strowman kicks out. Lesnar with another and Strowman kicks out again. Lesnar with another and Strowman kicks out again. Lesnar lands an F5 out to the floor. Strowman beats the count. A fifth F5 blocked by Strowman and he kicks out of the corner, but runs into the fifth F5.
Winner by pinfall and NEW WWE Universal Champion: Brock Lesnar
Rating: 0.25 out of 5 stars
The spectacle of Strowman getting F5’d out of the ring was nice, but this was the pinnacle of formulaic Lesnar matches while he is getting prepared for his UFC return. A nice spectacle, but nothing as a match.
WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar vs. WWE Champion AJ Styles, WWE United States Champion Shinsuke Nakamura vs. WWE Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins, and WWE Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey vs. WWE SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch announced for Survivor Series.
WWE SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon joins WWE Monday Night Raw Acting General Manager Baron Corbin ringside for the World Cup final.
WWE World Cup Finals: The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/Drew McIntyre)
The referee sends McIntyre to the back before the match starts. Miz takes advantage by attacking Ziggler from behind and throwing him outside. Miz falls on his ankle outside and Ziggler gets thrown into the steel steps on his. Miz rolls Ziggler inside, but struggles to get to his feet outside. The referee says he can’t let Miz compete and calls for more referees as WWE SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon looks over him. The referee calls for a forfeit, but McMahon grabs the microphone and he says it won’t go down like this. McMahon announces he will take Miz’s place.
WWE World Cup Finals: Shane McMahon vs. Dolph Ziggler
McMahon punches Ziggler down in the corner and works Ziggler down. Uppercut lands and Baron Corbin trips McMahon up at ringside. The referee ejects Corbin and Ziggler lands a Zig Zag for a nearfall. Ziggler beats McMahon down, but McMahon comes back with a DDT. Catapult into the corner on Ziggler and McMahon goes to the opposite corner. McMahon goes Coast to Coast.
Winner by pinfall and WWE World Cup winner: Shane McMahon
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars
This was weird all the way around, but I guess it makes sense for what is essentially a non-canon show? Maybe? I don’t know.
Post-match, McMahon celebrates excessively.
Video package for DX vs. Brothers of Destruction.
D Generation X vs. The Brothers of Destruction
Kane and Triple H start. HHH tries to draw Undertaker inside and the referee prevents it. Right hand from HHH sees Kane walk him back and corner him. HHH dropped by an uppercut and clotheslined in the corner. HHH pokes the eye and brings in Shawn Michaels. Michaels comes off the top rope on the arm of Kane. HBK with chops and a neckbreaker. Kane sits back up and gets HBK in a choke, but HBK fights out. HBK sets up for Sweet Chin Music and Kane blocks. Kane tags in Taker and Taker taunts HBK. HBK worked down by Taker. Kane and HHH take each other out and Taker hangs HBK up in the tree of woe. HHH flips out over the top of HBK. Chokebomb by Taker on HBK and HBK sent out. DX on the outside as the Brothers of Destruction hold the ring. DX come back and clothesline BoD out. Taker and HBK back inside after some ringside brawling and Old School lands. Big boot in the corner misses for Taker and he gets caught up on the top rope. HHH in and he eats a big boot from Taker. HHH worked in the Brothers of Destruction corner. Kane misses an elbow drop in the middle of the ring. HBK brought in and DX with a double-team suplex on Kane. HBK with an elbow drop off the top and Sweet Chin Music blocked for a Kane chokeslam. Taker in and he works HBK in the corner. Taker with Snake Eyes and a big boot. Leg drop lands for a nearfall on HBK. Taker with distracted by HHH and it allows HBK to land Sweet Chin Music that sends Taker to the apron. Both men down. Taker sits up and clears the announce tables out outside. Taker looks for a Tombstone through the table, but HHH saves HBK. HHH whips himself into the barricade while whipping Taker into it and he comes off the apron into a Kane chokeslam through the table.
Taker takes HBK inside for nearfalls. The Brothers of Destruction working HBK inside. Taker with ground-and-pound and a chinlock. Kane in and HBK able to fight out of the Brothers of Destruction corner and knock both down. Taker drags HBK out and HBK runs him into the post. Kane runs HBK into the corner back inside. HBK kicks out of the corner and Kane’s mask falls off. HBK with a moonsault off the top rope onto the Brothers of Destruction. HBK crawls inside and gets the hot tag to HHH. HHH looks injured as he comes in like a house of fire. Taker comes in and takes a Pedigree and Kane gets sent out. Hell’s Gate in on HHH. HBK hits Sweet Chin Music on Kane to knock him down onto Taker and break the submission. The Brothers of Destruction sit up and they look for a double Tombstone. HBK rakes the eye of Kane and HHH falls out to kick Taker out. HBK with Sweet Chin Musics on Kane and Taker. HHH with a Pedigree on Kane.
Winners by pinfall: DX
Rating: -0.25 out of 5 stars
Despite a better than expected return performance from Shawn Michaels, an injury to Triple H mid-match and the general slowness of Brothers of Destruction made this just a real slog to get through. Michaels was the lone bright spot and could be ready for a big retirement dream match if he decided, but this was sloppy and dangerous at times for the performers involved.
The undercard of WWE Crown Jewel had me prepared to call this a surprisingly good show, with three or four good matches in a row anchoring the show, but the main events of the evening cemented the fact that this show would have been better off canceled. It is hard to blame anyone unable to put the politics of the show aside in the first place, but these shows are shaping up to be glorified house shows with legends segments from a wrestling perspective.