From the second that the Jamal Khashoggi story hit the mainstream news, Crown Jewel was basically a PR nightmare waiting to unfold. Despite the true nature of the circumstances surround his death, WWE still went ahead with the controversial event to the vehement displeasure of everyone.
Even two of the WWE’s top stars, in John Cena and Daniel Bryan, abdicated the show in protest of the WWE’s immorality.
In effect, Crown Jewel was doomed no matter what happened during the course of the night, but it didn’t mean the show needed to be bad. It ended up being absolutely horrific; an unsalvageable train wreck of a PPV.
The show left the station, featured a brief tannoy announcement from a questionable conductor, before having a herd of rampaging wildebeests collide into the side of it with enough force to oust the carriages into the rubbish dump below.
What a great occasion to bring back an already tarnished personality in the wrestling world.
It’s heavily-promoted ‘World Cup’ (that featured seven Americans and one Mexican-American, go figure) was akin to the King of the Ring style shows of old. A format never worked. You get lots of short matches, with no time to develop, no time to tell a story or that generally entertain. Even the tag match was only good, but as formulaic as they come, which is not what you’d expect from The New Day and The Bar.
So to the last hour of the show. 3 matches and 3 reasons why the WWE is languishing in a ever-darkening sea of contaminated tripe.
Match #1 – Brock Lesnar vs Braun Strowman for the Vacant WWE Universal Championship
I feel like we turned back the clock a few months here. Either that or Vince got out his little scrapbook of ideas to see what he can re-use.
“Dammit Paul, Braun is over, he’s my greatest creation in years. Roman’s ill…I miss Roman…anyway, I think it’s time we finally give the fans what they want, we need to put the strap back on Brock because it’s best for business HAHAHAHA *sneezes* DAMMIT ALL TO HELL!
If you’re not well-versed in McMahonology, then a lot of that insanity above will have gone so far over your head that your neck is going to shrivel into a heap of cramp from cloud-gazing.
In short, Brock was champion for FAR TOO LONG. Since Wrestlemania 33, he held the Universal Title for 16 months. In that time, he competed a measly eight times, with only seven of those being for the title.
Despite the overwhelming distain towards Roman Reigns (get well dude <3), the general consensus was that relieving Lesnar of the title was good for the product. Reigns’ illness has forced him to relinquish it, and suddenly the stock of this match skyrocketed.
They had a big chance here to concoct something special. Instead, Brock effectively squashed WWE’s biggest monster. I don’t want to hear that Braun survived four F-5’s, that doesn’t make someone look good. Braun’s only offense in a 3-minute squash match was basically one kick.
-Insert Drew McIntyre into the match and make it a triple threat, as he has been involved with Braun a lot lately. It could’ve helped to pad the match out a bit and also make Brock earn it a bit more.
-Have Drew interfere, cause a double DQ, end the match as a no-contest and have a tournament at Survivor Series to determine a champion. Simple. This way, you negate the problem of having anyone look weak, you open a new realm of possibility, create more intrigue for Survivor Series and most importantly, that crowd didn’t care what happened during this match or most of the night to be perfectly honest.
Basically, this was all bad.
BUT…if on RAW we maybe have Brock drop the title to someone, fantastic. Do it.
Sadly, he’s probably going to hold onto that ugly, tomato skin until Wrestlemania and further run that title in the grounds of obscurity and make it lose its last single, shred of credibility. The whole thing was another in a long list of examples of the company going into business for themselves, and not the fans.
Match #2 – Dolph Ziggler vs
The Miz Shane McMahon to declare the winner of World Cup Tournament Final
Shane, I’m as surprised as you are.
BEST. IN. THE. WORLD. That is practically engrained onto my brain now it’s been advertised enough. If specialists performed brain surgery on me, the whole procedure would suffer a brief hiatus due to the internal shock of seeing “best in the world” childishly scribbled across my cerebral cortex.
Such is the WWE’s loathsome tendency to brand everything.
A 48-year-old Shane McMahon is now officially ‘the best wrestler in the world’. According to the events of Crown Jewel whereby the Smackdown Commissioner inexplicably inserted himself into the match at the behest…of himself, replacing an ‘injured’ Miz.
Not only that, I can’t believe I’m typing all of this by the way, but he pinned Dolph Ziggler (clean) in about 2 minutes following a vintage Coast-To-Coast. The only move in the history of professional wrestling that has never beaten anybody.
You’ve got to laugh. The ever-imposing and authoritative nature of the McMahon regime reared its ugly head once again here. Not only did this completely undermine the pointless tournament they’d been promoting for weeks; but it was so absurd and ludicrously nonsensical that you just couldn’t help but laugh.
Who will forget that warm, endearing image of Shane O’ Mac running around the ring with that damn trophy like he’d just won a titanic, 60-minute slog with a bear.
For story purposes, my assumption is that The Miz faked his injury in order to save himself the risk of being fired; as per the stipulation imposed on any Smackdown superstar who got to the final and lost.
Similarly, like with the Universal Title, they had a chance to give someone a nice little push here. Instead, the bosses son stuck his nose in business that wasn’t his, and further solidified his growing legacy as the greatest wrestler that has ever lived. Eurgh.
Match #3 – DX vs The Brothers of Destruction
^^^^^^ See that figure above? That’s the combined age of all four participants in this match. The main event of the show consisted of four part-timers. Let me rephrase that, the main event of this PPV, consisted of a guy who’d been retired for eight years, one guy who is pretty pre-occupied with his real-life mayoral duties for Knox County, one guy that is very much on his last legs as the prince of darkness, and one guy who spends his time in a suit and tie being an Executive Vice President backstage.
It’s clear here that the lesson wasn’t learned from Super Show Down. HHH vs The Undertaker went nearly 30 minutes in the land down under. Due to the time difference or whatever, I feel like that match is still going on now.
To reiterate, this was a clear indicator that we shouldn’t have these veterans working a long, drawn out affair. The pace was slower than a care home, zimmer-frame, grand prix with the winner pocketing priority seating to the evening’s bingo.
The match was plodding, riddled with botches, Kane was accidentally unmasked for the millionth time and Shawn just barely escaped death performing a moonsault to the outside.
He was the shining beacon of light in the claustrophobic cavern of eternal darkness that was this match. Shawn Michaels is my favourite wrestler of all-time. I think he retired too early as he clearly still had IT. At Crown Jewel he did admittedly look a bit rusty, but he definitely still put on a show; and I believe he could still work a MOTY contender with the right guy *cough* AJ Styles.
I hate the fact he came out of retirement, for this of all shows. But if HBK is back, then maybe he can work a couple more matches before retiring at Wrestlemania once again.
As a whole however, this match was everything that is wrong with the WWE. The undying emphasis on the established guard, continually taking up slots that need to be filled by the younger guys.
The WWE makes enough money. It’s the biggest wrestling company in the world bar-none. They’re never going to be challenged no matter what anyone wants to believe.
One of these days, Vince needs to bite the bullet and start the integration of younger guys into main event slots without the need to panic and call upon his tried and tested soldiers.
- Putting the title on Lesnar was desperation and a way to return the status-quo in Vince’s head. A worrying thought is that he doesn’t trust ANYONE on the RAW brand that he feels can carry the company. But who’s fault is that?
- Shane winning the World Cup. Yeah. No.
- Out with the old, in with the new. It doesn’t need to be any clearer than that.
The common factor in all of this? Over-reliance on part-timers who aren’t busting their arse on the road 300+ days a year. It needs to stop. But it won’t.
– Andy.H. –
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