Here are my final thoughts on Raw and SmackDown Live’s WWE Crown Jewel 2019!
20-Man Battle Royal (Winner Faces AJ Styles for the United States Championship)
Reactions: This was mildly entertaining. There weren’t any remarkable moments to speak of here – it was just your basic battle royal. R-Truth’s 24/7 Championship antics have grown quite tiresome, so they weren’t all that enthralling here once they took place. Crowning Humberto Carrillo is a welcome decision, but it’s a puzzling one since AJ Styles defeated him so decisively and destroyed him during the post-match proceedings on the last episode of Raw. At least the rematch should be good.
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars
Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Cain Velasquez (WWE Championship)
Reactions: So WWE signs one of the biggest free agents in all of combat sports, Cain Velasquez. A man who made two impressive showings in the Mexican wrestling fed AAA with his Lucha Libre work. He’s immediately booked in a WWE Championship match with Brock Lesnar, the man he soundly defeated in a previous UFC contest. The stakes were high and so was the anticipation for their WWE rematch.
So what did we get here? A quasi-MMA fight that led to Cain losing in just a few minutes! The booking here was really strange – Cain can actually work and I was actually looking forward to watching an inspired Brock work with him. But we pretty much got a squash match that tried so hard to look like a legit MMA brawl but failed miserably in the process. Not only was this bout’s booking a head-scratcher, but it also made Cain look pretty damn worthless in his in-ring WWE debut.
The New Day (Big, Kofi Kingston, and/or Xavier Woods) vs. The Viking Raiders (Erik and Ivar) vs. Heavy Machinery (Otis and Tucker) vs. Lucha House Party (Lince Dorado, Gran Metalik, and/or Kalisto) vs. Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins vs The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) vs. The O.C. (AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, and/or Karl Anderson) vs. Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode vs. The B-Team (Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas) (Tag Team Turmoil Match to Determine the “Best Tag Team in the World”)
Reactions: After sitting through an opening match I still can’t wrap my head around, this was a nice palate cleanser. The Lucha House Party put on a pretty entertaining contest with Dolph Ziggler and Bobby Roode. Then Zach Ryder and Curt Hawkins came out to do a seconds-long job to them. Heavy Machinery then came out to put on a solid affair with Ziggler and Roode. After that matchup, Big E and Kofi Kingston had a fun exchange with the super heavyweight duo. Once The New Day got the win, they cut through The B-Team with little to no effort.
The New Day and The Revival put on a good match soon after (no surprise there). Then The Revival put the boots to The New Day and pretty much handed their scraps to The O.C. Then in a complete shocker, The O.C. ended up nabbing the ultimate victory by defeating The Viking Raiders (who just so happen to the Raw Tag Team Champions, by the way). Good set of matches here and a surprising winner to boot. Man, the booking for this show has been a trip thus far…
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
Mansoor vs. Cesaro
Reactions: Mansoor is not only a national treasure, he’s a global one. Pitting him against Cesaro was the right idea and it led to a career-defining performance for the Saudi Arabian star. Cesaro always makes for a great opponent against all types of athletes, especially those of the smaller kind. He made Mansoor look like a million bucks (which was an easy task since Mansoor is no slouch in the ring himself), but at least Cesaro got to look just as good in the process. The action was flawless, satisfying and full of nail-biting near falls that sent the crowd into a frenzy. Mansoor’s innovative offense and Cesaro’s impressive power man maneuvers combined to make this match a riveting contest.
Rating: 3 & a Half out of 5 Stars
Braun Strowman vs. Tyson Fury
Reactions: Tyson Fury really just delivered the best entrance of the year, didn’t he? I’d say yes. As for the match itself, it was certainly something. Tyson looked pretty awkward out there during most of his exchanges with Bruan Strowman. Braun did all he could to make this watchable, but it was all for naught. The lame finish didn’t do this match any favors, either. The only highlight of this whole affair was Tyson’s complete no-selling of Braun’s Powerslam finisher after the match. That was unintentionally hilarious, I might add. So as it stands, Floyd Mayweather vs. Big Show at WrestleMania 24 is still the best boxer vs. wrestler match in the history of wrestling. This was simply horrendous in comparison.
Rating: 1 out of 5 Stars
AJ Styles (c) vs. Humberto Carrillo (WWE United States Championship)
Reactions: This was pretty good. The pace might have been a bit slower than the comparably better Mansoor vs. Cesaro match, but it was still a good watch nonetheless. It took a while to really get going, as evidenced by the disinterested crowd. But the longer it went on, the more it increased in quality and captured the fans in attendance’s attention.
AJ Styles and Humberto Carillo have developed quite the in-ring chemistry with each other lately. Both men know when to slow down the action and kick it up a notch when the match calls for it. This contest was a bit better than their last Raw meeting and it actually ended on a pretty satisfying note (can’t say the same about the match that took place before it). THE O.C. STANDS TALL AT CROWN JEWEL!
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
Natalya vs. Lacey Evans
Reactions: History was certainly made and plenty of fireworks went off before the bell even rung. Natalya and Lacey Evans put on a halfway-decent match here that was a mild step above your usual house show bout. This bout was clearly put in place to break barriers and further WWE’s “Women’s Evolution” for the proud ladies in attendance and watching all over the world. And for that, I have to give it the utmost props.
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars
Team Hogan (Roman Reigns, Rusev, Ricochet, Ali, and Shorty G) vs. Team Flair (Randy Orton, King Corbin, Shinsuke Nakamura, Bobby Lashley, and Drew McIntyre) (10-Man Tag Team Match)
Reactions: I actually enjoyed this way more than I initially thought I would. It had your face in peril beatdown, smart heelwork, epic near falls, big-time face comebacks and a hot closing stretch. Rusev shockingly stood out as the MVP here as he tore into Bobby Lashley and really erupted the crowd whenever he got his hands on his wife’s new lover.
The action never slowed and the team captains didn’t try to get a piece of the action, thankfully. Ali and Ricochet also put on a great performance here as they flew all over the place at different intervals. Roman Reigns and Randy Orton pulled off a pretty exciting finish with their exchange, which helped put a nice bow on this supremely entertaining 10-man tag team match. Team Flair may have worked like a well-oiled machine, but Team Hogan’s resiliency came out on the winning end after it was all said and done.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Seth Rollins (c) vs. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt (Falls Count Anywhere Match for the WWE Universal Championship; This Match Can’t be Stopped for any Reason)
Reactions: C’mon WWE…you gotta ditch “The Fiend” Sin Cara-esque lighting for his matches. It’s clearly not a good look. So the good news is that this rematch was far better than their horrid Hell in a Cell encounter. But it still wasn’t all that engrossing, to be quite honest. Seth Rollins and Bray Wyatt certainly worked hard and pulled off a lot of hardcore spots that brought the crowd to life at certain points.
But the action was a bit too plodding at times, plus Seth’s repeated Curb stomps were more annoying than entertaining. At least the visual of “The Fiend” getting kicked off the stage and getting up later as it nothing happened was badass. I’m just happy to see the Universal Championship switch hands to the infinitely more interesting Bray Wyatt. The match itself wasn’t all that interesting, however.
Rating: 2 & a Half out of 5 Stars
Match of the Night
Team Hogan vs. Team Flair!
This year’s Crown Jewel was certainly a mixed bag. On one hand, you had quality bouts such as Mansoor vs. Cesaro, Team Hogan vs. Team Flair, the tag team gauntlet contest and AJ Styles vs. Humberto Carrillo. But then you have to consider the other half of this show, which was filled with terrible matches that garnered the most hype going into them.
Brock vs. Cain was an immense waste of time that shouldn’t have been booked in the first place and Tyson vs. Braun was simply atrocious. The first-ever women’s match to ever be contested on Saudi Arabian soil was special for the moment itself, but the match was nothing special. As for the main event…at least Bray Wyatt won!
Final Score: 2 & a Half out of 5 Stars