SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
KELLER’S WWE CROWN JEWEL PLE REPORT
NOVEMBER 5, 2022
RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA
STREAMED LIVE ON PEACOCK
Commentators: Michael Cole, Wade Barrett
-A two minute video package featuring Titus O’Neal hyped up the Crown Jewel brand with various images of the key wrestlers and match-ups on the show.
-Pyro blasted as the camera showed a wide shot of the outdoor stadium. Michael Cole and Wade Barrett introduced the show.
(Keller’s Analysis: Just weeks ago on the Smackdown season premiere, Cole said he and Corey Graves would be the sole announce team on PLE’s going forward.)
(1) BROCK LESNAR vs. BOBBY LASHLEY
Lashley made his ring entrance. Then a video package aired on the match. Brock then made his entrance. Cole noted that Paul Heyman said on Corey Graves’ podcast that Brock looks at Lashley as an “asterick” (he meant “asterisk, I assume!) in his career because of what happened at the Royal Rumble. Lashley shoved Brock into the ringside steps early. Brock sold a hurt leg. Lashley threw Brock into the ring and the ref called the bell instantly, apparently without checking with Brock if he was okay. WWE is usually good about not overly rewarding pre-match attacks like that. Lashley speared Brock. Brock immediately rolled to ringside to try to walk off his leg pain. Lashley speared him at ringside, too, crashing into the ringside barricade. He then rolled him into the ring and speared him again and scored a near fall. Fans chanted, “Fight forever!” Lesnar came back with a sudden German suplex which popped the crowd. Brock did another. He then played to the crowd as he limped over to Lashley and delivered a third German suplex. Brock delivered an F5 for a believable near fall.
Lashley clotheslined Brock over the top rope seconds later, then rammed him into the ringpost ribs-first while having him lifted onto his shoulders. Lashley played to the crowd, who booed him. Lashley threw Brock back into the ring and then gave Brock a spinebuster. He held out his arms and was booed again. Cole said Brock looked to be in serious jeopardy. Lashley applied a full nelson on Brock mid-ring. Lesnar got red-faced and looked concerned, but then he let out a big roar and tried to power out. Lashley held on. Brock told the ref to shut up when he asked if he gave up. Brock dropped to one knee. Lesnar’s arm dropped twice, but not a third time. Fans cheered. Lesnar then pushed off the turnbuckles and landed on Lashley and got a three count. Cole said Brock one, but he barely survived the fight, an attempt to protect Lashley a bit in his loss.
After the match, Lashley applied another full nelson briefly. Fans booed and chanted “You suck!”
WINNER: Lesnar in 6:00. (**3/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: For all the controversy associated with WWE’s relationship with Saudi Arabia feeling like propaganda to “normalize” the Saudi Arabia’s regime and their practices, it’s a blast to see a fans – at least in the rows opposite the hard camera – so thoroughly excited by the novelty of seeing WWE up close in person. They were very into this match and strongly took side with Brock; Lashley’s pre-match attack from behind nudged fans in that direction, so I’m not sure if the crowd would have been more split if they had Lashley approach his strategy more down the middle. The match itself was fine, but because of the short duration and lack of stakes, it didn’t feel epic and probably diminished the prospects of a bigger match between them down the line. What there was to it was well executed and dramatic.) [c]
(2) ASUKA & ALEXA BLISS vs. DAKOTA KAI & IYO SKY – WWE Women’s Tag Team Title match
After Sky & Kai made their entrance, Byron Saxton interviewed Bliss & Asuka backstage. He asked how confident they are defending their titles just five days after winning them. As Bliss began to talk, the monitor behind them showed the firefly imagery associated with Bray Wyatt. She noticed, but shook it off and continued talking. She said the match isn’t one week in the making, it’s month of retaliation coming back to haunt Damage CTRL. Asuka yelled that they aren’t ready for Bliss & Asuka. They began their ring entrance.
Sky got in sustained offense against Asuka. She eventualy hot-tagged Bliss who rallied. Sky took over against Bliss, though. Bliss fought back and scored a near fall after a Code Red. Bliss climbed to the top rope, but Kai met her up there. Kai joined in to set up a double superplex. Asuka intervened and powerbombed Sky and Kai off the top rope, but that also ended up superplexing Bliss, defeating the purpose of her ostensible attempt to help her partner. Asuka tagged in and hit Kai with a missile dropkick for a near fall. Asuka landed rapid-fire strikes including spinning back elbows. Bliss tagged back in and went for a Twisted Bliss, but Kai lifted her knees. Bliss had paused briefly to yell at Sky yelling at her from the ring apron.
At ringside, Asuka and Sky battled. Bliss landed a Twisted DDT. Kai shifted her body and rolled into position for a top rope move by Bliss, WHICH LOOKED RIDICULOUS. Bliss climbed to the top rope when Nikki Cross gave her a neckbreaker off the top rope. Kai made the cover. The ref, who was distracted by Sky and Asuka brawling on the other side of the ring, missed the interference, but then turned and counted the pin. Cole noted that Bliss and Cross used to be best friends.
WINNERS: Sky & Kai in 13:00 to regain the WWE Tag Team Titles. (***)
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match other than Dakota obviously shirting herself into position for Bliss’s top rope move, even more puzzling considering that was before the spot where Cross interfered, so being in “perfect position” didn’t even matter. This seems to explain the title change five days ago since they wanted Cross to cost Bliss & Asuka the belts rather than just cost them a chance at winning the belt.) [c]
(3) DREW MCINTYRE vs. KARRION KROSS (w/Scarlett) – Cage match
Cole said Kross and Scarlett feast on negative energy. Kross took early control. Fans booed. Drew fired back with chops. Kross chopped back and then threw Drew into the side of the cage. Kross catapulted Drew neck-first up into the bottom rope. Cole said Kross has just been a terrible match-up for Drew. Kross said Drew’s mistakes was approaching Kross like a regular opponent. Drew fired back with two clotheslines and an overhead toss followed by a head-first throw into the side of the cage and then a neckbreaker. Both were down and slow to get up, though. Drew kipped up which popped the crowd. Cole touted the size of the crowd. Barrett talked about the soccer team that plays in that stadium. Drew landed a Michnoku Driver for a two count. Cole said, “This is the slow, plodding match we’ve come to expect from these two men.” (That sounded like a burn, not a compliment or even an objective neutral description, surely not Cole’s intent.)
Kross surprised Drew with a flying knee for a near fall that Cole sold well. Kross trash-talked Drew before lifting him for a throw into the side of the cage. Drew reversed him and landed a spinebuster followed by a jackknife cover for a two count. Kross shifted into a sleeper attempt. Drew reversed Kross into the sleeper. A couple minutes later they battled on the top rope. Drew superplexed Kross off the top rope. Then Drew tried to climb out of the cage door, but Scarlett maced Drew in the face. She also maced the ref. (Totally legal in a cage match!) “Just when you thought Scarlett wouldn’t be involved because of the cage!” Cole exclaimed. Kross tried to climb out, but Drew grabbed his legs and pulled him back mid-ring with an anklelock. Kross kicked out of it. Drew landed a Glasgow Kiss followed by a big boot.
Scarlett closed the cage door. Drew noticed she was locking it. Drew asked what she was doing. Scarlett showed off the key and told him he can’t win. Drew climbed the cage to prove her wrong. She began unlocking the cage door and let Kross climb out, but Drew dropped to the floor first to win. Cole said Scarlett might have made a mistake in her strategy because it took her longer to unlock the door for Kross than it did for Drew to drop to the floor. As Drew celebrated, Kross yelled at ringside, “This wasn’t supposed to happen. Not like this!”
WINNER: McIntyre in 13:00. (**3/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: A solid enough cage match for this place on the card. The finish was pretty convoluted, though, and made Scarlet look pretty inept.) [c]
-Two black SUVs drove up outside the stadium. The Bloodline, sans Sami Zayn, got out and walked toward the entrance. Saxton asked Reigns about the chance of losing with “one lucky punch.” Reigns sneered and walked away. Solo stared down Saxton and pushed his mic down. Heyman then mockingly said, “One lucky punch!” to Saxton. He then got serious and said Logan Paul will never land the “one lucky punch.”
-They went to Cole and Barrett at ringside. Cole said he’s called every one of Reigns’s title defenses and tonight feels different. “Could tonight be the night?” he said. Barrett said some talk about Reigns underestimating Logan, but people should never underestimate Reigns.
(4) THE JUDGMENT DAY (Finn Balor & Damian Priest & Dominik Mysterio w/Rhea Ripley) vs. THE O.C. (A.J. Styles & Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows)
When The Judgment Day walked out, Cole said Ripley’s hair style was paying homage to “the late, great” Beth Phoenix. When Cole talked about Dominic and Ripley being a couple, and Rey being against it, Barrett admonished Cole because they have never confirmed their a couple. He also told Cole that Dominik is 25 years old and should be able to decide whom he dates, if that’s the case. Barrett called Anderson “a true world traveler… who is respected around the world.” Anderson battled Balor first. Then when Priest tagged in, Gallows tagged in. Cole mentioned Gallows history as IWGP Tag Team Champion, a rare acknowledgment on WWE commentary of a title outside of WWE.
Cole said a lot of people are saying Ripley has become the de facto leader of The Bloodline. He called her “bewitching” and “provocative.” The O.C. eventually isolated Dominik and got in sustained offense against him. Fans chanted “A.J. Styles!” Dominik rolled to the floor. Styles went after Balor when he tried to enter. Priest hit Anderson at ringside as the ref was occupied with Styles and Balor. Back in the ring, Dominik scored a two count on Anderson. “That’s how this game works,” Barrett said, defending the illegal interference. He insisted Graves would agree with him.
Later Styles and Balor battled. Balor applied a figure-four mid-ring. Anderson landed a senton on Balor to break it up. They did a spot where everyone suplexed everyone. Styles and Balor were down on their backs mid-ring and slow to get up. Fans chanted “This is awesome!” Styles set up a Phenomenal Forearm seconds later, but Ripley yanked him off the ring apron and slammed him onto the edge of the ring. “Somebody’s got to kick her ass,” Cole exclaimed. “I mean, this is ridiculous!” Balor landed the Coup de Gras for the win.
WINNERS: The Judgment Day in 14:00. (**3/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: A solid tag match, but nothing memorable. The commentary and Ripley hair style suggests a Ripley vs. Phoenix feud is on the horizon.)
(5) OMOS vs. BRAUN STROWMAN
Barrett said Omos needs MVP in his ear, and without MVP present because of Braun’s attack on him at ringside on Smackdown the night before, he might be at a disadvantage. (So much for my idea that MVP might take the pin here in some lame escape hatch finish. Instead, they’re set up an excuse for Omos to lose. Omos offered a test of strength at the start. Braun asked the crowd and they encouraged it. Braun accepted, but lost the test of strength. Omos threw a Diesel-style elbow in the corner and then mounted Braun in the corner and trash-talked a bit. He whipped Braun into the opposite corner, and Braun bounced out of it and fell to the mat. When he stood, Omos splashed him in the corner against the turnbuckles. He followed with a big boot. He told the ringside camera, “I’m the only giant.”
Omos one-arm slammed Braun and then put his foot on Braun’s chest to score a one count. Cole said Omos has never looked this good. “He looks spectacular so far,” he said. Barrett said he’s never seen Omos look so confident. Cole said, “He’s literally beating the hell out of Strowman.” (Huh?) Omos tossed Braun across the ring. Omos said, “I could do this in my sleep.” Braun grabbed Omo by the throat as Omos grabbed him. Braun broke Omos’s grip and punched him. Omos bent over. Braun then charged and clotheslined Omos over the top rope. Omos landed on his feet. Braun charged at Omos art ringside, and Omos clotheslined him. Barrett said that has never backfired on Braun before.
Back in the ring, Omos called for Braun to stand. Barrett said it’s turned into an act of humiliation. Braun powered Omos’s arms off of him, but Omos threw Braun into the corner. He then charged him in the corner, but Braun moved and then lifted Omos and gave him a running powerslam for a three count.
WINNER: Braun in 7:00. (*1/2)
(Keller’s Analysis: This wasn’t half bad, actually. I mean, based on the low expectations given how limited Omos has been. This was quite passable for a battle of two big men. The psychology here was for Omos to be “protected” even in losing by dominating up until the loss. It made Omos look weak, though, that it only took one running powerslam to be pinned. Braun looked diminished by being dominated up until that point. This was a bit of a no-win situation where WWE had to choose sides, and an Omos loss would take away some of the mystique that is the driving force behind him being relevant.) [c]
(6) JEY & JIMMY USO vs. THE BRAWLING BRUTES (Ridge Holland & Butch) – WWE Undisputed Tag Team Title match
Cole said Jey has his wrist and arm wrapped because he believes he has a broken wrist that occurred during the European tour, but he’s not going to leave his brother high and dry to get it tended to. They replayed the Bloodline’s brutal attack on Sheamus weeks ago. He said if they retain the belts tonight, they’ll defend them Friday against New Day to try to set the record for length of tag title reign. Cole said Reigns will defend his title soon, and that has to be in the back of the Usos minds. He said it could make them ripe for the picking given how much the Usos have on their minds. Cole said this is the biggest night in the career of the Brawling Brutes.
Butch got in early offense against Jimmy, so Jimmy rolled to ringside to regroup with Jey. They grabbed their belts and threatened to just leave. Barrett said, “That’s one way to get the record.” Butch leaped onto them and then went after Jimmy’s arm. The Usos took control against Butch for a short stretch leading to a hot-tag to Holland. Cole touted Holland’s history playing rugby. Holland lifted both Usos at onnce and tossed them over his shoulders. “Somewhere Sheamus is smiling,” Cole said. He scored a two count on Jey. The Brutes went after Jimmy’s arm against the ringside steps.
Holland gave Jimmy a twisting one-arm slam mid-ring for a two count. When Butch tagged in, Cole called him, “The frenzied, manic Butch.” All four fought mid-ring. The Usos got the better of it. Jimmy went for a top rope splash, but Butch caught him and applied an armbar and then grabbed his finger. Jimmy lifted Butch and then Jey kicked him. Jey and Jimmy climbed opposite top turnbuckles and landed a stereo splash. Holland broke up the cover. All four were down and slow to get up. They went to a wide overhead shot of the ring and scoreboard for a cool view. Fans chanted “Uce-y!” as Jey stood over Butch. Butch grabbed Jey’s fingers and yanked them apart. As Jey sold that, Holland tagged in. Holland gave Jey a White Noise for a dramatic near fall. Butch and Holland threw Jimmy over the ringside barricade, then returned to the ring. They double-teamed Jey and scored a near fall, broken up by Jimmy. Fans chanted “This is awesome!” Cole said: “Indeed, this is awesome. The whole night’s been awesome!”
All four stood and exchanged rapid-punches. Butch climbed to the top rope, but Jey met him up there. Jimmy then gave Butch their 1D (One and Done) as Jey dropped Butch backwards off the top rope. Barrett said it was a successful banger for the Usos and next they’ll try to break the record against New Day. Cole called it one of the biggest matches in the history of Smackdown on Fox.
WINNERS: The Usos in 11:00 to retain the WWE Tag Team Titles. (***)
(Keller’s Analysis: Not long enough to be epic, but really good while it lasted. The crowd was into it, and the Brutes managed to pull off a couple convincing near fall along the way even though it felt highly unlikely the Usos wouldn’t be facing New Day on Friday for the record.)
(7) BIANCA BELAIR vs. BAYLEY – Last Woman Standing for the WWE Raw Title
Bayley got the better of Belair early at ringside. She pulled a table out from under the ring and set it up. Belair, meanwhile, recovered enough to stand. Bayley was having issues locking the legs of the table, giving Belair extra time. Bayley then set up a suplex, but Belair fought back. Belair suplexed Bayley on the ramp. Bayley took over again and slammed Bayley with a chair mid-ring. When she climbed to the top rope, Belair threw a chair at Bayley to knock her off balance. Bayley dragged Belair to ringside behind the ringside steps. She kicked the steps into her and Belair sank beneath the steps in the hollow part. She she stood, Bayley bashed her with a kendo stick. Belair dropped back under the steps. Bayley smashed the steps with the kendo stick, then threatened Cole. The ref began counting Belair down. Belair fought back and knocked Bayley down. She then lifted the top of the steps and threw them, but well short of Bayley. Bayley threw Belair into the announce desk. The ref began counting both down. They both stood before ten. They brawled up the ramp. Bayley gave Belair a Bayley-to-Belly on the stage. They both stood before the count of ten.
Bayley dumped Belair into a rolling equipment case on the stage. The ref began counting. Belair popped out of the case at the count of seven. Bayley decided to lightly press on the lid rather than sit or lie on the lid. Belair set up Bayley for a K.O.D., but Bayley slipped out and then applied a crossface. Belair faded, so Bayley let go and stood. The ref began his ten count. Belair stood, then fell, but it wsa enough to break the count. Bayley arrived back on the stage with a golf cart. She sped toward Belair who easily moved out of the way in a comical scene. She then brawled with Bayley in the cart. Barrett said he didn’t expect to see that. “Can somebody say Caddy Shack?” said Cole. They brawled onto the roof of the cart. The ref, for some reason, implored them to get down. Belair drove the cart with Bayley lying on the roof. She sped down the ramp and stopped at ringside. Bayley stood and grabbed Belair’s braid. Belair yanked Bayley off the roof and meant to crash her through the table set up at ringside. Bayley overshot it, though, and crashed to the ringside floor. Baley hit the back of her neck on the edge of the table, it appeared. The ref checked on her. Barrett said when tables don’t break, it can be worse when you catch it on the edge of your spine. Belair then powerbombed Bayley through the table in an apparent audible. The ref then counted to nine before Bayley stood.
Belair threw some chairs into the ring. Cole said she’s been watching Liv Morgan on Smackdown. Belair slammed Bayley on the chairs. When Belair flipped off the top rope for a 450 splash, Bayley moved and Belair landed hard on the chairs. Belair stood at nine. Bayley went back on the attack. A dueling chant broke out of “Let’s Go Bayley / E.S.T.!” Bayley bashed Belair with a chair, then set up the chair. She rammed Belair onto the chair. Belair countered with a K.O.D. onto the chair. She then sandwiched Bayley in the ladder and wedged her in it under the bottom turnbuckle. Bayley was trapped and struggled to get out, but the ref counted to ten.
WINNER: Belair in 20:00 to retain the WWE Raw Title. (***1/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: That was a clever and resourceful method of trapping Bayley to win the match. Probably the best match of the night so far. Some of it was hokey, such as the golf cart aspect, but overall it was a successful dramatic and creative Last Woman Standing style match.)
-A video package aired on WWE wrestlers meeting with kids at the Special Olympics soccer game before the event and at a “Be A Star” rally. Belair said their message is relatable across the world. Lashley said the reaction of the kids is what it’s all about. Titus said they’re putting smiles on people’s face across the globe together.
-Cole said it’s been an amazing few days for WWE including a big dinner and press conference. They showed footage of the city.
-Bray Wyatt made his long ring entrance with a lantern as his music played. The lights were out and fans held up their phone flashlights. He stood mid-ring as fans chanted “Welcome back!” He introduced himself and said he wants everyone to know who he is. He said he comes from a prestigious wrestling family. “Some might say they’re even larger than life,” he said. “From the time I was a little child, all I wanted to be was great. But great wasn’t good enough. I had to be the greatest of all of them.” Fans chanted, “Yes, you are!” Bray said he did what he thought he needed to and gave in. “I gave in so much that I made a monster of myself,” he said. “I wore my mask with pride and it didn’t take me long to realize when I wore that mask, I didn’t feel pain and I could no longer be afraid.” He said he was untouchable, and that kind of thing feels good. He said sensations like that are impossible to quit. He said he found himself in a Kingdom of Nothingless, sitting on an island by himself as a monster he had made himself into that destroyed him. He said it ran off everyone he ever loved. “There I sat alone, no one to love me, nowhere to run, all alone.” Fans chanted, “We love you! We love you!”
Bray said, “That’s the thing. People don’t love me. They love the idea of me. They fear the things I’m capable of. I don’t even love me.” (Is this aimed at the Saudi Crown Prince?) He said that’s not the man he wants to be remembered as. He said his name is Bray Wyatt. He repeated it two more times with increasing intensity. He said he wants to write the ending to his story. Uncle Howdy showed up on the screen and asked, “Why wear a mask?” The masked man said you can fool them, but not him. He said the truth is he’s going to give in, so why wait. He told him to remember how good it feels and said it’s good for him. “If you’re worried about the aftermath, don’t take the mask off. Tell me I’m wrong.”
(Keller’s Analysis: This continues to feel like an allegory for a drug addict fighting urges and temptations and peer pressure from his druggie friends to join them to get high with Bray symbolizing the recovering drug addict and the masked man as the relentless lure of drugs tempting him with another high. He acknowledged he’s part of a wrestling family and seemed to be blaming the pressure he felt to be the best for the dark path he ended up taking. I wonder if they’ll go further in explicitly acknowledging the family members he speaks of.)
-A commercial aired for Survivor Series: War Games.
-They went to Cole and Barrett at ringside who talked about War Games. Barrett talked about calling a couple of War Games matches. He said it’s the first-time ever for Raw and Smackdown.
-Cole threw to a video package previewing the main event.
(8) ROMAN REIGNS vs. LOGAN PAUL – WWE Undisputed Title match
Logan made his entrance alone, beggining by standing atop a huge tower platform. They went to a wide shot of pryo blasted from the top of the stadium. The platform lowered as Cole said there’s a reason he’s one of the top social media influencers in the world. He said if he pulls off a Buster Douglas-like upset, it’d be one of the biggest upsets in WWE, and perhaps in all of sports. He said Logan lasted eight rounds with Floyd Mayweather, who said Logan was better and tougher than he thought “and a hell of a competitor.” Cole said Reigns hasn’t been pinned since Dec. 15, 2019. Reigns’s entrance then began, which popped the crowd.
After formal ring introduction, they locked up. Reigns shoved Logan into the corner and then laughed. When Logan shoved Reigns back, Reigns got furious as the crowd cheered. He went back after Logan. Cole said Logan has to get Reigns off his game and then he stands a chance. Logan took down Reigns with an amateur style move. Reigns topped Logan’s success with amateur wrestling moves with a punch. Logan swung back, but Reigns ducked. Reigns slid to ringside and pointed at some fans. Fans taunted Reigns as Reigns returned to the ring. “Stop running, Tribal Chief,” said Logan. Logan armdragged Reigns and then charged with a clothesline, sending Reigns over the top rope to ringside. Cole said Heyman looked shocked.
Reigns got the better of Logan at ringside, tossing him into the time keeper’s area. Logan, though, leaped off the barricade and tackled Reigns. He threw him back into the ring where he slingshot himself into the ring and landed a somersault clothesline for a two count. Cole said, “That was a two-and-a-half count, Wade, against the most dominant champion in 35 years!” Reigns caught Logan mid-air with a right punch. Both were down and slow to get up. Heyman encouraged Reigns from ringside, declaring him the greatest of all time. Reigns stomped away at Logan. Cole said Logan had his moment early, but the longer the match goes, it has “Roman Reigns dominance written all of it.” Reigns gave Logan a back suplex.
Reigns dominated for several minutes. Logan came back with a gut-wrench slam. Both were down and slow to get up. Barrett touted that Logan had trained with Shawn Michaels recently and it might be showing. Logan clotheslined Reigns when stood. Cole brought up Logan looking for a lucky punch. Logan back elbowed a charging Reigns and then landed a blockbuster for a two count. Barrett said Logan is the best “three match wrestler” he’s seen in his entire life “and it’s not even close.” Logan caught Reigns with a Superman punch. Both were down and slow to get up again. Logan kipped up. Logan leaped off the top rope with a crossbody followed by a standing moonsault for a near fall. Heyman was bug-eyed at ringside. Cole said Heyman is going to turn grey in a hurry and will need extra Grecian Formula. (Is that still a thing?)
Logan stomped the mat HBK-style. Reigns caught his boot and landed a uranage for a near fall. Both were down and slow to get up again. Barrett said he has his naysayers, but Logan is something special and he’ll fight to his last breath. Cole said fans are wishing the unthinkable might happen. Reigns stood and charged with a Superman Punch, but Logan ducked and landed a kidney punch. Logan landed a right and then a Superman Punch for a dramatic near fall. “What the hell are we witnessing, Cole?!” said Barrett. Reigns rubbed his temple, but couldn’t stand. He rolled to the floor as Logan grasped for his hand to prevent it. Barrett called it a veteran move by Reigns, knowing exactly what he has to do. Logan went after Reigns at ringside. Barrett said that one lucky punch was Logan’s best chance. Logan cleared the Arabic announce desk (which was grimy and beaten up looking).
Logan took a phone from his entourage at ringside and held it for a selfie video of his leap off the top rope onto Roman on the table. He landed on Reigns and the table collapsed. (That selfie bit is going to undo any goodwill Logan built up with his effort in this match because it’s so cocky and disrespectful in any context, but especially his as a celebrity interloper.) Barrett said the video Logan took is about to go viral. The Usos ran to ringside and pulled two members of Logan’s entourage over the barricade and beat them up. Jey superkicked one of them in the ring. They superkicked the other guy and then kicked them out of the ring.
Jake Paul then made his entrance, with a theme song and on-screen graphic. “The problem child is here,” said Cole. Jake faced the Usos. he punched Jey and then punched Jimmy. Both went down and rolled out of the ring. Jake celebrated his fist and yelled, “Let’s go!” Logan threw Reigns into the ring and then gave his brother a pep talk. “Finish this shit,” he said. Logan landed a top rope splash for a near fall. Barrett said Logan winning would be the worst nightmare of every wrestling purist. A “Logan!” chant broke out. With both down, Solo Sikoa’s music played and he walked out to his theme. (Playing theme songs for mid-match run-ins is really too much.) Jake awaited Solo. Referees and officials stepped between them. The Usos then approached Jake. Logan leaped over the top rope onto both Usos. Jake and Logan hugged. When Logan returned to the ring, Reigns gave Logan a Superman Punch and a spear for the win. As Reigns left, he said he never wants to see Logan again. Heyman said, “This is your glory, my Tribal Chief. I acknowledge you, my Tribal Chief!”
WINNER: Reigns in 25:00 to retain the WWE Undisputed Title. (***1/2)
(Keller’s Analysis: A good match, but it felt a little video-game-esque at times with the signature spots, many designed overtly to show how athletic Logan was. Some of it worked, other times it felt performantive rather than part of the natural flow of a match, although that can be said for a lot of full time wrestlers’ highspots these days, too. Logan continues to be impressive overall, but that selfie spot is going to cost him with fans he’s trying to win over. The stuff at the end to wedge Jake and the Usos and Solo involved made the match into a bit of a mess leading to the finish. Cole and Barrett were heavy-handed in their praise of Logan, but Logan’s performance and Reigns’s selling made it less offensive.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: Overall, a good show that largely breezed by with a lot of good, but never great, matches.