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WWE CROWN JEWEL 2022 HITS AND MISSES
NOVEMBER 5, 2022
RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA AT MRSOOL PARK STADIUM
AIRED ON PEACOCK, 12:00 p.m. EDT 9:00 a.m. PDT
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH.COM CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Michael Cole and Wade Barrett
Brock Lesnar defeats Bobby Lashley
Brock Lesnar cost Bobby Lashley the U.S. Championship several weeks prior to this show, so the idea is for Lashley to get revenge. Lashley took the WWE Championship from Lesnar earlier in the year at the Royal Rumble, but Lesnar regained it the last time they were in Saudi Arabia in an Elimination Chamber match. Lashley couldn’t finish the match due to injury. Lesnar since lost the championship to Roman Reigns and came up short in his attempt to regain it. All of that said, a lot was on the line heading into what many always viewed as a dream match (despite already having a one-on-one at the Rumble).
I liked the brawling to start as it fit the story told on TV and overall, I thought the match went well. I thought for a second we were getting the Bret Hart pin over Roddy Piper at WrestleMania 8 when Lesnar went off the turnbuckle, but nonetheless we got Lesnar just leveraging Lashley via leaning back. The finish felt abrupt, but I wonder if there was an injury on Lesnar’s end. Lashley attacking Lesnar post-match and getting a negative reaction was interesting, but also not terribly out of place since Lesnar is universally over especially in Saudi Arabia.
The match wasn’t over-the-top great, but I’ll grade it a mild hit for the time it lasted.
Hit or Miss: Hit
WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship: Damage CTRL (Dakota Kai & Iyo Skye) defeat Alexa Bliss & Asuka to regain the championship
Before the match, Alexa & Asuka were interviewed by Byron Saxton, who emphasized they’re defending their championship only five days after winning it. Talk to the Mountie at the Royal Rumble in 1992 and Christian in 2011, and countless others Byron. It’s happened. That said, a seed of doubt was planted in our heads about their ability to retain the titles.
Well, the doubt was warranted although it took interference on the part of Nikki Cross who attacked her former partner and championship co-holder Alexa. The referee was tied up with Asuka and Skye. There seemed to be a delay in Nikki getting out there because Alexa could have hit Twisted Bliss on Kai and been done with the match.
The match was fine. There’s still too many interferences and distraction finishes in WWE. I wonder now if Bayley is going to win the Raw Women’s Championship so Damage CTRL can win “all the gold in one show.” That’s the only way it makes sense to have had Kai & Skye lose the titles on Raw only to regain them here. I’ll be nice and give the match a hit.
Hit or Miss: Hit
Steel Cage Match: Drew McIntyre defeats Karrion Kross
I’m sorry but I still hate that a way to win a steel cage match is to escape through the door or go over the top. I’m not naïve to not understand why, but I still hate it. Why would I try to climb the cage? Why wouldn’t I just kick my opponent in the balls and walk out the door? Pinfalls and submissions are fine. That said, another gimmick match with Karrion Kross is upon us. My 10-year-old daughter told me Karrion Kross is not that scary. Pay attention to that comment WWE. What you’re selling isn’t being bought.
Sorry but I’m just going to complain about everything in this match. Scarlett distracts Drew from going for the Claymore Kick. I can’t stand this part of WWE’s playbook where wrestlers are easily distracted by outside forces. Who cares about her Drew? Then, after hitting the Kross Hammer, why would Karrion try to climb the cage? Walk out the door bro! Why isn’t Scarlett ejected from ring side when she maces Drew and the outside official? Why isn’t the outside official replaced after getting maced? Why is Scarlett allowed to lock the door and take the key?
I understand the finish. Locking the cage on Drew backfired so that protects Karrion in losing. They still want Karrion to have credibility. It all makes logistical sense. The problem is people see through WWE. Karrion is not a good wrestler. They’re trtying to keep Drew occupied and I understand that, but this is bringing him down. I don’t know what you do otherwise. The match was slow and plodding and had a lot of Triple H’s fingerprints on it. He always loved a deal like this. Go back and watch his matches if you don’t believe me. At least it wasn’t terribly long, but I think you know my grade.
Hit or Miss: Miss
Judgment Day (Finn Balor & Damian Priest & Dominik Mysterio) defeat The O.C. (A.J. Styles and Gallows & Anderson)
The Judgment Day is in a better place overall and a feud with The O.C. is perfectly fine. It’s not what I’m clamoring to watch every week but given the history with Gallows & Anderson and A.J. Styles as well as Finn Balor there’s decent background to this. Dominik is doing a nice job overall with his change in attitude, but I don’t buy him. He wants to be Eddie Guerrero? Go watch the 1997 version of Eddie and then talk to me about a heel with a recent changed attitude. Watch his match with Rey Mysterio (then “Misterio, Jr.) at Halloween Havoc from that year and then we’ll talk.
This match was fine. It had a house show feel to it, but that’s the deal with these Saudi shows. Then we got the finish. Rhea Ripley attacks A.J. allowing Finn to set up for the Coup de Grace and pinfall. I’m sorry but these interference and distraction finishes are getting out of control and now we’ve had three matches in a row as such. Again, it makes sense if they want to keep things going between these sides. I question how much people want to see more matches between these teams, but I digress. They’re likely setting up an eventual big one-on-one between A.J. and Finn. Let’s not discount Beth Phoenix coming back into the fold with her husband Edge and doing a mixed tag since Rhea “dedicated her look to Beth.” (Jeez would they do an intergender WarGames match?) I’ll give the match a hit, but I’m not going to back down from being annoyed about multiple interference/distraction finishes.
Hit or Miss: Hit
Braun Stroman defeats Omos
The tale of the tape was a cool touch to talk about before this darling of a match.
I can’t believe this was possible. I’m going to give this match a hit. Wow. It didn’t overstay its welcome and, in my opinion, the right guy went over and clean. That tells me Omos’s goose is cooked and rightfully so. He may have looked decent in this match and even dominated Braun, but overall, the guy has shown you nothing other than his nostrils when the camera looks up at him. I mean no offense to the man personally, but you need to show something when you’re a big man. It doesn’t have to be five-star wrestling ability that Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks strive for every night. Braun may be limited in his own right, but he’s passable in the ring and is useful overall. Fans like him.
Hit or Miss: Hit
Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship: The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) defeat The Brawling Brutes (Ridge Holland & Butch)
This Butch name has gotta go. Go back to Pete Dunne, now. Anyway….
There’s not a lot to talk about with this match. It was straight-forward and well worked, and the right team won. There’s no way the Brutes were going to win. They have something with Holland and Butch (Pete Dunne) moving forward, but not enough to end the long reign of the Usos who head towards Smackdown to face long-time rivals New Day. It’s ok to have a predictable match or two on a card. This was one of those matches.
On an unrelated side note, it’s crazy to think there was a time where Pete Dunne had stellar matches for the NXT UK Championship, a title he held for nearly two years.
Hit or Miss: Hit
Last Woman Standing (TLC & Golf Cart) Match for the Raw Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair defeats Bayley to retain the Raw Women’s Championship
This is one of those deals where I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t. There were several spots in the match that could be called “dramatic” but we’ve seen these table, ladder, and chair spots so many times that at least for me, I’m desensitized to them. That’s another thing, they might as well have called this a TLC match. I understand it’s no DQ, but let’s talk about that for a second. Why does Last Woman or Man Standing HAVE to be no DQ? The only difference between a match like this and a standard match is the method by which the winner is determined. It’s like Triple Threat matches being no DQ. Why? We’ve already seen a ladder match between these women which wasn’t all that good. They worked hard here and got creative, but it didn’t do anything for me. I didn’t feel any drama, or “oohs and aahs” the way these matches are supposed to make you feel.
Attempted vehicular homicide by Bayley was a choice too by the way.
Here’s another few things. I thought Bayley would go over so Damage CTRL could win all the gold on the same show. What was the point of flip flopping the tag team championship off and back onto Dakota and Iyo? If the match was no DQ, why didn’t they help Bayley win the match? On a show with three interference/distraction finishes you would think one of them would happen here. Bayley can’t get another title shot for a while now having lost two big ones in a row. I’m sorry there are just too many issues with this match to give it a hit.
Hit or Miss: Miss
(It wasn’t terribly bad, but I just can’t give it a hit in good faith)
Bray Wyatt Appearance
It thought it was cool that Bray acknowledged he came from a prestigious wrestling family. That’s one of the good things of Triple H’s management, allowing wrestlers to discuss themselves honestly. The story of creating himself into a monster made sense to me. I don’t know about this Uncle Howdy bit yet though, but it’s one of those ridiculous things I’m waiting to see play out. We got a little something out of this, but not much more than what we’ve gott.
Hit or Miss: Hit
Undisputed WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns defeats Logan Paul
I didn’t believe for one second that Logan Paul was defeating Roman Reigns and ending his two-plus year run as Universal Champion and six-month run as undisputed champion. They sure did a good job making you believe it could happen with the “one lucky shot” deal. At 49 years old and watching wrestling since I was 13 it didn’t do anything for me personally, but objectively I liked how they built this up even though Logan had no business getting a world championship match.
I have to say I’m impressed by Logan and how quickly he’s picked up wrestling. Whether you personally like him or not, and he certainly has unlikable tendencies, he feels like he belongs in a WWE ring. The match fit the story told which was Reigns not taking Logan seriously, and the near falls were dramatic and somewhat believable (again, we know where this was going). One thing which is a minor quibble. Logan needs a little more schooling in how to do the super kick! Take care of that Shawn. Anyway, I got a kick out of Logan taking the phone from his entourage and doing a selfie while doing a splash off the top tope onto a prone Reigns on the announce table. Oh and yeah, there was a Buckshot Lariat my friends!
I’ll have to marinate on the Bloodline and Jake Paul getting involved but I suppose that was a forgone conclusion since Logan announced he was bringing “backup” with his brother. It’s not like there was egregious interference and Logan doing the dive on the Usos was cool.
For those offended that the “most protected wrestler” having “trouble” with a guy who’s had one singles match, it’s called an improbable story. The long-term champion wasn’t taking his challenger seriously. He was caught off guard and found a way to win. It happens in wrestling and it’s enjoyable from time to time. Everyone has acknowledged that Logan has picked this up quickly. Watch the original Rocky. It’s a fun ride, as was this. It’s not going to happen all the time. Kick back with a drink or your vice of choice and enjoy this for what it was.
Hit or Miss: Hit
There are seven hits but by no means was this a great show. It was enjoyable while it lasted though. I wasn’t offended terribly by the matches even though there were multiple interference/distraction finishes. There are plenty of talking points and issues I’m looking to see resolved as we head towards next week’s television.
That being said, the hits have it, this report is adjourned. See you in three weeks for Survivor Series: WarGames.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Thank you for reading!