Today at 12 PM EST, WWE is set to hold one of its most controversial PPV’s in the history of the business, as Crown Jewel will be taking place from Saudi Arabia in lieu of the controversy surrounding a killed journalist. It’s no secret that WWE has had to keep their mouths shut about where the PPV will be held, and the controversy was enough for John Cena and Daniel Bryan to refuse to make the trip. It makes you wonder what would have happened if the entire locker room formed a united front and protested the decision. Anyway, the PPV is still on, and as Vince McMahon probably would say, “The show must go on. You know how much we’re getting paid for this?” Let’s get into it.
Cesaro (C) and Sheamus (C) vs. The New Day – SmackDown Tag Team Championship
Well, The Big Show turned for about the 2903403252395203rd time, and here we have a rematch between the best the SmackDown tag team division has to offer. I’m not expecting this to get the time it needs to truly be special, but what I do know is that this may be the most obvious match to predict on the card. I see no avenue for The New Day to win the titles once again, and it’s probably going to be in more of a sprint form than an extended match. The dynamics of this feud all center around Cesaro and Sheamus having a third person to watch their backs to level out the three members of The New Day. There really hasn’t been much build to this, but all I can say is that Cesaro and Sheamus just won the titles, and they are not losing the titles this soon.
Winner: Cesaro and Sheamus
AJ Styles (C) vs. Samoa Joe – WWE Championship
Obviously, this isn’t the ideal match that we all had in mind. I’ll tell you this much. If the WWE Championship match between AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan on Tuesday was the match that we would have gotten at Crown Jewel, I would have been more than satisfied. I loved the psychology of the match and how the limb work throughout the match influenced the outcome. With Daniel Bryan refusing to go, they obviously had to improvise, and I guess I can’t blame WWE for finding the one person that they can find that would not only go, but would make sense. The only real options they had available that would make sense was either Samoa Joe or Shinsuke Nakamura. What I hated, however, is that everything between AJ Styles and Samoa Joe has to involve AJ Styles’ family. I mean, AJ Styles and Samoa Joe’s match at Super Show-Down ended definitively with AJ Styles winning clean and Samoa Joe tapping out.
The last-minute change also hurts the outcome, because I think it’s obvious AJ Styles is retaining. Samoa Joe has had many opportunities to dethrone AJ Styles and he couldn’t do it. If he couldn’t beat AJ Styles in a match that had no rules, why should we believe he can beat him in a regular match? While I’m also sure AJ Styles and Samoa Joe never have a bad match, I’ve seen these two far too many times in proximity with each other over the summer to the point where I may memorize each spot they are going to do in succession. It’s similar to AJ Styles’ deal with Shinsuke Nakamura. We all said a year ago that AJ Styles facing these kind of guys would be special whenever they face, but the problem is the over-saturation of the same match to the point where it gets old. Obviously, WWE can’t be blamed for changing the match, but it doesn’t change the outcome. If AJ Styles was going to retain against Daniel Bryan originally at Crown Jewel, AJ Styles is probably beating Samoa Joe, too.
Winner: AJ Styles
Braun Strowman vs. Brock Lesnar – Universal Championship
There is no reason why we should be leaving Crown Jewel with anything except Braun Strowman holding the Universal Championship. While this is another change to Crown Jewel as a result of Roman Reigns’ untimely leukemia, but nonetheless Braun Strowman should be his worthy successor.
Brock Lesnar’s appeal to me is all but out the window and if WWE permits a man that held that title for 500 days only to periodically defend it win it again, we have a serious issue on our hands. The Monster Among Men should be our 6th Universal Champion.
Winner: Braun Strowman
DX vs. The Brothers of Destruction
Forgive me if I’m not excited to see a match in which all four competitors in the match have a combined age of over 200. The Undertaker should be retired. Shawn Michaels should be retired. Kane’s a mayor. Triple H is the only guy in this match that can believably still compete at a reasonably high level because of the great shape he keeps himself in. But watching Kane and The Undertaker slug around slowly is just hard to watch. I saw Triple H and The Undertaker try to recreate their match from WrestleMania 17 by fighting all across the arena, but it felt like two old grandpas racing to see who can get the last bowl of creamed spinach at the retirement home. I can live with legends I grew up watching. What I can’t live with is old, aged and hurt veterans still competing as though this is still the Attitude Era.
I wish I could care about this match, but sadly, we all know how this is going to go. The match is going to be much longer than it should go, and the action is going to be slow and plodding. Fortunately, the Saudi Arabian crowd seems to be receptive to anyone that’s a big name, so maybe they won’t mind it. If these two teams can put on an entertaining match, I would be very surprised. I have DX winning the match, simply because I don’t think they’ll bring back Shawn Michaels after nearly a decade just to have him lose a tag team match with all of his hair shaved off. This may lead to another Shawn Michaels/The Undertaker singles match.
WWE World Cup Tournament
The logic of making this tournament determine who the best in the world will be when neither world champion are involved in it is kind of funny don’t you think? Anyway, I’m assuming the winner of this match will get a custom championship belt and a trophy or something. In other words, probably nothing. So let’s see examine each person’s chance of winning the tournament in order of likelihood.
Bobby Lashley: He essentially has no chance of winning this tournament, especially considering that he was a last minute replacement for John Cena. Bobby Lashley’s heat came and gone with the win ever since his heel turn, and he’s been losing to Finn Bálor ever since. We all know how much Finn Bálor advocates for the LGBTQ community, and if the event wasn’t in Saudi Arabia, Finn Bálor would make much more sense as a replacement. Bobby Lashley really isn’t going anywhere.
Dolph Ziggler: Another person with no chance is this guy, the lesser of a tag team. Dolph Ziggler isn’t involved in any storylines and is arguably the least interesting guy in the match as well. Drew McIntyre is the clear star, as seen by the number of times Dolph Ziggler has taken the pins in the tag team’s losses. Unless WWE is concerned about Kurt Angle’s stamina and they give Dolph Ziggler a win over Kurt Angle, expect him to go down within the first two rounds.
Jeff Hardy: Jeff Hardy is just a recognizable face at this point that’s very good at wrestling a Jeff Hardy style of this match. But I’m pretty sure we won’t be leaving Saudi Arabia proclaiming the past his prime Jeff Hardy who recently just lost to another competitor in this match as the best in the world.
Kurt Angle: Kurt Angle will be engaged in his first singles match competition since he returned last year, and we still don’t have a clear indication on if his conditioning is up to par. Some people may think it’s a given that Kurt Angle will defeat Dolph Ziggler, but I’m not so sure. Even if there are breaks in between the matches of the tournament, I’m not sure if Kurt Angle has the stamina and energy to go through multiple matches in the night. If he gets past Dolph Ziggler, the younger and more explosive Seth Rollins will probably finish him off.
Rey Mysterio: His first round match with Randy Orton will probably be the hardest to predict because not only is Rey Mysterio just returning to action and WWE will want to keep him strong, but Randy Orton is in the midst of a strong heel run, and it may not look good for him if either man were to take a clean loss. Not that it matters because no one gets anything for winning the tournament anyway. Rey Mysterio probably won’t win because he’s a guy that doesn’t necessarily need to win.
Randy Orton: Randy Orton is in the same boat as Rey Mysterio in guys that don’t need to win the tournament. He’s not holding any titles and he’s not in an active feud at the moment, so him being called the best in the world doesn’t do anything for me. Randy Orton does look like he has an extra pep in his step as a heel, but I don’t think he’ll win it all.
The Miz: The Miz is waiting in the weaves as the next contender for the WWE Championship, and there may be no better way to proclaim his worthiness of being the champion by winning this tournament. I was going back and forth between him and the number 1 guy on this list, and it’s really tough to say. I wanted to pick him as 1, but I just have a feeling it may be the next guy on the list.
Seth Rollins: Seth Rollins has a history of going the distance, especially displayed by his performance in the gauntlet match in February earlier this year. He is the only man in this match that has a title of any kind, and having him win this tournament may be an excellent way to cap off what has been a fantastic year for him. The only thing that makes me not say Seth Rollins with 100% confidence is the possibility of Dean Ambrose coming out and costing him the match, thereby continuing the feud and giving it extra legs. If there is no interference, Seth Rollins wins. If there is, The Miz wins. That simple.
Winner: Seth Rollins