Crown Jewel

Crown Jewel
Date: November 2, 2018
Location: King Saud University, Stadium, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Renee Young

We’re back on the other side of the world this time and things aren’t exactly going well. The focal point of the show is D-Generation X vs. the Brothers of Destruction with Shawn Michaels coming out of retirement in a detail that has been forgotten in the whole ordeal. Other than that we’re going to have a new Universal Champion today as Braun Strowman and Brock Lesnar face off for the title vacated by Roman Reigns. Let’s get to it.

The video screen is in the shape of a crown for a nice touch.

Kickoff Show: United States Title: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev

Nakamura is defending. Rusev throws him into the corner for some right hands and a shoulder to the ribs, followed by a suplex for one. A kick to the knee cuts Rusev down and we hit the front facelock. That stays on for a good while until Rusev pops up with a spinwheel kick. The Machka kick misses and Nakamura throws some right hands, only to get caught by the Machka kick a few seconds later.

It’s time to stomp on the spine but Nakamura kicks him in the head as well. The sliding knee gets two and Nakamura goes up for the knee but dives straight into the superkick for two. Nakamura bails to the ropes to avoid the Accolade and now the middle rope knee connects. Kinshasa is countered into the Accolade but Nakamura headbutts him low for another break. Now Kinshasa can connect to retain the title at 9:32.

Rating: D+. Just a match really and there’s nothing wrong with that to open things up. This could have been on almost any given house show and for a Kickoff Show match, that’s perfectly fine. Nakamura needs something to motivate him though and that would start with an actual feud for the title instead of these one off title defenses.

The opening video talks about the big matches tonight. Not much to that one.

Here’s Hulk Hogan to open the show as your host for the evening, complete with pyro. Your annoying idea of the show: a sparkling sound whenever a graphic comes on or leaves the screen. Hogan talks about how the power of Hulkamania is stronger than ever right here at the Crown Jewel jack. He’s happy to be here and the show starts now. This was just a glorified cameo.

We welcome a Saudi government official.

There’s an Arabic announce team at ringside.

Most of the people in the tournament are getting a quick sound byte which is them saying they’ll win and how important this is to them.

World Cup of Wrestling First Round: Rey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton

Both wrestlers have their resumes read off before their entrances for a little change of pace. Rey is in a singlet top, possibly for reasons of tattoos. Some kicks to the legs have Orton in early trouble and another kick to the head puts him down. He’s fine enough to dropkick Mysterio out of the air for two though and things slow down. The slow stomping begins but Rey headbutts his way out of a superplex attempt. Rey speeds things back up and hits the springboard middle rope crossbody. A spinning DDT gets two but the 619 is reversed into the hanging DDT. Back up and Rey grabs a quick rollup for the pin out of nowhere at 5:33.

Rating: C-. I can’t say I’m surprised about the fast match here as there’s a lot to get through and there’s a lot of other stuff going on that is taking its own time. Mysterio winning is the right call as the underdog is a story that tells itself. This was nothing special but it was the right result and didn’t overstay its welcome.

Post match Orton hits an RKO and throws Mysterio outside. Rey gets dropped ribs first onto the announcers’ table and is left laying.

Miz says there is no stopping him from winning.

World Cup of Wrestling First Round: Jeff Hardy vs. The Miz

We get the resumes again, and it really shows how frequently titles change anymore and how little a reign means. Miz grabs a headlock to start and poses, earning himself a hiptoss. The Skull Crushing Finale is countered into a rollup for two but Miz kicks him in the chest. A chinlock goes on for a bit as the announcers talk about Cleveland sports being so bad. Some running dropkicks in the corner rock Jeff but he’s fine enough to come out with a clothesline.

The legdrop between the legs into the basement dropkick gets two and the Whisper in the Wind is good for the same. Miz is fine enough to kick him in the leg but the Figure Four is broken up. Jeff kicks him to the floor and runs the barricade for the clothesline. Back in and Miz grabs a rollup but gets caught with his feet on the ropes. Jeff tries the Twist of Fate but gets reversed into the Skull Crushing Finale for the pin at 6:58.

Rating: D+. It’s very clear that they’re doing the stadium style matches and not veering from the greatest hits playbook as the fans might not be familiar with the product. There’s nothing wrong with that as it makes perfect sense for the location, but it doesn’t do much for the fans watching elsewhere. The match was watchable enough, though they didn’t exactly have time to go anywhere and it was clear they weren’t going to be putting in the harder effort.

World Cup of Wrestling First Round: Seth Rollins vs. Bobby Lashley

Non-title of course and Lio Rush is here for the hype. Lashley shoves Rollins down without much effort and we hear about all of Lashley’s athletic accomplishments. A spinebuster drops Rollins for two and Lashley sends him face first into the turnbuckle. That means a seated full nelson and a Downward Spiral cuts off Rollins’ comeback.

With Rush having been quiet (or at least off the microphone) throughout the entire match so far, Rollins finally fights up with a kick to the head to send Lashley outside. There’s the required suicide dive, though Rollins comes up holding his already weakened neck. The Buckle Bomb is broken up but Rollins slips away and hits the Stomp out of nowhere for the pin at 5:26.

Rating: C. The time issues are killing these matches and there’s no hiding that. Rollins beating Lashley is fine but it really should take more than five minutes for him to pull it off. Lashley’s downward spiral continues as it’s been a good while since he actually won a match. Rollins should make the finals here, or at least not lose clean anywhere along the line.

Kurt Angle says no one believes he can win this tournament, but no one believed in him during the Olympics either.

World Cup of Wrestling First Round: Kurt Angle vs. Dolph Ziggler

Drew McIntyre is out with Ziggler. Dolph goes for the leg to start but Angle throws him down with no issue. They head to the mat with Ziggler actually getting the better of it as the fans chant for Angle a bit. Back up and the belly to belly sets up the German suplexes on Ziggler, including the eternally teased one off the apron. Instead they head to the floor with Ziggler sending him into the steps, followed by a neckbreaker for two back inside.

The chinlock goes on as Cole talks about Angle not competing since Wrestlemania. Yeah dude I’d like to forget Greatest Royal Rumble too. Or the battle royal that got him into this match. Angle fights up and grabs the rolling German suplexes for two more as Kurt isn’t exactly going outside of his comfort zone here.

Ziggler’s DDT gets the same but the Fameasser misses, setting up the Angle Slam for Kurt’s own near fall. The ankle lock is broken up and now the Fameasser connects for two. Kurt is fine enough to slap on the ankle lock so Ziggler rolls through. A missed charge sends Angle into the post and the Zig Zag is enough to put him away at 8:17.

Rating: C-. This wasn’t so much bad, but much more hard to watch. Angle just doesn’t have it anymore but it’s impossible to get that through his head. This was a bunch of greatest hits (a common occurrence tonight) and I can’t say I’m surprised that Angle wasn’t allowed to go out there twice in a row. Ziggler going forward makes sense, though it wasn’t exactly a great match either way.

The announcers run down some of the remaining matches.

Smackdown Tag Team Titles: New Day vs. The Bar

Big E. and Kofi are challenging here and New Day comes out on a magic carpet and throw out the pancakes. The announcers make Aladdin jokes, which do make this a little easier to watch. Big Show is here with the Bar because he’s big all over. The world you see. Big E. drives Sheamus into the corner to start and we hit that hip swiveling. A shoulder gives Big E. one as the announcers talk about Sheamus being very underrated. I like the guy and yeah he kind of is, but there’s something that feels weird about him being a four time World Champion.

Cesaro comes in to monkey flip Kofi, who lands on his feet. The trombone plays on as Cesaro charges into a dropkick for two, followed by a crossbody for the same. A whip into the corner lets Show get in some choking/face squeezing though and Kofi is in trouble. Some knee drops set up the armbar before it’s back to Cesaro for the gutwrench suplex. The chinlock goes on again, as the pace of the match stays at a low level.

Kofi fights up and kicks Sheamus away but he gets driven right back into the champs’ corner for a backdrop/Jackhammer combination (Cesaro loaded up a suplex with Sheamus holding the legs and flipping Kofi back into the Jackhammer) for two more. The next comeback attempt actually works and it’s Sheamus missing a charge into the post (that’s becoming WAY too common these days around here), allowing the hot tag to Big E.

The Rock Bottom out of the corner gets two on Sheamus but the spear through the ropes hits a raised knee. A spinning kick to the face puts Cesaro on the floor and Kofi follows him out with a dive. Big E. gets shoved into the corner and the referee falls down getting out of the way, allowing Show to punch E. in the face. The Brogue Kick is enough to retain the titles at 10:33.

Rating: C. Probably the match of the night here and it was firmly below its ceiling, which wasn’t that high in the first place. It’s a match that has been seen before and featured a long heat segment. The additional time helped a little big but it’s still nothing that we haven’t seen a few times. Again, it felt like a house show match, and that’s not meant as a compliment.

Miz talks about how his throat was banged up in his first match but nothing is stopping him from ending Mysterio’s story and becoming Best in the World.

Mysterio says he’s banged up, but you can’t put a number on his heart. He’s been underestimated before and it’s never stopped him before, just like it won’t here.

World Cup of Wrestling Semifinals: The Miz vs. Rey Mysterio

Mysterio is banged up from the Orton attack and has lost the singlet. Miz tries to speed things up to start but gets taken down, only to avoid a kick to the face. Rey gets sent outside, slides back in, and hits a slingshot dropkick through the ropes. There’s the sliding splash underneath the bottom rope but it bangs up Rey’s ribs all over again. Not the brightest idea in the world Rey, but that’s never stopped him before.

Back in and Mysterio’s charge is reversed into an Alley Oop faceplant in a display of power you don’t get from Miz very often. The rib work continues with Miz putting on the bow and arrow, with Graves talking about Miz’s black belt in martial arts. A bodyscissors is slightly less martial artsy and Rey is sent ribs first to the floor. You certainly can’t fault the logic in Miz’s plan and an abdominal stretch makes things even worse.

Rey finally gets in a tornado DDT for the double knockdown and it’s time for the comeback. Right hands and a hurricanrana send Miz into the corner but he reverses the sitout bulldog into the Finale or a pretty close two. The same rollup that finished Orton earlier gets two here and there’s the 619. Rey loads up the top rope splash but it lands on the raised knees to give Miz the pin at 11:11.

Rating: C+. It’s amazing what a simple story and the extra time can do for you. This was far from a classic or anything but it was a good, eleven minute match. Miz winning clean again is a little jarring but he came in with an advantage in the first place. Mysterio going to the finals would have made a lot of sense for the underdog story but Miz could do some great bragging if he wins the whole thing.

Rollins says his back is against the wall and that’s where he does his best work.

World Cup of Wrestling Semifinals: Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler

Non-title again and McIntyre is with Ziggler. They go to the mat to start and that’s a standoff. Er, crawl off in this case. Seth goes for the ankle that was injured by Angle earlier but gets headlocked for his efforts. Rollins fights up and holds his neck but is fine enough to send Ziggler outside. With Ziggler being thrown back inside, McIntyre stares Rollins down so Dolph can grab a DDT for two and injure the neck even more. A neckbreaker sets up another chinlock and it’s off to some choking on the ropes.

The announcers talk about Seth’s bad back, despite the neck being the focal point for the last few minutes. That and, you know, Rollins holding his neck for most of the match. Sometimes sticking to the script isn’t as important as what’s right in front of you. Ziggler starts getting cocky again but is smart enough to hit another neckbreaker. The kickout starts the frustration though and it’s off to a bodyscissors with a neck crank at the same time.

Back up and Ziggler’s running DDT is countered into a rollup for two and it’s off to the pinfall reversal sequence. Rollins picks up a sunset flip and tries the Buckle Bomb, which is reversed into a Code Red for two more. The ripcord knee gives Rollins two but here’s McIntyre on the apron for a distraction. That doesn’t go very well as Ziggler is thrown outside, setting up the big dive to take them both out.

Back in and the Stomp misses, allowing Ziggler to hit the Fameasser for two of his own. Ziggler goes up for the sole purpose of the running superplex but Rollins’ neck gives out on the Falcon Arrow, allowing Dolph to hit the Zig Zag for the best near fall of the match. Rollins is right back up and diving onto McIntyre and he shoves Ziggler off the top, only to have McIntyre do the same to Rollins, who crashes to the mat. The superkick gives Ziggler the pin at 13:06.

Rating: C+. Well it wasn’t clean so they got the important part right, but are we really getting Ziggler vs. Miz as the final? That’s uh, quite the interesting choice for a final and not something that many people were likely to expect. They had a good match here again, which isn’t that much of a surprise, with the neck being a perfectly fine story. Again: the time made a huge difference here and it’s no surprise that the match was good given the extra work they were able to put in.

Ziggler says that wasn’t an upset and the next time you see him, he’ll be the Best in the World.

We recap AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe, which is really just a recap of their feud from a few weeks ago without any mention of AJ winning the anything goes match in Australia. We also see AJ vs. Daniel Bryan on Tuesday and Joe running in to choke them both out to set up this match. Again: not the most ideal setup, but completely acceptable given the circumstances and the most logical path they had.

Smackdown World Title: AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe

AJ is defending. They go straight at it after the Big Match Intros with AJ kicking at the knee to put Joe down in a hurry. A single right hand to the head puts Joe down (that’s a rare one) and they head outside with AJ slipping off Joe’s shoulder and posting him in some violence you don’t often see from him. Joe drops him face first onto the barricade and the leg is fine enough to hit the suicide dive, sending AJ hard into the announcers’ table. You can see Joe go into the angry face and that isn’t likely to be a good thing.

Back in and Joe hits a corner enziguri for two, setting up the neck crank. AJ fights up and hits the Pele but Joe is too big for the Styles Clash. Instead it’s a shot to the face to put Joe down but he ducks the Phenomenal Forearm. The snap powerslam gives Joe two and one heck of a clothesline is good for the same.

The Calf Crusher is broken up in a hurry and Joe is right back with the Koquina Clutch. AJ is smart enough to grab the bad leg though and Joe has to go back to the ropes. That’s quite the smart move. With the submissions not working, it’s another Pele and the Phenomenal Forearm to retain the title at 11:11.

Rating: B-. The matches on the show keep getting better and again, that’s not exactly surprising given who was in there. These two know each other very well and while the ending wasn’t exactly in doubt, at least they put in some effort. That being said, giving them eleven minutes wasn’t exactly long enough to make the match work as well as it could have been. Good, but not as great as their other matches.

Universal Title: Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman

The title is vacant coming in and Paul Heyman and Baron Corbin are at ringside. Heyman says that we might as well get it out of the way and introduces Lesnar as the new champion. Corbin gets in and hits Strowman with the title, setting up the F5 for two. Another F5 gets two more as we’re just now a minute into the match. The third F5 gets the third two and Lesnar loads up another, but this time it sends Strowman outside. Strowman is back in at nine so Lesnar takes off the gloves. Another F5 is countered and Lesnar runs into a big boot, only to come back with another F5 to get the title back at 3:16.

Rating: Thomas Jefferson Sucka. I knew it. Deep down inside, I knew it. When I did my preview of this show, I said I was scared that they would do exactly what they did here but said I was going to give them the benefit of the doubt, because this was the stupidest thing they could do with this match. Lesnar is likely going back to UFC (or at least teasing the heck out of doing so) to set up a match for their World Title and that means SEVERAL MORE MONTHS without the title being around.

We had about two and a half months of Lesnar not being champion, with almost two weeks of that being spent with the title vacated. Now we’re RIGHT BACK WHERE WE WERE LAST YEAR but with no Roman Reigns to come and save us. Who in the world is supposed to take the title from Lesnar now? Strowman just got squashed, Rollins and Ambrose are going to be fighting each other for a LONG time, and…..dang who else is left? McIntyre? I can’t imagine they’d pull the trigger on him, even though it would be a good move at this point. Let’s just get it out of the way: Lesnar is probably holding it until Reigns gets back isn’t he?

This should have been Strowman’s night and instead, it was the fork in his main event career. No one is going to want to see him fight Lesnar again and now we need someone else to go after the title. Strowman, now weakened, can continue his feud with McIntyre, because Lesnar isn’t going to be around. Yeah the title belt to the head kept this from being clean, but my goodness they had everything there for Strowman to look like the real monster.

I do not get this. We just spent OVER A YEAR waiting on someone to stop Lesnar and now he’s just right back as champion. It would be like a movie ending with the good guys FINALLY winning and then the sequel coming out with the villains having taken over again. That might work for Star Wars, but at least they had the decency to wait about twenty five years instead of two months. This felt like the move that would annoy the fans who criticized Crown Jewel the most, and that’s not the kind of move that is going to do the company a lot of good. I do not get this.

Wait…do I not even get McIntyre vs. Strowman out of this? Are they going with Corbin over McIntyre now? Is McIntyre still going to be stuck as Ziggler muscle even longer? All because Lesnar needed to get the title again and sit on the sidelines with the thing while the rest of the roster fights over nothing? WHY ARE THEY DOING THIS???

We run down the Survivor Series card, which is all champions vs. champions again and two weeks from Sunday, because of course we only get that much time between pay per views. Again. Including AJ vs. Lesnar again, because AJ never lost the title and Lesnar lost it for all of two months of about a year and a half.

Shane McMahon comes out to watch the World Cup Finals. Did you know money talks? I didn’t know if that was clear enough given….well the fact that we’re here. Corbin is here as well.

World Cup of Wrestling Finals: The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler

Ziggler is with McIntyre and Miz is fired from Smackdown if he loses. Actually hang on as McIntyre is sent to the back. Miz jumps an annoyed Ziggler and sends him outside…but messes up his knee following Ziggler out. The bell hasn’t rung as a limping Miz sends him into the steps. The referee comes over to check on Miz, who insists he’s fine. Shane is watching and the referee says Miz can’t compete. Miz insists that he can because he’s never been injured (sounds like part of the Daniel Bryan feud) but Shane says the match isn’t going to be a forfeit….because he’s taking Miz’s place. My goodness this is happening.

World Cup of Wrestling Finals: Shane McMahon vs. Dolph Ziggler

Corbin freaks out as Shane is in a shirt (which comes off to reveal some jacked arms) and jeans. Shane slugs away (work with me here) to start and hits the jumping elbow to the jaw as the announcers have no idea how this is legal. Corbin grabs Shane so he gets ejected as well. The Zig Zag connects for two so Ziggler rips at his face until Shane comes back with more of his strikes. A DDT and a catapult into the corner sets up Coast to Coast (barely making contact) to make Shane the BEST IN THE WORLD at 2:37.

Shane celebrates like a crazy man and holds up the cup as the announcers are stunned. To recap, the hierarchy is now Brock Lesnar (best in the Universe), Shane McMahon (best in the World) and AJ Styles (best in WWE). The youngest of those: Brock, at a spry 41 years old. Shane: “I can’t believe it!” Oh….I think I can Shane. You just won a tournament you weren’t even in. I can believe anything at this point.

So, to recap, we just spent a good month building up this tournament and it’s all for the sake of Smackdown vs. Raw at Survivor Series (which you know is coming, mainly because they’ve advertised it tonight) with SHANE MCMAHON winning a tournament of eight former World Champions? All so he and precious Stephanie (assuming she’s done with her cause of the week) can argue again?

For the last few weeks, I’ve ranted and raved about how this tournament means nothing and how it’s going to be another version of the Greatest Royal Rumble, where the big match of the show would up meaning absolutely nothing. At this point, I think I’d prefer that. Survivor Series used to be my favorite pay per view, but now it’s being used for the sake of pushing Shane vs. Stephanie (just like last year) in a feud that stopped mattering the day after Survivor Series (just like last year). This tournament was little more than a way to get that ready and we were stupid enough to believe it was for anything else.

But Shane? You pick him to go in there for an injured Miz? Was Miz supposed to be the sympathetic face out of this whole thing? I know Shane is going to be in the Raw vs. Smackdown match at the pay per view because that’s what he does, but after the match they did before this, I don’t think I can imagine something even dumber. That being said, I haven’t been able to stop smiling since it happened.

Lesnar vs. Strowman is something that is going to cause issues for months to come. Shane’s big moment is going to stop meaning anything by the end of November and it’s not like this big story was any kind of a secret. It was just a matter of how they contrived the story this year and it happened to be a tournament that seemed pretty meaningless on the surface. I’m not really that mad about this, because it’s almost far from the worst thing this family has ever done in this company. They did this to set up Survivor Series and it’s going to be all about Shane vs. Stephanie. You knew it was coming, and this was part of it.

We recap D-Generation X vs. the Brothers of Destruction. They’re all old, they apparently hate each other now because twenty years of beating each other up wasn’t done out of love, and this match is going to get more time than any two matches on the show, because that’s the reward you get for being old. Oh and Shawn Michaels is returning to the ring for the first time in eight and a half years. I mention that at the end because WWE has somehow turned that into a pretty minimal detail. I’m as shocked as you are.

D-Generation X vs. Brothers of Destruction

DX has a ton of glow sticks and both have a bunch of NXT logos on their gear, including the entire back of HHH’s vest. That’s very cool of them to talk up the future so much. Now step back and let four people with a combined age of 206 have a horrible match for half an hour. Shawn in gear and bald looks like an alien. Or a character in a sitcom in an episode where everyone loses their hair.

HHH and Kane start things off and stare at each other for over a minute with a lot of trash talking included. The first right hand to the mask just annoys Kane so he uppercuts a crotch chopping HHH down (before he could do something that would likely get him killed in this country….wherever it is). HHH cranks on the arm and tags Shawn in, who comes in off the top with an ax handle to the arm to a limited pop while Cole is in the middle of a line about how interesting it is that Shawn comes in off the top.

A swinging neckbreaker puts Kane down and the fans just aren’t reacting, mainly because they probably don’t know much about the history here. The threat of Sweet Chin Music sends Kane to the corner and it’s off to Undertaker as Shawn looks a little scared. Shawn steps up to him but gets the throat slit. The crotch chop actually makes air so Shawn gets kicked in the face. Undertaker cranks on the arm but HHH breaks up Old School. Everything breaks down with Shawn being caught in the Tree of Woe and HHH being thrown over him and out to the floor.

The Brothers clear the ring and DX has a conference on the floor, which apparently includes HHH telling Shawn that he’s torn his pectoral muscle (already confirmed by WWE with surgery scheduled). Back in and double chokeslams are broken up with the Brothers being knocked to the floor instead. That earns DX another beating and now Old School connects on Shawn. The big boot in the corner misses though and HHH comes in but clearly can’t use the arm.

We get to the slow beating portion but HHH avoids the elbow drop and grabs a DDT. It’s back to Shawn for the forearm (with almost no elevation) and the nip up (FINALLY a strong reaction from Cole) but he can’t slam Kane. For some reason Kane can’t gorilla press Shawn though and it’s a double suplex to put Kane down again. The top rope elbow connects on Kane but Sweet Chin Music is countered into a chokeslam. Undertaker comes in again for Snake Eyes into the big boot but Shawn pops up with a superkick. There’s no HHH though so Undertaker sends Shawn outside to the announcers’ table.

HHH breaks up a Tombstone and sends Kane into the steps. After a loudly called spot to Undertaker, HHH gets whipped into the barricade, but for some reason Undertaker crashes into it as well. Kane hits a chokeslam to put HHH through the announcers’ table (without moving the monitors) and Undertaker hits the apron legdrop on Shawn. The fans think this is awesome and then just cheer for Undertaker (because Kane still can’t get any love). HHH is done so it’s the Brothers taking turns on Shawn inside.

Undertaker chokes on Shawn as it seems like they’re not sure what to do next. Some elbows to the head keep Shawn in trouble and it’s off to the chinlock. Kane adds the sidewalk slam but gets crotched on top. Shawn manages to post Undertaker and goes up but Kane is waiting on him. They slug it out on the ropes with Shawn punching him so hard that Kane’s mask (and hair) fly off. That means the moonsault to the floor onto both Brothers, with Shawn’s face bouncing off the floor in a painful looking crash.

HHH is back up and comes in off the hot tag for more left handed chops. With HHH only able to use one arm, Cole thinks it’s a rib injury. The Pedigree and Tombstone are broken up, followed by the Pedigree connecting on Undertaker. HHH has to deal with Kane (masked again) though and gets pulled into Hell’s Gate. A superkick to Kane sends him into HHH and Undertaker to break up the hold and all four are down again. The Brothers are up first but the double Tombstones are broken up. Sweet Chin Music into the Pedigree (understandably terrible) finishes Kane at 27:50.

Rating: D-. I’m giving them a break because of the injury (which probably changed a lot) but this was very similar to what had to be expected: a lot of laying around, a bunch of finishers, and the match being called epic because it went longer than the first round World Cup matches put together. This looked like four old men who hadn’t been told that they should have stopped a long time ago. It wasn’t a complete and utter disaster, but it was long, messy and a match that only felt like it existed because HHH decided it should.

The match just wasn’t very good. It had a few moments that weren’t bad, but a few moments over nearly twenty eight minutes don’t make those moments look good. They make the match feel long, which is the only way to describe this. All four of them need to go away as their time has passed. It was one thing when they were still doing well, but that’s not the case here and it hasn’t been for a long time now.

As for Shawn….he looked passable. Of course nowhere near the level he was at the peak of his career, but was anyone expecting that? Or even at the end of his career? It’s not going to be remembered as some incredible comeback, but rather as that time he came back and it was on that really bad show and didn’t completely embarrass himself. It could have been worse, but it’s not something that needed to happen.

Cole praises these four as “the four greatest of all time” as a ton of pyro ends the show.

Overall Rating: F. This show made me think of Wrestlemania XVII. That show very well may be the greatest card of all time with more masterpieces than you could find on almost any other show. With Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit, TLC II, Undertaker vs. HHH and Rock vs. Austin II and a bunch of other matches that didn’t mean much. That’s the same as this show. I mean, if you flip it around with one horrible thing after another that is.

The wrestling was, at best, worthy of a house show where they weren’t trying very hard. The best match of the night was Joe vs. AJ and that’s been done several times before, always at a higher level too. Other than that, you have two good tournament matches in the semifinals and four opening round matches which were watchable at best. Then Shane won the tournament, rendering the other six matches completely worthless, along with the finals themselves. What a great way of using over half of your card.

The interesting thing to me is how the show was mediocre (at best) until after the Styles vs. Joe match. The wrestling was watchable enough and while nothing had really happened, it wasn’t the worst show I’ve ever seen. There certainly wasn’t anything worth getting annoyed over or that left you scratching your head. Then the Lesnar deal happened.

That’s where everything fell off a cliff and there was no coming back. The wrestling stopped being good, the stories started being more about shock value than anything else and the main event felt like it was never going to end. That’s a problem when that was about the last third of the show after what wasn’t a great first two thirds. That doesn’t leave you much of anything and I’m not sure what positives you can get out of this.

When you break it down, you had a show where it didn’t look like there was a lot of energy (maybe the wrestlers were jetlagged, maybe they didn’t want to be there, maybe something else), where the big stuff that happened made you scratch your head and where the main event made you wonder when retirement homes started running wrestling shows. Or allowing moonsaults for that matter.

The problem is WWE bills these shows as some of the biggest of the year and they haven’t felt that way. So far they’ve felt like shows that are on a big stage but without the effort being put into them. I’m not saying the wrestlers weren’t trying because that wasn’t the case, but both shows in this country have felt flat. I know the fans are a completely different audience and they probably aren’t die hard followers of the product, but good wrestling can overcome that to a degree. I didn’t see that here and I didn’t see it back in April either.

At the end of the day, the shows just aren’t very good. While Greatest Royal Rumble was really boring, this one was brought down by bad choices. Lesnar is champion again and that’s just depressing. Shane is somehow the best in the world and now we’ll get to hear Stephanie complain about that for a few weeks. The old guys were given three times as long as they realistically should have had. Where is the good in this whole thing? In WWE’s bank accounts of course, but if that money doesn’t make the product better, I don’t see how that’s helping the fans at all, which was the case with this show too.

Results

Rey Mysterio b. Randy Orton – Rollup

The Miz b. Jeff Hardy – Skull Crushing Finale

Seth Rollins b. Bobby Lashley – Stomp

Dolph Ziggler b. Kurt Angle – Zig Zag

The Bar b. New Day – Brogue Kick to Big E.

The Miz b. Rey Mysterio – Miz blocked Mysterio’s top rope splash

Dolph Ziggler b. Seth Rollins – Superkick

AJ Styles b. Samoa Joe – Phenomenal Forearm

Brock Lesnar b. Braun Strowman – F5

Shane McMahon b. Dolph Ziggler – Coast to Coast

D-Generation X b. Brothers of Destruction – Pedigree to Kane

Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and pick up the paperback edition of KB’s Complete 2003 Smackdown Reviews (also available as an e-book) from Amazon. Check out the information here:

http://kbwrestlingreviews.com/2018/09/07/new-book-kbs-complete-smackdown-2003-reviews/


And check out my Amazon author page with cheap wrestling books at:


http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6