By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Crown Jewel 2018 Kickoff Show
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia at King Saud University Stadium
Aired live on November 2, 2018 on WWE Network and social media
-Jonathan Coachman, David Otunga, and Booker T hosted the Kickoff Show from a studio. The trio ran through the lineup and aired a video package of Roman Reigns forfeiting the WWE Universal Championship due to his leukemia battle.
-A video package aired on Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio.
-The focus shifted to the WWE Championship match.
-A video package spotlighted the Seth Rollins vs. Bobby Lashley. Coachman said the Kickoff show match was about to begin…
Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Renee Young checked in from ringside…
1. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev for the U.S. Championship. Nakamura received a big reaction from the live crowd. Cole said the winner of the match would face the Intercontinental Champion at Survivor Series. Nakamura avoided a Machka Kick and then Rusev ducked some Nakamura kicks before he threw the kick again and it connected. There was light Rusev Day chant.
Nakamura came back with a running knee for a two count. Nakamura leapt off the middle rope and into a superkick for a near fall. Rusev stomped the back of Nakamura, who scrambled to the ropes to avoid the Accolade. Nakamura rebounded with a kick from the middle rope and got a two count. Nakamura set up for his finisher, but Rusev tripped him and applied the Accolade in the middle of the ring. Nakamura inched toward the ropes. Rusev released the hold to drag him to the middle of the ring, but Nakamura headbutted him below the belt when he went to reapply the hold. Nakamura flashed a sinister smile and then hit the Kinshasa for the win…
Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Rusev in 9:30 to retain the U.S. Championship.
Powell’s POV: A nice match with some good drama late. Nakamura and Rusev have surprisingly good chemistry, as they had a solid match on Smackdown as well. For those curious, Young is wearing a black long sleeved shirt, but there’s nothing about her appearance that seems out of the norm, though she is seated behind the desk for whatever that’s worth.
Cole sent things back to “the all-star panel”, who set up a video package on the Jeff Hardy vs. The Miz match… Coachman and company spoke again and set up a Kurt Angle vs. Dolph Ziggler video package…
Footage aired of Shane McMahon dickishly telling the Smackdown wrestlers in the World Cup that if one of them loses to a Raw wrestler in the finals that he will be fired… The panel made their World Cup predictions… A video package on DX vs. Undertaker and Kane aired… The panel spoke to close out the show. Booker noted that it was his wife’s birthday and he’d be home in a few hours…
Join me for live coverage of the actual Crown Jewel event in a separate story on the main page.
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