Powell’s WWE Crown Jewel Hit List: Undertaker and Kane vs. Shawn Michaels and Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman for the vacant WWE Universal Championship, AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe for the WWE Championship, World Cup tournament

By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE Crown Jewel Hits

AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe for the WWE Championship: A minor Hit for a match that was well on its way to getting a regular Hit until the abrupt finish. I wasn’t expecting a Joe win since he wasn’t originally going to be in the match, but the quick Phenomenal Forearm finish just over eleven minutes in felt like a house show finish and did nothing to protect Joe.

Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman for the vacant WWE Universal Championship: This won’t be a popular Hit. I get it. I’m bored with Brock as the part-time champion too. And it’s not like the three-minute match earned the Hit. Rather, it’s the decision not to race the championship onto Strowman. Braun’s character has been a mess lately. His heel turn was a disaster and his abrupt return to the babyface role brought on by Roman Reigns taking a leave of absence didn’t give the company enough time to solidify him in that role. Fans didn’t want Strowman to win the because they were invested in his pursuit of the championship, they wanted him to win because they preferred it to the alternative of another Lesnar reign. Strowman had no momentum going in and thus I’d prefer that the company build up to him or someone else winning the championship. Because we can’t rule out the possibility that Strowman isn’t the guy they intend to go with. So rather than restructure this event or give Braun a quick title reign, perhaps the idea was simply to get through this show and work toward Lesnar dropping the title to someone else.

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev for the U.S. Championship: A quality Kickoff Show match that turned out to be better and longer than most of the World Cup tournament matches. Nakamura and Rusev never struck me as guys who would have good in-ring chemistry, but they’ve had a couple of solid matches together.

Sheamus and Cesaro vs. New Day for the Smackdown Tag Titles: More of an in the middle than a true Hit or Miss. Big Show’s interference was logical in terms of pushing forward this oddball storyline, though it would be nice if someone actually bothered to explain why Show dislikes New Day so much. Is Big Show a waffle enthusiast?

WWE Crown Jewel Misses

Shawn Michaels and Triple H vs. Undertaker and Kane: Everyone involved tried hard and everyone involved came up short regardless of how much gushing the broadcast team did afterward. Undertaker has every right to stick around for the big paydays, but it’s sad to watch him lumber through these lengthy shortcut brawl main events. I’d prefer to see him in brief matches where he works in the greatest hits spots and calls it a night if he’s going to continue wrestling. There’s no denying this match worked for the live crowd. The fans in attendance loved it and if this were merely a house show match then I’d take a so be it approach. But these shows are being presented as pay-per-views, and it’s absurd to see the Attitude Era stars featured in pay-pert-view main events in 2018 and even boasting in promos that it’s because they do it better than today’s stars. Even if that were the case, the same guys who made that statement also felt the need to remind us that they are in charge of the developmental brand, so wouldn’t it be their fault if today’s talent is measuring up to the stars of the past? Anyway, who really wanted to see Undertaker return to the ring just to lose to Triple H and then to DX in a tag match? What good has any of this done for Undertaker aside from padding the bank account of the man who plays the character? I have a ton of respect for what the four men in this match have accomplished, but they need to accept their limitations, stop pretending they belong in main events, and stop acting like being in these main events isn’t stealing the spotlight from the deserving full-time stars of yet another generation.

World Cup tournament: Rather than run through every tournament match and point out how basic and brief they were, I’ll save us all some time by doing that with this single statement. Some of the matches were better than others, but the only thing most fans will remember a week from now is Shane McMahon winning. And while I won’t put Shane’s win in the Hit category, I will say that I’m not as down on it as a lot of fans seemed to be on Friday. In fact, the angle helped explain Shane’s dickish announcement that he would fire any Smackdown wrestler who lost to a Raw wrestler in the finals because he couldn’t handle his sister having bragging rights. Shane is a heel now. I have no idea why WWE feels the need to have yet another heel authority figure, but they do and when you watch Shane’s over the top celebration with this in mind it was actually very comical. Shane can now boast that he’s the best in the world. There are a couple of wrestlers out there who make similar statements. It’s hard to imagine CM Punk returning, but could this be the first step toward a Shane vs. Chris Jericho match?

Overall show: Crown Jewel was gross for all the obvious reasons, including Vince McMahon doubling down on the controversy by bringing back Hulk Hogan.

Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest John Canton.


Readers Comments (17)

  1. Just when I think a company couldn’t get worse in 2018, this program just helped prove me wrong. This was one of the worst shows they’ve put on in ages. I also found it so ironic that Hogan came out to “Real American.” Fight for the rights of every man? Pfff….that’s not even how the US works anymore.

  2. ARRRRRRRRR-Truth November 3, 2018 @ 3:04 pm

    Not to sound like a downer, but the only hit this show had was when it ended. I feel bad for the talent that tried to put on a good show and were subjected to be a part of this atrocity.

  3. Sorry, my friend Jason, but there’s no way Shane gets a hit for this. The World Cup COULD have had good, memorable matches if booked like an actual wrestling tournament (loads of talent and unique matchups). Rey vs Randy started off the tournament pretty hot. But it was booked to have the two most unlikely guys for the finals and that didn’t even happen. All for Shane to have his moment. Come on, Jase…

    Waste of money for Hogan, and not worth any bad PR that comes with it.

    BTW This was not a house show at all- the babyfaces didn’t win most of the time. No feel good moment at the end. WWE did a horrible job to reward its fans who stuck with them for this PPV.

    I agree that AJ/Joe ended abruptly. Brock vs Braun should have been a regular match. The World Cup should have been a straight tourny. Terrible that the 4 old guys had to eat so much time for the main event. Trips got hurt. Taker and Kane missed Shawn’s moonsault outside the ring- could have killed him.

    I agree that no one wants to see Taker lose two PPVs against DX. So why did WWE do it?

  4. I didn’t watch it, so I can’t say anything hit or missed with me. I did read the coverage here though, just because I was curious how they’d book this show. Based off that alone, this show sounded like a disaster.

    Could they possibly damage Strowman any more? Outside of having him join the Ascension, probably not. Lol.

    So Shane’s a heel now? So is Miz a face? What exactly happened there?

    I understand they’re booking on the fly, but this is just brutal. They’re torching half the roster in an effort to get to wherever it is they’re trying to go.

  5. I only watched for Hogan!

  6. Meanwhile, I am sure JP gave all “Hits” for Impact and ROH for the second year in a row. He would never give an Indy show a “miss”. Or even when he does, he feels that everything is better than WWE. Not saying that he isn’t right about a lot of loopholes in WWE, but he never calls out any of the major holes still in Impact and probably loved the Impact vs Aries finish that shits all over the business.

    • Fantastic. Impact fans tell me I’m too tough on their product and I’m too pro WWE. I don’t even do an ROH Hit List, but I’ve said several times that some of my peers are too forgiving of ROH’s booking because they like the match quality. Does it mean I just call each show as I see it regardless of the company running it? Nah, that can’t be it. Clearly, I’m biased against everyone. Misses all around!

      • I agree that WWE is not lighting the world on fire in terms of creativy and there should not be a bunch of people in their late 40s and mid to late 50s being a main event. However, they are getting paid a ridiculous amount of money to put on the show and the person paying them is all about 90s wrestling. He probably wanted Hogan and wanted DX to be the main attraction. If I was a promoter, I would take this in a heartbeat. I wouldn’t care about conversy either. Every country in the world has problems. I am sure Vince McMahon doesn’t consider the show an “overall miss”. I would love to see Impact and/or ROH make that type of money. Probably they will never see that type of money during our lifetimes

        • If a Saudi Prince funded a terrible movie and all of the actors made a fortune, would you expect a movie critic to praise the movie just because people got rich? If there’s a good independent film that does not make money, should the same critic give the independent film a negative review?

        • I’ll agree that there was some questionable booking; Shane winning when he wasn’t in the tournament, Strowman getting killed by Lesner for the second time in two matches, and DX vs Brothers of Destruction being the main Event instead of a special attraction, but I did enjoy the AJ Styles vs Samoa Joe match and I thought that Dolph vs Rollins was a good showing. There was also a couple of factors that changed the plans too such as Roman battling Leukemia, John Cena not being there because of personal reasons, same with Bryan. They were all going to be a huge part of the show and may be the reason why it wasn’t as strong as it could have been. I think there should have been a little slack given the circumstances.

  7. “Crown Jewel was gross for all the obvious reasons, including Vince McMahon doubling down on the controversy by bringing back Hulk Hogan.”

    What a freaking joke. The company did the smart thing, ignoring the incessant whining of the morons who think doing business is wrong, and will reap the benefits for decades to come.

  8. personally, i am a fan of Brock as Champion. i did not expect him to win it here, but am glad he did. Braun is not ready to be champion and Brock obviously brings in more eyeballs or else vince mcmahon (the man that is all about the bottom line) wouldnt have put the belt on him a third time (counting his wwe title run). i know people complain online, but i suspect it isnt near the numbers that tune in because of Brock.

    Also, wwe was obviously caught off guard by Roman’s medical leave. they have spent years building Roman as “the top guy” and have no one to immediately fall back on with his absence. i suspect we will see several strange booking moves as wwe throw stuff at us just to see if anything sticks. if Brock is just a temporary champion while wwe figures out who their next “top guy” will be or unless Roman can heal and return to his spot, then i dont see this as a bad move at all. i doubt brock will have the belt past the Rumble or Mania

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