By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Crown Jewel
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia at King Saud University Stadium
Aired live on October 31, 2019 on WWE Network and pay-per-view
Kickoff Show result: Humberto Carrillo won a 20-man battle royal to earn a U.S. Title shot against AJ Styles on the main card.
A video package opened the main show… Pyro shot off around the stadium… Michael Cole and Corey Graves checked in on commentary…
1. Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Cain Velasquez (w/Rey Mysterio) for the WWE Championship. Lesnar received the pyro treatment during his entrance. Cole and Graves introduced the Arab broadcast team that was positioned at a desk next to them at ringside. Mysterio’s music played and he came out with his left arm in a sling. Velasquez came out to his own entrance music. Graves read through a list of career accomplishments that were shown in graphic form for both men. Greg Hamilton delivered in-ring introductions for the title match.
Velasquez received some boos and didn’t get much of a reaction. Heyman took the mic and delivered the introduction. He called the match the ultimate rematch in combat sports. Lesnar was cheered. Both men struck fighting poses and Velaquez threw a kick to the leg of Lesnar. Cole said Velaquez is a striker, not a submission specialist.
Lesnar pushed Velasquez into the corner and threw a knee. Valasquez pushed Lesnar away and then threw a couple more kicks at Lesnar, who tied him up and backed him into another corner. Velasquez threw a kick to the head of Lesnar that knocked him down. Velaquez went for the ground and pound, but Lesnar applied a kimura lock and got the submission win.
Brock Lesnar defeated Cain Velasquez in 2:10 to retain the WWE Championship.
After the match, Lesnar refused to release the kimura. Mysterio entered the ring and hit Lesnar with a chair. Lesnar got up and dumped Mysterio to ringside, then slammed the chair over the back of Velasquez repeatedly. Lesnar hoisted up Velasquez and gave him and F5 onto the chair. Mysterio returned and hit Lesnar with repeated chair shots. Lesnar dropped to the mat and eventually rolled out of the ring…
Powell’s POV: A very safe first match for Velasquez in that they kept it brief and he wasn’t asked to do too much. Is he the first opponent Lesnar has faced in his modern run with the company who didn’t take a German suplex? It was nice to see Mysterio’s character get a small measure of revenge even though the man he brought in to avenge his son went down so quickly.
The Revival checked in from backstage and spoke about “the most important tag team turmoil match in sports entertainment history.” Scott Dawson said the other teams were good, but they’re not Revival good… The Viking Raiders spoke in front of their stupid red light and spoke about the turmoil match…
An ad aired for WWE Network and focused on Survivor Series, NXT, WWE TLC, and some of the documentary style shows and Table For 3…
2. Tag Team Turmoil for the World Cup to determine The Best Tag Team in the World. The advertised teams were Kofi Kingston and Big E, The Viking Raiders, Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode, Heavy Machinery, Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, The Revival, Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder, and Lucha House Party. Roode and Ziggler started the match against Lucha House Party members Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik (Kalisto was at ringside).
Powell’s POV: It’s one of two days a year that I’m actually happy to hear Ziggler’s entrance music, as I know the Saudi royal family members are subjected to hearing that shit in person.
Dorado hit a stunner on Roode, then Metalik tagged in went to the shoulders of Dorado before falling onto Roode. The “Tag Team World Cup” trophy was at ringside. Late in the match, Ziggler caught Metalik with a superkick, the Roode hit the Glorious DDT and pinned him.
Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik were eliminated by Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode in 5:50.
Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins were the next entrants. They didn’t last long. Ziggler superkicked Hawkins off the ring apron. Roode held up Ryder and then Ziggler hit a Zigzag on him. Roode covered Ryder and pinned him.
Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins were eliminated by Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode in 6:55.
“Heavy Machinery” Otis and Tucker were the next entrants. As usual, Tucker took the beating and made a hot tag to Otis, who removed his shirt and wiggled. “I’m not sure that’s legal in this country,” Graves said. Cole said Otis loves having fun. Graves asked why he gets sick to his stomach whenever Otis has fun. Otis went for the Caterpillar on Roode, but Ziggler pulled his partner to ringside. Tucker took out Ziggler on the floor. Otis brought Roode back inside the ring. A short time later, Otis caught Roode leaping off the ropes. Tucker tagged in and the Heavy Machinery duo hit the their Compactor move and then Tucker pinned Roode.
Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode were eliminated by Heavy Machinery in 13:25.
Big E and Kofi Kingston were the next entrants and received pyro as part of their entrance. Big E proved early in the match that he would be a big threat to win a limbo contest. Otis performed the Caterpillar on Kingston (so Heavy Machinery can exit anytime now). Kingston knocked Otis to ringside with a Trouble in Paradise kick and then tagged out. Big E and Kingston teamed up to hit the Midnight Hour on Tucker, who was then pinned.
Heavy Machinery was eliminated by Big E and Kofi Kingston in 17:30.
“The B-Team” Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas were the next entrants. Kingston performed a trust fall dive onto Dallas, then Big E hit the Big Ending on Axel and pinned him.
The B Team was eliminated by Big E and Kofi Kingston in 19:40.
“The Revival” Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder were the next entrants. Cole played up that this portion of the match was a preview of the Smackdown Tag Title match that will take place on Friday’s Smackdown. In the end, Kingston caught Dawson in an inside cradle and pinned him.
The Revival was eliminated by Big E and Kofi Kingston in 25:10.
After the fall, The Revival attacked the New Day Duo and hit the Shatter Machine on Kingston. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson were the next entrants. They went for the Magic Killer, but Kingston avoided it. Kingston double stomped Anderson. Big E waited for a hot tag, but Gallows interrupted from the floor. Kingston continued to be isolated and was pinned moments later.
Big E and Kofi Kingston were eliminated by Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson in 27:00.
“The Viking Raiders” Erik and Ivar were the final entrants in the turmoil match. Cole recalled the Viking Raiders and The OC team getting into a big brawl the last time they had a turmoil match on Raw. Late in the match, the OC hit the Magic Killer on Erik and then Anderson pinned him. Anderson and Gallows celebrated with the trophy afterward…
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson defeated The Viking Raiders in 32:05 to win the Tag Team Turmoil match and the Best Tag Team in the World trophy.
Powell’s POV: The New Day and Revival served as a decent preview for their tag title match on Friday. The rest of it felt pretty random and it’s hard to make it seem like the winning team really gained something when the final two teams were also the last two entrants. In other words, it felt more like it came down to the luck of the draw than a major achievement. That said, I like the idea of putting over Gallows and Anderson, as they needed the boost and the win puts them in line for a Raw Tag Title shot. However, I would have had the Viking Raiders enter the match a lot sooner to give them an out for losing.
An ad aired for Friday Night Smackdown with the Smackdown Tag Title match and Bray Wyatt appearing on Miz TV… Cole acted giddy about getting on a plane and racing back to the U.S. for Smackdown (funny). Cole and Graves recapped the WWE Championship match and the beatdown Mysterio gave Lesnar afterward…
Backstage, Byron Saxton interviewed Rey Mysterio and asked what type of message he was trying to send Lesnar. Mysterio said props to Lesnar for surviving Cain Velasquez. Mysterio said he and his son survived Lesnar, then vowed that Lesnar will pay for what he did…
3. Mansoor vs. Cesaro. The live crowd was hot for Mansoor, who is billed as the hometown hero. Mansoor offered a handshake, but Cesaro slapped his hand away. Cesaro was in control early. Mansoor came back and hit a standing moonsault for a two count. Mansoor sent Cesaro to ringside and went for a suicide dive, but Cesaro blasted him with an uppercut from the floor.
Cesaro controlled the offense back inside the ring until he went for a top rope move and leapt into a dropkick. Cesaro ended up at ringside and Mansoor performed another dive onto him. Back inside the ring, Mansoor performed a top rope cross body block for a near fall. Mansoor followed up with a tornado DDT for another near fall. Cesaro came back and rolled up Mansoor and held his tights while getting a two count. Mansoor performed a neckbreaker and had the pin, but Cesaro put his foot on the bottom rope.
Mansoor went up top and was cut off by Cesaro, who suplexed him from the middle rope and covered him for a near fall of his own. A short time later, Cesaro performed a popup uppercut and then applied a crossface. Mansoor rolled into a pin for a two count. Mansoor caught Cesaro with a superkick that led to another good near fall. A “this is awesome” chant broke out.
Mansoor went up top, but Cesaro cut him off and hit him repeatedly. Cesaro went for another suplex, but Mansoor countered into a powerbomb. Mansoor went up top and hit a top rope moonsault and scored the pin.
Mansoor beat Cesaro in 12:45.
The broadcast team played it up as a major upset. Greg Hamilton entered the ring and asked Mansoor what it means to win his first singles match in his home country. Mansoor said that when he woke up, he looked at himself in the mirror and said this was his most important match of his life. Mansoor said he was scared and nervous, but then he stepped in front of all the fans and his family and he remembered that anything is possible. Mansoor said it may have been the most important victory of his life, but he can’t wait until “what we do next.” Mansoor spoke to the crowd in Arabic and was cheered loudly…
Powell’s POV: A really fun match with the live crowd hanging on every near fall and popping big when Mansoor won. I have no idea what the hell Cesaro is wearing in the ring these days, but he’s one hell of a wrestler and did a terrific job. For that matter, Mansoor’s offense including the top rope moonsault that won the match for him looked good. He’s very likable and believable in the hometown underdog turned winner role.
Saxton interviewed Seth Rollins backstage and noted that his match with The Fiend couldn’t be stopped for any reason. Saxton asked if this is the night he ends the rivalry. Rollins said this ends tonight. He said The Fiend has brought out the absolute worst in him and taken him to a dark place. Rollins said the scary party is that there’s a little piece of him that’s enjoyed it. Rollins said being in the ring with The Fiend is uncomfortable and unsettling. Rollins said no matter what happens, he didn’t start the fight. Rollins said Wyatt brought the fight to his front door, but he’s not afraid to finish it…
Powell’s POV: There were even some boo birds for Rollins in Saudi Arabia. I don’t know if that says more about where he’s at these days or more about the popularity of The Fiend.
An ad aired and then Cole noted that NXT would be involved in Survivor Series for the first time. Cole shifted the focus to the Tyson Fury vs. Braun Strowman match and set up a video package…
Powell’s POV: Here’s hoping the NXT involvement at Survivor Series is in good faith and it’s not just about giving the brand a win so that Raw and Smackdown ended up tied in their win count.
4. Braun Strowman vs. Tyson Fury. Strowman came out first, then Fury entered to The Isley Brothers’ “It’s Your Thing” and received an elaborate entrance with pryo and lasers. Fury was elevated onto the stage and wore Saudi attire. The fans loved it. Once in the ring, Fury stripped down to a pair of shorts and a tank top and had a staredown with Strowman. Hamilton introduced both wrestlers. Strowman was booed and Fury received some cheers.
Fury avoided a charging Strowman, who crashed into the corner and tumbled to ringside around 3:00. Fury went to ringside and was driven into the apron by Strowman. Braun ran around the ring and ran into a Drive By style kick from Fury, who then rolled Strowman back inside the ring. Strowman ducked a punch and went for a powerslam, but Fury slipped out of it. Fury caught Strowman with a big boot and got a near fall. Fury barked at the referee about the count.
Strowman came back with a club to the chest of Fury, which knocked him down. Fury sat up Undertaker style (ugh). Strowman kicked him. Fury charged at Strowman, who caught him and slammed him. Fury rolled to ringside. Strowman looked to the crowd and then went to ringside and did his run around the ring into a shoulder block. Strowman did it a second time and played to the crowd, which was not responsive.
Strowman rolled Fury back inside the ring. “Come on, let’s go,” Strowman barked at the fans. Strowman got back to the apron and was greeted with a punch to the head. Strowman fell to ringside and stumbled when he got up a couple of times and then was counted out.
Tyson Fury beat Braun Strowman in 8:05 by count-out.
Fury celebrated afterward. Strowman returned to the ring and powerslammed Fury. Strowman’s music played and he headed to the back. Fury got up quickly and removed his shirt (bad idea)…
Powell’s POV: A logical finish in that WWE typically has crossover celebrities win, yet they obviously wanted to protect Strowman to some degree. Fury’s entrance was the highlight of the match and the points he scored with the live crowd resulted in him being cheered, though that seemed to fade as the match went on. The match was weak and forgettable and I can’t say that I have any desire to see this feud continue somewhere down the road.
The broadcast team recapped R-Truth winning the WWE 24/7 Championship on the Kickoff Show and then being chased by the usual suspects. They cut backstage where a group of wrestlers ran past a doorway. R-Truth was inside the door. The Singh Brothers confronted Truth, who asked how many of them there are. Truth said you always need an escape plan. Truth said “see ya” and then turned and ran into the door and fell over. Samir Singh pinned Truth to regain the WWE 24/7 Championship…
5. AJ Styles (w/Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson) vs. Humberto Carrillo for the U.S. Championship. Gallows and Anderson brought the World Cup to ringside. At 8:30, Carrillo dropkicked Styles off the apron and followed up with a dive onto him at ringside. Back inside the ring, Carrillo covered Styles for a two count. Carrillo put Styles on the ropes and went for a huracanrana, but Styles stuffed it. Moments later, Styles hit a combination of strikes and covered him for a two count.
Around 11:00, Carrillo sold a knee injury. Styles quickly targeted it and applied a Calf Crusher. Carrillo reached the ropes to break the hold. Carrillo came right back with a nice kick to the head and then performed a moonsault. Styles moved out of the way and while Carrillo rolled to his feet, he went back to selling the knee injury. Styles hit a Phenomenal Forearm and scored the pin…
AJ Styles defeated Humberto Carrillo in 12:35 to retain the U.S. Championship.
Powell’s POV: There were some light “this is awesome” chants, but most of the crowd seemed like they were either still recovering from the previous match or just weren’t very into this match. Carrillo has only had a couple of televised matches and he lost them both, so it’s easy to see why the live crowd didn’t rally behind him. And while the knee injury was intended to serve as an out for Carrillo, the guy desperately needs a meaningful win now that he’s lost three straight televised matches regardless of the competition.
Saxton interviewed Hulk Hogan on the backstage interview set. Hogan dubbed Saxton “Beautiful Byron” and said that’s his name going forward. Hogan said Flair has never beat him before and he wasn’t going to beat Team Hogan now. Hogan said his team has been training day and night and doing springs in the desert. The crowd was receptive…
Natalya’s entrance music started and pyro immediately shot off. She came to the ring wearing black gear that covered her arms and legs and a pink Hart logo t-shirt, and handed her cat ears to a female fan in the crowd. Cole claimed the match has made global news. More pyro shot off on top of the stadium. Evans came out wearing all black with a red t-shirt over her gear and waved to the crowd…
6. Natalya vs. Lacey Evans. Both women wrestled in their loose hanging t-shirts. Cole said the women developed respect for one another during their feud. They shook hands to start the match. The women were all smiles and shook hands again after an early exchange. There was a “this is awesome” chant shortly before Natalya went for a Sharpshooter, but Evans avoided.
Evans came back with her springboard moonsault for a good near fall. Evans went up top again, but Natalya pulled her down. Natalya threw a discus lariat and then applied the Sharpshooter. Evans reached for the ropes, but Natalya pulled her to the center of the ring and held the hold until Evans submitted.
Natalya defeated Lacey Evans in 7:20.
After the match, Natalya and Evans stood in the ring together, raised their arms, and hugged while fireworks shot off at the top of the stadium. Evans was genuinely emotional and cried while they embraced. The fans applauded loudly. Both women went to ringside and hugged an unidentified woman in the crowd who told them “good job.” They also posed for selfies…
Powell’s POV: I’ve made my feelings well known when it comes to WWE running in Saudi Arabia. Putting that aside, it was touching to see some of the young girls in the crowd looking so excited and engaged in the match. Good for them. A little girl dressed in bibs stood on her chair in the second row and was just glued to match. The live crowd was very supportive and it was a truly memorable moment.
The broadcast team spoke about the match and then hyped Friday’s Smackdown with Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin, Miz TV with Bray Wyatt, The Revival vs. Kofi Kingston and Big E for the Smackdown Tag Titles, Nikki Cross, Carmella, and Dana Brooke vs. Bayley, Mandy Rose, and Sonya Deville…
Ric Flair made his entrance and pyro shot off at the top of the stadium behind him. Byron Saxton joined the broadcast team for the ten-man tag match. Flair’s team made their entrances and Lana was with Bobby Lashley. Randy Orton received the big star reaction. Hulk Hogan and Jimmy Hart came out together and pyro shot off, then the rest of Hogan’s team made their entrances. Ricochet wore a full body superhero-like outfit. Yes, Roman Reigns received pyro…
7. “Team Hogan” Roman Reigns, Rusev, Ricochet, Shorty G, and Ali (w/Hulk Hogan, Jimmy Hart) vs. “Team Flair” Randy Orton, King Corbin, Bobby Lashley, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Drew McIntyre (w/Ric Flair, Lana) in a 10-man tag match. Ali was isolated by the heel team for a portion of the match. Ali finally broke free from McIntyre and tagged in Ricochet, who may or may not have been wearing the outfit that Alexa Bliss wore in Abu Dhabi.
Ricochet was isolated. Flair taunted Hogan from the other side of the ring. Ricochet made a hot tag to Reigns, who worked over each of his opponents, which was well received by the live crowd. Reigns hit Orton with a Superman Punch and had him pinned, but it was broken up by other Team Flair members. It was rapid fire spot time, only with the Team Flair crew dominating.
Rusev cleared all the other heels to get to Lashley. They traded punches in the middle of the ring. Rusev got the better of it, but then charged Lashley, who held the top rope down, causing Rusev to bumped to the floor. Reigns hit Lashley with a Superman Punch and then performed a dive over the top rope and onto the other heels at ringside. Cole said there’s a reason Reigns was chosen as the captain of Team Hogan (yes, Rollins ended up double booked).
Orton caught Reigns with an RKO for a very good near fall. Orton stood over Reigns and then set up for his punt kick. Shorty G grabbed Orton’s leg. Ali and Ricochet performed stereo dives onto heels. Reigns speared and pinned Orton.
“Team Hogan” Roman Reigns, Rusev, Ricochet, Shorty G, and Ali beat “Team Flair” Randy Orton, King Corbin, Bobby Lashley, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Drew McIntyre in 19:55.
Afterward, Reigns hugged each of his teammates along with Hogan and Hart at ringside. Hogan told Reigns that he knew he’d do it…
Powell’s POV: The live crowd enjoyed it. The match was laid out to make Reigns look like a god. The Shorty G gimmick sucks in any language and in any country.
Ads aired for WrestleMania and Survivor Series… A video package set up the WWE Universal Championship match…
8. Seth Rollins vs. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt in a falls count anywhere match that can’t be stopped for any reason for the WWE Universal Championship. Rollins made his entrance. The Firefly Funhouse opening aired, then the words “Let Me In” appeared on the screen. The Fiend made his entrance and brought out the Wyatt head lantern. The red lighting was used again.
The wrestlers quickly fought to ringside. Rollins hit a Stomp, but it was no sold by Wyatt, who then performed a uranage onto the ring apron. Rollins continued to dominate the fight at ringside and placed the head of Wyatt on a chair and then wound up to hit him with a sledgehammer. Wyatt shot up and applied the Mandible Claw, which Rollins was able to break. Wyatt whipped Rollins over the Arabic broadcast table.
Wyatt wrenched the neck of Rollins on the table, then struck a crucifix pose. Wyatt placed Rollins on the American broadcast table, got a running start from the Arabic table, and went for a senton. Rollins rolled out of the way and then Wyatt crashed through the table. Rollins covered him and only got a one count. “What the hell are we dealing with?” Graves asked. Rollins hit Wyatt with a chair several times. Cole assumed Wyatt wasn’t human because there was no way to describe how he was still on his feet.
Wyatt ended up on a broadcast table. Rollins went to the ring and climbed to the top rope. Wyatt sat and and rushed up to Rollins, shoved him off, and Rollins went back first through a table that had been set up at ringside. A faint “this is awesome” chant started up and faded. Wyatt pulled a pad from the floor at ringside. Cole said there was steel grating underneath. Wyatt laughed and then went for Sister Abigail on the grating, but Rollins avoided it and caught Wyatt with a kick.
Rollins grabbed the top half of the ring steps and rammed them into Wyatt a few times. Rollins gave Wyatt a Stomp onto the steel grating and then covered him for a two count. A short time later, Wyatt performed Sister Abigail onto a barrier in front of the crowd and got a two count. Wyatt dragged Rollins up the long entrance ramp. Once on the stage, Wyatt set up for a move to throw Rollins off the table, but Rollins avoided it and Stomped Wyatt, who got right back to his feet.
Rollins hit three more Stomps on the stage and the broadcast team noted that it was the sixth of the match. Rollins performed yet another Stomp and there were some boos. Rollins tuned up the band in his “Burn It Down” style, then hit another f’n Stomp. Wyatt got back to his knees and then Rollins superkicked him twice. Wyatt got to his feet and Rollins superkicked him off the stage and into an area that couldn’t be seen and then some pyro shot off to make it look like an electrical issue.
Rollins pulled a production case away to get to the area where Wyatt was located, but another pyro flare shot off. “My eyes,” Rollins said while acting blinded. Wyatt suddenly stood up on the remaining productions cases and then applied a Mandible Claw. Wyatt performed Sister Abigail and pinned Rollins to win the title.
Bray Wyatt defeated Seth Rollins in 21:50 in a falls count anywhere match to win the WWE Universal Championship.
After the match, Wyatt’s music played and then the lights went out. When the lights turned on, Wyatt stood on the stage in strobe lighting and held up the Universal Title belt. The lights went out again and then the event’s theme song played and the regular lighting returned. Cole said it had been a historic evening and lives had been changed. Pyro shot off in and around the stadium. Cole told fans to enjoy their evenings and said they would see them Friday night for Smackdown on Fox…
Powell’s POV: The only thing I liked about the match was the end result. The rest of it was the same formula they used last time with Rollins hitting all sorts of moves and Wyatt playing the horror movie villain who just kept getting up. I really hope they come up with a better approach for The Fiend’s matches. There’s so much to like about the presentation of the character, the matches are horror movie campiness and they are getting worse the more its repeated.
Overall, this was the best of the WWE pay-per-views in Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately, that’s not saying much. The special attractions just didn’t click going into the show, but the fact that Velasquez hasn’t wrestled much and Fury had never wrestled at least made their matches more interesting than some of the throwaway matches they had on past Saudi events. I will have more to say about this show in a members’ exclusive audio review coming up shortly. Let me know what you thought of it by grading it and voting for the best match in our post show polls available via the main page.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Brian Fritz of Sporting News and Between The Ropes discussing WrestleMania 36, WWE television from the empty WWE Performance Center, his own travel woes, NFL free agency, and more...