Another international showdown, WWE Crown Jewel is set for November 2nd in Saudi Arabia, and so far, it looks like they’re still going to go through with it. We’ve got the match card as well as our predictions for the winners and a quick briefing on the controversy surrounding this PPV event.
As part of a ten-year deal with Saudi Arabia, WWE will host all-male wrestling events in the country each year, including the Greatest Royal Rumble in April. They’re currently only one year into the contract, but already things are getting tense. Due to the recent disappearance and murder of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Turkey (you’ve probably heard about it), US senators have encouraged the WWE to take a step back.
Word on the street is that several Superstars have mixed feelings about performing in Saudi Arabia, and this week on SmackDown, there were boos from fans each time the PPV event was mentioned or the Crown Jewel logo was displayed. There’s an ongoing petition from fans to cancel the contract with Saudi Arabia as well. However, rumor has it the WWE will lose $16 million if they pull out. So far they’ve remained quiet on the subject, aside from the statement that they’re “monitoring the situation.” As of October 20th, tickets for the event are still not on sale. (They were supposed to go on sale October 19th.)
What could happen? Rather than ax Crown Jewel altogether, the WWE could simply change its location to somewhere other than Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Since the final leg of the WWE’s UK tour is scheduled to take place a few days afterward, with tapings of Raw and SmackDown in Manchester, England, it’s possible they’ll relocate the PPV event there. Other options include scrapping the event entirely and focusing on Survivor Series instead.
We’ll keep you posted, but here’s a preview of how things are shaping up in the ring for Crown Jewel… if it happens.
Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman for the WWE Universal Championship
Just when we thought Brock Lesnar was on his way out of the WWE forever, he’s making one (final?) special appearance. No way he wins this one though, as he’s a part-time champ at best, spending most of his time either negotiating his contract or fighting in the UFC.
The most likely outcome? Reigns keeps the title. The WWE has put so much effort into getting getting the belt back from Lesnar and boosting Reigns’s popularity that he’ll probably prevail. Of course, it’s possible that The Monster Among Men could snag the title temporarily in order to spur on feuds until the next major PPV event at Survivor Series. Keep an eye out for a betrayal by Dean Ambrose during this one though!
Update: Following Reigns’s announcement that he’s relinquishing the title to fight leukemia, it’s a one-on-one match between Lesnar and Strowman. We’re going with Strowman on this one.
World Cup Eight-Man Match between
John Cena Bobby Lashley, Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy, Randy Orton, Dolph Ziggler, Seth Rollins, Miz, and Rey Mysterio
We don’t really know how the WWE is going to set this one up. What we do know is there are conveniently four superstars from Raw and four from SmackDown. They might arrange it into a tournament with one-on-one matches between the brands and let winner take on winner until we have a champ who can claim he’s the best in the whole WWE.
You’ll find a couple of detailed predictions for the World Cup outcome here and here. According to popular opinion, Seth Rollins makes it to the finals. The Miz and Jeff Hardy are also faves for the final matchup. And since the WWE is bringing
John Cena, Kurt Angle, and Rey Mysterio back into the ring after a lot of time off, it feels like they should at least win one match or put on a good show to make it worth it.
Update: John Cena has opted out of traveling to Saudi Arabia and he’s been replaced by Bobby Lashley.
AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship Now that we’ve wrapped up the Bryan-Miz feud (for now), Daniel Bryan is finally getting a chance to battle for something bigger than bragging rights. It’s still likely that the Miz will still show his face around the ring, potentially interfering to screw up Bryan’s chances at the title. Then again, AJ Styles has had this belt for way too long (almost a year now) so it’s possible that this match and the WWE Championship goes to Bryan… or ends in a DQ or no-contest due to The Miz… who will get a shot at the title later… maybe at Survivor Series. The crowd loves Bryan though. Expect a few Yes! Kicks in this battle of the babyfaces.
Update: Bryan refused to go to Saudi Arabia and the WWE moved this match to SmackDown this week. Styles retained the title, making Bryan tap to the calf crusher.
This match will likely be replaced with a WWE Championship match between AJ Styles and Samoa Joe.
Triple H and Shawn Michaels vs. Kane and The Undertaker
Talk about four legends in the ring together. This new feud is likely to end here but we’re still excited about this matchup of dudes from the Attitude Era. After chokeslamming and tombstone-piledriving the DX duo in Melbourne and on Raw a couple weeks ago, the Brothers of Destruction will get their rematch in the form of a tag-team bout. The Undertaker says Shawn Michaels’s interference at Super Show-Down was cheating (we don’t disagree), so he’s ready to make Triple H and The Heartbreak Kid “rest in peace.”
Shawn Michaels came out of retirement for this match. Surely D-Generation-X reunited for a reason right? We can’t let the good guys go down just yet. We think DX wins this one (relatively) fair and square.