Warning! The following contains spoilers to WWE's Crown Jewel pay-per-view. Read at your own risk!
WWE’s Crown Jewel 2021 pay-per-view is now over, and there’s a lot to be excited about in terms of what’s to come. Some superstars gained big opportunities, while others lost them. Perhaps most important of all, though, is that fans got some perspective on what future storylines they’ll see in the weeks to come from wrestlers like Xavier Woods and Roman Reigns.
As is the case with most WWE pay-per-view events, some moments were better than others. Here’s what we loved about Crown Jewel, and what we’re most excited about following the latest event in Saudi Arabia.
Xavier Woods Winning King of the Ring
The New Day will go down as one of the WWE’s most popular stables of all time, but to this point, most of their greatest accomplishments were the work of Big E and Kofi Kingston. Xavier Woods is an undeniable piece of many tag-team victories, however, aside from playing the trombone, the wrestler hasn’t had any solo highlights to hang his hat on during his run on the main roster. Now he’s 2021’s King of the Ring, however, which will undoubtedly propel his career in a positive direction and lead to more opportunities that will further establish his individual talents in the WWE.
The ideal scenario for WWE fans was for The New Day to stick around with their former partner Big E on Monday Night Raw, but Xavier Woods winning King of the Ring as he and Kofi Kingston head to SmackDown is certainly a nice consolation prize. Woods is a guy that can take the KOTR gimmick, embrace it in a way other wrestlers can’t, and make it a legitimately great addition to his already entertaining character. I’m hoping for lots of gloating and diva behavior from Woods, but hopefully not so much that he pisses off Kingston. Fracturing The New Day once was enough. I don’t need more trauma. (Although I'm all about the nickname King of the Ringston if that ever comes up.)
Perhaps the best part about Xavier Woods winning King of the Ring is that his opponent, Finn Bálor, didn’t pull off the victory himself. The KOTR gimmick can, let’s be honest, be kind of corny. That’s especially true when it’s in the hands of a wrestler with a serious persona like Bálor. Finn Bálor deserves title shots elsewhere, and he’s already in a great position to gain momentum in the WWE again. In my opinion, he didn’t need this win, so it’s for the best that he didn’t get it. Long live Woods' reign!
Roman Reigns Being A Bigger Heel Than Brock Lesnar
Speaking of reigns, Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns’ Crown Jewel pay-per-view match surprised quite a few people, perhaps because Lesnar wasn’t the “heel” in the bout. Well, ok, he did pick up and drop the referee to the canvas, but he wasn’t nearly the hulking rule-breaker that Reigns was in the final minutes of their showdown. Just when it seemed like anyone could win the title, Reigns received last-minute interference from the Uso brothers and walloped Lesnar with an illegal shot from his Universal Championship belt. Tsk tsk tsk. Lesnar went down in a heap, and a new referee entered the ring just in time to do the three-count and declare Reigns the winner.
I fully expected to see Brock Lesnar dominate Roman Reigns at Crown Jewel, so I was surprised Reigns won. I was even more surprised that Lesnar, for once, wasn’t the “villain” in the match and got a sizable amount of cheers from the audience as a result. Reigns’ win set the stage for the two to run it back at a later date, and I’m guessing we’ll see Lesnar make a run for his next title opportunity at next year’s Royal Rumble.
I wouldn’t go so far as to call Brock Lesnar a “babyface” in this rivalry, but the WWE definitely attempted to switch up its formula with the legend this outing. He almost feels like an underdog, which is somewhat laughable given how strongly the WWE’s booked Lesnar in the past, not to mention how giant the dude is, but I feel that way all the same. I’m invested in where this storyline heads, which is something I didn’t expect to say before watching.
Matt Riddle Riding A Camel
I’ll die on the hill that RK-Bro is the tag team the WWE needed this year above all else, and that’s largely thanks to the odd couple combination of Randy Orton and Matt Riddle. The two Superstars' Crown Jewel match-up wasn’t anything spectacular as we saw them take on AJ Styles and Omos for what feels like the umpteenth time, but the introduction in which Riddle arrived on a camel was one of the wildest highlights of the entire event.
The WWE finally seems to understand the appeal of Matt Riddle, which is that his character is a goofy (and subtly implied pothead) wrestler that can also kick ass in the ring. Springing for a camel for his entrance is evidence of that, and it already has me excited thinking about what his entrance at WrestleMania will be. My hope is a massive scooter that’s infeasibly big and impractical to ride, but the WWE needs to pay me before I give out any more ideas.
Anyway, there are few wrestlers in the WWE I’m excited more for at the moment than Matt Riddle. He’s doing everything he needs to get screen time, and the fans really seem to like him. Eventually, that’s going to lead to some opportunities greater than tag-teaming with a WWE legend, which I’d love to see in the next couple of years.
Big E Getting Yet Another Clean Title Defense
Every time Big E has to defend the WWE Championship title, I hold my breath out of fear. It took a long time for the wrestler to get in a position where he’s one of the brand’s top titleholders, and I’ve enjoyed every day of his title reign. So, when Drew McIntyre earned a title opportunity to take on the champ at Crown Jewel, I worried Big E was losing his title.
Big E retained his title against Drew McIntyre, though, and did it in a match that further solidified him as a strong competitor in the WWE. Whoever does eventually beat Big E will need to bring everything they have to the showdown, as it appears it’ll take more than brute force for the current WWE Champion to lose his title. McIntyre wasn’t going to try any underhanded tactics in order to get the win over Big E this time around, though it’s possible that will change down the line.
It appears we’ll get at least another month of Big E as champion, barring any title changes on Monday Night Raw. That’s definitely something that can happen, given WWE is seemingly ramping up its creative decisions amid competition with AEW. For now, though, let’s just take this victory that he won over yet another strong competitor, and once again solidified his legacy as a strong champion in the WWE.
WWE’s Crown Jewel pay-per-view is over, but fans can watch the replay right now on Peacock. It’s certainly worthy of a watch all around for those that missed it if only to watch that hilarious entrance by Matt Riddle all over again.
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Mick contains multitudes and balances his time reporting on big happenings in the world of Star Trek, the WWE, reality television, and other sci-fi shows.