Whether you’re excited about Logan Paul and Roman Reigns or not, there is a lot to look forward to on the Crown Jewel card. WWE is returning to Saudi Arabia this weekend, and they’re bringing 8 matches, most of which have the potential to be really good, really fun or both.
In the lead-up, there were some nervous moments about whether the event would happen, given some recent threats in the Middle East, but as of Friday morning, it looks like everyone is ready to get in the ring and put on a show.
As per usual, I feel really good about the likely outcome for some matches, and i’ve spent all week going back-and-forth on a few others. I went 4 and 2 on my Extreme Rules guesses, and I feel like I’m starting to understand what new headman Triple H is trying to do. That being said, even if the long-term story is pretty clear, that doesn’t mean there aren’t multiple ways to get there. So, I’ll cross my fingers and do the best I can.
Alexa Bliss & Asuka (Champions) Vs Dakota Kai And Iyo Sky For The Women’s Tag Team Championships
Why did Alexa Bliss and Asuka win the titles on Raw, less than a week ahead of Crown Jewel? What was the motivation behind that decision? If there’s going to be a match during a premium live event, it’s a really weird move to have the exact same match on free TV the week before. So, what the hell is going on here? That’s ultimately the key to figuring out what’s likely to happen in Saudi Arabia..
My guess is long-term WWE wants the belts to be on Dakota Kai and Iyo Sky, but they don’t want this feud to seem so one-sided. If Dakota and Iyo won the belts initially in the tag tournament, then won the three way match at Clash At The Castle and then won again at Crown Jewel, it would all be so lopsided. Giving Alexa Bliss and Asuka another loss to Damage CTRL would have made them look really weak. Having them win on Monday and drop the belts back at the premium live event, however, is going to come off as more of a back-and-forth, anyone could win type thing. So, I think that’s going to happen.
Prediction: Dakota Kai and Iyo Sky.
AJ Styles, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson Vs Finn Bálor, Damian Priest and Dominik Mysterio (With Rhea Ripley)
AJ Styles hasn’t won a match at a premium live event since July of 2021. I mean come’on. He’s AJ freaking Styles. I know he’s not at the top of his prime anymore, but he’s still over with fans and still damn good in the ring. No one is technically owed anything in WWE, as certain people’s WrestleMania records indicate, but the more someone loses in big moments, the less fans are going to take them as a serious threat. That’s already happening with AJ. He needs to start building some momentum.
I don’t love seeing another loss her for The Judgment Day, but given Finn was able to take home a victory in an I Quit match over Edge at Extreme Rules, I think that stable is doing just fine. It should take another big step forward too whenever we start seeing Rhea in singles action in the women’s division, as she should be an immediate threat for one of the major titles. So, yeah, even though six person tag matches are notoriously hard to predict, I’m going to go with Styles, Gallows and Anderson.
Prediction: Styles, Gallows and Anderson.
Braun Strowman Vs Omos (With MVP)
Is Braun Strowman going to use Omos to take a step forward in his career or is Omos going to use Braun Strowman to take a step forward? Well, given Strowman recently returned to some pretty big crowd pops and Omos has been largely stuck in the mud, doing a whole lot of nothing, since his losses to Bobby Lashley, it seems like Braun Strowman is the pretty clear answer here. A victory over another monster would make him look even stronger, and it would likely vault him back into the title picture.
As for Omos, I’d like to see him return to the tag division. He’s still really imposing physically. Some of his work in the ring, especially his big boots, are compelling enough. He just doesn’t have the move set at this point in his career to be able to make longer matches interesting. Paired with the right person, he could start to rebuild a mystique. That’s a project for another day. First he needs to get his ass kicked to help out Braun Strowman.
Prediction: Braun Strowman.
Drew McIntyre Vs Karrion Kross (With Scarlett)
We’re about to find out exactly how much Triple H likes Karrion Kross. We all know he’s a favorite of the new head of creative. He was quick to bring him back once he was in charge, and he gave him the win over Drew McIntyre at Extreme Rules, albeit with some interference via mace in the eyes from Scarlett. Now Kross is going at it with McIntyre again in a steel cage at Crown Jewel, and what happens will likely tell us a lot about Kross’ short-term future.
If he’s able to beat McIntyre, he’s going to enter the absolute top of WWE’s card. Two consecutive victories over someone of Drew’s caliber, even if they’re a bit sketchy, means you’re a threat to Roman Reigns and a title shot is probably coming at some point. I think it’s more likely, however, that we’re going to see a McIntyre win, which would just continue the feud and likely set up a match at Survivor Series or another upcoming WWE premium live event.
Prediction: Drew McIntyre
Bianca Belair (Champion) Vs Bayley For The Raw Women’s Championship
I like Bayley a lot, but I have not connected with this version of her quite as much since she’s come back. That seems to be a common refrain I’ve heard from other fans too. That’s not to say she’s not doing good work, but there’s a difference between doing good work and doing work that’s good enough that it should be rewarded with major championships. I just don’t think anything she’s doing right now is over enough to support that.
I don’t think Triple H is ready to stop pushing Damage CTRL though. That’s why I think he’s going to have Dakota and Iyo win the tag titles back. Then, when Bayley loses here, it’s not going to seem like such an indictment of the entire faction. They’ll just end up one and one on the night. Another loss here would also allow Bayley a way out of this feud. Bianca could move on to other things, and Bayley could work with someone else in a feud to try and refine this character a bit. Plus, even outside of Bayley, Bianca is freaking awesome, and she deserves to keep the title.
Prediction: Bianca Belair
The Usos (Champions) Vs The Brawling Brutes (Butch And Ridge) For The Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship
Are the Brawling Brutes over as a tag team or are they simply over when they’re wrestling alongside Sheamus? The six man tag match with Imperium at Extreme Rules was an absolute banger, and the crowd seemed to respond really well to everything to everything Butch and Ridge were doing. This’ll be a really interesting test to see how much fans view them as legitimate outside of Sheamus, who I suspect probably won’t be in attendance given we haven’t seen him since The Usos injured his arm.
I think The Usos are going to retain here because I think however their run ends is going to involve Sami Zayn, who is white hot right now. He’s been steadily working promos with The Usos for months, but he won’t be in attendance at Crown Jewel given the political situation. That being said, a really good match the crowd is into could go a long way to helping the Brawling Brutes stay in meaningful storylines, perhaps even one that does eventually see them claim the Tag Titles.
Prediction: The Usos
Brock Lesnar Vs Bobby Lashley
Hell yes. These two giants are going to unload on each other, and it should be a vicious good time. It should also be a good reminder that with the right match-up, it makes no difference whatsoever if there’s a title on the line. Some fights need that extra boost a belt gives to amp up the legitimacy, but Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley need no such help.
They had a good match at Royal Rumble, which was overshadowed by Roman Reigns’ interference. Lashley ultimately took home the victory, and he’s looking for a second win here. I don’t think that’s going to happen. Lesnar has lost too many high profile matches in a row for my taste. It’s important he remains strong, and a loss for Lashley wouldn’t be a huge deal since that would just even the score this year with Lesnar. I feel pretty good about this, unless there’s a heel turn swerve and Lashley reunites with MVP. That’s always a possibility, which would tip the balance.
Prediction: Brock Lesnar.
Roman Reigns (Champion) Vs Logan Paul For The Undisputed WWE Universal Championship
WWE has been working hard to sell the one big right hand narrative. They’ve been telling anyone and everyone who will listen that Logan Paul has metal pins in his hand, which amplifies his punches. They also let him knock out poor Jey Uso with a right hand to remind fans of how dangerous he can be. I appreciate they have to sell an angle here, but it would be absolutely ridiculous to have Logan Paul end Roman’s epic run. I’ll take it a step further and say it would be infuriating, and I say that as someone who thinks Logan Paul has a ton of promise.
I don’t care about whose turn it is. The wrestling business isn’t about whose turn it is. Time spent doesn’t mean you should win titles, and a lack of time doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be eligible. But Paul is simply not over enough with the fans who actually watch wrestling to support a win of this magnitude. That being said, if he puts in a really strong losing effort, likely one that involves a hope spot where he lands a huge right hand and gets a 2+ count, this match could go a long way to legitimizing him as a wrestling threat down the road.
Prediction: Roman Reigns
Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, the NBA and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.
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