The Tribal Chief’s glory run continues. At Crown Jewel during WWE’s return to Saudi Arabia, Roman Reigns managed to defeat Brock Lesnar to retain his Universal Championship. He was ostensibly helped by Paul Heyman, but Heyman’s true allegiences weren’t made crystal clear yet. The way it shook out, expect a rematch between these two. The Reigns-Lesnar saga is not over.
Overall, it was a far better show than previous Saudi events. The best match of the night was the opener, which saw Edge defeat Seth Rollins in an excellent Hell in a Cell bout. The WWE Championship contest, in which Big E successfully defended against Drew McIntyre, was also strong.
Elsewhere, Goldberg defeated Bobby Lashley and Becky Lynch was able to retain her SmackDown Women’s Championship. Xavier Woods is the King of the Ring, while Zelina Vega won the Queen’s Crown. Scroll down for full results and analysis from Crown Jewel 2021.
Roman Reigns beats The Beast
Roman Reigns is still your Universal Champion.
Lesnar dominated at first, as you’d expect. In a clever strategy, Reigns resisted Lesnar’s suplexes by lingering close to the ropes and clinging to them each time Reigns attempted a German, though eventually he did connect with one.
Eventually the tide turned when Reigns clocked Lesnar with a Superman Punch onto the outside, then laid him out with a beautiful over-the-top-rope dive onto Lesnar. He cut Lesnar down with a Spear for a two count.
Reigns blitzed Lesnar with a series of Superman Punches, then went for another Spear. Lesnar, being the freak that he is, leapfrogged over Reigns, who crashed into the turnbuckle. The whole crowd is loving this. Lesnar finally got to take Reigns to Suplex City, hitting him with three more German Suplexes. Lesnar lands an F5, but only gets a two.
Lesnar attempted a second F5, but Reigns countered it into a Guilottine, which Lesnar was able to power out. Lesnar manages to land a second F5, but inadvertently knocks out the referee. Lesnar, in his own gentle way, tries to prod the ref — by lifting him up by the belt and plopping him on the ground. When he turns around, he eats another Spear from Reigns.
Heyman throws the Universal Championship into the ring, right in the middle of Lesnar and Reigns. They get into a tug-of-war, then the Usos interfere by hitting a double Superkick onto Lesnar. Reigns then clobbers Lesnar with the Universal Championship for the pinfall.
Rating: 3 stars. Michael Cole assured us that Brock Lesnar wouldn’t forget this night, and with the screwy finish it’s assured that these two will have a rematch. That makes sense, because this match wasn’t wrestled like a blowoff. This felt like an appetizer to setup another main event on a different stage.
Also important to note is that Heyman’s allegiences are still unknown. On paper, Heyman helped Reigns retain the title by lobbing the Universal Championship into the ring. But Heyman threw the title preciely in the middle of Reigns and Lesnar, and it could be only by storyline chance that it worked in Reigns’ favor. This story is definitely not over.
Becky Lynch is still SmackDown Women’s Champion
Becky Lynch retained her SmackDown Women’s Championship after a whirlwind triple threat.
The audience was heavily into the finish to the WWE Championship match, but this is by far the most excited they’ve been for anything on the show. All three women were given superstar reactions as they were announced for the match.
This triple threat moved about a million miles an hour. Plenty of creative spots with almost no relent, like when Lynch attempted a leg drop from the top rope but was caught by Banks and Belair, one leg each. Typically, there would be a series of spots between the three before one would get thrown out, and the other two would trade pinning attempts.
The finishers started to come out as Banks and Lynch simultaneously locked their Banks Statement and Disarmer holds on Belair. Later, Lynch spiked Banks with a Man-Handle Slam, but Belair broke up the pin — and Lynch momentarily locked both Belair and Banks in a Disarmer at the same time.
In the final moments of the match, Belair hit her Kiss of Death finish on Lynch. Banks prevented Belair from pinnning Lynch, and Belair and Banks then scrambled to pin Lynch. Banks managed to knock Belair out on the outside, but when she finally got to Lynch, Lynch rolled her up and grabbed the ropes for the win.
Rating: 3.5 stars. These three works incredibly hard, but maybe a bit too hard. I said the same thing about the Young Bucks versus Penta and Fenix tag team match from AEW’s most recent pay-per-view — I know I saw many creative spots, but after the match I can’t remember any of them. Total nonstop action, so nothing was able to truly resonate. Still, there were many creative spots and this was fun.
Big E retains WWE Championship
These two huge men just threw each other all over the place. McIntyre was particularly impressive. We’ve seen a lot of weapons and highs pots on the show, but McIntyre hit a belly-to-belly suplex on the outside that made me wince harder than anything else so far. He followed it up with a nice spinebuster in the ring.
WWE is building a new main event star in Big E, but the crowd was more into McIntyre for much of the match. There were consistent chants of “McIntyre!”
There was a nice false finish when Big E did a backslide pin on McIntyre but McIntyre rolled out and countered into the Futureshcok DDT. McIntyre attempted a Claymore, but Big E countered and moments later landed a Big Ending for a two count. Big E tried to plant McIntyre with a Big Ending from the turnbukcle, but McIntyre reversed it into a top-rope bulldop.
After McIntyre missed another Claymore, he rolled onto the apron. Big E attempted his trademark Spear, where he tackles his opponent through the middle rope onto the floor, but McIntyre rushed into the ring and landed the Claymore for a two count. The crowd is way into this. The crowd chants “one more time”, but Big E manages to tilt-a-whirl McIntyre into a Big Ending for the win.
Rating: 4 stars.
Xavier Woods wins King of the Ring
Xavier Woods has been petitioning for a King of the Ring return on social media for months, and now he is the King.
This was a nice match, but the crowd has become tired. There were still chants throughout, but only sections of the audience. (There’s a pocket of fans determined to make “this is awesome!” chants happen.) Most of the stadium was quieter than for previous bouts, which makes sense because we’re three hours into the show.
Balor worked as the heel for the bout, and though it was nice to see Xavier get his moment, Finn came off as the bigger star in this match. He’s just such a great wrestler. Everything he does is so crisp and tight. Ultimately, he ate the pin after a top-rope elbow drop from Woods.
Rating: 3 stars.
Goldberg beat Bobby Lashley
This was a No Holds Barred, Falls Count Anywhere match. The build up centered around each man wanting to literally kill each other, so violence was assured. Goldberg ultimately won by Spearing Lashley off the stage.
The first thing that happened in this showdown was Lashley surreptitiously pulling a thick chain out of his tights and wrapping around his fist. He clocked Goldberg with it at the outset, causing immediate blood. Lashley then barraged Goldberg with chairshots, and set a table up in the corner.
Before doing anything with said table, Lashley tackled Goldberg’s leg, which he storyline injured at SummerSlam. Lashley wrapped Goldberg’s leg in a chair and them jumped off the middle rope and stomped on it. That setup a Spear through the table, but Goldberg dodged it, which meant Lashley crashed through the wood.
Goldberg managed to land a Spear of his own and then a Jackhammer. He didn’t go for a pin though, which makes sense since he promised to actually leave Lashley without breath. Goldberg pushed Lashley outside, then Speared him through the barricade. Goldberg laid Lashley down on the steel steps, then tried to guilottine him by slamming another set of steel steps on Lashley’s head, but Lashley rolled away. Phew.
As Lashley tried to retreat up the ramp, the Hurt Business came to Lashley’s aid. They brought him Kendo Sticks, and then ran at Goldberg. Goldberg was able to swat them away, then he speared Lashley off the stage for the win.
Rating: 3 stars. More entertaining and varied than most Goldberg matches.
Zelina Vega is the Queen of the Ring
Zelina Vega won the Queen of the Ring — although it’s not being called the Queen’s Crown tournament all of a sudden — by pinning Doudrop.
The finish was the only memorable moment in the otherwise unremarkable match. Vega landed a Code Red on Doudrop, impressive given the disparity in their size. After the match, Vega took the crown on the stage and looked legitimately very happy, which is nice to see.
Rating: 2 stars. No need to watch this. Nothing too wrong with it, but nothing special about it either. The Queen of the Ring tournament hasn’t been presented as anything particularly meaningful or important, so the stakes felt low.
Randy Orton and Riddle retains tag titles
RK-Bro successfully defended their Raw Tag Team Championships against AJ Styles and Omos in an OK match.
In what will surely be the best moment of the night, or maybe even the year, Riddle ran to the back in the middle of his entrance with Orton, only to return riding a camel to the ring. Amazing.
This match had a slow start, feeling like a standard TV bout for the first while. This was especially true when Omos was in the ring, as Omos really slows things down — and he was in the match more than average. But it really picked up when Riddle and AJ were in the ring together. They had a hot sequence of trading blows and countering moves, but it was shortlived.
Riddle tagged in Orton, who was able to knock Omos off the apron and then counter a Phenomenal Forearm with an RKO. Riddle then landed a Floating Bro for the pin.
Rating: 2.5 stars. This felt like filler. A match with three wrestlers as great as AJ, Orton and Riddle shouldn’t, but we’ve already seen these guys wrestle so much — and this was shorter and less impressive than previous bouts. Riddle’s entrance did rule, though.
Mansoor beats Mustafa Ali
This match was all about highlighting Mansoor, WWE’s first wrestler from Saudi Arabia. It was a good match, better than most Raw matches and even most midcard pay-per-view bouts, but that’s mostly thanks to Mustafa Ali.
It was hard to get into this match, because it felt thrown together for the simple purpose of getting a hometown hero on the show. That’s completely fine, except it’s doubtful that WWE will do much with Mansoor between now and the next Saudi Arabia show.
After the match, Ali attacked Mansoor. A man in a gi and a Keffiyeh very slowly made his way to the ring. He took over the Keffiyeh to reveal himself as Saudi Arabian silver medal Karate player Tareg Hamedi. He Karate kicked Ali, then posed with Mansoor for the crowd.
Rating: 2.75 stars. A fine match, but it was more about pleasing the local crowd (and the Saudi sports comission that pays for the event) than anything else, as made clear by the post-match showdown.
Edge pins Seth Rollins
Crown Jewel opened with a match that will be very hard to top. Edge defeated Seth Rollins after a lengthy Hell in a Cell match, one that saw both talented performers pull out a bag of tricks — as well as many weapons. Edge won the match by Curb Stomping Rollins onto a chair.
The match started hot. Rollins moments in attempted a Suicide Dive on Edge on the outside, but missed Edge and caught the red Hell in a Cell cage instead. Edge then brought chairs into the ring, so weapons were integrated almost immediately. Edge broke the chair apart and tried to use a chair part to lock Rollins in a crossface, as he’s done in the past, but Rollins scurried out.
Eventually, Edge did manage to get Rollins a crossface, but Rollins got out by grabbing part of the chair and jabbing it in Edge’s eye. He then hit a Frogsplash for a 2 count — the first of many nearfalls.
Rollins setup a table on the outside and tried to powerbomb Edge over the toprope through the table, but Edge wriggled out. Rollins planted Edge with the Unprettier, Christian’s finishing move, for another nearfall. Rollins scaled the top rope, but Edge pushed him off the turnbuckle and Rollins crashed through the table.
With Rollins down, Edge set up the steel steps in the middle of the ring. Edge planted Rollins with an Edge-o-Matic, and then, with Rollins splayed across the steps, did a flying elbow drop with the steel chair from the top rope. Two count.
Edge then went for a spear, but Rollins countered with a Superkick and a Pedigree for a two count. Rollins then attempted a Curbstomp, but Edge caught him and reversed it into a Buckle Bomb, and then hit Rollins with a Spear for a great two count. The crowd showers them with a “This is Awesome!” chant. It really is.
Edge introduced more weapons into the match, bringing out a ladder and another table. They’d be used in spectacular fashion, when Rollins hit a Sunset Flip Powerbomb over the ladder, through the table. Another two count. Rollins brought out a bag of tools into the ring, and pulled out a thick chain. He wraps it around his boot and superkicked Edge with the chained-up boot.
Rollins tried to Curb Stomp Edge with the chained-up foot, but Edge moved out of the way and shoved a chair up Rollin’s crotch. Edge barraged Rollins with superkicks and locked him in a crossface using a wrench from the aforementioned toolbag. Pretty gnarly. Before Rollins can tap out, Edge broke up the hold. He planted a chair underneath Rollins, hit him with the Curb Stomp and pinned him, 1-2-3.
Rating: 4.25 stars. I feel bad for whoever has to follow this. Some of this certainly bordered on preposterous, with each man kicking out of things that should have left them dead. Still, to used an overused phrase, it felt epic in a way that few WWE matches have over the last year.
Kickoff Show results
The Kickoff Show saw The Usos face the newly reformed Hurt Business. This short match ended when Jey Uso pinned Cedric Alexander following a top-rope splash.
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