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WWE Crown Jewel 2021: A match-by-match breakdown

WWE’s 2021 Crown Jewel event on Oct. 21 from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia has a big-match feel to it. With competition from AEW getting tougher by the day, WWE has been promoting this event as a pivotal one, rather than the glorified house shows some Crown Jewels have been in the past. Most of WWE’s top stars are in high-profile matches against one another; this lineup would not be out of place at a major Sunday night pay-per-view. Let’s take a look at the show and what its matches might bring to the company moving forward.


THE BIG ONE

Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns for the Universal title is the single biggest match the company has, and WWE is bringing it out for Crown Jewel. It’s a WrestleMania-level main event and could very well be done again for the next WrestleMania in Dallas.

WWE has built this clash up with an inspired storyline. Paul Heyman has been stuck in an awkward spot between Reigns and Lesnar for months. It’s been left to the imagination just where Heyman’s loyalties truly sit.

It’s likely Heyman has had a large say in how this program has played out. The angle is different from the standard WWE writing in that it’s progressed logically and been filled with moments of real tension. Reigns and the Usos have been terrific in showing their growing suspicions toward Heyman. Lesnar has been just as good as the maverick who enjoys stirring the pot and making the cocky heels uncomfortable.

If they work this as a Heyman-style “big man match,” meaning they don’t go too long and work to hit big moves on each other rather than do a standard WWE match, this should be an exciting main event. Will we find out who Heyman is really working for?

KEY SINGLES TITLE MATCHES

The Triple Threat match with SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch defending against Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks has intriguing possibilities as well. For reasons known only to themselves, they put the RAW title on Charlotte and then drafted her to SmackDown. RAW will need a woman’s champion, so perhaps there will be a belt swap after this one. This has the potential to be a fun match with three good workers. Hopefully they avoid the gimmick finishes.

The WWE title will be on the line as Big E defends against Drew McIntyre. This seems like a win for Big E. McIntyre is headed to SmackDown, where the Universal title lives. The match will probably be pretty good, but a title change seems highly unlikely here.

STIPULATION MATCHES

We have Bobby Lashley going up against Goldberg in a No Holds Barred Match. The build to this one has been strange, with Lashley injuring Goldberg’s son. That led to a series of death threats from Goldberg. WWE has avoided death threats in the past, but it’s the central part of the angle here. As a legend, Goldberg is likely to get revenge here, perhaps with help from his son. Hopefully no one “dies.”

The other is the Hell in a Cell match between Seth Rollins and Edge. The action will be good. Both men can work. The problem is, the angle has been marred by bad writing (a laughable “home invasion” by Rollins, for instance) and Rollins’ annoying line readings. Edge has tried to bring the intensity up in his promos, but this program has just been too silly to really mean much long-term.

KING OF THE RING AND QUEEN’S CROWN TOURNAMENT FINALS

The only intrigue here is which babyface will be King of the Ring. The tournament has had more heel winners than babyfaces, but fan favorites Finn Balor and Xavier Woods have been booked in the finals.

Woods has done a good job putting over how badly he wants to win. Balor seems higher in the singles wrestler pecking order, and perhaps they want to work a King angle into his “Prince” nickname.

Whomever wins, one hopes it won’t lead to either making the robe and crown part of their regular character. WWE is doing something different in having two babyfaces in the finals, we can hope they’ll do something different with the winner after the tournament.

The Queen’s Crown tournament has received little ring time and has not been portrayed as a big deal. Doudrop can be a good worker and seems headed for more matches with Shayna Baszler. Vega’s character seems more of a match for an arrogant queen gimmick, but this could go either way. WWE doesn’t seem to put much stock in this, and the fans have taken the hint.

OTHER MATCHES

We have RK-Bro vs. AJ Styles and Omos for the RAW tag team titles. Hopefully this will be AJ carrying the match with occasional big-man spots from Omos. Most of this angle has been used for Riddle and Randy Orton comedy skits. If WWE treats this as a big house show, a babyface finish is likely how this one ends. If they treat it more like a major pay-per-view, it will indicate Omos ending things and trying to look impressive doing it.

Finally, Mansoor will face Mustafa Ali. On the surface, there is nothing complicated here. Mansoor and Ali are here for Mansoor to get a win in front of the Saudi Arabian audience.

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