Updated: Nov 17
Reverse Hipster Reviews
Drew vs. Seth World Heavyweight Championship 8/10 B-
The match was a standard back-and-forth for most of the match. Neither Drew nor Seth really elevated to another level for this match. I think their story is still ongoing. They didn't wrestle like they were laying it all out on the line. The final sequence was the best part of the match. Drew hit the Claymore, but his best shot wasn't enough to close the deal, and when he went for it a second time, Seth was ready. Seth was able to dodge, hit his finisher, and win the match. It was anticlimactic to see Seth win, but Rhea Ripley showing up next to Drew after the match shows there is more story to come.
Rhea Ripley vs. Nia Jax vs. Zoey Starks. vs. Raquel Women's World Championship 8.15/10 B
This match only partially lived up to expectations. There were a lot of powerful women in this match, and there was potential for a demolition derby, but they never really got there. Personally, I wonder if they were limited in the spots they were allowed to perform. Something that definitely was on them, and Raquel specifically, was botching the ending by making Rhea wait to slam Shayna off the top because Raquel wasn't in her spot yet. The positive of this match is that most women got to shine for a moment. My two favorite spots were when Zoey pulled out an insane corkscrew flip onto Nia's head. The second was the spot of the match when Shayna had Raquel, Nia, and Rhea in submission holds all at the same time. I wanted Nia to win this match and take over as a monster heel to be overcome down the line at a big PPV, maybe Wrestlemania, but Rhea winning was not a terrible outcome.
John Cena vs. Solo 7.9/10 C+
This match could have happened on any TV taping. It wasn't as bad as the Theory match, but wasn't very good either. Surprisingly, Solo was the one who carried the match. John Cena hit his five moves of doom, making sure to give the crowd his greatest hits, but that was it. The highlight of this match was Solo spiking the crap out of John over and over before winning.
I don't know if John Cena is limited because he doesn't want to injure himself before a movie or is dealing with some medical issue behind the scenes and doing all he can. Still, Sting is wrestling harder than John Cena for whatever reason. Plus, if John Cena is going on a journey to win again, then that's fine, but if he just plans to lose over and over again, then he should remember that these wins and matches don't mean anything if it doesn't look like John Cena is at his best. Austin Theory got slightly less credit than Hulk Hogan did after beating Shawn Michaels at Summerlsam because the match was so bad. This match didn't look like Solo beat the real Cena. It doesn't feel like a real stamp of approval.
Logan Paul vs. Rey Mysterio U.S Championship 8.4/10 B
It is definitely the match of the night so far and the best match of Rey Mysterio's United States Championship Reign. Rey was kicking Logan so loud it echoed through the arena. Rey flew around, hitting the 619 and even a Yes lock. However, it was Logan Paul who stole the show. Logan hit a backfliping strongest man slam off the top rope. That was unbelievable, but he didn't stop there. Logan caught Rey in a backflip and hit him with the Dominanor slam. Logan would ultimately win the match, but how he did it was so cool. He took the 619, but when Rey tried to jump off the ropes and finish the match, Logan punched him out of the sky with brass knuckles. The finish was impactful because reversals/catch finishers are always fantastic as a sudden change in momentum, especially at the end of a match. Also, Rey Mysterio is protected because Logan cheated, and Logan remains a scumbag.
Bianca vs. IYO Sky WWE Women's Championship 8.2/10 B
Khairi Sane returned, and it was lukewarm. I was excited at home, but the crowd seemed to have mixed feelings about it. The return would have been much better if they had done it in the States or elsewhere. The Crown Jewel crowd seems more into the biggest acts in WWE. Much like Sane's return, this match felt off. IYO and Bianca were wrestling well, and it was a good match, but it just didn't have the emotion behind it to push it to the next level. This match felt premature.
Cody vs. Damien 7.4/10 C
I didn't see any reason to get into this match. Cody was selling his leg, but Damian didn't attack it. Damien's failure to make the leg his focal point messed up the match story. I have seen enough of Cody getting thrown around and then rallying back. All of Cody's matches should be different from his matches with Brock, who is a very unique threat, but instead, they are morphing into the same last-minute offense matches. Cody should go back to his Seth Rollins match days.
Roman vs. LA Knight 8.4/10 B
Roman has his matches down to a science. Roman does his matches like an anime. Anime will have these super long intros, then a recap, and some flashbacks in the mix of the action plus the outro song, and that's like a third of the 20-minute episode. Reigns does a long entrance, and then he lets his opponent beat him up for a minute, and he has to regroup before taking over and posturing to the crowd as he dominates. Then, the real action of the match comes with some close calls until the Bloodline gets involved, where they either completely determine the result or influence it, and boom, the match is over, and they only spent a third of the match actively wrestling.
The formula clearly works, and when it's performed flawlessly, it can lead to a great match, but it could be more varied. Earlier in Roman's Reign, it felt like each title defense was different, and you wondered how Roman would do it, but lately, it has been safe to assume that you are getting the same match as last time with a different opponent.
Since I don't see this changing, I will list the things I think can be updated. First, the sequence where Roman dominates and taunts the crowd should be more earned. Roman usually does some regular offense, and the opponent is stumbling around, gassed and tired, barely able to get up, and the match just started. It's hard to imagine someone coming into the biggest match of their career and being that unprepared to handle basic offense. You can do the same sequence. Just let Roman do something that believably puts his opponent down, and makes the crowd think, damn, he might not be okay. The action sequences are actually pretty good, but the interferences should be better. At this stage in Roman's career, the Bloodline should have to be super creative to help Roman win because everyone knows the playbook.
This match, in particular, turned out solid. LA Knight and Roman had a great exchange in the action sequence. LA Knight fended off the Bloodline and Roman well and even got a near fall that proved he would have won without interference. Even the ending was a little better than some recent Roman matches because it was cleaner than normal. LA Knight was distracted, and Roman took advantage rather than the Bloodline beating LA Knight for Roman. LA Knight took a spear through the barricade and one in the ring, which made him look like a worthy competitor by virtue of how much it took to put him down. The crowd was really into it, but it started really slow, and the fact that everything was so predictable took down the excitement factor for me.
Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre (World Heavyweight Championship)
The workrate in this match was good, but I just couldn’t bring myself to care. Seth Rollins is having a not-great championship reign. After months of being the guy who made Raw interesting, his championship reign just doesn’t excite me. I was to the point of pretty much rooting for Drew McIntyre, much like the crowd itself. In the end, Rollins won, and the post-match drama of Damian Priest trying to cash in and Sami Zayn stopping him was the most exciting part of the segment. Even WWE doesn’t believe in Rollin's reign, as this match opened the show.
Final Grade: 5/10 Average
Rhea Ripley vs. Nia Jax vs. Shayna Baszler vs. Raquel Rodriguez vs. Zoey Stark (Women’s World Championship)
It was awesome to see the development between not having a women’s match in Saudi Arabia to an excited crowd for this multi-woman match. They had the benefit of playing off of the five women in this match. The whole group looked good, with creative spots interspersed in this match, but Rhea Ripley came out looking like the true star with her entrance and a big win. Ripley needs a legitimate one-on-one match to cement her star status.
Final Grade: 6/10 Above Average
John Cena vs. Solo Sikoa
This had one of the most interesting stories going into the night, as WWE leaned into the fact that John Cena hasn’t won a singles match in a long time. The trend continued here as Solo Sikoa handled Cena, giving the young superstar a big win to hang his hat on. This was a great moment for Sikoa, though the match itself was never too interesting.
Final Grade: 6/10 Above Average
Rey Mysterio vs. Logan Paul (United States Championship)
To this point in the card, this was my match of the night. These two had great chemistry, and it felt like a WrestleMania match to pair up a social media megastar and a living legend in the ring. Logan Paul looked different than we have ever seen him before, outpowering Rey Mysterio. This many years later, Mysterio still makes his opponents look like money in the ring and flies around like he is still 20. A lot of folks are talking about the moment that Paul rescued Mysterio from spiking himself in the ring, and it still rings true- Paul looks more seasoned than talents that have been wrestling for much longer than him. Even with Santos Escobar at ringside, Mysterio could not stop Paul from using the brass knuckles to win his first championship in WWE. The crazy part? This championship reign is absolutely earned from Paul and will create great press for the company. After the match, Paul thanked Mysterio for letting him face a legend while Mysterio scolded Paul for cheating- great babyface/heel work from the duo.
Final Grade: 7/10 Good
Iyo Sky vs. Bianca Belair (Women’s Championship)
This was a single’s rematch many were waiting for, but it didn’t quite live up to the first match between the two. Still, they had pretty solid chemistry in-ring and worked the crowd up. The biggest moment of this match was Kairi Sane returning to WWE to help Iyo Sky defeat Bianca Belair. However, this shock moment gave us more questions than answers- what does this mean for Bayley, Iyo Sky, and Damage CTRL? Will Bianca Belair get a fair rematch? We’ll have to watch more to find out.
Final Grade: 6/10 Above Average
Damian Priest vs. Cody Rhodes
Look, WWE’s biggest challenge is keeping Cody Rhodes engaged for the year while we all know his rematch with Roman Reigns is looming. That’s exactly what this felt like, as we all knew Rhodes has to win to keep his momentum. It’s a shame for Damian Priest, who could have used this big win with a functional L earlier in the night for Sami Zayn stopping his cash-in. At this point, it doesn’t feel like Priest is at all viable to cash in and be a main eventer, which is a failure on WWE creative.
Final Grade: 4/10 Below Average
Roman Reigns vs. LA Knight (Undisputed WWE Universal Championship)
These two guys worked up the crowd and earned this main event. Everyone in the Saudi Arabia crowd knew to chant along with LA Knight (yeah). Knight stormed Roman Reigns and got the better of him to start this match, while commentary pointed out it looked like Knight was in control. It was actually a rookie move from the first time challenger. At this point, Reigns’s stamina stat has to be maxed out, as he always finds a way to dig deep in come back in these matches while Knight burned all his energy early. In the end, as predictable as it was, Reigns still needed help from the Bloodline to put away Knight and continue his reign. While I think Reigns shouldn’t need that level of protection to beat Knight, this was through and through a fun and novel matchup.
Final Grade: 6/10 Above Average
Rob's Final Thoughts
The Saudi Arabia crowd wasn’t as rowdy as in past events and certainly nothing compared to the crowds we saw earlier this year in Puerto Rico and the UK. Politically, it’s hard to look past Crown Jewel as a large-scale advertisement for the country, though WWE has put on some pretty serious shows here. This one featured big, above-average matches, but isn’t that exactly what a PLE is supposed to do? The only truly good match of the night for me was Logan Paul vs. Rey Mysterio, while everything else felt like a good but predictable match or big moment without big wrestling. For that reason, Crown Jewel is worth a watch, but I could hardly call it a must-watch show.
Final Grade: 5/10 Average.
Reverse Hipster's Final Grade Crown Jewel 2023 80.6/100 B
Crown Jewel 2023 barely squeaks by. It had some boring, average matches and some solid ones. Overall, it's hard to say whether WWE phoned it in or tried their best to put on a big show. After watching this, I'm still unsure how big or small a priority this show is to WWE. The result ended somewhere in the middle.