Xavier Woods for King of the Ring, Queen's Crown Struggles, More WWE Raw Fallout
The October 11 edition of WWE Raw kicked off the King of the Ring and Queen's Crown tournaments as well as further setting the stage for a monumental show at Crown Jewel.
Xavier Woods called his shot in December 2020 when he demanded a King of the Ring tournament on an episode of The Bump (h/t Bodyslam.net). He looks to be getting what he wanted, after winning his first-round match against Ricochet. He moves on to face Jinder Mahal, who defeated his New Day teammate, Kofi Kingston, with serious help.
However, the Queen's Crown continues to embarrass the talent involved due to poor booking. No match has lasted even three minutes, even when contests such as Doudrop vs. Natalya are meant to be competitive. Shayna Baszler is the front-runner, but will any of it matter?
Mustafa Ali and Mansoor seemed to be finding their rhythm together these last few weeks, but now they are on the outs. Ali attacked his tag team partner and set a challenge for Crown Jewel.
Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks continued their bid to capture gold, fighting Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair. The action broke down on Raw with The Man standing tall, but that may not last.
This show did not live up to recent quality thanks to short matches and sloppy execution. However, the talent continue to make the red brand interesting.
Xavier Woods Must Win King of the Ring...but He Won't
No one wanted the King of the Ring tourmament more than Xavier Woods. Of course, he wanted the original concept: the one-night tourmament where stamina is key. Instead, we got the slow-building eight-man bracket WWE has used more recently.
Still, it is a chance for Woods to break out of the shadow of his more successful New Day brothers. Kofi Kingston and Big E are now multiple-time singles champions who have both held the WWE Championship.
That is a tough legacy to live up to, but Woods can pull it off. He had the best match of the night by a wide margin with Ricochet, and he has earned his chance to go to Crown Jewel over his next opponent, Jinder Mahal.
It would have been so much better if he had faced Kingston in the next round, a match that would have put the two men at odds without hurting New Day's dynamic in the long run. It could have been a true star-making moment for Woods.
Instead, he must go through The Maharaja before getting to the finals. While he can do that, it's unlikely he will be able to defeat Finn Balor, the likely winner of the SmackDown bracket.
But Woods needs it more. He has earned it through hard work, dedication and a selfless attitude. It is a shame that this could be the one true moment of his own and it could pass by him.
WWE Must Respect Women's Division for Queen's Crown to Matter
WWE has a problem on its hands. While many wrestlers are being disrespected with the current match time requirements for everyone bar the elite names, the women's division will feel the most ignored.
Over four matches to date, the Queen's Crown has barely reached eight minutes of total in-ring time. In comparison, the King of the Ring tournament has pushed past 37 minutes, which means the men have gotten over four times as much opportunity to work in an equivalent situation.
It is disappointing, especially for talented wrestlers such as Natalya, Liv Morgan and Toni Storm who have proved they can work long matches, going out in less than three minutes each.
Shayna Baszler and Doudrop will have a chance to do something with a little more time in their semifinal, while Carmella vs. Zelina Vega is a fascinating matchup that could give WWE a different style for a women's match.
But it feels like neither contest is going to get a chance to stand out. WWE has booked every woman not at the pinnacle of the division like low-tier talent. The women still need the same chance as the men. It's not just about Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair.
WWE can move the needle with this tournament if the competitors are allowed to end strong. Perhaps Baszler can finally reach her potential, or Doudrop might be able to take that next step to challenging the elite.
It's all down to the company's respect.
Mustafa Ali and Mansoor Breakup Is WWE's Latest Tag Failure
Few angles felt as natural as Mustafa Ali trying to recruit Mansoor. It was a fascinating backstage angle that set up a tag team that was more than just an odd-couple pairing.
It gave WWE a chance to bring Ali back into the spotlight and raise Mansoor's profile. Instead, the team largely lost throughout the process, and they have broken up just in time for the latter to win at the one show where he is invincible.
If the purpose was to put a rocket on Mansoor's back, it would make sense, but WWE will not push him individually. Nothing will come of any of this beyond taking another tag team out of a division desperately short on talent.
With every action in this draft, WWE has proved how little those behind the scenes care about tag team wrestling. It's embarrassing to watch.
Ali is so much better than what he has become in WWE, and Mansoor deserves a legitimate chance rather than an angle that will fizzle out the moment WWE leaves Saudi Arabia.
The tag team division needed the talent of Ali and Mansoor for depth and storytelling potential.
WWE Has Interesting Outcomes with Becky Lynch vs. Bianca Belair vs. Sasha Banks
Who will win at Crown Jewel on Oct. 21? Many matches have interesting possibilities, but none are quite like Becky Lynch vs. Bianca Belair vs. Sasha Banks.
The easy answer would be The Boss. She is the only SmackDown name in the match and is returning from injury with star power at her back. However, WWE won't want to put both women's titles on the same show for long.
The Man could retain, leading to her and Charlotte Flair working both brands for a while. If WWE continues to disrespect most of the women's division, the biggest names in the division will be desperately needed in that role.
The wild card is Belair. The EST of WWE has proved time and again how special she is. Her popularity has only grown, although her title reign ended abruptly. It would be interesting to have her take the gold back, adding more wrinkles to her rivalry with Lynch.
It's tough to say for sure. Survivor Series is around the corner, and it would be awkward for a champion vs. champion clash where the titleholders do not represent their own brand. Something will need to be done.
The worst thing WWE could do is swap the titles as it did with The New Day and The Street Profits last year. Instead, let it all play out. Put the women at odds until only two among the best are left standing for their respective brands.