Biggest Takeaways from WWE Crown Jewel 2021 Results
With several titles on the line, a Hell in a Cell match, the King of the Ring final and a first-ever Queen's Crown tournament, Crown Jewel 2021 had the potential to be a particularly noteworthy event.
Of course, potential means nothing without proper execution, and the shows in Saudi Arabia have had some of the worst botches and biggest blunders in recent years.
Was anything terribly amazing or amazingly terrible? What stood out from the results as the biggest talking points?
With the event concluded, let's look back on what transpired and run down some of the biggest takeaways—good or bad—from Crown Jewel 2021.
Full Match Results
- SmackDown tag team champions The Usos defeated The Hurt Business by pinfall (Kickoff match).
- Hell in a Cell match: Edge defeated Seth Rollins by pinfall.
- Mansoor defeated Mustafa Ali by pinfall.
- RK-Bro defeated AJ Styles and Omos by pinfall to retain the Raw Tag Team Championships.
- Zelina Vega defeated Doudrop by pinfall to win the Queen's Crown tournament.
- No Holds Barred match: Goldberg defeated Bobby Lashley by pinfall.
- Xavier Woods defeated Finn Balor by pinfall to become King of the Ring.
- Big E defeated Drew McIntyre by pinfall to retain the WWE Championship.
- Becky Lynch defeated Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks by pinfall to retain the SmackDown Women's Championship.
- Roman Reigns defeated Brock Lesnar by pinfall to retain the Universal Championship.
Plans Change, but This Is Ridiculous
After having a month to build to this and announcing a new show called The Build To—which shows it understands the concept of preparing in advance—WWE waited until yesterday to reveal a Kickoff match.
Then, at the start of the pre-show, it was announced Bobby Lashley vs. Goldberg had been changed from No Holds Barred to Falls Count Anywhere, while the Universal Championship match suddenly became No Disqualification.
No less than 15 minutes later, Kayla Braxton made the announcement that Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar would no longer be fighting in a No Disqualification match. Instead, it was reverted back to a regular match without any stipulation.
Did WWE purposely do these switches just to get people talking? If so, mission accomplished, but the buzz on Twitter was about how stupid and disorganized everyone must be and how disappointed people were that the gimmick was pulled, rather than positive chatter.
Or, more likely, does WWE have such horrible communication issues that nobody can effectively strategize without contradicting each other, so much so that embarrassing flubs like this are happening at the 11th hour?
The finishes for these matches should have been in the works weeks ago. That speaks to negligence or a lack of preparation, as even a last-minute change should only be one adjustment, not two.
Hell in a Cell Matches Are No Longer the Same, but They Can Still Be Great
According to Mike Johnson of PWInsider, Edge and Seth Rollins fought in the 50th Hell in a Cell match in WWE history as they settled a trilogy that started at SummerSlam.
Over the years, the HIAC contest has been watered down considerably. It was far more brutal the first few times, but a transition to the PG era and a tamer approach has seen the gimmick lose its luster.
However, if you judge Thursday's match on its own merits, it was fantastic.
Edge and Rollins sold the animosity of their feud from start to finish and incorporated as many weapons as they could without getting too dangerous, but they still managed to have some noteworthy spots.
In particular, The Visionary being pushed off a rope to smack into the cage and then tumble outside through a table, as well as a sunset flip powerbomb from a ladder, were standout moments.
Hell in a Cell isn't the anarchy it once was, but this still felt like a proper feud-ending spectacle worthy of the cage.
WWE Will Always Prioritize Spectacle
Some promotions emphasize match quality in the ring as the top priority, but for WWE and Vince McMahon, spectacle trumps all—for better or worse.
An example of this was the match between Mansoor and Mustafa Ali, which was very much an instance of having your cake and eating it.
Mansoor always gets a spotlight at these Saudi Arabia shows because he's a hometown hero, so it was no surprise he was victorious at Crown Jewel. He's talented and had a solid match with Ali.
But the bigger story was what followed. Ali attacked Mansoor out of frustration from losing, prompting Saudi Arabian karate star Tareg Hamdi, who won a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics, to come out and blast Ali with a kick.
That moment might not mean much for fans stateside, but the spectacle wasn't designed for fans in North America. This was to get media coverage and buzz in Saudi Arabia and in other parts of the world.
The bout that followed was a generic rematch between RK-Bro vs. AJ Styles and Omos for the Raw Tag Team Championships. While the match wasn't bad, it was nothing we hadn't seen before.
However, Riddle came out on a camel for his entrance. It makes one wonder if this was on the card primarily for that picture rather than anything in the ring itself.
Is the Queen's Crown Tournament Officially a Dud Yet?
The Queen's Crown tournament had the potential to be a big deal: The women's division had its equivalent of the King of the Ring and someone's career could be made with this win.
Sadly, after most of the matches were less than three minutes long, the event felt more like a joke than something prestigious.
Then, the finale came down to Zelina Vega vs. Doudrop. Vega hasn't had a serious push at all in her WWE career, despite being more than talented enough to justify it. Doudrop's still finding herself with a new character that is more on the cartoony side than when she was a more serious competitor as Piper Niven in NXT UK.
The crowd couldn't care less. The audience was silent for a match that was hard to believe, considering the size difference between the two Superstars. It culminated with Vega awkwardly crowning herself with zero pomp and circumstance.
WWE will have to do a true crowning ceremony on Raw and those will be the pictures everyone uses going forward...if this is even talked about in a few weeks.
It's great to see Vega get a win like this, but it's unfortunate to see that this is how her career highlight so far in WWE went down.
Goldberg Wins, but Did It Matter?
After Bobby Lashley retained the WWE Championship against Goldberg at SummerSlam, The All Mighty took out his opponent's son, Gage. This was the entire basis for the follow-up match as the veteran was out for revenge.
Despite WWE having words like "kill" and "murder" on the ban list, all of Goldberg's promos over the past few weeks have revolved around him saying he's going to beat The All Mighty to within an inch of his life and then finish the job. Kill you this, murder you that, so on and so forth.
In the end, Goldberg got his win back in this match, but before he even exited the stage, the commentary team was talking about how Lashley was getting up from being speared off the ramp through three tables.
Goldberg emphatically stated "Don't ever mess with my family!" Or what? You'll win a match with no stakes and your opponent, who you wanted to murder, will get up a minute later?
Dreams Come True and Good Things Are Good
With how awful and stressful everything in the world seems to be these days, a personal phrase and outlook this writer has adopted is the simplicity of "good things are good."
Nobody exudes the power of positivity more than The New Day and after KofiMania and Big E's Money in the Bank cash-in to win the WWE Championship, the next phase was Xavier Woods becoming King of the Ring.
This is a dream he's spoken about it for years and long before WWE planned to resurrect the tournament.
King Finn Balor would have been great, but this was a Woods story. Thankfully, it ended with the right finish: Woods wearing the crown, marking out over how he finally achieved his goal.
Not everyone wins the Royal Rumble to go on to capture the WWE Championship in the main event of WrestleMania, but this might be just as good in his eyes.
What could possibly be bad about seeing someone get the recognition they deserve and cross off a huge bucket-list dream like this? Let's enjoy this alongside the New Day man.
We're Getting Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar Again at WrestleMania 38
The way the Universal Championship match between Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar went down implies this is far from over, even after six years and 10 matches.
While this particular match was good, WWE ran this into the ground in the past and seems poised to stretch it out another six months where it will overstay its welcome once more.
Paul Heyman strategically put the belt between the two of them, not making a decision on who he was backing. That story has no conclusion and WWE will milk it again.
The Usos interfered after Lesnar had a rightful win denied when referee Charles Robinson was knocked out. This protects him so he can challenge again and say he deserves a rematch.
More than likely, WWE is going to mess around with Reigns against filler opponents for the next two months before the Road to WrestleMania begins, where the creative team will simply go back to the well of Reigns vs. Lesnar for their third match at The Show of Shows.
People didn't want to see it the first time. It was pointless the second time and wasted a year and a half of the title just so Reigns could beat Lesnar at SummerSlam instead. Now, we're back to this again.
Maybe in seven months, something interesting will happen with The Tribal Chief, but the next few will probably be a lot of reruns.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.