WWE Crown Jewel 2021 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights
WWE returned to the world of international shows this week with its first trip back to Saudi Arabia since February last year with Thursday's Crown Jewel pay-per-view.
With 10 matches in total, WWE made this card as large as one of the so-called big four PPVs such as WrestleMania or SummerSlam. Some of the matchups management put together made it feel almost as important as one of those shows, too.
Three of WWE's top four singles titles were up for grabs. Big E defended the WWE title against Drew McIntyre, Roman Reigns put the Universal Championship on the line against Brock Lesnar, and Becky Lynch battled Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks in a Triple Threat for the SmackDown women's belt.
We also saw the finals for the King of the Ring and Queen's Crown tournaments that have played out in recent weeks in addition to Edge vs. Seth Rollins inside Hell in a Cell.
Let's take a look at everything that happened on Thursday's show.
The Usos vs. Hurt Business
The Kickoff featured a tag team match between Jimmy and Jey Usos and the recently reunited duo of Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin.
Jey and Alexander started with Uce taking the former cruiserweight champion down with a running shoulder. He followed up with a back suplex for a two-count.
Benjamin tagged in and hit a flurry of strikes to take control. They kept Jey isolated for a long time with quick tags and double-team moves. They focused on his left arm quite a bit.
Jimmy finally got the hot tag and went to work against Alexander. After a short burst of offense, Benjamin and Alexander got the upper hand again. It took a little interference from Jey to keep the match alive.
The Usos quickly made a comeback and Jey scored the win with an Uso Splash to Alexander.
Both teams may have come into this match as heels but with the way the crowd was reacting, The Usos became the babyfaces by default. They wisely played into those reactions during the match.
As you would expect with two teams with this much talent, all four men put on a fun performance. The crowd was loud, the strikes were stiff and the double-team moves were high impact.
It's too bad these teams are on different brands because this is a feud that could carry the tag team division for a few months.
Edge vs. Seth Rollins
WWE got the main show going by having Edge and Seth Rollins fight inside Hell in a Cell. It took several minutes to lower the cage and play the video package before the entrances happened, though.
As soon as the bell rang, Edge forced Rollins to the corner and started unloading on him. The Visionary hit a boot to the face and unleashed his own flurry of punches, but the veteran popped him up and dropped him on the top rope to get back in control.
Rollins hit a springboard knee but when he went for a suicide dive, The Rated-R Superstar sent him into the side of the cell like a missile. He then hit an Edgecution for a two-count before grabbing some chairs from under the ring. He snapped off one of the supports and tried to use it on his rival.
The Messiah tried to take out his opponent's eye with the piece of metal but settled for a sling blade to get a near-fall. Edge sent Rollins into the cell with a brutal baseball slide dropkick, but his opponent grabbed a chair and hit the veteran several times.
As Edge tried to lock his rival in a hold, Rollins hit him in the eye with the piece of chair they broke earlier.
Edge shoved Rollins off the top rope and he crashed through a table after hitting the side of the cell. Edge brought the steel steps in the ring and hit the Edge-o-Matic on top of them. The Rated-R Superstar hit him with a ladder from the middle rope but couldn't get the pin.
The Messiah hit a superkick and a Pedigree for another near-fall. Edge hit a buckle bomb followed by a Spear for the closest two-count of the match. He grabbed a ladder and rammed it into Rollins' face.
The Architect set up a table before he and Edge ended up on top of the ladder. Rollins hit a sunset flip powerbomb to put Edge through the table, but he still couldn't keep him down for three. He tied a chain around his foot to hit a superkick before setting up for a Super Stomp into a chair.
Edge countered that and hit Rollins below the belt with the chair. The Ultimate Opportunist grabbed the chain and a wrench to lock in the crossface, but he released the hold before Rollins could tap. Edge put his opponent on top of the chair and hit his own Stomp for the win.
Why does Rollins have to keep targeting the eyes of his opponents? It's almost as unnerving as when Randy Orton kept trying to rip Jeff Hardy's ear off.
Other than that, this was a solid HIAC match. Both men have plenty of experience with this stipulation, so they know how to pace themselves and use the structure to their advantage without overusing it.
Some of the bumps Rollins took in this match were incredible and probably very dangerous. His suicide dive and the fall through the table were major highlights. Edge being powerbombed through a table was another big moment that looked great.
Even if you skipped Crown Jewel, it's worth taking the time to check this one out. Both men put on an awesome performance.
Mustafa Ali vs. Mansoor
For the first time ever, two Muslim Superstars worked a singles match at a WWE PPV when Mustafa Ali took on Mansoor in front of the latter's hometown crowd.
The crowd clearly had Mansoor's back and cheered him as he locked up with his opponent. He took his former partner down in a headlock before Ali countered with a wristlock.
Mansoor hit a quick sequence of moves that included a standing moonsault and a dropkick that sent Ali out of the ring to regroup. Mansoor hit some nice chest chops before Ali took another breather. The local hero hit a dropkick through the ropes, but Ali tripped him on the apron right after it.
He spiked Mansoor with a Tornado DDT from the middle rope for a two-count. The young Superstar caught a kick from Ali and started building a head of steam. Ali almost hit the 450 but Mansoor moved and sent him into the corner with a belly-to-belly suplex. He hit a beautiful moonsault, but Ali countered the pin into a submission.
Mansoor avoided another 450 and hit a slingshot neckbreaker for the win. Ali attacked him after the match was over, but he was interrupted by a masked man in a martial arts uniform. It proved to be Tareg Hamedi, an Olympic silver medalist in karate from Saudi Arabia. He kicked Ali in the head and helped Mansoor to his feet.
This was a good match with a logical buildup to the action. They started off with some basics, brought out their fancy tricks and eventually used several potential finishers before one worked.
Ali is one of those guys who can have a great match with anybody, so he was a perfect opponent for the biggest match of Mansoor's career up to this point. He made his former partner look good.
With the right booking and some real chances to show off, either of these guys would be a great addition to the midcard title scene.
The cameo at the end of the match was a nice moment for the live crowd.
RK-Bro vs. AJ Styles and Omos (Raw Tag Titles)
The Raw tag team title match was up next, with Riddle and Randy Orton defending the championships against Omos and AJ Styles.
The Phenomenal One and Riddle opened the contest. Styles got the upper hand at first, but The Original Bro quickly turned things around with some kicks to the chest. He brought in Orton to hit a double-team. He almost hit the RKO, but he had to settle for a kick to the gut when Styles avoided it.
Omos and Riddle tagged in and The Bro ran right into the big man as though he were a brick wall. He tagged out to The Viper, and Omos invited him in to take his best shot. He took him down before tagging Styles in to keep up the pressure.
The crowd chanted "Randy" as he tried and failed to make a comeback. The Bro came in and beat Styles down with some of his signature moves, including the Broton.
The Legend Killer tagged back in and countered the Phenomenal Forearm with an RKO out of nowhere. Riddle tagged in and hit the Floating Bro for the win.
This match had some great moments, but there were a couple of times when it felt like they were holding back. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what it is, but they were stuck in third gear until the final moments.
Orton's signature RKO out of nowhere will never get old. Styles is so good at everything, so he made it look great when he got caught.
While this was a fine addition to the card, let's hope both teams move on. This feud has been going on long enough.
Doudrop vs. Zelina Vega (Queen's Crown)
The first-ever Queen's Crown tournament came to an end with Doudrop vs. Zelina Vega.
Vega tried to intimidate Doudrop, but she ended up being shoved to the mat. She kicked the Scot a few times with almost no effect. She rolled out of the ring and hung Doudrop up to take control.
Doudrop caught her flying off the top rope and hit her with a clubbing blow. A body slam and an elbow drop forced Vega to retreat to the corner. She tripped her rival when she tried to get on the middle turnbuckle and hit a Tornado DDT for a near-fall.
The former protege of Eva Marie broke a submission and leveled Vega with a clothesline. She scored a two-count with a sidewalk slam, but Vega recovered and hit a Code Red for the win to become the first Queen of WWE.
When you see Vega hit moves like a Tornado DDT with perfect precision, it makes you wonder why it took WWE so long to give her any kind of a push. She is way too talented to be a backup player in this division.
Doudrop showed some signs of her aggression here, but WWE is still holding her back for some strange reason. She should be dominating smaller opponents, not having competitive matches.
This was a solid match that ended up being nearly twice as long as the next-longest match from this tournament. All in all, not a bad showing, but it could have been much better given the talent involved.
Goldberg vs. Bobby Lashley
Bobby Lashley was out first for his No Holds Barred match against Goldberg. The crowd was definitely rooting for the veteran in this one, though.
The All Mighty wrapped a chain around his fist and used it to get an early advantage over his opponent as they brawled. Goldberg was busted open almost immediately on the top of his head.
Lashley grabbed a chair and hit Goldberg a few times, but the former WCW champion was quick to get back to his feet. The All Mighty brought a table into the ring but when he saw Goldberg starting to stir, he took a moment to beat him back down.
He stood the table up against the corner before taking out his opponent with a chop block. He tried to spear Goldberg through the table but ended up being the one who crashed through it.
The crowd chanted for Goldberg as he lined up and hit his own Spear. He called for the Jackhammer and hit it, but he didn't go for the cover. They went outside the ring where Goldberg speared Lashley through the barricade.
He continued to punish The All Mighty all around the ring until Alexander and Benjamin came out to help, but Goldberg easily took both of them out. Both men had kendo sticks, but Goldberg won the exchange.
He then speared Lashley off the stage through some tables and made the cover for the win.
Honestly, this was one of the best PPV matches Goldberg has had with WWE, but it was still just a series of spots that escalated in brutality. That's not a bad thing, but the match was nothing special.
A few spots stood out like Lashley putting himself through a table and Goldberg spearing him off the stage, but anybody hoping for any mat wrestling was left wanting.
Some might grade this match higher because the fans were so into it, but this crowd has been hot for everything, so that's not a good metric to go by. Actually, a B- might be generous, too.
Finn Balor vs. Xavier Woods (King of the Ring)
The finals of the King of the Ring tournament took place between Finn Balor and Xavier Woods. They bumped fists before locking up to show some sportsmanship.
The pair traded some basic holds to start. They upped the aggression but kept it technical as they went back and forth with counters and reversals. It took a few minutes of grappling before The Prince hit the first strike with a chop to the chest.
Woods hit a superkick for a close two-count. They traded strikes until both men went down after Balor hit an overhead kick to his opponent's head. Woods rolled him up for a close two-count.
The former NXT champion climbed to the top rope and Woods soon joined him. The tag team specialist hit a textbook superplex for another near-fall.
Woods avoided the Coup de Grace and hit his trademark flying elbow drop for the win. He is our new King.
These guys went out there and had a fun match that lasted about 10 minutes. If they had five more, they would have had one of the best matches of the night.
Seeing Woods win this tournament was such a feel-good moment. It was not out of the realm of possibility for WWE to have Balor win right after losing to Roman Reigns at Extreme Rules, so the outcome was never a certainty.
This is the first time the KOTR tournament has felt important in years. All hail King Woods.
Big E vs. Drew McIntyre (WWE Championship)
Drew McIntyre and his favorite sword made their way to the ring to challenge Big E for the WWE Championship.
The two powerhouses struggled for control before making a clean break. They collided in the middle of the ring and neither man would go down.
E took the upper hand and hit some clubbing blows to the chest. McIntyre grabbed him and hit a belly-to-belly on the floor. He grounded the former New Day man in a headlock before dropping him with a huge jumping spinebuster for a two-count.
The champ started to make a comeback and hit a trio of belly-to-belly suplexes. McIntyre delivered his own suplexes in response. Big E hit a fourth belly-to-belly followed by a running splash for a two-count.
The Scottish Warrior hit a Michinoku Driver for another near-fall. He hit the Future Shock DDT but still couldn't get the pin. Big E applied a stretch muffler submission before delivering the Big Ending for a close two-count.
McIntyre avoided another Big Ending and hit a bulldog from the top rope for a near-fall. The WWE champion ducked a Claymore Kick, but he couldn't avoid the second. Luckily, he did manage to kick out.
And Big E muscled the Scot up for one more Big Ending to get the win.
This match had a big-fight feel, and both men made sure to live up to those expectations.
Pairing up two powerhouses like Big E and McIntyre is never going to produce a technical clinic, but these are not normal powerhouses. They have speed and agility that allowed them to put on an exciting performance.
Big E is now one of the few people to kick out of the Claymore and he got to celebrate his win with King Woods. The New Day had a great day in Saudi Arabia.
Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks vs. Bianca Belair (SmackDown Women's Title)
Bianca Belair, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch made their way out for this Triple Threat match for the SmackDown women's title.
The EST of WWE was able to take control after taking down both women. She lifted Banks above her head with one arm and dropped her to the mat. Lynch pulled her out of the ring so she could go after Banks, but The Boss saw her coming.
The Man collided with Belair on the apron before Banks hit her with a running meteora for a two-count. Lynch sent The Boss into The EST with a monkey flip, so Banks turned it into a hurricanrana to send Belair back into Lynch.
All three women went down after The Man hit a missile dropkick. She tried to cover both women, but they kicked out at two.
The champ hit a nice combo into a bulldog for another two-count. She tried to cover both women at once but still couldn't get the pin. The Boss and The EST caught Lynch coming off the top rope and threw her out of the ring together.
Belair bulldozed over Banks with a shoulder tackle, but The Boss recovered and hit the Three Amigas in tribute to Eddie Guerrero's Three Amigos.
Belair started to build some momentum and showed off her impressive strength with a few spots that involved all three women. Banks and Lynch both had The EST locked in their signature submission at the same time but were forced to break the hold.
The Boss hit a backstabber into the Bank Statement. Belair broke it up with a moonsault to both competitors. They kept trading control between all three women without any of them being able to get the pin. Eventually, The Man put both women in the Disarm-Her at the same time.
They powered out of the hold but Lynch was able to steal the win with a roll-up.
Belair may have been the babyface, but you wouldn't know it by the reaction she got from the crowd. The Saudi fans were firmly in Lynch's corner.
All three women went hard and put together a fantastic title bout. Everyone had several standout moments, but The EST may have looked the best with some of her power moves.
The Boss and The Man have always had great chemistry, and Belair fit in with them perfectly. This was a memorable performance by three women who gave everything they had to make it special.
Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar (Universal Championship)
Lesnar and Reigns took their time getting to the ring for the main event of the evening, and Paul Heyman was there to support his Tribal Chief.
After trading a few shots, Lesnar hit the first suplex of the match. He tried for a second, but Reigns had a death grip in the top rope. The Beast Incarnate stomped him down in the corner.
The Tribal Chief was able to knock Lesnar off the apron with a Superman Punch before he hit a huge dive over the top rope to take him down again. He drilled The Beast with a Spear but only got a two-count.
The former MMA star jumped over Reigns during another Spear attempt, and the champion collided with the middle turnbuckle. He followed up with a few more German suplexes.
Reigns countered the F-5 with a Guillotine and began to choke Lesnar out. The Beast broke free and hit the F-5, but the ref was taken out in the process. He easily had the pin on Reigns, but nobody was there to make the count.
Reigns hit a Spear out of nowhere and both men went down. The Usos came down and hit a double superkick before Reigns nailed Lesnar with the title belt. Another ref ran to the ring and made the count for the pin.
Heyman looked stunned and left with The Bloodline as they made a speedy exit.
This was a pretty entertaining match, but you almost have to judge bouts involving Lesnar in a different way because they will never be standard wrestling matches.
There wasn't much technical precision. This was all about beating each other down as much as possible until one man was able to get the win. Unfortunately for The Beast, Reigns had The Usos to give him a hand.
Judging from the look on Lesnar's face, this is not the end of this feud. There is a good chance he wins the men's Royal Rumble match and faces The Tribal Chief again at WrestleMania 38 next year.
As a whole, Crown Jewel was a stellar show. It had some incredible performances and just about every outcome was the right way to go. The Superstars of WWE always deliver when they are called upon and this PPV was no different.
Edge vs. Rollins was the Match of the Night, but Big E vs. McIntyre and the women's Triple Threat gave it a run for its money.