Here we go, highly anticipated by all the WWE Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia. I won’t waste any time, as I’m sure you have already opened and drank your entire bottle of hateraid. Let’s Begin!
Well you know something Hulkamaniacs, Hulk Hogan being a part of WWE is all GOOD! I loved seeing the Red and Yellow back and the fans greeted him correctly! Not the first time we got fireworks for Hogan, and from what I saw, this will not be the last. Welcome Back Hulk Hogan!
Equally important in this section is Renee Young, sitting ringside and providing commentary in a very much overlooked aspect of this show that represents one small bit of change that WWE was able to accomplish in its second trip to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They accomplished something with this!
- United States Championship – Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs. Rusev: I notoriously hate the Pre-Show Matches, thinking they are a sad waste of talent. Well this time the talent outweighed the situation. This was a hot match with two of the very best WWE has to offer. They delivered on all levels and showed their worth and waste. I want a lot more Rusev and Nakamura, in fact as much as the WWE can give us. This was back and forth highlighting the skill set of both. It looked like Rusev had it closed up and was leaving with the belt, but then low blow, and a knee to the face, Nakamura Retains the US Title.
- World Cup Round 1 – Rey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton: With talent at this level, I mean straight legends, I have extremely high expectations for this match. I really enjoyed the vignettes prior to the matches, it was different and very old school. Nice touch. The Randy Orton dropkick was textbook, and I’m happy the announce team sold it correctly! The 619 into the DDT off the 2nd rope looked great. Classic heel vs Babyface, Rey Mysterio and Orton did a great job in their roles and looked comfortable in their elements. Good Match, Rey Mysterio Wins! However Orton beat the hell out of Rey Mysterio post-match. I hope Randy Orton stays this crazy, it suits him well.
- World Cup Round 1 – Jeff Hardy vs. The Miz: Okay, I don’t dislike Wrestler Face paint, and I am certainly Pro Hardy Boyz, but do I hate Jeff Hardy’s face paint. Next point, The Miz doesn’t get enough love, hence why I picked him to win the whole thing. His achievements are outstanding. Another classic, textbook old school match. Like the previous match, everything was tight, and clear. The guys could do this type of match in their sleep. I’m not saying that the crowd was great, but they definitely reacted when things got interesting, especially the way Jeff Hardy does things. They are veterans. Nothing that I found standout but still Good work. Miz reverses the Twist of Fate with a Skull Crushing Finale for the victory and moves on to face Rey Mysterio in Round 2 of the World Cup Tournament.
- World Cup Round 1 – Kurt Angle vs. Dolph Ziggler: What we have here is a True Wrestling Match, reflecting both of the competitor’s decorated mat wrestling backgrounds. Pittsburgh vs Cleveland, both guys sharp, and comfortable playing off each other’s move. This match was very physical, and gave us a lot of “Wrestling” in its purest form. Even something as simple as a sleeper spot looks good and was done well. Very slow and careful pace but still a Good Match! Dolph Zigger hit the Zig Zag for the win to face Seth Rollins in the Semi-Finals.
- WWE Championship – AJ Styles (c) vs. Samoa Joe: This felt like a real Championship level match. The Crowd was excited, the posture and presence of both Joe and AJ we felt. Working a body part, this was also a textbook match. However at a different level than the others. The match had a great flow, and worked well. Very physical and active. Samoa Joe’s suicide dive was sick! It really looked stiff and made impact. It finally was like the show opened up! The submissions and counters were great, and as a whole, this was a Good title match. AJ Styles retains the Title! I cannot wait to see what is next, but I bet it will be “Awesome.”
- DX vs. The Brothers of Destruction: I love DX’s energy however HBK was very awkward and almost comical especially about his hair or lack of it. Both Kane and the Undertaker’s Entrance was just mesmerizing. It is always a treat to see the Undertaker and the pageantry that comes with it. The Legend, the Phenom coming through the darkness to retrieve yet another soul. It will never get old to me even if The Undertaker does. Legends, with epic stories, accomplishments and history repping WWE to the fullest. The crowd was beside themselves cheering back and forth as both groups are loved by the masses. We got all we were looking for, but then things got Ugly. Michael collapsed, although I’m not sure why, then a very rare botch with HHH and the Undertaker made for some real awkwardness. The crowd didn’t even blink and stayed into it for the most part. I don’t feel like it ever recovered. It could be the age or something bigger but the air was let out and it just kind of went through the motions. Then HBK gave himself a facelift landing directly on his face from a moonsault to the outside that went wrong. Sweet Chin Music and a Pedigree to Kane, DX Wins!
- World Cup Round 1 – Seth Rollins vs. Bobby Lashley w/ Lio Rush: I cannot stand listening to Lio Rush, but I guess that is the point. Luckily he was toned down a bit today. Lio Rush does wrestle well though from what I have seen. Seth Rollins is consistent and although injuries have occurred to both him and his opponents, he has had great matches. Bobby Lashley is a Monster! He might not be perfect, but a great athlete and Professional Wrestler. The trend of the night so far continued. However this one was a little too plain for me. Bad is a little harsh for the work put in but it certainly wasn’t good. Rollins wins with the Curb Stomp. Onto the Semi-Finals against the Winner of Angle vs. Ziggler. (R1 Winner: Ziggler)
- World Cup Semifinal – Rey Mysterio vs. The Miz: I will spare you again from hearing that this was another safe play match, but very physical as well. Another somewhat slow paced match. They played off of Rey Mysterio’s pain from getting beaten by Randy Orton earlier in the night. There were a few good moments in the match but overall I wasn’t pulled in. Kind of bad because the two involved are tremendous at what they do. Miz wins off of a double knee counter to a weak frog splash. Miz moves on to the Finals. *Rey Mysterio is amazing, and I am very happy as a fan to have him back home in the WWE, I cannot wait for his next move.
- World Cup Semifinal – Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler: Continuing their rivalry, these two guys know each other very well. This match was as safe as a car seat. I wonder if the booking team told them to tone it down a bit, play the injuries, and go slower. The action was okay, just again, very plain. No surprises, nothing that we haven’t seen a million times. Luckily the fans have those plush chairs. Then some high-spots, Superplex into a Falcon Arrow broken up into a Zig Zag. Ziggler wins in true Heel fashion with outside interference by Drew McIntyre. The Show Off heads to the Final’s vs The Miz.
- SmackDown Tag Team Championship – The Bar (c) vs. New Day: New Day’s Entrance took forever. Corey Graves was on point with his pure hate of the Magic Carpet ride. When The Bar and Big Show come down the aisle it is like the Power Rangers becoming Megazord. I would say like most of the matches, the talent was meticulously paired together, and New Day and The Bar have worked each other many times, and have had great, entertaining matches. The crowd seemed to enjoy the match. The Bar’s Back Body Drop into a jackhammer was fantastic. I hope WWE has some big plans for Big E, he brings a great energy and power to the ring. The Double Stomp to the Back spot with New Day was just weird. But then even worse, The Knock Out Punch by the Big Show was weak. Cheap ending, The Bar holds on to their Gold.
- Universal Championship – Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman: Beast vs Monster for the most coveted prize in the industry. F5, then F5, then F5. What else can you do? This was crap, and the wrong guy is Champion again. We see John Cena who is invisible more than we see Brock Lesnar. Gross, ugly, and a shame.
- World Cup Finals – The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler/Shane McMahon vs. Dolph Zigger: Heel vs. Heel, and a ton of history, I hoped it would be Good! Then Pop! Miz is out due to injury and cannot compete. So, in comes Shame O’ Mac, The Prince of WWE! What? Drew McIntyre gone, Baron Corbin gone, now we have a match, or so I thought, this was just nuts, made no sense and was ugly. Shane McMahon wins the Best in the World Cup 2018, I guess. This is going to be interesting in the coming weeks.
This show was a mixed bag. Overall, I would say Crown Jewel wasn’t as Good as it needed to be. Luckily the WWE fans are loyal even when they “hate” the product they watched. I enjoy the show for what it is, but this historic night, would be better left forgotten. Please share and comment, see you on the next one!
Mitchell’s Wednesday Night War Review! The End!
The Wednesday Night War… is DONE!
Thank you, Wednesday Night War! It was fun while it lasted!
With NXT moving to Tuesdays, the wrestling war on Wednesday nights is no more! But let’s see where both sides stand now that the dust settles!
Let’s recap Year Two’s first phase.
Year Two, Phase One Final Scores: NXT – 9.13; AEW – 9.16
The margin was close as ever, but AEW inched out the win to continue their dominance from Year One! Don’t worry, NXT went past 12/9/20, it’s just that they and AEW tied those last three weeks. And you’ll notice that I left 12/30/20, the last Wednesday of the year, off because of the circumstances. Jon Huber, aka Brodie Lee aka Luke Harper, past away just days before that night, and AEW changed their plans to give us a “Celebration of Life” tribute episode. It did not feel right trying to give that show a score, because it wasn’t supposed to be about AEW but about Jon Huber. And to be fair to AEW’s score, I left off NXT’s episode for that night, even though NXT did have great action on their Year-End Award episode.
Now, for Year Two’s Phase Two, the WNW FINALE!
Year Two, Phase Two Final Scores: NXT – 9.44; AEW – 9.50
Year Two, Overall: NXT – 9.31; AEW – 9.36
Much stronger numbers from both sides this time, but these two companies started hard and kept going hard from New Year’s Evil VS New Year’s Smash all the way to TakeOver: Stand & Deliver and… Well, the AEW Dynamite put up against it. Just looking at it, that string in February for AEW made all the difference. They were just on fire right there, building towards AEW Revolution 2021, which itself was an awesome PPV (even with the pyro mishap at the end).
The margins were still close, but bigger than last phase’s, and even with TakeOver: Stand & Deliver Night One bringing NXT up to a high level, it was not enough! AEW wins again! They win two phases to zero, and are therefore the overall winner of the Wednesday Night War!
The Wednesday Night War may not have been as epic as the Monday Night War, or as long, but it was a lot of fun. NXT and AEW were giving us great wrestling every week, not just in-ring action but the promos and segments. The wrestlers on these shows are now stars because they got to be on cable network television, and literally kept me up late at night because I could not let either show wait until Thursday morning. But now, #NXTuesday is going to be how it is going forward, and we can all argue one way or another why the move happened but it doesn’t really matter, I’m still going to be watching both anyway.
Cook’s WrestleMania 37 Night One Gambling Picks
Who’s trying make money on guessing the predetermined scripts? If that’s you, Cook gots all the lines you need. This isn’t Breaking Bad; we only do betting lines!
This is one of those columns that needs no real intro or explanation. Its WrestleMania! What else do you need me to tell you? Today we’re talking Night One, tomorrow it’ll be Night Two. Easy peezy lemon breezy.
I know that some of you prefer a 12 hour WrestleMania event, but to me, two nights is definitely the way to go. Think of it this way: instead of one night to watch the biggest show of the year, you get two. What’s the downside?
Also, you can get two days to make money, if you’re into the kind of thing we’re talking about here. Though, I am contractually obligated to mention that my look at these matchups, with odds provided by BetOnline, is for entertainment purposes only.
Tag Team Turmoil
Lana & Naomi vs. Dana Brooke & Mandy Rose vs. The Riott Squad vs. Natalya & Tamina
— Nattie (@NatbyNature) April 7, 2021
We’ve got a match setting up a Night 2 match here, as Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler will face the winners for the Women’s Tag Team Championship. They’ve had some amount of issues with each team, so we can’t really use that as an indicator of who will win. We also can’t base it off of who will have the best match with Nia & Shayna, as that seems like a push.
We also don’t have odds on this match as I write this. If some do get posted, my guess would be that Natalya & Tamina will have long odds and could be a good pick as a team WWE might want to give a little reward for their service over the years.
Bad Bunny & Damian Priest (-950) vs. The Miz & John Morrison (+500)
— WWE (@WWE) April 6, 2021
We all know how this one is going, right? Bunny & Priest are the easiest pick on this two day extravaganza. I’m sure an outside celebrity lost a WrestleMania match at some point, but one isn’t immediately coming to mind. I assume some are still complaining about Bad Bunny getting a WM match, I choose to be good with it since it gets Damian Priest a match too. Hopefully this all works out well for him.
Braun Strowman (-500) vs. Shane McMahon (+300)
— Braun Strowman (@BraunStrowman) April 6, 2021
Braun is the natural pick here for obvious reasons (he’s actually a wrestler), but one can easily make an argument for Shane. The usage of a steel cage rarely keeps interested outside parties out of a match, and surely Shane will have a few allies looking to make an impact on WrestleMania. We’ll see Elias & Jaxson Ryker, and we’ll likely see somebody else. Any big stiffs in the Performance Center not otherwise occupied could be an option for Shane here.
The thing about gambling picks: we’re not always going to pick what we think will happen. I think Braun will destroy whoever gets put in his path here. But the object of this game is to make some money, and I think Shane McMahon at +300 is a good bet. Especially since I don’t think this feud will be ending at WrestleMania. Still some more heat to get on this issue.
Cesaro (-300) vs. Seth Rollins (+200)
— WWE on FOX (@WWEonFOX) April 7, 2021
Speaking of feuds that I think will extend beyond WrestleMania and will likely have the evildoer squeaking out a victory by nefarious means. I can easily talk myself into Cesaro getting a big win here, one which will lead to declarations that he’s a made man and finally on the level he deserves to be at. I certainly wouldn’t have a problem with that.
I think it’s far more likely that Seth Rollins gets the win, and the issue between these two continues. Cesaro’s big win is coming, but not at WrestleMania.
Raw Tag Team Championship Match
The New Day (+250) vs. AJ Styles & Omos (-400)
AJ Styles vs. Xavier Woods – straight out of 2008 TNA. A reminder WWE is a TNA nostalgia company. pic.twitter.com/VNU9VULZ7N
— Garrett Kidney (@garrettkidney) April 6, 2021
I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been burnt by picking against Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston. They have a knack for overcoming all obstacles at these major events and coming out on top. Its a good idea to keep these men featured on television, as they’re positive role models for the community and I can only think of one time that one of them did something a bit embarrassing for the company.
I mean….that Jamaican accent. What were they thinking? Never mind, we got more accent stuff to talk about for Night 2, let’s move on.
It is tempting to pick AJ & Omos, as there’s an obvious story there hopefully leading to Omos’ breakout as a singles star. That can easily be drug out though, and we don’t pick against The New Day here. Their victory will be a good way to pop the crowd early in the evening.
SmackDown Women’s Championship Match
Sasha Banks (+250) vs. Bianca Belair (-400)
IMPOSSIBLE, THINGS ARE HAPPENING EVERY DAY. pic.twitter.com/7iXlEA4gAe
— Mercedes Varnado (@SashaBanksWWE) April 8, 2021
This is a huge moment for Bianca, and for the Women’s division in general, as the significance of two women of color fighting for a championship on the biggest show of the wrestling year can’t be overlooked. Its a big f’n deal, as politicians would say.
A win here would put Bianca Belair over the top as a star in this company, and I think that’s what happens here. Sasha doesn’t need the championship to retain her relevancy, and it’s not like any losses have hurt her standing with the people yet. She’ll do whatever she can on this evening to make Bianca a star.
WWE Championship Match
Bobby Lashley (+150) vs. Drew McIntyre (-200)
— WWE (@WWE) April 7, 2021
People seemed legit shook when it was mentioned on Raw that this would be the main event of Night 1. Like…that wasn’t obvious? As much as I like Sasha & Bianca & think they will have a fantastic match, the build of their match hasn’t exactly gotten me any more excited than I was the moment after the women’s Royal Rumble Match ended. Maybe y’all are more into TAG TEAM PARTNERS THAT SECRETLY HATE EACH OTHER than I am, but zero part of that whole thing seemed inspired to me. To be fair, it seemed even less inspired when Asuka & Rhea Ripley did it.
Meanwhile, this is the WWE Championship, dating back to the days of Bruno Sammartino & Buddy Rogers. Drew & Bobby’s issue has been building since the Royal Rumble, and now is the time for Drew McIntyre to get the WrestleMania coronation they wanted to give him last year. Will it work?
Well, the mystery is one of the reasons we’ll be paying attention.
Thanks for reading! Join me next time for Night Two!
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