I can do this. I can do this. I can do this. I hope I can at least. These things have gone from one of the worst shows of the year to THE worst show of the year, somehow finding new lows to reach. Last year’s Crown Jewel was one of the worst things I can ever remember seeing for a wrestling show and I don’t see this one being a massive improvement. It isn’t about the wrestling content but rather about what kinds of stupid decisions they make and expect us to just accept. This could be a complete nightmare as it tends to be so let’s get to it.

Kickoff Show: Battle Royal

This is one of those ideas that has been around since house shows began because it is something that will always work. The winner gets a shot at the United States Title later in the night so how bad can this be? Above all else, it feels like a bunch of lower level guys getting a chance to get a one off title shot so it isn’t like the winner is going to mean much in the end.

Consider this a preview:

For the sake of simplicity, I’ll go with Cedric Alexander winning, as his feud with AJ Styles is a few months old now and it would make the most sense to go back in time for a match like this. It’s easy, it’s inoffensive and the match will likely wind up being pretty good. Why mess with a formula that works? I mean, very little has worked on this show in the past but at least they might have something with Alexander winning.

US Title: AJ Styles(c) vs. ???

So yeah I think you get the idea here and unless you’re reading this out of order (I’ve heard worse ideas), you know where I’m going with the pick. What matters most here is giving the fans a good match and thankfully Styles is the kind of wrestler who can do that against anyone. There is no reason to rock the boat whatsoever on this one and they would be smart to just do what they have done so many times.

And then there’s a sequel:

Therefore, just like he has every time, I’ll go with Styles to win and retain over Alexander. I’m sure the match will be fine and likely go about ten minutes, making it pretty much what they do on any given show. Alexander is someone you can easily buy as a viable challenger and his stuff will look good in a major stadium. Now all that you have to do is find a way to bring him back up after choking so many times in his big match.

Natalya vs. Lacey Evans

Just in case you needed more reinforcement in the concept of NEVER SAY NEVER. This is the kind of thing that I never believed could possibly happen and yet here we are. WWE did not announce this one until the day before the show, which sadly may have been to weaken the impact and culture shock that would come with it. It really is a big deal, though we’ll have to see if it is something that keeps going in the future.

It really is historic:

I’ll take Natalya for the win here as she is the perfectly safe pick that WWE would love to push here. I know she isn’t the most interesting wrestler in the world and that has been the case for a long time now. On the other hand though, you’re going to get a steady match and that is going to be a better idea than putting Evans out there with someone who doesn’t have enough experience to make something work on the big stage.

Mansoor vs. Cesaro

Yeah we’re doing this again. I get that Mansoor is actually decent in the ring and I’ve liked a few of his appearances in NXT. He isn’t some incredible, can’t miss prospect or really even anything close to it, but he can handle himself in the ring and is someone that can be put out there to give the Saudi Arabian fans something to cheer about, but don’t pretend that he’s anything more than that. What they’re doing here isn’t a secret so let’s just get it over with.

Hey, you exist:

Of course Mansoor wins here because it’s not like he’s around for anything else. Go with what makes sense from this show’s perspective and have Cesaro lose (AGAIN) so Mansoor can get the home country pop. I know it doesn’t mean anything because it’s on one of the Saudi Arabian shows, but they better realize that Cesaro is probably bailing from the company as soon as he can and this is just the latest reason that he’s running.

Tyson Fury vs. Braun Strowman

This would be another example of a match that is only taking place for the sake of the live crowd, because the Saudi Arabian government wants some star power for their money. Fair enough, and Fury has been a heck of a promo when he is given the chance, but this has a chance to be a serious disaster. Strowman isn’t the most graceful wrestler in the world and he hasn’t even been wrestling for that long, but now he’s supposed to be able to walk Fury through a match? In these conditions? That’s how this is supposed to work?

When worlds collide:

I’ll go with Strowman here, but I have a really bad feeling that it is going to go to Fury for the sake of the surprise. That being said, even if Strowman loses, does it matter? Last year’s match against Brock Lesnar at this same show is about as bad of a result as he could have had and now we’re just stuck waiting on him to do anything else because for some reason WWE doesn’t think that someone tripping at the goal line every time will ever hurt him. Strowman wins, but I have very little confidence in either the pick or his future.

Team Hogan vs. Team Flair

Here’s your legends match, as we are really supposed to pretend that Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair was ever a rivalry between two sides that were even close to equal. This feud has been dusted off in the WWF, WCW, Impact and now WWE again, plus on Hogan’s own tour of Australia. How we’re still doing this is beyond me, but at least this time there will be some other wrestlers there to share some of the spotlight. I mean, like 3% of it but it’s better than nothing.

They’re at it again:

Of course Team Hogan gets the nod here, as there is no reason for them not to. This is the kind of match that is designed for the legendary face to win while Flair, who has been bragging about being cleared to take a bump (because he’s nuts and no one will be sane and tell him no) gets to lose and kick his feet again, because that’s how this rivalry (and I use that term loosely) has gone for about twenty five years now. Hogan’s team wins, because that’s what he does when he faces anything associated with Flair.

Tag Team Turmoil

If there is one match that shows you how divorced from reality this series of shows really is, it’s this one. You have a rather ridiculous nine teams in one match, including both Tag Team Champions, and the prize is the title of BEST TEAM IN THE WORLD. Now one would think that would just be Revival vs. Viking Raiders, but why do that when you can do it MUCH FREAKING BIGGER???

Like this, but bigger:

Just for the sake of making my head hurt, I’ll go with New Day here, because they lost on SmackDown but since that doesn’t matter, they’ll win here and then not win the titles in their match on Friday. It makes the least sense possible from a narrative perspective so I find it to be the most likely outcome. This is probably going to get a lot more time than it needs, which tends to be the case with a lot of gauntlet style matches these days.

WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar(c) vs. Cain Velasquez

I’m not sure what to say here as I get the concept, but it isn’t something that gets me overly interested. Normally I would say that there is no chance Velasquez wins, but at the same time we’re going to be seeing a women’s match in Saudi Arabia so that line of thinking isn’t quite viable. It’s been about nine years since Velasquez mauled Lesnar for the UFC Heavyweight Title and Lesnar is out for revenge, while Velasquez is fighting for Rey Mysterio and Dominick, both of whom were injured at Lesnar’s hands.

Here’s your backstory:

I’m going to go with what makes sense here and pick Lesnar, but I have this feeling in my gut (which is almost never right) that they might give it to Velasquez. The biggest problem I see with that though is what in the world they could do with Velasquez, who has wrestled less than three career matches, after that. I’ll take Lesnar here, but a freaky ending that sets up a WrestleMania rematch wouldn’t shock me.

Universal Title: Seth Rollins(c) vs. The Fiend

And then….this. It takes a lot to actually make me annoyed about a wrestling show but their first match did the trick. For reasons that only WWE could explain to you, they felt the need to not only put their hottest act in the Cell, but have him lose in the least intimidating way possible. It was booed out of the building and WWE hasn’t been the same since that took place. Now it’s the rematch and the question is how can they mess this up again?

If only they could do this:

I’ll go with Rollins here, because it’s the dumbest thing that they could do. Fiend is in trouble after everything that has happened to him as of late and the best thing possible for him would be to no sell the Stomp and win this in about two minutes. WWE loves having the title on Rollins too much for that to happen though, so Rollins retains here and WWE gets to spend even longer trying to figure out why their audience is shrinking and why the Fiend keeps getting weaker reactions.

Overall Thoughts

Does anyone actually want to watch this show? The entire series has become a nightmare for WWE fans, though I’m sure the company doesn’t mind due to the crazy checks they receive for them. The wrestling has rarely been the problem here, but there is a real chance that we are going to be in for some of the worst booking decisions of the year, because WWE either thinks that no one pays attention or that they’re brilliant enough to get themselves out of it. I doubt it can be worse than last time, but remember: never say never.

Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. His latest book is KB’s Complete 2004 Monday Night Raw Reviews.

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