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    Wednesday, November 7, 2018

    The Smark Henry Pay-Per-Review: WWE Crown Jewel

    WWE's second PPV event in *location redacted* has been a hot potato topic for Smark Henry writers that I ended up being assigned to reviewing this at the last minute. Then again, we haven't been able to put out reviews for the past few WWE PPVs. Maybe everybody's just busy.

    But first, a mild disclaimer: Since I wasn't prepared to review Crown Jewel, I wasn't able to take notes while watching the event live. And "watch" is a very loose term since I ended up dozing off at times. And the majority of the event served as background noise since I was doing something else and I didn't bother cascading tabs and windows just so I can multi-task more efficiently. And no, I don't want to go through the ordeal of going back for missed moments even if I have FOMO tendencies.

    OK, where do I start? I guess this all began when I belatedly shared my take in the Smark Henry offices. A heavily edited version of it goes:

    Think of it this way. Since Crown Jewel was a clusterfuck from the get-go, from the supposed Saudi Arabia propaganda machine it's meant to be to the political thorniness it became, the WWE doubled down to intentionally make it the most inappropriate, most awkward, and most politically incorrect WWE PPV event of all time. Because if everybody's going to shit on it, might as well make it the shittiest shitfest. This is meta going on meta.

    The fact that the show opened with Hulk Hogan (and then closed with four Attitude Era relics) should have been a harbinger. Although, I felt hope when I saw that the audience popped for Seth Rollins, showing they aren't as out of touch as the prince, who wanted Yokozuna raised from the grave for the Greatest Royal Rumble and whose knowledge of pro wrestling ended at about the late 1990s to early 2000s. We finally found someone who could out-Vince Vince in being separated from reality, er... I mean in being "old school." Please don't kill me, Jeff Dunham's puppet!

    Still, I initially thought that the E would actually pull the trigger on Braun Strowman since he is the reigning GRR match champion. That's all the connections I can think of, as putting the WWE Universal Championship back on Brock Lesnar means they would rather give Strowman his rub on an event where they can actually put on a highlight package and not here at VoldemortMania.

    Brock would be bringing back the championship Stateside with much heat. Cheap heat, yes, but I'd take this one rather than Braun's crowning glory being Chris Benoit'd/CM Punk'd out of WWE's annals.

    This may be a stretch (also in light of revelations and developments post-CJ), but hear me out. The Miz getting work-injured is a way to "protect" the talent from public backlash. For me, it was a good call for Shane McMahon to take the flak and be the on-screen AE Vince McMahon For the Day. Heroic considering all the good juju he has brought back might get erased from being the World Cup champion. Refer above to Brock going over Braun.

    And that's me just trying to justify the event on why it turned out like that, and me doing my dang hardest to squeeze out anything positive, like getting a drop of water out of a dry rock. 

    And that is my entire review of Crown Jewel. I kid.

    Looking at CJ as a whole, SmackDown Live was the hands-down winner. From a pre-show WWE United States Championship match that had Shinsuke Nakamura retaining over Rusev and the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship getting main card treatment, to winning the World Cup outright courtesy of super-sub Shane, blue is the color of the night.

    And do you know what is the PPV event that pits Raw against SmackDown? That's it right, it's Survivor Series and it comes next in a matter of weeks.

    This ties everything up. We may never hear of Crown Jewel ever again, but at least we can't fault WWE for not adhering to continuity in a throwaway PPV event.

    Clocking in at the vicinity of three and a half hours (preshow excluded), it is quite short for a present-day WWE PPV event. Which is just right, I guess. Contractual obligations were fulfilled, that's all that matters.

    Quick Hitters

    • Considering it was a one-night tournament, didn't anyone get a vintage King of the Ring Tournament vibe in the World Cup Tournament to Determine the Best in the World? If the Greatest Royal Rumble was the green brand version of the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania combined, then Crown Jewel is an amalgamation of KOTR and wayback machine WrestleMania.
    • I came to an understanding that the tag team title match would be under six-man tag rules. Turns out, my presumption was wrong. I would have liked it if WWE creative would have been more experimental in this case. I guess I expected too much from them to even try something new.
    • Of course, AJ Styles won against Samoa Joe. There are still some T minus X to go before "The Phenomenal One" formally breaks Punk's longevity record for the WWE Heavyweight Championship. You'll be hearing more of this as D-Day comes closer. Michael Cole already dropped the seeds in this show.
    • Strangely, the main event got the longest match time. All the while I thought they would just phone it in because "old people." Or maybe because they were running on 0.25x speed, which is why it took them that long to finish. And no, me being a Bret Hart lifer means that you won't hear or read anything from me praising Shawn Michaels, even if he is the one who least showed his age as per comments of individuals who had more diligence in watching the show. Because, this time, he didn't need to blade to show color. That's on Kane and Undertaker for not in place to receive Michaels's top rope moonsault to the outside of the ring. I saw that at real time, and it was more evident on replay.
    Images courtesy of WWE


    JP Abcede, CIS, has an ongoing love-hate relationship with the WWE, depending on what Bret Hart's mood for the day is. A financial adviser and Certified Investment Solicitor (that is what the CIS stands for after his name) by profession, he catches up on his weekly dose of pro wrestling by streaming shows and using them as background noise while he is doing something else. This way, he is able to zone out the boring parts while remaining productive.
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    Item Reviewed: The Smark Henry Pay-Per-Review: WWE Crown Jewel Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Unknown
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