WWE has prepared itself well for Survivor Series while putting a lot of doubt over John Cena’s immediate future with the company after the events of Crown Jewel.
Only one championship changed hands in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday when Logan Paul defeated Rey Mysterio to become United States Champion, but plenty of meaningful storylines were hit on a night where Roman Reigns’ match didn’t really make the show happen.
Here are five tips from Crown Jewel:
Is your time up?
John Cena’s future in WWE has never been more uncertain.
The 16-time world champion is 46 years old and has hinted that his time in the ring is over, and that moment is likely closer than ever after Cena’s annihilation and defeat at the hands of Solo Sequa.
In the biggest win of Sequa’s career, Cena got four full nails from Samoa and a few short nails as The Bloodline enforcer caught him lifeless at his feet before pinning him.
Cena, who had his moments but played on the back foot for most of the match, did a great job of positioning the young talent in the latter stages of his career.
After a squash match that Cena described as a must-win and a measure of where his skills now stand, he didn’t leave his shoes in the ring to officially signal his retirement, but his composed body language certainly showed that he would consider it. Maybe just give it a chance if the actor’s strike ends.
In both cases, he received a standing ovation from the Saudi audience.
Although this doesn’t seem like the way Cena – who hasn’t won a single match since 2018 – will go out, WWE is clearly writing a redemption story for his retirement, perhaps for WrestleMania.
Tired and true
Los Angeles Knight did nothing wrong in his main event match with Roman Reigns, showing that he belongs in the ring with the biggest star in WWE.
But this confrontation will not come close to Reigns’s most memorable confrontations during a historic era because all the interventions necessary for him to win have become old, and it took much less than usual this time.
“CM Punk” took off.
The undisputed WWE Universal Champion had help from Sekwa and Jimmy Uso, with the latter putting his cousin’s foot on the rope just in time after Knight hit a Plant Force Kick. Knight was knocked out by just one Superman punch and one spear.
Although it connects Knight with the rest of the beloved characters, The Bloodline has been thwarted for a potential match at Survivor Series WarGame, when there is no post-match angle, you are the 100th person that happens to be and you risk blending in with all the rest and not moving up as a talent in the same way. .
Rhea Ripley was treated like an absolute star, and she had the best entrance when two rows of Saudi men almost lined up to worship her on stage. She then proceeded to defeat Zoe Stark, Shayna Baszler, Nia Jax, and Raquel Rodriguez to retain the World Women’s Championship. Only Jax wasn’t involved in the end, as Ripley delivered a Riptide to Stark on Baszler, who was trying to submit Rodriguez. Maybe Jax will return for a singles match at some point.
But that’s where the immediate good news of Doomsday ends.
JD McDonagh lost to Sami Zayn in an emotional match on the opening show. Not only did Damian Priest lose to Cody Rhodes after Jey Uso interrupted McDonagh’s interference attempt, but Zayn had his Money in the Bank briefcase stolen after he was about to tap out World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins.
The potential good news, as both sides now have real reasons to clash at WarGames, is that Drew McIntyre may finally have a reason to bring Ripley into the fold after losing his opening pay-per-view match to Rollins.
Complete golden goal
Paul – in just his eighth match – finally became a WWE Champion, defeating Mysterio with the help of brass knuckles to become United States Champion. It happened in a way that provided a number of interesting storylines with Paul, Miterio, and Santo Escobar.
A member of the Entourage passed him the Iron Fist in the ring, but Mysterio managed to thwart his first attempt to use it.
When Paul’s friend tried to get them back, he was initially stopped by Escobar, Mysterio’s partner in LWO.
But while chasing Paul’s assistant, Escobar left Iron Fist in the ring.
Paul was able to catch them as he set up for the 619 and smashed Mysterio with a right hand as he looked to complete his finish with a springboard move.
After the match, Paul tried to console Mysterio as if he had done nothing wrong, only for the legend to tell him: “You know what you did.”
It leaves you wondering what level of tension there will be between Escobar and Mysterio now. Was him leaving Knuckles in the ring a lapse in judgment or was it planned from the beginning out of lingering resentment over Mysterio taking his place to win the US Title in the first place?
However, Paul appeared to have saved Mysterio from a potentially serious injury, catching him in the air as he moved before it appeared the legend’s head might land awkwardly on the mat. Kudos to Paul for having the circular awareness to make this happen.
Surprise in Sunny
There has been a lot of talk about Kairi Sane returning to action after her contract with Stardom expires, and WWE couldn’t have done it better. After Bayley’s outside help kept WWE Women’s Champion Io Sky alive in her match with Bianca Belair, Sane jumped the barricade with the referee distracted to attack Belair, saving Bayley from KOD, and eliminating EST for good in the encounter.
Belair got back into the ring and Sky hit her finisher for the win and Sane delivered an In-Sane Elbow for good measure afterward.
Sky’s former tag team partner, Saint, is back as a heel with an edge, unlike the version of the Pirate Princess we’ve previously seen in WWE. It makes damage control even more dangerous right now. It gives WWE a way to take a distraught Bayley away from the group – as has been teased for a while – without completely dissolving Damage CTRL once Dakota Kai returns from injury.
Big winner: Solo Sekoa, Logan Paul
Biggest loser: Damian the priest
Best match: Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre
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