Hot Takes before Crown Jewel

WWE heads to Saudi Arabia on November 4th for the Crown Jewel premium live event. And the card looks to be very promising and could change the landscape of the WWE for the next few months. With the card set in stone, I wanted to share some hot takes based on each match (or lack thereof).

As a reminder, here’s the confirmed card:

Sami Zayn vs JD McDonagh

Seth Rollins (c) vs Drew McIntyre for the World Heavyweight Championship

Cody Rhodes vs Damian Priest

Rey Mysterio (c) vs Logan Paul for the United States Championship

John Cena vs Solo Sikoa

Rhea Ripley (c) vs Nia Jax vs Shayna Baszler vs Zoey Stark vs Raquel Rodriguez for the Women’s World Championship

Iyo Sky (c) vs Bianca Belair for the WWE Women’s Championship

Roman Reigns (c) vs LA Knight for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship

JD McDonagh needs to prove he can be taken seriously

To say that JD McDonagh has been a punching bag would be an understatement. He’s essentially been the Judgement Day’s crash dummy, and STILL isn’t even an official member. And McDonagh’s presentation since being called up to the main roster has been lackluster as well. Bland entrance music, next-to-nothing in terms of character development, and constantly being disrespected by every member of the Judgement Day.

Even though it’s been relegated to the pre-show at Crown Jewel, McDonagh has a huge opportunity against Sami Zayn to put on a performance and prove his worth to not only the Judgement Day but to the WWE Universe as well.

Damian Priest needs a win at Crown Jewel

Cody Rhodes is the hottest babyface in the company. He’s been firmly in the position to be the face of the company since his Royal Rumble return in January. Time and time again he’s pulled off incredible feats of strength, endurance, and perseverance. But for the sake of Señor Money in the Bank’s legitimacy, Cody Rhodes needs to lose at Crown Jewel. 

I’m almost certain that the match will involve some outside interference from Judgement Day and Jey Uso, but Priest desperately needs a win here. He’s already been seen as weak by his constant hesitance to cash in his briefcase and deferring to Rhea Ripley’s orders.

Logan Paul should win the United States Championship

Roman Reigns has been the Universal Champion for nearly 1200 days, and unfortunately we’ve reached the point in his reign where he’s disappearing from television for weeks at a time. And SmackDown does not have a Gunther-type mid-card champion, and hasn’t for a while. Austin Theory’s reign with the title was widely unpopular, and Rey Mysterio’s reign has felt nonexistent.

Now sure, Logan Paul isn’t necessarily a full-time superstar himself. But he doesn’t need to be a workhorse champion. His natural charisma, personality, and marketability (with his 27 million Instagram followers) gives the blue brand an opportunity to make magic of their mid-card.

Shayna Baszler needs to be the next opponent for Rhea Ripley

Ever since SummerSlam, Shayna Baszler has been directionless in the Raw women’s division. She and Zoey Stark teased a partnership, but with the mess that is the women’s tag division, I’d like to see Baszler emerge as a true threat to Rhea Ripley’s Women’s World Championship reign. Baszler was a two-time NXT Women’s champion, holding the title for over 400 days in her second reign. In her most memorable moment as champion, she defeated Becky Lynch and Bayley in a triple threat match at Survivor Series 2019. 

She also has some history with Ripley. Both women were captains in the first ever women’s WarGames match, and Ripley ended Baszler’s second reign with the title. Seeing those flames reignited, especially with their in-ring chemistry and brutal wrestling styles, would make for Ripley’s most compelling challenger yet.

Drew McIntyre shouldn’t win the World Heavyweight Championship (yet)

The slow burn towards Drew McIntyre’s heel turn has been compelling television. He still seems to be in the in-between, no longer being the babyface martyr that he once was. But I think a loss at Crown Jewel to Seth Rollins would be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, especially if it’s a cheap win. This past Monday, Rollins made it personal, basically calling McIntyre ungrateful for complaining about winning the WWE Championship in an empty arena.

I do think that McIntyre is the perfect candidate to take the title off Rollins, but he needs to reason to fully commit to a more aggressive and lethal side. And that catapults with a loss at Crown Jewel.

Damage CTRL should officially break up at Crown Jewel

Iyo Sky is one of the best in-ring performers in the women’s division, and her match against Bianca Belair is sure to be one of the most entertaining of the night. But her run as WWE Women’s Champion has felt a bit undermined by Bayley’s constant shenanigans. Most fans thought that Damage CTRL would be splitting apart following Sky handcuffing Bayley to Becky Lynch to win the Women’s Money in the Bank match, but they’ve stuck around. And in all honesty, Iyo has felt like the third wheel in her own championship feuds.

Belair looks to be aligning with Charlotte Flair for the time being, and she doesn’t necessarily need a title win here, but a loss via interference followed by Iyo Sky finally snapping and turning on Bayley would make for some compelling storytelling.

Solo Sikoa’s Crown Jewel performance will be pivotal for his future

The enforcer of the Bloodline is set to face a 16-time world champion in John Cena at Crown Jewel. It is, without question, the biggest match in Sikoa’s career up to this point. All signs point to Cena finally being able to get over that five-year singles match losing streak, but I think a Sikoa win would be more impactful. Sikoa hasn’t really had much opportunity to showcase his own talent since being called up to the main roster, let alone on a premium live event.

Putting on a showcase with one of the greatest to ever do it would go a long way in legitimizing him as a world title-level threat.

Gunther should be fighting at premium live events

Most people would agree that Gunther has been one of the best wrestlers in the world this past year. His record-setting 500+ day reign as Intercontinental champion has set him in stone as the most dominant superstars in the business. But he’s nowhere to be found on the Crown Jewel card. He is constantly putting on wrestling clinics on weekly television against the likes of Chad Gable, Bronson Reed, and Tommasso Ciampa.

Now looking like he’s starting a program with The Miz, it would be nice to get Gunther on premium live events for his title defenses. He hasn’t fought on a PLE since SummerSlam in August.

The Megastar has to prove it in the ring

LA Knight (yeah!) has been one of the hottest and most charismatic superstars on the roster in a long time. He has naturally won over fans, his t-shirts have been the highest-selling merchandise for months, and at Crown Jewel he’s going to be going against the Tribal Chief Roman Reigns. Much like I said about Sikoa, this match is a huge one for LA Knight. He’s gotten some hate about his in-ring ability and age, but this match gives Knight an opportunity to show he’s more than just a catchphrase.

It may be a foregone conclusion that Reigns will most likely retain the title and march towards 1200 days as Universal champion, but this gives Knight a chance to silence his critics.

What are your predictions for Crown Jewel?

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