Induction: WWE Crown Jewel – The 2018 Gooker Award Winner

85 Submitted by on Thu, 31 January 2019, 20:00

Simply put, WWE Crown Jewel was a bad idea from day one. The event, part of a 10-year, twenty-show deal with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, was under fire from the get-go for serving as propaganda for the totalitarian state, its new crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), and his modernization campaign dubbed, “Saudi Vision 2030”. 

One can’t discuss Crown Jewel without first talking about May’s Greatest Royal Rumble. Like the Prime Minister of Lebanon, the WWE Network special would be held in Saudi Arabia, albeit it voluntarily this time.

At that event, WWE not only stoked nationalistic fervor against Saudi Arabia’s nemesis Iran, but aired videos promoting host city Jeddah as “progressive” and painting MbS as not merely a Rusev lookalike…

…but a bold reformer.

WWE was far from alone in its love for the new, young crown prince. Even mega-successful non-wrestling celebrities like Bill Gates and Dwayne Johnson fawned over the next-in-line to the Saudi throne.

After coming under fire for putting on that first Saudi event, WWE announced its historic, all-women’s pay-per-view titled Evolution…

…but shortly thereafter, as if responding to the complaint, “What about an all MEN’S pay-per-view, huh?!”, it also announced precisely that:

A second Saudi-funded sausage-fest called, “Crown Jewel”, which would take place later in the same week. Promotion for the event would dominate WWE television, overshadowing Evolution.

Although hosting an event in a country where women couldn’t leave the house unaccompanied (let alone wrestle) flew in the face of WWE’s campaign to promote women’s wrestling…

…and although glamorizing a country where homosexuality was punishable by death seemed to fly in the face of WWE’s campaigns with GLAAD…

…the company and its defenders argued they were helping the country evolve little by little.

Why, under King Salman and his son, the Kingdom had already agreed to let women drive, even though many of the activists who had petitioned for that right were imprisoned anyway.

Those women weren’t the only critics of the Saudi government, however. Another critic was Jamal Khashoggi, who, one month prior to Crown Jewel, went missing after visiting a Saudi consulate in Turkey to collect some legal documents.

Khashoggi, a Saudi-born journalist living in the United States, was wary of Mohammed bin Salman’s intimidation tactics while also praising his recent reforms to the country. In his words, he wanted an evolution, not a revolution.

Sound familiar?

In the US, this kind of mild criticism of one’s leader might earn one a mean tweet from the President, and maybe a petty nickname (I’m thinking, “Cryin’ Jamal”).

For Khashoggi, his complaints about MbS’s alleged strong-man tactics earned him an assassination by the prince’s goons. Evidence soon emerged suggesting a Saudi hit squad had killed him and cut his body to pieces (and not necessarily in that order).

Now it’s not like WWE should have been surprised that this sort of thing would happen during their lucrative Saudi deal, but they probably weren’t counting on anyone caring about it. No clients of Ned Ryerson, WWE had no death and dismemberment plan.

The Saudis denied the accusations, yet their story changed day to day. Originally, Khashoggi was said to have simply walked out the back door of the consulate. They had even staged some corroborating surveillance footage, which backfired when the body double, who had dressed up in Khashoggi’s clothes, neglected to change his shoes.

Officials changed their story a number of times over the weeks. At one point, they claimed that Khashoggi picked a fight with fifteen men (as one does) and accidentally wound up dead. And you thought the story of Shawn Michaels and the nine thugs in Syracuse was hard to believe.

The scandal was a top story in the news for weeks. Usually, when WWE gets mainstream coverage, they won’t shut up about it, like when they “leak” Hillbilly Jim’s Hall of Fame induction to TMZ or Sports Illustrated and then act like these media outlets dispatch their best reporters to get the big scoops on the company.

But this time around, WWE kept completely mum on television. As pressure mounted from the media and politicians of both parties to cancel the Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia, WWE simply stopped mentioning where the PPV would be held.

It wasn’t just the outside world telling WWE to cancel or move the event; big-name superstars from the company’s roster started voicing their concern. Daniel Bryan, scheduled to challenge for the WWE title on the show, refused to participate in Crown Jewel. So did John Cena, the 16-time champion who was set to compete in the World Cup tournament on the same card. 

Adding to the uncertainty about the event was Roman Reigns’s shocking announcement that he had leukemia and would be immediately forfeiting his Universal Title, disrupting Crown Jewel’s scheduled title match.

The universe seemed to be screaming to WWE that Crown Jewel was a bad idea, and so did the WWE Universe, which booed The Undertaker for even mentioning the name of the upcoming event.

Without a single ticket purchased as of late October, WWE had a number of alternatives to Crown Jewel in Riyadh. It could cancel the event, postpone it, hold it in Saudi Arabia without televising it, move it stateside, or hold it in the UK, where WWE was already scheduled to tour just days later, and which famously contained both a crown and jewels.

Instead, the McMahons plowed ahead with their Plan A.

According to Stephanie McMahon, WWE’s Chief Brand Officer and television figurehead of the Women’s Evolution, it was a “tough decision”. On the one hand, there were overwhelming moral concerns, political pressure, terrible publicity, and protest from within the company…

…but on the other hand, there were wads and wads of Saudi cash ($60 million, to be precise) and the promise of even more cash for 18 more events over the next decade. 

In other words, the tough decision was to make the wrong decision, but for money.

So disturbed was Stephanie over the whole Khashoggi affair that three weeks later, she would joke about dismemberment on live TV. Get it? Because dismemberment is what their sponsor did to a journalist!

On television the week of the event, WWE wrote John Cena and Daniel Bryan off the show without a mention of their refusal to compete.

Before the opening bell even rang, Crown Jewel was already a top contender for the 2018 Gooker Award. Fortunately, come November 2nd, it did not disappoint.

By which I mean, it sucked. Sorry for any confusion.

I.

The show opened with a graphic naming Riyadh as the site of the night’s event. Other than this brief acknowledgment, the host city was never mentioned again, nor were the words, “Saudi Arabia” ever uttered by the English-language announcers or the Superstars themselves. It was the kind of gag order Vince McMahon usually reserves for cities he considers too small to be mentioned on TV, like Wichita.

Setting the tone for the evening was Hulk Hogan, making his triumphant return to WWE after a three-year hiatus when it turned out he was a self-admitted racist who used the N-word and didn’t want his daughter dating a black man.

Why bring back Hogan? Well, the crown prince, for whom the entire show was put on, was a fan of the WWF as a kid and wanted stars of the past to be on his show. If he wanted Hulk Hogan, then dammit, he was getting Hulk Hogan. It was certainly easier to get the still-living Hulkster to Saudi Arabia than some of the old-school stars MbS had requested for the Greatest Royal Rumble, which included – no joke – The Ultimate Warrior and Yokozuna…

…the latter of whom had been dead for nearly two decades.  

In for a penny, in for a pound, WWE figured that as long as Crown Jewel was going to be super-controversial, they might as well go ahead and bring back the Hulkster to host it. Hogan stated how great it was to be with all his Hulkamaniacs at… uh, the Crown Jewel. The Immortal One wouldn’t say where exactly in the world he was. If WWE was ignoring his controversy, he’d ignore theirs.

Speaking of Hulk Hogan’s controversy, the New Day would later awkwardly adhere to the ban on the S.A.-word during their entrance. Usually, Big E will get on the mic and shout, “Awwww [host city], don’t you dare be sour…” On this night, however, the former Mr. Langston simply said, “Awwww, Crown Jewel!”

He and his New Day partners then slowly arrived at ringside on a giant magic carpet. Why a magic carpet? Were they in the Middle East? No one would tell us!

With WWE scrubbing nearly all reference to Saudi Arabia and its tremendous progress, they were unable to pat themselves on the back for putting Renee Young and her sexy exposed fingers at the announce table for the event.

The production value for this event was off the charts – while WWE no longer uses pyro on its domestic shows, they went all out putting on a spectacular light show for their host. This meant fireworks everywhere and for everyone. Hulk Hogan alone got the July 4th treatment before *and* after his entrance. 

The Miz would even get fireworks for the second match of the night.

Then there were the big screens, including a set-up at the entrance way that wouldn’t even fit in most of the arenas where WWE runs shows.

If we estimate Rey Mysterio at a generous five feet in height, that screen was well over 70 feet tall.

All told, the first half of the show, dedicated mainly to the first two rounds of the World Cup, was fairly good – like an above-average episode of Raw.

Now typically, a World Cup involves competitors from at least, say, two nations. 

But WWE, despite having male wrestlers on the main roster from at least 10 different countries, included only Americans in its World Cup to determine the best in the world. 

If WWE banned its announcers from saying, “Saudi Arabia”, they more than made up for it by making them say, “WWE World Cup to determine the best in the world” at every opportunity. 

To further drive home the importance of the WWE World Cup to determine the best in the world, WWE had all of the participants, including last-minute Cena replacement Bobby Lashley, cut inset promos expressing how badly they wanted to be the best in the world, or at least the continental United States.

Every man even got special, extra-long introductions that included all their accomplishments in WWE and amateur wrestling. The point was, these were decorated athletes, and not the kind of guys with only a flukey European title reign to their names. 

The matches were nothing special, all lasting 5-8 minutes and lacking the marathon of finishers fans have been conditioned to expect over the years. Kurt Angle, for instance, fell unceremoniously to the Zig Zag, which felt like it hadn’t put anyone away in years.

At least the kids in the front rows enjoyed it, even if the Saudi officials sat on their couches looking at their phones as Rey Mysterio flipped around the ring.

You’d expect maybe Seth Rollins and Randy Orton to wind up in the finals, but instead those honors went to The Miz and Dolph Ziggler. With those two advancing to the finals, the title of Best in the World was to be contested between two guys from the same Cleveland suburb.

One thing was for sure, it seemed – whoever won this thing at the end of the night would be getting a huge push.

Why are you shaking your head?

II.

The WWE Title match of AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe was more notable for the bizarre circumstances leading into it than for the match itself, which AJ won. 

Daniel Bryan had been advertised as AJ’s challenger ever since beating The Miz at WWE Super Show-Down a month earlier, but it soon became public knowledge that Bryan was refusing to participate in the Saudi show. And still WWE kept promoting it.

In fact, Bryan had refused to participate even before the Khashoggi scandal broke, and even before he was named number-one contender. Bryan had actually volunteered to lose to The Miz, allowing the A-Lister to win not only the match and the title shot, but effectively the feud that had been brewing for two years.

Undaunted, WWE had Bryan win that match anyway in two and a half minutes. You might think, reading this, that Vince McMahon was either crazy or stupid for doing this, but he actually had a plan that would prove you absolutely correct.

If Daniel Bryan wouldn’t go to Saudi Arabia, WWE would film the WWE title match in an Orlando studio and pass it off as Saudi Arabia via the magic of green-screen technology. That’s the same technology that would allow the Crown Jewel kick-off panel, who in reality were in a small studio, to appear as though they were in…

… a bigger studio.

When someone finally convinced Vince that this set-up wouldn’t fool anyone (possibly by showing him some old AWA footage), he gave away the advertised match for free on Smackdown that week. That meant that Bryan could stay home, while AJ could fly to Saudi Arabia…

…and wrestle Joe.

III.

If it weren’t for the last three matches of the night, this pay-per-view would have been a passable, if completely tasteless, pay-per-view event. But it was the last hour and a half that dragged this show so far down into the abyss that you, the Wrestlecrap readers, voted as an absolute majority to win this year’s Gooker award…

To understand how bad the Universal Title match was, one must first view it in context:

For nearly four years, WWE had been trying to get Roman Reigns over to the point that he could beat Brock Lesnar without the fans revolting. In four different pay-per-view matches (including two Wrestlemania main events), Vince got cold feet at the last minute, employing swerves, run-ins, and bafflingly bad referee calls to keep Roman from conquering The Beast (or besting The Conqueror) while preparing him for that one big win to complete his hero’s arc.

At last, at Summerslam 2018, WWE had Roman pin Brock for the Universal Title, finally figuring out a way to make it happen without fans booing him out of the building:

…by promising an immediate Money in the Bank cash-in by the more popular Braun Strowman, which never materialized.

At least fans could celebrate the fact that Raw finally had world champion who actually showed up on television. But to help get that new champ over, WWE made the infuriating decision to turn Braun Strowman heel.

When Roman Reigns stunned WWE viewers by announcing that he had cancer, WWE quickly backpedaled on Braun’s heel turn and changed the planned Triple Threat match at Crown Jewel into a one-on-one Strowman vs. Lesnar match for the vacant title.

With Braun as the only Superstar on Raw whom WWE could credibly promote as the top guy, it seemed a no-brainer that Strowman would finally get the title reign fans had been clamoring for.

Instead, at Crown Jewel, Raw General Manager Baron Corbin clocked Braun with the belt right before the bell, setting up an out-and-out squash of Strowman by Lesnar…

…who delivered F5 after F5. Still Braun kicked out each time, leading Michael Cole to wonder what Lesnar would have to do to put away Strowman.

Had he considered doing another F5? 

Yes, in fact he had, pinning Braun after his fifth finishing move. Braun had managed only one offensive move, a boot to the face, while Brock had managed, well, also one offensive move, but executed five times.  

Okay, I lied before. One doesn’t have to view this match in context to understand how bad it was, although it does help…

…especially considering that Baron Corbin, the Raw GM, had just cheated to ensure the Universal Title stayed off his show every Monday night. Brock was once again the best in the universe, which as you know is better than being the Best in the World…

…unless you’re AJ Styles, in which case they’re the same thing.

Corey Graves summed up the match, and Crown Jewel as a whole, perfectly.

Instead of getting a rematch with Lesnar, Braun feuded with Borin’ Corbin, whom he beat supposedly to earn a rematch at Royal Rumble…

…a rematch Vince McMahon never intended to deliver, not wanting to damage Strowman by jobbing him out to Lesnar (again).

IV.

It was now time for the finals of the World Cup. Raw GM Baron Corbin and Smackdown Commissioner Shane McMahon arrived at ringside, but of course, their female counterparts Paige and Stephanie McMahon did not.

Each man had an interest in the outcome, as Raw’s Ziggler and Smackdown’s Miz would be going head to head in competition…

…right after Michael Cole gave the following plug for Survivor Series:

Unfortunately, one of the competitors suffered a debilitating knee injury in a pre-match brawl, as you can see here:

Uh, it was The Miz.

Rather than allow Dolph Ziggler to win by forfeit and earn bragging rights for Raw, Shane McMahon took it upon himself to substitute for the Miz. Was that legal? Could you just stick a fresh man in just because a competitor couldn’t wrestle?

Suddenly, the 1995 King of the Ring finals seemed even more egregious.

Fresh as he may have been, Shane himself had some disadvantages, namely that he was a 49 year-old businessman wearing jeans who had wrestled fewer than a hundred matches in his 20-year career.

Despite Baron Corbin’s insistence that Greg Hamilton “announce Dolph the wiener”, the match began anyway.

Shane fired off his deadly Shane punches…

…before Ziggler snuck up from behind to hit the Zig-Zag, the same move that had put away Kurt Angle earlier in the night.

Shane kicked out.

Dolph bumped around for Shane-O…

…who attempted to go coast-to-coast.

Though he ended up making it only so far as Nevada, Dolph graciously met him in the middle, allowing Shane to pick up a pinfall three minutes into the match.

Not only had Shane single-handedly revived the Cleveland Curse, he had also won the title of Best in the World and the accompanying trophy…

…which, sadly, was not that glowing orb from the pictures.

The announcers complained and complained, but the WWE Universe in [redacted] ate it all up as Shane danced around the ring as if he’d just been named…

…well, Best in the World. Fair enough. 

With the incessant reminders that the WWE World Cup to determine the best in the world would, in fact, determine the best wrestler in the world, you might think that Shane’s victory was just an embarrassing last-minute booking decision that WWE cooked up after Cena pulled out of the show, but no.

This swerve had been the plan from the tournament’s inception, designed to slowly turn Shane into a delusional heel who bought into his own hype.

As such, he needed to substitute for a sufficiently weak and cowardly heel (Miz), then beat another heel (Ziggler) who had nothing on the horizon. This was practically the only part of the show that didn’t get messed up by circumstance.

And how did that Shane McMahon heel turn end up? McMahon came out on Smackdown the next Tuesday and admitted that he of course wasn’t *really* the best in the world…

…while Miz didn’t resent Shane in the slightest for taking his trophy. 

At Survivor Series, WWE would book the entire show around Smackdown losing every match to Raw (except, accidentally, the pre-show 20-man tag) so as to eventually drive Shane to lash out at his roster. WWE would by then have dedicated one and a half pay-per-views to very gradually creating yet another heel authority figure…

…a plan that would get nixed anyway. Instead, with ratings at an all-time low, the McMahons would soft-reboot WWE, casting themselves as babyfaces and scrapping all sorts of future booking plans. 

V.

To cap off the night, WWE put on a match that a lot of people might have wanted to see in 1998, but that few would have wanted to see in 2018. Unfortunately, one of those few people was the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, who was sponsoring this event as a vanity project.

The question on everybody’s mind was whether Shawn Michaels would pull off yet another show-stopping performance or whether he’d leave an embarrassing legacy.

Pictured: Embarrassing Legacy

For eight and a half years, nothing could lure Shawn Michaels out of retirement for one more match. Not money, not a match with his former student Daniel Bryan, not even a chance to shine one last time at Wrestlemania.

He was a man of his word, and when he told the world that he would retire if he lost to the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 26, he meant it.

But it turns out there was one thing that meant more to Michaels than Wrestlemania or money – that is, a whole lot of money. Like, a lot. We’re talking Saudi oil money.

Stemming from the dreadful Triple H-Undertaker main event one month earlier at Melbourne’s Super Show-Down, HBK and Triple H would team up to take on The Undertaker and Kane…

…who, as the recently-elected mayor of Knox County, TN, took the same principled stance as Michaels. 

The match was of great historical significance. That’s not just because the two guys who used to moon the audience would perform their “Suck It” schtick in front of ultra-conservative foreign dignitaries; it’s also because of Wrestlemania 12.

On that night in 1996, Triple H made his Wrestlemania debut, The Undertaker extended his streak to 5-0, Shawn Michaels won his first WWF title…

…and two decrepit parodies of Hulk Hogan (42) and Randy Savage (43) wrestled in a “match” that ended when both men dropped dead.

Now, in 2018, Triple H (49), Michaels (53), Undertaker (53), and their contemporary, Kane (51), would work a pay-per-view main event. Their ages might have totaled two centuries, but at least they were all still alive, which is more than can be said about some of MbS’s past requests.

With the four men’s aging bodies being put to the test, WWE should have accounted for the possibility of injuries.

Instead, we were treated to a comedy of errors that, unlike most WWE attempts at comedy, was genuinely hilarious.

The problems started just minutes into the match when Triple H showed Michaels who the real showstopper was, tearing his pectoral muscle and grinding the action to a halt. 

It was the same corner bump that Triple H had done hundreds of times, except this time he was pushing fifty and knocking into his buddy’s knees.

Having more pride than The Miz, The Game refused to let his brother-in-law fill in for him, even if he was the Best in the World. 

It was a valiant effort for sure, but if WCW had ever put on a match like this, complete with the visual of two aching bald men stomping their feet, WWE would make sure we never heard the end of it. Incidentally, WWE spent more to put on this one match than to buy WCW.

Speaking of which, Shawn Michaels wasn’t exactly tearing down the house, but with the money he was making on this night, he could buy several of his own.

Fans chanted, “You still got it” at the most inopportune times, such as when the combined strength of HBK and Triple H barely managed to get Kane over for a suplex.

Triple H still kept trying to go, do-si-do-ing with Kane, then delivering another such Irish whip to The Undertaker. Both legends eased themselves into the barricade like an old man into a nice warm bath (no offense).

The COO, who would have ordered the match stopped had it been anyone else who had torn his pec, finally wrote himself out of the bout in the safest way possible, getting chokeslammed through a table onto the announcers’ monitors.

That left Shawn to earn his $3 million payoff and carry a handicap match all by himself. 

After a plodding beatdown by Kane, the two ascended the top rope for arguably the highlight of the match. Michaels, not having wrestled a masked Kane since 2002, forgot the Big Red Machine wore a wig affixed to his headgear. HBK tugged on Kane’s rug as he threw a punch, snatching him bald in a possible tribute to Naomi.

“Shawn Michaels hit Kane so hard that Kane’s mask came off his face!” said Cole, bless his heart.

Despite a decade of Kane wrestling sans mask and hair, cameras quickly pulled away so as to protect his mystique. The last thing this Attitude Era nostalgia trip needed was yet another bald man.

Next, Michaels had two words for ya (“F*ck it!”), shrugging and delivering a moonsault onto the Brothers of Destruction. Neither of said brothers managed to catch Michaels, who crashed to the floor and busted open his nose and forehead.

By the time WWE finished the replays and cut back to live action, Kane had inexplicably recovered his mask.

The Undertaker got paid $2 million for this match, in case you were wondering.

Later, Triple H’s eventual comeback was nearly cut short by the rustiest Hell’s Gate you ever did see…

…but he was able to fall into a Pedigree on Kane to bring the match, and the show, to a merciful end.

Between the embarrassing nature of the match, the bad publicity surrounding the entire Crown Jewel event, and the fact that all four men weren’t showing up on Raw any time soon, the match was forgotten within a week…

…which is mind-blowing considering that this may well have been one or more of these men’s last match.

And because sometimes, just sometimes, there is justice in this world, the all women’s Evolution pay-per-view ended up a much better show than Crown Jewel…

…which you, the readers, named far and away the worst thing to happen in wrestling in 2018.

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Written by

A wrestling fan ever since the days of Wrestlemania IX, Art graduated from college in the same building where Art Donovan called King of the Ring 1994. He also runs the "How Much Does This Guy Weigh?" blog, where he reviews New Generation-Era Monday Night Raws. Follow him on Twitter @Art0Donnell. Email at: art@wrestlecrap.com
85 Responses to "Induction: WWE Crown Jewel – The 2018 Gooker Award Winner"
  1. Stone Cold Warlord says:

    Great job at putting everything into context, Art! This may have been the Gooker to end all Gookers.

  2. saintstryfe says:

    That they did the show poorly is… shockingly not the greatest insult of all.

    Dealing with a murderous, homophobic, lying, religious, anti-woman hypocritical pile of money is low, even by McMahon standards. Isn’t it also funny how at the drop of a hat Vince will turn on patriotism to shill some shirts but then kisses the ring of a foreign king just for some bucks? Really sad. Terribly sad.

    The show sucking is not a shock – these foreign tour shows always have something terrible about them. Someone can’t or won’t make it, the performances are bad, someone gets in trouble, ect. This had all of that, none of the best thing going in the company (the women) and yet somehow still managed to fall below those meager expectations.

    A very well deserved Gooker this year. let’s hope Vince and co will end this…

    …but we know won’t.

    • Guest says:

      “someone gets in trouble, ect. This had all of that, none of the best thing going in the company (the women)”

      The women are only the “best” thing going for the company if you factor in Lynch, Charlotte, Asuka, & Ronda everyone else is essentially a another face on the roster.

  3. Mister Forth says:

    WWE tracked it in the house on this one.

  4. #OPC says:

    Sadly, the 2019 Gooker Award might go to another [name redacted] event again.

    • Peter WD says:

      Given the requested superstars for past events, I wouldn’t be shocked if said event features the return of the Gooker itself, or at least Papa Shango.

  5. JimbobJones says:

    Great induction, and the right one.

    This show encapsulates all of what was wrong with WWE in 2018 (and pretty much all of the 2010s)

  6. Kevin Lonergan says:

    I think Crown Jewel should’ve been tied with that other shitfest,Extreme Rules,and the “shocking return” of that pervert James Ellsworth in a three-way tie!!!! I’m so glad 2018 is over.Hope 2019 is a better one!!!

  7. Adam says:

    Took me a second to get the A.J joke; well played. (I’ve got nothing to say about the event, beyond “yikes”)

    • Jay says:

      I didn’t get the AJ joke. Please share

      • Adam says:

        A while back (I think it was 2017) he said in an interview something to the effect of “I’m not saying flat-earthers are right, but they have interesting points. Some of it makes sense” and how we shouldn’t just dismiss ideas.

  8. Christopher Haydu says:

    I wanted to believe that Iran was serious about improving as a nation. But when Jamal Kashoggi was murdered, I lost all faith in that idea. I think WWE really made itself look bad but not pulling out of the show. If the murder of Jamal khashoggi had not taken place, I think the show could have been more well-received, even if the wrestling had been just as atrocious. Part of the reason is because it is true that in the United States of America, there is it a lot tolerance for the Middle East. People don’t have a high opinion of Arab countries. So, the fact that WWE was focusing on this area of the world was great. Everything was fine until the Saudi Arabian government murdered Jamal khashoggi. The Saudi government ended up looking as bloodthirsty and dictatorial as the average person thinks that they are. WWE paid a real price being associated with that. With ratings at an all-time low, I don’t see how they can not put two and two together and realize that this association with Saudi Arabia is hurting their business far more than it’s helping.

    As an epilogue, does anybody find it laughable the idea that Vince McMahon considers Martin Luther King a hero? I doubt that very highly given the fact that he’s willing to run a show in Saudi Arabia after they murdered a journalist.

    • dowman5744 says:

      What’s the connection between Khashoggi and Iran? Did MLK have a history with Middle-East affairs?

    • Raging_Demons says:

      Oh Crown Jewel was always going to be a stinkfest. Greatest Royal Rumble showed that. Bringing in wrestlers that are WAY…WAY…WAY past their prime, crappy matches, and Vinnie Mac’s hidden digs at former talent (IMO Shane-O-Mac as “Best In The World” is definitely a hidden dig at CM Punk). What Khashoggi’s death did was put a huge spotlight on WWE and their activity in Saudi Arabia.

    • KatieVictoriasSecret says:

      I’ll never not find McMahon calling King a personal hero hilarious because of McMahon’s opinion on unions, let alone journalistic freedom and the many, many lovely gimmicks he’s paraded before the world that Dr. King likely wouldn’t be kosher with either, etc.

    • Guest says:

      “Part of the reason is because it is true that in the United States of America, there is it a lot tolerance for the Middle East. People don’t have a high opinion of Arab countries”.

      The only arab countries people in the U.S. don’t have a high opinion of would be Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria, & Somalia and a good part of that discontent has caveats to it especially in the case of Palestine which shouldn’t need to be explained in detail.

      “With ratings at an all-time low, I don’t see how they can not put two and two together and realize that this association with Saudi Arabia is hurting their business far more than it’s helping”.

      Lol the product was hurting long before they inked the 10 year deal with Saudi Arabia. Doing things like having too much wrestling airing within a given week, pushing and keeping the wrong or stale talentat the top spots for years, unnecessarily long PPV’s, bad storylines & gimmicks etc will do that.

      “As an epilogue, does anybody find it laughable the idea that Vince McMahon considers Martin Luther King a hero? I doubt that very highly given the fact that he’s willing to run a show in Saudi Arabia after they murdered a journalist”.

      ….That isn’t really the thing that makes it laughable, the thing that does is Vince has a lot of allegations (that haven’t exactly been disputed) with regards to how he and his staff treats minority talents and then you have the Hulk Hogan thing that just pours more gasoline on the fire.

      Jamal Khashoggi wasn’t black or a civil rights activist the only direct relation he and King have with one another is that they were both murdered for the views (which differed) King also had the added element of being killed because of the color of his skin.

  9. The Doctor of Style says:

    Running pro-gay PSAs and feminist PPVs, then cozying up to a repressive, anti-gay, retrograde tyranny… They call wrestling rings “squared circles”, but that’s one circle WWE could never square.

    That Khashoggi body double…good grief, it’s like a bad wrestling angle.

    Excellent, Art. This content must’ve been extra tough to watch & write about!

  10. Michael Woodring says:

    Suddenly Jinder Mahal as WWE Champion is looking pretty good right now.

  11. Mister Glen says:

    This was the event that turned me off WWE forever.
    The signs were always there and you would have been blind to ignore them.
    The WWE’s

    *cynicism (e.g. the partnership with the sketchy Susan G. Komen foundation with Steph’s comment about philanthropy, Stand Up for WWE coinciding with Linda’s senate runs which also coincided with the move towards their PG rating)

    * sociopathy (denying talent health care as they are ‘independent contractors’, screwing Bret Hart and basically humiliating him after 15 years of loyal service, making Trish Stratus bark like a dog and strip to her underwear on national TV)

    * and tone deafness/lack of self awareness (running the Sting vs. Triple H match as ‘the last battle of the Monday Night Wars’; a concept no one cares about anymore, running with unpopular babyfaces Cena/Reigns despite the fact that the fans had long turned on them, constantly dusting of half retired, broken down veterans and part timers for main event spots when over up and comers would ultimately draw money for the longer term) *

    has always been on display.
    Sadly, never has a combination of the above three characteristics been on display as they were at Crown Jewel. It was almost like Vince decided to run a pay per view where he was basically telling us ‘Yes, I am an asshole!’ and rubbing our noses in it.

    * These examples are not an exhaustive list of times the WWE has displayed these three qualities. If you wanted me to do that, I could write a Death of WCW style book.

    • Guest says:

      “(coinciding with Linda’s senate runs which also coincided with the move towards their PG rating)”

      You mean their move back to the same rating they essentially had up until about 1997?

      “(denying talent health care as they are ‘independent contractors’,)”

      While I don’t deny this is true you haven’t really heard any horror stories of talents having difficulty getting healthcare on par with the Jesse Sorensten debacle in TNA. Secondly in the history of the business I don’t know of any wrestling promotion in the U.S. that gave their talent health care even WCW under Ted Turner so they weren’t the only ones guilty of this.

      “(strip to her underwear on national TV)”

      Remember how you complained about them going back to PG?

      This very thing was the result of them making their TV edgy same consequence that led to Sable parading around with hands painted on her breasts, Val Venis, Mark Henry becoming a sex addict, The Godfather etc

      * and tone deafness/lack of self awareness (running the Sting vs. Triple H match as ‘the last battle of the Monday Night Wars’; a concept no one cares about anymore,”

      You mean aside from the bitter WCW marks….the same ones who bitched and whined about Sting having to put over Triple H…….eventhough Triple H putting over Sting makes far less sense when you realize Sting has been in the business longer than Triple H and also the bigger star of the two.

      And these are the same people who complain about how Hogan put almost no one over in his WCW run.

      “running with unpopular babyfaces Cena/Reigns despite the fact that the fans had long turned on them”,

      Reigns was never as liked as Cena though. Cena also had the problem of never being allowed to refresh his character like many of his contemporaries this is also a problem they’ve had as far back as giving Bruno Sammartino a 8 year long title reign and Hulk Hogan hogging much of the spotlight for most of his 1st run in the company.

      “constantly dusting of half retired, broken down veterans and part timers for main event spots when over up and comers would ultimately draw money for the longer term)”

      Some of those people are not the level of draw that some of those “half retired, broken down veterans, and part timers are though hence why Vince pushes them instead…..not that he should especially when you get people like Brock Lesnar showing up every few months to get and defend titles.

      • Mister Glen says:

        I’ll address your points:
        1) I think you have made the mistaken assumption that I’m a diehard Attitude Era booster and PG era hater.
        I don’t necessarily have an issue with the PG rating per se so long as the shows put out are a quality product. While there was some great stuff out in the Attitude Era, there was also a lot of reprehensible crap as well (I.e. The Trish Stratus incident I just mentioned among black face skits, homophobic insults and other types of misogyny). I just believe that they went in the PG direction because Linda didn’t want to give critics ammunition during her senate run rather than some road to Damascus change of heart. Or as I said pure cynicism. Do you really think they would have gone PG had Linda not wanted a political career? They would have stuck with what made money as they did when they first changed in 1997.
        2) With the money that Vince has made and his insistence that talent not unionize because he likes to view negotiations as if he were ‘dealing with family’ (his words, not mine), it seems insincere to turn around and not adequately reimburse your employees for the upkeep of the equipment they need to do their jobs: their bodies. Most people don’t put in half the hours an opening card guy would in WWE but if they were asked to say pay out of their own pocket for fuel or repairs on a company car, they would be rightfully pissed off. In the end that would ultimately be merely money. These guys over and over again sacrifice their health and Vince cynically redefines then as independent contractors. If you want to see exhibit A, look at the late Tom Billington, Chris Benoit, Mick Foley, Kamala or any of the guys whose hearts gave out.
        As Roddy Piper said, it was a disgrace that Linda could piss all that money up against the wall for senate runs but they couldn’t spare money to make sure many of the guys who broke their bodies to keep the company going couldn’t have their basic health needs looked after. Your argument is basically injustice for all without taking into account how much filthy lucre Vince has made over the years.
        3) I personally would have preferred to see Sting go over AND I was always a WWF fan during the Monday Night Wars but that has nothing to do with what I was saying. My point there was why even go there? It was friggin’ fifteen years ago that WCW booked themselves into oblivion. Why not run a storyline that has a fresh take on that potential feud rather than run over old ground so Vince can boost his brittle ego. I was a teenager when the MNWs were raging and I didn’t give a rat’s ass about the WWE vs. WCW ‘war’ in 2015 and haven’t since 2001.
        4) I agree with you with to an extent with Cena but part of that comes back to management. Of course a star with Cena’s clout would need to OK a character change but the bookers and Vince have been more than happy to go along with the same stale formula despite him being ‘polarizing’ since 2006. It’s been sheer pig headedness from Dunn and McMahon that allowed that status quo to remain.
        5) The problem with the over the hill, half retired guys isn’t merely the fact that they can’t physically go anymore. It’s the problem of TV age, as Deal and Bryan pointed out in The Death of WCW. These guys have taken up the lions’ share of TV time for the last 20 years and people are well and truly over watching the main event from 1998-2005 in 2019. The other problem is that the guys who main evented Crown Jewel are also quite frankly not physically up to it (and that’s coming from a life time Undertaker mark).
        On a final note, there is one thing that Art didn’t mention in his excellent induction is Vince’s track record on portraying Arabs/Muslims on his show. In the direct aftermath of 9/11 anyone with brown skin and a middle eastern name was automatically a foreign heel. My personal favorite was when he sent the Great Khali out with Daviari, not apparently aware why India and Pakistan are partitioned in 1947. Do we even need to mention Mohammed Hassan? He was all rah rah and super patriotic. 15 years down the track when the country where the bulk of the highjackers came from decided to cut him a cheque, his principles from 2001-05 disappeared pretty quickly.

        • thegreatgreninja says:

          “I don’t necessarily have an issue with the PG rating per se so long as the shows put out are a quality product. While there was some great stuff out in the Attitude Era, there was also a lot of reprehensible crap as well (I.e. The Trish Stratus incident I just mentioned among black face skits, homophobic insults and other types of misogyny). I just believe that they went in the PG direction because Linda didn’t want to give critics ammunition during her senate run rather than some road to Damascus change of heart. Or as I said pure cynicism. Do you really think they would have gone PG had Linda not wanted a political career? They would have stuck with what made money as they did when they first changed in 1997.”

          Actually, the main reason why they went PG was to lure in more advertisers. But the Linda fiasco is a good point too. Also add the Chris Benoit killing spree as well.

    • Orch says:

      Summed up pretty well. I sadly lost the last of my respect for the company a long time ago.

  12. dowman5744 says:

    Wonder why Mysterio has “Mexican” tattooed on his stomach? Seems like he is ashamed of being an American. Having seen him sporting a Capt. America themed get up, I wonder if he’s proud of his country only when it’s convenient for him.

  13. thegreatgreninja says:

    Somebody has to say it, but…

    Vince McMahon needs to BLEEPING DIE!!!

    And anybody who doesn’t like the idea of wishing death on him, well, DON’T BITCH ABOUT WHY NOBODY IS WATCHING THE SHOWS ANYMORE!!!

    • Guest says:

      …..You don’t need to argue Vince needs to die in order to make the arguments as to why no one is watching the shows anymore you can simply state Vince needs to step down which most sane and rational thinking people have suggested. Secondly despite your assertions Vince dying doesn’t just suddenly mitigate a lot of the things he’s signed off on good and bad.

      • thegreatgreninja says:

        Vince is NEVER going to step down! The only for that to happen is to die or have a gigantic scandal. Either way, Vince McMahon Jr. needs to be put down along with Lorne Michaels!

        • thegreatgreninja says:

          I really hate the lack of an edit feature.

          Here’s the full message.

          “Vince is NEVER going to step down! The only way for that to happen is for him to die or have a gigantic scandal. Either way, Vince McMahon Jr. needs to be put down along with Lorne Michaels!”

  14. It says:

    Here I thought that HBK’s return would eventually lead to something good like him putting over AJ styles, Daniel Bryan or Seth Rollins at Wrestlemania.

  15. Simon says:

    Actual conversation overheard between Shawn and Kane backstage:

    “Glen, we’re not doing this for the money…..we’re doing it for a sh**load of money!”

  16. Raging_Demons says:

    This was probably the greatest Gooker of all time! It has broken records for: Majorityof the vote (52%), Margin Of Victory (Between first and second is 40%, rest averages about 45%), & First Gooker to get 50%. That is a statement about how bad this was! Not only all these matches were bad I think Art forgot how HBK did his Gay Popeye impersonation!

    Honestly John Oliver should get an honorary Gooker for influencing votes for The Gooker.

    BTW Art. I found out awhile back why Daniel Bryan and John Cena refused to go for Crown Jewel. Bryan’s reason was simple and morally ethical, he did not like the Saudi’s view on women and he did not like how Sami Zayn was treated at Greatest Royal Rumble (Zayn is of Syrian descent and the Saudi’s did not like that so he was forced off the show) While Cena did it for the money, as in his post-WWE agent told him if he went to Crown Jewel it would screw up his Hollywood career.

  17. Wrestling With Ego says:

    I don’t watch wrestling anymore but I keep up to speed through this site and Jim cornettes hilarious rants. Great induction. The ultimate bad joke has to be the main event. A guy who’s supposed to be a corporate figure, two retired veterans, and the mayor of Knoxville! Wtf???

    Only a few in wrestling go out with dignity, most just stay and make a mockery of their legacies. Flair, hogan, HBk, taker. Don’t be too surprised years from now to see the 60 year old miz hobble down to the ring to tell everyone how awesome he is before a run in from the returning old man john cena! This doesn’t happen anywhere else! You don’t see Pete rose returning to baseball! Michael Jordan isn’t going back to basketball! Wrestlers though will keep going even though they are completely out of it!! Also all time low for ratings? A shocker to nobody!!

    • Guest says:

      “This doesn’t happen anywhere else!”

      Well it makes sense, as wrestling doesn’t require the wrestlers to exert themselves much like those other sports…..plus many of those leagues would never realistically let the athletes continue participating after a certain age especially if they have obvious health problems like a heart condition and such.

      • Wrestling With Ego says:

        It’s not just that, it would look ridiculous to have a guy way over the hill return to the sport only to show the world he should stay retired. Which is quite common in wrestling. A lot of “retired” wrestlers end up back in the ring, nostalgia feel soon turns to facepalming most of the time!

    • StewPac says:

      Actually Michael Jordan did come out of retirement to play basketball again …twice.

  18. Christopher Haydu says:

    * I meant to type Saudi Arabia, not Iran. Sorry. I wish WrestleCrap allowed posters to edit comments.

    Anyway, was John Cena booked to win the tournament before he dropped out of Crown Jewel?

  19. Chris the Bambikiller says:

    Art… I always like your inductions. They’re very well made and entertaining.

    This one is simply outstanding.

    You explained in great depth, but easily understandable, the backstage politics of WWE as well as what was going on in Middle Eastern and international politics leading to this event, putting everything into context… and you managed to make it damn funny.

    You’re not just a great comedy writer, you’re a great writer. Thank you.

  20. IC says:

    Between the lack of inductions the last couple of weeks and RD not writing this one, is RD okay?
    Haven’t seen a status update.

  21. Mav says:

    Well said, Mr. Glen. This is an atrocity, even by current WWE standards.

    Stephanie made a joke about dismemberment weeks after a journalist was hacked to pieces in real life?

    Wow. Just when you think they can’t sink any lower.

    All of this is just complete garbage to me.

    I loved the WWF as a kid. Loved.

    But WWE today is beyond tone-deaf.

    They’re just a bunch of rich jerks.

    I’ll always be sad that WCW didn’t win the war.

    • Guest says:

      “I’ll always be sad that WCW didn’t win the war”.

      I’ll never understand why people unironically offer up this take.

  22. Christopher Haydu says:

    I’m glad Mav brought up WCW in the last post. Much of what WWE does these days draws unfavorable comparisons to WCW, ECW, NWA, etc. There’s a perception, justifiably so, that NWA/WCW would never have sunk so low. But what about when WCW went to North Korea in 1995? Kim Jong Il was the dictator then. The whole event, the Sports Peace Festival or whatever it was called, was the exact same effort that the Saudi government is attempting with contracting with WWE: they’re trying to whitewash their reputation for being an oppressive regime by basically lying to the entire planet with a well produced pop culture event. And make no mistake, Kim Jong Il was one of the most ruthless dictators in history. North Korean people are still sentenced to concentration camps for the rest of their lives for “crimes” as minor as watching South Korean media.

    That said, I think WCW deserves a lot of criticism for having gone to North Korea. They deserve as much criticism as WWE is receiving for going to Saudi Arabia. In my opinion, wrestling promoters see themselves as being in competition with real sports leagues, and as a result they’ll do business with the most oppressive regimes on the planet under the premise of growing the wrestling business. The NFL, NBA, MLB, etc. would never do this. If wrestling is ever going to be grouped with other professional sports in the public consciousness, promotions have to behave as American institutions the way professional sports leagues tend to do.

    • Guest says:

      “That said, I think WCW deserves a lot of criticism for having gone to North Korea. They deserve as much criticism as WWE is receiving for going to Saudi Arabia”.

      Keep in mind though that WCW event in North Korea was never televised in full and as of this writing it’s not even on the WCW network.

      “That said, I think WCW deserves a lot of criticism for having gone to North Korea. They deserve as much criticism as WWE is receiving for going to Saudi Arabia. In my opinion, wrestling promoters see themselves as being in competition with real sports leagues, and as a result they’ll do business with the most oppressive regimes on the planet under the premise of growing the wrestling business. The NFL, NBA, MLB, etc. would never do this”.

      ….You must’ve not read about Nazi Germany getting to host both the Summer & Winter Olympics in 1936, China hosting the Summer Olympics in 2008 (and will get to host the 2022 Winter Olympics), Russia hosting the Winter Olympics in 2014, or Qatar getting to host the 2022 World Cup

      Sporting Organizations (especially legitimate ones) hitching themselves to oppressive and shady governments or regimes is nothing new.

      “If wrestling is ever going to be grouped with other professional sports in the public consciousness, promotions have to behave as American institutions the way professional sports leagues tend to do”.

      This is kind of a bit backhanded since America for as many good things we’ve done as a country have and still engage in a lot of fucked up shit towards both our own people and people of other countries. For god’s sakes we still have yet to and will not issue a formal apology to Japan for what we did to civilians in the country during World War 2 (though we acknowledge that internment camps were bad). yet hypocritically the U.S. wants Japan (along with Germany) to forever acknowledge the atrocities they committed during that period.

  23. Jay says:

    Knowing Vince/Shane/Steph/Trip,

    I am shocked,nay APPALLED they did not try and force Rikishi to stand in and try to be Yokozuna for MbS

    “C’mon Kish! It’s ah….it’s a TRIBUTE to him!!! Look at it that way!!!”

    • M says:

      It wouldn’t surprise me if they reunited Hawkins and Ryder on TV so they can dress them up as Edge and Christian for a TLC match against The Hardy’s at the next Saudi show

  24. K7 says:

    You could say that this was the “Crown Jewel” of Gooker Awards.

  25. KatieVictoriasSecret says:

    Excellent job squaring away this hot mess, Art!

    This is one of those train wrecks that, pre Network, would get blown off as a Saturday Night’s Main Event with as much editing as possible applied to chop the thing into a watchable production. But editing can’t save them pushing Shane McMahon as a viable contender for anything (and I’m including his run with the tag belts with the Miz when they just called up a crapload of new tag teams from NXT).

    Today i learned that the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels are the same age. Would’ve never guessed it back in their prime. Fast forward thirty years and Taker’s starting to look younger than Shawn.

    • Guest says:

      “(when they just called up a crapload of new tag teams from NXT)”.

      I wouldn’t say calling up SaNiTy (a stable) The AOP (who got to win the Raw tag titles but are now in limbo due to one of the guys getting injured), & Heavy Machinery who have only been on the main roster for barely a month total a crapload of teams…..especially when the tag division already has a crapload of teams to start with.

      • KatieVictoriasSecret says:

        Eh, true. There’s just a lot of guys who’re already in the division who deserve a better shake. If it evens out in the end and Shane at least puts a team over on the way out, I’ll consider all of this worthwhile but at the moment, bleh.

  26. Andre Reichenbacher says:

    I have to say, I’m really glad I skipped this one. In contrast, I liked the Greatest Royal Rumble. That event was just fine, and I bought the DVD and watched it the other day. I’ve always liked battle royals in general. But I decided not to watch Crown Jewel. I’d say that I made the right decision. Great induction, Art. I voted for this to win the Gooker and it did! All right!

  27. Spadge says:

    Is any of this really new, though? Off-color “humor”, dubiously sincere “inclusiveness” (the superstars might be sincere, but I doubt management is), sidelining the Divas, tone-deaf “political” shenanigans, pandering to patriotism (cf. Rusev’s debut and WE THE PEOPLE), boneheaded swerves, pushing old hosses for ONE MORE MATCH, etc. are par for the WWE course at this point. The only real difference this time is that one of the ringleaders was a self-absorbed overlord that would throw a royal bitchfit if he didn’t get his way, and another was a Saudi prince. The Saudi sponsorship sealed the deal, but otherwise this seems like business as usual as far as awful PPVs go.

  28. NextChamp says:

    That photoshop of showing how big that screen is compared to Mysterio makes this article a winner for me.

    However: I still think the Sasha/Bayley “feud” was the worst thing of 2018.

    It is BY FAR THE WORST BOOKING this company has EVER done. Killed both women dead for the entire year and just made a mockery of booking a wrestling show.

  29. Jimbolian says:

    Art, you nailed it on the head. If you take out the Saudi money, the horrible thing that happened to the journalist, and well, the whole damn thing taking place in Saudi Arabia claiming women have a right in the country now, this whole thing was a disasterpiece.

  30. Daniel McCloskey says:

    Well, it finally happened.
    We now have a Gooker winner that has caused me to completely hate wrestling.
    Guess I won’t be hanging around this site anymore…

  31. FnFranchise says:

    Long-time supporter of WrestleCrap since its inception,

    My God, this has to be the funniest induction I have read solely because of the recap of the main event! I literally cried laughing at the captions and GIFs of the botches. Poor HBK on that moonsault though, it could have ended up being a lot worse.

  32. Jimbolian says:

    Once again Art, you’ve truly outdone yourself in giving us this greatly written induction.

    It makes me wonder though, if WWE pulled this off back in early 90’s, would Ted DiBiase have become the Billionaire Dollar Man for competing?

  33. Alexi says:

    yeah this show was garbage. Forget the whole Journalist murder ( a lot of the outrage was just weird too me considering all the shit Saudi Arabia has done i.e. funding extremists madrassas, 9/11 hijackers etc.) It made WWE look like corporate goofs

  34. Orch says:

    I stopped watching WWE regularly a good 5 years ago, I occasionally go to podcasts and such for an update when I hear the shit hit the fan. I remember hearing Solomonster reviewing crown jewel laughing his ass off and just sounding so exasperated by what he had just witnessed. Excellent induction

  35. Lee W. says:

    I wonder if they wanted to bring in Yokozuna for a surprise reunion with Owen Hart……….

  36. TheDude says:

    This show was alright in the beginning but damn did it suck at the end. Greatest royal rumble wasnt this bad. Oh well, at least during the Saudi shows I don’t have to watch awful women’s matches

  37. Captain Obvious says:

    “But WWE, despite having male wrestlers on the main roster from at least 10 different countries, included only Americans in its World Cup to determine the best in the world.”

    I HATE TO BE THAT GUY but you could argue that Rey Mysterio was representing his home country of Mexico, thus not having the World Cup Tournament contested between all American wrestlers.

    Forget about that AJ Styles joke , I’m still scratching my head over that Naomi snatching someone bald joke. Something I missed? Enlightenment please!!

    • Matthew Castillo says:

      Rey Mysterio is from California, not Mexico

    • Arcane Azmadi says:

      Naomi once threatened Alexa Bliss when Bliss pretended she didn’t know who Naomi was: “I’ll show you exactly who I am. Why don’t you step through those ropes? Girl, I will snatch that blonde hair BALD!”

  38. Jimmy says:

    The gooker should go to this terrible site for locking me out of the archives with some 404 error. I understand the majority of what gets said on this site and in your books are lies but didn’t expect the site itself to be a lie

  39. Mark Markham says:

    @ Captain Obvious not only is ‘snatching someone bald’ a saying, the joke implies that Naomi may have quite a bit of weave and extensions in her hair, making it quite possible to snatch her bald.

    I still have the network ATM because it’s cheap and NXT and Classic Shows are still fun to watch. I know a part of it is nostalgia, but I can watch the old jobber squash matches from NWA World Championship Wrestling and get more enjoyment and story out of it than most of WWE’s current product. NXT remains the best thing that the WWE has going. I hope that the rest of the product starts to resemble it once Triple H takes over.

    I thought the Shane McMahon stuff was funny especially the follow-up with the Miz having him do so many coast-to-coasts while Shane looks half-dead, but Ziggler vs. Miz in a “real” match would have been better. Why have a tourney at all just to crap on it?

    The ethics questions with SA…I don’t know it’s hard to say what really is best for business, but clearly viewership is down for the main product. That could have just as much to do with oversaturation of wrestling on any given week than anything else. I do know that I’m watching less ‘first run’ episodes than I have in years.

    At least the inductions are still funny.

  40. Anthony says:

    This show was almost as bad as Legends of Wrestling in 1999.

  41. Segaz says:

    I’m laughing and laughing at that DX vs Brothers of destruction part. Literally crying. That alone made it the gooker to me. Really cried with laughter. Excellent write up

  42. Thun says:

    The thing I find weird is that the WWE itself isn’t really in the verge of bankruptcy or something of the like. I get that it’s… y’know, boatloads of money but still, that’s too much of a compromise to have with a king that has a pretty bad record as is. WCW might not have been saints, but they only did a thing in North Korea once and even then it’s not like they were paid fuckloads to do so.

    Also, some of the recent Gookers all keep showing WWE as a major mess in terms of a place to work at. You may end up getting punished for trying to progress at your job (the Brass Rings), you might see attempts at fucking up your relationship with those you love just for the hell of it (the Love Trapezoid) and now you may also end up having to entertain some Arabian sheikh that might have just come back from torturing some really poor souls.

    I at least found the induction funny, some really great written stuff. Also, they apparently are planning for another event at May. They just don’t learn.

    • thegreatgreninja says:

      Trust me when I say this, Vince will use WWE money (and anybody who believes WWE money won’t be involved are morons) to make sure the XFL will succeed this time. That would most definitely cause all that blood money to circle the drain!

  43. Bastion Booger says:

    You wanna play 21? I got 22! You wanna play blackjack? I got two of those too!

  44. Ze Frenchie says:

    But… where was Muhammad Hassan? I’m sure he could have had a great run at Crown Jewel!

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