SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos Attacked WWE Champion Big E and Drew McIntyre
The mic work from McIntyre and Big E was what you'd expect from them and I appreciate the effort to get people invested in their match at Crown Jewel, but it's hard to blame fans for not caring because it's extremely obvious McIntyre isn't winning due to being drafted to SmackDown. The Usos also played their roles well and this segment served to set up the night's tag team main event.
Xavier Woods def. Ricochet in a King of the Ring Quarterfinal Match
I was so happy when the bracket was revealed last week on SmackDown and I saw Woods was a part of it knowing how much he's wanted to partake in/win one, but I honestly expected him to be bumped in the first round. Thankfully, that was not the case. They had a super entertaining encounter with Ricochet doing Ricochet things and Woods getting to showcase his skills as a singles competitor for a change. Woods winning was a genuinely cool moment given how much it means to him.
Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin def. Mustafa Ali and Mansoor
We still have no idea whether The Hurt Business is officially back together or not. Alexander and Benjamin will wear the shirt, but they haven't actually interacted with Lashley outside of interfering in his matches on his behalf. How bizarre. At any rate, I was excited for this outing knowing how fun it could have been, but it ended up being less than two minutes long. I realize it was designed to cement the split between Ali and Mansoor to set them up for their match at Crown Jewel, but could they not have given more time on a three-hour show?
Shayna Baszler def. Dana Brooke in a Queen's Crown Quarterfinal Match
This was the one Queen's Crown tournament match I was fine with being brief because Brooke is a complete jobber and isn't anywhere near Baszler's level, not to mention that Baszler is in the midst of a push at the moment and looks to be becoming the badass she was back in NXT. Baszler decimated Brooke and won with ease. She needs to be the one that goes all the way and wins the entire tourney. That would be an effective way of getting her back on track after over a year of losing.
Omos def. Raw Tag Team Champion Riddle
Weren't we supposed to get Omos against Randy Orton last week? So why would Omos face Riddle on this show instead? I feel like we've seen every combination of these teams against each other at least two or three times and it's gotten old. I have no doubt their rematch at Crown Jewel will be enjoyable, but this rivalry ran its course a while ago. This was booked as a straightforward squash for Omos before the babyfaces stood tall afterward.
Bobby Lashley Addressed Goldberg
I've been super impressed with Lashley's promo work over the last several weeks. MVP was doing a majority of the talking for him, but without him around, Lashley has done a great job of holding his own on the mic. He spoke with intensity and got his point across nicely. He brought up Goldberg's threat of killing him quite a few times. If WWE doesn't deliver murder at Crown Jewel, some people are going to be disappointed (and no, they shouldn't, so don't get any ideas).
Austin Theory def. Jeff Hardy
Normally I'd save a match like this for a pay-per-view, but the Crown Jewel card is already packed and they'll be on separate shows in two weeks, so I was fine that WWE gave it away here. It would have been nice had they bothered to advertise it in advance, but oh well. I was looking forward to it, but it was too short to be anything special. On the bright side, Theory is already off to a better start on Raw than Karrion Kross was despite Kross being the NXT Champion at the time.
Jinder Mahal def. Kofi Kingston in a King of the Ring Quarterfinal Match
It was heavily teased coming into this contest that both Kingston and Woods would advance and face each other in the semifinals. That's a match I don't think we've ever seen before and it would have made for a very compelling story. Sadly, WWE didn't go in that direction and had Mahal advance, I guess because they wanted a heel in the semifinals and possibly the finals. Ugh. The match itself was solid, but I seriously have no interest in seeing Mahal make it to the finals and possibly win the whole thing.
SmackDown Women's Champion Becky Lynch and Raw Women's Champion Charlotte Flair vs. Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks Ended in a No Contest
Considering all four of these women are WrestleMania main-eventers, this really should have felt like a bigger deal and at the very least advertised in advance. It was one of those cases where both pairs of partners had to get along and the match was a mess as a result. It took forever to get underway, and when it finally did, it went all of five minutes. The referee called for the bell when they started brawling with each other, which was a weak finish. This was very underwhelming.
Doudrop def. Natalya in a Queen's Crown Quarterfinal Match
Believe it or not, this was the longest of all the Queen's Crown quarterfinal matches, and it was barely three minutes. What a disgrace. The former Piper Niven and Natalya could have had a much better match with more time, but Natalya bores me to tears and the Doudrop gimmick is beyond cringeworthy, so I can't say this did much for me. I feared Natalya would advance and win the whole thing because WWE wanted to spite AEW for starting their own tournament dedicated to Owen Hart, so I'm glad we're indeed getting Doudrop vs. Baszler in the next round after it was teased last week.
SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos def. WWE Champion Big E and Drew McIntyre by Count-Out
This match would have been better had WWE not just run the same story with the women's tag team match earlier. Seriously, how lazy is that? It was a well-wrestled main event, but the story of whether they could coexist wasn't too engaging. The babyfaces shouldn't have lost nor should they have beat the tag champs, hence why we got the finish we got. As previously noted, there's no way McIntyre beats Big E for the belt, so this feels like a wasted effort. I'm glad there's actual bad blood between them and they're not buddy-buddy, but everything else about this was standard stuff by WWE and I don't mean that as a compliment.
It's clear WWE is in a holding pattern until after Crown Jewel when the new rosters go into effect. That's why we're seeing Raw and SmackDown Superstars interact and why others aren't being featured at all. They're building up Crown Jewel more than they have for most of their Saudi Arabia shows, so hopefully that means it will be better than them, too. This was another mixed bag of an episode. The King of the Ring and Queen's Crown tournaments give the matches more meaning, but there's no excuse for the women not getting more time. The lazy storytelling with the top feuds on this show is inexcusable as well.