The Bloodline stand tall following Roman Reigns' victory over Logan Paul. (Picture: WWE)

The penultimate Premium Live Event of 2022 transpired on Sunday morning, as WWE Crown Jewel took place in Saudi Arabia and was headlined by Roman Reigns vs Logan Paul for the Undisputed Universal Championship.

The main event undoubtedly stole the show and furthermore proved that Paul is the best celebrity wrestler to step foot in the WWE.

Although the majority of the show produced solid matches, there were some blemishes, including a disappointing affair between Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley.

There were three successful title retentions and new Women’s Tag Team Champions were crowned for the second time in one week. Some rivalries showcased at Crown Jewel also seem to be continuing heading into Survivor Series, where the event will be highlighted by the WarGames stipulation.

Finally, Bray Wyatt had an in-ring segment where it was hoped that the identities of Uncle Howdy or the ‘Wyatt 6’ would be revealed. Instead, the cowboy made another appearance and it’s still unknown whether it is a personality portrayed by Wyatt or someone else playing the character.

The Inner Sanctum has reviewed and provided an in-depth analysis for each match, giving a score out of five to every contest.

Picture: WWE

Lesnar wins despite dominant Lashley performance

Crown Jewel commenced with one of the most anticipated matches of the night, as Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley collided in their second-ever one-on-one match. It was believed that this clash would be better than their first, but it had an anticlimactic finish after just six minutes of in-ring action.

The Almighty wasted no time inflicting punishment on his opponent, as he attacked the Beast during his entrance and pushed him towards steel steps. Lashley then speared Lesnar on the outside, taking full control of the contest before it officially began.

After the bell rang, the Almighty delivered three spears to the Beast with the second putting him through the barricade on the outside. The former United States Champion then went for the early cover, but it wasn’t enough for him to score his second victory over Lesnar.

The Almighty looked to end it once and for all, applying a hurt lock to the Beast that was eventually countered into multiple German suplexes. When Lesnar gained momentum, he was able to connect with an F5 and applied a pin that Lashley kicked out of.

After Lashley took back control of the match on the outside, he placed the Beast in another hurt lock and it looked like Lesnar was about to pass out. The referee asked the latter if he wanted to quit, but the 2022 Royal Rumble winner ordered for the official to shut up.

Lesnar was able to keep his arm up to signal to the referee that he was not going to faint, before he made his way to the corner and kicked himself up to land on Lashley for a pin. The referee was able to make the three count, as a victory for the Beast was declared when the tide was against him.

It was the expected result, but the match was poor and Lesnar did not have a strong showing. He very rarely gets dominated inside the ring, but Lashley looked ultra-impressive and applied a hurt lock on his opponent in anger after the contest concluded.

A third and deciding clash seems possible, especially since a match between these two has plenty more to offer and a story was not told for this contest apart from Lesnar costing Lashley the United States Championship weeks ago.

Rating: 2/5

Picture: WWE

Damage CTRL recapture Women’s Tag Team Championships with an assist from Nikki Cross

The second match of the night saw Alexa Bliss and Asuka defend their newly-won Women’s Tag Team Championships against Dakota Kai and IYO SKY of Damage CTRL, just five days after winning the titles on this week’s Raw.

Bliss and Kai started the match in the ring and tried to pin each other several times, before their two partners tagged themselves into the contest. The reigning champions gained momentum soon after, until Kai opened the door for her team by launching an attack on Asuka’s leg which she struggled to recover from.

Damage CTRL then continuously targeted the leg of the Empress and isolated the champion in the corner, but Asuka was able to fend off a double team and tagged Bliss into the match. Alexa then delivered a tornado DDT and pinned Kai, but SKY was able to break the count.

Soon after, all four women were involved in a huge superplex from the top rope before Bliss attempted to end the match with her finisher on Kai. However, SKY distracted the champion and it allowed her partner to take advantage with a counter.

SKY and Asuka then exchanged blows on the outside and made their way into the ring, which distracted the referee and allowed the interfering Nikki Cross to deliver a twisted neckbreaker to Bliss. Kai then seized the moment and covered her opponent to win back the Women’s Tag Team Championships for Damage CTRL.

Hot-shot booking isn’t favoured by the WWE Universe and it can be argued that there was no reason to remove the titles from Kai and SKY in the first place. This rivalry now seems like it will bleed into Survivor Series, as these four should all be featured in the Women’s WarGames match that occurs in three weeks.

Rating: 2/5

Picture: WWE

McIntyre overcomes Kross and Scarlett in the steel cage

After the Women’s Tag Team Championship match, the steel cage was brought down to the ring with Drew McIntyre and Karrion Kross set to lock horns inside the structure. The two were meeting once again after competing in a strap match the latter won at Extreme Rules.

Kross was looking for a quick victory when the contest started by attempting to escape the cage, but he was met with McIntyre who prevented the move. However, the Scottish Warrior’s rival had early momentum in the piece until he worked himself back into the match.

McIntyre threw Kross off the top rope while hanging down in a display of strength and flexibility, but was later hit with an impressive flying knee from his opponent that nearly ended the match. Kross then gained control of the bout by applying a kross jacket to the Scottish Warrior, which McIntyre reversed into a headlock.

Soon after, Kross went for a kross hammer that Drew converted into a future shock DDT and it allowed for an opportunity to deliver a claymore kick. When the Scottish Warrior was lining it up, Scarlett unsurprisingly involved herself into the fray and it gave her husband the advantage.

Kross then started to climb the structure but when he made it to the top, McIntyre was able to meet him there to deliver a superplex. The Scottish Warrior asked the referee to open the door to escape, but Scarlett sprayed them both with the mace like she did at Extreme Rules.

Another victory for Kross with an assist from his wife seemed imminent and when he started approaching the door, McIntyre recovered and applied an ankle lock on his opponent; a move that isn’t usually in the Scottish Warrior’s repertoire.

Kross’ wife then closed and locked the door to prevent McIntyre from escaping, so he took the other route and climbed over the cage. Simultaneously, Kross was desperate to get through the door and Scarlett couldn’t unlock it in time before the Scottish Warrior made contact with the outside and won the match.

The contest was an improvement from their first clash at Extreme Rules and Kross showed more of what he is capable of in the ring. However, the match is detrimental to his stocks since he received help from Scarlett and still lost.

On the other hand, McIntyre was able to secure a much-needed win and whether this rivalry concludes now or at Survivor Series remains to be seen.

Rating: 2.5/5

Picture: WWE

Ripley once again poses as a thorn in the side of The O.C.

In The O.C’s first match as a group since Gallows and Anderson’s WWE return, the trio faced The Judgement Day in a six-man tag team match.

Finn Balor and Karl Anderson began the match in the ring and after a numerous amount of tags for both teams, AJ Styles and Dominik Mysterio injected themselves in the picture where The Phenomenal One got on top. The O.C. had the match on their terms as a result and took advantage of the lesser Mysterio, who was trapped in his opponent’s corner.

When Styles and Anderson were looking for a double team on Mysterio, he evaded the assault and Damien Priest gave The Judgment Day momentum with a devastating superkick to the IWGP NEVER Openweight Champion at ringside.

Anderson was then subject to The Judgment Day’s control and struggled to receive a tag from Styles or Gallows, but eventually brought the latter into the match who ran rampant. The O.C. looked for an early finish with an attempt for a magic killer on Mysterio, but Priest saved his partner before Anderson and Dominik clotheslined each other at the same time to equalise the situation.

Balor and Styles then made their way into the contest, as the leader of The Judgment Day applied a figure four leg lock which was broken by Anderson. The Phenomenal One superplexed Balor from the top, while Gallows planted Mysterio and Priest drove down Anderson onto the mat.

Everyone was down, but Styles and Balor remained in the ring while the illegal competitors cleared out to a shocked Rhea Ripley. She thought the match was turning in favour of The O.C. and planted Styles on the apron when he was gearing up for a phenomenal forearm, as the referee was distracted by Mysterio.

Balor took advantage of a downed Styles and hit a coup de grace in another win for The Judgment Day, who have looked dominant lately on Raw with the influence Ripley has had. The O.C. have been adamant that they need a woman to combat the Eradicator, but no-one was seen at Crown Jewel.

The match itself was decent and looks to be one of two possibilities for the men’s WarGames match at Survivor Series, while the other option would feature The Bloodline. If The Judgment Day partake in the stipulation match, it will be unclear whether Ripley would be involved or if Edge makes a comeback to align with The O.C.

Rating: 3/5


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Picture: WWE

Strowman beats Omos in the Nigerian Giant’s best match

It was Monster vs Giant in the next match of the night, as Braun Strowman collided against Omos in his first Premium Live Event match since returning to WWE.

The Monster of all Monsters was the smaller man in the match, which is something that is not seen often and he barely gained any offence against his opponent. Omos dominated Strowman for the majority of the match and delivered multiple powerslams.

The Nigerian Giant even had the strength to throw the Monster across the ring, treating him like he was nothing. Strowman somehow had some offence and clotheslined Omos over the top rope, but the latter was able to drive him down after the former Universal Champion attempted a running attack.

However, the Monster capitalised when it mattered most and delivered a running powerslam after sidestepping an assault from the Nigeran Giant to pin him for the win.

The match was good for the length it went and while it was projected Strowman would win, Omos had a very impressive performance and displayed his true power. However, it doesn’t bode well that he was pinned after just one powerslam when he dominated most of the match.

Rating: 3/5

Picture: WWE

Usos take one step closer to Tag Team Championship record at the expense of the Brutes

In order to strengthen their chances of becoming the longest reigning Tag Team Champions in WWE history, The Usos had to defeat The Brawling Brutes in their first title defense at a Premium Live Event since SummerSlam.

Jimmy Uso and Butch started the contest and the latter was able to duck a clothesline from the champion, before delivering a kick to Jey on the apron. The challenger then went for a rollup, but Jimmy kicked out and left the ring to gather himself.

As a result of the Bruiserweight’s rapid attack, The Usos decided to walk away from the ring with their titles since they had the champion’s advantage and can only drop the gold by pinfall or submission. However, Butch landed a flying knee on Jimmy and Jey to further gain control of the match.

Jey then brought the match to his terms and took his frustration out on Butch after the crowd in Saudi Arabia were chanting for the Honorary Uce, Sami Zayn. Butch eventually hit a tornado DDT to his opponent soon after and tagged in a fresh Ridge Holland.

He was able to neutralise both Jimmy and Jey, before paying homage to Sheamus by delivering beats of the Bodhran to the latter. He was then saved by his brother, but Butch stomped on Jimmy’s fingers which were set up on steel steps.

After an affair of superkicks and a near fall when Butch hit a moonsault on Jey, The Usos delivered a double splash on the Bruiserweight and a cover that was stopped by Holland. Holland had momentum and connected with a white noise to the right-hand man of Roman Reigns, but Jey kicked out even though Butch restricted Jimmy from breaking the count.

Soon after, The Brutes had the outnumber by delivering a double-team on Jey and sent Jimmy over the barricade into the crowd. Despite their efforts, Jimmy still prevented his brother from taking the pinfall loss before both teams exchanged blows in the ring.

The champions towards the dying stages of the match were on the cusp of retaining when they both superkicked Holland to send him on the outside, before hitting a 1D to Butch from the top rope to secure the win.

It was an entertaining encounter, with the Brutes increasing their popularity and The Usos now edging closer to becoming the longest-reigning Tag Team Champions of all time.

The duo now have one more roadblock to overcome to achieve the feat; they must defeat the current record holders, The New Day on Smackdown this week for the undisputed titles.

Rating: 3.5/5

Picture: WWE

Belair outlasts Bayley to retain the Raw Women’s Championship

In the second-last match on the card, Bianca Belair defended her Raw Women’s Championship against Bayley again in a last woman-standing match.

The leader of Damage CTRL drove her opponent immediately into the corner and demanded the referee to begin his count to ten, but the E.S.T wasn’t going to succumb that easily and fended off multiple attacks from Bayley when she had possession of weapons from under the ring.

It didn’t stop the challenger from grabbing a table and attempting a suplex, but Belair delivered her own to Bayley on the stage. The first close call of the match occurred, where the leader of Damage CTRL didn’t recuperate until the count of seven.

Bayley eventually produced a string of creative offence, where she trapped Belair between the ring apron and a pair of steel steps before placing a ladder on her head to prevent an escape for the champion. However, she resurfaced until Bayley launched a savage attack with a kendo stick.

The two competitors ended up on the isle, where the challenger was avoiding an assault with the same weapon she used on Belair prior. The E.S.T still used the kendo stick to her advantage, but the challenger remarkably delivered a Bayley to Belly at the top of the stage.

Both women were down until Bayley found an equipment case she drove into Belair, before she used innovative offense again by trapping her opponent with the lid. Although it didn’t work, the challenger then left the scene until she tried to run over the E.S.T with a golf cart.

Belair avoided catastrophe and they both fought on top of the cart, before the champion gained control of the vehicle and sent Bayley off onto a perched table that didn’t break. The E.S.T then tried her luck again to send her opponent through the woodwork, which she accomplished with a powerbomb.

Bayley was able to resurface at the count of nine, but the situation was looking bleak where she was lined up for a 450 splash featuring multiple steel chairs. Belair took the high risk with no reward, as she planted herself onto the pile of chairs after Bayley rolled out of harm’s way.

It opened the door for a new champion to be crowned and to complement Damage CTRL’s victory from earlier in the night, but Bayley found herself receiving a K.O.D knee first onto a chair and trapped in the middle of a ladder. As a result, she couldn’t beat the ten-count and Belair retained in another anticlimactic finish.

It was still a good match with surprisingly no interferences from Bliss, Asuka, Kai or SKY. The decision for Bayley to lose again is being questioned by the WWE Universe, as Damage CTRL need to keep being established as the top women’s faction in the company.

Rating: 3/5

Picture: WWE

Reigns challenged, but triumphs over Paul in fantastic main event

To conclude another Premium Live Event in Saudi Arabia, Roman Reigns defended his Undisputed Universal Championship against Logan Paul in only the latter’s third professional wrestling match.

The main event commenced with a collar and elbow tie-up, so both competitors could gain an early feel for each other. The Tribal Chief then shoved his opponent into the corner and taunted the crowd, who were all rooting for a Maverick miracle.

The social media megastar then turned it around by gaining some offence against Reigns before going for his lucky punch, but the champion ducked and removed himself from the ring to seek advice from Paul Heyman. After an emphatic hip toss from the challenger, Roman sent him over the barricade into the timekeepers’ area and gloated until he encountered a wicked crossbody and buckshot lariat from Paul.

The crowd was firmly behind the Maverick to achieve the impossible after he delivered a gut-wrench powerbomb and blockbuster from the top. Paul also connected with another crossbody and standing moonsault, proving his worth in the ring before dialing up for a sweet chin music.

Reigns intercepted with a uranage, but the moment arrived where Paul delivered his one lucky shot and ironically a superman punch to his opponent. Heyman was screaming in fear, but the Tribal Chief barely kicked out of a cover.

The Undisputed Universal Champion had to drag himself to the outside for a breather, but Paul was quick to react to Reigns’ response and cleared the Arabic announce table. He then grabbed his phone from his camp who were at ringside and filmed himself diving from the top rope to Roman through the table.

It was danger time for the Tribal Chief, as The Usos came out and brawled with Paul’s entourage. After Jimmy and Jey superkicked the challenger’s friends, Jake Paul made his way to the ring and struck down the pair with right hands.

More reinforcements were arriving for Roman when Solo Sikoa confronted Jake, but referees and officials were present to ensure a brawl didn’t break out between the two hard hitters. The Usos then recuperated and approached Logan’s brother, but the Maverick dove over the top rope onto everybody.

However, it bought enough time for Reigns to hit Paul with a spear for the victory to retain his Undisputed Universal Championship.

The WWE Universe knew the result of the main event for Crown Jewel was going to favour Roman Reigns, but everyone was eager to see how Logan Paul would fare against the Tribal Chief in only his third professional wrestling match; and he put on an incredible show.

Unfortunately, Paul revealed that he had suffered three individual injuries due to his contest against Reigns. He announced on social media that he had torn his meniscus, MCL and possibly his ACL.

It is a brutal blow for the Maverick, who earned the respect of many and even sent Reigns into an emotional state after the match. When the champion was walking down the ramp backstage, he shed a few tears and passionately screamed that Paul was never going to dethrone him.

Rating: 4.5/5

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