WWE returns to Saudi Arabia on Thursday afternoon for the 2021 edition of Crown Jewel. As with other events in WWE’s partnership with the Saudi government, the promotion is bringing a stacked card to Mohammed Abdu Arena on the Boulevard in Riyadh. WWE Crown Jewel 2021: Start times, full card, how to watch on Peacock
Everything you need to know ahead of the Crown Jewel event on Thursday in Saudi Arabia
The action begins at noon ET and streams live on Peacock. There are nine matches set for the card, including four championship matches, a Hell in a Cell match, a no holds barred contest and the finals for both the King of the Ring and Queen’s Crown tournaments.
Let’s take a look at how we believe Crown Jewel will play out on Thursday.
2021 WWE Crown Jewel predictions
Universal Championship — Roman Reigns (c) vs. Brock Lesnar
While the creative steam is starting to run out of Reigns’ title run, it doesn’t seem WWE is quite ready to pull the trigger on taking the belt off of him. The central component to the entire Reigns vs. Lesnar story has been Paul Heyman. Heyman was once Lesnar’s “advocate” and is now Reigns’ “advisor.” Lesnar has played up that Heyman is still in his corner, sewing a sense of distrust in the Reigns camp. It would make sense for Heyman to reveal his loyalty remains with “The Tribal Chief” in helping Reigns pick up the win to retain his title. Pick: Roman Reigns retains the title
SmackDown Women’s Championship — Becky Lynch (c) vs. Sasha Banks vs. Bianca Belair
WWE is delivering a huge women’s match to Saudi Arabia, a country that initially didn’t allow women’s matches of any sort to appear on these WWE shows. Lynch has been drafted to Raw but holds the SmackDown title. It’d make sense, then, for her to drop the belt before the move. However, Charlotte Flair was drafted to SmackDown but defeated Belair on Monday to retain her Raw women’s title, so there’s no sense in thinking the result here dictates much of anything in regards to the titles and WWE has shown that they’re more than happy to correct the “wrong title on the wrong brand” thing by just doing a “title swap” segment. Pick: Becky Lynch retains the title
WWE Championship — Big E (c) vs. Drew McIntyre
After spending far too much time involved with the WWE title picture, McIntyre was forced to find something else to do after losing to Bobby Lashley in a match where he couldn’t challenge for the title again so long as Lashley held the belt if he lost. So, of course, McIntyre became Big E’s first big non-Lashley challenger after E won the championship. McIntyre is moving to SmackDown after Crown Jewel and it’s hard to imagine WWE wanting more title confusion between brands or wanting to end Big E’s reign so soon. Pick: Big E retains the title
Bobby Lashley vs. Goldberg (No Holds Barred)
Lashley dominated Goldberg at SummerSlam, forcing the referee to stop the contest. After attacking Goldberg’s son after the match, Lashley claimed it was just a misunderstanding. Goldberg hasn’t bought the excuse and has insisted that he intends to literally kill Lashley. Everything here is set up for a Goldberg revenge win. It would be classic WWE 50/50 booking, Lashley no longer holds the WWE title and Goldberg’s son can help his dad get the win under the No Holds Barred rules. Pick: Goldberg wins
Edge vs. Seth Rollins (Hell in a Cell)
This should bring the rivalry between Edge and Rollins to an end. There’s no bigger blow-off to a feud than putting the wrestlers in the Cell. But WWE has gone too long on feuds in the past and could again since both men are moving to Raw. This, like Goldberg vs. Lashley, has been a story of the heel going too far and threatening the family of the face. Rollins has broken into Edge’s home and repeatedly tried to end Edge’s career. In the pro wrestling playbook, this is the spot where you have the good guy go over in the big gimmick match. Pick: Edge wins
Raw Tag Team Championship — RK-Bro (c) vs. AJ Styles & Omos
Randy Orton and Riddle have become a solid tag team and a fun act overall. Riddle hasn’t quite caught on that Orton is perfectly willing to sacrifice him, but Orton hasn’t exactly been subtle about that. This is a rematch of another SummerSlam match and another title situation where it doesn’t make sense to flip the belts. Styles and Omos had a good run as champions, but RK-Bro has a lot of story to play out that doesn’t benefit from dropping the titles yet. Pick: RK-Bro retain the titles
Mansoor vs. Mustafa Ali
There is no easier pick on the card than this match. Mansoor is basically a superhero on the WWE cards in Saudi Arabia. He has won battle royals with more than 50 men involved and is undefeated on these shows. Ali — who has made it clear he will donate his pay from this card to charity — is a good foil, but one with no shot of winning this match. Pick: Mansoor wins
King of the Ring finals — Finn Balor vs. Xavier Woods
This was the correct choice for the finals and gives us a unique match, which is something very rare in modern WWE. Woods’ story has been that his dream was to win King of the Ring and there is certainly a lot of support for him to do so. Balor is also in need of a make-good move after losing to Reigns because the top rope “broke” right as he was about to win. WWE then just ignored that it ever happened and Balor moved right out of the title picture. King of the Ring is a thing where WWE likes to have a guy wear the crown and be called “King” for a while and that fits Woods better than Balor. It also adds another bit of history to New Day. Pick: Xavier Woods wins
Queen’s Crown finals — Doudrop vs. Zelina Vega
The Queen’s Crown tournament has been an absolute joke. A true embarrassment in every way. The average match time for the six tournament matches to this point has been 2:16. Compare that to the average King of the Ring match time of 10:03 and it’s easy to see why this whole tournament has been a complete flop. Expect the short Queen’s Crown matches to continue on Thursday when Doudrop gets the win in an attempt to get her struggling character a bit more over. Pick: Doudrop wins
The feud between Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar reignites on Thursday in Saudi Arabia.
Pro wrestling fans haven’t been happy with WWE presenting events in Saudi Arabia because of the political climate in the Middle Eastern country and the fact more notable matches occur there.
The pro wrestling giant is bringing their highest profile match there on Thursday as Crown Jewel takes place from Mohammed Abdu Arena on the Boulevard in Riyadh, as Roman Reigns defends the Universal Championship against former WWE and Universal titleholder Brock Lesnar.
Reigns and Lesnar are no strangers to one another. They have squared off in the main events of WrestleMania 31, WrestleMania 34 and SummerSlam 2018.
Lesnar returned after 16-months hiatus at SummerSlam in August when he confronted Reigns and his special counsel and former Lesnar advocate Paul Heyman after Reigns beat John Cena in the main event of the event.
Since then, Lesnar has been tugging at the strings of Reigns by dropping hints that he’s still aligned with Heyman. Along the way, Reigns has questioned whether he can trust Heyman, who hasn’t proclaimed which side he’s on.
It’s hard to predict which way WWE is going to lean in terms of a winner as it would appear this won’t be the last time we see this matchup.