There are nine matches on the card for Crown Jewel 2021, which will take place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Thursday. This includes four championship bouts.
Brock Lesnar, set to wrestle his first match in over 18 months, will challenge Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship. However, it doesn’t sound like Reigns is about to drop the title.
Citing a source, Paul Davis of WrestlingNews.co reported that the 36-year-old superstar “is expected to hold the Universal Title for a long time and there are no plans for him to drop it this year.” The report also stated that Lesnar isn’t slated to wrestle again until the Jan. 29 Royal Rumble pay-per-view in St. Louis, Missouri.
These are obviously strong indicators that Reigns will retain his title at Crown Jewel one way or another.
The betting odds on Fox Bet suggest that there won’t be any title changes, too. So if you are a sports fan who enjoys betting you may have to look for the value in the line and make sure to use a Fox Bet promo code.
On Monday, Dave Meltzer reported on F4WOnline.com that WWE is planning a Bobby Lashley-Big E WWE Championship match and a Becky Lynch-Bianca Belair bout at the Dec. 26 event at Madison Square Garden.
That presumably means that Big E will successfully defend his WWE Championship against Drew McIntyre at Crown Jewel.
Of course, McIntyre was drafted to the SmackDown brand earlier this month, so it’s hard to envision a scenario where he becomes the new WWE Champion.
The Bray Wyatt Watch
Former WWE superstar Bray Wyatt (real name Windham Rotunda) was released by the company on July 31, and his 90-day non-compete clause is on the verge of expiring.
The clause will expire on Oct. 29, making Wyatt free to sign with whichever company he wishes. So, where will the former Universal Champion wind up?
AEW President and CEO Tony Khan recently told the New York Post that he’d “be interested” in talking to the 34-year-old Wyatt.
In last week’s edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (subscription required), Meltzer noted that Khan can’t talk to Wyatt in the duration of the latter’s non-compete clause as it would be considered tampering.
Meltzer also reported that Wyatt wants to use the ring name “Windham” (as noted above, his first name) going forward.
Several weeks ago, Bryan Alvarez of Wrestling Observer Live (h/t Davis of WrestlingNews.co), reported that Impact Wrestling is the more likely landing spot for Wyatt.
It should be noted that AEW and Impact Wrestling have a working relationship. So if Wyatt were to sign with one of those two companies, he would actually be free to work in both promotions
At any rate, it may just be less than two weeks until we learn of Wyatt’s next stop.
WWE TV Ratings Down, AEW Gaining Momentum
The go-home Crown Jewel episode of Monday Night Raw averaged just 1.593 million viewers, according to Showbuzz Daily (h/t Marc Middleton of WrestlingInc.com).
Middleton noted that this marks the seventh-lowest viewership in Raw‘s 28-year history. Even more concerningly: Raw recorded just a 0.39 rating in the key 18-49 demographic. That is the lowest in the show’s history, per Middleton.
Last week’s “Supersized” edition of Friday Night SmackDown on FS1 (FOX aired Game 1 of the 2021 ALCS between the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox), went head-to-head with AEW Rampage for 30 minutes.
According to Wade Keller of PW Torch, Rampage actually outdrew the SmackDown audience during that 30-minute period in the key 18-49 demographic. Rampage recorded just 328,000 viewers, per Keller, and Rampage garnered 285,000 viewers.
SmackDown and Rampage even tied in the 18-49 demographic, each scoring 0.24 ratings, per Showbuzz Daily (via Middleton).
WWE remains the most-watched and followed wrestling company in the world, but AEW will take any minor victory they can get. The company is less than three years old, and yet they’ve already shown the ability to compete with WWE’s top programs.
The Oct. 29 episode of Friday Night SmackDown will also air on FS1, with FOX airing Game 3 of the the World Series. That will mark a prime opportunity for AEW Rampage to tie or defeat SmackDown in the key 18-49 demographic.