Crown Jewel marked WWE's fourth major show in Saudi Arabia and a pair of unique participants in Tyson Fury and Cain Velasquez took the spectacle to new heights as they stepped into the WWE ring for their first matches.
Tim Fiorvanti, Matt Wilansky and Marc Raimondi recapped all the action as it happened.
Falls count anywhere for the Universal championship: "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt def. Seth Rollins (c)
Bray Wyatt is the new Universal champion. The most popular character in the WWE today absorbed a comical level of damage during his match against now former champ Seth Rollins, including eight stomps on a variety of different surfaces, countless superkicks and weapons shots. Even faulty pyrotechnics couldn't keep "The Fiend" down.
Put aside the unsustainability of a villain so completely impervious to pain or injury that fire and explosives couldn't slow him down. Forget that this was the second consecutive Universal title match that was too long and held exclusively under red light. Push past the fact that WWE has left Rollins in no-man's land in terms of crowd reaction and momentum, or the fact that Wyatt was drafted to SmackDown and now holds Raw's top title.
Those are questions for another day.
After emerging from an electrical and pyrotechnic "fire," Wyatt slapped on a mandible claw and hit a Sister Abigail on the floor of the King Fahd International Stadium. Then he covered Rollins for the three count.
In this moment, Bray Wyatt -- Firefly Funhouse, "The Fiend", his severed head lamp and all -- is at once of the WWE's top attractions and one of their top champions.
What's next: I can't imagine this is the last chapter between Wyatt and Rollins, for at least a dozen different reasons. But it should be. The cross-branded setup of Survivor Series will likely offer up yet another return match. Let's hope it's not held under red lights once again, but don't hold your breath.
Team Hogan (Roman Reigns, Rusev, Ricochet, Chad Gable and Ali) def. Team Flair (Randy Orton, Baron Corbin, Shinsuke Nakamura, Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre
Chalk this match up to a Survivor Series-like showdown a few weeks before Survivor Series. Ten superstars and two legendary Hall-of-Famers in the same ring with no real narratives to speak of.
But attach the names Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair to any match, any stipulation, and it's must-see TV. After lengthy entrances for every participant, including Roman Reigns, who might have received the longest and biggest pop of all, the match finally began.
Shorty G took control early, but it was Drew McIntyre who slowed the pace by overpowering Ali, giving Team Flair the first real advantage. Each competitor had a chance to shine, but the rivalries within the match never fully escalated. Rusev and Bobby Lashley took a few licks at each other, as did Shorty G and Baron Corbin.
In the end, this was about elevating Reigns, who has not had a significant storyline for months. Once he entered the ring, he cleaned house. At one point, Reigns dove over the top rope and took out the entire Flair squad.
But it was also Reigns who almost cost Team Hogan the win when Randy Orton caught him with an RKO. Moments later, though, the Big Dog took advantage of an opening created by the rest of his teammates and speared Orton for the three-count and win.
What's next: Truthfully, nothing as far as this actual match as a whole, but obviously some of the storylines within the battle will linger on, including Lashley-Rusev and Corbin-Shorty. But some of the brief encounters, such as Rusev-McIntyre, would make for some compelling television down the road. And if nothing else, perhaps we'll get a Team Hogan-Team Flair rematch at Survivor Series.
Natalya def. Lacey Evans
Natalya and Lacey Evans make history in Saudi Arabia
Natalya defeats Lacey Evans in the first ever women's wrestling match in Saudi Arabia at WWE Crown Jewel.
Wearing modified ring attire and T-shirts adorned with their names or symbols, Natalya and Lacey Evans made history in the first ever WWE women's match in Saudi Arabia.
"Just watching all of the women in the crowd, and the reactions that they had to seeing us out there before we did anything was surreal," said Evans to ESPN immediately after the match. "I'm just honored to get to make this change and help open these doors that had never been opened before."
After a slow start, with an emphasis on mutual respect and clapping for one another, followed by some basic back-and-forth, both women settled into familiar patterns from their months-long rivalry and folded their signature offense into the contest.
Dropkicks and top-rope efforts fell flat for Evans, Natalya ultimately locked in the sharpshooter and earned a submission victory.
In the aftermath of the match, Evans and Natalya raised each other's arms in the air and tearfully hugged inside the ring. They then greeted and celebrated with several women seated in the front row of the crowd, celebrating the moment.
"I've never been so nervous for a match," said Natalya. "Even when I was walking out down the ramp, I just felt like... even WrestleMania didn't feel this big to me, and this WrestleMania was pretty hard to top, because I walked out with my best friend, Beth Phoenix, and Bret Hart. Everything about tonight felt different, because I felt like no matter what happened in the match, what we were doing was opening doors.
"Everything was just magical tonight," Natalya continued. "Before we went to the ring, I told Lacey, 'Remember, this isn't just about wrestling tonight. This is so much more than just a wrestling match -- headlocks and holds, comebacks and finishes. This is about your daughter. This is about you being a mom. This is about your little girl's dreams, and when you were a little girl and what your dreams were."
What's next: Given they are on different shows, now, even though they briefly teamed up, each will go their own way towards uncertainty on their respective shows.
United States championship AJ Styles def. Humberto Carrillo
Whether it was a lack of connection with challenger Humberto Carrillo, the length of the show or the match's positioning on the Crown Jewel card, AJ Styles' United States title defense against Humberto Carrillo never felt like it got enough of a reaction from the crowd.
But it doesn't change the fact that Styles and Carrillo put on an entertaining match that showed more flashes of the overwhelming potential Carrillo carries with him going forward.
After matches against Seth Rollins and Styles in recent weeks on Raw, Carrillo had his biggest showcase to date with a shot at the United States championship after winning a 20-man battle royal. Despite some mesmerizing lucha libre-style offense off the ropes, the fans never fully bought into the match -- even during a wild sequence in the corner that included a Styles Clash attempt and multiple counters.
Styles ultimately won the match when Carrillo's knee, which had been targeted or tweaked multiple times in the match, gave out after a moonsault attempt. Styles hit the Phenomenal Forearm and retained the title.
What's next: For Styles, any number of new title challengers on Raw. For Carrillo, he should take the momentum from showing out against Styles and Rollins and start racking up some victories lower on the card.
Tyson Fury def. Braun Strowman
Fury's WWE debut definitely could have been worse. He took some awkward bumps, but didn't get injured and most importantly didn't open up any cuts around his right eye. Oh, and by the way, he beat Strowman by count out.
Strowman was trying to get back into the ring from the outside and Fury landed a right hand that sent Strowman crashing back to the floor. Strowman was unable to make the referee's 10-count to get in the ring and the bout was ruled a count out.
Fury, boxing's lineal heavyweight champion, didn't look terrible considering it was his first pro-wrestling match ever. He actually didn't punch all that much in the match. He had some decent offense with kicks that Strowman sold hard for him. His best spot was when Strowman was running around the ring to land a shoulder tackle and Fury leapt up with the help of the ropes and drop kicked him.
Strowman definitely did his best to make Fury look like a threat. Fury was bumping onto his tailbone after Strowman's offense, so he's likely to be pretty sore in the morning., but that's a small price to pay for a massive payday, right?
Afterward, Strowman attacked Fury and gave him his running powerslam finisher. Could that set up a rematch down the road? It would not be surprising to see Fury back in a WWE ring at some point, that's for sure.
What's next: For Fury? Probably a huge boxing rematch with Deontay Wilder at some point early next year, provided Wilder gets by Luis Ortiz. This match didn't do a whole lot to help Strowman, who definitely didn't come across as a monster by any stretch. It wasn't like Fury used his own combat sport -- boxing -- to batter Strowman. He landed the one punch, but otherwise Fury was using wrestling moves to down Strowman, which doesn't seem all that realistic. Any hope of this match giving Strowman any kind of mainstream rub was not to be.
Mansoor def. Cesaro
A year ago, hometown hero Mansoor made a name for himself by winning a 50-man battle royal at WWE Super ShowDown. And the truth is that his match against Cesaro on Thursday was booked solely for the local crowd.
Unfortunately, for Cesaro, who has become an almost guaranteed loss these days in WWE, there was never any doubt how this match would play out. Mansoor was a machine from the opening bell, although he was slowed down by a nasty uppercut from Cesaro that gave him the advantage for a few minutes. Mansoor then countered a top-rope strike from Cesaro into a drop kick, followed by a cross-body splash and a Tornado DDT. Cesaro survived a couple of near-falls and even summoned enough energy to land a gut-wrench suplex off the top rope.
Ultimately, Mansoor connected with a moonsault off the top rope to put away Cesaro, as the crowd sang the praises of their hometown hero.
Afterward, Mansoor spoke passionately to the crowd:"I woke up this morning, looked myself in the mirror and said, 'This is my most important match -- the most important match of my life.' I'll admit, I was scared; I was nervous. But then I stepped in here in front of all of you, in front of my family. And then I remembered, anything is possible."
Yes, even beating Cesaro.
What's next: Perhaps this singles bout will be the one that propels the talented Mansoor to the next level. For Cesaro, expect occasional TV time and a lot more losses.
Tag team turmoil match for the 'WWE world cup': The O.C. def. The Viking Raiders, The New Day, Heavy Machinery, Lucha House Party, Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins, The Revival, Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode and The B-Team
The OC walked out of Riyadh the winners of the Tag Team World Cup, as the last ones standing in the nine-team gantlet match. Here's how it all played out:
After a nice showcase to start the match between Robert Roode, Dolph Ziggler and the Lucha House Party, the first fall came when Roode hit a Glorious DDT on Gran Metalik.
Roode and Ziggler made quick work of Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder with a superkick and then an assisted ZigZag on Ryder.
Heavy Machinery took center stage, and Otis became an instant fan favorite, rallying the crowd. He and Tucker eventually they hit the Compactor on Roode to advance.
New Day was the next team in, and after a Trouble in Paradise knocked Otis out of the ring, Kofi Kingston flew off the top rope for an assisted Big Ending on Tucker to put Heavy Machinery out.
Big E hit a Big Ending on Curtis Axel after a short encounter with the B-Team to push himself and Kingston forward.
The Revival was next, and while Kingston rolled up Scott Dawson to keep New Day in contention, The Revival hit a shatter machine on Kingston on their way out. It's a good setup for their SmackDown tag team title match in a setting that couldn't be much different -- Buffalo, New York -- in just over 24 hours' time.
The OC made quick work of Kingston with a Karl Anderson boot and then the Magic Killer.
After targeting Erik's knee early in the scrap, an Anderson chop block to the back of Erik's knee set The OC up for the Magic Killer and the Tag Team World Cup victory. It was also a pinfall over the reigning Raw tag team champions, which will likely lead to some fallout Monday.
WWE championship: Brock Lesnar (champion) def. Cain Velasquez
Just like he did six-plus months ago at WrestleMania 35, Brock Lesnar's music kicked off the show, this time to a loud reaction from the crowd in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. But this time, Lesnar's opponent was far more of an unknown quantity than his foe at the Meadowlands, Seth Rollins.
Former two-time UFC champ Cain Velasquez made his way to the ring hoping for the same result as their showdown nine years ago at UFC 121, when Velasquez upset Lesnar to win the UFC heavyweight title.
Right away, you could see each man's MMA pedigree, as Velasquez landed a series of kicks and knee strikes, albeit none seemed to rattle the WWE champ until Velasquez knocked his opponent to the ground with a kick to the midsection and head.
But once on the ground, Lesnar was able to catch Velasquez in a kimura lock, forcing the WWE rookie to tap.
What's next: While a short match was anticipated, Lesnar walked away looking strong and, more importantly, avenged that loss from 2010. Velasquez is still green and there's nothing to suggest his storyline with Lesnar won't last for months to come.
Humberto Carrillo wins 20-man Battle Royal
Humberto Carrillo eliminated Rowan to win the Crown Jewel Battle Royal and earn a title shot against AJ Styles later in the night.
With three men left, Rowan and Harper agreed to take out Carrillo first, then set their sights on each other. As Harper lifted Carrillo over the ropes, Rowan hit Harper from behind and sent him over the ropes. Carrillo did go over the top rope, but his feet never hit the floor. He rolled back in and hit Rowan from behind to eliminate him and earn the title opportunity.
In the chaos of the final moments, R-Truth got his revenge on the Singh brothers, pinning Sunil to regain the WWE 24/7 championship.