By | November 7, 2022

A return to Riydah only meant another evening of stellar wrestling for WWE’s women’s division. Though only RAW was represented this Arabian night, “Crown Jewel 4” served up what could be played back by wrestling enthusiasts for years to come.

Once storied rivals in the late twenty-tens, Alexa Bliss and Asuka somehow wrested the Tag Titles from the Damage CTRL faction and the two were looking to retain in a rematch at Mrsool Park. Asuka and Bliss, former champions in their own right, had been underutilized in WWE’s flagship brand for the past several years, made to look weak and disposable intentionally by Creative so it was refreshing and surprising to see Bliss start things off against Kai and essentially son her. Every move Kai used was well scouted and countered, while Bliss taunted her to an extent that had the crowd behind her as opposed to the expected heel heat that she is effortlessly able to receive.

When Asuka entered the ring, though capable, she took the most bumps for her team allowing Iyo Sky to show off her impressive array of in-ring athleticism for the crowd deep in the Middle East. Specific spots that can be referred to were Olympian level cartwheels used to weave from positions in the turnbuckle that easily could have been turned into a tree of woe, and pocket kicks within those corners that turned the tide more than once throughout the match.

Seeing their evolution through NXT and hearing about their dominance on RAW it was odd to see Kai & Sky in a position of weakness. Though, the outside interference to win back the titles from the Faces sold the idea that Damage CTRL may be far from the undercard, but only because they are so willing to perform underhanded.

As was the leader of their stable, Bayley who looked to close the night in Saudi Arabia with a win over the reigning Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair in a Last Woman Standing match. Though she failed in her attempt, she was able to personify herself as the ultimate foil to Belair’s shining protagonist that she has perfected on-screen.

The women pulled out all the stops in Mrsool park. There were some imaginative spots that riffed on classics like the golf cart spot that Kevin Owens and Roman Reigns once utilized, but instead of one of the competitors being ran over Bayley took a wicked spill over the drivers seat on a top of a table onto the concrete outside the ring.

The wardrobe box being used like something out of a casket match, with Belair emerging from under it over as much as any of the Undertaker’s inescapable face runs all the way to the final spot with the ladder being utilized in the corner to prevent Bayley from beating the ten count, which was far more innovative than any recent match up in both male and female divisions of the promotion where the challenger tends to get literally and metaphorically buried by debris in their losing effort.

As Bayley once began her career in question as to if she could endure matches with hardcore stipulations, this last woman standing match at Crown Jewel 4 has put her in a class of her own since her Hell In A Cell matches in the recent past had already silenced any doubts.
She might look goofy as ever in that Artic Thunder get up, but she isn’t afraid to get that V-Day uniform dirty. Bayley’s character from once taking kendo shots, to now being the first one to reach under the mat has transcended not only fear but also being a heel or a top card worker.

Matches like these are what WWE Collections are made for and this match at Crown Jewel 4 has guaranteed Bayley not only as a future HOF’er but also as a hardcore legend and one of the most convincible heel’s in the company’s history. As for Belair, yes it was just another day at the office. She is the proverbial hero : she fell from the start of the bell, played possum and sold it not only to her opponent, but the entire crowd … before she powered up and got off three suplexes in short order and showing why she continues to retain; why she is still the champion and the face of her faction and the company going into Survivor Series.

Belair was regal in purple with red stripes and fringes, she looked like she had a date with an otherworldly force of devastation after the bell rung. She looks and carries herself like she belongs on comic book covers, even though she started off as a pompous heel who could back up all her boasts with both her beauty and athleticism.

Here lies the bedrock to what made Crown Jewel 4 so entertaining : all the women inside the squared circle had arguably their greatest reactions from the crowd when they played the other side of the tracks, with audiences unsure and (to this day) begging for them to go back to what many view as the peak of their character development. The thing is is that their athletic acumen doesn’t change, whether they play Face or Heel. The members of Damage CTRL, Bianca Belair, Asuka, and Bliss can always find a way to get a pop from a crowd at the least and at the most their undivided attention.

Given whoever was in Creative for Crown Jewel 4, they were able to accomplish the latter making the efforts put forth in the ring and out in production for this PLE absolutely criminal to go unnoticed.

SCORE: 4/5