21 Jan

2022 WWE Crown Jewel predictions, card, matches, PPV preview, start time, date, location

WWE Crown Jewel is set to go down on Saturday as WWE returns to Saudi Arabia. WWE is bringing most of its top stars to the event, taking another big swing in its controversial relationship with the country’s government.

In the main event, Roman Reigns will defend the undisputed WWE universal championship against social media star Logan Paul. Reigns has been the universal champion since August 2020 and unified that title with the WWE championship at WrestleMania 38 in April. Paul has only had two matches in his career, teaming with The Miz to defeat The Mysterios and then defeating The Miz in a singles match.

Also on the card is a real-life recreation of Godzilla vs. Kong. Two of WWE’s largest superstars, Braun Strowman and Omos, will test the durability of the ring when they exchange blows on Saturday. Other notable matches include Raw women’s champion Bianca Belair vs. Bayley in a Last Woman Standing match, and Drew McIntyre vs. Karrion Kross in a steel cage.

Let’s take a closer look at who our CBS Sports experts predict will come out on top at WWE Crown Jewel, which begins Saturday at noon ET from Mrsool Park in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and streams live on Peacock.

2022 WWE Crown Jewel predictions
Undisputed WWE Universal Championship — Roman Reigns (c) vs. Logan Paul: This is such an odd match. It seemed WWE would build Paul up through more special matches before throwing him into any sort of title match. While he has been truly outstanding in his two matches, there’s basically no way Paul walks away as undisputed champion. That said, there’s a chance he could win by disqualification to remain undefeated while not taking the title off of Reigns. It makes more sense that Reigns just takes the win here while Paul looks good enough that there’s no damage done to him as a rising star. Pick: Roman Reigns retains the title — Brent Brookhouse (also Shakiel Mahjouri)

Raw Women’s Championship — Bianca Belair (c) vs. Bayley (Last Woman Standing Match): In any other match type, I’d likely lean toward Bayley to end Belair’s long run and freshen things up a bit. But having Bayley go over under Last Woman Standing rules just doesn’t feel right and Belair managing to Superwoman her way through another challenge is far more likely. Pick: Bianca Belair retains the title — Brookhouse

The trajectory of Damage CTRL is confusing. The group was primed to take over the women’s division upon its debut. Dakota Kai and IYO SKY lost a tag team title match, won them two weeks later and recently dropped the belts to Alexa Bliss and Asuka. The trio was also single-handedly thwarted by Belair at Extreme Rules. WWE was probably wise to not replicate The Bloodline’s title dominance with Damage CTRL, but their momentum has felt very start and stop. Salvaging the group probably means handing Bayley the title through nefarious means. Pick: Bayley wins the title — Mahjouri

Brock Lesnar vs. Bobby Lashley: Lesnar lost to Lashley at Royal Rumble earlier this year. That was the first time the two men had ever met in a one-on-one match. WWE likely would like to be able to return to this match again in 2023 and letting Lesnar get the win back is the most direct way to accomplish that. It’s also hard to imagine Lesnar losing three straight matches. You have to go back to 2003 to find the last time that happened. Pick: Brock Lesnar wins — Brookhouse (also Mahjouri)

Drew McIntyre vs. Karrion Kross (Steel Cage Match): McIntyre cannot afford three consecutive pay-per-view losses. The Scotsman was one of WWE’s few believable main eventers at the end of Vince McMahon’s tenure and it would be a shame to see him fall from grace after a strong showing at Clash at the Castle. Kross has been presented very well so far. His aura is certainly worth preserving, but Kross has no clear and immediate route to the world title. Give McIntyre a much-needed win in a competitive showing against Kross to set up the trilogy. Pick: Drew McIntyre wins — Mahjouri (also Brookhouse)

Braun Strowman vs. Omos: Omos is very much a work in progress and that is fine. He should not pick up the win. Strowman is a much more seasoned big man that you can reliably insert into a major feud. Strowman’s departure last year was bizarre. WWE had put so much time into developing a monster of a human with surprising athleticism only to drop him. Shredded and looking better than ever, Crown Jewel should be Strowman’s stepping stone to something bigger. Pick: Braun Strowman wins — Mahjouri (also Brookhouse)

The O.C. vs. The Judgement Day: The Judgement Day earned much-needed momentum against Edge at Extreme Rules and you would like to see them build off it further. Unfortunately, it may not be worth having The O.C. lose. Styles is the most successful of all six competitors in the match. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows recently returned to WWE after being woefully underutilized in their last stint. The three have cohesion and a longtime friendship, so there shouldn’t be much disjointedness in their chemistry. Expect The O.C. to emerge victorious to capitalize on The Good Brothers’ recent returns. Pick: The O.C. wins — Mahjouri (also Brookhouse)

Undisputed Tag Team Championship — The Usos (c) vs. The Brawling Brutes: The Brutes, along with leader Sheamus, have developed into a consistently entertaining group. That said, it’s nearly impossible to see The Usos losing the undisputed belts in a match without much more build than this. Pick: The Usos retain the titles — Brookhouse (also Mahjouri)

Women’s Tag Team Championship — Alexa Bliss & Asuka (c) vs. Damage CTRL: The women’s tag belts still feel as though they’re lacking any real consistent direction. On IYO SKY and Dakota Kai, they felt like a tool that could help prop up Damage CTRL as a force. But the run was relatively short-lived and the titles were flipped to Bliss and Asuka in what felt like something of a random Raw match. It’s hard to see flipping them back less than a week later. What would the point of the title change have been if they do that? Pick: Alexa Bliss & Asuka retain the titles — Brookhouse (also Mahjouri)

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