During a Raw broadcast that had strong moments, among the more interesting things of note was that during the show, the words 'Saudi Arabia' were never uttered. The announce team didn't say the host city for Crown Jewel, WWE's social media posts avoided using the words and all anyone ever said was, "Crown Jewel live in three weeks streaming on WWE Network."
After the realization that the company might, in fact, choose to pull the event out of its originally scheduled city and that this might affect future shows in the region, Raw had some good moments.
Ronda Rousey started a little slow but delivered one of her best promos in quite a while, there was a potential split between Drew McIntyre, Dolph Ziggler, and Braun Strowman and the women of WWE were featured in an attempt to sell Evolution which will take place in one week's time.
There's no way this show measures up to SmackDown 1000 which will see the return of many old faces, but it was still a decent offering on a Monday night.
Winner: World Cup Qualifiers
The matches that would send wrestlers on to compete in the World Cup at Crown Jewel not only told fans that event was still happening but that WWE was going full steam ahead with the card as promoted. Whether or not they choose to stick in Saudi is uncertain but that the World Cup is happening is a positive.
Rollins versus Drew McIntyre started things off and while this battle has been seen before, it's usually pretty good. It was again on Monday. Not to be outdone, the match between Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler was top notch and these two almost always make for a great pair in the ring.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the night that had to do with competitors in the World Cup qualifiers was the last segment of the night that saw the heels crumble. What will this mean for Ziggler and McIntyre?
Loser: Women's Tag Match
There was a women's tag match that was booked for the sole purpose of announcing WWE would be offering a Battle Royal at Evolution and the members of this match would also be competing. Fans saw faces that haven't been used in a while and that was good but that it was so lost in the shuffle was not.
The announce team spent more time talking about the competitors that weren't on tv but would be in the match than the women who were in the match. When Dana Brooke stood tall to end things after an awkward series when the match ended, most knew this was probably the most these women would be featured from now until the Battle Royal ended. At least Tamina returned. That was a pleasant and unexpected surprise.
Winner: Ronda Rousey
Rousey struggled early with her promo but once she and the Bellas got over the awkward start, she got rolling and found her rhythm. By the time Rousey was done, she had delivered the best promo of her career and found a side of her personality that resonated with the audience.
Some of the shots Rousey took at the Bellas were completely true and it's kind of amazing no one has come right out and said anything like that on air to the Bellas before. Hers wound up being one of the better segments of the show.
Loser: Balor vs Mahal Lead-In
Throwing these two in the ring together over and over isn't helping either one of them. This feud has grown tired and this segment shows how much both men have fallen in terms of the placement on the totem pole.
Mahal is not anything near the former champion he used to be and Balor is an enhancement talent at this point. That this match felt like a lead-in to Bobby Lashley made it even more painful to stomach. It took only one week for the Lashley turn to go from interesting to annoying.
Winner: Apollo Crews
This potential feud with Elias is about the biggest thing Crews has had going for him all year. It would be nice to see him get an opportunity to show his stuff and in one night of 'Talking with Elias' Crews did more to move forward than anything else he's done in ages.
Who knows where this feud will lead him, especially if he winds up on the losing side of things but he looked strong and this was a big moment for him.