HBK sparkles at dull and blunt Crown Jewel

Up until the end of the WWE Championship Match, WWE Crown Jewel had lived up to its expectations as ‘The World’s Biggest House Show, Mk. III’. Nothing spectacular, nothing overly special, every title defended successfully and just another stop gap on the path to Survivor Series. Then, thanks to two of the most farcical decisions in recent WWE history, the wheels came off in spectacular fashion.

For one, putting the Universal Championship back on Brock Lesnar, thus setting up the same Champion vs. Champion match as last year’s Survivor Series and robbing Braun Strowman of an accolade he has so richly deserved has once again diminished the belt’s value until TLC at the very earliest and forever at the very latest. Still, Shane McMahon telling the WWE Universe to hold his beer and winning The Tallest Midget in the World award was even more laughable than the decision to have the final against the two semi-finalists who should have lost.

Thankfully, there was a shine to the end of Crown Jewel, and that was Shawn Michaels. The Heartbreak Kid, save for a few choice moments to hit Sweet Chin Music on the likes of Sting, Rusev and Wade Barrett, has not taken part in a proper match since 2010 and he looked like he could keep going for another few years. Sure, the pace of the match helped hide his ring rust – it was as ploddy and slow as you’d expect from four men with a combined age of 206 – but from the moment that Triple H legitimately injured himself, HBK took over with a professionalism that defied his years and all but carried the match through to its conclusion.

Firstly, he looked in great shape, the bald head will take some getting used to, but he was muscly, lean and didn’t look like he was the second oldest in the ring. Secondly, he threw himself about like he did when he was wrestling full-time: from his much-loved somersault into the ringpost to a carefree moonsault that was as surprising as it was technically sound. Thirdly, he ensured both Kane and Undertaker looked as formidable as possible, save for the botch of smacking the former’s mask off three-quarters of the way through. He took some very impressive bumps and by the end was noticeably bloodied, but he did what he needed to for the story and for his injured partner.

Shawn Michaels may well come out on Monday Night RAW and say that he’s officially done and has beaten his demons, highly doubtful of course, but if it transpires that he is, then he showed one last time that he does still have it and to a very large extent.