Clash of Champions is the one night a year that every single championship is put on the line. As we enter a new era of WWE as we know it, let’s take a trip down short term memory lane at the event that set the future in motion. Just looking at the card, it looked as if it had some absolute bangers. Sadly, not every match was able to live up to its billing. So, with Hell in a Cell just a week away, how about we take a look at which matches laid down some SmackDown and which tapped out.
Cruiserweight Championship: Drew Gulak (c) vs. Humberto Carrillo vs. Lince Dorado
Winner: Drew Gulak
The preshow’s unofficial title made the appearance at the top of the Clash of Champions kickoff event. The first retention of the night, the match followed the 205 formula: short, fast paced and executed very well. Like most of the 205 Era, the crowd was either still filing in or didn’t care. That dampens the atmosphere of the match, which brings the whole thing down a bit. Though it did end on a high note, as for once a heel is shown as an opportunist and not a cocky wimp or sadistic beast. Gulak waited on the outside until Carillo hit the final move and tossed him out to steal the win. Nice to see someone do an Edge impression that doesn’t involve a weak spear.
US Championship: AJ Styles (c) vs. Cedric Alexander
Winner: AJ Styles
Next up was the US championship. AJ Styles was going to make an appearance at Clash of Champions. However, many didn’t foresee him being relegated to the kickoff show. Bliss Cross vs Fire and Desire seemed to be an obvious choice to go along with the cruiserweight title, but a Phenomenal preshow is certainly not the worst thing. Cedric Alexander has had a hard time finding himself post Cruiserweight Classic, and if anyone can put your name out there it is AJ Styles.
The match was a surprise. Cedric came out of the gates swinging, a pace that he works best with. AJ looked fairly vulnerable for a solid 3 minutes. Then Alexander took a hell of a beating. A Styles Clash out of the ring, Calf Crusher, and Phenomenal Forearm followed by an OC beatdown. Either WWE is establishing a new underdog babyface or giving a stable some real wins under their belts. Neither is a bad option, and is a good sign of the new days to come.
Raw Tag Championship: Seth Rollins & Braun Strowman (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode
Winners: Ziggler and Roode
Certainly this was one of the lesser hyped matches of Clash of Champions, and one of the more disappointing ones as well. All these performers are great in the ring, but the entire thing is just unnecessary. So many actual tag teams are stuck kicking rocks at the back of the line. Meanwhile 3 randoms who don’t need the gold (exception being Roode) are hogging the limited spotlight. It seemed pretty obvious that some high jinks would happen and cause some animosity between Strowman and Rollins in their main title match later.
Yet, it came from bumbling clumsiness and not maliciousness. The announce team kept hyping up a betrayal, but all we got was Braun just bowling over his own partner on accident. With just a snap of the fingers the blandest team on the roster got the gold. Sometimes these thrown together teams work wonders. The Bar, Rated RKO, Slater and Rhyno, even Ziggler and McIntyre for a time. Sadly, these two random tossed teams just don’t do it.
Women’s Tag Championship: Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross (c) vs. Fire & Desire
Winners: Bliss Cross
Nikki Cross gyrating. Bliss almost coming away with the 24/7 championship. Those were the highlights of this bout. To clarify the match itself wasn’t bad per se. The story just wasn’t put into a spot to succeed. The newest edition to the WWE title catalog has seemingly been shuffled to the back of the booking teams mind ever since post their debut match at Elimination Chamber. It is shock it even made it to the main card, and probably only did since it was Clash of Champions. Cross and Bliss make a great team, especially their back story. Heel Bliss “manipulated” Cross into thinking that Bayley was evil, and it all turns out to be true. There is just a lack of realistic teams and screen time to make use of their talents in the most proper way.
SmackDown Women’s Championship: Bayley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
This match is a story of right outcome in the wrong way. Bayley is finally being redeemed with a turn and being sacrificed to the altar of Flair would bury the hugger beyond repair. She won dirty, but the way she did it was the most Bayley thing ever. Smashing the Queen’s face in an exposed turnbuckle and then sprinting out of the arena like a kid who knows they did something bad. In the weeks to come her delusional mind will somehow twist to her being the good guy until she eventually snaps either fully face or fully heel. That is storytelling old as time, but still entertaining to watch.
That being said, the match itself was far too short and one-sided. The match and post segment was about five minutes max, and four of those were Charlotte wrecking shop. Not every heel needs to be dominant like Lesnar, but some offense to show her newfound “aggression” that the announce team keeps on pushing would not hurt.
Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Sasha Banks
Winner: Sasha Banks via DQ
Finally, The Man has a worthy opponent. From a green Lacy Evans and a stale Natalya, Becky Lynch hasn’t had a marquee opponent since her mini-feud with Charlotte post-Mania. Sasha Banks’ surprise return from her time off and heel turn was well needed and freshens the main event up. They have been separated for a while now, as the brand split kept Becky on SmackDown Live and Sasha was a Raw fixture. Both have major history, not just as a part of the The Four Horsewomen, but as they both have had similar career trajectories. Both were “too big to fail” so they kept eating loss after loss. Hell, they even share the same kryptonite of Charlotte Flair and Alexa Bliss. They did diverge though, as Becky ascended to the top of the card and as one of the most popular wrestlers in the whole company.
As a result, the intensity of being left in the dust is exactly what was brought to the match. Sasha showed a mean streak, and her skirting around the rules would make her hero Eddie Guerrero proud. However, as with a lot of Becky matches the ending poised the biggest problems. The all out brawl to end the match was a fine way to continue the feud, and the Dis-Arm-Her through the chair to finish it off was a nice touch. What wasn’t fine was how confusing it was and how weak Sasha came across. Sasha took 99% of the beat down post match and no bell was ever rung to signal the ending. They had to set it up for them to keep on fighting sure, but Sasha just came back and is looking less like “The Boss” than when she left.
Best match of the night winner
Roman Reigns vs. Erick Rowan (No DQ)
Winner: Erick Rowan
First, the fact that this nontitle match made it on to Clash of Champions is a joke. Second, the fact that it kicked the King of the Ring final match to the next night is insulting. Lastly, WELCOME BACK LUKE HARPER. The Bludgeon/Wyatt Brother was brought out of banishment to give this story another breath of life after it lost a bit of its momentum. In a time where leaks are a constant it is amazing that something can come out of left field like that.
Harper’s return couldn’t save the match though. Almost 20 minutes was way too long for this kind of match. This was the second longest match of the night, and in no way deserved it. Despite attempted murders left and right, it doesn’t feel like a blood feud yet. And for all the talking Rowan is doing now, I still have no idea why his family reunion is happening. I’m sure more story is to come, but a ten minute slobber-knocker was all that was required here.
Intercontinental Championship: Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs. The Miz
Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura
Nobody was clamoring for this match. No one was on the edge of their seats for a second. Face Miz has been a disaster. Miz couldn’t overcome part timer Shane and is all of the sudden oblivious to every trick he used to pull as a heel, making him look like a goof. Shinsuke has been either MIA or thrown into random matches during his time as IC champ. Nakamura is now with Sami Zayn which is an odd pairing that seems to be working for now. The match was bland, and it really encompassed a bland ending too. We were either going to see Miz tie Chris Jericho’s record of IC title reigns (probably out of spite) during one of his lowest points, or a resuscitating push to try and get Nakamura going. They opted for Nakamura, and hopefully more interesting opponents will come out of the woodwork.
Worst Match of the Night Winner
SmackDown Tag Championship: The New Day (c) vs. The Revival
Winner: The Revival
This match was a masterful way to get the titles off The New Day. The Revival have been stalking New Day in attempt to show them what “real tag wrestling” is. The two teams are contrastically different styles that mesh in the best way. Ground and pound cheating vs highflying positivity. They had such good chemistry in the ring and there are multiple ways the story can travel now. The loss came from the injuries Xavier Woods and Big E sustained protecting WWE champion Kofi Kingston. Do they blame him and we get a breakup that has been rumored on and off again for years or will it bring them closer together?
After years at the top the New Day have plowed through all title contenders five times over. The only ones able to hang were the Usos (who have had a hard time keeping out of trouble), but it is time to give some fresh blood a run at the title. Similarly to the other big dogs of WWE like Roman Reigns and Charlotte Flair, they need a break. Maybe not a Balor vacation, or even a Ziggler one. They are the top merch sellers and can’t be out of the main event for too long, so they just enjoy themselves.
WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Randy Orton
Winner: Kofi Kingston
Kofi Kingston needed a clean win over Randy Orton. His reign has been happy and fun, but losing to Randy would’ve made the entire thing irrelevant due to their history. Randy allegedly held the champ back the last time he was in the main event scene and would be doing it again. Orton has also been a bit of a bad luck charm when it comes to the WWE title picture as of late. He derailed Bray Wyatt’s career for a stretch by taking it from him at one of the worst WrestleMania matches in recent memory and was the bridge leading into the Jinder Mahal era of SmackDown. If he had won here we might have seen No Way Jose come out of nowhere. The biggest complaint was why this win couldn’t have happened at Summerslam, and instead at a B show like Clash of Champions.
The match wasn’t some conclusion or even an escalation, just a continuation. It clocked in as the longest match of the night but still felt like the match ended just as it was picking up speed. The Revival didn’t help out Orton despite aligning with him throughout this feud. Kofi didn’t let loose the aggression that “cost him” at Summerslam. Outside of surviving an RKO thanks to being next to the ropes, nothing was awe inspiring. Nothing to prolong the feud and it ends with a whimper. Out of all the challengers to Kofi so far, THIS deserved to be a one and done.
Universal Championship: Seth Rollins (c) vs Braun Stroman
Winner: Seth Rollins?
The final match of Clash of Champions ended with people looking toward the future. Seth Rollins has fallen into a rut and the hope that Braun gets the gold (or red in this case) in any meaningful capacity has been long gone. Everyone instead is looking toward The Fiend, the hottest character in sports entertainment. Will The Fiend show up tonight? Who would give him the biggest rub at Hell in a Cell? Those kinds of questions were hanging over the match until the final bell. It was Rollins versus Goliath, a match that has become all too common these days. Finisher spamming from Rollins to the ninth degree to slay the king/beast/monster or whatever can have the word “slayer” after it. That kind of pacing isn’t that enjoyable from most wrestlers on the roster. It is especially not exciting with a move as choreographed as The Stomp.
However, as if he heard our disappointment through the screen, The Fiend arrived and yowied the wowie out of Rollins on the ramp. The closing credits of the pay per view was with him standing high, and Seth Rollins out cold kneeling beside him. Signs of things to come hopefully.
Match Rating: 2/5
Post match segment 500000000/5
What did you think of Clash of Champions? What were your most and lest favorites? Discuss it on our forums! If you want to see more pieces like this follow us on Twitter or through our site. You can follow me @dylan55441 and as always thanks for reading!