Overall, this was a good Pay-Per-View Event, in a year of fairly consistent good events. Clash of Champions was the first RAW exclusive event since the brand split. I’m still not sold on the need to have separate PPV events. After watching both Smackdown Backlash and Raw Clash of Champions, it’s clear to see the inequalities present with the brand split. Raw clearly has the most talent. While Smackdown is forced to scarp the bottom of the barrel for their events. Personally, I think the old format of a joint Pay-Per-View worked fine, but that’s a whole other rabbit hole. For now, let’s just get into some quick thoughts about the Clash of Champions event.
(Preshow Match) Nia Jax vs. Alicia Fox
I hardly ever pay much attention to the preshow matches. Obviously if they aren’t on the main card, they aren’t considered to be of much importance. However, I do like what WWE is doing with Nia Jax. They are slowly building her character, introducing her to the audience and letting her potential simmer. They aren’t immediately introducing her into the main event picture which can sometimes kill a wrestler’s momentum before it ever begins. Nia Jax will be a force in the Raw Women’s Division but they will let her wake of destruction build up to that point.
The New Day vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson (Raw Tag Team Championship Match)
The New Day are possibly the most interesting act the WWE has seen in a long time. I’m glad they will remain the W….W….E…World….Tag….Team….CHAMPIONS. However, I’m shocked that they did not drop the titles to Gallows and Anderson. How do they continue this rivalry from this point? The New Day has repeatedly gotten the upper hand on Gallows and Anderson. Plus this rivalry, once entertaining, has really stagnated for both teams. It’s more logical to move both teams on to other rivalries and that is just a shame for a team such as Gallows and Anderson who should be the top heel tandem on Raw.
T.J. Perkins vs. Brian Kendrick (Cruiserweight Championship Match)
The Cruiserweight Championship Match was good as always. There were a lot of high spots and high flying action. But there was obviously some key elements missing, most noticably Ranallo and Daniel Bryan on commentary. Michael Cole just doesn’t have the ability to convey the excitement and knowledge of the various skill sets such as Ranallo can. Otherwise, this match went as predicted, good wrestling and the champ retains.
Cesaro vs. Sheamus
Cesaro and Sheamus has been an interesting Best of 7 series. I like the idea of adding more Sports elements into the entertainment aspects of WWE. I have some disagreements with the booking of the series but that’s a whole other rant. For a match I really wasn’t looking forward to with much interest, the two wrestlers really performed well. This match needed a clean finish. Why drag on this rivalry that has lasted for the past 5 to 6 weeks already.
Sami Zayn vs. Chris Jericho
Zayn and Jericho was one of the best matches of the night. Of course, this is not a surprise with those wrestlers involved. What I don’t understand is why WWE can’t seem to find a storyline for Sami Zayn. This dude has been completely wasted since the end of his Kevin Owens rivalry and the brand split. Why wasn’t Sami Zayn sent to Smackdown Live where he had room to shine as a star? Now any momentum he had remaining from that Kevin Owens victory a few months back is gone.
Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. Bayley (Raw Women’s Championship Match)
The Women’s Division in WWE has come so far in recent years. The Triple Threat between Bayley, Banks, and Charlotte was one of the best on this card. Gone are the days when the Women’s match is considered the bathroom break moment. Again, no surprise to the ending of this match. Charlotte isn’t going to lose the title again after just regaining it a month ago. Sasha isn’t going to take the pin because she is currently the top babyface and is being protected. That leaves Bayley to take the fall. However, the writing team seem to have a plan for her so Bayley fans should remain patient. All-in-all, great outing once again for the girls as they deliver another good match.
Roman Reigns vs. Rusev (United States Championship Match)
Roman Reigns has needed a shift of focus for a long time. This feud with Rusev has actually been refreshing for his character. Granted, there have been some missed opportunities for both characters in this feud. Even though I have rather enjoyed Rusev’s reign as U.S. Champ, it makes sense to drop the title to Roman. This is smart booking for a change. Roman becomes a champion and continues to build momentum back into the Universal Title picture. Rusev drops his title to a former World Champion which protects him from looking weak. It’s win-win. Now they both can continue the rivalry for a rematch and head into the next Pay-Per-View with escalating tension. Should make for a fairly entertaining grunge match at Hell in a Cell.
Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins (WWE Universal Championship Match)
Kevin Owens is a deserving top heel. Seth Rollins is great at any role. The two of them together delivered an entertaining main event that told a solid story in the ring. Of course, like with the rest of the event, there were no surprise endings in the booking. Seth Rollins was cheated out of victory in classic babyface fashion. Owens walks out of the event still the Universal Champion. The rivalry will continue onward for another event cycle at least.
Clash of Champions was a solid and entertaining Pay-Per-View event. There weren’t any surprise victories. The title picture pretty much stayed the same. But Clash of Champions did deliver a solid card with some good matches. There surprisingly wasn’t really a dud amongst the matches. I can’t say that for Smackdown live’s Backlash event. Hopefully some semblance of balance can be achieved in future events.