A couple of weeks ago, WWE produced Backlash. Anticipation for Smackdown’s solo pay-per-view event was lukewarm at best. Not matter what the WWE would want the WWE Universe to believe, Smackdown is still considered to be the B show, which is why not many people thought Backlash would be any good. It’s so nice to be wrong! Backlash was a very good show. Now all eyes are turning to Raw’s solo pay-per-view outing, Clash of Champions. And, since it just finished last Sunday, let’s go see how they fared!
Match #1: The New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston with Xavier Woods and Francheska II) vs The Club (Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson) for the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship
As much as I like The New Day, I feel they’ve been the Double U… Double U… Eee… World… Tag… Team… Champions! for a long time and they’ve already legitimized themselves as a force to be reckoned with, I feel it’s time for them to drop the belts to another team. And I strongly believe the right Tag Team is the team of Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson AKA The Club. They’re a great tag team and really perform well.
It was kind of weird for me to be rooting for The Club but that didn’t mean I wanted it to be a squash. Well, the match was definitely not a squash. In fact, it was downright entertaining, with Gallows taking out Big E and Woods with a cheap show right at the sound of the opening bell. This let to Kofi being all alone in the ring for several minutes and getting beat down by Gallows and Anderson. The chemistry between the two teams were really great and the action was definitely energetic and fun to watch.
The finish came when, during a scramble, Woods took advantage of the confusion and nailed Anderson with his faithful companion/trombone Francheska. This enable Big E and Kofi to connect with the Midnight Hour for the pinfall victory. While this was a good match overall, I didn’t like how this made The Club look. They dominated the majority of the match but still fell short. This does make them look rather weak. Still, this was a great opening match.
Rating: 7.5 of 10 Francheskas
Match #2: TJ Parker vs Brian Kendrick for the Cruiserweight Championship
I didn’t follow the entire Cruiserweight tournament on the WWE Network so I was surprised to see a Filipino named TJ Parker as the actually champion! I would’ve expected this kind of thing to be reported in local news or something like that!
Anyway, seeing as these were Cruiserweights, I was expecting this to be a really fast paced match with a lot of jumping, flying around and tons of high risk maneuvers. There was certainly a level of frenzy throughout the match but I was expecting a lot more. There were actually a lot of rest holds, especially from Kendrick. This actually made sense as Kendrick played up the bad guy role, even refusing a hand shake before the match started. But, whenever it was time for Perkins to show offense, the entire match picked up.
The finish came when Kendrick attempted his submission finisher but Parker escaped and nailed a fireman’s carry into a kick. Parker took the advantage and locked in his knee bar submission finisher for the submission, leaving Kendrick no choice but to tap out. Post match, Kendrick extended his hand and, as Parker shook his hand, Kendrick stuck Parker with a headbutt before leaving the ring. Looks like this thing isn’t settled…
While this was a pretty good match overall, I did expect a lot more. There were moments when things slowed down, especially with Kendrick locking in numerous rest holds. However, because of this match, I am much more interested to see more Cruiserweight action in the future.
Rating: 6.5 of 10 headbutts
Match #3: Cesaro vs Sheamus in the conclusion of their Best of Seven tournament
While it was very predictable for Cesaro to come from behind a 0-3 deficit to drag Sheamus into the final match of their Best of Seven tournament, the buildup hasn’t been all that great. They needed to pull off a fantastic match now to make it feel like it was all worth it.
Well, they did. I guess the both of them really got their groove on together as there wasn’t a dull moment throughout this entire match! Both competitors kicked things up a notch. Sheamus got some good licks in, like nailing Cesaro with White Noise while outside the ring. Cesaro channeled his inner Rey Mysterio and struck with a 619 of all things. There was an incredibly scary moment when Cesaro performed a suicide dive and he landed awkwardly on his head! Overall, really great action here.
I would actually say this would’ve been the match of the night except for the illogical finish. The match ended with Cesaro clotheslining Sheamus into the crowd. Medical personnel informed the referee that both Cesaro and Sheamus were too beat up to continue so the match was called off. What a gyp! You can’t build up a Best of Seven tournament and not have a clear winner!
Even with that complaint, this was a very exciting match with some really great action. I will, however, have to dock a good one or two points from its score as the ending just left a bad taste in my mouth.
Rating: 7.0 of 10 Cesaro should’ve died from that ugly suicide dive
Match #4: Sami Zayn vs Chris Jericho
What are the two fighting for? Who’s going to be Kevin Owens’ best friend?
Anyway, there was a lot to like in this match. Sami Zayn has always been a great in-ring performer thanks to his athleticism and willingness to take risks. Jericho is a long time WWE wrestler and knows how to draw heat from the crowd. This should’ve been an incredible match but it just fell short from being a truly memorable one. Jericho pulled off the heel role brilliantly by repeatedly taunting Zayn and the live audience, cowering behind the referee as well as doing traditional bad guy moves like raking the eyes to escape his foe. He played his role well. Sadly, it was Zayn’s performance that wasn’t up to snuff this time around. He was able to do his list of traditional moves but some of them weren’t done smoothly.
The finish came with Zayn wiggling out of Jericho’s Walls of Jericho submission and connecting with his patented Blue Thunder Bomb, which The Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla kicked out of. Zayn then tried to pick up Jericho but ran into a Codebreaker out of nowhere, giving Jericho the pinfall victory.
Like I said, this match should’ve been much better but there were several sloppily executed moves which didn’t look real anymore. I will give props to Zayn and Jericho for putting so much energy into the match and putting on a fantastic show. But it simply fell short from my expectations.
Rating: 6.5 of 10 friends with Kevin Owens
Match #5: Bayley vs Sasha Banks vs Charlotte (with Dana Brooke) for the Raw Women’s Championship
Too bad Becky Lynch is in Smackdown. The four of them would’ve made a great Fatal Four Way!
While the Women’s division has been improving by leaps and bounds thanks to new blood like Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Bayley entering the main roster, I do think having Charlotte as the Women’s Champion has slowed things down. I know they’re teasing Dana Brooke turning on Charlotte but keeping Charlotte as the Queen of Raw hasn’t exactly made for must-watch TV. I was hoping for that turn to happen here but it didn’t sadly.
It’s a good thing that all the four women involved in the match had a role to play and they played their roles well. Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Bayley have competed against each other in NXT before so there’s a palpable chemistry between the three when they are performing in the ring against each other. There were a lot of good moments throughout the entire match and it was a blast to see.
Even Dana Brooke was useful as she interfered sporadically throughout the entire match to make it look like Charlotte had to cheat to win. While this may seem true, there were times when it didn’t as Charlotte actually dominated a good portion of the match without her apprentice’s assistance. All three women did come off strong but Bayley did get the short end of the stick as there were several times when Charlotte just dropped her out of the ring unceremoniously.
The finish came when Bayley attempted a sunset flip on Charlotte but The Nature Girl grabbed hold of Sasha Banks who was struggling to get into the ring. Bayley got up and got nailed by Charlotte with a big boot, sending the Hugger into The Boss. Charlotte then nailed Bayley with another boot, giving her the pinfall win to retain her title.
This was an extremely entertaining match with everyone involved doing fun stuff. I will have to say the finish felt a little sloppy and unbelievable as it only took two boots to get a pin on Bayley? At least nail her with a spear or something!
Rating: 8.0 of 10 triple dropkicks
Match #6: Roman Reigns vs Rusev (with Lana) for the United States Championship
Does the WWE realize the preview clip they showed before the match makes it look like Roman Reigns is the bad guy here?
As much as I think Roman Reigns sucks, I will say that he is a good worker. He can pull off really good spots but there just doesn’t seem to be a fire in him. He also comes off rather robotic and his matches are so similar to each other. This one was no different. Rusev did dominate for a bit but it just didn’t come off a brutal enough to make it seem like Reigns was in any trouble.
I actually had more fun in this match whenever Lana would get involved. Seeing her jump on the ring apron to distract Reigns and her dragging the referee out of the ring to stop the count and then feigning innocence was just wonderful! Oh, she did get ejected soon afterwards because of that but it was definitely fun while it lasted.
The finish came with Reigns powering out of Rusev’s Accolade but getting raked in the eyes by the Bulgarian Brute. Rusev then tried to nail Reigns with an avalanche but the Leader of the Roman Empire blasted him with a spear for the pinfall victory and to become the new United States Champion.
The match was good but definitely nothing special. It wasn’t boring nor was it exciting. Both competitors tried to keep things exciting but there wasn’t anything fresh. Lana’s actions did spice things up a bit but it wasn’t enough to keep this match from being just average.
Rating: 5.5 of 10 Lana’s “innocence”
Match #7: Seth Rollins vs Kevin Owens for the WWE Universal (ugh!) Championship
Giving Kevin Owens the Universal Championship was probably one of the best decisions WWE management has ever done. He’s one of the best bad guys in the company right now. However, what’s even better is making Seth Rollins a good guy of sorts! All of it felt so natural and definitely keeps things fresh and feeling new.
While the people in the match are good on paper, the overall execution was flawed.
Both Owens and Rollins did put on a good show for this title bout but there was just something missing. There were a lot of really entertaining moments but there were also times when there was a noticeable pause in the action that didn’t build up into anything. Owens made the match with him making lots of sarcastic comments on Rollins’ expense. Oddly enough, it was Rollins that didn’t hold up his part of the action as, whenever he was on offense, things seemed to get rather boring.
The finish was also a real bummer. Kevin Owens’ best friend, Chris Jericho rushed to ringside and put Owens foot on the bottom rope to put a stop to a pinfall. Rollins then got out of Owens’ pop up powerbomb attempt but hit the referee by accident. As the referee was knocked out, Rollins couldn’t get the three count after nailing Owens with a Pedigree. Jericho beat up on Rollins but The Architech fought him off. and then nailed KO with a suicide dive. Stephanie then brought in a new referee but the new official checked on the original referee before getting into the ring! Owens capitalized on a distracted Rollins, who was calling in the new referee into the ring, and connected with a pop up powerbomb for the pinfall victory to retain the Universal Title.
The match was generally okay but definitely spoiled by an overly complicated finish that didn’t make a lick of sense. I’m okay with interference but there was too many people involved, which just made it look like a mishmash of ideas instead of a focused storyline.
Rating: 6.5 of 10 confusing endings
Overall rating for Clash of Champions
Clash of Champions featured a lot of the matches were good but flawed in one way or another. Smackdown’s Backlash proved that you don’t need a ton of matches for a great pay-per-view and Clash of Champions did follow this train of thought. However, it looks like Raw is still struggling with this new, streamlined direction. Still, there was a lot of promise as there were some great matches and no real bad ones. Definitely a step in the right direction.
Rating: 7.0 of 10 Smackdown is now better than Raw
What did you think of Clash of Champions? How did it stack up to Smackdown’s Backlash? Let me know in the comments section below!