I’ll say this right now: I wasn’t looking forward to Clash of Champions. Among all of the shows the WWE have pumped out this year, the last Smackdown pay-per-view event for the year just seemed underwhelming. Besides maybe the Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn feud with Shane McMahon, none of the matches seems all that interesting to me. But you know the WWE’s saying, right? That anything can happen in the WWE. So there’s a small chance that they may surprise me and pull off a good show, right?
Anyway, let’s go look at what happened in Clash of Champions…
Match #1: “Glorious” Bobby Roode vs. Dolph Ziggler vs.
Boring Baron Corbin in a Triple Threat Match for the United States Championship
Geez, what’s wrong with Baron Corbin? No matter what he does, I can’t bear to get emotional with anything he does in the ring! Thankfully, this match for the United States belt had two fantastic in-ring competitors in “Glorious” Bobby Roode and Dolph Ziggler to spice up this boring WWE Superstar’s match. And they succeeded for the most part. In fact, I would say this was a pretty exciting match!
I guess it helped that there was nary a lull in the action and there was always something happening in the ring. There were the usual points where one wrestler would be thrown out of the ring so that the other two wrestlers can do their thing. But it was less obvious than most as the “downed” guy would manage to pop into the ring shortly or break up a match. Things really got good during the closing moments of the match as there were a lot of nice near falls and everyone did something that looked like it would close the bout.
The closing minutes were kind of hard to pinpoint as it was kind of a blur of really good spots that worked to get the live audience into a frenzy. So I’ll start with the impressive “gotcha” moment where Roode connected with a Glorious DDT on Ziggler and then Corbin swooped in to try to toss Roode out of the ring and steal the pinfall. But no! Roode reverses and flings Corbin between the ropes. Roode goes for the cover but Corbin drags him out and nails a chokeslam backbreaker on the Glorious One. The Lone Wolf then tries to use End of Days on Roode but Ziggler comes from behind and takes out Corbin with a ZigZag. Ziggler gets the pinfall victory off Corbin to become the NEW United States Champion!
This was much better than I anticipated. The action was great and the pacing was fast enough to be exciting without being too over-the-top. If I were to complain about it, however, there just wasn’t anything truly memorable about it. There weren’t any real stand out moments but that’s just a minor hiccup as this match is extremely watchable and I wouldn’t mind going through it again just to catch the moments I may have overlooked.
Rating: 7.5 of 10.0 Good Baron Corbin matches?
Match #2: The New Day vs. Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable vs. Rusev and Aiden English vs The Usos in a Texas Tornado Tag Team match for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship
The Smackdown Tag Team division has been really good as of late. Main eventers like The New Day and The Usos are definitely carrying the division but they are backed by other fantastic teams like Rusev (Day!) and Aiden English as well as Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable. Putting all of these teams in one match should’ve blown me away but… ugh!
The biggest problem with the match was how unfocused and confusing it looked. With singles Texas Tornado matches, there’s always time for performers to slink outside so the two remaining guys in the ring can show their stuff. With a tag team Texas Tornado match, you don’t have that luxury as there is always another member of the team in the wings to help out. This resulted in the first half of this match being really slow and we just had wrestlers doing dual rest holds and trying to outdo what the other team was doing. Things did pick up during the latter half but, by that time, I pretty much checked out.
I will admit they tried their hardest to recapture my interest as things did get exciting as the ring got cleared out and a huge run by Rusev (Day!) and Aiden English who really looked liked they were gonna capture the Smackdown Tag Team championships. The finish came with Chad Gable breaking up an Accolade submission and drilling Rusev (Day!) and English with a couple of impressive german suplexes. He even gave one to Big E. Gable then tried in on one of the Usos but stopped by the other Uso with a superkick. A big samoan splash later and the Usos retain their tag team championship.
This was a case of a little too little, too late. The doldrums of the early part of the match just didn’t keep me interested. The closing moments were great looking but I just wasn’t all that invested in what was going to happen at that point. I still blame the format of getting all four teams involved in one time. Maybe if they did the tag match where only two people were legal at any given time, that would’ve improved the pacing.
Rating: 4.0 of 10.0 really slow starts
Match #3: Charlotte Flair vs Natalya for the Smackdown Women’s Championship in a Lumberjill match
This is how we’re supposed to remember the Riott Squads first pay-per-view event? Just members of the Lumberjills in a Smackdown Women’s Championship match? What a waste! And waste them they did as they didn’t do anything to enhance the rather boring action in the ring! Also, where’s Becky Lynch? She should’ve been able to get the audience fired up!
I’m not saying that Charlotte Flair and Natalya can’t pull off a decent match as they’ve done so in the past. However, their entire feud has been rather lukewarm so this match seemed like filler in the grand scheme of things. Also, the entire lumberjill stipulation didn’t really factor into the match as anyone who got dumped outside just got pummeled a bit before being thrown back into the ring. And this is where the Riott Squad could’ve made their presence felt. They could’ve caused a little more chaos throughout the entire match by badmouthing the other lumberjills or just picking fights with everyone. Essentially, the Riott Squad didn’t live up to their name.
They did try to liven things up by the ending minutes of the match (I’m detecting a pattern here) as things did descend into chaos somewhat as the lumberjills getting a little more involved as the match got longer. It just took a long time before the lumberjills actually became a factor and were useless for the majority of the match already. Sure, you can try to hype up the crowd by having Naomi do a springboard splash to the outside and the heels do cheap shots but they should’ve gotten involved much earlier.
The finish came when Carmella rolled into the ring and showed her Money in the Bank briefcase, hinting that she was going to cash in on a downed Charlotte. That was broken up by the Riott Squad rushing in and causing a riot in the ring (pun intended). The action spilled outside the ring and Charlotte took out everyone with a moonsault from the top turnbuckle. Natalya tried to take advantage and threw Charlotte into the ring post. Natalya tried to lock in a Sharpshooter but Charlotte reversed it into a Figure Eight for the submission victory and retain her Smackdown Women’s Championship. Afterwards, Natalya gave a speech about something about turning her back on the fans… blah blah blah.
This felt like a total waste of the entire Smackdown Women’s roster. The Riott Squad didn’t do all that much and the hint that Carmella was going to cash in was the only highlight for me. Next time, give the Riott Squad more to do… or get Becky Lynch involved somehow.
Rating: 3.5 of 10.0 missing Becky Lynches
Match #4: The Fashion Police vs The Bludgeon Brothers
May I say what the WWE and Smackdown is doing to Tyler Breeze and Fandango is a travesty as they’re really talented wrestlers and great entertainers. I know they’re trying to push the Bludgeon Brothers, the former Wyatt Family members, as the new monsters in the Smackdown tag team division and this match is supposed to cement this. But c’mon! Give them a fighting chance at the very least!
Feeding The Fashion Police to the Bludgeon Brothers is… what? The match is already finished? The Bludgeon Brothers just took out Tyler Breeze on the outside and blasted Fandango with a double Irish Cross powerbomb for the pinfall victory? Okay, that was quick at least. Nothing really to say about the match besides this could’ve just been on Smackdown or a house show and not a pay-per-view!
Rating: 2.0 of 10.0 house show matches on Clash of Champions
Match #5: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn vs Shinusuke Nakamura and Randy Orton with Shane McMachon and Daniel Bryan as the special guest referees
I usually put the faces first before the heels when noting what match I’m going to talk about, so it may seem weird that I’m putting Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn first. But, in this case, I actually think they’re the good guys here. Sure, they did a lot of bad things to the McMahon family… but they’re the McMahons! I think Shane is being the bully for doing all the things to the leaders of the Yep! movement!. Be a Star, Shane!
Like the participants, my feelings for the actual match was very mixed. On one hand I liked the initial confusion on how Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan were going to handle refereeing duties. There was a natural progression to it all, with them starting out all confused on who was going to count the pinfalls and admonish the wrestlers and what not. They then tried to divide the ring and whatever to see it that would work. Of course, things did break down eventually but it was fun and different while it lasted. On the other hand, though, this also was it’s greatest problem as Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan were the focal point of whatever was happening in the ring and not, you know, the actual wrestling.
Well, maybe putting the focus on the special guest referees was a blessing as the in-ring action wasn’t all that good. I know Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Shinusuke Nakamura and Randy Orton are good wrestlers but they didn’t bring their A-game or, at least, it didn’t seem like they were giving it their all, which makes sense. I mean, the actual feud is between Owens and Zayn vs Shane McMahon. Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton and Shinusuke Nakamura just so happened to be dragged into it. This does make it seem like there’s less heat between the actual wrestlers and it hurt the match.
The finish came when Orton tried to pin Zayn after an RKO. Shane tried to count the pinfall but Owens seemingly shoved Bryan into Shane, breaking the count. Shane berated against Bryan for this. Then Orton and Zayn traded pins with both Shane and Bryan counting the pinfalls. Zayn then rolled Orton and Shane made the count… but refused to give the final three count! Bryan then started yelling at Shane for being biased (which was expected), which led to Shane turning his back to the match for a moment. While this happened The Viper tried an RKO but Zayn reversed it into a pinning combination and… Bryan made a quick three count!
Like I said, I have mixed feeling for this. I liked and hated it for essentially the same reason. But I’m leaning more on the hate side because of the “to be continued” ending. I hate those things. There should be some kind of finality with pay-per-view matches that don’t force you to see the reasons for what happened in Smackdown. So, I’ll rate it as such…
Rating: 4.5 of 10.0 “to be continued” finishes
Match #6: AJ Styles vs Jinder Mahal (with the Singh Brothers) for the WWE Heavyweight Championship
Dare I say it? Is this the last we’ll see of Jinder Mahal in the main event picture? Say it’s so!
I will say that I kind of enjoyed this match but only because of AJ Styles and not because of Jinder Mahal’s performance. I still think Jinder’s wrestling style is very boring and lame. He doesn’t really do anything interesting at all except for maybe selling when he’s hurt at times. His moves are usually just normal, day one training, rest holds and his movelist always feels very limited. But kudos to AJ Styles for making it seem like those rest hold hurt so much!
The finish came, as expected, after the Singh Brothers made their presence felt and tried to interfere in the match. The Singh Brothers tried to drag Jinder out of the ring after a 450 splash (which should’ve been a DQ, Mr. Referee!) but Styles took them out in quick succession with a flying forearm and a Styles Clash. Jinder tried to take advantage and ducks a Phenomenal Forearm and connects with a knee to the back of Styles. The Modern Day Maharaja connects with a Khallas but Styles kicks out in the last second! Jinder then tried to mock Styles by attempting a Styles Clash but The Face That Runs The Place rolls his opponent up and locks a Calf Crusher for the submission victory to retain as the WWE Heavyweight Championship.
This was a rather decent match but most of the credit goes to AJ Styles for doing all the right things at all the right times. Jinder was just there to facilitate the role of being the primary antagonist but he really didn’t add all that much. Hopefully, Smackdown can try to move things along and give the main event spot to guys like Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, please?
Rating: 6.0 of 10.0 AJ Styles selling
Overall Rating for Clash of Champions (2017):
No, there really isn’t much to say about Clash of Champions. It wasn’t all that good but that’s what I expected. The only really good match was the United States Championship match and AJ Styles match (who was his opponent again?) was just passable. The rest of the matches were just awful. So, good job for giving me what I expected, WWE?
Rating: 4.0 of 10.0 house show caliber pay-per-views
What did you think of this year’s WWE Clash of Champions show? Let me know in the comments section below!