Quick note before I begin. There have been a lot of things I’ve been going through the past few months, so I haven’t been able to post as often as I would have liked within the past few months. However, most of those issues have relatively cleared up and I hope to be providing more content for all of you going forward. Make sure you always take care of yourselves and prioritize your well-being above all else. Thanks for coming to my ted talk.
Bayley, IO SKY and Dakota Kai def. Bianca Belair, Alexa Bliss and Asuka
This was a solid if unspectacular opener. The Bayley chants were a nice call back to her NXT peak days, but I kind of zoned in and out of this match, to be real honest with all of you. There were too many portions where everyone was just standing around and gaps in the action, especially at the beginning. There were also some sections, particularly with Alexa Bliss that looked a little clunky, but things picked up towards the end well, and the increase in pace helped the match a lot. Bayley pinning Bianca undoubtedly serves as a harbinger for a future title match between the two sometime later in the fall. Nothing special here, but a good crowd warmer. **3/4
Gunther (C) def. Sheamus – Intercontinental Championship
Not since Night 2 of WrestleMania 37 when Big E defended this championship against Apollo Crews in a Nigerian Drum Fight has the Intercontinental Championship been defended on PPV. And if this was the match that was needed to break that streak, then I’d damn well say that long interim was worth it, because holy shit. This match was everything I had hoped it would be and much, much more. It was intense, physical and felt like a war. But most importantly, the atmosphere felt like the Intercontinental Championship was something that mattered. Seeing Imperium and Fight Club fight each other with Sheamus and Gunther staring each other down, the slaps, the chops, the heavy strikes. This felt like an actual fight and a war of attrition.
This actually reminded me a lot of Gunther’s match with Pete Dunne (or Butch) in NXT the years ago. Aside from all of this, we must all give our flowers to Sheamus. He is truly one of WWE’s unsung heroes and MVP’s. He’s never in the main event scene, but the man just shows up to work, and gives it everything he has each time. There was actually a time right before the pandemic where Sheamus’ injuries had become so debilitating that his in-ring future came into question. And since then, he has continued to kill it and put stars over. The man is the true definition of a workhorse, and WWE is a better product with him performing. Sheamus is always at his best when he faces an opponent that can either match or exceed the physicality he brings to the table. We’ve seen all across throughout his career. Cesaro, Drew McIntyre….all of his best bouts are with those who can not only just receive his punishment, but respond in kind.
The scars both men had on their body was indicative of the war they went through, and the post-match standing ovation was well deserved. I sincerely hope we get more of these two. Just a fantastic bout and basically perfect if we are being honest. An easy match of the year candidate, and just a phenomenal showing by two of WWE’s stalwart ring generals. I don’t give five stars out often unless I feel like it’s warranted, and in this situation, I just don’t see a reason not to. Maybe the frequency of the camera cuts? Nope, can’t think of one. *****
Liv Morgan (C) def. Shayna Baszler – SmackDown Women’s Championship
This match took a while to get going, but this was a good showing for Liv here. Not only did she get a clean win over a legitimate contender with technical skills, but she did so in a definitive manner, unlike her Summerslam retention over Rousey. She also showed some solid technical prowess and was able to maneuver around Baszler’s offense. This match wasn’t the best because as solid as this match became, the one thing both women have struggled with (lack of opportunities in the past have no doubt contributed to this) is the ability to keep a crowd engaged throughout the course of a match. This was more an issue with Liv because none of her offense was believable, but she has made great strides, and I think it was shown greatly here. The story with Rousey is far from over, so it’s no doubt they will revisit that some time down the line, but we still had a solid showing. And considering that this was the match to receive the unfortunate death slot on the card, I’ll grade this one on a curve. ***1/4
Edge and Rey Mysterio def. Judgement Day
Well, this was certainly eventful, wasn’t it? First, I’d like to point out how hilarious it was seeing Edge and Judgement Day making their entrances right after each other. I think this might be the first time ever that the same band’s music was playing one after the other. Who would have thought we’d seen the day where an Alter Bridge song would come out for a face and then a heel group after?
That aside, the match was pretty good and hit all the ebbs and flows that any good tag team match has. But can I ask when the Judgement Day is going to win a big match without Edge? I really don’t get it. A week before Summerslam, the Mysterios beat Judgement Day. Then at Summerslam, in a No DQ match, they lose after Edge interferes. And today, they lose to the man they exiled from their group along with Rey again. Honestly, would it have hurt to maybe have Dominik do the turn during the match and cost them? Or at Summerslam, maybe have Judgement Day win and have Edge save the day in a post-match beatdown?
I don’t know, I’m just not a fan of how they’ve been booked but overall, the match was good and it kept the crowd engaged. The Dominik heel turn was bubbling for a while now, but I must say he really let Rey have it. My guess is that he remembered Rey co-signed his custody being on the line in a ladder match against Eddie Guerrero at Summerslam all those years ago. That’s my guess anyway. No doubt they are going to have a singles match, and whatever goes on with Edge……I’d definitely like to see that. He’s likely to align himself with Judgement Day, but this was the first major step he had to take in order to solidify himself as a singles competitor. ***1/4
Seth Rollins def. Matt Riddle
I was somewhat disappointed that this match wasn’t given a No Holds Barred stipulation considering how deeply personal this match got. And after watching the match, very good as this match was, I think that’s the stipulation that was needed to put it over the top. The match started with a break neck pace and then slowly morphed into a formal match as time progressed. I think the element of weapons and everything being legal should have been added here, but since Extreme Rules is around the corner, I suspect a rematch of more epic proportions was in store.
For what we got, it was still very good. Most importantly, it ends Seth Rollins’ losing streak on PPV. His only win on PPV this year was via DQ against Roman Reigns at the Royal Rumble. And before that, his previous pinfall victory on PPV was last at Hell In a Cell 2021 against Cesaro. So he’s been on the losing end more often than not on PPV since WWE opened back up from the pandemic era of WWE. I’m hoping Seth will gradually make his way back to main event status and assert himself as one of the top dogs in WWE, because he has been one of WWE’s MVP’s over the past year with the stellar performances he’s put on as well. This match feels like part one of something that’s sure to continue. ***3/4
Roman Reigns (C) def. Drew McIntyre – WWE Universal Championship
People are going to be talking about this match for a long time, and for reasons that are not all good. I have so many wavering thoughts about this match. A part of me thinks this was an epic clash of two gladiators competing in a main event with an atmosphere that was gargantuan. Simultaneously, I also feel like the entire match was a smokescreen, with bells and whistles that made it seem like this was a great match when in actuality, it was just a copy and paste of a lot of Roman Reigns’ matches that included run-ins, ref bumps, interferences and kickouts of multiple finishers. Where do I stand on this?
I’m kind of in the middle. The match was definitely very good and intense, but I also feel like I was tricked, if that made sense. For example, Karrion Kross was shown throughout the night and a distraction on his end allowed Roman Reigns to gain an advantage in the match. However, I believe most thought that once the ref bump happened, it would be Kross that would assert himself in the match, since he was sitting ringside and he was the external third party in Drew and Roman’s feud. But that was just a smokescreen which blinded our eyes to the main roster call-up of Solo Sikoa, whose call-up to the main roster had been rumored to been imminent for a while.
Then, you had the ref bump, the chair, and all of the other extra drama that seems to permeate Roman’s main event matches these days. Even Theory’s run-in and Fury knocking him out. Fun in the moment, but didn’t really add to the match itself. It’s not a bad thing, but it honestly starts to resemble Triple H’s run from 2002 to 2003, if you get what I mean. I don’t think you always need that to make a match memorable. Just have the two do their thing. I have also seen a lot of people complain about the ending, calling it one of the worst endings ever, and I can’t agree with that as I think people are more. upset that Drew didn’t get his Cinderella moment. While it was a bit anticlimatic, I don’t think it ruined the match since it was basically over by that point.
I think we can say that Roman won’t be losing the title any time soon and that the next time he will even be considered to lose will be WrestleMania, with the likely opponent being Cody Rhodes as the vignette teasing his comeback might have alluded to. There’s no way Roman loses on some B-level PPV in the fall, and there’s certainly no way he’d drop a major championship on the road to WrestleMania. I get people were expecting Drew to get the win here, and honestly, a big part of me feels that WWE should have just pulled the trigger. But we’ve seen Roman get victories against opponents that had high stakes for them. Edge didn’t win the Universal Championship 10 years to the date at WrestleMania 37 when he was first forced to retire. John Cena didn’t get the record-breaking 17th World Championship reign. Daniel Bryan’s WWE career was ended at Roman’s hand. And now Drew, whose big world title moment was taken away from him at WrestleMania 36 courtesy of the pandemic, doesn’t get the win with home-field advantage.
It’s a bitter pill to swallow for those wanting a more active champion in lieu of Roman’s part time status. While the overall product hasn’t suffered as a result, I can see why some have started to sour on Roman’s reign (pun totally intended) because of his weekly absences on RAW and new schedule that doesn’t require him to be at live events or at every PPV. Call it the perks of being the undisputed top dog in the business today.
So overall, the match was worthy of the billing, worthy of being the main event, and certainly had drama, but I think some of the other distractions in the match only served as fluff. They did sell it though, and I did believe Roman was actually gonna get pinned a couple times. But WWE can’t fool me. And they won’t fool me until WrestleMania. ****
Some may be disappointed in the main event, but I can still honestly say WWE delivered a great show. Sheamus and Gunther absolutely knocked it out the park and everything else was solid and achieved its purpose. The women’s matches were kind of forgettable, but far from bad. One thing people have cited on WWE’s PPV’s is that there are less and less title changes. Yeah, it might be kind of stale after a while seeing the same champions, but in a lot of situations I think it’s good to see champions booked strongly. I think the only untouchable champions at the time being are Roman and Gunther. So I’m expecting more of the same in future PPV’s, but what I do know is that if WWE continues to deliver solid shows like this, I won’t care at all. Thumbs up for Clash at the Castle.