Welcome to another edition of WWE Heat Index, wherein we discuss the interest level for the various feuds heading into the pay-per-view events. This time around, we’re focusing on Clash of Champions 2017 coming this Sunday night.
The way this works is a pretty simple three-way breakdown of Hot, Lukewarm and Cold. If you like something and you’re very interested in how WWE is setting up the program, it’s Hot (aka Good). If you’re a bit on the fence about it and see some problems, but it’s not awful, then it’s just Okay or Lukewarm. The ones that are the most problematic that you have no interest in are Cold (aka Bad).
Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section to let everyone know what your thermometer reads for each feud as I tell you what my thoughts are below!
Without further ado, let’s get started!
WWE Championship Match: AJ Styles (c) vs. Jinder Mahal = Lukewarm / Cold
I’m very, very thankful that WWE took the title off Jinder Mahal and put it on the much more capable AJ Styles, but the feud between these two does little to nothing for me and I have no real anticipation for the match itself.
Sure, it should be fine, but the way I see it, either they have a decent enough match that ends in the rightful victory of Styles and nothing really all that exciting happens, or they purposely go for a swerve of sorts to be unpredictable and run the risk of either making a mistake by putting the title back on Mahal, or just overbooking it.
This is fine and adequate, but if we’re talking about Hot being something I’m pumped for, I lean somewhere in the middle of Lukewarm and Cold. I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it, and if this were a bigger pay-per-view, I’d be annoyed at the match. Here, at Clash of Champions, it’s the right call to make and exactly the decision I would have chosen if I were in charge, but the feud has still been rather uninteresting these past few weeks anyway.
SmackDown Women’s Championship Lumberjack Match: Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Natalya = Lukewarm
Quite literally the only thing saving this from being Cold is that I don’t think WWE has figured out what they want to do with The Riott Squad and I’m curious what their involvement in this match is going to be.
I’ve seen enough matches between Charlotte Flair and Natalya to know that it’ll be good enough, but something that I’ve seen before, with no wow factor. This would be a big pass if it weren’t a lumberjack match, as that’s where the interest comes from.
Obviously, the women on the outside are going to brawl. That’s a guarantee. But since they’re all heels (save for Naomi) and none of them have any allegiance to anybody in the ring (again, save for Naomi with Charlotte), how will that impact the match itself?
I’m certainly hoping there’s no outcome of Natalya winning the title back from a distraction, but WWE also has to figure out a way to put some of the spotlight on Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan, so do they just beat up Naomi, Tamina, Lana and Carmella while Charlotte beats Nattie, or is there some other confrontation in the works? Hm…
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Fatal 4-Way Match: The Usos (c) vs. The New Day vs. Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin vs. Aiden English and Rusev = Hot
For my money, this has the most potential to be the best match of the evening, particularly when we look at the track record The New Day and The Usos have had this year in that regard.
Tag team wrestling in general in 2017 has kicked it into a different gear both on the main roster and in NXT and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if this match was easily the most entertaining of the whole pay-per-view.
Rusev and Aiden English should provide a bit of comedy and an adequate fall-team to take the pin, Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin will spice things up with some bonus athleticism, The Usos will remain the anchors and I have the sneaking suspicion The New Day will walk out as the new champions.
All in all, there might not be a solid feud joining these four teams together, but the match quality itself has me giving it a big thumbs up.
United States Championship Triple Threat Match: Baron Corbin (c) vs. Bobby Roode vs. Dolph Ziggler = Hot / Lukewarm
Dolph Ziggler is one of my favorite performers of the past ten years, Bobby Roode has always been someone I’ve revered and at different times, I’ve enjoyed Baron Corbin enough to really want to see him get a solid push.
When you throw those three guys into a match together, I’ll be paying attention, particularly with the United States Championship on the line.
All three of them are viable champions, but I think this is a Corbin victory in the making with Ziggler taking the L in order to protect Roode going forward so The Lone Wolf can continue his feud with The Glorious One uninterrupted.
Hopefully, these guys go into the match with enough passion and drive to want to steal the show, and they’re given enough time to potentially do just that.
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn vs. Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura = Hot
Don’t get me wrong—the makeshift tag team of Orton and Nakamura is not the reason why I’m classifying this a Hot. They’re placeholders who could be rearranged with anybody else on the card, for the most part, and without this match’s stipulation and outside factors, it would be a Cold one for sure.
Having Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan as the special guest referees, with one of them threatening to fire Owens and Zayn while the other seems to be somewhat of a mediator between those two sides, though, has my eyes open.
More often than not, WWE teases a firing just to give fans a reason to care, only to have that person win and everything remain the same, but there are times where they still pull the trigger and just bring them back in a different way.
We know it’s been specified that they won’t just move over to Raw if that happens, so that means WWE is thinking ahead and trying to get in the minds of the crowd to subvert expectations.
What if Bryan turns heel? What if someone makes their debut or return in order to screw over Orton and Nakamura? Hell, what if Owens and Zayn DO lose?