Tonight, every title that WWE has to offer will be defended at Clash of Champions. Let us go match by match and see how well each of the matches came out. We’ll also be able to see if my predictions bore any fruit.
Drew Gulak (C) def. Lince Dorado and Humberto Carillo – WWE Cruiserweight Championship
One of these days, the Cruiserweights are going to get the respect they deserve and get a slot on the main card. This was as high quality as a pre-show match is going to get. The three styles just meshed together and showcased their strengths well.
The match started out great with Dorado and Carillo double teaming Gulak only to start trying to outwit each other. Gulak also did a fantastic job of playing the opportunist in the match. He was constantly trying to steal pins or get his offense going based off the attacks of others in the match.
Some may say it was a bit too spot-fest-y, but I thought otherwise. It was structured just fine and each star got a chance to shine. To top it off, the right person won, and in an ideal way. ***1/2
AJ Styles (C) def. Cedric Alexander – United States Championship
I never thought I’d see the day where AJ Styles is on the pre-show, but here we are. Ironic that I said this was going to be the match of the night.
Needless to say, this was disappointing all expectations considered. You’d think that this spot could have been easily filled with the women’s tag team title match. A true shame that Cedric didn’t get to have a proper match in his hometown.
Anyway, I respected how they started the match at a frantic pace. They were only given about 10 minutes before the show started. That means they could have only realistically have gone about 5 minutes. Cedric hitting the Mchinoku Driver to start was a sign that they had to get to the point quickly.
It was okay, but I felt like Cedric looked too weak. You had Styles pretending to pin him and he hit him with a litany of finishers. To top it off, he gets jumped afterwards. Not a fan of how this match was handled. **
Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler def. Seth Rollins (C) and Braun Strowman (C) – RAW Tag Team Championships
Probably the easiest match to predict in WWE history. We all knew that this would be a match that would build up drama for the main event. We knew that Rollins and Strowman would drop the titles as a result of miscommunication. The inevitable ending aside, how was the actual match?
Well, it was good. Yeah. It was good! It certainly wasn’t anything special, but all of the work was solid. I wish I can say more about this match. However, between the obvious outcome and the standard tag team formula, I cannot really say much else.
I do find it interesting that they decided to have the tag title match and Universal Title match staggered from each other. From the start, I thought that they were going to have the RAW Tag Title match and the Universal Title match back to back.
Seth Rollins isn’t a stranger to defending two titles in one night. At Clash (Night) of Champions 2015, he defended the US and WWE Titles against Cena and Sting back to back. Whatever. It wasn’t a bad match, a random tag team are the champions, and, um, yeah. **3/4
Bayley (C) def. Charlotte Flair – Smackdown Women’s Championship
I guess that was a match that happened. Well, you can make this the 2nd match of the night where the Hometown Jinx struck again.
This match was going to set the stage to cement Bayley as a heel. This match certainly did that, although I wish we got an actual match. We saw that Bayley was getting outclassed for about 2 minutes. Evidently, that’s all she needed to cheat.
Heel turn was accomplished, but the match, if you want to call it that, was disappointing. It’s incredible. Bayley/Charlotte and Styles/Alexander were two of the matches I was looking forward to the most. Yet these two matches are also the two shortest. Clash of Champions is off to a pretty lackluster start. *
The Revival def. The New Day (C) – Smackdown Tag Team Championships
This was certainly a surprising outcome, considering The Revival aren’t even a tag team from Smackdown. Guess this foreshadows what will happen in the WWE Title match.
It is pretty hard for The New Day and The Revival to have a bad match, and they had another solid outing here. I always love it when WWE showcases why The Revival were terrific in NXT. They are a smart tag team and they work incredibly well together.
They spent the match isolating both Xavier and Big E, and it worked to their advantage tremendously. The greatest part? They actually won clean! Towards the end, I thought they were going to blow it by not pinning Xavier when they had the chance. Corey’s commentary, while more annoying than not, was wise here. If they blew it, that’s why.
Fortunately, they were able to complete the job and did it while exploiting the injury to Xavier that they themselves caused a month ago. While the two teams have had better outings, this was very good when compared to the rest of the card.
It’s also pretty cool that the Revival are now tag team grand slam champions, as they have been NXT, RAW and SD tag champs. This is especially considering how screwed we thought they were a year ago. Will we have a new WWE Champion tonight? ***1/2
Alexa Bliss (C) and Nikki Cross (C) def. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville – WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships
This was another outcome that was obvious considering that the challengers had pinned the champions coming into this match. My expectations for the match were relatively low. All things considered, the match as pretty okay.
The little 24/7 Title run-in was kind of cool for comedic purposes. As for the actual match, again, it was just okay. There wasn’t any real purposeful character interactions until Cross and Rose got into things.
The match also picked up when Cross got the hot tag, because the match was kind of dragging before. Anyways, the match was was well-paced, the right team went over and no one hurt each other. I guess that’s passable. **1/2
Shinsuke Nakamura (C) def. The Miz – Intercontinental Championship
Throughout the entire match I was thinking how funny it would be if Shinsuke actually lost the match while Sami spent the match running his mouth. At the very least, Sami’s trash talking gives Nakamura’s matches some level of heat. I guess?
This was another good, but not great (boy we’ve had a lot of them tonight) match. The match went just about how I expected it would. A basic back and forth with Sami influencing the outcome and cheating on Shinsuke’s behalf.
Believe me when I say that I wish I could have a deeper analysis on most of these matches. However, they have all been of similar quality for the most part. Some of the spots featuring Miz almost winning were well done. However, I never once got the feeling Miz would win with Sami. So I suppose that took away some of the excitement. This match would definitely pass on an episode of Smackdown. For a PPV, it was….ONCE AGAIN, okay. **3/4
Clash of Champions needs a shot in the arm in the worst way.
Sasha Banks def. Becky Lynch (C) by DQ – RAW Women’s Championship
Just our luck. The best match of the night doesn’t even get a finish. Well, that aside, this was what I wanted it to be. That’s what happens when you put two of the four Horsewomen with great chemistry in the same ring together.
Before I get to the in-ring stuff, there was one aspect of the match I hope doesn’t get overlooked. This is the fact that Becky gradually looked frustrated and out of sorts as Sasha kept surviving her arsenal of moves.
She’s “The Man”, which means she should be never lacking in confidence. However, we did see her a bit flustered after a while and towards the end of the match, she lost her composure and it nearly cost her everything. I thought that was a nice touch to the match.
As for the ref bump, I thought they were going to do the HHH/Undertaker bit from WrestleMania 17. You know the one where the ref gets knocked out and the two battle throughout the arena only for the ref to magically wake up when they make it back. I thought that was going to happen because I never heard the bell ring.
I could have done without the ref bump, but with it, thte match is still a very nice watch. There was some very close calls towards the end and the two really knew how to work off of each other’s offense. It’s quite clear that their feud is far from finished, and they may get a rematch inside HIAC.
I guess we should just consider this a taste of what they can do to each other. ***3/4
Kofi Kingston (C) def. Randy Orton – WWE Championship
Kind of weird that they chose to take the tag titles off of Big E and Xavier but keep the WWE Title on Kofi. Anyways, if you read my Clash of Champions prediction column, you’d see that I had Kofi retaining. Why? Because he had to win this match. Plain and simple. You can’t be tormented by someone for a decade, have him come after your family and then lose the title on top of it. That isn’t how WWE storylines usually work.
I was kind of baffled watching this match. This is supposed to be a personal feud with over 10 years of build and we are starting the match with headlocks and rest holds? I’m sorry, but that doesn’t cut the mustard. Maybe these two need a Hell In a Cell Match. The quality of this match did not match the intensity that the feud should have had.
I want to get behind Kofi as champ really badly. But with each passing average showing on PPV, I’m starting to to wonder if he hit his peak when he won the title. His match with Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania? Fantastic. His matches against Dolph Ziggler? Whatever. His matches against Samoa Joe? I don’t remember them. His matches against Orton? Middle of the road.
Now, this isn’t all his fault, and the Randy Orton formula ages about as well as cheese. Can you sense my disappointment? The match was way too slowly paced and not nearly physical enough as it should have been.
I hope that they get a HIAC match to bring some closure, because boy was this not up to par. The match was about 20 minutes I literally felt that nothing of importance happened. **
Erick Rowan def. Roman Reigns – No Disqualification Match
Well that was certainly unexpected. I am pretty sure the last thing anyone anticipated was Luke Harper returning after requesting his release from the company. My expectations coming into this match was to have Roman win and then move on to Daniel Bryan. However, it appears that another dynamic is being added into this feud.
I’m not sure where Harper fits into all of this. He could be reforming a tag team with Rowan or could be serving as Rowan’s underling. I can’t tell you, but it will be interesting to see what direction they go into.
The match was pretty solid for a No Disqualification match. They didn’t do anything over the top, but what I do know that they worked a very physical bout. Although Rowan holding steel steps gave me nightmares from a match about half a decade ago, you really couldn’t ask more.
There are way better brawls, but considering that this is Erick Rowan we are talking about here, this was a well done brawl. By the way, this is 2019 and Roman Reigns (ROMAN REIGNS) has lost two one on one matches against Shane McMahon and Erick Rowan. What a world. ***1/4
Seth Rollins (C) def. Braun Strowman – Universal Championship
So I was right in that the show would end with The Fiend. But I was wrong in that The Fiend would interfere in the match. I didn’t think they’d give us a clean finish towards this match. But alas, the sky is blue, the grass is green and Braun Strowman chokes every time he gets a Universal Title opportunity.
As for the actual match, I liked their sprint. Seth’s matches against guys double his size can be quite entertaining at times, especially when he pushes the pace. I did sense that the crowd was displeased at the fact that Rollins got the victory, as they were expecting a change.
And lo, and behold, the ugly looking Pedigree made a return. Disregarding the crowd’s reaction towards the winner of the match, it was a good, solid main event sprint. There was also build to next month’s PPV to end.
The match also did a solid job of hiding many of Strowman’s weaknesses. He isn’t exactly the guy you want carrying a main event match for a prolonged period of time. Rollins kept pushing the envelope and that made Strowman’s offense look more devastating in return.
I seriously do not know what they are doing with Braun, though. I wasn’t expecting Braun to walk out of Clash of Champions with the title, but I didn’t expect Seth would beat him fair and square either. He is starting to build a reputation as a guy who cannot win when all the money’s on the table.
The match was good for a main event, although with this card, “good” is very relative. ***1/2
Would I tell you to go out your way to watch Clash of Champions? Probably not. Clash of Champions only featured two title changes, both men’s tag titles. In addition, one of those title changes was painfully predictable.
I would say that if you have half an hour to burn, you can check out Sasha/Becky and the main event. New Day and The Revival were pretty good too. As you can see, most of the matches had similar ratings. It literally felt like I was watching the same match over and over again in terms of quality.
I didn’t feel bad about watching the show live, but I’m not watching it match to match a second time. Do what you will with that information. Clash of Champions gets a thumbs firmly in the middle for me.