Sami Zayn def. Jeff Hardy (C) and AJ Styles – Intercontinental Championship (Triple Threat Ladder Match)
Holy shit, what a match this was. There’s so many things to talk about, I don’t even know where to begin. Shall I begin with the fact that Jeff Hardy in 2020 is still Swanton Bombing people through ladders? Should I talk about AJ Styles moonsaulting people off of announce tables? Or maybe I should spend more time on Zayn’s tremendous heel work?
Here is what I know. This was one of the best performances on PPV for WWE this year. At least it was for me. It was intense, violent and had great storytelling. Zayn was the MVP here. From being an opportunist and allowing AJ and Hardy to punish each other to bringing out a pair of handcuffs was ingenious. I haven’t recovered from Orton violating Jeff’s earlobe with a screwdriver two years ago, so I admit that handcuffing Jeff’s earlobe to a ladder brought back repressed memories.
Zayn winning was an interesting choice since he already defeated AJ and Jeff on Friday, but I’m not mad at it. Overall, this was just a very fun ladder match, one of the best I’ve seen in a while. Easy match of the year contender for me. ****1/2
Asuka (C) def. Zelina Vega – RAW Women’s Championship
Zelina is definitely green when it comes to singles competition, and while it shows at times, she did some good stuff here in the ring tonight. I think the next step for her is working matches that tell a story instead of doing moves for the sake of doing them. From the pace and short length of the match, this felt more like a practice match for her. Asuka realistically can wrestle circles around her. This was a decent showing, but nothing worthwhile. **1/2
Bobby Lashley (C) def. Apollo Crews – United States Championship
A RAW caliber match. I think I liked their match at Payback better and it went kind too short for me to give a damn. The combination of Apollo’s athleticism and Lashley’s strength still proved to be a good watch, but I think I’ve started to become desensitized to seeing these two fighting since this has gone on since before Summerslam. Not sure where Apollo goes from here, but the experiment with him has yielded mixed results. **1/2
The Street Profits (C) def. Andrade and Angel Garza – RAW Tag Team Championships
The RAW tag team division is borderline anemic at this point, and it feels like these two teams have been the only ones fighting for the titles since WrestleMania. It’s getting old. Aesthetically speaking, the match was fine I guess, but I should say that Spanish Fly by Garza came dangerously close to being an injury. They looked visibly shaky before leaving the top rope and they just got enough to land flat. Timing on those moves have to be utterly precise.
In addition, it looks like the finish was botched. The pre-rendered audio for the Thunderdome had the crowd chanting to 3, so I assume Andrade wasn’t supposed to kick out. I don’t know, I wasn’t interested enough to care. **1/4
Asuka def. Bayley (C) by DQ – SmackDown Women’s Championship
Match won’t get a rating cause it really wasn’t a match. It was just more build for the Banks/Asuka feud so nothing to see here pretty much.
Drew McIntyre (C) def. Randy Orton – WWE Championship (Ambulance Match)
This match was very confusing to me. I get what they were trying to do with everyone Orton had taken out getting their revenge, but why now? Edge is still waiting in the wings to get his revenge so why have everyone recover and give Orton his comeuppance now.
I would have bet the house that if there was any match that would have a title change hands, it’d be this one. It just felt like time to give the title to Orton in light of the work he’s done as a heel. And the top heels on RAW are few and far between. I’m not mad to continue riding McIntyre, but the timing of everyone getting their revenge felt better saved for a return feud with Edge.
The match itself was just a lot of punching and kicking around the ambulance. It didn’t feel like a match so much as they were filming a segment to build to another match. I don’t know. It just felt like a lot of empty calories if you know what I mean. Not bad, but not what I was expecting. **3/4
Roman Reigns (C) def. Jey Uso – Universal Championship
Don’t know about you guys, but I loved every second of it. The match itself is the best traditional match on the card by a mile. It’s the way Roman is being built that puts it over for me.
First, it’s the subtle heel shtick of getting a low blow without the ref noticing. When I saw Jey holding his groin, I thought Roman gave it as he took the frog splash. Instead, it was on the follow through as he was kicking out, making it appear to be a natural motion. Ingenious. But it gets even better.
He basically bitches out Jey as he cries out in pain, telling him to acknowledge him as the superior. He lets the referee knows if he thinks about stopping the match, he’ll get some too. Jimmy comes out and basically begs Roman to stop and had to throw in the towel on his behalf.
Mind you, Roman had the match won for a good five minutes. I always knew Roman looked the part as a heel, but actually seeing it has blown me away so far. And as was mentioned, this was family. So imagine the wrath a non family member would feel? If this is what we can expect from a heel Roman, he needs to be Universal Champion as long as possible. ****1/4
Clash of Champions is literally about its beginning and end. The lone title change was in the first match of the night, which was disappointing. But it was a barn burner. The main event, while maybe a bit drawn out was excellent storytelling. Everything else in between felt somewhat like space holder material. Not bad enough for me to turn away, but not good enough to keep me invested. I’ll say thumbs in the middle, leaning up for the effort.