Review: WWE Clash Of Champions  PPV
Here we are with Raw’s first new Pay-Per-View of the new WWE Era! The show took place in beautiful Indianapolis, Indiana: a perfect and historic setting for a historic night. Raw had big shoes to fill tonight because Smackdown’s latest PPV, “Backlash,” rocked the house a few weeks back and led the charge of the new WWE era in extremely fashionable style.
As the new brands continue to discover their new and fresh identities, it’s important start off on a strong foot and keep getting stronger and stronger. WWE Fans have dealt with too much indecisiveness and lackluster outcomes for too long, so our abilities that trigger happiness and forgiveness are running along a very thin line. Yes, the brand split has created some interesting pops and exciting storylines, but will it all eventually settle down to the familiar bore we’ve come to loath? Well if the new era goes along the same pathway as Clash of Champions, then yes we will be re-kindling our relationships with the familiar bore we’ve come to loath.
After starting off strong and heading in all the right directions, the show simply fell flat, and some creative decisions will make you scratch your head instead of hop to your feet.
Nia Jax vs. Alicia Fox
This was what I like to call a “scrub” match: the type of match created to promote and build a new, powerful superstar. They are usually pretty one-sided, but there is nothing wrong with these matches. They’ve been in the professional wrestling world since the beginning, so it’s sometimes nice seeing an old school, nostalgic “scrub” match.
And that’s all this match was and needed to be, nothing too special. Alicia Fox got in some decent offense, but she was no match for Nia Jax’s power.
Short, sweet, powerful, but nothing to write home about.
Match Grade: C+
Raw Tag Team Championship: New Day vs. Anderson & Gallows
Anderson & Gallows are an aggressive and brutal tag team that has been dominating the WWE since their arrival. They took on the champions The New Day, who once upon a time were the most hated team in the company but are now one of the best attractions WWE has to offer.
This was a high-energy match up that didn’t slow down until the final bell. Anderson & Gallows came out with a bang, disregarding the rules and attacki ng everything in their paths. Their main targets were the members of New Day, who despite being hit with almost too many finishers from Anderson & Gallows, were able to kick out of every pin attempt.
There wasn’t anything special when it comes to team moves or “Oh My God” moments, but this match was a great way to start of Raw’s new pay-per-view. Each team supported the personalities they’ve built for themselves over the recent months. And it’s funny to see New Day pull the same moves that made them hated and now people are absolutely in love them. The WWE universe’s opinion can flip on a dime, and each time makes the product more entertaining.
Match Grade: B
Cruiserweight Championship: T.J. Perkins vs. Brian Kendrick
The Cruiserweight Classic was… classic! Some of the best matches I’ve ever seen took place during the tournament. Now we get to see its winner defend his title for the very first time, and it’s against an old veteran who has been on a bigger stage than this before.
Once T.J. Perkins stops including the “Dab” dance move in his gimmick, he will have a long career with WWE ahead of him. He and Kendrick rocked the house with their match, especially because their styles conflict in a very entertaining way. Perkins is definitely the more experienced when it comes to mat wrestling and technical aspects, but Kendrick stuck with him and used other practical means to gain the advantage over his much younger opponent.
It’s always awesome when a match’s result is truly unpredictable, and the winner could be either competitor, which is a tough dramatic feat to obtain in a world that’s completely scripted. Regardless of the script or the finish, these two superstars used that dramatic formula to their advantage and showed off why the cruiserweight division deserves its triumphant return.
Match Grade: B+
Match 7 of Best of 7 Series: Sheamus vs. Cesaro
This best of seven series has been a rollercoaster ride. Cesaro was down three matches to none, and now here we are at the very end of an unpredictable road. The series is tied, and either superstar could win, which gives the match a perfect amount of drama. Add that to the drama already bubbling between these two, what occurs during this match should be nothing short of special.
And wow… it really was something special. These two agile brutes slowed things down, creating a nice change of pace from the chaotic matches from earlier. They did everything they could and tore the roof off the building along. The crowd chanting, “THIS IS AWESOME!” was honestly an understatement. This match had a phenomenal flow and structure, creating a story that left both superstars brutally beaten to pulps.
That was the problem, though. Because the superstars were so beaten, the referee had to stop the match, and it resulted in a draw. The match was very entertaining, but the competitiveness should’ve been rewarded with a more permanent ending.
I guess because of how popular this best of seven series has been, the WWE wants to milk it for everything its worth. I disagree with that decision. Let good things be good things, don’t drag them out. That’s when things get dull and ruin what could’ve been a piece of greatness. I’d rather see another best of seven series than the final match end in a draw.
Still, this match will be on the Best Matches of 2016 list.
Match Grade: A-
Sami Zayn vs. Chris Jericho
Even though I’ve said in the past that I’d like to see Jericho retire, he is still able to deliver a quality match. His real role in the business now is to help the newcomers and younger superstars, and that’s exactly what’s going on with this rivalry with Sami Zayn.
Zayn is a bright up-and-comer with a history of injuries, but he has never lost his favor with the crowd. This is a good match up because Jericho’s charismatic gimmck has the potential to mix well with Zayn’s masterful talents in the ring.
But sadly… the match really wasn’t all that great. The bouts preceding this one were filled with aggression, drama and competitiveness. Zayn and Jericho literally couldn’t get anything going for them, and the result was a very slow and lifeless match. It’s not the worst thing ever, but with what each of these competitors are capable of, they should’ve been able to tear it up just like everyone else had already done earlier in the PPV.
I believe the lack of entertainment comes down to their chemistry. At the start, my heart wanted their styles to mix well, but actually seeing them work together in the ring only proves they aren’t the greatest fit. They are a basic fit, one used to fill the time in between championship bouts.
The match did get better as it progressed; yet it wasn’t enough to grant an impressive rating.
Match Grade: C+
Raw Women’s Championship: Charlotte vs. Bayley vs. Sasha Banks
Three out of the four horsewomen are in a WWE championship bout. A few years ago, this match was only a dream for NXT viewers. We salivated for the day when the four horsewomen would take the main roster by storm. Even though it’s been a weird and disappointing road for the Diva’s Revolution, the Women’s Evolution has started to game some stellar steam.
This is the perfect match to continue the stellar trend, and it’s between the best three out of the four horsewomen. (Still love you, Becky)
And… the match couldn’t have been more disappointing. The best way I can describe what happened is by saying each female superstar was performing at the bare minimum of her talent. It looked and felt like they were just going through the motions to get a paycheck, and I know these females have more passion than that All of the chemistry and drama they had during their NXT days seemed to be nonexistent during this one. Everything was sluggish instead of being crisp and pristine. The pacing was weird and very disjointed. I didn’t know if it was a championship bout or a dance where the partners don’t want to work with each other.
Very disappointing to see these three incredible talents to do something so lackluster.
Match Grade: C
United States Championship: Rusev vs. Roman Reigns
Coming into tonight, these two HAD to perform better than they did at SummerSlam.
It was great to see another WWE Wedding go sour, this time the bride and groom being Rusev and Lana, but ever since this Rivalry’s beginning, it has felt like WWE forced these two together because they didn’t know what to do with them. They only paired them up to keep them relevant throughout the WWE Universe. That’s fine to do, honestly, but if the two superstars don’t work well together, then I believe this kind of decision hurts their careers more than keeps them relevant.
Still, I’m an optimistic cat when it comes to wrestling, so my hopes are always high during pay-per-views.
There’s nothing wrong with a slow-paced big man match, but when there’s no harmony during an orchestra’s performance, then it comes off as dull and out-of-tune. That’s exactly what we got here. I love watching these two beat each other up, but there was no emotional resonance or dramatic context to keep my interest glued to their match.
They didn’t even look like they were enjoying their work until much later in the match, when things actually got a little interesting. Although, by that point I was already out of it. The match was worthy of a spot during the final hour of Raw, nothing more.
Match Grade: C+
WWE Universal Championship: Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens
It’s upsetting that Finn Balor couldn’t defend his title at a PPV. But no fear, Kevin Owens is the perfect replacement for a new era in the WWE.
The return of Rollins immediately put him back into the main title picture, and even though he lost at SummerSlam, he has proven week after week that he belongs on top.
The rivalry between these two has been an interesting one, to say the least. And with how Triple H recently turned on Seth Rollins and labeled Kevin Owens as corporate’s new man, the dramatic fires keeping this rivalry going were re-ignited. I’m fascinated to see how this whole story line is going to pan out. Not only are Rollins and Owens in a clash, but also it seems like Triple H and Stephanie McMahon may not being seeing eye-to-eye on several issues.
In the beginning of this main event, lots of personality spilled out from both sides, starting it off like a championship match. Sadly, it turned flat at about the halfway point. This isn’t because these two wrestlers aren’t fabulous competitors. No, once again it’s because of their chemistry. Rollins and Owens mix on a tolerable level. They are fun to watch, but it doesn’t go much deeper than that, even with all of the crazy antics that have occurred during the past few Monday nights.
The end of the match forced me to lower the match’s grade. I know Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens are buddies, but Jericho’s interference felt fabricated and awkward instead of natural and fresh. I’m the type who loves to see someone win a match legitimately, but then again I’m not against interference when it’s done right. Jericho interfering was not the right move and it put a damper on an already unexceptional match.
Match Grade: B-
Clash of Champions wasn’t the greatest of nights for the WWE, but in no way does this turn me away from the product. WWE is still going through a transitional phase, so a lot of the superstars and match-ups we were used to seeing are not on the table any more. Other avenues have opened up, so it’s going to take time for new chemistries to be built and memories to be made.