Clash of Champions. Raw’s first exclusive PPV since the brand split. The same Raw, that has been struggling in the ratings and general reception of it product, actually put on a good show. The wrestling was all solid, the matches enjoyable.
However, when you stop and think about it. Did anything in the Raw landscape change as a result of this show? Well, no. Not really. Roman Reigns unnecessarily beat Rusev for the US Title sure, but Roman Reigns is not a popular man. So if you weren’t happy with the direction of Raw before, this wouldn’t have convinced you otherwise.
The more I think about this show, the more apathetic to it I become. Four of the seven matches ended with a screwy finish and although we were expecting the main event to end that way. We were expecting Triple H to interfere, not Chris Jericho. In the end the PPV just ended up feeling like a more wrestling focused Monday Night Raw. It felt very, unimportant in the grand scheme of things.
Before we get started lets quickly mention Nia Jax verses Alicia Fox on the Pre-show. Nia Jax won. Okay moving on.
I have to say, I’m surprised the show didn’t start with a promo from Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley. I was sure it was on the cards. In fact, we didn’t see either of them until half way through the show when they appeared in a backstage bit with Kevin Owens. That was nice, very nice.
Tag Team Titles: The New Day (c) vs. The Club
The New Day kick off the show with a typically New Day promo. They’re still really over despite me starting to think they’re getting a little stale. A once again serious Club emerge and start an immediate beat down on Kofi Kingston with Luke Gallows taking out Big E and Xavier Woods on the outside.If The Club had one then and there, I’d have been fine with it. Why couldn’t we have had this club since day one?
It’s a high paced opener with plenty of back and forth, very enjoyable. The finish sees Xavier hitting Karl Anderson with his trombone for the victory. Another misstep for The Club in my opinion, who can never seem to get the job done. It’s apparent that New Day will not be losing those titles until they beat Demolitions old WWF record of 478 days. I just hope the WWE can figure out what they want to do with The Club, because those guys are so good!
Cruiserweight Title: T.J. Perkins (c) vs. Brian Kendrick
It’s got to be said this show is starting off very strong. Tag Team titles and then the Cruiserweights? Good stuff!
Kendrick sets out his stall as the heel early on by refusing to shake T.J. Perkins hand. It’s not the quickest start with Kendrick and Perkins trading submissions, the larger WWE crowd don’t seem sure on how to react but we get some chants after a couple of minutes.
It’s always going to be difficult in the early stages teaching the wider audience about this style and getting them to care about a new group of talents. It’s not going to happen over night, but if given time and an opportunity to showcase their characters it’ll be fine.
Perkins gets to win with his knee-bar submission. After the match Kendrick and Perkins finally shake hands before sucker punch style headbutt to take down the champion. Overall it’s a solid match, a few botches but nothing major to gripe about, it’s only the start for the cruiserweights and the skies the limit!
Cesaro vs. Sheamus
It’s the final of the best of 7 series for a ‘title shot’, going into this match you do kind of get the impression it could go either way. According to the bookies before the event Sheamus was the slight favourite, but it’s nice going into a match where anything could happen. On a show which had a few guaranteed locks, it’s actually incredibly important. Predictable doesn’t mean bad, but unknown can also be very important.
It’s a slow paced, hard hitting affair. As you’d expect with any Sheamus match to be honest. Cesaro an absolutely horrible landing from a suicide dive, landing right on his neck. It was hard to watch, I’m not really sure how he kept going. Obviously though WWE showed 500 replays!
The match ends bizarrely after a clothesline over the barrier. The ringside doctors say neither man can go on, despite having literally just gone through worse. Weird. At first it looks like it’s just a ploy to show how touch these two guys are. The crowd chant loudly wanting a restart and for a second it looks like we’ll get it as Cesaro climbs the turn buckle and calls Sheamus back. Instead, Sheamus is forced backstage. I’m fine with that being the idea for the finish, it’s that the execution was poor. A clothesline over the barrier is suddenly the most devastating move in history? I don’t think so.
In the end no one is pleased with this result. I guess that means we’ll get an 8th match?
It’s got to be said, a draw was the last thing I expected from this series. So in a way, you got me WWE. Although really it begs the question, if they were going to tie, why did both have three victories in a row? Surely it would have been more tense to have them trade victories along the way thus proving that they are equal.
Sami Zayn vs. Chris Jericho
Sami Zayn and Chris Jericho are up next. It’s got to be said, this card so far has been great and the matches coming up later only continue that. Nice one Raw.
It’s the only match on the main card with nothing on the line but that doesn’t mean a thing when you’ve got the talent of Sami Zayn and an in form Chris Jericho. It’s a good match as you’d expect with a nice bit of back and forth. The only real surprise is that Chris Jericho won clean. I was sure it would be a dirty victory so that Zayn would have justification for a rematch.
Maybe Jericho will spend too much time boasting on Raw leading to Sami challenging him to a rematch. Or maybe it’s one and done?
Womens Title: Charlotte (c) vs. Sasha Banks vs. Bayley
It’s another triple threat with the women from NXT. 3 of the 4 horsewomen against each other. Bayley is your face, Charlotte the heel while Sasha plays tweener. We know these ladies can go, we’ve seen it before but there always seems to be something missing on the main show. Maybe it’s the crowds? It must be weird going from the rabid NXT crowds to the more casual WWE version.
I feel like I’m being a little too harsh, because it was a good match don’t get me wrong. I just know, when the storyline, emotions and performances is there, they can do anything.
There was a silly moment though in which Charlotte stood on the hard cam, after being pulled out of harms way by Dana Brooke, watching Bayley and Sasha trading quick pin attempts. Get in there girl! Break it up! It’s almost as if she knew that it wasn’t the finish of the match.
Like I say, another good match I’m just waiting for everything to really click together for everyone again.
US Title: Rusev (c) vs. Roman Reigns
The promo package before this match proves once again why Roman Reigns is one of the worst people in the world. He interrupts a wedding celebration, brutalises Rusev before their match at SummerSlam and is just a all around dick bag…and he’s the good guy?! Why is Rusev the bad guy here ? He stood up for his wife, rightly knows Reigns doesn’t deserve a title shot and oh, wait…He’s foreign. Never mind carry on!
Rusev comes out first, because why bother respecting the tradition of having the champion coming out last. Honestly, this is one of my biggest pet peeves in WWE today.
I love Rusev, I think he’s great. I may have mentioned that one, two… maybe 5,000 times. I spent this entire match, just waiting for the inevitable Roman Reigns victory just to break my heart. Rusev has done so well with the Us Title, taking it off him would be a terrible idea. So, what did WWE do? Reigns won.
Also, it has to be said. When Lana pulled the referee out of the ring during a pin attempt by Roman Reigns. That’s surely a disqualification? Referee, do your job.
Universal Championship: Kevin Owens (c) vs. Seth Rollins
Kevin Owens verses Seth Rollins. It really doesn’t get much better than that in WWE right about now. These are two incredibly talented guys, both on the microphone and in the ring. Kevin Owens trash talking throughout his matches is hilarious as well. “The architect? You don’t even have a foundation!” Was a particular highlight from the show.
The story line is a simple one, Kevin Owens has replaced Seth Rollins as Triple H’s hand picked champion but whose side is Stephanie McMahon on? Seth Rollins has final started on his journey to become a face, something he should have been since he returned from injury.
Much like with the rest of the show, this was another solid match. Not a match of the year contender by any means, the circumstances weren’t right for it. Yet it was good stuff. The crowd however, were quite quiet throughout. I think it has a lot to do with them waiting for a screwy finish involving Stephanie or Triple H. Sometimes when you know which direction something is going in, you end up just waiting for that to happen.
A screwy finish did indeed come, but it actually came from Chris Jericho! He returned to help his best friend retain. Chris Jericho helps KO by putting his foot on the rope, before attacking Rollins when the referee gets knocked down. After fighting off Jericho, Stephanie arrives with a new referee and Owens hits the Pop Up Powerbomb.
We still don’t know whose side Stephanie McMahon is on (Owens obviously) and WWE aren’t rushing the Triple H story line either. I guess they do what that closer to ‘Mania season after all. That’s all well and good and makes sense booking wise, but in a show in which nothing else really changed (I don’t count Reigns winning because he’s always on top in WWE) it does sort make you think if it was worth watching it.
You could honestly tune into Raw tonight and within 2 minutes get the recap and be on exactly the same page as everyone else. Oh well. Backlash was better.