WWE Clash Of Champions 2016 Reaction
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
After SmackDown set the standard for brand-exlcusive Pay-Per-Views with Backlash, it was time for Raw (the supposed “A-Show”) to deliver.
Unfortunately, a three-hour show marred by overbooking and convoluted logic has only proven that Raw has been dreadful.
If anybody needs an example of what an “eh” show will deliver, look at Clash Of Champions.
On paper, things looked salvageable, but like we thought, Raw’s flaws overtook what would’ve been great and turned it into what could’ve been.
The Pre-Show Breakdown
– The Nia Jax-Alicia Fox match was oddly enough one of the few instances where a storyline was simple and made sense headed in. Contrary to her heavy push on NXT while still green, Jax had adjusted well on the main roster with her own style of Braun Strowman-esque squash matches. The backstory here was that Fox wanted revenge for her friend whom Jax previously slaughtered. Unluckily, Fox’s over-the-top personality made that backstage interaction ridiculous. They recovered the next week as Jax manhandled Fox with a spear through the barricade, albeit no pinfall. This match was our chance to see Jax’s biggest threat yet, while safe to assume she’d have no problem. As for the bout, Fox came out strong and hit some hopeful spots like a high-top cross body and a scissors kick, but it wasn’t long before Jax assumed her domination and finished Fox off. To sum it up – glorified squash with some backstory. Who’s next for Jax?
– The opening video was unimaginative, reliant upon stock footage of various superstars as they trained. They highlighted the WWE Universal, United States and Women’s Championship matches. This was like the less enthusiastic sibling of the former “Night Of Champions” namesake. Sure, every belt was on the line, but since this was only half the company’s Titles, we’d hope that all Raw belts would be on the line every Raw PPV. Cool suggestion – maybe they could change it up next year as an interbrand show where both brand’s Champions face off against one another to determine what shows get what Titles. It’d change things up and make more use of the “Clash Of Champions” name.
– The WWE World Tag Team Championship match between Champions Big E/Kofi Kingston and Karl Anderson/Luke Gallows was thankfully better than expected. When most of the build relied upon Anderson/Gallows’ dry humor that culminated with that horrid “Old Day” segment, we had big fears of what this match would play out like. It’s like somebody attached brains to this storyline, as Gallows/Anderson rushed out of the gate as no-nonsense heels. New Day also sported new “Who?” shirts, which shouldn’t surprise anybody. One little aspect that helped add drama was that it was day 399 of their Title reign and what stopped them from 400 stood across from them. Despite that, it was hard to buy the idea that Gallows/Anderson would end it after how weak they were booked. Big E put in a good performance as he lit up the scene with at least three German Suplexes on Anderson. A few teases towards the finish that flirted with a clean Gallows/Anderson win, but then we saw Woods hit Anderson with the trombone to lead to the Midnight Hour finisher to set up ND’s reign continuance. You could question the logic of babyfaces cheating to win, but to be fair, that’s ND’s thing – they pander, they brag, they cheat, they win. It was sort of a “throwback” for them. With an obvious way to set up a Day 400 celebration segment for Raw, we’re left to wonder who might crash the party.
– The backstage promo from WWE Cruiserweight Champion TJ Perkins (or TJ Parker as Booker T called him on the Kick-Off show) was a basic way to hype his upcoming defense against Brian Kendrick, as he put over his story of hard training and confidence that got him to where he was today, while he also praised Kendrick as an experienced Champion. Perkins doesn’t boast the strongest mic abilities, but at least the damn Champ got to shine in his first main roster appearance.
– The WWE Cruiserweight Championship match between Champion Perkins and Kendrick had a little storyline support, but was designed in a way that allowed the two to go out there and do their thing. Kendrick won a fatal four-way earlier in the week to earn that shot and was easily the Division’s most recognizable name with enough heel tendencies to be considered a good foil to Perkins. The Champ also had a cool new video game-inspired entrance theme debut unique to his flashy personality. Also loved the factoid that Commentator Michael Cole dropped when he mentioned that it was Kendrick who used to drive Perkins to wrestling school back in the day to establish a past connection. Kendrick got some early heat when he refused to shake hands. Perkins “dabbed” his way into the Muta Lock, probably the first instance of that in history. There was a botched neckbreaker by Perkins, but he redeemed himself when he leapt over the top rope and hit a huracanrana on Kendrick that sent him over the top himself. Some rough patches, but they found a groove about halfway in as they created enough drama to keep us attached. Liked that Kendrick was able to hit the Sliced Bread Number Two for a near-fall. Once it reached that point, we were confident Perkins would go over and before long, he caught Kendrick in the kneebar submission and he tapped out. The post-match angle where Kendrick embraced Perkins with a handshake, hug and prompt headbutt was great. It tells us that they can always go back to this bout and officially declares Kendrick a Division heel, which is always a good thing.
– Cesaro’s backstage promo was easy hype for the upcoming Best-Of-Seven Series Match Seven between him and Sheamus for a “Championship opportunity.” Cesaro spoke of his chance to seal the perfect comeback, as he was once down 3-0 and pulled off three straight wins to tie. As cliched as it played out, most of the bouts were actually fun.
– The Final Match of the Best-Of-Seven Series between Sheamus and Cesaro with the Series nodded at 3 lived up to the hype and then some… before the finish. We’ll get to that soon enough. Clever start as we saw a match-by-match breakdown of key moments that led to the finishes. Cesaro injured his back early in the series when Sheamus tossed him into the ring post and both men cheated to win at one point too. With the “sudden death” vibe in the air, it was time to sit back and enjoy. Cesaro hit some big-time moves that woke the crowd up before they were lulled to a slumber when Sheamus took over and worked over Cesaro’s back extensively. Craziest moment hands-down went to Cesaro’s 6-1-9. Scary moment where Cesaro hit a Tope Suicida and landed directly on top of his head. Think back to how Lita landed in that infamous spot. From that point on, this match began to reach the “awesome” territory as they battled back-and-forth and kicked out of each other’s finishers. Sweat literally poured from both their faces as they went above and beyond to deliver a spectacle. This was easily the night’s best match at this point… and then Cesaro shoved Sheamus into the ring post and clotheslined him over the barricade to end it in a no contest via Referee stoppage. It was “decided” that medical trainers couldn’t let them continue, even as the crowd begged for Raw General Manager Mick Foley to come out. Really, guys? So much for “sudden death.” Just when things were great, they went and “Rawed” it all up.
– The backstage segment with Bayley and WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte was light hype for the triple-threat match that’d star them and Sasha Banks. To sum it up, Charlotte accused Bayley of “weaseling her way” to a Title shot, while Bayley argued she earned it as she pinned Charlotte herself. Have to give it to Charlotte though, as she’s currently one of the company’s best heels.
– The Sami Zayn-Chris Jericho match was always a dream on paper and now their connections to WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens as the former and current “best friends” gave Creative an excuse to finally let it happen. As far as the match itself, it wasn’t bad, just not as excitable as we thought it’d be. Zayn also had a bad moment with the botched turnbuckle DDT and barricade moonsault. We liked that he was able to counter the Walls Of Jericho and hit the Blue Thunder Bomb for a close near-fall. We figured Zayn would kick out of the first Codebreaker, but it ended the match as the last. This decision baffled us since Jericho usually puts talent over and a win here made more sense for Zayn. It’s an insane thought that Zayn has found himself in a few notable Match Of The Year candidates, yet has been on such a stop-and-go push that he has literally zero chance to get over.
– The backstage segment with Owens, Foley and Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon was more main event hype, as management tried to butter the Champ up with praise and he saw right through it, only eager to prove to them that he was the “man” all along with some unanswered jabs at his opponent for later, Seth Rollins. Strangely enough, after Owens called Rollins’ “Foley’s mistake,” he walked away and Foley openly mentioned to Steph how he “loved the chip on his shoulder.” Right.
– The WWE Women’s Championship Triple-Threat match between Champion Charlotte, Banks and Bayley was undoubtedly one of the show’s marquee affairs headed in. Pretty lame storyline though, since despite Charlotte’s great heel reign, the matter of which her opponents were set was so illogical. Bayley pinned Charlotte to be able to get her name in the running for a shot. Banks pinned Bayley in a future match, even as Charlotte’s protege Dana Brooke pointed out a double pin, which rendered there no official #1 contender. Foley decided to make a Triple-Threat just because. They didn’t do nearly enough to create an “every woman for herself” vibe in the build, but there was promise when we saw Banks and Bayley bicker. good action with some unique twists to their usual spots, but this lacked in energy a bit to what we’ve seen these ladies do in NXT. There was a cool triple dropkick spot and Charlotte hit a flawless moonsault onto both Bayley and Banks laid out on the canvas. Brooke’s interferences made sense from a heel perspective, but since there were no rules in a triple threat, shouldn’t she had tried to do more? Anyways, things winded down towards the finish in chaotic fashion. The finish itself was alright, since we saw Bayley get pinned by Charlotte after two kicks (odd on kicks alone) and it was apparent they chose to preserve a future Banks-Charlotte Title bout, presumably for Hell In A Cell on Sep. 30. Stats like Charlotte being 12-0 in PPV Title defenses also helped build her case as a dominant Champion.
– The WWE United States Championship match between Champion Rusev and Roman Reigns was hyped as this personal “battle of the titans,” but in the end, was just another Reigns bout. After all, the reason for this feud was Reigns’ interruption of a love celebration between the Champ and his wife. Surely, Reigns is the good guy, right? The people expectedly didn’t take to Reigns and booed him almost the whole time, though a good portion also voiced their support. A mid-tempo competitive bout that had some big spots, but was disappointing overall. It almost looked like Rusev would retain by some fluky finish with Lana, but then she was ejected. If that didn’t give away the finish, we’re not sure what would. A Spear later and we had a new US Champion. On one hand, this was good since it kept Reigns out of the Universal Title picture and could let him still dominate a certain percentage of the roster. This was bad because well, Rusev. That was almost the closest they had him to 2014 monster status. We then remembered that there has to be a rematch of course. HIAC?
– The backstage segment with Rollins, Steph and Foley gave last-minute hype for the main event as we were reminded that Rollins was more obsessed with proving Steph wrong than the actual Title he fought for it seemed. Not sure how this puts him in “good guy territory,” but hey, at least he can perform a crossbody off various things. This also put more of the spotlight on Steph, who continued to deny any knowledge of her husband’s infamous actions.
– The WWE Universal Championship main event between Champion Owens and Rollins had a build that was underwhelming to say the least, as both guys were in a transition period, Owens to a “golden boy heel” and Rollins to a tweener-face. Again, this felt more about Rollins wanting to prove he was still “the man” to Triple H than wanting to get revenge. The first half of the match was carried by Owens as he targeted Rollins’ surgically repaired knee with stiff kicks and witty trash-talk. Some more early highlights included nice near-falls from an Owens’ gutbuster/frog splash combo. The in-ring action was probably most memorable for Owens’ “Suck it!” gesture that referenced either Triple H or Bullet Club before he missed a senton and crashed through the announce table. We expected shenanigans from Triple H, so it was a disappointment to see Jericho come out and be one of the factors of Rollins’ downfall. Added to it was a downed Referee and a delay by Steph to get another official out while Owens was down for the count. In turn, by the time one came out, Rollins was caught off-guard and into a Pop-Up Powerbomb to lose the bout. We liked that the finish again made Steph look suspicious as far as her “business” alignment with her husband while it put some sympathy on Rollins. Still came with a price though since a Triple H involvement would’ve been smarter here as it was almost a month since his appearance.
- Pre-Show – Nia Jax def. Alicia Fox via pinfall
- WWE World Tag Team Championships – Big E/Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods) (Champions) def. Karl Anderson/Luke Gallows via pinfall to retain
- WWE Cruiserweight Championship – TJ Perkins (Champion) def. Brian Kendrick via submission to retain
- Best-Of-Seven Series – Series Tied 3-3 – Match 7 – Cesaro and Sheamus to a draw via Referee stoppage
- Chris Jericho def. Sami Zayn via pinfall
- WWE Women’s Championship – Triple-Threat – Charlotte (Champion) (w/Dana Brooke) def. Bayley and Sasha Banks via pinfall to retain
- WWE United States Championship – Roman Reigns def. Rusev (Champion) (w/Lana) via pinfall to become new Champion
- WWE Universal Championship – Kevin Owens (Champion) def. Seth Rollins via pinfall to retain
Posted on November 22, 2016, in WWE and tagged Alicia Fox, Bayley, Big E, Booker T, Brian Kendrick, Byron Saxton, Cesaro, Charlotte, Chris Jericho, Clash Of Champions, Corey Graves, Dana Brooke, Jerry Lawler, Karl Anderson, Kevin Owens, Kofi Kingston, Lana, Lita, Luke Gallows, Michael Cole, Mick Foley, Nia Jax, Raw, Renee Young, Roman Reigns, Rusev, Sami Zayn, Sasha Banks, Seth Rollins, Sheamus, Stephanie McMahon, The New Day, TJ Perkins, Xavier Woods. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.