Wrestling Review: WWE Clash of Champions (2019)

The one night of the year when every single championship on Raw and SmackDown Live is defended, the WWE presents Clash of Champions, live from Charlotte, North Carolina. It will be a busy night for Universal Champion Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman, as the two must defend their Raw Tag Team Championships at the beginning of the show, against the new, but formidable team of Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode, before then facing each other in the main event. The WWE Championship will also be defended as Kofi Kingston looks to continue his dream championship run against long-time rival, Randy Orton. Both the Intercontinental Championship and United States Championships will be separately defended, as Shinsuke Nakamura faces The Miz, while AJ Styles faces hometown hero Cedric Alexander on the kick off show. Both Women’s Championships, both Tag Team Championships and the Cruiserweight Championship are all also defended, so you can be sure to expect at least a few title changes at WWE Clash of Champions.

+ Roman Reigns vs Erick Rowan (No Disqualification Match): this was everything it needed to be, and I really liked it. Rowan showing himself to be nobody’s pawn was a great twist on the predictable ‘it was Bryan’ story it looked like it was leading towards, and whether it was predictable or not can be argued, but I enjoyed the finish too
+ Kofi Kingston (c) vs Randy Orton (WWE Championship): I am an Orton fan, even at his most half-assed, but there was something about Orton in this match really interested me. I can’t even think how to describe it, but Orton’s mannerisms and facial expressions really sold me on him not liking Kofi, and Kofi’s continual proving himself, even at this stage of his championship run make him look so good. This was not a clean match, but the realistic looking punches, slaps and reactions made this something a bit different to the usual stuff
+ Becky Lynch (c) vs Sasha Banks (WWE Raw Women’s Championship): this was really good, and almost the perfect way to reintroduce Banks after her hiatus. Both women looked like mega stars (outside of the very ending, which I personally felt should have been more evenly done). Lynch is a mega star, and if they continue with Banks as the character she is, they will have another bona fide main event on their hands
+ The New Day (Xavier Woods & Big E) vs The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) (WWE SmackDown Live Tag Team Championships): remember when this would have been seen as a big match? This was still good, perhaps even great, but it could and should have been so much more. These two teams’ tangential relation to the Kofi/Orton feud have given them more intrigue of late, so it was a shame to see it fizzle out here. If it somehow leads to a rematch where it can be given more of a spotlight, then I’m all for it
+ AJ Styles (c) vs Cedric Alexander (WWE United States Championship): this was really good, but far too short. Considering there is a one hour kick off show, it is a crime that these two were given the death slot, waste-of-a-match here, especially considering this was Alexander’s home town

Seth Rollins (c) vs Braun Strowman (WWE Universal Championship): this did not click for me at all. Strowman used to be something so special among the new-wave of WWE talent. He couldn’t work like Bryan, Styles or Seth, but when you look like Strowman you don’t have to, and they essentially threw all that away in the recent years. Seth has been a failure as a champion in terms of interest in his matches and feuds, and this was no different
Shinsuke Nakamura (c) (w/ Sami Zayn) vs The Miz (WWE Intercontinental Championship): Sami Zayn with a live mic makes anything worth watching. I really enjoy this Zayn/Nakamura tandem, but even they were not enough to get a good match out of The Miz. Any and all promos between Zayn and Miz have been good, but between the ropes I don’t want to see The Miz wrestle
Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross (c) vs Fire & Desire (Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville) (WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships): this was garbage, both in the build up story and the in-ring wrestling. Obviously Rose and Bliss are ridiculously good looking women, but to say that Cross is not gorgeous (and Deville, too, though she gets no mention in the story at all) just makes me wonder when the WWE gave up on women altogether. This match was not good, but even moreso it made me mad that the WWE returns to the tired old ‘you’re ugly’ shtick
Bayley (c) vs Charlotte Flair (WWE SmackDown Live Women’s Championship): I can clearly see what they were attempting here, but it did not work, and instead this was another short, waste of a match that could and should have been something much more
Seth Rollins & Braun Strowman (c) vs Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode (WWE Raw Tag Team Championships): I have a lot of problems with the story going into this match, and the competitors involved, but I can probably save that rant for another time. This was not a very good match, mostly because it did not feel like anything special. Commentary continuously hinted at dissension between the champions, but they never showed it, so it just made me wonder if we were watching the same contest
Drew Gulak (c) vs Lince Dorado vs Humberto Carillo (WWE Cruiserweight Championship): on paper, this was a certified match of the night contender, but it ended up being a sloppy, plodding affair, mostly held together by the impeccable technical skills of the defending champion

Should you watch this event: Overall, this was not very good. The few flashes of brilliance (the opening minute of Alexander/Styles, Becky/Sasha and Reigns/Rowan’s respective “matches” and the weird, pissed-off-veteran Orton) were not enough to save this show. The focus on Seth Rollins on Raw has ruined the main event of that whole show, and it ruined this event too.

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