Wrestling Review: WWE Clash of Champions: Gold Rush (2020)

The Amway Centre once again plays host to the WWE Thunderdome, as the sports entertainment juggernaut presents Clash of Champions: Gold Rush. On a night where every championship will be on the line, Roman Reigns and Jey Uso will finally see if blood is thicker than gold, as they face off in the main event for the WWE Universal Championship. On the Raw side of the ledger, Drew McIntyre and Randy Orton will meet one last time in one of the most sadistic matches in WWE, as they fight for the top gold in an Ambulance Match, where the only way to win is to throw your opponent into the back of an ambulance and slam the doors shut. The controversy surrounding the Intercontinental Championship will finally be put to rest, as three men with (arguably) rightful claims to the gold compete in a triple threat ladder match: the recognised champion, Jeff Hardy; the former champion, who believes he was screwed out of his gold, AJ Styles; and the champion who never lost his belt, Sami Zayn. Asuka defends the Raw Women’s Championship against Zelina Vega, and both the Raw and SmackDown Tag team titles are on the line throughout WWE Clash of Champions.

Just before the show was meant to go on the air, two matches were cancelled for “medical reason” (that is most likely due to the highly publicised COVID outbreaks at the WWE Performance CEntre): Nikki Cross would no longer be able to battle Bayley for Bayley’s SmackDown Women’s Championship, and Nia Jax/Shayna Baszler would not be able to put their Women’s Tag Team Titles on the line against The Riott Squad. Instead, Bayley had a different opponent, and there was no women’s tag team match.

+ Roman Reigns (w/ Paul Heyman) (c) vs Jey Uso (Universal Championship): I loved this so, so much. Though not even nearly as emotional as Cody/Dustin from Double or Nothing a few years ago, this was the exact type of a story-heavy match that works to a huge degree in pro wrestling. This was a master class in almost every single way for a match that everybody thought they knew the ending of. The apparently increased sensitivity of the in-ring microphone meant we could hear all the back and forth trash talk, and it just made Roman Reigns in particular look like an absolute megastar
+ Drew McIntyre (c) vs Randy Orton (Ambulance Match for the WWE Championship): as far as these Randy Orton walk-n-talk matches go, I enjoyed this. Drew is phenomenal as both the underdog and monster when he needs to be and Orton’s longevity means he has the credibility to win these sort of matches when he has the chance. I imagine this one may be divisive, but it was not as mad as the Wrestlemania match between Orton/Edge by a very wide margin
+ Jeff Hardy (c) vs Sami Zayn (c?) vs AJ Styles (Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship): the first half or so of this was as standard a ladder match as you can get (and I think I said the same thing about the recent NXT five-way ladder match). Of course there were dives and ladder spots and all the stuff you come to expect from a great wrestler, a great character and a guy known for hih spots. But then something flipped, and Sami Zayn made this match great, with a disgusting and incredibly clever tactic, Jeff Hardy nearly died several times, and AJ Styles made being great look effortless
+ Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs The Lucha House Party (Kalisto & Lince Dorado) (w/ Gran Metalik) (SmackDown Tag Team Championships): this was changed to be the pre-show match, and I really enjoyed it. Based on the last few weeks, LHP didn’t deserve the match, but when they were allowed to work as a team they were as good as any luchadore team in wrestling. Nakamura didn’t do a huge amount but he was fine, but Cesaro is just an absolute freak and MUST be on eveybody’s best of this year

Bayley defends the Smackdown Women’s Championship: this was stupid and garbage and entirely predictable and I hated it
The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford) (c) vs Andrade & Angel Garza (Raw Tag Team Championships): if you ever get to a point where, in story, the champs are sick of facing the same competition, then maybe you need to change the story. The Profits flat out said they didn’t want to fight these two again, and considering the apparent audible and awkward finish from an injury, maybe that should have been the case
Bobby Lashley (c) (w/ MVP) vs Apollo Crews (w/ Ricochet) (United States Championship): I feel like I’ve seen this exact match a million times, and I probably have. The cynic in me wants to say this is just race-based nepotism, because Lashley should be tearing Apollo and Ricochet and the like apart, but instead he keeps having these same, middling, boring matches
Asuka (c) vs Zelina Vega (RAW Women’s Championship): this was one sided on paper, and they tried as hard as they could to make it not one-sided in the ring, but they failed. This was not good

Should you watch this event: The ladder match and the Reigns/Jey Uso main event are absolute must see matches, but you can probably take or leave the rest as you see fit.

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