WWE Clash of Champions Review
September 26, 2016
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
The “first ever” RAW branded PPV event is in the books now. The 19 PPV WWE schedule is in full effect and there is no turning back now. They’re committed, at least for the time being.
Much like the “Smackdown Live only” PPV event Backlash, there was not a lot of buzz or excitement heading into this one. All day on my Twitter and Facebook feeds, I was constantly seeing messages saying something along the lines of “Clash of Champions is tonight? Meh.” The RAW heading into this event was definitely a decent, packed show, but the ratings certainly weren’t positive despite how the show was put together. How did the PPV itself come off? Let’s find out.
Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins have a good match with a lame finish
The Clash of Champions main event was certainly a good one, but after a whole card full of a plethora of suicide dives and finisher kick-outs, the crowd just wasn’t all that jacked to watch yet another match with more of the same. I think the matches on the show preceding it had a lot to do with it, but I also feel that Seth Rollins just hasn’t connected with the crowd on a top babyface level yet. The guy just turned face a few weeks ago and just isn’t established. They tried to flash fire it on Monday with him doing the cross-body off the commentary table and then later on a cross-body off the top of the cage, but it hasn’t clicked yet. I think the crowd still considers him to be a heel, so when you have two perceived heels facing off against one another, it hurts the reaction to the match. That’s not to say the match wasn’t very good. It certainly was. The relationship between Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho (who interfered in the match) is still one of the best things going in WWE right now. Still, the commentators were awful (as they were all night) at conveying the important points of the story. There was a ref bump toward the end and Rollins had Owens down for twenty seconds with a Pedigree, but no other referee was sent out. Then when Rollins was in trouble, Stephanie McMahon sent a new referee down. Then it was Powerbomb, over. It was kind of anticlimactic and the commentary team did a terrible job of trying to convey the story that Stephanie may have inadvertently been favoring Owens there by sending a referee out when Rollins’ momentum was down. I hope they can get it right tomorrow on RAW. To sum it up, this was a good match with an anticlimactic ending.
Roman Reigns wins the United States Championship
The only title change we saw on the show was Roman Reigns defeating Rusev in a decent, physical match to become the United States Champion. The crowd was not on Reigns’ side once again, but they still pop whenever he does something big. It’s very weird. I think this was actually a great move to give him the title. It keeps him out of the main event picture so they can possibly refocus their game plan to get him over. I still contend that the United States Championship should be like the old TV Title being defended every week. Bring back the Open Challenge aspect to it and let Reigns get over with his wrestling. Say what you want about the guy (I sure have said a lot over the past two years), but he has been involved in some damn good matches this year. Let him get over with the wrestling, maybe tweak the character a bit by going back at the boo-birds, and I believe they can turn this ship around. However, is the damage done as far as him being the #1 face of the company? Time will tell.
Enough with the suicide dives already!
Seriously, after watching Sasha Banks almost kill herself a few months ago and now watching Cesaro nearly become a paraplegic tonight, it’s time to cut down on the dives outside the ring. How many people need to do a suicide dive in WWE? Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Sasha Banks, Cesaro, and Big E (in a way) all do them. Dives in general are way overplayed in wrestling. How many dives did The Usos do when they were face? Nearly every match involves some ridiculous dive over the top rope. They’re dangerous and should be used sparingly. It’s only a matter of time before these go wrong. It nearly did with Cesaro tonight. This is such a thing that’s so indicative of our instant gratification society. Instead of training the crowd to get behind a match that builds up nicely with a story that’s relatively safe for all involved, everyone is going for the cheap pop of a dive over the top rope. We see so many that they’re not even memorable. I still remember when Shawn Michaels did a plancha in the 2002 go home show for SummerSlam because they weren’t done on every show then. Now they’re just throwaways. I think this has to change before someone gets seriously hurt. Do the right thing, WWE. Tone it down.
* The New Day are starting their 400th day as Tag Team Champions on tonight’s RAW. If there was a time to make a change, it was on this PPV. They’re still over in a big way, but it’s time to add some depth to them by chasing.
* Decent main roster debut match for T.J. Perkins. Brian Kendrick helped him along to a good match. There were some flubs, but they recovered nicely.
* I know I touched on one aspect of the match briefly, but damn, Cesaro vs. Sheamus was amazing and physical. What a match and there is still one more to come since it ended in a draw. It was really a tremendous effort from both guys. They had an excellent psychology with a non-finish that didn’t feel completely cheap. Maybe they can settle it in a Hell in a Cell match? I can dream, can’t I?
* Chris Jericho and Sami Zayn continued the line of very solid matches on this show. Jericho, despite being in his mid-forties, can still go with the best of them.
* The women had a very good triple threat as well. Charlotte is one of my favorite heel characters in WWE. I think what she does is phenomenal. I know she’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but if she’s doing her job right, she shouldn’t be. Bayley took the fall in this one, which is what it is. Bayley should lose a few so they can start building her up as the underdog that eventually wins the big one.
While tonight’s event was a very solid show wrestling wise, it lacked that “wow” factor you really look for in a PPV. I loved the effort put in, but the stories weren’t there and there’s nothing other than that scary moment with Cesaro that I’ll probably remember long term. There is still no follow-up with the Triple H storyline, which I was expecting there would be, so that was a disappointment. The show also ended on that anticlimactic note, so that took some points off as well. This was a solid event if you’re a wrestling enthusiast, but creatively it was kind of blah.
A slight majority of our readers (40% as of Monday at 12:30 EST) gave Clash of Champions a “thumbs in the middle” rating.
Bump of the Night: Cesaro’s scary suicide dive on Sheamus!
Match of the Night: Cesaro vs. Sheamus ***
Final Rating: ** 3/4
What did you think of #WWEClash tonight?
— Wrestleview.com (@wrestleview) September 26, 2016
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Mike Tedesco is the official recapper of WWE Monday Night RAW for Wrestleview.com.