For WWE last PPV of 2017, the words “obvious” or “expected” haven’t stopped popping up. Whether in the team’s predictions or in the conversations on social media, Clash of Champions wasn’t meant to be full of surprises. It could have been but we were not a lot to believe in it…
It was the battle of the former teammates as Mojo Rawley was taking on Zack Ryder. If Zack Ryder requested this match, he made a big mistake as Mojo Rawley attacked right in the match. And Ryder was not really in the match, as Mojo in the middle of the match was asking Ryder to show him how intense he could be. In the end, Zack Ryder rallied and hit 2 Broski boots but Rawley put his foot on the bottom rope. Rawley executed a running forearm smash on Ryder for the win. Nice bout that would have deserved to reach the card and not to be in the pre-show.
United States Championship Triple Threat Match – Dolph Ziggler vs Baron Corbin (c) vs Bobby Roode
In this Triple Threat match, Baron Corbin’s reign as United States Champion was in serious danger, even more with 2 greedy opponents like Bobby Roode and Dolph Ziggler. The challengers attacked the Champion together right in the match, clotheslining him over a barrier. Corbin focused on Roode when back in the ring, maybe the biggest threat and the most powerful man in this match, as Ziggler and Corbin then focused on The Glorious Man’s back and knees. Corbin hit the Deep Six, Roode kicked out. Ziggler connected with a jumping DDT, Roode kicked out again. Nice Tower of Doom when Corbin made crawl the superplex from Ziggler on Roode. When Roode hit the Glorious DDT on Ziggler, Roode was about to become the new US Champion. But Ziggler kicked out, Corbin came back. When he came for the End of Days, Ziggler countered the move into a Zig Zag and became a 2-time United States Champion.
It seems like in WWE when you start to whine and complain about your status or threaten to leave, things are suddenly falling from the trees like apples in a garden. I may be utterly happy for Ziggler, again it seems like WWE used a carrot to be sure Ziggler would shut up and stay.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Fatal Four-Way Match: The Usos (c) vs Aiden English & Rusev vs The New Day vs Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin
The Usos had 3 contenders to take care of in the Tag Team Championship match. And one man from each team was legal at the same time. That made the beginning of the match kind of awkward. The New Day seemed to be completely outnumbered, after a good beginning to the match, but were not able to show what they can do. The team of Shakespeare in Love and Rusev (I’m unable to say Aiden English, sorry) were surprisingly good and could have become Champions (the crowd would have loved that… ) if only Chad Gable unloaded an impressive series of German suplexes on English, Rusev and even Big E. But The Usos were too strong and mostly there at the good moment, hitting superkicks on Gable before a Superfly splash. The Usos’ Penitentiary was stacked yesterday night…
For me, it was the Match of the Night. When the US Champion bout was a little too “classic” for me, this match showed how strong the Blue Tag Team Division is. The Usos and Gable & Benjamin stole the show. The twins have a connection in the ring that is indisputable and, for a quite recent team, Benjamin and Gable proved the chemistry is working between them. Nice teamwork from English and Rusev too, as long as they don’t sing…
SmackDown Women’s Championship LumberJill Match: Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Natalya
Nine Lumberjills around the ring, and only Naomi to support Charlotte Flair… Natalya prepared her troops and they did what they had to do. In this Women’s Championship rematch, it was clear the Lumberjills would be the key to the victory. Natalya sent Charlotte to the outside many times to ensure the Champion would be weakened, and it worked. But when the Jills started to brawl, Charlotte took everybody down with a ravishing moonsault off the top rope. Carmella even teased a Money-in-the-Bank cash-in at a moment but the war between the Lumberjills stopped her intent. Natalya tried to capitalize on the war of the Jills but she was trapped in the Figure-8 as everybody was brawling outside.
The stipulation was clearly to Charlotte’s advantage. She may have had 9 women against her, the “Gangs of New York” Boston version of the Jills gave her the momentum to retain. Natalya may have whined and cried after the match, turning her back on the fans, she was clearly only responsible for her own defeat.
The Bludgeon Brothers (Rowan & Harper) vs Breezango ( Fandango & Tyler Breeze)
If one of you were expecting The Fashion Police to win their match against The Bludgeon Brothers, you really were on another planet. Breezango tried, Bludgeon attacked, a killer bomb and a double crucifix on Fandango, the match was wrapped in less than 2 minutes.
This kind of squash match is good for the pre-show… well I’m even too nice when I say that because this match was closer to a jobber match than anything else…
Tag team match with Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan as special guest referees – If Owens and Zayn lose, they’re fired from WWE: Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens vs. Randy Orton & Shinsuke Nakamura
How to kill a very good match? By having 2 guest referees disagreeing. We were all expecting who would betray who and when. Something WWE was not even able to give us properly. Zayn and Owens had the “You’re fired” blade above their heads, but it was clear they would not be fired. The interest of this match would not lie in the competitors’ work in-ring, but in the referees’ behaviour. Owens, Zayn, Nakamura and Orton may have given the best of them, and they did, the referees were so present they killed the pace of the match with the incapacity to synchronize their counts and their ability to disagree, so to argue. Nice teamwork from both teams anyway, Owens and Zayn had the momentum at the beginning but, thanks to the referees’ objections, Nakamura then Orton were in full control. Luckily Owens and Zayn put Nakamura through the announce table with a running frog splash from the other table because both the crowd and the viewers would have quit. After more disagreements, Daniel Bryan had the last word when Sami Zayn rolled up Orton and made a fast-count before Shane even had the time to start his count. Daniel Bryan beat Shane McMahon at his own game, Bryan was not absolutely delighted, Shane was upset.
It should have been the main-event match, just because of the stipulation. But what a mess it was! Mc Mahon and Bryan argued during the whole match like two women in front of a dress or a pair of shoes on sale. The matter of this match was not about Zayn and Owens being fired or not, but about the 2 “Bosses” of SmackDown Live disagreeing. This killed a very good match. Very disappointing… but Yep! Yep ! Yep !
WWE Championship Match: AJ Styles (c) vs. Jinder Mahal
Mahal vs. Styles for the WWE Championship, seemed like we saw that match a thousand times before… Even if they teased they may not be joining Mahal at ringside, The Singh Brothers were there, helping him. But yesterday it was AJ Styles’ show. Even if Mahal made him suffer, targeting his ribs and legs constantly, working him on the outside, throwing him into the barriers and on the mat, as always Styles was able to daze with moves coming out of nowhere. Styles hit a nasty 450 springboard splash, got rid of The Singh Brothers and kicked out of The Khallas. Mahal tried to beat Styles with his own Styles Clash but AJ rolled him up and locked Mahal in the Calf Crusher. Mahal tapped out without really trying to escape… Game over for The Maharaja
This match was not of the level of a main-event, absolutely not. It was all about giving credibility to Styles as a Champion and pull Mahal out of the Championship card. What is WWE going to do of The Maharaja now? Very good question… As far as AJ Styles is concerned, the question now is: “who’s next?” Not a bad match, but no a great one too…
Two words are coming to my mind to describe it, messy and average. The PPV started on a very good way and then slid into a messy and predictable ride. The Tag Team divisions, whether on RAW on SmackDown Live, have been synonymous with Match of The Night for a few months now and it’s something very interesting to witness and review.
As I’m about to wrap up this piece, many questions are still in my mind. With a Women’s riot, a Commissioner/General Manager war, the Yep movement on the ride, and a Maharaja without Kingdom, SmackDown Live will soon become The Land of Explanations more than The Land of Opportunities… Let’s see where all this mess will become…
Clash of Champions Full Results:
Pre-Show Match: Mojo Rawley defeated Zack Ryder
United States Championship Triple Threat Match: Dolph Ziggler defeated Baron Corbin (c) and Bobby Roode
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Fatal Four-Way Match: The Usos (c) defeated The New Day, Aiden English & Rusev and Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin
SmackDown Women’s Championship LumberJill Match: Charlotte Flair (c) defeated Natalya
Tag Team Match: The Bludgeon Brothers (Rowan & Harper) defeated Breezango ( Fandango & Tyler Breeze)
Tag team match with Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan as special guest referees – If Owens and Zayn lose, they’re fired from WWE: Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens defeated Randy Orton & Shinsuke Nakamura
WWE Championship Match: AJ Styles (c) defeated Jinder Mahal (w/ The Singh Brothers)
All pics courtesy of WWE.com