WWE Clash of Champions 2017 is a real pay-per-view, believe it or not, airing this Sunday, December 17. The Smackdown-branded live event is headlined by WWE Champion AJ Styles defending against Jinder Mahal, as well as champions clashing (conveniently enough) for the Smackdown Women’s and Smackdown Tag Team and United States Championships.
Here’s the complete Clash of Champions card as we know it.
WWE Clash of Champions 2017 Card:
1. WWE Championship Match: AJ Styles (c) vs. Jinder Mahal
2. Triple Threat Match for the United States Championship: Baron Corbin (c) vs. Bobby Roode vs. Dolph Ziggler
3. Lumberjack Match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Natalya
4. Fatal Four-way for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship: The Usos (c) vs. The New Day vs. Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable vs. Rusev and Aiden English
5. Career-threatening Match: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Randy Orton, with Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan as tandem special guest referees. If Owens and Zayn lose, they are fired from “all of WWE”
6. Breezango vs. Bludgeon Brothers
7. Kickoff Match: Mojo Rawley vs. Zack Ryder
As always, we’ve gathered our team together for a complete rundown of the card, featuring analysis and predictions for all seven matches. We’ll also be here on Sunday with a live discussion thread for the event, any pertinent news breakouts and full results.
So, here’s what we think will happen at WWE Clash of Champions 2017.
Kickoff Match: Mojo Rawley vs. Zack Ryder
What Should Happen: Mojo Rawley should show up to this match wearing black trunks and black boots and just lariat and backdrop driver Zack Ryder until the referee has to stop the match. I’d actually give Ryder the disqualification win here via Castigo Excesivo because Mojo’s suddenly too much of a bad-ass and too into breaking this guy’s stupid neck.
What Will Happen: I’m guessing not a lot, but it would be nice to see Mojo take his new serious edge in an actual direction and change up his character a little. No longer calling himself “Mojo” would probably be a good start. I’m actually expecting the Ryder DQ win here, although there’s no way it’ll be as 1990s All Japan brutal as I’d for some reason like a Smackdown pay-per-view in 2017’s kickoff show match to be.
Bill Hanstock – KILL MOJO KILL. This could potentially be a big breakout moment for ‘Jo, as you know he’ll bring fire and passion to this one. And probably just whip the holy bejesus out of Ryder. Heaven knows what Ryder is going to do after this one, but he’s likely losing this match. I don’t see them stretching this out until the Rumble, or beyond. Woo woo woo, I know that Zack Ryder isn’t winning.
Scott Heisel – A betrayal so vicious, only the pre-show could contain it! Congrats on the win, Mojo (and good luck on your future endeavors, Zack).
Chris Trew – Love a good former friends match on a kickoff show. That seems facetious but I’m actually being extremely honest. This might be the first kickoff match I’ll watch since I accidentally got to WrestleMania 3 hours early and caught the end of the battle royal.
John Canton – It’s pretty sad that Ryder wasn’t even on Smackdown during the two weeks after Rawley turned heel on him. It shows how WWE views Ryder by giving him no TV time to cut a promo about how hurt he was. Give the win to Rawley to give him some momentum as a new heel.
Brian James O’Connell – Woo, Woo, Woo, I would be for this match just for the return of that theme song. I’m also for this match just so these two can be given something to do in the future. I like the idea of Heel Mojo Rawley and Zack Ryder being left off a Mixed Tag Tournament seems like a terrible missed opportunity. Let’s have Mojo develop a mean streak and put Zack into a program with Rusev and let them do some smart mid-card comedy. Zack for the win because he’s the face and he needs it more.
Elle Collins – These guys are almost certainly going to fight eight more times in the next three months, so it could go either way. I’m going to say Mojo wins, because I think he could use it more.
Breezango vs. Bludgeon Brothers
What Should Happen: The Bludgeon Brothers win, of course, and attack Breezango with those big hammers after the match. Because seriously, if you bring big hammers to the ring and never use them to crush anything, people are gonna stop thinking of them as dangerous weapons. It’ll be like the Dynamic Dudes when they carried skateboards to the ring instead of riding them. Eventually the audience figures out they’re full of shit and don’t know how to ride skateboards.
What Will Happen: As much as I want Breezango to be popular and successful, there’s no way in a snowball’s hell they beat the Bludgies here. As long as Breeze and Fandango get in a little light comedy at the beginning and a little dramatic pathos as they fight for their lives/the life of their dead hobby horse, I’m into it. Also, give me The Ascension making the save after the match to set up the Bludgeon Brothers’ next opponents.
Bill Hanstock – Poor Breezango. The Bludgie Bubbos will win this match, but I’m just hoping (and pretty confident) that Breezango will make it as entertaining as possible before that comes to pass. Dream request: Breezango wrestles this match in full Ascension cosplay, to try and trick the Blubbo Babbos into being afraid of them.
Scott Heisel – Never let it be said that WWE creative doesn’t know how to do long-term storytelling. The first mention of “2B” came way back in August, a full two months before Bludgeon Brothers vignettes started airing. Rowan and Harper have been terrorizing Breezango for close to half a year, and we’re just now getting the payoff. It’s like Starrcade ’97 all over again, minus the Crow facepaint and the rafter-repelling. Maybe there will be a fast count on Breezango, then their best friends the Ascension will come down, re-start the match and help the Fashion Police score a well-deserved victory? Sure, that’s a pretty stupid idea, can’t be any dumber than what WWE will actually do.
Chris Trew – There’s no reason this would ever happen but what if these teams switched outfits for just one night and nobody ever explained why? Bludgeon Brothers in 5.
John Canton – Easy win for the Bludgeon Brothers, which is fine because I like their look and the strong push for them. Plus, the song is catchy. It would be nice if Breezango were featured more, though.
Brian James O’Connell – The Bludgeon Brothers squash Breezango in 12 seconds! What? A seven minute comedy match to bury these guys less than a month after they re-debuted? Oh. Okay.
Elle Collins – Obviously the Bludgeon Brothers win, since they’re getting the monster build and Breezango are constantly treated like funny goes who don’t matter as actual competitors (which is a shame, because they’re great). I mostly just hope this is a real match, that gives all four of these under-appreciated workers time to do some moves. Especially Luke Harper—I love that guy.
Career-threatening Match: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Randy Orton
What Should Happen: Anything that leads to Daniel Bryan attacking Shane McMahon and siding with Owens and Zayn, joining the Yep Movement and, best case scenario, Owens powerbombing Shane off of slash through something.
What Will Happen: The result here is obvious — Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn aren’t getting fired “from all of WWE,” and somebody’s turning on somebody — but how they get there and what they actually choose to do is interesting. The most fulfilling story for me personally is Bryan siding with the heels, but there’s also a dumb chance that he’ll just end up having to count a pin for them and looking like he sided with them whether he actually did or not. Plus, there’s always the “Randy Orton turns on his partner to set up a match” option they love doing, and Nakamura should really be doing something better than slumming it as the Vipe’s little buddy. ESPECIALLY if we’re counting him as one of the favorites to win the Rumble.
So what will happen? I think the worst case realistic scenario is Shane McMahon siding with Owens and Zayn for some reason all of a sudden, because sometimes WWE values a swerve over anything that makes sense. Maybe a non-finish with both referees getting knocked out and Mr. McMahon counting the pin for Owens because he likes getting headbutted in the face, because it shows aggression?
Bill Hanstock – Lightly tipping the hand with the stipulation here, as Zayn and Owens will win this match. As Brandon painstakingly outlined in the Best and Worst of Smackdown this week, WWE has really painted itself into a corner here with the alignments and how we’re going to resolve this. My deepest hope is that there’s like a quintuple-turn here or whatever, as Bryan, Zayn and Owens are revealed to be right, and Shane has actually, genuinely been a heel for the past two years. Because he has been.
Scott Heisel – With a stipulation that strong, there’s no chance the Yep! Movement loses. The question is, which Smackdown GM will turn on which? And more importantly, will Daniel Bryan take a bump? And are we all okay with Daniel Bryan getting back in the ring if it means he has to face Shane at WrestleMania? Talk about a Birdie’s choice.
Chris Trew – When matches, feuds, and stipulations are this subtle it can only mean one thing – everyone is going home happy. I’m excited to see Owens and Zayn get fired from all of WWE and then not be fired from WWE at all one month later.
John Canton – This is the real main event. Owens and Zayn winning to keep their jobs seems like a lock, but the question is how? There will probably be a heel turn most likely by Shane McMahon or perhaps Randy Orton. I thought Daniel Bryan may turn a few weeks ago until the arguing on commentary with Byron Saxton this week. That killed that idea. Orton turning to join KO and Sami doesn’t interest me much, so I’ll go with Shane turning. Another idea is they could do a spot where Shane gets bumped because of Owens and Zayn, so when one of them goes for a pin, Bryan is there to count the pin to do the right thing. That can lead to more Shane and Daniel problems with no turn. No matter what happens, I am intrigued by the booking of this match. Too bad it’s the only match on the show where I can say that.
Brian James O’Connell – As I wrote in this article, “God, what I wouldn’t give for Zayn/Owens to get fired at Clash of Champions only for the following Tuesday to have “El Local” and “Le Cavalier de Minuit” show up and wreck shop. LCdM cuts an entire “working man” promo in French while his mute buddy just looks on silently until he hears his name and starts nodding his head vigorously and pointing to himself. Tell Vince he’s getting four wrestlers for the price of two, and book a Mask Vs. Hair match with Shane and Daniel Bryan already.”
I stand by this statement. The match is going to be really, really good and will probably feature a super engaged Randy Orton which is the best Randy Orton. I think the biggest swerve of the night is going to be no swerve here and ends with just Shane begrudgingly slapping three with KO, mouth open in exhaustion, staring into Shane’s eyes. God, Owens is so good at all the little storytelling things. It might not be what I just detailed above but there will definitely be a “finger on the rope” moment in this match. Zayn and Nakamura give us a little mini-callback to their classic NXT match during the middle of this match because they understand how wrestling works.
I’m straight up calling it now: Sami goes for the through the ropes/corner ring post tornado DDT on the floor and Orton hits the RKO out of nowhere for the biggest “ohhhhh!!!!” pop of the night.
Elle Collins – Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn have to win here, because they’re obviously not being fired. There will definitely be shenanigans involved, but I really hope it doesn’t involve Shane becoming their ally, because that would retroactively turn this entire storyline, which has been pretty fun so far, into absolute nonsense.
Fatal Four-way for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship: The Usos (c) vs. The New Day vs. Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable vs. Rusev and Aiden English
What Should Happen: It’d be really cool to see Rusev win the Tag Team Championship on Rusev Day.
What Will Happen: I really don’t know. The Smackdown tag division is suddenly the Smackdown women’s division, where they don’t really build up challengers, they just put everyone into a match against the champion and sometimes switch roles. I’d like to see Rusev win, especially if the Usos are going to devolve back into “playing hard in the paint,” so let’s say … Gable and Benjamin. Why not?
Bill Hanstock – I’m not mad about this four-way, as it might well end up being the best match on the card in a walk. I also wouldn’t be mad about Rusev/English or Gable/Benjamin taking the titles and letting a fired-up Usos continue to be the best thing in wrestling as they chase their belts. That said, I think the Usos will retain, but can also definitely see Benjamin and Gable walking away with the belts here.
Scott Heisel – The added stipulations here are that four people will be in the ring at once, and combatants can only tag their partners in, meaning no blind tags. How the hell you enforce what is essentially a fatal eight-way, I have no idea (you can’t exactly throw the match out if someone interferes, since multi-man matches are inherently no-DQ). While it would be beautiful to see Sweet Baby RuRu get some tag gold around his waist, I think it’s more likely that the Usos retain.
Chris Trew – This is my Lock Of The Night and if I’m wrong I’m Venmoing money to the first 5 people who screencap this and tweet it to @christrew. The Usos retain and my bank account remains the same. I’ll pay double if Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable win.
John Canton – All four teams are great, but I hate the rules of the match. It’s essentially a Fatal 4-Way match with four guys in the ring, their partners on the apron and then first fall wins. Why not make it an elimination match? That would be much better. Rusev and English are my favorite of the teams. They’re so entertaining together. I’ll go with the New Day winning because WWE loves booking Tag Team Title changes this year on both shows, so here comes one more. Good luck to all eight guys in having a good match because the rules are going to hurt it.
Brian James O’Connell – I honestly cannot call this match. I think it’s too soon to take the belts off of Jimmy & Jey. Nor does it seem right to ping pong it back onto The New Day this soon. That doesn’t seem like WWE’s style. I will say that I could see putting the straps on Benjamin/Gable because I don’t see any other titles changing hands this night and having all champs retain makes for a boring PPV. Rusev gets a running wild moment but eventually English walks into a super kick party ™ with Benjamin/Gable double suplexing the Usos out of the ring and stealing the pin. Keep that feud going, get Rusev moving up the card and let The New Day focus on Kofi’s Special Save Spot for the Rumble.
Elle Collins – The Usos and the New Day are my two favorite teams in this match, but I would love for one of the other two teams to win, just in the name of the new. Realistically, though, I think the Usos retain.
Lumberjack Match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Natalya
What Should Happen: They should do an injury angle where Charlotte chops Natalya in the throat so hard she can never speak again.
What Will Happen: This just seems like a setup to have the match end in a no contest when all the women at ringside start fighting. That way Shane McMahon (or whoever) can show up on Tuesday all like, “the women’s division is out of control and Smackdown is the land of opportunity, so we’re going to have the first ever women’s Royal Rumble at Royal Rumble Pay-Per-View, and we’re inviting the women of Raw to participate. Because Survivor Series is the only time Raw and Smackdown go head-to-head, except at TLC, on the Raw after TLC, the Mixed Match Challenge, the Royal Rumble, the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, and other times.”
Bill Hanstock – Lumberjack match! Can the Riott Squad coexist as lumberjacks? (No.) Natalya for sure isn’t winning the title here, but I imagine a Riott Squad beatdown of all the important players is on the docket, as we are hopefully building to a Ruby vs. Charlotte title feud. Failing that, I’ll settle for five minutes of uninterrupted Sarah Logan promo time.
Scott Heisel – This seems like the likeliest scenario for a Carmella cash-in. (I feel like I type that out every month, but at some point it’s gotta come true, right?) Everyone starts beating everyone else up, the Riott Squaddd singles out Charlotte, then Carmella signals to the ref to make it a triple threat and she jumps in for the flash pin. Classic WCW clusterf*ck-style title swap. Book it!
Chris Trew – Charlotte Flair is my favorite wrestler right now and it’s a proven fact that we are on the way to becoming really good friends, I think. Therefore I cannot pick against her out of fear of losing her trust, probably.
John Canton – Charlotte’s crowning as champion was six months in the making, so they will likely keep the gold on her. Natalya vs. Charlotte matches are always pretty good. The presence of the Lumberjacks (or Lumberjills) should lead to an angle setting up Charlotte vs. Ruby Riott for the title soon. Outside chance that Carmella cashes in Money in the Bank here, but I don’t think it’s the right time. Save it.
Brian James O’Connell – I say Charlotte retains and we get a Riott Gurlz angle where Charlotte gets her leg broken in the parking lot next Tuesday. Having Charlotte play the Dusty to Ruby Riott’s Horsemen would be just so damn good. You wouldn’t have to change anything. Literally just put Charlotte in a Member’s Only Jacket, aviator sunglasses and have her do the Hard Times promo word for word. Shut up and take my money.
Elle Collins – The match is similar to the men’s Championship match, in that it feels like the blowoff to a storyline that ended more than a month ago, and they just haven’t had this match yet because the Royal Rumble got in the way. At least the lumberjacks are there to allow for something unexpected happening—and thank got the term “lumberjill” was thrown out with “diva,” by the way—because obviously Charlotte is retaining here.
Triple Threat Match for the United States Championship: Baron Corbin (c) vs. Bobby Roode vs. Dolph Ziggler
What Should Happen: Bob Roo goes ultra heel on Ziggler, teaming up with Corbin to take him out before the match. Then the match doesn’t happen, or like, Roode and Corbin decide they’re best friends and catch-as-catch-can for the championship for seven minutes.
What Will Happen: The most WWE thing to do here is have Corbin retain, and spin off into another Roode vs. Ziggler feud that goes on for several matches until the next “Ziggler is unhappy and might be leaving” news breaks.
Bill Hanstock – Uh … pass? Poor Dolph Ziggler. Poor Bobby Roode. Poor Baron Corbin. This is just a triple threat of people who deserve better, and it’s basically impossible to care. I’m sure the match will be fine, but this is “white noise: the match” so palpably that it bums me way the hell out. Corbin retains, and they keep on feuding with each other until [checks notes] well this just says “eternity.”
Scott Heisel –
Chris Trew – Baron Corbin needs to remain United States Champion this holiday season because this country is divided on so many issues, we might as well be divided on this one too.
John Canton – The WWE creative team has been so lazy when it comes to this feud. If they don’t care, why should we? Corbin will retain by pinning Ziggler, which is why he is even in the match. Roode is likely to be the guy to take the title off Corbin, but it might take a few months. And the crowd will go mild.
Brian James O’Connell – You cannot, simply cannot, keep tapping a guy to be the guy that gets the new guys over if you never have them win anything. If every dude debuts against Dolph and Dolph never wins, then nobody looks good because who cares? Everyone watching this knows Dolph is taking the pin here. Everyone. They are going to protect Corbin until he’s ready to wear the big gold. That is the easiest call to make all night and the outcome that makes me the most furious.
Elle Collins – Bobby Roode wins this, because they need to do something with him sooner or later. Also even Dolph Ziggler knows that Dolph Ziggler never wins, and Baron Corbin is just a tall guy nobody likes.
WWE Championship Match: AJ Styles (c) vs. Jinder Mahal
What Should Happen: Jinder Mahal loses definitively, goes back to the mid-card where he and the Singhs could probably be doing great work under a lot less pressure, and Rusev takes his spot.
What Will Happen: Everyone assumes it’s gonna be AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania, right? Instead of Nakamura winning, the WWE booking my brain assumes is Jinder winning the title back here, possibly with that same “Singhs cause a distraction, Mahal hits a Khallas” finish they do in every match he wins. That leads to Nakamura winning the title from Mahal at the Royal Rumble, and STYLES winning the Rumble to earn the title shot.
Regardless, I’m nihilistically picking Jinder to win here and become a 2-time WWE Champion.
Bill Hanstock – I mean … it ain’t gonna be Jinder Mahal! This is almost certainly Mahal’s last gasp as a WWE main eventer, which is sad, because we all expected he would return to the midcard (or lower) at some point, but I didn’t expect WWE to do him QUITE so dirty in the process. The only question is what the finish will be, and whether WWE will have Mahal be pinned after a transitional move or secondary signature Styles maneuver, to really drive home how insignificant he is.
Scott Heisel – All I want for Christmas is a lengthy AJ Styles title reign leading to WrestleMania. C’mon, Santa. Don’t f*ck this up for me.
Chris Trew – My WrestleMania recipe for success is racking up on non-title matches that have high stakes. That AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura matchup we all want works with or without the strap. And I’ve gone on record several times that I want Jinder riding an elephant into the Super Dome in April. So with the power of positivity, I’m putting Jinder over AJ here.
John Canton – Please don’t take the title off Styles. If that happens it’s going to anger me. There’s really no reason to put the title back on Mahal. Business was down when he was champion and if Mahal wins it back, who is he going to face? John Cena? No thanks. Keep it on Styles so that we can at least hope that he will face Shinsuke Nakamura for the WWE Title at WrestleMania or even better, if my idea of Sami Zayn winning the Royal Rumble actually happens that would be incredible. Anyway, it should be a win for Styles and one of Mahal’s better matches because Styles is so good.
Brian James O’Connell – AJ Styles is arguably the best wrestler in the world right now. He’s going to get a great match out of Jinder Mahal because he can. I still think of that moment from AJ/Brock where Brock just slammed AJ’s face into the mat a bunch of times to get out of the Calf Crusher. You know that was AJ’s idea and Brock was like, “That’s gonna make me look like a … beast.” AJ will call this thing in the ring and make Mahal look like a million bucks. AJ eeks out the win in the most impressive match of the night because AJ will manage to get at least one “this is awesome” chant in a match with Jinder Freaking Mahal. The Singhs will try and interfere, Styles will dispatch them easily and end this feud. Let’s stick Jinder with English and do a Bollywood angle. Owens wants to show Zayn the power of the Dark Side and we get a Zayn/Styles feud for the belt that ends with the first World Title Reign of “The Yep Movement”.
Elle Collins – The Jinder Mahal thing is over, right? I mean I never hated like some fans have, but it really seems like the experiment has ended, and this match is just the last gasp of Jinder in the title scene. So obviously AJ Styles wins.
That’s it for our predictions. Now here’s what you should do:
- click those social share buttons to share the predictions on your page, so your friends can argue about the show
- drop down into our comments section to argue about the show with US
- be here on Sunday to participate in the open discussion thread and argue about the show in real-time