Previously on the Best and Worst of WWE Clash Of
The Champions: Journey back to the long long ago of 2017 where Mojo Rawley had some momentum, Rusev Day was wildly popular, and the Bludgeon Brothers were dominating. Quick, guess which part of that returns two years later!
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Here’s the Best and Worst of WWE Clash Of Champions 2019, originally aired on September 15, 2019.
Kickoff Of The Champions
Up first on the pre-show (because of course it is) is the Cruiserweight Championship triple threat match pitting the champion, Drew Gulak, against Lince Dorado and Humberto Carrillo. Dorado is just happy to be away from Lars Sullivan and wrestling people his own size again. Get him away from that Lucha Dragons Mexican restaurant music and the piñatas and he’ll be set. Carrillo is the winner of this year’s HANDSOME BATTLE, as the announce team (rightfully) can’t stop lusting after him and his Cabbage Patch Kid dimples. Aiden English wanting to throw it in Humberto Carrillo is everything Corey Graves compulsively masturbating to every blonde on the roster isn’t.
Gulak retains using the WWE 2K triple threat strategy: wait for your opponent to hit their finisher, then dump them out of the ring and steal the pin. It’s a good choice for a finish here, as it keeps the championship on Gulak as the 205 brand folds into NXT (if that’s actually happening) and leaves the Gulak vs. Carrillo singles match in play. I hope Gulak gets his ass kicked for 99% of that match and wins by whipping Carrillo to the floor, putting him in a wristlock with a long-ass animation at the 7 count, and sliding back into the ring before 10. They can blow it off in a ladder match that Gulak wins 45 seconds in because Carrillo’s shitty hit detection won’t let him knock over the ladder.
After that we get the United States Championship match, which continues the unfortunate trend of AJ Styles pay-per-view championship matches we’re excited about never actually delivering. It’s a mystery of nature. It’s not a bad match, but it’s basically a jobber squash.
Ced shows up in Charlotte Hornets gear to perform in front of his hometown fans against one of the best wrestlers in the world in a CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH on PAY-PER-VIEW, still gets stuck on the pre-show somehow, and loses clean via straight signature moves in about four minutes. They even beat him down 3-on-1 after the match in a very WCW Monday Nitro understanding of making Carolinas wrestling fans happy.
Shout-out to Roman Reigns for paying back Alexander’s help and loyalty by staying in the back and watching him eat a beatdown. Although I guess karma got back at him when nobody showed up to help him against the Bludgeon Brothers in a no disqualification match where anyone is legally allowed to interfere. Seth Rollins was in the back for that like, “I don’t know her.”
Seth Rollins And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Speaking of matches they could’ve just done on Raw, Clash of Champions opens with the Raw Tag Team Championship match between Braullins and Cheer Money. If Strowman’s teaming up with a guy called “The Architect” their team should be called “Monster House,” but it’s too many steps.
Anyway, this sets the tone for the night as it’s a perfectly fine but not particularly compelling match that seems like it’s attempting to go somewhere, but maybe not? On paper, it’s two mismatched singles stars who have a match against one another for a more important title later in the night wrestling a team that didn’t exist until two weeks ago, featuring a guy who’s never on TV and a guy famous for losing as quickly as possible. It works a lot better all around if you don’t access the parts of your brain dedicated to short or long-term memory.
It accomplishes what it’s here for. Strowman and Rollins needed to lose the tag titles to give them some competitive drama heading into the Universal Championship match, and the Raw tag team division’s so DOA that’s it’s currently feuding with Los Boricuas and the Nation of Domination. So you might as well put the straps on performers you can rely on, right? Roode and Ziggler are both hella reliable, even if Creative (or Vince McMahon, or whomever) hasn’t put much effort behind them. It’s Muscular Wrestle Man and Muscular Wrestle Man. You can add to the template later.
I thought the main event played a lot better, with Rollins and Strowman basically working one of those Brock Lesnar sprints to put over Strowman as an unstoppable monster who gets … uh, stopped. The Lesnar matches worked better, I think, because of Brock’s reputation and how infrequently he loses important matches. Strowman’s major shortcoming as a top star is that he never seems to actually win the “big one,” to the point that every Strowman championship match feels more like a step back than a step forward. Lesnar punked him out hardcore, and now Rollins is getting clean pins on him. It’s fine, but Braun’s never gonna be the guy, I guess.
I liked Rollins not being able to pin Strowman with the three Stomps that beat Lesnar and needing to go back to his old finisher, the Pedigree. He should’ve also hit him with that belly flop DDT he used as a finisher for a couple of weeks. All in all this did a lot for Rollins, and not so much for Strowman, but it was, like so many other things on the pay-per-view, perfectly serviceable. That’s such a bored-sounding recap, I’m sorry.
The highlight of all of this, of course, is the sudden appearance of SHADOW CLOWN to set up the previously leaked and later halfheartedly confirmed Hell in a Cell main event. I really hope they pull the trigger on The Fiend here and turn him into the next decade’s Undertaker like they should’ve years ago, because if he loses — or, worse, “no contests” due to something goofy in the red rocket version of Hell in a Cell — it’s going to feel like a punch in the stomach. You fixed him! He’s doing great! Let’s do this already!
Best: Harper Valley DTA
YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH
Let’s work backwards and talk about another surprise appearance: the return of Luke Harper from Neville and Rey Mysterio-style contract oblivion to attack Roman Reigns and reform The Bludgies.
Okay, so they seem more like enormous metalheads than Bludgeon Brothers, which is probably a good decision, but it was a good night to be a former member of the Wyatt Family. In fact, the final two matches were former Shield members trying to defeat big monster guys from the Wyatt Family and getting attacked by a second Wyatt Family member. If there was any hope of Mox coming back, I’d say they were building to something. Maybe Reigns and Rollins will have to go to Shield special ops leader Kurt Angle for assistance. I’m kidding, I’m kidding.
Outside of the Harper return, Rowan vs. Roman in the battle of upright consonants was — get this — fine. They made good use of the no disqualification stipulation to make it more exciting than it would’ve been otherwise, but unless you go batshit at the sight of a camera jib being slowly pushed into somebody’s arms, it wasn’t much. Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan for the 17-plus minutes this got minus all the goofy murder mystery stuff would’ve been a way better decision, wouldn’t it?
Regardless, Harper’s back and the Bludgies are bludgier than ever. Maybe The New Daniel Bryan reverts back to The Old Daniel Bryan to help Reigns fight them? He hates liars, after all. They could get him fitted for a flak jacket and doggie mask.
The Tag Titles, They Are A-Changing
The only championship movement on the show involved the men’s tag team championships, with the Bad Dads winning Raw’s version as mentioned, and the Revival continuing their dominance over the New Day by tapping out a half-injured Xavier Woods to win Smackdown’s.
It wasn’t the tag team blowout classic I was hoping for, but it accomplished the important feat of properly contextualizing what makes The Revival so good; they aren’t a “gimmick,” necessarily, they’re just two guys hyper-focused on tag team wrestling excellence, and can therefore come into a match with an execute the exact plan they need to win. Here, the key was isolating Xavier Woods, capitalizing on his injury, and keeping Big E out of the ring. I feel like I’ve already typed it too many times, but the one kind of pro wrestling heel that needs to make a comeback is the one who is hated not because he “hates each and every one of you” or pulls the trunks on schoolboy roll-ups and runs from every fight like a coward, but because he’s so much better than your favorites at this job. You don’t hate a team that crushes your hometown squad because they “cheat” … you say they cheated, because there’s no rational explanation for how someone could beat them this badly without cheating. That’s the true heel. That’s Ric Flair. The team that cheats because they want to, not because they have to. They’re just bored.
Hopefully this means The Revival will stay on Smackdown, which might give tag team wrestling a real opportunity at a network television spotlight. And, perhaps more importantly, it might keep the best tag team in the company from stooging around with Icy Hot on their taints and losing mid-gauntlet falls to guys who’ve never teamed before. They’re the first team to be the NXT, Raw, and Smackdown Tag Team Champions. That matters, doesn’t it? Can it? Please?
Worst: Randy Orton Could Ride A Roller Coaster And Make It Boring
Who put this fucking match together? Honestly. Fire them.
The idea’s supposed to be that this is a decade-old blood feud between a top-tier, entitled, third-generation Superstar and the grass roots hero champion of color he actively held down 10 years ago and is trying to rob of glory today. The challenger has systematically injured the champion’s friends, gotten the champ’s family involved to make it bloody personal, and has openly mocked and demeaned the hard work of the champ’s entire career. Six days ago, the champion reenacted a star-making moment from a decade earlier in Madison Square Garden by jumping off a railing and putting him through a table. This is as personal as it gets. So why the fuck are they doing collar-and-elbow tie-ups to start the match? Why is Orton wrestling like he just woke up from a nap? Where’s the intensity? Where’s the drive to prove he’s the WWE deity he claims to be? Why is Kofi not pissed the hell off and throwing hands? Where’s the hate? Where’s the heat?
This was a complete turd. I don’t know how many times I’m gonna let Randy Orton’s feud build trick me into thinking he’s going to blow it off with a great match. It’s the major difference between him and John Cena. Cena, love him or hate him, always delivers something. Orton shows up and leaves with the same empty bag. And if he DOES fill it, you know what it’s filled with.
To make it even worse, it followed the hottest and most heated brawl on the entire show. WHO PUT THIS SHOW TOGETHER?
Best: Becky Lynch Cuts The Mustard
please send my pulitzer prize in the field of pro wrestling writing to culver city california care of uproxx media inc
Match of the night goes to Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks, who accomplish everything the WWE Championship match couldn’t by playing off a hot angle, continuing the hot angle, getting the crowd invested, and maintaining a sense of urgency from beginning to end. For example, this one starts with a slap to the face. See the difference? It’s remembering that the characters have issues that exist between the last time we saw them and now.
The non-finish was a little disappointing … okay, a lot disappointing, but you know it’s there to facilitate all the post-match brawling and set up a big rematch for Hell in a Cell. That referee getting knocked out cold for ten minutes because a folding chair hit him in the shoulder is hilarious, though. Why’d that knock him out at all? Some real Dark Souls shit going on with the officiating committee. Regardless, the chair-assisted Disarmer looked great, and I’m like 40% sure Sasha Banks agreed to come back because they told her she can throw herself off the roof of the Cell. Study question: if Sasha fell from the roof of the Cell onto a table, would the table break?
Anyway, really good stuff here. This is the only time the entire night that the pay-per-view felt like a pay-per-view to me.
Best: RUN BAYLEY RUN
I actually really loved this match. It’s less than four minutes long, and is almost entirely Charlotte Flair dominating and kicking the shit out of Bayley. Bayley, in apparent early-match desperation, clandestinely removes the bottom turnbuckle pad and tosses Flair into it for a cheap, instant kill. Then she just bolts. Hilarious. Eat it, Flair, you jerk.
I love evil Bayley still being an awkward pre-teen who just figured out they can lie to their parents and is freaking out about it. I also like to play this through the lens of their former NXT characters and their previous relationship, which suggests that honestly, Bayley cheating to win is retroactively justified and Charlotte needs to be taken down a peg or five. Bayley never got revenge for that heel turn, and only got her win on Charlotte when they were the “Four Horsewomen” and super into post-match hugs.
Also On This Pay-Per-View
Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross retain the Women’s Tag Team Championship in a match against Fire and Desire that probably would’ve been pretty good if Corey Graves hadn’t been doing that bit he does for four straight hours where he can’t stop high-pitch complain-screaming about literally everything. I think Graves is a good announcer and a talented guy, he just desperately needs to cut it out with the “character work,” or whatever. Just call the show, and take the heels’ side if you want, maybe just don’t scream over everyone about inane bullshit the entire match? It’s brutal. He was the worst he’s ever been last night. It was so bad I don’t even know who to blame for it. If the draft splits up him and Renee Young it’ll be a blessing.
Also, pretty funny of them to have the 24/7 division run in to stand around for a roll-up and immediately run out so they can avoid jerks like me saying “every championship” wasn’t defended. I don’t see Braun Strowman putting his Greatest Royal Rumble Championship on the line! It has a title belt! Nyeah!
Shinsuke Nakamura wore a Dracula cape to the ring, which ruled.
The match, featuring more Sami Zayn Lio Rush commentary and Nakamura only retaining via distraction, did not. I think we all put too much emphasis on wondering who Fox would want as champions going into the first Smackdown on the channel, and not enough on Fox wanting title changes on that first Smackdown. Anyway, the Dracula cape ruled.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Night
Becky: “Seth, you seem down, what’s wrong?”
Seth: “I miss Dean and all his wacky antics.”
Becky: “Want me to spray my opponent with mustard? Would that cheer you up?”
The Real Birdman
I like to think Bayley is still running away & couldn’t help Sasha
“There’s nothing I can say that won’t cause Twitter outrage.”
“You could call the match, Corey.”
“GET OUT OF YOUR MOM’S BASEMENT, LOSER”
Ace Trucking Co.
Very serious “Stop killing alligators to make gatorade” sign guy is the real mvp.
**Stomp two times**
**Now stomp three times**
STOMP STOMP STOMP
**Now clap your hands**
CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP
Nicholas would have kicked out.
Baron Von Raschke
Booker T appears suddenly at the side of Hunter.
BT: Triple H…quick question…How long are you going to make Kofi lay in the middle of the ring before Orton pins him?
Mandy and Bliss knocked each other out like they were fighting over the last White Claw.
I still maintain that heel Orton’s finisher should be the RKO Out of Somewhere, and he grabs a mic and loudly announces when he’s going to do it.
Graves: That’s classic Randy Orton.
Cole: No! You’re supposed to say vintage! Have you learned nothing?
Graves: Shut up Saxton!
Also, Heath Slater Went Through A Thing Of Skittles
That’s it for the Clash. For some better Clash memories, make sure you read our 8 Great Clash of the Champions matches you may have missed.
Drop a comment down below to let us know what you thought of the show, because this is the Internet, and give us a share on social media to help us out. It helps more than you think. New media is like putting on a 3-hour wrestling show in the hopes that somebody will listen to your 20 second shilling of Skittles. Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you in two years for the next Clashing of Champions!