WWE Clash of Champions 2016 Review

Raw had their first brand-exclusive PPV of the New Era, where every champion on Raw were forced to defend their championship. There was intrigue behind some of the matches, including a first glimpse at Crusierweight Champion T.J. Perkins, the finale of the Best of 7 series between Cesaro and Sheamus, as well as the main event between two of the most popular tweeners in Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins.  Would Raw repeat what their rival show did and crown new champions?

1) The New Day (c) vs Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson for the WWE Raw Tag Team Championships

Gallows & Anderson were made to look very strong in this match, not looking like the comedic figures we’ve seen during this rivalry. The former NJPW stars dominated for the majority of the match, with some key spots including a running Liger Bomb from Anderson to Kofi Kingston and a vicious spinebuster from Anderson to Kingston (what is it with Andersons delivering awesome spinebusters?) However, I don’t understand the logic behind letting The Club take control for most of this match then having them lose to The New Day. The conclusion was what I expected – Xavier Woods nailing Anderson with the trombone Francesca, followed by Midnight Hour – but I strongly disagree with the booking for this match. Not a good look for Gallows & Anderson at all. If The Club finally win the tag team straps it will feel way overdue.

WINNER: The New Day retains

2) T.J. Perkins (c) vs Brian Kendrick for the WWE Crusierweight Championship

I thought this was a solid match for fans getting a first look at the Crusierweight Champion TJP, who was not featured on Raw for some reason. Had there been more buildup to this match, then it would’ve felt more important, but the two told a great story with what they had to work with. I loved the purple ropes being used, which shows how much WWE is getting behind the division, making them feel like its own entity. Kendrick was a great heel in this match from the get-go, refusing to shake Perkins’ handshake at the opening bell. The match wasn’t a classic, with a few botches here and there, but it was a nice template for fans still trying to warm up to the high-octane offense of the crusierweights. Perkins won the match by making Kendrick submit to the kneebar. Following the match, the two embraced before Kendrick headbutted the champion – meaning we could see another match between the two down the line.

WINNER: T.J. Perkins retains

3) Cesaro vs Sheamus in the finale of the Best of 7 series

This match was one of the best of the night, with both men showing off their entire arsenal in what was the culmination of their 7 match war. Some highlights included Cesaro performing a 619 (a 619!) and Cesaro’s suicide dive, which had the ugliest landing I’ve seen in a long time. They told a nice story after that having Sheamus attack the neck area. Late in the match, there was a lovely uppercut from Cesaro as Sheamus jumped from the top rope to the floor. However, this great match had the wrong ending, with the match ending in a no contest after Cesaro injured his arm and Sheamus not being able to stand up. Although this was an impressive display, I think the majority of people would agree that they don’t want Cesaro and Sheamus squaring off again. What they do tomorrow night on Raw to address the controversy will be interesting. Will we see an 8th match? Will both competitors receive title shots? Tune in to Monday Night Raw tomorrow.

WINNER: No one. Match ended in a no contest.

4) Sami Zayn vs Chris Jericho

This was a case of the veteran getting one over the young gun, but it would’ve been nice to see Zayn pick up the victory to gain some momentum. However, I’m not as fussed with this outcome compared to the other booking decisions made tonight. But remember, Zayn beat Kevin Owens a.k.a the WWE Universal Champion at Battleground earlier in the year. Since then, nothing has happened with the Underdog from the Underground. Zayn’s Blue Thunder Bomb is such a beautiful move to watch, but ultimately, Jericho won the match with a Codebreaker. We may see more from these two in the future, but for now Jericho can boast about being the better man.

WINNER: Chris Jericho

5) Charlotte (c) w/ Dana Brooke vs Sasha Banks vs Bayley for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship

In my opinion, this was the best match of the night. Could it be another step towards women main-eventing a PPV? Charlotte looked very strong in this match, with her moonsault on both Banks and Bayley being one of the best spots of the night. Dana did very well not to get involved too much, but it was enough to be a distraction to the other two competitors. There was some great animosity between the two faces as well, with Banks telling her best friend at the beginning to back off as she wanted to fight Charlotte herself. All three looked amazing, as Bayley proved she belonged in the ring with her fellow Horsewomen. The finish saw Charlotte utilise the Big Boot on Bayley twice, which is a nice finisher for her along with the many other finishers she already has. I hope to see a fresh new rivalry from now on. Is it time to let Dana loose against her mentor?

WINNER: Charlotte retains

6) Rusev (c) vs Roman Reigns for the WWE United States Championship

I’m not gonna lie, I don’t like this booking at all. WWE shouldn’t shove Reigns in our faces by having him win a different championship or one that’s not the world championship. I liked the match itself, definitely not better than the one they had on the Raw before Summerslam, but it was a solid outing for both men. I wasn’t a fan of Reigns with the John Cena-esque escape from The Accolade, but I guess the finish with the two spears was alright if it was trying to make Rusev look strong in defeat. The ref threw Lana out during the match, which was similar to Maryse being thrown out during The Miz’s Intercontinental title match on Smackdown, however this time there was a different ending. I agree that the win makes the United States championship look important once again, but I still think they could’ve gotten more out of Rusev’s reign by having him overcome The Guy.

WINNER: Roman Reigns – new United States Champion

7) Kevin Owens (c) vs Seth Rollins for the WWE Universal Championship

The main event wasn’t a standout of the night, but it was still an enjoyable match to watch. The problem was that everyone expected Triple H to come out and Jericho interfering felt like a cheaper alternative to keep us waiting. The story of this match was more about Triple H & Rollins rather than Owens & Rollins, which made it quite flat. There was an awesome spot where KO did the DX crotch chop to Rollins before missing him with a senton and going through the announce table. Other than that, it was what I expected out of the two – a great match but not much else.

WINNER: Kevin Owens retains

FINAL RATING: 6/10

For me, this PPV fell a bit flat. While Backlash provided us with answers (by default, they had two new championships to give out), Clash of Champions left me asking more questions. When are we gonna see Triple H? What’s gonna happen between Cesaro & Sheamus? etc. Some highlights of the night included the women’s triple threat and Cesaro vs Sheamus, albeit the bad ending. There were some bad booking decisions, but I understand why this would happen e.g. not putting the tag belts on Gallows & Anderson. However, this PPV was not as great as their rival show’s PPV.

 

 

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