18th Sep2019

‘WWE Clash of Champions 2019’ PPV Review

by Nathan Favel

Welcome to this review of Clash of Champions 2019, right here on Nerdly. I’m Nathan Favel and this like the World Championship Wrestling Pay Per View in name only. I’m looking forward to kicking your ass, Mr. Bond. On this episode of Rick Steve’s “Pissing Off Foreigners”, we’ve got…wrestling matches? Yuck. Well, let’s make the best of this. Wrestling matches? That’s like letting Fonzie in the White House.

clash-champions-2019-header

Match #1: Drew Gulak def. Humberto Carrillo and Lince Dorado – Triple Threat Match For The WWE Cruiserweight Championship

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

Drew Gulak likes to refer to himself as “the law” on 205 Live, where he holds court as the WWE Cruiserweight Champion. There are, indeed, certain similarities between the law and the manner in which The Philadelphia Stretcher defended his title at WWE Clash of Champions Kickoff: Much like the law, Gulak was persistent, inelegant, largely unforgiving and undeniable, no matter how many adversaries lined up to break him at once. Given that Gulak was defending his championship against two Superstars — Lince Dorado, the catlike contingent of The Lucha House Party, and Humberto Carrillo, the wrestling prodigy whose in-ring skills are as pretty as his dimples — it seemed the champ would need something between a miracle and a perfect game plan to survive. Luckily for him, Dorado and Carrillo don’t like each other very much, as evidenced by their recent rivalry and tendency in this match to focus on each other more than Gulak.

After an early free-for-all, the Triple Threat quickly progressed into a game of lucha-style one-upsmanship between Carrillo and Dorado; the champion largely kept to himself, making his move when the opportune moment presented itself. When Gulak got involved, the match adopted many of his own brutal characteristics: A late-game sequence involving all three men quickly turned into a parade of textbook roll-ups and blistering chops to the chest. But Gulak’s greatest interference was his last, in which he threw Carrillo into the turnbuckle seconds after the “Latin Lion” had pancaked Lince with a gorgeous Aztec Press. Gulak quickly rolled Dorado into a back-bridge pinfall to conclude the bout and retain his title. Thwarting his opponents with canny, old-school abilities? Defending what is his? Or enforcing the law? When it comes to Drew Gulak, it’s all one and the same.

My Opinion: 3.2 out of 5 – This was a lot of fun for a match that felt a bit muddled by the triple threat format. I feel like Martha Stewart walking into McDonald’s just to boast about being above the fry cooks. Martha is only a good cook if you’ve never had food before. Gulak winning was the right move though.

Match #2: AJ Styles def. Cedric Alexander – WWE United States Championship Match

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

Cedric Alexander made an unlikely, arduous climb to a United States Championship Match against AJ Styles at WWE Clash of Champions Kickoff, sealing the opportunity with a pinfall victory over Styles in Madison Square Garden. Still, despite the latest of his many impressive efforts, the former WWE Cruiserweight Champion will climb no further. Styles is still champion, though his challenger was certainly in the fight, nearly riding a wave of hometown support to what would have been the biggest statement of his career. Instead, Styles made the statement, withstanding a blistering onslaught from Alexander to turn the tide with a single shove off the turnbuckle, slowing the bout to his preferred pace and allowing him ample time to pick the dynamic challenger apart. AJ wisely zoned in on Cedric’s legs, mangling them in the Calf Crusher and salting the wound with blistering kicks to the back of the challenger’s shins. Cedric had enough in the tank to rock Styles with an elbow over the ropes, but The Phenomenal One quickly dashed the North Carolina native’s hopes of a miracle win with a one-two punch of a Phenomenal Forearm and Styles Clash.

My Opinion: 3.1 out of 5 – This was a waste of both men. Why only go five minutes on Pay Per View?

Match #3: Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode def. Seth Rollins & Braun Strowman – Raw Tag Team Championship Match

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

At the end of the day, Seth Rollins & Braun Strowman’s greatest enemies as Raw Tag Team Champions were always going to be each other. Forgetting, if you can, that the two were at loggerheads over the Universal Title while defending the Raw Tag Team Titles together, there was something about The Monster Among Men’s bull-in-a-china-shop style that was never going to mesh with the controlled chaos of The Beastslayer. And sure enough, that tension boiled to a head in a single, decisive moment at WWE Clash of Champions that led to Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode relieving Rollins & Strowman of the titles — quite the turnaround for a team that wasn’t even a team a month ago. Up until that point, the champions were rolling. And, to be fair, the challengers were as well: Ziggler & Roode built their strategy around keeping Strowman out of the match and using his own momentum against him when he made it in. The title fight came down to Rollins and Roode when The Glorious One positioned The Beastslayer for the Glorious DDT. That’s when Strowman made his move, charging Roode into Rollins and sending himself straight over the top rope courtesy of a pinpoint high-low from Ziggler.

With Strowman dispatched and Rollins woozy, Roode pounced, spiking The Beastslayer with the Glorious DDT to win the titles, much to the visible dismay of The Monster Among Men. And as Braun explained in a backstage interview, he wasn’t shy about laying blame. Rollins, he said, was the one who lost the titles, and Strowman was set on making sure his partner’s “losing streak” continued later in the night. There was a chance that these two could make it through the night with mutual respect intact to go along with their Raw Tag Team Championships. But any hopes that their partnership would survive the night seemed too good to be true. Their reign is gone, and any friendship likely has gone with it.

My Opinion: 3.3 out of 5 – General Zod is not a sissy-bottom! Isn’t that just interesting? No? Well, !@#$ you. In something that we both might agree with, this was a decent match that had the right winner. Ziggler/Roode have what it takes to become a sound team and that’s reason enough to take a chance on them.

Match #4: Bayley def. Charlotte Flair – SmackDown Women’s Championship Match

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

Would Charlotte Flair put Bayley in her place at WWE Clash of Champions? In a sense, yes. The Queen teed off on the SmackDown Women’s Champion in ruthless fashion before her hometown crowd, out-brawling, out-planning and outclassing the newly underhanded Hugger at nearly every turn. But her victory will have to be a moral one, as Bayley retained her title with a maneuver straight out of the Flair playbook in the match’s final moments. Bayley, all but done for, was draped over the bottom turnbuckle after several minutes of straight, unanswered offense from the nine-time Women’s Champion. The only reason Charlotte had to pause her continued onslaught was because the referee pulled her away, lest The Queen brawl her way into a disqualification. And Bayley used the confusion to her advantage, exposing the bottom turnbuckle by removing the pad and shoving Charlotte face-first into it when the ref finally moved aside.

Bayley took advantage of the illicit maneuver by quickly pinning Charlotte and getting out of dodge before anyone even had a chance to notice, seizing her title and sprinting up the ramp toward the exit. Charlotte looked almost impressed when she came to — maybe Bayley did learn a thing or two after all — but no less disappointed. As for Bayley, whether she’s truly a “role model” or a hero in her own mind is somewhat up for debate. But at least for one night, it was also beside the point: She walked into hostile territory and somehow escaped an impossible situation to hold on to her title. We should all be so lucky.

My Opinion: 2.5 out of 5 – This was a disappointing match, considering the people involved. This whole thing went about as far as a snake in a sock hop. Both women deserved better than the match they were booked to give.

Match #5: The Revival def. The New Day – SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

Thanks to The Power of Positivity, The New Day’s bodies were always going to give out before their hearts. They simply do not allow themselves to accept defeat, except under the most strenuous of circumstances. So it says quite a bit about The Revival that they took the SmackDown Tag Team Titles from Big E & Xavier Woods — making them the first tandem to hold the NXT, Raw and SmackDown Tag Titles — and did so via submission, targeting the still-healing knee of Xavier Woods. Woods, back in action for the first time since getting his knee destroyed by The Revival and Randy Orton, was something of a question mark throughout the evening, and Big E seemed determined to do the heavy lifting to make sure his brother didn’t sustain more damage than he could bear. That choice seemed taken away from New Day early on, however, after Dash & Dawson took Woods out on the apron, leaving Big E alone and at the mercy of the self-proclaimed “Top Guys.”

The challengers’ plan seemed to be to force Big E to go to a less-than-100-percent Woods if he needed saving, and that’s exactly what happened. And when Big E was downed by a Shatter Machine outside the ring, Woods’ fate was all but sealed. He valiantly threw hands as much as he could, but Xavier was dropped by a Shatter Machine of his own before submitting to a figure-four kneebar from Dawson — a maneuver specifically designed to damage Woods’ banged-up knee. The Revival didn’t mince words after their victory, proclaiming it as the old-school quieting the new noise. Of course, The New Day are too popular and too positive to ever be quieted for good, but for one night at least, The Power of Positivity was silenced, and brutally so. Top Guys, in.

My Opinion: 3.3 out of 5 – The Revival won. !@#$ ‘em. Also, I’m happy they won. !@#$ ‘em. The match was good and so was the result. !@#$ ‘em. I love you.

Match #6: Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross def. Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville – WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship Match

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

Nikki Cross: World’s greatest tag team partner? She’s certainly in the conversation after WWE Clash of Champions. The Twisted Sister was a key player in every sense of the term during her and Alexa Bliss’ successful defense of the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships against Fire & Desire. Nikki got involved in the mind games early on with a wild-eyed hip-swivel in the direction of Mandy Rose and sealed the match when a chaotic confluence of events all but took Bliss out of the running. The champions had been firmly in control of their opponents until 24/7 Champion R-Truth sprinted to the ring with potential usurpers in tow — an odd bit of turnabout, as Bliss was the one who had alerted the mob to Truth’s location following a backstage interview snafu — and The Goddess took her eye off the ball to make a play for the 24/7 Title. She was unsuccessful, but Mandy & Sonya Deville capitalized, seizing control of the match and dropping Bliss with a leg sweep combined with a step-up knee — “Devil’s Thorne” as Sonya calls it on Twitter.

“Let Nikki Play,” the crowd chanted, and she gave them what she wanted upon tagging in, swiftly snuffing out Fire & Desire by barreling Sonya off the apron and using Mandy’s own momentum against her by dodging another step-up knee that carried God’s Greatest Creation kneecap-first into the turnbuckle. From there, it was a short distance to the ropes, where Nikki spiked her foe with her signature swinging neckbreaker, earning the pinfall and retaining the Women’s Tag Team Titles. In hindsight, we all may have been foolish to ever question the champs’ friendship. With Bliss on wobbly legs, who could have saved her the way Nikki did? Nobody. And with these two at the top of their games, who could possibly stop their reign in its tracks? Again, it’s looking like nobody.

My Opinion: 2.6 out of 5 – This was a decent match that gave the champions more momentum for the future.

Match #7: Shinsuke Nakamura def. The Miz – WWE Intercontinental Championship Match

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

The Miz’s bid for a record-tying ninth reign as Intercontinental Champion ended in disappointment at Clash of Champions, as Shinsuke Nakamura held off an impressive effort from The A-Lister to keep the prize in his unorthodox clutches. This was great news for Sami Zayn, who has hitched his own wagon to Nakamura’s and proved to be a key component in the Japanese striker’s title retention, in both a moral and literal sense. Zayn began the match by showering The Miz in trash talk — “King of Soft Style” was his go-to insult — and got involved down the stretch as Miz began to creep closer and closer to victory. For the most part, The A-Lister treated Zayn as something of a pest, at least until Zayn distracted the referee moments after Miz had slipped a Kinshasa and dropped Nakamura with the Skull-Crushing Finale.

At that point, Miz finally turned his gaze toward Sami, and no amount of gesturing at his neck brace — the result of a thunderous Chokeslam from The Undertaker on Tuesday — could save Zayn from Miz. The Awesome One chased Sami around the ring at breakneck speed, but unfortunately, Nakamura was lying in wait, blasting his challenger with a knee to the face that stopped Miz dead in his tracks. The King of Strong Style rolled Miz into the ring, where the challenger was helpless to fend off the match-ending Kinshasa, and the WWE Universe had no choice but to watch Zayn and Nakamura celebrate the win in the ring.

My Opinion: 2.7 out of 5 – This was a simple match that didn’t lean into the unique chemistry these two guys could have in favor of just “telling a story”.

Match #8: Sasha Banks def. Becky Lynch – Raw Women’s Championship Match (Disqualification)

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

In one sense, Sasha Banks will get what she wanted: The WWE Universe will definitely be talking about her in the wake of WWE Clash of Champions. Unfortunately for The Boss, they won’t be talking about her as the Raw Women’s Champion. Banks may have defeated Becky Lynch, but she did so via disqualification when Becky swung a steel chair at Sasha and ended up connecting with the ref instead. The errant strike ended the match but kicked off one of the wildest brawls that the WWE’s Women’s division has ever seen. Before The Man decided to wild out with the chair, the match had been a war of attrition befitting a rivalry that has raged for several weeks. After trading endless strikes, Becky was left in disbelief at Banks’ resistance, and Sasha screamed in frustration that Lynch refused to stay down. The chair came into play thanks to an Eddie Guerrero homage by Banks that only netted her a two-count but ended with Lynch laying out the ref to net a disqualification.

My Opinion: 3.4 out of 5 – This was really getting somewhere, but a lousy finish halted the train like a cow on the tracks.

Match #9: Kofi Kingston def. Randy Orton – WWE World Championship Match

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

For 10 years, Randy Orton was the man who stopped Kofi Kingston dead in his tracks through a mixture of in-ring ruthlessness that was plainly visible and behind-the-curtain politicking that The Viper took a full decade to own up to. But that history became incomplete the second Kingston became WWE Champion, and it’s only after WWE Clash of Champions that we can finally write the full story: Randy Orton was the man who held Kofi Kingston down … as long as he could. And Kofi Kingston was the man who got the last laugh. In other words, Kingston is still WWE Champion, having survived a match in which he seemingly overcame each shortcoming Orton ascribed to him, one by one. Not ruthless enough? Witness the early elbow to the head and knife-edge chops that immediately turned The Viper’s chest a mottling shade of purple. Not tough enough? Kofi took Orton’s signature backdrop onto the announce table and kept on swinging. Too stupid to hang? Not in the slightest. Kingston’s mental toughness unquestionably carried the day, especially since something snapped in the usually clinical Orton, forcing him into a more ruthless gear that Kingston had trouble catching up to. Kingston has been a great WWE Champion, but when it came to Randy Orton, even 10 years later, he still seemed to have no answers.

But much like Orton only needs one move to turn the match in his favor, Kofi, too, only needed one lucky break. After breaking an RKO with a foot on the ropes, Kingston found himself square in the sights of The Viper’s dreaded punt — the rarely-used maneuver that Orton only reserves for his most persistent of foes. That Kofi was worthy of it was a compliment in and of itself, but the champion refused to stop at a moral victory, evading the kick and connecting with a Trouble in Paradise just seconds later, dropping Orton and effectively rewriting his own history with one fell swoop.

My Opinion: 3.5 out of 5 – Technically a proficient match, this was sound wrestling that failed to engage the crowd. There’s nothing bad here, but imagine if Ben Stein was asked to read War & Peace to some college students. I liked this, but this didn’t feel like the big moment it should have been, simply because it felt too sterile for a grudge match.

Match #10: Erick Rowan def. Roman Reigns – No Disqualification Match

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

Erick Rowan has said he’s a free man, and nobody will ever again tell him what to do. That seems to be all well and true; he was certainly unhinged and uninhibited for the entirety of his No Disqualification victory over Roman Reigns at WWE Clash of Champions. But it was the sudden return of Luke Harper that sealed the match when Reigns began to rally, and the reunion was a fitting one. Even a creature like Rowan needs help now and then, and when the chips are down, there’s nobody who has your back quite like family. Before Harper made his presence known, however, the match was all Rowan, all the time. The former SmackDown Tag Team Champion absolutely mangled Reigns from the jump; save for a Superman Punch here and there, The Big Dog simply had no answer for the behemoth who had waged physical and psychological warfare against the former Universal Champion over the past several months. Good chunks of the match took place on the arena floor, with Rowan getting the upper hand via an Iron Claw through a table.

Reigns, however, turned the tide by using one of Rowan’s weapons of choice — the jib cam — against him. The Big Dog swung the rig repeatedly into his foe’s sternum, landing another Superman Punch that sent the big man tumbling down the ramp. With Rowan lined up, Reigns took off for a supersized Spear and was met headlong by a big boot from Harper, sporting a metal tee of his own to go with Rowan’s and an eerie, ear-to-ear grin as he fed Reigns into an Iron Claw from Rowan that put The Big Dog away.

My Opinion: 3.4 out of 5 – This was a good brawl that went all over the place and had enough action to feel like it belonged on Pay Per View. The finish was a surprise and actually made the match more exciting in retrospect.

Match #11: (Main Event) Seth Rollins def. Braun Strowman – WWE Universal Championship Match

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

That old adage of the will beating the skill comes to mind for Seth Rollins, who successfully defended his Universal Title against Braun Strowman through a series of events that could be described as something close to miraculous. If not for an injury to The Monster Among Men and a superhuman array of finishing maneuvers, Rollins might have lost both his titles in one night. But that would do a disservice to the effort shown by champion and challenger — Strowman was right there with Rollins the whole night and lost by the skin of his teeth — as well as downplay the magnitude of what was shaping up to be the defining test of Rollins’ reign … at least until The Fiend showed up to give the champ a terrifying preview of the next chapter. Before that, however, what the WWE Universe got was a furious battle of wills between two men who had been Raw Tag Team Champions together just three hours earlier. Frustration over the title loss led Strowman to show no mercy against The Beastslayer, and the big man’s merciless press forced Rollins to dig deep into the wells of his conditioning, pain tolerance and heart. Strowman’s big maneuver of the match — a supersized Frog Splash — was both a display of how far he was willing to go and also the big swing that doomed him, as the impact tweaked his knee and set him up for what would be the match’s most impressive stretch by both men.

With Strowman hobbled, Rollins seized his moment and executed a Stomp in an attempt to win the match. Strowman kicked out at one. So Rollins tried again, this time netting two. Surely a third Stomp would do the trick, and it did, to a degree — this one got two and a half. And when Rollins lined his foe up for Number Four, Strowman sprang to his feet, hoisting Rollins onto his shoulder for a Running Powerslam. Unfortunately for him, his injured knee buckled, and The Beastslayer was able to wrestle his gigantic foe into a Pedigree, which he followed up instantly with Stomp Number Four.

My Opinion: 3.3 out of 5 – This was a good match that covered up Braun’s weaknesse and made him look like a competent challenger to Seth. Seth sold for Braun like crazy and they both had a nice…that’s enough. I laughed at Barbra Streisand’s “Enough Is Enough” song today like it was going out of style. A poached egg is best eaten when your mouth is open. Overall, I forgot what I was talking about and this was a decent main event. I said decent again. How many matches have to be just decent?

News Of The Night:

  1. Luke Harper returned to help Erick Rowan win the fight with Roman Reigns.
  2. Bray Wyatt attacked Seth Rollins.

Final verdict: 3.2/5

This was a decent show that…I said it again. Damn. This didn’t feel like a Pay Per View, but it was a good show…I think.

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