Clash of Champions took place on September 25, 2016 at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. This was the first Raw branded PPV since the brand split and was the first known as “Clash of Champions”. The event was formerly known as Night of Champions. I’m finally getting around to posting my recap nearly two weeks after the event partly because I’ve been sick and partly because I didn’t watch the event until a couple of days after it aired. As I said back in June when the idea of twice monthly shows was being floated around I just couldn’t see myself watching ALL of these shows live. Sure enough for the last two months that has been the case.
A couple of general thoughts before I get started. Last month with Smackdown’s Backlash I was a huge fan of the shorter show. I was hoping we’d get more of the same here but sadly I was wrong. There’s far too much programming on these days and Raw is the major culprit. We get three (plus) hours every Monday night so I’m not sure why I was expecting anything different here. I’m not saying the matches here were bad… they weren’t. It just REALLY felt like I was watching yet another episode of Monday Night Raw. We got only one title change and even that didn’t feel like the “end” of a program. Much of this was pretty par for the course with nearly nothing getting resolved but worse than that, nothing much really even moving forward.
What I was afraid would happen seems to be happening – the PPVs are losing their luster. There are too many and they don’t feel special any more. I hope this is just a down trend as WWE gets their arms around these twice per month shows but I’m worried that it’s more than that. Too much product = a less interesting product. As I sit here on October 7th there are 85 days left in 2016. In those 85 days there are… FIVE PPV events. Even for a huge wrestling fan that’s a lot to get me to care about.
OK… beating a dead horse now. Let’s get to it.
(All photos courtesy WWE.com)
Nia Jax Defeated Alicia Fox
As per my usual I didn’t watch the kickoff show. Doesn’t look like I missed much as this was a match that lasted less than five minutes. I realize they’re trying to build Nia Jax a a beast but at least to this point I just can’t find it in me to give a shit about the character.
The New Day Defeated Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson To Retain The WWE Raw Tag Team Championship
This was a short affair to kick off the show. It’s no secret that I’ve not been a New Day fan for quite some time as their shtick has worn thin for me. I’m not really quite sure why they’re keeping the titles on them at this point. They’re over with the crowd in a big way and selling merchandise like there’s no tomorrow. Side note: if you’re a grown man and wearing one of those dildo looking unicorn horns on your head know that I’m judging you… harshly. I was happy to see The Club not hampered with some juvenile gimmick but sad to see them not get the titles. I’m not all that familiar with their work in Japan but based on how they’ve been booked thus far in their run with WWE it seems they’re being wasted.
T.J. Perkins Defeated Brian Kendrick To Retain The WWE Cruiserweight Championship
This was good. I’m generally a fan of these quick paced matches as they tend to break up the show. I didn’t watch any of the Cruise Weight Classic on the WWE Network but based on this I may have to go back and watch it. There were a couple of missed spots here but that’s to be expected when they’re whirling around the way they do. It appears they’re building Kendrick to be some super bad guy in this division which is a good thing but I can’t help but think of his “The” Brian Kendrick persona from the last time he was in the WWE… and that’s not a good thing.
Cesaro vs. Sheamus – No Contest
This was the final match of a best of seven series and to no one’s surprise they came in tied 3-3. If I’m looking at the match itself this was tremendous. Cesaro and Sheamus went at it for over 16 minutes in a match that was stiff and told a great in ring story. Cesaro took a bump that legit had me worried when he did a suicide dive to the outside landed directly on his head. Ouch. I was really disappointed to see no definitive winner here. I spose there’s a chance that they’ll go on to tell a bigger story but it was sort of a let down to not have someone’s hand raised. Still, I think it’s safe to say that this best of seven series more than lived up to what I’d hoped it would be.
Chris Jericho Defeated Sami Zayn
I’ve never really been a huge fan of Chris Jericho. That’s not fair. I enjoy his work but I’ve never understood what the big deal with him is. That said, I’m loving this current version of his character more than any of the work I’ve ever seen him to. However… the decision to have him go over Zayn here doesn’t make a damn bit of sense to me. There’s a possibility (a very good one at that in my mind) that they’re going to build to a Jericho vs. Kevin Owens feud here in the relatively short term, but even if that’s the case I don’t see what they gain by having Jericho win this one. He’s a veteran and just doesn’t need it. On the other hand, Sami has been on a bad run as of late and could have used a marquee victory over a guy like Jericho. Not sure where Sami goes from here. I’m hoping he doesn’t become Raw’s version of Dolph Ziggler.
Charlotte Defeated Bayley and Sasha Banks To Retain The WWE Raw Women’s Championship
THIS is what women’s wrestling is all about. All three gals worked REALLY hard in a stiff match the proved once again that they could main event a PPV any day of the week. I’d go so far as to say this is the most compelling story on the Raw brand these days. Charlotte is a tremendous heel who’s managed to get out of the shadow of her father while bringing some of his swagger to the ring. Sasha has talent for days and didn’t overextend herself like she’s prone to do. There have been some spots in the past where she’s put herself and her opponent in danger needlessly – I didn’t see any of that here. Bayley proved to anyone who hasn’t been paying attention that she deserves to be here as well. I was a little surprised to see Charlotte hold onto the belt here, but that was rectified the next night on Raw when Sasha won back the title that she’s lost at SummerSlam. The women’s division is firing on all cylinders right now.
Roman Reigns Defeated Rusev For The WWE United States Championship
I’m sort of an outlier when it comes to Roman Reigns… I’m a fan. Much of the WWE Universe doesn’t seem to be. That said, when his music hits he gets a POP like no other. Sure there’s a slew of boos in there but he’s getting a reaction. Essentially he’s turning into John Cena. Actually we got a familiar “Let’s Go Roman! Roman Sucks!” chant that John Cena knows so well. While I’m happy to see Reigns get the title I’m equally as bummed to see Rusev lose it. Rusev has been doing some of his best work as of late so I’m glad to see them continue this feud. We’ll get the rematch between these two at Hell in a Cell later this month. Not sure if we’re going to be playing hot potato with the belt but I’m looking forward to at least one more match between these two. Oh one more thing. Good GOD is Lana hot.
Kevin Owens Defeated Seth Rollins To Retain The WWE Universal Championship
This was a decent match for what it was but it could have been so much more. There seems to be a piece missing to the Seth Rollins angle and that piece is HHH. I think it’s crystal clear that we’re going to see those two go at it in the near future so you’ve got to ask… where the hell is HHH? I’m enjoying Owens as the champ on Raw but I can’t help but wonder if this feels “off” because they’ve had to rebook plans based on the Fin Balor injury? I was really bummed to see outside interference from Jericho here. Sure he’s coming down to save his “best friend” and that’s what heels are supposed to do – cheat to win. But is Kevin Owens the heel here? Maybe he is and maybe he isn’t. Ultimately, glad to see Owens hold onto the title as I think if they’re booking on the fly to cover up for an injury they might as well build Owens BIG time so there’s a ready made feud when Balor comes back.
Overall this was a decent show… if it was on Monday night. As it stands it lacked quite a bit of “punch” that a PPV should have. Only one title changed hands on a card where I thought there probably would have been at least two or three switches. The lack of title changes doesn’t make it a bad show… it just makes it sort of blah. This was a solid night of wrestling. The matches on paper and in the ring were good. There were just very few “wow” moments and even less story progression to make this a show worth watching more than once. We’re a month or so from the next joint show of Survivor Series but before that we’ve got TWO more shows – this Sunday’s No Mercy (Smackdown) and the Raw brand is back at it later in October for Hell in a Cell. Here’s hoping those shows will be A) a little shorter and B) a little more compelling.
Upcoming WWE PPV Schedule
Here’s the rest of the calendar for the rest 2016.
- No Mercy (SmackDown) – 10.9.2016
- Hell in a Cell (RAW) – 10.30.2016
- Survivor Series – 11.20.2016
- Tables, Ladders & Chairs – 12.4.2016
- Roadblock – 12.18.2016
Did you watch Clash of Champions? Leave me a comment and let me know what you thought!