WWE Clash Of Champions PPV, ThunderDome, Amway Center, Orlando, Florida, September 27, 2020
With every championship up for grabs, tonight’s WWE PPV promises to be full of action and surprises. Heading into Autumn always seems to bring the best out of the company, with PPVs coming thick and fast. Blink and the turn of the year sees the Royal Rumble and the start of WrestleMania season. But who are the movers and shakers? Will we see new champions crowned? As usual our King of the Ring, Andy Spoors, breaks down the action.
Everyone loves a Championship match, right? Any wrestling fan worth their salt can recite a list of their favourite champions or championship matches. From being in the arena to watching at home, title matches have a feeling of prestige. A gravitas that simply can’t be replicated. So, should a night where every match has it all on the line equal a recipe for success?
Well, to borrow a famous line, “All that is gold does not glitter”. Sure, the prestige of a title match or the anticipation of a new champion is something to get excited about. But give us a well-built storyline over a random title match and we’d be happy. Championship matches should be earned and used as the natural culmination of a rivalry rather than simply a ratings boost.
Fortunately, the vast majority of matches scheduled for Clash of Champions fall into the latter category. When the ThunderDome was announced last month, WWE’s aim was to bring some normality back to proceedings. Injecting both fans and visual aids, such as pyro and full Superstar entrances, seemed to breed a new energy in everyone involved. None more so than the writers and Superstars.
SmackDown in particular has really benefited from the move. The return of Roman Reigns in a new heel persona, shockingly accompanied by Paul Heyman adding another layer of intrigue. Winning back the Universal Title he was forced to relinquish due to health issues at the first try, Reigns will defend his championship against real life cousin Jey Uso.
A victory for Jey would have to go down as one of the biggest shocks in the company’s history. Even if the outcome of the match feels predictable, the real-life family angle combined with what feels like a fresh Reigns, makes this match unmissable. Watching Roman slowly but surely turn his back on his previous persona is riveting. Don’t rule out a cheat win or absolute demolition of his cousin to leave fans in no doubt the is the new Big Bad Dog.
The other top championship match promises every bit as much drama as Drew McIntyre puts his WWE Championship on the line against Randy Orton in an Ambulance match. This stipulation being the culmination of weeks of sneak attacks from both men. Supposedly fighting with a fractured jaw, McIntyre faces off against a Randy Orton at the top of his game.
It wouldn’t be a stretch to say Orton is delivering some of his finest work, in a sure-fire future Hall Of Fame career. To win the match, you must incapacitate your opponent and put them in the back of an ambulance and close the doors. The stipulation alone suggests tonight could be the night The Viper takes the title, keeping McIntyre from losing by pinfall. The pair have made the title feel relevant again, which should rightly be applauded.
Slightly underwhelming women’s matches see Bayley defend her SmackDown Women’s Championship against Nikki Cross and Asuka defend her Raw Women’s Championship against Zelina Vega.
With the big storyline in the women’s division surrounding Bayley and her vicious betrayal of Sasha Banks, a match against Nikki Cross feels like a match made more out of necessity than anything else. The pair had an extended rivalry earlier in the year and unfortunately feels like filler before the main course in the next few months.
The Raw women’s division could do with a switch up or fresh talent. Nothing against Zelina Vega, who is a fantastic talent, but her inclusion here is baffling. Spending the majority of her WWE career as a valet/manager for Andrade, her in ring matches have been few and far between. With a stacked NXT roster, don’t be surprised to see a number of female additions to a Raw roster desperately missing some star power.
The same could be said for the tag divisions on both Raw and SmackDown. With injuries and releases hitting hard in the last few months. WWE has really dropped the ball when it comes to what should be one of the more exciting divisions in the company.
There is no denying the talents of any of the men and women involved in the tag matches tonight, but it could be so much more. Again, give us organically grown teams that understand the psychology of tag team matches over individuals thrown together, that have to just make it work. NXT UK is currently brimming with exciting tag teams that the red and blue brands should take note of.
One match in particular gets our usual match of the night contender tag. Jeff Hardy, Sami Zayn and AJ Styles face off in a triple threat ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship. As breathless as that last sentence might make you, the action is sure to take any remaining air from your lungs.
A trailblazer of the ladder match in WWE, Jeff Hardy is sure to come up with more weird and wonderful ways to steal headlines in one of the most exciting types of matches in professional wrestling. Throw in the phenomenally talented and experienced AJ Styles and Sami Zayn, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Full Match Card and predictions from the Rushonrock wrestling team:
Universal Champion Roman Reigns vs. Jey Uso
Reese: Roman Reigns
John: Roman Reigns
Andy: Roman Reigns
WWE Champion Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton (Ambulance Match)
Reese: Drew McIntyre
John: Randy Orton
Andy: Randy Orton
SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley vs. Nikki Cross
WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler vs. The Riott Squad
Reese: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler
John: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler
Andy: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler
SmackDown Tag Team Champions Shinsuke Nakamura & Cesaro vs. Lucha House Party
Reese: Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura
John: Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura
Andy: Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura
Jeff Hardy vs. AJ Styles vs. Sami Zayn – Intercontinental Championship Triple Threat Winner Take All Ladder Match
Reese: Jeff Hardy
John: Sami Zayn
Andy: Sami Zayn
Bobby Lashley vs. Apollo Crews – United States Championship Match
Reese: Bobby Lashley
John: Bobby Lashley
Andy: No Contest (Lashley retains)
Asuka vs. Zelina Vega – Raw Women’s Championship Match
The Street Profits vs. Andrade & Angel Garza – Raw Tag Team Championship Match
Reese: Street Profits
John: Street Profits
Andy: Andrade & Angel Garza
Pictures used courtesy of WWE.