This week I accidentally dragged myself into a heated debate with my friends over the answer to a simple question about a particular food brand – namely which of the most popular brands I preferred. Apparently my answer was not popular and though some chose to question my decision, others jokingly thought I’d lost my marbles. I didn’t back down, and we eventually agreed that I had stumbled upon an unpopular opinion – something I staunchly believe to be true, but will leave myself wide open for criticism, or outright disbelief that I think such things.
Though some of the following opinions of mine are light-hearted and not judgments I’m willing to die on a hill for, it’s worth remembering the golden rule; opinions are like assholes, everyone has one. Just because I think something doesn’t mean you have to agree, but this is wrestling and it’s not supposed to be taken too seriously.
Baron Corbin was the right choice to win King of the Ring
I know, many of you will have stopped reading as soon as you saw that, but hear me out. I wrote a few weeks back that the whole point of the King of the Ring tournament was to elevate a mid to lower card wrestler. Established names or guys with titles need not apply. This is purely to give stars some much-needed exposure and hopefully propel a career that may have stalled. Someone who at one time showed much promise, but for one reason or another, hasn’t hit the dizzy heights expected of them and needs a push. Corbin ticks all of these boxes.
Look, I wanted Chad Gable to win this Monday on Raw, I really did. But WWE doesn’t always give us what they want and sometimes with good reason. Gable has been the plucky good guy since he arrived in WWE, always up against the odds, and the KOTR tournament gave him a shot at winning over the crowd – and to be fair, he was doing a good job. However, perhaps WWE’s plans for him are as a heel going forward, or as a frustrated good guy who thinks the world is against him and will fight and scrap for everything from here on out. Worked out ok for Becky Lynch, didn’t it?
Back to Corbin and I’ll be the first to admit he wasn’t my favorite guy in WWE. Then again, when I think about it, he’s been hampered with some awful gimmicks; the annoying authority figure on Raw, the whiny wrestler who inserted himself into feuds and generally whining about everything. In recent weeks he’s changed. He’s stopped bitching and become cockier. He’s winning matches rather than fluking them, he’s berating the crowd a lot during his matches and now he’s won a high-profile tournament.
Corbin is never bashed by his peers inside or outside of the business and seems to be well-respected. He took on those awful gimmicks and tried his best with poor material. I don’t think it was his fault he didn’t connect with the crowds, but perhaps all he needs is a fresh start, a new feud and an opportunity. Gable will likely get a feud with Corbin out of this, so hopefully putting Corbin over was the right call and can elevate both guys in the long run.
Seth Rollins Isn’t The Biggest Name in Wrestling
Is Seth Rollins talented? Hell yeah. Is he a top guy? Of course. Is he one of the most well-known stars on the roster? Yep. Is he the ‘biggest’ name in the company? Well, that depends on who you ask. Being the champion of a brand or show in wrestling proves two things; you’re the man/woman to beat, and the company has faith in you right now. Rollins is a very safe hand and a credible champion. He never phones it in and is a poster boy for hard work, determination and toughness. Do I think he should be champion? Yes, I do. He’s popular with the fans of all demographics and is the standard-bearer for Monday Night Raw. His recent engagement to Becky Lynch has only served to make him more likable and popular.
However, some questioned his #1 ranking in the recent PWI rankings, and though I don’t class myself as a wrestling scholar or at the same level as those who ranked over 500 pro wrestlers – I mean, where do you even begin with that list? – is he the biggest name in pro wrestling right now? Let’s do some searches on Google. If he’s the biggest name out there, surely he should be top of the search rankings, right?
Seth Rollins – 25.9 million results
Chris Jericho – 26.6 million results
Bayley – 26.7 million results
Becky Lynch – 30.3 million results
Roman Reigns – 40.5 million results
Sasha Banks – 198 million results
AJ Styles – 260 million results
Daniel Bryan – 310 million results
And to prove the internet is a fickle mistress and not all wrestlers are equal:
Gillberg – 1.08 million results
Braun Strowman – 4.8 million results
Kenny Omega – 9.75 million results
Baron Corbin – 9.9 million results
Kofi Kingston – 13.7 million results
Randy Orton – 18.5 million results
Hulk Hogan – 36.4 million results
John Cena – 228 million results
So does that prove that Rollins’ popularity doesn’t transcend outside of WWE? Perhaps, but if that was the case, AJ Styles would be mega-popular outside of wrestling and more people would know Roman Reigns than Hulk Hogan. Take it with a pinch of salt, but my opinion is that Rollins isn’t the biggest star WWE have on their books – at least to the non-WWE audience.
Brock Lesnar is Money and an MVP Whenever He’s in WWE
It came as no real surprise that Brock Lesnar has been brought back to WWE to coincide with Smackdown Live’s launch on FOX. I’ve gone on record before that Brock is a blessing and curse to WWE. He is a draw. He is a freak of nature and a natural talent. He is a star attraction. If he lived, breathed and bled WWE, he would be the biggest star in the industry since Hogan or Austin, perhaps even bigger. Thing is, he doesn’t live for wrestling. WWE is a paycheck to him and nothing more. And honestly, who can blame him?
WWE will always find themselves in a Catch-22 situation. They try to push new talent, but forever go back to big names for their biggest shows.
Wrestlemania coming up? Book Undertaker, Triple H and Goldberg in matches. Got a high-profile show or major change to the brand on the horizon? Throw money at Brock Lesnar and give the Rock a call to see if he’s busy. What’s that? There’s a new X-BOX/Playstation game being launched and we need some talent for the promotional video? Find Sting and tell Hogan all is forgiven.
It’s a never-ending cycle. If WWE won’t push or build new stars for the future, they’ll be forever relying on big names from the past. It would be like NXT bringing in Samoa Joe or AJ Styles to headline a Takeover show.
The problem now is that everyone mentioned above can’t put on a show longer than ten minutes in a high-pressure match with the exception of Lesnar, so they have little choice in bringing him back. Lesnar is their current go-to guy, and sad as it may seem, he is a big attraction and will generate interest – also due to the fantastic hype man that is Paul Heyman. I’d love to write that Rollins, Reigns or Kingston were the big ticket guys who will draw in new audiences, but they just aren’t right now. Reigns does have a good demographic reach and a recent study showed non-wrestling fans find him the most intriguing/interesting/handsome of the current crop on TV, but his run as champion a couple of years ago, along with a negative reaction from WWE fans, saw that idea put on the back burner for a while.
As it stands, we’re stuck with Brock Lesnar being billed as the big draw for WWE. I don’t hate the guy, far from it, but it would be nice for WWE to try something new and showcase some of the current roster and use them as ways to draw in new audiences. Do what NXT does; build from within and use the talent in the locker room to get out into the world and make names for themselves. Garner interest from outside and bring new eyes to the product.
So what do you think? Do you have unpopular opinions about wrestling? Did you disagree with all of mine, or did I get some right? I’d love to hear your thoughts. – Oh, before I forget, the unpopular opinion I had with my friends that caused so much outrage? I said the Burger King Whopper is a better burger than anything on offer in McDonald’s. There, I said it. I’ll die on that metaphorical hill.
Welcome to the TJRWrestling review of WWE Clash of Champions with every title in WWE on the line. Let’s get to it.
The Kickoff show results:
Drew Gulak defeated Lince Dorado and Humberto Carrillo to retain the Cruiserweight Title.
AJ Styles defeated Cedric Alexander to retain the United States Title. The match went only 4:55, which is disappointing.
WWE Clash of Champions From the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, NC September 15, 2019
There was an opening video package hyping up the matches for the show and the idea that all the titles are on the line. I think we get the point.
The Raw Tag Team Titles were on the line first with Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman entering separately. Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode followed. The Raw announce team of Michael Cole, Renee Young and Corey Graves called the action for the Raw brand matches. The Spanish and German announce tables were also at ringside.
Raw Tag Team Championships: Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman vs. Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode
Strowman started the match by shoving Roode onto his back to show off his power. Strowman tossed Roode into the turnbuckle, so Ziggler tagged in. After a Roode distraction, Ziggler jumped on Strowman’s back and then Strowman kicked Ziggler in the head. Rollins laughed about it. Strowman with a running clothesline on Ziggler against the turnbuckle, Rollins tagged in with a forearm to Ziggler and a shoulder tackle from Strowman got a two count. Ziggler elbow to Rollins, Roode tagged in and hit a forearm to the back to send Rollins to the floor. Ziggler hit Rollins with a DDT on the floor. Ziggler tagged back in with a chinlock on Rollins, who was the face in peril. When Rollins broke free, Ziggler hit a Fameasser for a two count. Roode back in with a suplex, cheap shot by Ziggler that the referee didn’t see and the heels remained in control. Rollins fought out of the heel corner with a Blockbuster neckbreaker off the middle ropes. Ziggler tagged in with a sunset flip for two and then he jumped on Seth’s back with a sleeper. Rollins avoided a DDT and countered into a Falcon Arrow slam. Strowman got the hot tag, shoulder tackle on Ziggler two times, then a corner splash and Strowman left the ring to run over Roode and run over Ziggler on the floor. Back in the ring, Strowman with a corner clothesline on Ziggler, then Dolph sent him into the ring post. Roode tried a Glorious DDT, Strowman pushed him off and Rollins tagged back in. Rollins with a springboard knee to the face of Roode followed by a superkick. Ziggler grabbed the foot of Rollins, so Rollins hit a Slingblade on Roode and a suicide dive by Rollins on Ziggler. Roode came back with a spinebuster on Rollins for two. Strowman went into the ring, shoulder tackle to Roode into Rollins into the turnbuckle, Ziggler sent Strowman out of the ring and Roode hit a Glorious DDT on Rollins for the pinfall win at 9:30.
Winners by pinfall and New Raw Tag Team Champions: Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode
Analysis: **3/4 It was a solid match with some fun moments. The result was an outcome that I expected with Rollins taking the pin for his team. Strowman was only in the ring for a few minutes and was dominant for all of it. The finish worked well because Strowman accidentally cost Rollins because Roode bumping into Rollins into the turnbuckle is what stunned Rollins leading for the finish. I like Roode and Ziggler as a team because they are two veteran heels that work well together.
Post match, Ziggler and Roode celebrated with their titles. Rollins had a frustrated look on his face as he stared at Strowman. There was also frustration on Braun’s face, but they didn’t say a word to eachother.
Braun Strowman was shown walking backstage. Charly Caruso showed up for an interview. Strowman said that he didn’t lose the tag championships, Seth did and that’s going to happen again later tonight against Strowman for the Universal Title when he…gets these hands. Way to work in the catchphrase.
A commercial aired for WWE NXT this Wednesday at 8pmET/7pmCT on USA Network. For the first two weeks it’s one hour on USA and then the second hour on WWE Network. That’s because Suits has two more episodes. After that, the two hours will be on USA Network.
Becky Lynch was interviewed by Kayla Braxton. Lynch said she disagreed with Braun because her and Seth are going to remain champions. Lynch said that Sasha Banks is the one with everything to prove. Lynch said she’s not talking about Sasha in NXT or her run four years ago. Lynch wondered if Banks has what it takes while Lynch pointed out that she has had the greatest year in the history of the company (I wouldn’t go that far), she claimed she had a match of the year (the match with Charlotte at Evolution was awesome, but not match of the year to me) and Lynch kept on talking about her accomplishments. Lynch said it doesn’t get any bigger than this because tonight The Man comes around.
The Smackdown announce team of Tom Phillips, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton took over. That led to the video package about Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair for the Smackdown Women’s Title.
Charlotte Flair got a nice ovation from the crowd in her hometown. It looks like her gear is a bit different because it covers up “the goods” more than her usual outfits. I’m observant. Even though Bayley is probably a heel now, she still has the Bayley buddies inflatable objects for her entrance. I like how they are having the wrestlers stand in the ring under a spotlight for the in-ring championship introductions for every match. Lots of cheers for Charlotte and boos for Bayley after the introductions.
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair
Flair with a boot to the face right off the bat led to a two count. Bayley left the ring, Flair chased her back in and hit chops to the chest. Bayley did a hair whip to pull Flair down to the mat. Flair with an overhead suplex and a kip up. Bayley left the ring again, so Flair whipped Bayley into the barricade two times. Back in the ring, Flair continued her dominance with a forearm to the face and she did a knee drop to knee of Bayley. There was a quick rollup from Bayley, but Flair came back with a boot to the face. Flair stomped on the back of Bayley against the turnbuckle, the referee made Flair back up and while that was happening, Bayley took the bottom turnbuckle cover off. When Flair charged, Bayley tripped her and sent Flair face first into the exposed steel turnbuckle. Evil Bayley! Bayley covered Flair for the pinfall win at 3:45.
Winner by pinfall: Bayley
Analysis: *3/4 A short match that was disappointing because they could have done so much more. This was more of a story where Flair was dominant until Bayley hit a cheap move and capitalized to win. It was different from any Bayley match we’ve ever seen because it put over Bayley’s new heelish attitude. Flair losing in a match that short is rare and it’s another example of WWE booking somebody to lose in their hometown. My prediction for this was Bayley by DQ to keep the feud going, but Bayley by cheap tactics could still keep the feud going as well.
After the match, Bayley grabbed the Smackdown Women’s Title and ran up the ramp to the back. They replayed the heel tactics of Bayley to win the match. Flair was frustrated about the loss.
There was a commercial for WWE Shop.
The New Day trio were also featured in a Skittles commercial.
They showed clips from Smackdown with Chad Gable beating Shane McMahon with an ankle while Kevin Owens was the referee. After the match, Shane attacked Owens from behind and told him he was fired.
Analysis: It’s possible that Owens will be moved to NXT, but that’s not confirmed. Owens has a lot of value wherever he goes.
The Revival entered first for the Smackdown Tag Team Title match. The New Day’s Big E and Xavier Woods entered with Woods wearing a brace on his left knee. Woods’ left knee was targeted by The Revival about three weeks ago and Woods was kept off TV to sell the idea that he was hurt.
Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The New Day (Big E and Xavier Woods) vs. The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder)
Wilder targeted the left knee of Woods as soon as the match began. Dawson got involved, so Big E gave him a clothesline on the floor. Big E tagged in with a uranage slam on Wilder for a two count. While Big E was battling Wilder on the apron, Dawson pulled off Woods off the apron and Wilder gave Big E a clothesline on the apron. The Revival took over with Dawson slamming Wilder on Big E for a two count. Wilder drove Big E into the turnbuckle leading to several punches by The Revival. Dawson with a back elbow on Big E while Woods was still down on the floor. Dawson worked over Big E with a forearm against the turnbuckle. Big E whipped Dawson into the turnbuckle for a sternum first bump. Wilder tagged in, Big E hit him with a belly to belly suplex and Woods got the tag. Woods with a forearm to the face of Dawson, then two kicks and Woods with a flying headscissors. Wilder in, so Woods hit him with the Honor Roll clothesline. Woods back in the ring with a DDT off the ropes on Dawson for two as Wilder kicked Woods in the knee to break up the pin. Big E back in, Wilder avoided a charge, suicide dive, Big E caught him and The Revival hit Big E with the Shatter Machine on the floor. Back in the ring, Woods tried to fight off both guys, but Wilder hit him a shoulder tackle to the back of the left knee. The Revival hit a Shatter Machine double team move. Woods was out, but they didn’t pin him. They ripped off the knee brace of Woods and Dawson applied a leg lock submission. Woods tapped out to give The Revival the win at 10:03.
Winners by pinfall and New Smackdown Tag Team Champions: The Revival
The win by The Revival means they are the first team to win the NXT Tag Team Titles, the Raw Tag Team Titles and the Smackdown Tag Team Titles.
Analysis: ***1/4 Good match with The Revival doing their usual efficient work by focusing on Big E after they took out Woods. When Woods got in there, the story worked well with Woods unable to be effective because of the knee injury and that played into the finish well. I’m fine with the title change because The Revival are my favorite team in WWE. This put over The Revival very well as merciless heels that wanted to hurt Woods to win the titles.
The Revival did a post match promo on the stage. Dawson said you are welcome and the fans booed them. Dawson said no longer are the champions covered by proverbial pancake batter and you can consider yourselves revived. Wilder said no more trombones or hip swivels because the old school has finally quieted the new noise. Dawson said there will be a new WWE Champion when Randy Orton extinguishes the flame that Kofi Kingston lit at WrestleMania and finally it will be a new day…yes it will.
Analysis: They are currently Raw guys, but it’s not like that matters in WWE today. It should matter in October when the WWE draft happens, so I assume they’ll be kept on Smackdown at that point.
The Women’s Tag Team Champions Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross were interviewed backstage by Charly Caruso. They didn’t say much when it was interrupted. R-Truth was holding the boom microphone with Carmella and he called Bliss “other Carmella” when he saw her. Bliss spoke into the microphone saying R-Truth is on the set, so if you want the 24/7 Title come get him. Truth left and midcard wrestlers went after him.
There was a commercial for WWE Hell in a Cell on October 6, so that’s three weeks away.
The Fire and Desire team of Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville got their own theme song that sounds like a remix of their two songs. Cole and Young wondered how Graves can get through this match with Rose and Bliss in the same match. They already wrestled non-title with Rose and Deville winning that match, so he got through it fine. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross entered to their own songs with Bliss up last for her team. Bliss looked tremendous in a Harley Quinn style outfit. I like Mandy more, but it’s close.
Women’s Tag Team Championships: Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross vs. Fire and Desire (Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose)
Rose with a body slam on Cross, then Cross hit a clothesline and did some taunting mocking Rose. Cross whipped Deville into the turnbuckle, Bliss tagged in and hit a suplex on Deville for two. When Rose tagged in, Bliss hit a drop toe hold to knock her down. Bliss with a slap to the face of Rose, so Rose complained about getting slapped in the face and Bliss did it two times in a row. Bliss with two double knee drops to the ribs. R-Truth and Carmella ran down to the ring with midcard wrestlers chasing after them for Truth’s 24/7 Title. Graves: “Oh great, another woman who’s going to get me in trouble” when speaking about his girlfriend Carmella. Bliss did a rollup on Truth for a two count. Truth ran away with Carmella on his back and the wrestlers chased after them. That was it. Back to the match, Deville tagged in with a kick to the ribs of Bliss for two. Rose tagged back in with kicks and a delayed vertical suplex. Deville with a running knee on Bliss for a two count. Rose back in with forearms on Bliss. Rose and Bliss did a spot where they hit forearms to the face at the same time. Cross got the hot tag against Deville with Cross hitting three forearms, a corner clothesline and a bulldog. Cross dumped Rose out of the ring. Cross hit a belly to back suplex with a rough landing for Deville, but she was okay. Cross went up top and hit a cross body block for two. Bliss got the tag, she went up top, Deville pushed Cross into the ropes to knock Bliss down and Deville slammed Bliss off the top. Rose and Deville did a high/low attack with a kick to the back of the leg and a Rose knee to the face. Cross made the save, so Deville did the double team move and didn’t think about taking out the other partner. Cross tagged in, Rose avoided an attack, Cross knocked Deville off the apron, Rose missed a running knee and Cross set up Rose on the top leading to a neckbreaker by Cross for the pinfall win at 8:05.
Winners by pinfall: Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross
Analysis: **1/2 The match was okay with the champs retaining as expected. Good finish. It was better than the match they had on TV. Cross has been booked very well as part of this team because it’s getting her personality over and the fans are reacting to her like a star. Bliss is a face now, which makes sense because fans like her. I think Rose/Deville are future champions, but I don’t mind Bliss and Cross keeping the titles.
There was a video about WWE’s fight against pediatric cancer.
They showed highlights of the Kickoff Show match with Gulak pinning Dorado to retain the Cruiserweight Title. Also, AJ Styles beat Cedric Alexander to retain the US Title with the Styles Clash. It’s rare to see Styles in a Kickoff Show match.
The Miz entered for the Intercontinental Championship for the ninth time. He’s an eight-time IC Champion and the record is nine for Chris Jericho, who isn’t mentioned by WWE anymore for obvious reasons (AEW). The international announce teams were shown: Portuguese, Russian, Japanese (hey Funaki), Hindi, French and Mandarin. That led to Graves making his monthly joke about partying with the international announcers. Saxton asked how come nobody invites him out and Graves said it was because nobody likes him.
Sami Zayn did a promo with a neckbrace on since The Undertaker gave him a Chokeslam on Smackdown. Zayn complained about disrespect from the fans and The Undertaker with Zayn claiming he sustained a neck injury. Zayn said that he’s still there to support the man that he liberated, the artist, the King of Strong Style and the Intercontinental Champion…Shinsuke Nakamura. They showed a clip of Undertaker giving Zayn the Chokeslam on Smackdown. Miz had a “Charlotte is Awesome” shirt pandering to the fans. Nakamura has a red cape with him for his entrance.
Intercontinental Championship: Shinsuke Nakamura (w/Sami Zayn) vs. The Miz
Nakamura slapped on a waist lock with Zayn on the microphone and Zayn got some cheap heat saying Miz looked about as good as Carolina on Thursday (the Panthers lost). Zayn mocked Miz for his “soft style” wrestling. Zayn’s microphone was cut off as Miz opened up on Nakamura with chops to the chest, then a running boot to the face and that got a two count. The action spilled to the floor, Miz tossed Zayn’s microphone up the ramp and after a Zayn distraction, Nakamura kicked Miz off the apron to the floor. Nakamura with a knee drop to the back of the neck. Nakamura with kicks to the chest, then an enziguri kick and Miz came back with a kick to the back of the left leg. Miz with the double knee attacks, then a corner clothesline and a weak looking double axehandle for two. Nakamura slapped on an armbar, Miz countered into a pin attempt and Miz with a kick to the leg followed by a DDT for a two count. Miz worked over Nakamura with kicks to the chest, Nakamura ducked a kick and got a rollup for two. Nakamura with a spinning lefty kick to the face with Zayn laughing about it. Nakamura with a kick to the back of the neck and a snap German Suplex. That’s such a great spot. Miz sent Nakamura to the turnbuckle, Miz drove Nakamura’s leg into his shoulder and Miz slapped on a “WOO” Figure Four Leglock as the fans cheered loudly. Nakamura managed to get to the bottom rope to break the hold. Nakamura got an inside cradle for two. Miz to the ropes, Zayn grabbed the leg while the referee wasn’t looking and Nakamura hit a running knee to the back of the neck for a two count. Nakamura charged, Miz avoided it and hit a Skull Crushing Finale with a cover, but the referee was dealing with Zayn on the apron. Miz chased after Zayn, which led to Nakamura hitting a jumping kick to the face of Miz on the floor. Back in the ring, Nakamura hit Miz with the Kinshasa knee strike to the face for the pinfall win at 9:32.
Winner by pinfall: Shinsuke Nakamura
Analysis: *** It was a fun match with some good back and forth action. The cheap finish was perfect for Nakamura as the heel champion with a new ally/manager in Zayn. The crowd was into this match more than I expected them to care about it, which is a credit to the performers for putting on a good match. Since Zayn with Nakamura is a new thing, it was the right decision to have Nakamura get the win in part thanks to Zayn. In our preview I wrote that this was the most predictable outcome on the card and I was right about that.
There was a commercial for Smackdown moving to Fox on October 4. It’s getting closer.
The announcers talked about the two-night WWE draft on Friday Night Smackdown on October 11 on Fox and Monday Night Raw on October 14 on Raw. That’s when the superstars will be brand exclusive again…until WWE changes their mind.
A video package aired about the Raw Women’s Championship match between Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks.
Sasha Banks entered first to boos. I’m glad she’s a heel again because that’s when she is at her best. Becky Lynch was next and got a huge ovation from the crowd. It’s weird listening to the introductions from Mike Rome because Banks is introduced from Boston while he didn’t say where Lynch was from. He didn’t even say Ireland. I don’t know if they do that every time. I don’t always pay attention to that stuff.
Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks
Lynch went for her finisher early on, but Banks bailed to the floor to get away. Lynch with a baseball slide dropkick that knocked Banks down. Lynch with a forearm. Back in the ring, Lynch with two kicks and she went up top. Banks tripped up Lynch and stomped away with kicks. The fans were chanting for both women. Banks put her foot into the back while pulling back on Lynch’s arms. Banks drove Lynch’s face into the knee followed by a kick for two. Lynch came back with a kick against the turnbuckle. Banks fought back with a kick, but when Banks jumped off the turnbuckle, Lynch hit her with a dropkick to the ribs. Lynch with a Bexploder Suplex that sent Banks across the ring. Lynch went for a clothesline, Banks avoided it and slapped on the Bank Statement. The fans popped big for that, but Lynch got out of it and hit a Bexploder to the corner. Lynch with a leg drop off the middle ropes for two. Banks came back with the Meteora (double knees) off the ropes for two. Banks screamed about not being able to win with that. Good nearfall. Banks with the double knees against the turnbuckle and Lynch avoided a Bank Statement attempt. Lynch slapped on the Disarmher on the left arm of Banks, but Banks managed to move around to get her foot on the bottom rope to break the hold. Lynch with a dropkick while Banks was against the ropes. Lynch with a missile dropkick off the top for a two count. The fans were chanting “this is awesome” although it wasn’t a loud chant. Banks came back with the Backstabber two times in a row with the second one leading to the Bank Statement submission move. Lynch countered and they got tangled up in the ropes. Banks pulled on the left arm against the bottom rope. Banks slid a steel chair into the ring, the dumbass referee tossed it out and Banks hit Lynch in the ribs with another chair (the referee never saw it). Banks hit a Shining Wizard knee for a two count. Great nearfall with the fans cheering when Lynch kicked out. Banks was shocked that her Eddie Guerrero-like tactics failed, which the announcers pointing out that Banks idolized Eddie. Banks brought the chair back in the ring, the referee stopped her, Lynch grabbed the chair, she swung it at Banks, but she moved and Lynch hit referee Dan Engler in the shoulder with the chair.
Lynch hit Banks in the ribs and the back with the steel chair. Banks tried to run away, so Lynch followed her up the stairs in the crowd. Lynch gave Banks the Disarmher against the guard rail. Banks tapped out, but that didn’t mean anything. Banks and Lynch walked out onto the concourse area where some fans were hanging out instead of watching the match in the arena. Lynch tossed Banks into a wall. They went back in the arena, down the stairs and over the barricade. Banks drove Lynch back first into the barricade. The referee was still down after several minutes with nobody checking on him. Banks tossed Lynch back into the ring. Cole said on commentary that Lynch was disqualified and is still the champion. Banks brought a chair into the ring, Lynch kicked her and grabbed the chair. Lynch hit Banks in the back with the chair repeatedly as payback for when Banks did it to Lynch on Raw several weeks ago. Lynch put the Disarmher on Banks’ left arm while using the chair. Referees and producers finally made their way to the ring. The match went about 15:00.
Lynch was given the Raw Women’s Championship and it was announced that Lynch was disqualified for striking an official.
Winner by disqualification: Sasha Banks (Becky Lynch remains champion)
Analysis: ***1/2 That was a very good match by two of the best women in the company. I think the fans cared about this more than anything else that happened earlier in the show, which is no surprise because Lynch and Banks did a great job of building this match up. This felt like a fight from the moment the bell rang, it was intense the whole time and when they went for their submission moves, the fans reacted to them in a big way. Banks is terrific as a heel and I liked the Eddie Guerrero tribute spot as well. That was fun to see. The non-finish isn’t a surprise because we know Hell in a Cell next month and obviously this feud is going to continue. They could have announced the result earlier.
Lynch celebrated with the Raw Women’s Title while Banks remained down in the ring selling her left arm injury.
Analysis: When fans watch PPV matches they want a winner and a loser, but sometimes you need to book a DQ finish to keep the feud going. I think they booked this in a smart way because Lynch stood tall at the end of the match and got revenge for Banks attacking her last month.
There was a commercial for Batista as a character in the Gears 5 video game.
The video package aired for the WWE Championship match.
Randy Orton made his slow walking entrance with a serious look on his face. Orton did a “you can’t see me” hand gesture to a dad and son in the crowd wearing John Cena gear. Kofi Kingston made his entrance alone with the WWE Championship around his waist and he tossed pancakes into the crowd.
WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton
Orton used his size advantage for a shoulder tackle, Kingston with two leap frogs and a back elbow to the face. Kingston with two forearm smashes and Orton bailed to the floor. Kingston worked over Orton with hard chops to the chest. Orton got a thumb to the eye that the referee didn’t see. Kingston was on the apron, he connected with a kick to the head and Orton knocked Kingston off the apron to send him into the barricade. Orton gave Kingston suplex into the top of the barricade and then a suplex on the floor. Orton picked up Kingston and gave him a belly to back slam onto the German announce table. Orton picked up Kingston and did a belly to back slam onto the table again. Back in the ring, that got a two count for Orton. Kingston was whipped into the corner and hit a missile dropkick. Orton faked a shoulder injury leading to Orton sending Kingston shoulder first into the ring post. Kingston came back with punches, but Orton stopped that by sending him face first into the steel steps. When they got back into the ring, Kingston hit a clothesline and both guys were down. Kingston hit a springboard attack off the top with a chop to the head. Kingston hit a leaping clothesline. The fans were not into it that much as Kingston hit a Boom Drop double legdrop. Orton with a modified backbreaker for a two count. Orton wanted the DDT off the ropes, but Kingston countered with a back body drop over the top to the floor. Kingston ran the ropes leading to a dive over the top where he landed back first onto Orton. Kingston went up top and hit a cross body block, but Orton rolled through for two. Orton countered SOS and hit a dropkick for two.
Kingston got back up with punches, but Orton did another eye gouge to stop his momentum. Kingston came back with the SOS trip into a slam for two. Kingston went up top and Orton tripped him up to crotch him on the top rope. Orton went for a superplex, Kingston fought him off, he sent Orton face first into the top turnbuckle and Orton came back with a powerslam for a two count. Orton hit a DDT off the ropes. Orton teased the RKO by slapping the mat repeatedly, Kingston avoided it and got a rollup for two. Kingston with boots to the face while on the apron. Both guys were slowly walking out of the ring and Orton hit the RKO on Kingston near the ropes. Orton covered, but he didn’t hook the far leg, so Kingston had his foot on the bottom rope to make it a two count. Saxton put over Kingston’s awareness while Graves said it was luck. Orton was frustrated by it. Orton teased The Punt, he charged, Kingston got back up, avoided a charge from Orton and Kingston hit the Trouble in Paradise. Orton crumbled to the mat to give (good call by Phillips) and Kingston covered for the pinfall win at 20:50.
Winner by pinfall: Kofi Kingston
Analysis: **3/4 A long match with the right finish with Kingston winning clean to continue his reign as WWE Champion and finally getting a big win over Orton. I think if they shaved off 5-7 minutes it would have been a lot more intense and a hotter match. By going 20 minutes, the crowd wasn’t into it that much the entire way. The RKO nearfall spot worked very well and led to the crowd reacting more to the action that followed. They did pop big for the finish when Kingston hit the Trouble in Paradise. I liked the story of the match. It just felt like it went too long and when you’re three hours into a show (counting the pre-show) then it’s tough for a crowd to be hot for an entire 20-minute match even when it’s a WWE Title match.
Kingston celebrated with the WWE Title. He has been WWE Champion for over five months, which might be longer than most people thought he would be champion.
Analysis: I think Kingston has been booked very well as WWE Champion with a lot of big wins that prove he’s a worthy champion, but none of the feuds have been that interesting. The rivalry between Kingston and Orton may continue to Hell in a Cell, but if they found somebody else for Kingston that would be fine too.
There was a shot of The Street Profits duo of Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins celebrating the win for Kingston. Ford said Monday’s Raw is the King of the Ring finals with Baron Corbin and Chad Gable. Dawkins is picking Gable, then Ford started shouting some Lion King things. Ford said “Rikishi” and Dawkins said it was “Rafiki.” Dawkins had a funny line saying he didn’t mind a good Stinkface and then said “PAUSE.” That was funny. They said there will be a new king and then Booker T showed up in his King Booker (Bookah?) attire. Booker said he’s here to give his royal declaration of who he thinks will win it. Dawkins asked to be knighted and he wanted to tell girls he’s the “Black Knight, Sir Angelo Dawkins.” Booker said you cannot be serious and yelled at them to get their mind right. Booker did his “now can you dig that, sucka” line to end it.
Analysis: The Street Profits are great. I’m excited about their future in NXT or Raw/Smackdown no matter where they end up.
There was a commercial for game called Guns of Glory that I have never heard of.
There was a long video package showing the Roman Reigns feud with Erick Rowan leading to this No Disqualification match.
Roman Reigns entered first to a pretty good ovation. The announcers were trying to put this over as a big deal, but it was ridiculous when Saxton said this was the battle of Roman’s life. Obviously, the battle with leukemia comes to mind and Reigns has had many bigger matches than this. Erick Rowan entered alone with his generic theme song. Reigns attacked with punches out of the ring. Then they went into the ring and the bell rang to start the match.
No Disqualification Match: Roman Reigns vs. Erick Rowan
Reigns with punches, then he charged and Rowan with an elbow smash to the head. Rowan whipped Reigns into the barricade. Rowan slammed Reigns face first into the German announce table. Rowan sent Reigns into the barricade again. Rowan charged, Reigns moved and Rowan went crashing into the steel steps. Reigns grabbed a kendo stick from under the ring, but Rowan hit him with the steel steps that knocked Reigns into the crowd. Rowan with a kendo stick to the back. Rowans and Reigns brawled into the crowd where Rowan tossed a trash can into Reigns. Reigns came back with punches, then a headbutt and they were back to ringside. Reigns with a Drive By dropkick on the apron. Reigns was trying to clean off the announce table, but Rowan gave him a running cross body block to knock him down. Rowan put his boot onto the throat of Rowan against the turnbuckle. The announcers kept talking about how big Rowan was as if we can’t see it. Rowan hit a running splash on Reigns. Rowan with a back elbow off the middle ropes to knock Reigns down for a two count. When Reigns tried to make a comeback with punches, Rowan dropped him with a side slam for two. The fans were not into this match very much at this point. Reigns with a clothesline that sent Rowan out of the ring, but Rowan landed on the floor and Rowan whipped Reigns into the ring post. Rowan exposed a cover on the top of an LED board and slammed Reigns into it, so it was the side of the apron. Rowan got a two count out of that. Rowan tossed the steel steps inside the ring. Rowan charged with the steel steps in his hands, but Reigns caught him and gave him a Samoan Drop for two. Reigns was selling a back injury after that. Reigns came back with the steel steps to the face and a Superman Punch for a two count.
Rowan left the ring, so Reigns tried a Superman Punch on him, but Rowan caught him. Rowan picked up Reigns and gave him a Powerbomb through the English announce table. Rowan quickly brought Reigns back into the ring and that got a two count for him. That was a great nearfall. Rowan sent Reigns out of the ring again. Rowan with a ring bell to the back of the neck of Reigns. They went out to the crowd again. Reigns hit Rowan with a microphone stand and they were over by the tech area. Rowan grabbed Reigns and gave him the Iron Claw slam through a table. Rowan put Reigns on his shoulders, which led to Rowan putting Reigns on the stage. Rowan grabbed the camera jig like last week on Smackdown, but Reigns hit him in the ribs with some metal weapon. Reigns sent the camera jig into Reigns two times in a row to put the big man down. Reigns with a Superman Punch that sent Rowan going down the ramp toward the ring. Reigns charged at Rowan by running down the ramp, but Luke Harper showed up and gave Reigns a boot to the face! He’s back! Yes! Harper hit Reigns with a discus clothesline in the ring. Rowan picked up Reigns and hit the Iron Claw slam on Reigns for the pinfall win.
Winner by pinfall: Erick Rowan
Analysis: **1/2 It was a decent brawl with Rowan controlling most of the action, Reigns making the comeback and then the cheap finish to give Rowan the biggest win of his singles career. The cheap finish makes sense because Reigns doesn’t lose singles matches that often, so when he does, it’s probably going to happen after interference. I think the crowd was dead for some of it because there was a lot of Rowan offense and it’s not that exciting to watch. However, they built up to the finish well with Reigns making the big comeback. I’m also very happy that Harper is back for the first time since the battle royal at WrestleMania. This could lead to Daniel Bryan back in a face role siding with Reigns although I love Bryan so much as a heel that I don’t want to see a turn. It does make sense in the storyline, though.
Post match, Rowan got a big hug from his buddy Harper. Rowan and Harper posed together in the ring. Rowan and Harper backed up the ramp together with confident looks on their faces.
Analysis: The story with Harper was that he had asked WWE for a release since he wasn’t being used. They said no. Vince McMahon apparently wasn’t impressed by a match he had during WrestleMania weekend, so Harper has been home since that weekend. There were rumors that WWE was going to keep him off TV until his deal is up in April (I believe that’s when it expires), but obviously we are back to Rowan and Harper together again, which is fine with me. I’m a huge fan of Harper as an in-ring performer. Welcome back, Luke!
There were commercials for the WWE Network special on Sasha Banks and a WWE Shop commercial as well.
Seth Rollins was shown warming up backstage. Charly Caruso told Rollins that Strowman said Rollins was responsible for losing the Tag Team Titles. Rollins didn’t care what Braun thought. Rollins said he respects Strowman and he considers him a friend, but after slaying a beast at SummerSlam, he’s going to add a monster to his collection.
The Raw announce team talked over highlights of Rollins and Strowman losing the Raw Tag Team Titles earlier in the night.
Braun Strowman entered first for the main event and Seth Rollins was next with the Universal Championship around his waist. The reaction for both guys were not that strong because the fans saw them earlier.
Universal Championship: Seth Rollins vs. Braun Strowman
Strowman ran over Rollins with a shoulder tackle followed by two running splashes against the turnbuckle. Rollins avoided a powerslam, he kicked the leg of Strowman two times and Rollins hit three superkicks. Rollins went up top and hit a Frog Splash that didn’t even get a one count because Strowman pushed him away. Rollins jumped, Strowman caught him and slammed him to the mat. Strowman tossed Rollins across the ring two times followed by a headbutt. Strowman told Rollins he’s tougher than this. Strowman with a headbutt. Strowman charged, Rollins moved and Strowman went shoulder first into the steel ring post. That’s a typical Strowman bump. Rollins with a jumping knee off the top ropes, he went up top again and jumped, but Strowman gave him a forearm to the chest. Rollins was on the floor, so Strowman ran him over with a running shoulder tackle. Strowman hit another running shoulder tackle on the floor. Strowman tossed Rollins back into the ring. Strowman went for another running charge, Rollins gave him a drop toe hold and Strowman went crashing over the German announce table. Strowman’s bumping usually leads to him running into things. Rollins with a suicide dive that sent Strowman into the side of the announce table. Rollins hit another suicide dive that sent Strowman into the announce table again and it broke the table. Strowman was bleeding from the nose. Rollins charged again, Strowman caught him and Rollins hit a superkick to the face to put Strowman on the Spanish announce table. Rollins went up top, Strowman got back to the apron and pushed Rollins down. Strowman was seated on the top rope, he stood up, the fans stood up and Strowman hit a Superfly Splash on Rollins for a two count. Strowman was holding his left knee after the splash to sell an injury. The splash looked pretty good from Strowman. Rollins grabbed Strowman in a sleeper, Strowman was down to his knees and then he flipped Rollins over to fight back. Rollins with The Stomp for a one count. Rollins hit The Stomp for a second time for a two count. Rollins hit The Stomp for a third time and it got a two count although this time there was no power kickout from Strowman – he just got his shoulder up. Rollins charged, Strowman went for a Powerslam, but his knee gave out. Rollins hit The Pedigree and then The Stomp for the fourth time for the pinfall win at 10:57.
Winner by pinfall: Seth Rollins
There were some boos when Rollins won the match. It wasn’t most of the crowd, but you could hear it.
Analysis: ***1/4 This was a fast-paced main event match that was exactly as it should have been in terms of the time. They didn’t need to go 20 minutes. They hit big moves from the moment the bell rang and it was booked evenly. Rollins winning was what I expected, but it also makes Strowman look weak because he has come up short several times when he had a shot to win the Universal Title in his career. I don’t think it’s going to hurt Strowman that much since it took Rollins hitting The Stomp four times to win. Strowman hitting the Superfly Splash on Rollins was one of the best spots of the match. Rollins going to the Pedigree again leading to The Stomp for the fourth time was a smart way to end it.
Seth Rollins was on the stage celebrating with the Universal Title, there was a graphic on the screen telling us it was the end of the night and then the lights were off because Bray Wyatt as “The Fiend” was there. The fans popped huge as The Fiend held Rollins and gave him the Sister Abigail neckbreaker on the stage. The Fiend also gave Rollins the Mandible Claw as the lights flickered on and off around them. The fans cheered for The Fiend as the lights went off and the Wyatt laugh played in the arena. That was the end of the show.
Analysis: The main event of Hell in a Cell is Rollins vs. The Fiend for the Universal Title in a Hell in a Cell match, so it was a good ending to get people excited about that match.
This event had a run time of 3:27:24 on WWE Network.
Five Stars of the Show
Luke Harper – I missed him.
It gets a 5.5 out of 10 from me.
It was an average show. I didn’t have great expectations going into it, but I thought there would be better matches. I think with the kind of roster that WWE has, they should be able to put on a card with multiple excellent matches (over four stars). Instead, we got no matches that really stood out. It’s not wrong of me to expect better shows. They have the talent to do it. Raw has been better in the last three months since Paul Heyman has had more influence and Smackdown is usually pretty good. This show just didn’t seem like a big deal at all.
The match between Lynch and Banks was my favorite of the night even with the DQ finish. I just liked the intensity of it and they worked well together. It was also great to see Luke Harper return after sitting at home for the past five months. I’m a fan of Harper, so I’m glad to see him back in action.
Based on my PPV ratings so far this year, it was the second worst WWE PPV of 2019 with Super Showdown as the only one that was worse.
Here are my rankings of 2019 WWE PPVs so far with a score out of 10:
Tonight’s episode of WWE Raw will see the fallout from WWE Clash Of Champions take place, while the build towards WWE Hell In A Cell commences.
After successfully defending his Universal Championship against Braun Strowman, Seth Rollins’ celebrations were cut short as The Fiend made it clear who his next target is. Tonight we will see how Rollins reacts to Bray Wyatt’s attack, and what The Fiend has planned next.
As well as that, the Monster Amongst Men must also react to losing both of his matches last night, failing to capture the Universal Championship and losing the Tag Team Titles.
Following their all-out brawl last night, Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks will continue their rivalry as the Legit Boss continues her quest to become the new Raw Women’s Champion.
And, after a month of fantastic in-ring action, the WWE King of the Ring tournament will come to an end as Chad Gable faces Baron Corbin in the finals to determine who will be crowned King.
As always, you can join us for live coverage of Monday Night Raw at 8/7c.
John: Welcome to the TJRWrestling WWE Clash of Champions preview. It is the one PPV in the year where WWE will get all their main roster titles on the card because that’s the theme of the show. Most PPVs feature many title matches, but at least with this one we know that there will be ten title matches, plus the Reigns/Rowan No Disqualification match. There isn’t a 24/7 Title match advertised for the show, but it should be featured on the show in some form.
The show will begin at 6pmET/3pmPT for the Kickoff Show and the main show begins at 7pmET/4pmPT with an expected run time of anywhere from three to four hours on WWE Network. As always, you can watch the show live on Sunday night on WWE Network or catch it on demand any time you want.
I think the lineup is pretty good. Most of the card features fresh matchups featuring storylines that started after SummerSlam while the WWE Title match is a rematch from SummerSlam. It’s important to keep in mind that the next WWE pay-per-view is Hell in a Cell on October 6, so some of these rivalries are going to continue and we’ll get two or three matches inside the cell at that show. Some of my favorite guys in the company like Daniel Bryan, Ricochet, Kevin Owens (now “fired”), Sami Zayn (just a manager), Ali and Andrade, to name a few, aren’t in matches on the show, which is a shame, but that’s what happens when WWE has such a huge roster.
Joining me for the preview is Mike Holland while Matthew J. Douglas couldn’t join us for this one due to work commitments.
(Note: All graphics are from WWE. The banner up top is courtesy of our friend Melo Man.)
TJRWRESTLING WRITER SEARCH: We are looking for writers to contribute on TJRWrestling.net for columns, reviews, news and more. It’s a great opportunity on a growing site. All the details are in the post. The deadline to apply is Monday, September 16, so there is still time. For all the details on how to apply, CLICK HERE. We have received a lot of submissions that I am reading every day and I’ll announce some final decisions on the site on September 16. Thank you for your support.
Cruiserweight Championship: Drew Gulak (c) vs. Humberto Carrillo vs. Lince Dorado
Mike: Given that Cruiserweight Championship matches already have their fair share of difficulty getting onto a main card, the fact that Clash has eleven matches and counting does not bode well for the participants here. I am an unabashed fan of Gulak, and on record as such, but the lack of opportunity for him to get any additional eyeballs on him during this reign has been unfortunate. Then again, as we’ve seen with previous champion Buddy Murphy, getting the main roster promotion isn’t the be-all and end-all either.
Carrillo has an extensive wrestling history in his family tree and both he and Dorado typify the high-flying style Gulak contrasts so nicely with. There has been plenty of discussion regarding the future of 205 Live as it pertains to NXT moving from the Network to TV, and that’s one very big reason why I don’t foresee a change in direction here. Frankly, WWE loves adding third guys into championship matches for the very specific reason of easily ensuring the current titleholder doesn’t lose it. I don’t see this as necessary affirmation for Drew but rather the desire to make it a bigger deal when he drops it. On a pre-show.
Winner (and STILL Cruiserweight Champion): Drew Gulak
John: The story here is that WWE has been giving Carrillo a big push on 205 Live in the last few months. He’s a young Latin star that wrestles an exciting style and he’s fun to watch. Gulak is a good champion that is heelish, but it’s not like he’s getting that much heat. I don’t think Carrillo is going to win the title here, though. The finish will probably see Gulak pin Dorado in order to keep Carrillo looking strong because the long-term story will probably be Carrillo beating Gulak for the title at another show. Dorado is there to take the pin.
Winner: Drew Gulak
Women’s Tag Team Championships: Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross (c) vs. Fire & Desire (Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville)
Mike: My first thought is that seeing Fire & Desire as a team name takes me back to the salad days of yesteryear when newspapers were not just delivered to your door but read, Saturday morning cartoons were not only a thing but a really wicked awesome thing, and all pro wrestling tag teams had to have a randomly generated moniker that sounded pretty cool. If you told me this was a GLOW tag team I would likely believe it.
My second thought is I don’t find this to be a particularly inspired or interesting championship match on a card with plenty of them. You as always must be careful what you wish for, and the rush to understandably present both genders equally has resulted in obvious ramifications, like tag team belts with relatively few folks to challenge for them. Rose and Deville are good enough, but this just feels like filler and an opportunity to make sure all belts are on the line Sunday. As for Bliss, WWE’s obsession with her is apparent, and I’m okay enough with that since she’s absolute money on the microphone. Are she and Cross full-fledged faces now that the “ugly” insult has been tossed? Unclear.
Winners (and STILL Women’s Tag Team Champions): Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross
John: The Women’s Tag Team Titles have been hurt by a lack of meaningful title defenses and no memorable rivalries to this point. They’re also seriously lacking in face teams. The Bliss/Cross team are usually heels, but they will be faces in this matchup. Perhaps WWE has a goal of turning Bliss face, which is a fine idea in theory although I think she’s at her best as a heel. There’s not much to the story other than Rose/Deville beating Bliss/Cross non-title to earn the title shot. I think the Bliss/Cross team will retain since WWE loves pushing Bliss and keeping her on television as much as they possibly can. Rose/Deville could be future champions, but it doesn’t seem like the right time to do a title change.
Winners: Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross
Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The New Day’s Big E and Xavier Woods (c) vs. The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder)
Mike: Hopefully the upcoming Smackdown on FOX debut will put an end once and for all to these head-scratching, brand-split-defying showdowns. It’s not that I have an issue ever with seeing these two teams in particular wage hostilities, but the goofball Wildcard rule with its infinite deviations and exceptions has been the most wrestling idea ever. Try explaining it to someone who isn’t familiar with this stuff at all and see how far you get. Hell, try explaining it to someone who WRITES about the stuff and fail to get much further.
As for the match itself, it’s simple to me. I think the Revival did a fine job as Raw champions, and they are more than qualified to represent either brand. Their presence here really has more to do with backing Randy Orton in his ongoing challenge to Kofi Kingston’s throne, and thus both main event title matches have preceding bouts with at least tangential implications. The story here is that Xavier Woods goes into this at far less than 100% due to his attack at the hands of the nefarious trio, and that’s solid enough as these things go. I don’t see Smackdown champs losing to Raw challengers on the eve of national debuts.
Winners (and STILL Smackdown Tag Team Champions): The New Day
John: This will be one of the better matches on the show even though they have barely been on television in the last month. I think Xavier Woods has been off for about three weeks after they did an angle where The Revival attacked his left knee. If you follow Woods on social media you know he’s been busy going to video game conventions and things of that nature. The Revival are technically a Raw team, but in today’s WWE world none of that stuff matters. In October, it’s supposed to matter…until plans change again. Whether this is on the main card or the Kickoff Show, they will probably get 10-15 minutes and it will be a very good, old school kind of tag team match. I’ll go with New Day retaining.
Winners: The New Day
Intercontinental Championship: Shinsuke Nakamura (c) (w/Sami Zayn) vs. The Miz
Mike: Sometimes working for WWE has to be a bit of a humbling experience. You fight tooth and nail for some type of consistent TV time, only to find yourself getting that time in the worst way possible. That’s what I imagine it’s like for Sami Zayn, the darling of many an indie wrestling fan who is indeed getting into some storylines…mostly to conduct overlong ring rants with sad face fan plants and get decimated by part-time gurus like The Undertaker. A job’s a job, right?
During the course of those things, though, Zayn has rather improbably found himself as the mouthpiece for Shinsuke Nakamura, a role that we knew someone would find themselves in essentially since Nakamura started in WWE. I can’t argue it’s given Shinsuke a bit of a jolt, and it’s about damn time really, isn’t it? Nakamura’s Intercontinental Reign has been notable for the solid matches it’s produced while not getting noticed very much. Enter The Miz, whose entire persona is built on being noticed, and you’ve got the makings for something interesting at least. The fact Miz’s reality show gets mentioned every time he shows up on screen is not an accident. It doesn’t help, usually.
Winner (and STILL Intercontinental Champion): Shinsuke Nakamura
John: I like both guys a lot, but this was set up poorly where they just had Nakamura attack Miz on his talk show and that led to Miz getting a title shot. Miz is technically a Raw guy and I think he’s just here as a guy for Nakamura to beat. This is the same Miz that lost in the first round of King of Ring, lost to Shane McMahon at two PPVs this year and really hasn’t done much as a babyface. I guess the reason for the match is because Miz has 8 IC Title reigns, which is the second-most ever. This just feels like a match on the card that’s there because it’s called Clash of Champions. On a more positive note, I like Zayn’s pairing with Nakamura. If that’s a long term thing then it can lead to a feud between them when they split and I’m all for more Zayn/Nakamura matches after they had the WWE match of the year three years ago at NXT Takeover Dallas. I think Nakamura winning is one of the safest predictions on this card.
Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura
United States Championship: AJ Styles (c) vs. Cedric Alexander
Mike: The surprising return of Cedric Alexander to the main roster was a good development, and hopefully the result of WWE’s recent decision to allow Messrs. Heyman and Bischoff to take some creative control. That is a good thing (sorry, DDP!) because it can and should allow both gentlemen to pick some current active members of each roster to get behind as it relates to stories. Both did a good job with telling tales while running their dearly departed promotions, and it’s hard not to get behind someone like Alexander, who is an unfortunate classic case of a guy with a head full of steam making it to the big dance and then stalling on the tracks. Been there, done that, too many times it seems.
You can draw some easy similarities to AJ’s recent feud with Ricochet, and while those matches were always more than watchable, they often didn’t get enough time to tell the story the participants likely would have imagined. This is apt to suffer the same fate, as the card just has a ton going on. It’s certainly possible Alexander surprises everyone again and unseats Styles, especially if he’s main event bound. Too soon for me, though, as I think that area will feature a much different nemesis.
Winner (and STILL United States Champion): AJ Styles
John: I feel like this AJ Styles US Title reign is like John Cena about four years ago when he would face different opponents and they would call it an open challenge. With Styles as a heel champion, they aren’t going to do it the same way, but I’m in favor of Styles wrestling different people such as Cedric Alexander, who will have the biggest match of his WWE career against Styles for the US Title. It was set up in a simple way with Alexander getting attacked backstage two weeks ago, then Alexander pinned Styles in the main event tag match on Raw earlier this week and now they are going to have this match. I think it’s going to be one of those matches where Alexander comes close to winning a few times, Styles cheats to win (maybe gets help from Gallows & Anderson) and Alexander looks great in defeat. I’m all for Alexander getting more time and I think they’re going to deliver an awesome match.
Winner: AJ Styles
Raw Tag Team Championships: Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode
Mike: Tale as old as time isn’t just about Beauty and the Beast, it also perfectly describes the idea of two unwitting and mismatched partners thrust together in a match where their hold on the titles is tenuous at best given their personal histories in bigger and better things. We’re not dealing with the Mega-Powers here, unfortunately, and the same buzz hasn’t really taken hold of Braun and Seth. Some of that discussion can be rightly tabled for later, but this contest feels more setting-the-table storyline than important to me. Ziggler and Roode are quite capable, but slapdash championship material? Ehh.
I think Roode, in particular, has been a bit reinvigorated with the aforementioned creative changes, and he’s another fellow who’s never gotten his true WWE due since his excellent NXT days. It would make utter sense to have two guys who in WWE’s world at least would never have a chance at beating Architect Mountain capitalize on the champs having issues with each other and protecting themselves for their match to come. I personally don’t see a Braun decimation happening here, though. That was the expected outcome many moons ago, but this is a brave new world where everyone can be disappointed equally.
Winners (and NEW Raw Tag Team Champions): Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode
John: As soon as Rollins and Strowman won the Raw Tag Team Titles, I don’t think many people expected them to have a long reign. The Ziggler/Roode team has been slapped together mainly because they had nothing else to do and that’s fine with me. There are so many talented wrestlers in WWE that are sitting backstage in catering every week doing nothing. All they have to do is find the right kind of team or gimmick for that person. Roode went from doing nothing for months to now being featured on a PPV where he should be because he’s a tremendous all-around performer.
I think Ziggler and Roode will win the titles because there will be some miscommunication spot with Strowman and Rollins where maybe Strowman accidentally hits Rollins, which can lead to a superkick by Ziggler on Rollins for the pin. With the Viking Raiders booked as faces on Raw now, they can feud with heel champions Ziggler and Roode.
Winners and New Raw Tag Team Champions: Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Bayley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
Mike: I’m not sure what to make of Bayley’s apparent heel turn on Raw, except that it was all very…odd. From a storyline perspective, I am more than fine with it. It adds a needed dimension to a character that is fun but without very much depth to it, and it amps up the intensity a bit for this match with Charlotte. That said, they don’t seem fully committed to it yet, because, well, SHE doesn’t seem to be. I’m fine with letting things play out, but I can’t imagine they don’t go full heel mode as early as here, merchandising be damned!
Charlotte is a very good wrestler, this we know, but her constant opportunities are a bit lame in my view. She appears to be front and center for Smackdown advertising, which may very well mean the winds of title change are indeed blowing, but she has already crafted a persona that sustains itself to some degree without the need of gold. Had you asked me this outcome prior to Bayley’s attack on Becky Lynch, I would unreservedly say Charlotte got the duke. Now I’m positively opposite of that take, and that’s to their credit I suppose. Bayley cheats to win.
Winner (and STILL Smackdown Women’s Champion): Bayley
John: Let me start by asking this question: Is Bayley really a heel? I’m not so sure. It’s not like Bayley has done a promo where she ripped on the fans about how they have treated her. All Bayley has really done is shown her loyalty to her best friend Sasha Banks, who happens to be a heel now. I don’t mind shades of grey with fans trying to figure it out because it’s about evolving the characters.
It’s a tough match to predict because I think Bayley should keep the title even though WWE loves Charlotte Flair and may want the title on her by the time Smackdown is on Fox on October 4. I think we’ll see some kind of finish where Bayley gets frustrated that she can’t put Flair away, Flair keeps coming back and then when Bayley is so frustrated by not being able to win, she ends up being disqualified. Since Bayley attacked Flair (and Lynch) with a chair to the back recently, I think Bayley will attack with a chair to get disqualified. It might be a chair to the back or chair to the knee. That way, Flair gets the win by DQ while Bayley keeps the title and the feud can continue. Perhaps they do the title change on the Smackdown on Fox debut on October 4. That would make a lot of sense.
Winner by disqualification: Charlotte Flair (Bayley remains champion)
No Disqualification Match: Roman Reigns vs. Erick Rowan
Mike: Oh, heavens. WWE has botched this puppy start to finish, really, reverting to their constant soap opera roots to finely craft a “mystery” storyline that seemed to last all summer long just to lead to…well, whatever this is. I suppose the one very good outcome to arise from this dumpster fire of a drama was that Erick Rowan reacquired his first name (and apparently his genius-level, Rubik’s-cube solving mental prowess, remember that?!?) in one fell swoop. The main outcome, though, is we all got swerved from an obvious Reigns/Bryan match into this thing. No manner of Superman punches will make this an outstanding match, but WWE is clearly letting the big guys (Lashley, Strowman, etc.) act as such and that creates some valid “Holy Shit!” moments that can be fun if not brilliant storytelling.
The other good news is this convoluted mishmash allows Bryan to not have to lose to Reigns just yet. Rowan is being served up here on a platter, and anyone who doesn’t think Bryan is the one pulling those strings for his benefit probably hasn’t tuned in for a while. The money is on that feud, so this suffices for now.
Winner: Roman Reigns
John: I know that picking against Roman Reigns might be considered a bad idea, but as soon as this was announced as a No Disqualification Match, I immediately thought that Rowan was going to win. Why? Because I fully expect Daniel Bryan to show up, reveal that he’s still working with Rowan (even after Rowan put him through a table) and then Bryan’s presence is going to allow Rowan to get the win in this match. I don’t think it would be smart to have Rowan appear to be on the receiving end of a push and then have him lose a PPV match. If he wins in cheap fashion, that’s fine because that’s what heels do. If Reigns wins, then that hurts Rowan.
As a storyline, this could be a lot better and I wish they booked it in a more sensible way week to week, but I don’t mind Rowan getting pushed. I want to see different people getting a shot. I think it’ll be a decent match too.
Winner: Erick Rowan
Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Sasha Banks
Mike: I for one am happy to see Sasha back, mostly because it’s given us a reason to believe Becky Lynch could actually lose. Lynch has bulldozed through predictable opponents since Ronda Rousey took off, and while I’m not a fan of Banks’s rumored theatrics while being MIA from a WWE ring, she is far better when presented as a heel and going up against Becky is a rock solid smart idea. Lynch’s rise to the top has been frankly meteoric, but she’s hitting the ceiling because there’s nowhere else to go. Banks provides that, and turns what could have been another yawn-inducing Lacey Evans challenge into a possibly stellar contest with all kinds of fun dramatic interpretations. Good stuff.
I am quite simply of two minds on this, and I love that. Banks is definitely primed to get the job done here. We all know that Becky as a challenger is a must-watch, and her persona is a hell of a lot more interesting when she has a chip on her shoulder. The abruptness of her “Two-Belts” thing ending shows you that very clearly. These two are more than familiar with each other, and have already had some very good and emotionally draining matchups.
That said, Becky is a major focal point for WWE right now as we know. Her high-profile relationship with Seth Rollins is unquestionably a part of that, but make no mistake: if anything, that “softer” side has alienated a big part of her fanbase because it seems very out of character. That’s why WWE has done cartwheels trying to make sure we all know she is still badass. Banks most likely will be winning this belt, whether because of backstage sit-ins or plain old storylines. I don’t think it happens here, though. Lynch gets it done but faces down the threat of Banks and Bayley out to get her at any cost.
Winner (and STILL Raw Women’s Champion): Becky Lynch, likely by DQ
John: The four-month vacation was a good thing for Banks because she’s back as a fresh heel, which is the best role for her. I felt like her face run was very forced for a couple of years. She’s better as a bitchy, arrogant heel especially because I remember her doing it so well in NXT four years ago. The match has been built up well with Banks doing the cheap attacks on Lynch and Banks hasn’t lost a singles match since returning. Banks did lose the tag with Bayley against Lynch and Charlotte on Raw, but that was Charlotte pinning Bayley. That was the right finish because it was important to keep Banks strong.
My prediction for this match is tough because I think Banks should win to show that her new attitude has paid off. They could do a finish where Lynch wins and then Banks attacks post match to keep the rivalry going, but I’d rather see Banks win the title. If Lynch loses the title, I don’t think she’ll be hurt by it. What a Lynch loss would do is keep the feud going because fans are going to want to see Lynch get the title back. Plus, who knows what show either woman will be on next month when WWE does another draft? If Becky loses the title, then moving her to Smackdown could be the reason (it would also mean future husband Seth Rollins to Smackdown too). Another thing to consider is Lynch is on the cover of the WWE 2K20 video game, so WWE may want to keep the title on her through October when the game is out. Who knows? There’s a lot to factor in here. I may be overthinking a bit, but that’s how I am when it comes to this stuff.
I like the idea of Bayley and Banks holding the titles at the same time and after this show, that’s what I think is going to happen. I’m very interested in seeing how great of a match they have, but also how it is booked. If Banks wins, it will probably be cheap and it will leave us wanting to see a rematch. That’s what Hell in a Cell is for.
Winner and New Raw Women’s Champion: Sasha Banks
WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Randy Orton
Mike: Orton and Kingston have been at each other’s throats for a while now, and it’s actually produced some of the more compelling television at it pertains to Kingston as champion. Kofi has met every challenge he has faced as champ so far and passed with flying colors, but there’s still something missing in the eyes of many. Orton is solid opposition and my view is he is here to keep trying to get Kofi looked at as more than an interim champion. It’s unclear what is next for this belt, obviously, and that plays into things too. Therefore there are really only two ways this thing can go: Champ loses and we get their final match at HIAC, or champ wins and this feud ends to make way for something else. You can guess which one I pick.
I felt pretty comfortable with this prediction before Kofi was left standing tall over Orton this past week, and that all but guaranteed it for me. It is entirely possible that Kingston loses this match (disqualification being the most likely) but does not lose the title with it, but the issue with that for me is that the ultimate outcome here is Kofi looking good as a deserving champ. Orton is a steady hand, but it’s more than unlikely he’s going to be given a lengthy run with the big belt at this stage. Better to have Kingston lose in the short term to get it right back and look even better doing so. In addition, you can bet that Hell In A Cell will afford him the opportunity to execute another high-impact jaw-dropper on Randy. I, therefore, predict a bit of an upset here in favor of longer-term storytelling.
Winner (and NEW WWE Champion): Randy Orton
John: This is a rematch from SummerSlam when they did a double countout finish, which drew boos because fans expect clean finishes at PPVs for some reason. I thought the match was good and the finish was fine with me because I wanted to see more matches from them. They needed to do that kind of ending to keep it going. Kingston got the advantage on Orton on Smackdown when he put Orton through a table just like he did ten years ago. I agree with Mike that the feud is probably going to continue at Hell in a Cell, but I don’t think they will do a title change here. Kingston will win here, Orton will keep attacking and then challenge Kingston to try to beat him at Hell in a Cell in the cell match. Maybe Orton wins the title at HIAC, but I just feel like the way this story has gone, Kingston must beat Orton to prove he is a main event level guy. If Kingston loses, then that hurts his status as a top guy because he failed to beat Orton.
This will probably be one of the best matches on the show. They work well together, so I hope they can deliver a great match. They’ll probably get 15-20 minutes and I’m going with Kingston to retain. A name to think about as the next WWE Champion: Brock Lesnar. With Smackdown moving to Fox in October, I expect Lesnar on Fox and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him holding the WWE Title before the end of the year.
Winner: Kofi Kingston
WWE Universal Championship: Seth Rollins (c) vs. Braun Strowman
Mike: I want to like this a lot more, but it’s just not working out for me. I have seen Strowman in a bajillion championship matches at this point, and the results are basically always the same: Braun looks epic, Braun knocks stuff over onto people, Braun shows up and loses. The longer we keep saying Strowman is due to get his due, the more we start thinking it’s the day that never comes. The reality is eventually it will happen of course, but I’d be hard-pressed to imagine it comes at the expense of Seth Rollins, particularly when he just got the job done against the previous mega-monster Brock Lesnar.
The mission of their tag match (which I predict to be an obvious loss), then, is to make it appear that Braun is definitely going to demolish Seth. Whether they can effectively do that without making Gramps Strowman full out heel is highly debatable, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. Where WWE screwed this up for me is by revealing that the winner will face The Fiend. That guarantees his creepily strange character will be showing up here, and it won’t be for a puppet show. Wyatt will use the drama to his advantage and take out one or both to set a bigger stage for what is to come at HIAC.
That also plays in to how Strowman can lose here and still not be booked poorly, by the textbook definition anyway. If Wyatt mucks things up, you can have a no-contest. If he takes out Strowman after a super solid showing, Rollins can inadvertently get the win and make things even more complicated. They can even go the ever-popular “Triple Threat” route if they so choose. I see plenty of options but absolutely none of them result in Strowman doing what he should in fact do, which is toss Seth Rollins into oblivion and get “these hands” on the gold he has deserved for a long while now. Feel free to prove me wrong on that one, WWE.
Winner (and STILL WWE Universal Champion): Seth Rollins, with an “assist” from Yowie Wowie
John: This main event doesn’t interest me that much. For one thing, they didn’t set it up well because all they did was have Braun Strowman stare at the title and just because of that, he gets a title shot. Why not win a match to earn the shot at least? The lack of effort in setting up the match was disappointing. I’m also not a fan of face vs. face matches for a major title especially when it might be a boring match. Earlier this year, we got Rollins vs. Styles for this title when Styles was still a face and that was great, but it’s obviously going to be different with Strowman in there.
There’s also an outside factor involved in this match because we know Bray Wyatt as “The Fiend” is getting the next Universal Title match against the winner of this match at Hell in a Cell next month. That makes me think they might do a non-finish where The Fiend attacks both guys and it sets up a triple threat match inside Hell in a Cell. That way, they don’t have to put the title on The Fiend because Rollins can pin Strowman and it protects The Fiend.
I hope this is a good match, but I’m not sure if it will be. Strowman had plenty of awesome matches with Roman Reigns because they worked together so much and developed that chemistry. Rollins is a better worker than Reigns although that doesn’t necessarily mean this will be an excellent match. Everybody is different, of course. I think The Fiend will appear during the match and if it ends in a non-finish it wouldn’t surprise me at all. For the sake of predictions, I’ll say Rollins is the winner even though I’m unsure of how they get there. I just feel like Seth will remain the champion at the end of the show.
Winner: Seth Rollins
The Match I’m Looking Forward To The Most
Mike: From an in-ring standpoint, it’s 100% AJ/Cedric. But for storyline purposes, it’s hard not to dig Lynch/Banks.
John: Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks. I have high expectations for it.
The Match I Care About The Least
Mike: Without a doubt, Reigns/Rowan.
John: Gulak vs. Carrillo vs. Dorado.
Mike: I imagine it will be Kofi/Orton. They can go and they’ve got a big story to tell.
John: Styles vs. Alexander.
Mike: Plenty of contenders, but I’ll say Bliss & Cross vs. Fire & Desire.
John: Bliss and Cross vs. Rose and Deville.
Excitement Level on a Scale of 1-10 (1 being low, 10 being high)
Mike: I will go 8 here. I think there is a good mix of matches and title matches can compensate where storylines fail.
John: It’s about a 7 for me. There are some compelling matches and things that I am looking forward to, but nothing jumps out at me as a must-see match. Plus, the main event just doesn’t interest me that much.
Mike: You’d be silly to think WWE isn’t feeling the pressure a bit here, and that’s a good thing for all involved as many in the wrestling world have said. The “PPV” cards have atrophied steadily except for the biggies since the installation of the Network, and that makes sense: WWE doesn’t need to rely on those numbers as they once did. If you are a subscriber, you’re automatically tuning in whether you do or not. The emergence of some genuine competition and all the television stuff shaping up for this fall is awesome, no matter who you’re rooting for. If you like WWE, one very big benefit is more cards like this.
I also appreciate that all titles (likely including 24/7) are on the line here, because it is Clash of Champions after all. The name is from a competitor WWE bested. A guy who ran that promotion during its most successful period is now helping to run WWE’s Smackdown, which is about to be on national television. And all this while a new threat emerges. You have to appreciate the irony, and you have to appreciate the potential excellent consequences. I am so looking forward to it.
John: I’ll be back with a review of Clash of Champions on TJRWrestling.net most likely on Monday morning because I won’t be watching it live, so please check it out when it gets posted.
Wrestling INC. is reporting that The Fiend is being advertised to challenge WWE Universal Champion Seth Rollins for the title at upcoming WWE live events. Also being advertised is Braun Strowman taking on Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson in a handicap match.
There was no mention of Strowman & Rollins’ tag team championships, as the duo are set to face Dolph Ziggler & Bobby Roode, before facing each other for the Universal Title. Advertisements suggest Rollins will retain, but carry the standard “card subject to change” warning.
Welcome to another edition of the WWE Raw Deal review here on TJRWrestling. It’s the last Raw before Sunday’s WWE Clash of Champions pay-per-view.
Live from Madison Square Garden in New York, New York, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1371 of Monday Night Raw. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please visit TJRWrestling.net daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage along with reviews about wrestling’s past and present. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top.
The show began with a shot of the crowd in MSG, then there was a buzz of anticipation and that’s when the glass broke leading to the entrance of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin to a huge ovation. Austin looked great wearing of his Stone Cold shirts designed for the New York crowd. They gave him a huge ovation as expected. Austin was heavily advertised for the show. The announce team of Michael Cole, Renee Young and Corey Graves were excited just like the fans. Austin was thrown two beers, which were the Stone Cold IPA beers, he smashed them together and drank them to a huge pop.
Analysis: Great reaction for Austin. No surprise there.
Universal Championship Contract Signing with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
Austin said it was good to be back there in Madison Square Garden and Austin said that somebody told him it’s been about 20 years since he’s been to the Garden with fans chanting “What” during his speech. Austin said he wanted to go down memory lane one more time. Austin talked about Survivor Series against Bret Hart (that’s 1996 in an amazing match) and Austin spoke about how it was a heavy-duty moment in his career. Austin said he remembered when he hurt his neck, Vince McMahon was trying to serenade him and Austin hit him with the first Stone Cold Stunner that Vince ever took. That was September 1997. It was a very memorable moment. The fans loved that. Austin spoke about SummerSlam 1998 against The Undertaker for the WWE Title in the “Highway to Hell” match. Austin said Undertaker’s head hit him in the chin, Austin was knocked out, Earl Hebner asked him if he was okay, Austin asked where he was and Earl let him know he was in the Garden. The fans cheered. Austin ended up finishing the match without a problem. Austin said he had so many good times here and there were more good times to come.
Austin asked the fans if they want to see the Universal Championship contract signed, give him a “HELL YEAH” so of course, the fans did that. Austin introduced one half of the Raw Tag Team Champions Braun Strowman, who got a nice reaction from the crowd. Strowman got into the ring, he extended his hand for a shake, Austin stared at him and then Austin introduced Universal Champion Seth Freakin’ Rollins. That led to Seth’s entrance with the Universal Championship and Raw Tag Team Championships in his possession.
Austin shook the hands of both guys. There was a table in the middle of the ring along with two leather chairs and the contract was on the table.
Rollins fired up the crowd by mentioning the city they are in and said his “Burn it Down” catchphrase. Rollins told Austin that Strowman thinks that Austin might have it in for him. Rollins said normally he hates the “What” chants, but with Austin there, he is okay with it. Austin said that they need to sign the contract. Rollins told Strowman nobody is stabbing anybody in the back and after Clash of Champions, he’ll still be the best wrestler on the planet. Rollins signed the contract.
Strowman said that he grew up watching Austin and he has nothing but respect for him. Strowman said that a Rattlesnake is still a rattlesnake. Strowman said he’s not going to turn his back on Seth because he likes being Tag Champs, but he will love being Universal Champion. Strowman quoted Austin saying he’ll open a can of whoop ass…and you’re going to get these hands. Strowman signed the contract, so it’s official.
AJ Styles, the Universal Champion, showed up with his buddies in The OC Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. Styles said they didn’t want to get the Rattlesnake riled up and then he did a pretty good Stone Cold impression. Styles asked if anybody still cares about that? Fans cheered and chanted yes. Styles told fans to shut up with the “WHAT” chants, which is a classic heel move to get them to chant it even more. Styles told Austin to sit this out or he might get hurt and fans chanted “WHAT” at Styles. AJ told Austin it has nothing to do with Austin, but it has everything to do with Strowman and Rollins, so fans chanted “WHAT” at Styles and Styles said this is why nobody likes coming to New York. Austin told Styles to put some more bass in his voice, so Styles told him to shut up. Styles complained about Rollins and Strowman not giving The OC a rematch. The fans chanted “Asshole” at Styles, so Austin did his classic line where he let Styles know there were about 18,000 people calling AJ an asshole! That brought back some fond memories!
Styles went into the ring with Gallows and Anderson to tell Austin in his old age, he looks like an asshole. That drew boos. Styles complained about Strowman getting a Universal Championship shot just by looking at Seth’s title. Styles said Austin has been in this business for so long and he called him an “old fart.” Austin pulled the table out of the way.
Austin said he didn’t know where AJ was coming from, but he knew where he was going. Strowman and Rollins cleaned house. Strowman with a running shoulder tackle on Gallows and a forearm to the back of Anderson. Rollins went after Styles, but Styles managed to toss him over the top. Austin went behind Styles, the crowd cheered loudly and BOOM…Austin with a kick to the gut and then he hit Styles with a Stone Cold Stunner to a huge pop. Great sell by Styles by bumping to his back and then flipping over onto his stomach. That was outstanding. Austin celebrated with some beers with the MSG crowd cheering loudly. When Austin left, Styles was selling the attack in the ring.
Analysis: That was excellent. Did it run too long at nearly 20 minutes? I didn’t mind it because the presence of Austin made it feel more special. You could feel the energy of the crowd that went wild for Austin and he was the main reason a lot of them were there, so it was giving the people what they wanted. If Austin was out there for only five minutes then people would complain that it was too short. It was a lot of fun to see Austin back in his element and the fans absolutely loved seeing him. The contract was signed while they also set up a match for later based on what happened in the segment. Styles did an excellent job of working with Austin in terms of his promo, then getting into it with the crowd and then taking the Stunner much to the delight of the fans. I enjoyed this a lot. It was one of the better and more memorable opening segments on Raw this year.
Still to come: Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair vs. Bayley and Sasha Banks.
AJ Styles was in the ring and his opponent Cedric Alexander made his entrance.
AJ Styles vs. Cedric Alexander
This is not for AJ’s US Title. Alexander was aggressive, Styles went to the floor and Alexander attacked by sending him into the barricade. Back in the ring, Alexander with shoulder tackles, a headscissors, dropkick to the knee and a dropkick to the face. Styles with a thrust to the throat, forearms to the face and Alexander came back with a springboard off the ropes with a kick to the head that sent Styles to the floor. Alexander followed up with a somersault dive over the top onto Styles on the floor. Styles to the apron, he pulled on the left arm of Alexander and hit a single arm DDT to take control.
Back from break, Styles continued working on the left arm, but Alexander hit him with a kick to head. Styles with a kick only for Alexander to come back with a Michinoku Driver for a two count. Alexander with an elbow smash to the head, then a kick to the head, but Anderson and Gallows attacked Alexander leading to the DQ finish after about 9 minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Cedric Alexander
Analysis: *** Good match with Alexander getting a victory that should lead to the US Title shot at Clash of Champions with the story being that Styles was unable to put him away. Anderson and Gallows showing up for the DQ was a predictable outcome just because it fits what The OC likes to do as a group with the cheap attacks.
After the match, Gallows and Anderson stomped on Alexander. The Viking Raiders duo of Erik and Ivar made the save. They knocked down Anderson and Gallows. Erik with knees for Styles and Anderson. Ivar with a running splash on Gallows, knee by Erik on Gallows and Erik slammed Ivar into Gallows. Alexander with a dropkick to Styles and the Viking Raiders hit their Viking Experience double team powerslam on Anderson to stand tall.
Analysis: That means the Viking Raiders are faces. I noted that last week because even though they looked like heels from when they started on Raw, it’s obvious now they are going to be a face team. There are a lack of face teams, so it makes sense.
Sasha Banks and Bayley did a backstage promo. No interviewer. They just talked to the camera. Banks said it’s too bad if Becky and Charlotte are mad about what they did while Bayley said there’s no stronger connection than what they have there. Banks said they’ll take this to the ring and you can take that to the bank.
Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair were shown in the locker room staring at eachother with looks as if to say they don’t trust eachother, which makes sense considering their rivalry.
Bray Wyatt was shown saying that later tonight he’ll be hosting a brand new episode of the Firefly Fun House.
The announcers talked about how it is Pediatric Cancer Awareness month. There was a video showing some kids fighting cancer.
Roman Reigns appeared on the stage for a promo. Reigns said that it was nearly one year ago where he told us that leukemia had returned in his body. Reigns said he wanted to use the WWE platform to raise awareness and create that momentum for others the way fans did for him. Reigns said he has visited several pediatric cancer hospitals recently and they were in New York City in the past where they met these great kids. Reigns said the kids were from New York and New Jersey. The kids appeared on the stage with Reigns and they all had wrestler-inspired names: Julius “The Sarcoma” Warrior, Antonio The Arrival, The Mighty M, Liam the Red Ninja and Liana Lilly Terror.
Reigns talked about how they have been through the biggest fights of their young lives and they are still standing here as strong as ever. Reigns said it’s on us to help them, support them and have their backs. Reigns told us to support tomorrow’s superstars today. Go to ConnorTheCrusher.com to learn about how to donate if you can. The fans cheered all of this as you would expect. Great reaction for those kids that will help them a lot.
Analysis: That’s a great moment for those kids that are going through a tough battle and I hope they can all beat cancer. This means a lot for Reigns considering what he’s been through and he’s the right guy to be on the stage with those kids. I don’t mind WWE spending five to ten minutes paying tribute to them.
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Becky Lynch entered with the Raw Women’s Championship. She got a good ovation and she will defend that title against Sasha Banks at Clash of Champions on Sunday. Charlotte Flair was next as Becky’s partner even though they are rivals. Flair will challenge Bayley for the Smackdown Women’s Title at Clash of Champions on Sunday.
A video package aired from last week’s Raw where Bayley attacked Becky Lynch with a steel chair with her buddy Banks to show that Bayley might be a heel now. On Smackdown, Bayley said she’s loyal to her friend Banks. That led to Bayley and Banks attacking Charlotte Flair with a steel chair as well.
Sasha Banks was out first for her team. Bayley was not cheered for her entrance, but the inflatable Bayley buddies were still a part of the entrance.
Analysis: These four women are known as WWE’s Four Horsewomen. They all came up in WWE’s NXT developmental system at the same time earlier in the decade. It was four years ago when Charlotte, Becky and Sasha were called up to the main roster at the same time. Bayley was there the following year. Lynch and Flair are legit best friends while Banks and Bayley are also best friends.
Flair and Lynch tried to attack on the floor at the same time, but Banks and Bayley fought back. Lynch attacked Banks with punches and hit an Exploder Suplex on the floor. Bayley attacked Lynch to save Banks and Flair brought in a chair to end that.
The match began when the show returned from a break.
Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair
Lynch tossed Bayley out of the ring and whipped Lynch whipped Bayley into the barricade a few times. They went back in the ring with Flair tagging in and stomping on Bayley. Flair tried a suplex, but Bayley took her down with a hair whip. Banks and Bayley whipped Flair back first into the turnbuckle and then slammed Flair down. Flair came back with a forearm to Bayley in her corner, so Lynch tagged in and hit a jumping kick to the face of Bayley. Lynch was on the apron, she kicked Banks down and Bayley hit a neckbreaker. Banks with a cheap shot on Lynch on the floor. Banks tagged in, she was in control for a few minutes, Bayley got the tag and Lynch hit her with a reverse DDT. Flair got the tag with two clotheslines, chops to the chest of Banks and Flair hit a fallaway slam on Banks. Flair with a running boot to knock Bayley to the floor. Flair with a neckbreaker and then she sent Banks face first into the turnbuckle. Flair with a neckbreaker on Banks for a two count. Banks took down Flair, she went for the Bank Statement, but Flair countered it and slapped on the Figure Eight submission on Banks. Bayley tried to make a save, Lynch got in the way and Bayley pushed Lynch into Flair to break the hold. That was a clever spot. The fans chanted “this is awesome” as all four women were down in the ring. Banks with a double knee attack on Flair on the floor.
The match returned with Banks in control with a double knee attack on Flair against the turnbuckle. Bayley tagged in with chops to the chest of Flair. When Flair came back with a forearm, Bayley grounded her with a headlock. Flair came back by sending Bayley throat first into the ropes. Lynch got the hot tag, forearm off the ropes and another forearm. Lynch caught Banks and gave her a Bexploder Suplex followed by a baseball slide to knock Banks to the floor. Lynch with a clothesline on Banks. Lynch with kicks to Bayley, but Bayley came back with a knee. Lynch blocked a finisher attempt and then Banks went back in the ring with a Backstabber on Lynch. Flair with a boot to the face on Banks that didn’t come close to connecting (she kicked the hand), but Banks sold it anyway and Graves wondered if Flair got all of the boot to the face as a way to cover what happened. Bayley knocked down Flair. After Flair avoided a double suplex, Lynch hit a double missile dropkick on Bayley and Banks. Good spot. Lynch with a leg drop off the ropes on Bayley. Flair tagged in, up top with a moonsault and she jumped too far, landed on her feet and then jumped onto Bayley. Oops. That wasn’t good. Banks broke up the pin attempt. Lynch pulled Banks out of the ring, uppercut and a whip into the steel steps. Lynch slapped on the Disarmher on Banks on the floor. Bayley kicked Lynch, Bayley with a Bayley to Belly on Lynch into the barricade and then Bayley hit a German Suplex on Flair on the floor. The fans chanted “this is awesome” again. Bayley went up top, she jumped off with an elbow drop, but Flair got her knees up to hit Bayley in the arm. Banks grabbed Flair, Banks got knocked down, Bayley got a rollup on Flair for two and Flair hit the Natural Selection on Bayley for the pinfall win after 18 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair
Analysis: ***1/2 It was a pretty good tag team match that was given a lot of time as you would expect for the four top women in the company. They’re all great in the ring, so I’m not surprised that they delivered a quality match like that. Flair had a few moments in there where she was off, which is not normal for her. It’s hard to ignore that moonsault spot where she jumped too far. If not for a few sloppy moments this would have been around four stars out of five. The good news is the crowd was really invested in the match, they chanted “this is awesome” multiple times for them and they got louder as the match went on as well. Flair getting the win was fine as the finish because I didn’t want to see Lynch of Banks take a fall while Bayley losing is okay since it builds up Flair more going into their title match.
After the match, Lynch and Flair celebrated although it was not something where they were on the same page. It was more about just being happy they got the win while Banks and Bayley were together on the floor.
Analysis: My prediction for Clash of Champions right now is that Banks will beat Lynch for the Raw Women’s Title while Bayley will keep her title. I might change my mind before writing the preview on Friday. I’m not sure if Flair is a face now. I prefer her more as a heel.
Still to come: King of the Ring semifinals with Samoa Joe vs. Ricochet vs. Baron Corbin. Also, a new episode of the Firefly Fun House with Bray Wyatt.
A replay aired of the opening segment that included Steve Austin hitting AJ Styles with a Stone Cold Stunner.
The OC trio of Styles, Gallows and Anderson were interviewed by Sarah Schreiber. Styles said that The OC runs this place. Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode showed up for a chat. Ziggler said that they could be running the place if they enlisted the help of Ziggler and Roode. Ziggler said they had some common enemies. Styles agreed, so they shook hands to agree to team up.
Rey Mysterio made his entrance to a good pop from the crowd.
Gran Metalik made his entrance without his Lucha House Party buddies. He’s a great worker who isn’t pushed much in WWE, but he is capable of a lot more than what WWE gives him.
Rey Mysterio vs. Gran Metalik
Metalik did a monkey flip, Mysterio landed on his feet, they each did some athletic moves and counters that are tough to describe because they are so quick. Mysterio with a headscissors into the ropes. Metalik ducked a 619 attempt and got a rollup for two. Mysterio used his legs to send Metalik to the floor. Mysterio went for a sliding attack out of the ring, Metalik moved and hit a superkick on the floor. Metalik ran the ropes, stepped on the middle rope and jumped over the top onto Mysterio. That was amazing. Metalik landed with his butt right on the head of Mysterio. Back in the ring, Metalik with a springboard senton for a two count. Mysterio came back with a headscissors that sent Metalik into the turnbuckle. Mysterio up top, he hit a seated senton on Metalik, but Metalik came back with a kick and then a dropkick off the middle ropes. They went to the turnbuckle, Mysterio with a headbutt and then Metalik came back with a hurricanrana off the top rope (while Rey was sitting on the ropes) for two. Mysterio came back with a counter into a Sunset Bomb for a two count. Mysterio jumped off the middle ropes, headscissors, 619 double kick by Rey and Mysterio went up top with a Frog Splash for the pinfall win after 7 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Rey Mysterio
Analysis: ***1/4 That was a fun, exciting match by two quick superstars who can do so much in the air. Metalik is one of the most underused guys on the roster and I’m happy he got a chance to show what he can do here. Mysterio continues to amaze me in his mid-40s and I’m interested to see where things go for him. The somersault senton by Metalik was the most spectacular spot in the match. They definitely made the most of their time given. If they had a match that got double that amount of time they really would have had a classic match.
Post match, Mysterio picked up Metalik and they shook hands. I’m sure that was a cool moment for Metalik to be in a match with Rey like that.
Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman were backstage talking to Cedric Alexander, but we couldn’t hear it.
A 10-man tag team match was made official: Seth Rollins, Braun Strowman, Cedric Alexander and the Viking Raiders vs. AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows, Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode.
The NXT tag team The Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins) did a promo hyping up things still to come. Ford mentioned Charlotte pinned Bayley ahead of their Clash of Champions match this Sunday. Dawkins said he’s going with Sasha Banks over Becky Lynch and he said Sasha is right…blue is her color. The fans cheered Dawkins thirsting over Banks. Ford moved on talking about Rollins vs. Strowman at Clash of Champions.
There was a video package about the Roman Reigns storyline with Erick Rowan and Daniel Bryan. Last week on Smackdown, Rowan admitted he was the one that attacked Reigns two times. Rowan also attacked Reigns on Smackdown and he attacked Bryan as well. Rowan said nobody can control him anymore.
The match at Clash of Champions is Roman Reigns vs. Erick Rowan. It’s the second straight PPV where there’s no Daniel Bryan match, which makes me sad.
Samoa Joe made his entrance for the King of the Ring semifinal match.
The end of Baron Corbin’s entrance was shown as the man that wrestles in a tank top was ready to go. Ricochet was up last and the fans were excited to see him. They showed a video of Ricochet having a draw with Joe to set up this triple threat match.
King of the Ring Semifinals: Ricochet vs. Baron Corbin vs. Samoa Joe
Corbin bailed to the floor, so Joe hit Ricochet in the back with a clothesline. Ricochet with a headscissors on Joe, then a dropkick and Corbin came back in with a shoulder tackle. Ricochet with a kick to the face of Corbin followed by a springboard clothesline and a standing Shooting Star Press. Ricochet with a dropkick on the apron. Ricochet with a step up enziguri on Corbin and a suicide dive on Joe. Ricochet with a corkscrew dive over the top onto Corbin on the floor. That led to a break.
The match continued with Ricochet jumping onto Corbin on the floor, Corbin caught him and launched Ricochet into the ring post. Joe followed that with a running forearm that knocked down Corbin on the floor. Joe whipped Ricochet into the ring post. Joe took over on Corbin with an atomic drop, kick to the face and a senton splash for two as Ricochet made the save. Joe hit a spinning powerslam on Ricochet for a two count. Joe battled Ricochet by the turnbuckle, Ricochet fought out of it with a punch, but Corbin decked Ricochet with a clothesline. Joe with a running splash on Corbin followed by a jumping kick to the face. Ricochet hit a superkick on Joe and all three guys were down, which led to cheers from the crowd that was enjoying the match. The guys got back into it with Ricochet hitting a dropkick on Corbin, but Corbin came back with a kick to the face. Corbin hit a Powerbomb followed by a Deep Six slam for two as Joe pulled Corbin out of the ring. Joe slapped on the Coquina Clutch on Corbin on the floor with the crowd screaming for this. The fans were into it. Joe took down Corbin with the Coquina Clutch on the floor, so Ricochet hit a running Shooting Star Press off the apron onto Joe and Corbin on the floor. Ricochet landed more on Corbin than he did on Joe. There were “Let’s Go Corbin/Corbin sucks” chants from the crowd. I think that’s what they were saying. Back in the ring, Joe avoided a 630 Splash, Joe went for the Coquina Clutch, Ricochet fought out of it and hit the Recoil double knees to the face. Ricochet went up top and hit the 630 Splash on Joe. Corbin got back in the ring, pulled Ricochet to the floor and tossed Ricochet over the barricade. Corbin went back into the ring and he covered Joe for the pinfall win after 14 minutes. Cole: “Corbin steals it!” Yep. That’s the idea with that finish.
Winner by pinfall: Baron Corbin
Analysis: ***1/2 That was a very good triple threat match with the classic “heel steals the pin” finish that we have seen many times with Corbin tossing Ricochet out of the ring after Ricochet finished off Joe. The hot crowd helped the match a lot as well. I wanted Ricochet to win because I think winning this tournament would have been huge for him, but I am not surprised that Corbin won this match to go to the finals. My issue isn’t with Corbin as a worker because I think he performed well in this match and he’s done fine in his matches of late. I just think it would have helped Ricochet more if he won.
Corbin’s win means that he moves on to the King of the Ring finals at Clash of Champions against Elias or Chad Gable.
Corbin celebrated the win while Ricochet was shocked and Joe was getting checked out by a doctor. Graves put over Corbin for being smart in capitalizing on the situation. Corbin walked over to the King of the Ring throne with Graves saying “All Hail King Corbin” as he has done many times.
Analysis: I assume Gable will beat Elias to set up heel Corbin vs. face Gable and I hope Gable wins it, but my predictions have been off for the entire tournament. I don’t know what’s going to happen.
Lacey Evans made her entrance in red, white and blue attire.
There was a plug for the People’s Choice Awards where Raw is nominated as the best show of 2019 against some actual great shows. Raw is not a great show. Maybe Smackdown. I had no idea the People’s Choice Awards still exist, to be fair.
They showed a replay of last week with Lacey Evans beating Natalya after the dreaded TISSUE TO THE FACE~! followed by the Woman’s Right punch. Natalya made her entrance.
Lacey Evans vs. Natalya
Natalya worked over the legs of Evans with a twisting leg lock, but Evans got to the ropes. The fans must have been bored because I think they were chanting “CM Punk” as Natalya punched Evans. There was a rollup by Evans, but Natalya rolled through and hit a discus clothesline. Evans got to the ropes to avoid a Sharpshooter attempt. When Natalya left the ring, Evans hit a neckbreaker on the floor. Back in the ring, Evans with an elbow drop. Evans with a running splash on Natalya against the turnbuckle. Graves called the Statue Of Liberty a “nasty” and said he would replace the statue with Lacey Evans, so the other announcers laughed about it. Evans went for a moonsault, Natalya rolled out of the way and Evans came back with a kick to the ribs. Evans pulled out a tissue from her cleavage, tossed it at Natalya and Natalya kicked Evans. Natalya slapped on the Sharpshooter, Evans was near the ropes, but she didn’t fight it much and Evans tapped out to give Natalya the win after five minutes.
Winner by submission Natalya
Analysis: **1/4 Solid wrestling match. I liked how aggressive Natalya was, then Evans looked good on offense and Natalya managed to make the comeback for the win. Natalya is probably the best opponent to help Evans improve. I figured Evans would win again to continue to give her some positive momentum, but I don’t have a problem with Natalya getting a win either. It makes things even after last week, which should lead to another match where I assume Evans will get the win.
Firefly Fun House is up next.
There was a plug for Steve Austin on Straight Up Steve Austin on USA Network after Raw with Dale Earnhardt Jr. as the guest.
There was a clip from earlier in the night with the NBA’s Enes Kanter in the ring being interviewed when R-Truth went to the ring with the 24/7 Title. Kanter is a former member of the New York Knicks. Kanter, who is a 7-footer, pushed Truth down and covered to win the 24/7 Title. Truth came back with the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! to win back the 24/7 Championship. Truth is now a 15-time 24/7 Champion.
The announcers noted that Truth will defend the 24/7 Championship in some form at Clash of Champions, but we don’t know the match yet. The announcers went over some of the Clash of Champions matches. The full lineup is at the bottom of this post. We will have a full preview up on Friday.
Firefly Fun House
Bray Wyatt was on his talk show set while wearing a sweater. Ramblin’ Rabbit appeared to tell Wyatt there was a stranger and Wyatt asked if it was Steve Austin. The other puppets were there and there was a clock with 3:16 on it. The puppets kept saying “stranger danger” repeatedly. Wyatt yelled at them to be quiet. Wyatt hit the clock with a hammer two times and it said 11:19 on it. Wyatt said that Steve is just an old rattlesnake and you can’t blame a rattlesnake for doing rattlesnake things. Wyatt said that strangers are friends you haven’t made yet. Wyatt said that now Seth and Braun have a trio of new friends. Wyatt said unfortunately friends won’t help where you’re going because friends forget, but The Fiend never forgets. We got a quick image of The Fiend and Wyatt said bye.
Analysis: I’m not sure what the 11:19 numbers reference, but I saw some Twitter chatter about it. The Undertaker’s debut in the WWF was on November 19, 1990 on a taped show a few days before Survivor Series that year, so it could be that. The Undertaker is on Smackdown this week as well. There are also a few 11:19 bible references that it could be mentioning. The “hell” reference was because Wyatt faces Rollins or Strowman for the Universal Title at Hell in a Cell next month. Anyway, this was produced well as usual.
The ten-man tag team match is the main event up next.
There was a plug for Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch on the cover of Muscle & Fitness magazine.
The entrance of Seth Rollins was shown while his teammates were already in the ring. They showed the entrances of the five heel wrestlers.
Seth Rollins, Braun Strowman, Cedric Alexander, Erik and Ivar vs. AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows, Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode
Rollins started with Ziggler with a hiptoss by Rollins. Ivar with a knee to the ribs, Erik tagged in and slammed Ivar onto Ziggler. Styles went after Ziggler, so Alexander went after Styles. Everybody was on the floor except Ziggler trying to attack Strowman, which didn’t work because Strowman hit a Chokeslam on Ziggler. That led to a break.
The heels were in control with stomping way on Alexander against the turnbuckle. Alexander came back with a leaping flatliner as the crowd started doing the wave. Styles with an arm wringer to keep Alexander grounded. Gallows stomped on Alexander followed by an arm wringer takedown. Roode slapped on an armbar and then he drove Alexander to the mat by wrenching on the left arm. Alexander hit a spinning back elbow to the face of Roode. Rollins got the tag against Alexander with a Slingblade, Rollins with an enziguri kick to Gallows and Rollins with a springboard knee on Anderson. Rollins with a Falcon Arrow slam on Anderson for two as Roode made the save. Alexander clothesline on Roode, Ziggler superkick on Alexander, Erik with a punch to Ziggler, Gallows with a boot to Erik and Ivar with a clothesline to Gallows. Styles with a springboard Phenomenal Forearm to Ivar. Rollins hit a superkick to Styles with the fans going wild. Strowman got the tag with running shoulder tackles on Gallows and Anderson while Rollins hit suicide dives as well. Strowman with a Running Powerslam on Anderson and Rollins was pushed by Roode onto Strowman to break up the pin. That was clever. Strowman was mad about it because he thought Rollins did it on purpose. Strowman said that he had him beat. They went to break with Seth and Braun arguing. Another commercial.
There were about six minutes left in the show when they returned. Rollins was the face in peril, he tried to break free, but Anderson gave him a spinebuster for two. Roode tagged in and Rollins hit a Blockbuster neckbreaker on Roode. Ziggler tagged in, he wanted the Fameasser, but Rollins gave him a Buckle Bomb into the turnbuckle. Styles tagged back in, Rollins avoided an attack and brought in Strowman. Strowman with two running shoulder tackles on Styles, a boot to the face, Strowman punched Gallows out of the ring and Strowman went running into the ring post because Styles moved. Erik tagged himself in, overhead suplex on Ziggler, knee to the face of Roode and Styles hit a Pele Kick on Erik. Ivar tagged in with a jumping knee attack on Styles to put him down. Ivar went up top and he hit a somersault dive on the guys on the floor. That was impressive! The fans were chanting “this is awesome” for them. Styles with a forearm on Alexander, Styles jumped off the top going for a move, but Alexander moved and Alexander hit the Lumbar Check on Styles for the pinfall win after 20 minutes. Alexander reacted as if he was shocked that he won. Good pop from the crowd too.
Winners by pinfall: Seth Rollins, Braun Strowman, Cedric Alexander, Erik and Ivar
Analysis: ***3/4 Great match that was given a lot of time with a hot crowd. I think it was the right finish where Alexander got the pinfall on Styles, which will likely lead to the US Title match at Clash of Champions. Yes, it’s predictable, but it’s also the right way to end the match. I thought they planned the match well with some fun moments throughout including where everybody hit big moves, then some issues between Rollins/Strowman, Ivar with a dive onto the other guys on the floor and the finish of the match was really well done. The Lumbar Check is one of my favorite finishing moves in WWE. Styles putting over Alexander like that is huge for Cedric’s career.
As soon as the bell rang, Steve Austin’s music hit as Stone Cold went down to the ring for a celebration. There were about two minutes left in the show, so Austin quickly went into the ring with the babyfaces Rollins, Strowman, Eric, Ivar and Alexander. Everybody was handed a beer. They smashed the beers together and they joined Austin in a beer bash. The fans loved it. They continued the celebration and that was the end of the show.
Analysis: It was a happy way to end the show with the fans popping big for a classic Austin beer bash. By having Austin celebrating with the babyface wrestlers, it also puts those guys ever because it showed that Austin liked them and appreciated them.
After the show was over, Steve Austin had a beer bash celebrating with the faces and he also gave AJ Styles another Stunner. Good times.
Three Stars of the Show
I could have picked a lot of people. Great show.
8 out of 10
Last week: 6
2019 Average: 5.78 (Smackdown is 6.78)
Last 5 Weeks: 6, 7.5, 6.5, 6, 7
2019 High: 8 (September 9)
2019 Low: 3.5 (May 27)
This week’s Raw gets an 8 out of 10.
That’s my highest score for a Raw this year. There were some very good matches all night long, the presence of Steve Austin made it feel more special and the MSG crowd was loud for almost the entire night. I don’t think there was a Raw this year with five matches around three stars or better the way there was on this show. The main event 10-man tag was my favorite match. I would have preferred a Ricochet win in the King of the Ring semifinals over Baron Corbin, but it was still an exciting match to watch. Some things on the show were off like Charlotte doing that moonsault that wasn’t that close. She should stop doing that move, I think. Other than that, though, it was a well-booked show with a lot of great wrestling. I wasn’t bored by the show at all. Most weeks have more boring segments. This felt like more of a complete wrestling show thanks to the great in-ring action and the entertaining opening segment with Stone Cold.
The build to Clash of Champions has been pretty good as well. Is the Clash of the Champions card the best of the year? Probably not, but they have some fresh matchups. Our preview goes up on Friday.
The next WWE PPV is Clash of Champions on September 15. Here’s the official lineup so far.
WWE Universal Championship: Seth Rollins (c) vs. Braun Strowman
WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Randy Orton
Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Sasha Banks
Roman Reigns vs. Erick Rowan
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Bayley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
Raw Tag Team Championships: Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode
Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The New Day’s Big E and Xavier Woods (c) vs. The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder)
Intercontinental Championships: Shinsuke Nakamura (c) (w/Sami Zayn) vs. The Miz
King of the Ring Tournament Finals: Baron Corbin vs. Smackdown wrestler (Elias or Chad Gable)
Women’s Tag Team Championships: Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross (c) vs. Fire & Desire (Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville)
Cruiserweight Championship: Drew Gulak (c) vs. Humberto Carrillo vs. Lince Dorado
AJ Styles defending the US Title against Cedric Alexander will likely be added as well. They also said the 24/7 Title will be defended in some form, but there’s no specific match announced yet.
You can contact me using any of the methods below. See ya next time for the Smackdown review. Thanks for reading.