Roman Reigns and Drew McIntyre continued their reigns atop of WWE at Clash of Champions with successful title defences.
WWE Champion McIntyre once again saw off the challenge of long-time rival Randy Orton, while Reigns remained Universal Champion after defeating his cousin Jey Uso.
Many had expected to see that the sun had set on McIntyre’s lengthy reign – the Scot won the gold by dethroning Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania in the Spring, and WWE are aren’t as famed for long title tensures as they perhaps once were. That these two rivals had already locked horns on a number of occasions also stacked the momentum in Orton’s favour, but the company again held firm with McIntyre as the incumbent for its top title.
Their latest bout, an Ambulance match, featured a litany of Orton’s previous victims returning to gain a measure of revenge, giving McIntyre a heavily assisted win once all was told. The Big Show, Christian, Shawn Michaels – who superkicked him off the top of the vehicle – and Ric Flair all featured on the night in some way, playing their part in ensuring McIntyre had the last laugh, nailing him with a Punt before closing the doors and allowing Flair, somehow the driver, to lead him away.
Reigns meanwhile solidified his status as Universal Champion after defeating his own cousin. The former Shield favourite is now established in his role as a top heel on SmackDown, and continued to play the role beautifully here. The two told the story of their match beautifully, with Reigns insisting that Jey Uso recognise him as the Tribal Chief – the plucky challenger refusing to do so, and taking a beating for it. Having seen enough, Jey’s brother Jimmy appeared and threw in the towel on his behalf, ending the match and leaving Reigns the victor. This will be far from the end of the story, however, with Reigns likely now to go after Jimmy and any other family member on course to his rumored WrestleMania match against his most high-profile relative, The Rock.
Clash of Champions was, all told, probably WWE’s best pay-per-view offering of the year – or at least its most comprehensive. There was precious little silliness to let it down, with each of its matches delivering. The one down point on the night was the ending to the Raw tag team title match-up, but even that was as a result of what looked to be a serious injury to Angel Garza, one of the challengers. During the bout between Garza, Andrade and champions the Street Profits, the 28-year-old appeared to injure his knee in an awkward landing, leading the referee to call an impromptu end to the match by finishing a three count, allowing the Profits to retain, despite Andrade appearing to kick out.
Elsewhere, a hugely entertaining ladder match saw Sami Zayn ‘retain’ his Intercontinental Championship by defeating Jeff Hardy and AJ Styles. Zayn had claimed to have still been the champion – despite having been stripped of the gold months ago – because he hadn’t been beaten for it. Semantics aside, the Canadian is now again undisputed as the title holder after his two rivals were seen off in unique fashion, with daredevil Hardy rolling back the years, flying through the air – and into a ladder – and even finding himself handcuffed to it, via his ear…
Not for the first time in the last few months, Asuka pulled double duty at Clash of Champions, seeing off Zelina Vega in short order with her Asuka Lock to retain her Raw Women’s Championship, before going on to fill in for the missing Nikki Cross in challenging Bayley for the SmackDown title shortly after. Wanting none of the Empress of Tomorrow without her former pal Sasha Banks to handle the dirty work, Bayley got herself disqualified to retain her title – before getting attacked after the match by Banks for good measure.
The Hurt Business continued to thrive at Clash of Champions as United States Champion Bobby Lashley retained his gold at the expense of regular foe Apollo Crews. With Crews falling short – thanks to a submission via the Hurt Lock – WWE need to find a way to freshen up business for Lashley, MVP and co in the coming weeks to stop an entertaining act becoming a little too repetitive.
That said, the ending to that match – and that particularly of the WWE Championship match – appeared to lend itself to the WWE Draft which is due in early October. With Superstars set to switch shows and begin new rivalries across Raw and SmackDown, the Draft comes at an ideal time in 2020 as the company desperately battles against the continuing problems presented by the lack of crowds and atmosphere at live shows, even allowing for the Thunderdome.
So if Clash of Champions was a last hurrah for some feuds before things are reset, credit to them for making a resounding success of it.
WWE CLASH OF CHAMPIONS QUICK RESULTS
WWE Championship – Ambulance Match: Drew McIntyre (c) defeated Randy Orton
WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) defeated Jey Uso
WWE Intercontinental Championship – Triple Threat Ladder Match: Sami Zayn defeated Jeff Hardy (c) and AJ Styles
Raw Women’s Championship: Asuka (c) defeated Zelina Vega
WWE United States Championship: Bobby Lashley (c) defeated Apollo Crews
Raw Tag Team Championship: The Street Profits (c)
SmackDown Women’s Championship: Asuka defeated Bayley (c)
Kickoff Show – SmackDown Tag Team Championship: Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura (c) defeated Lucha House Party
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