On Sunday afternoon, WWE announced that Nikki Cross, Shayna Baszler, and Nia Jax hadn’t been cleared to compete at the Clash of Champions pay-per-view. In 2020 speak, that likely means they were exposed to COVID-19 in some fashion, which is frightening! Hopefully all three women are doing okay. With the women’s tag match off the table, we received a slightly shorter show that nonetheless went out on a very high note.
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SmackDown Tag Team Championships: The Artist Collective def Lucha House Party (Kickoff)
This took the place of Asuka and Zelina in the kickoff. I’m not mad about that. Surprisingly, the two LHP competitors were Dorado and Kalisto — with Metalik as support. Dorado started off upping the pace against Cesaro, until Shinsuke tagged in. The heels double-teamed Lince, but Kalisto got the hot tag and landed a big dive into Cesaro on the outside. We got several near falls, but neither team could make it happen until the artists hit the Swinging Kinshasa on Kalisto. Mixing up the LHP members helped this match feel fresher than the build up; Shinsuke and Cesaro retaining works wonders.
Intercontinental Championship: Sami Zayn def Jeff Hardy and AJ Styles (Triple Threat)
Second to the main event, this was one of the real highlights of the night. Jeff Hardy was as willing to risk death as ever, pulling out some huge moves and taking the big bumps. He did a Swanton from the top of the ladder onto a prone Sami Zayn — sending them both through another ladder. Not to be outdone, Styles then hurled a ladder straight at Zayn while he was climbing for the titles, presumably taking off a finger or two.
Hardy was knocked out with another big fall from the ladder onto the outside. Zayn took advantage. He hooked a handcuff through the ladder hinge and connected the other through Jeff’s own ear gauge. Finally, being a hipster is a punishable offence in professional wrestling. Zayn then handcuffed Styles to himself, while Jeff struggled to the ring with the ladder. Styles knocked out Zayn, but was forced to carry him up the ladder with him. Zayn pulled out the key, locked Styles to the ladder, and grabbed the titles to become dual champ of the same belt.
This was a really enjoyable ladder match. It showcased incredible effort from the 43 year old father of two, Hardy. Should that man be taking bumps that insane after 20+ years in the business? Probably not, but he’s gonna do it anyway, so it might as well be for us.
Raw Women’s Championship: Asuka def Zelina Vega
Zelina really showed out here. It’s been so long since we’ve seen her wrestle, but she was hot right out of the gate. She went after Asuka’s arm early, tossing her into the steps shoulder first. She tried some submissions, but Asuka was able to counter nearly everything. Vega avoided a hip attack on the outside and almost scored a quick win,. Asuka got her in the Asuka Lock, however, to force a tap.
Post-match, Asuka called her challenger a “firecracker” and offered a handshake. Zelina pretended to bow… then landed a cheap shot and went after the champ. Now we might get a rematch sometime soon. Seeing Zelina compete again was great; she really brought her A-game against Asuka. I hope this split from Andrade and Garza lasts a little while, because she could be a huge asset to Raw’s women’s division.
United States Championship: Bobby Lashley def Apollo Crews
Crews and Lashley have great chemistry together. This wasn’t quite as good as their Payback match, but it still brought some solid stuff! Crews especially looked great here. After Lashley accidentally ran into the ring post, he hit some big athletic moves, with a press slam followed by a standing shooting star. He hit a splash on the champ for a two count, but hesitation left him open for Lashley to get him in the Hurt Lock for a tap out. This was a fun match, and I always enjoy MVP standing ringside just yelling mean things, but it’s time for both parties to move on… Crews and the Hurt Business have been entangled since July. Let’s freshen this up for both of them.
Raw Tag Team Championships: The Street Profits def Andrade and Angel Garza
Andrade and Garza were surprisingly on the same page here, even after losing Vega. They isolated Ford, using quick tags to wear him down. Once Dawkins got in he cleared house. Yet a blind tag made Garza legal, and he hit a drop kick to take Dawkins down. Ford tagged in and received a big Spanish Fly from the top rope from Garza — who seemed to come down weird on one knee. He barely got to the corner to tag Andrade. Dawkins hit a spinebuster, and Andrade clearly kicked out before three, but the ref called it anyway. Seems likely we got an early finish because of Garza’s potential injury. Either way, still a strong showing from both teams. The Profits holding onto the titles works out, too.
SmackDown Women’s Championship: Asuka def Bayley (by DQ)
With Nikki Cross unable to compete for ~unnamed mystery reasons~ (there is no pandemic in kayfabe), Bayley offered an open challenge to anyone in the ThunderDome tonight. Asuka came out to answer (much to the champ’s disappointment). I’m not gonna complain about seeing Asuka wrestle twice in one night, though. It seems like she was one of the only choices, given all the women who are sick and unable to compete.
The match itself was short. Asuka was in control, almost locking in the Asuka Lock before Bayley fought out. She hit a German suplex on the outside, so Bayley went for the chair and laid into Asuka, causing a DQ. She started to gloat when Sasha arrived and smacked the ever-loving soul out of her. Banks, in some incredible rhinestone gear, finally took Bayley out with a kendo stick. She then grabbed the chair, but Bayley just barely escaped. When we inevitably get the match between these two it’s going to be fantastic.
WWE Championship: Drew MacIntyre def Randy Orton
MacIntyre and Orton are both very talented. Even so, this match was simply all over the place — physically and emotionally. It started with some quick punches from MacIntyre and a missed RKO from Orton. The two fought into the backstage and destroyed catering before making it back out to the arena. We got lots of interference from various people Randy has screwed over: Big Show, Christian, and even Shawn Michaels, who delivered Sweet Chin Music to Orton off the top of the ambulance.
Orton battled back despite his evil exes. He seemed like he almost had it won when he threw MacIntyre in the back. Except Drew just got his fingers on the door. He came back to manage a Claymore, and traded places with Randy in the ambulance. MacIntyre pulled Orton’s head out to deliver another Claymore for extra fun before shutting the doors. Finally, I can rest…
Or can I? Ric Flair was revealed to be driving the vehicle. which definitely feels safe to see on the highway at night. Honestly, this match was so long I checked out about halfway through. I’m glad Orton can still go like this after 20 years in the business. That does not mean I want to sit through it every PPV, you know? I have things to do, Randy.
Universal Championship: Roman Reigns def Jey Uso
This started with a great promo package featuring clips of Uso and Reigns as kids. Roman then came out shirtless. This is a very important development for his new character, and all of us at home. Uso started out emotional, yelling at Reigns, going after his cousin, while Roman performed cold and uncaring.
Reigns started to throw Uso around. He bounced him off the apron and hit him with some stiff right hands. Jey made a little comeback with a Samoan Drop, but Reigns kicked out easily. After a huge Superman Punch, Reigns drove things home by telling Jey he would never reach his level. Naturally, this fired Jey up, allowing him to land a suicide dive onto Reigns on the outside.
A huge splash got him a 2.5 count, but he wasn’t done yet! He countered a spear into a roll up. This was followed by another splash, and Roman was forced to nail his cousin in the groin to kick out. Jey was busy regretting his trip to dick kick city, so Roman landed a spear and declined to cover. He taunted the Uso some more — demanding to hear Jey call him his chief. Though Uso refused.
Another spear left Jey having a really rough night. Roman laid into him with punches; Charles Robinson tried to call him off, but Roman threatened to whoop his ass, too. This prompted Jimmy Uso to finally run out and try to forfeit on his brother’s behalf. Jey once again refused, despite the family appeal. Not to be deterred, Roman went back to beating his relative. Jimmy finally threw in the towel to make it attempted murder, instead of an outright killing.
This was one of WWE’s first non-cinematic matches to actually benefit from the absent crowd! Hearing everything Reigns and Uso said — the way Jimmy pled with his brother to give in — really sold the emotion of the whole performance. Wrestling crowds aren’t great at shutting up for longer than two seconds. It was a bonus here that nobody could interrupt.
A nice night to think about beating your cousin's ass
- Roman’s chest >>>>>>
- Double dose of Asuka!
- Sami Zayn remains our rightful Intercontinental Champion, which feels too good to be true
- Both Jey and Roman brought the intensity for the main event, but a special shoutout to Uso absolutely delivering in his first singles title match
- MacIntyre and Orton was so long. Nothing needs to be that long. I could have given birth during the duration of that match.
- Hopefully Garza isn’t badly injured!
- The Hurt Business needs to move on from Crews and enter a new feud