Last week, I compared WWE’s Clash of Champions PPV the equivalent of getting socks and underwear for Christmas. After watching the show and considering the implications, I want to revise my previous comparison. Clash of Champions is now the Christmas gift equivalent of….
Really cool socks and underwear.
So, the show was better than I thought it would be, but not as good as it could be. There were a number of really good matches, and some storylines were advanced as we head toward the Road to WrestleMania. Overall, there are still more questions than answers.
The Professor’s CoC Report Card
Mojo Rawley vs. Zack Ryder (Kickoff Show) – This was an old-school beatdown by Rawley. I have no problem with that. Mojo has potential as a nasty heel character. He’s got a good look and an aggressive in-ring style. Unfortunately, WWE dropped the ball here. Neither Rawley nor Ryder appeared on this week’s SmackDown Live. Hopefully the story gets renewed before Rawley fades back into oblivion. C-
The Bludgeon Brothers vs. Breezango – As expected, Harper and Rowan absolutely destroyed The Fashion Police (Breezango?). Much like the Rawley/Ryder match, the heels went over in dominant fashion, only to be no-shows on Tuesday’s SD Live. I’m less worried about Harper and Rowan disappearing than I am about Rawley. The bigger question here is why a tag team that seldom wrestles on TV has two nicknames. C
The Usos vs. The New Day vs. Aiden English and Rusev vs. Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin (SmackDown Tag Team Championship) – The match was about what you’d expect it to be. There was chaos and confusion and ultimately, the Usos retained the titles. The better news is that all four of these teams were in action Tuesday. Rusev and English were insanely over with the crowd in their confrontation with New Day, and Gable and Benjamin took out the champs in fairly dominant fashion. Things are looking good in the SD tag division. B+
Baron Corbin vs. Bobby Roode vs. Dolph Ziggler (United States Championship) – A very strange outcome here, both in the match and on Tuesday night. Ziggler took the win here, which was surprising. Even more surprising, he pinned Corbin to get the belt. Most surprising of all, Dolph showed up on Tuesday, reminded everyone of his past accomplishments with a stirring video package, then declared that the WWE Universe isn’t worthy of him. Then he laid the US Championship in the ring, and walked away. If this was his last hurrah, it was a strange way to go out. I suspect Dolph will be back soon, with some sort of explanation. B+ for the match, Incomplete for the follow-up
Charlotte Flair vs. Natalya (Lumberjack Match for the SmackDown Women’s Championship) – This also went much as expected, with Flair retaining the belt. Natalya’s response was Ziggler-like. She accused the WWE Universe and the women’s division of turning their backs on her. So, she turned her back on them, and simply walked away. This might have been done to put an end to her feud with Charlotte, but seems odd with the announcement of a women’s Royal Rumble match in January. Natalya might be a “surprise” entrant. A-
AJ Styles vs. Jinder Mahal (WWE Championship) – This should have put an end to Jinder’s time in the main event (other than the odd tag match) for now. The good news for Mahal is that he wrestled the best match of his career. (Lots of guys do that with Styles.) It will be intriguing to see what WWE does with the Maharaja. It looks like Styles will continue to carry the banner for SmackDown heading into WrestleMania season. That is a good, good thing. A-
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn vs. Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura (Owens and Zayn are fired if they lose) – Again – just what you’d expect. WWE put four strong workers in the ring against each other, and none of them were compelling enough to outshine the resident McMahon. Orton looked like he’d rather be anywhere else, and much of the rest of the match was forgettable due to the antics of the two referees. There seems to be more trouble brewing between Daniel Bryan and Shane O’Mac. Given that Bryan hasn’t been medically cleared to wrestle by WWE’s doctors, it’s hard to see where this one is going. Hopefully, Owens, Zayn and Nakamura will benefit from the push in some way. D+
Tune in next week for the inaugural Professor’s Honor Roll of WWE awards. Until then….