Remember when you were a kid, and you couldn’t wait for Christmas to come? You’d get more and more excited as each day passed until the moment finally arrived. You shook your parents awake at 5AM and rushed to the tree. Your mom and dad sat blearily on the sofa and watched as you grabbed a brightly-wrapped package. The possibilities were endless. You tore off the wrapper and pried open the box inside to reveal….
Socks and underwear.
This Sunday’s WWE PPV, Clash of Champions, has that same type of feeling. There’s SO MUCH potential on the SmackDown Live roster, but what we’re getting is a watered-down version of WWE’s old Night of Champions concept. On the other hand, this could turn out to be that flat envelope from the uncle you barely remember that turns out to contain a $100 bill. There’s just no way to know until Sunday.
The Professor’s CoC Preview and Predictions
Mojo Rawley vs. Zack Ryder (Kickoff Show) – This is a match that we should see, but not until after WrestleMania. Rawley severed his ties with Ryder a few weeks back on SmackDown, and everyone knows that when tag teams break up, the former teammates must immediately feud. Unfortunately, WWE started the story, then stopped it. There’s been no interaction between these two since the beatdown, and the only mention of the match came on SmackDown’s go home show. A show, by the way, that featured neither Rawley nor Ryder. Ryder wins the match but suffers another beatdown at the hands of Rawley and the feud continues.
The Bludgeon Brothers vs. Breezango – Since re-introducing the WWE Universe to Erick Rowan and Luke Harper, WWE has done a good job of building the duo into a monster tag team (though, somewhere along the way, both men lost their last names). Breezango, a team that seemed relevant in the ring just a month or two ago, has had their Fashion Files bit moved to WWE.com, and continued the pair’s “friendship” with The Ascension. That can’t mean anything good for Fandango and Breeze. Harper and Rowan destroy Breezango in under four minutes, and declare themselves the No. 1 contenders for the SmackDown tag team titles.
The Usos vs. The New Day vs. Aiden English and Rusev vs. Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin (SmackDown Tag Team Championship) – Someone in WWE finally came to the realization that the Usos and New Day can’t feud over the tag belts forever. Unfortunately, they decided that the best remedy to the situation was to have as many teams in the ring as possible. This has potential to be a show-stealer. It also has a good chance of being an utter disaster, even though all four teams are great in-ring performers. The Usos retain, but English and Rusev steal the show.
Baron Corbin vs. Bobby Roode vs. Dolph Ziggler (United States Championship) – Only one thing is for sure. Ziggler was added to this match to eat the pin. When Dolph does retire, he’ll be at the top of a lot of “WWE’s Worst Booking Decisions” lists and people will wonder why he was never a top star. WWE Creative has somehow managed to make Roode a little boring (we won’t even talk about their treatment of Nakamura here). Corbin has made himself boring. He’s got a great look, but the personality of a bowl of oatmeal. Corbin retains under questionable circumstances. The feud with Roode continues. Dolph Ziggler is relegated to Dana Brooke’s basement, where he shares a room with Heath Slater and Rhino.
Charlotte Flair vs. Natalya (Lumberjack Match for the SmackDown Women’s Championship) – Flair and Nattie will put on a great match, as they have all 4,376 times they’ve faced each other. The most interesting action will take place outside the ring. The Riott Squad will try to cause trouble, and be confronted by Raw’s Absolution. Flair wins amidst the confusion. Carmella tries to cash in her MiTB contract, only to open the briefcase and find James Ellsworth’s dirty underwear. On Raw Monday, Paige announces that Absolution is suing Riott Squad for gimmick infringement. On Tuesday, Riott Squad will sue absolution for the same thing.
AJ Styles vs. Jinder Mahal (WWE Championship) – Typically, this would be the last show on the card, but it won’t be this week because Shane McMahon isn’t in the match. Only matches featuring Shane can headline PPVs. In any case, WWE has apparently realized that the Jinder Mahal Experiment was a mistake. (He didn’t even wrestle for the title on the WWE tour of India.) That makes this one easy. Styles retains, overcoming interference from the Singh Brothers. Shane McMahon runs down to the ring to make the three count.
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn vs. Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura (Owens and Zayn are fired if they lose) – With four world-class performers in the ring, this has a chance to be the match of the night. Of course, it won’t be because the focus will be on McMahon and Daniel Bryan – the guest referees for the bout. Since Owens and Zayn aren’t actually going to be fired, they win with help from Daniel Bryan. Shane, depressed that he doesn’t get to fire anyone, climbs to the top of the Tron and jumps off, putting Orton through a table. Nakamura gives everyone except Shane a Kinshasa, and we fade to black.
Next week, we’ll look back at Clash of Champions, and WWE Week on USA. We’ll also start thinking about our year-end awards. Till then may your eggnog be more nog than egg….