Clash of Champions was a decent pay-per-view which was easy to watch and enjoy on a Sunday evening. It was more of a transitional pay-per-view which was used to set up other big pay-per-views in the future. There were not many great matches or outcomes but were good enough to make the fans tune-in to Raw on Monday to see what happens next, especially because of the ending.
It is fair to say that WWE needs to step up their game if they want to compete with AEW. Forget rival promotions, even their own “developmental” brand is producing better shows than them at this point. Here is my assessment of the show and what I think was the best and worst things coming out of Clash of Champions 2019.
Best: Luke Haper Returns
After separating from Daniel Bryan, Rowan‘s whole wrestling career was hanging on his Clash of Champions match. He is not someone WWE would put in the main event’s scene, so at best he would have been given the role of a jobber to the upcoming stars if he would have lost to Roman Reigns. Roman is the top guy of the company, so Rowan was definitely not getting over him clean in any universe.
But, it all worked out fine at the end as we got to see one of the best returns in recent history in Luke Harper. There were several rumors surrounding his future in the company, but it seems that all has been sorted and he is back in Vince’s good books. More importantly, The Bludgeon Brothers are back, something that was urgently needed considering the current state of the tag team division. It also seems like they have ditched their awful old gimmick, so that’s the icing on the cake.
Worst: AJ Styles on the kick-off show
I get the argument that the kick-off show is supposed to entice more audience to the main show. But, here we are talking about AJ Styles… THE AJ STYLES. He is inarguably the best wrestler in the roster right now and is probably the company’s biggest superstar after Brock Lesnar. He deserves to headline such pay-per-views, not be in its pre-shows. There were a couple of half-baked tag team matches on the show, which could have easily been put on that spot and nobody would have batted an eyelid. Styles and Cedric Alexander just got five minutes to put on a show in a half-filled arena, which didn’t do anything for either of the wrestlers.
AJ Styles and The United States Championship deserves better.
Best: Raw Women’s Championship match
Becky Lynch had started to lose her steam after WrestleMania this year due to the lack of credible opponents. Her summer feud with Lacey Evans derailed her and she was finding it hard to get the same reaction from the crowd that she got at the same time last year. But, she regained her momentum at Clash of Champions thanks to the chemistry that she shares with Sasha Banks. That match for the Raw women’s championship reminded fans about why Becky became so popular in the first place. She seemed like her old self again with the apathetic attitude and it worked in her favor.
Sasha works much better as a heel. The two wrestled all over the arena and even though we didn’t get a definite result, hopefully, it’s just the beginning of a great rivalry.
Worst: WWE Championship match
WWE Championship match had the best build-up going into the pay-per-view. Kofi Kingston and Randy Orton re-called their stuff from their past to start this great rivalry which was ten years in the making. They somehow managed to keep the fans interested for around two months by bringing new elements into the storyline and were often the talking points of SmackDown. But they failed to create the same magic in the ring.
Both Kofi and Randy wrestled at a very slow and methodical pace which killed the whole crowd and at the end, people were cheering, not because of the result, but because the match finally ended. It wasn’t a bad match by any extent, but fans expected much more from this experienced duo and they simply failed to live up to the expectations.
Credit where it’s due, the ending was great with Randy teasing the punt kick and Kofi hitting him with the Trouble in paradise to get the pin, but it couldn’t save the whole match.
Best: The Fiend
As good as the main event match between Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman was, The Fiend’s appearance at the end stole the spotlight. He is the hottest thing going on in the wrestling world right now and WWE is handling it really well by making the fans crave for him. It’s been almost 6 months since Bray Wyatt introduced this new character to us and since then he has just wrestled once and had made only a handful of appearances, yet he is the most talked-about character at the moment.
Everything he did at Clash of Champions was perfectly executed and Seth made it even better with his selling. Now it is clear that The Fiend is going to challenge for the Universal Championship at Hell in the Cell and despite some fans having the reservation against it, I am just excited for the build-up and the actual match.
Worst: Too many shenanigans
Shenanigans and heels cheating to win have been a trademark of WWE programming over the years, but some of the Clash of Champions‘ booking was too much even for them. There were several matches in which wrestlers were using unfair means to get over their opponents. Sami Zayn distracted the referee, Becky Lynch attacked the referee, Bayley used exposed turnbuckle, and Eric Rowan had a returning Luke Harper. Heels use these swindling tricks to get genuine heat from the crowd, but it was just too much for one show.
This kind of twists and illogical booking decisions takes away from the performers as people would remember the show for such shenanigans rather than the match they had. For example, despite waiting for so long to get a title match, Sasha tried to hit Becky with a chair to almost disqualify herself. Why?
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