By Jason Powell
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WWE Clash of Champions 2016
Aired live on WWE Network and pay-per-view
Indianapolis, Indiana at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
A video package aired and focussed on the title matches and includes shots of the title belts… Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton were on commentary…
New Day made their entrance. Cole noted that they have been champions for 399 days. New Day delivered some mic work in the ring. They noted the length of their title reign and said fans don’t want to see Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson win the tag titles. Some loud male fans were all for it, while the majority seemed like they wanted New Day to retain.
New Day said Gallows and Anderson are the type of guys who wear tube socks with sandals (so wrong) and who fart in crowded elevators (still not as wrong as socks with sandals). Anderson and Gallows made their entrance and fortunately did not have mics in their hands. Meanwhile, the Spanish and German broadcast teams checked in from ringside…
1. Kofi Kingston and Big E (w/Xavier Woods) vs. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows for the WWE Tag Team Championship. Cole said Anderson and Gallows were trying to become only the third team to hold the WWE and IWGP Tag Titles (Steiners and Dudleys were listed as the others). Gallows took out Woods at ringside, and Anderson and Gallows got off to a strong start. Cole noted that they have been more aggressive lately.
Big E took a big boot from Gallows and was pinned, but Kingston broke it up around 4:35. Kingston checked in and leapt off the top rope, but Anderson caught him and performed a spinebuster. Gallows checked in and chokeslammed Kingston at 5:15, then caught E with another kick. The challengers set up for the Magic Killer, but Kingston fought his way out of it.
E tagged in. Kingston caught Anderson with Trouble in Paradise, then Big E hit the Big Ending on Anderson and had him pinned, but Gallows broke it up. Kingston dove over the top rope onto Gallows on the floor. Woods hit Anderson with his trombone. New Day hit their finisher on Anderson and Kingston pinned him…
New Day defeated Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows in 6:45 to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship.
Powell’s POV: It was great to see badass Anderson and Gallows even though they ultimately lost the match. The funny part about the finish is that Gallows had a chance to destroy the trombone prior to the match and got heat just for teasing it, but he didn’t follow through. One can only assume we’ll get a 400-day celebration from New Day on Raw, and we haven’t seen the last of this program given the finish. Just imagine if Anderson and Gallows had been cast as badasses from the start.
A WWE Network commercial aired… The broadcast team spoke about the cruiserweight division and set up a video package to set up the title match…
Backstage, Tom Phillips interviewed TJ Perkins, who had his hair spiked. Phillips said some people view Brian Kendrick as the favorite even though Perkins won the tournament and the title. Perkins said he’s been working since 1998 to get to this point, yet he admitted he’s a little nervous. He said confidence got him the title and will help him walk out the champion. They showed him walking up the steps toward the Gorilla position…
2. TJ Perkins vs. Brian Kendrick for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. Cole ran through the history of both wrestlers during the ring entrances. He said Perkins skipped school to go to pro wrestling training and Kendrick actually picked him up to take him to those classes. Kendrick declined to shake hands with Perkins. They had the purple ropes for the cruiserweight match.
Perkins went for a springboard move onto Kendrick at ringside, but Kendrick pulled out the skirting around the ring and caught him in it. Cole noted that it was similar to what Finlay did during his in-ring career. Back inside the ring, Kendrick worked a straight jacket submission hold.
At 6:05, Perkins caught Kendrick with a headscissors and then a kick. There was a botched spot with Perkins going for a neckbreaker in the corner that Kendrick didn’t seem to be ready for, so it came off awkward, though the broadcast team covered by saying Perkins grabbed the hair of Kendrick to pull him down.
At 7:50, Perkins leapt off the top rope and then performed a huracanrana that resulted in both men tumbling to the floor. At 9:00, Kendrick avoided a 450 splash and then attempted to apply his finisher. Perkins avoided it and applied the knee bar on Kendrick, who rolled free and then hit Sliced Bread No. 2 a good near fall. Perkins came back and reapplied the kneebar for the win…
TJ Perkins defeated Brian Kendrick in 10:30 to retain the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.
After the match, Perkins was about to be interviewed when Kendrick approached him and offered a handshake. Perkins accepted and they hugged, but Kendrick headbutted him and left the ring to boos…
Powell’s POV: A solid match that had the fans gasping over some of the bigger spots. I was into the near falls because it felt a bit like Perkins was champion by default due to the company’s inability to sign Kota Ibushi, so it was somewhat questionable as to whether they would want to move forward with him as champion. The post match angle was nice. The last thing I want is for every cruiserweight match to feature two guys with sad stories hugging it out afterward.
A WWE 2K17 video game commercial aired. Hey, that was Alberto Del Rio. Anyway, the video game company continues to do pretty cool things with these ads…
Backstage, Tom Phillips interviewed Cesaro, who was wearing a white tuxedo that probably tears away. Cesaro said he will reward the Cesaro Section with the biggest comeback in WWE history…
3. Cesaro vs. Sheamus in the final match of the best of seven series. The broadcast teams from other countries who don’t get a spot at ringside checked in. The Japanese play-by-play voice stole the segment. At roughly 6:00, Cesaro performed a 619, which seemed to excite Michael Cole more than anyone in attendance.
Sheamus performed multiple backbreakers and only got a two count at 7:45. Sheamus applied the Cloverleaf and continued to target the taped lower back of Cesaro. At 9:15, Cesaro ducked a Brogue Kick. Cesaro performed the Swing and then applied the Sharpshooter, which Sheamus broke by reaching the bottom rope.
At 10;30, Cesaro caught Sheamus with a boot that knocked him off the apron. Cesaro performed a suicide dive. He hit Sheamus with his head and then slid down and landed on his face and shoulder on the floor. Sheamus reached out and grabbed Cesaro’s head in concern immediately.
Cesaro got up and the match continued. Once back in the ring, Sheamus connected with a Brogue Kick for a two count. Cesaro hit the Neutralizer for a near fall at 12:30. Cesaro did his neck cracking bit. It sounded like Sheamus called him him a piece of shit and told him to come on.
At 14:45, Sheamus leapt off the top rope and Cesaro caught him with an uppercut that was missed by the production crew (they replayed it). Cesaro clotheslined Sheamus over the barricade and tumbled over with him. Cesaro grabbed at his neck and shoulder, then shook his arm. Medical personnel stepped in and checked on both wrestlers. The referee called for the bell.
The camera got a closeup of Cesaro barking that he could still fight. A security guard helped Sheamus to his feet briefly, and Sheamus played it up big by stumbling all over the place. Fans chanted for Mick Foley and “let them fight.”
Cesaro fought Sheamus to a no-contest in 16:40.
Powell’s POV: A very good match with great drama for the late near falls. I have no idea how Cesaro got up from the suicide dive botch. That’s about as scary as it gets. Cesaro looked like he was dazed initially, but he quickly shook it off and worked his typical match. My guess is that the finish was planned in that they played up just as much concern over Sheamus even though I didn’t catch anything out of the ordinary occur with him during the match. Here’s hoping Cesaro avoided any major damage and that he’s going to be examined for a concussion given the way he landed. As for the finish, I assume they will pay this off on Raw, but there’s still no indication of which title the winner will challenge for. Perhaps they didn’t want to have a winner here because they were concerned it would give away the finish of one of the title matches later in the show.
A WWE Network commercial aired…
Backstage, Charlotte entered the locker room of Bayley, who blew off her mocking and said she earned her title shot. Bayley said she beat Charlotte before and she can do it again. Charlotte said Bayley can’t even beat Sasha Banks…
4. Sami Zayn vs. Chris Jericho. Jericho threw his scarf at Zayn to start the match. Zayn got hot and worked over Jericho with early punches. The referee pulled Zayn away in the corner, allowing Jericho to sneak in a cheap shot to gain offensive control. The crowd had been very pro-Zayn, but they still appreciated Jericho based on the loud Y2J chant.
At 2:40, Zayn performed a moonsault off the barricade and came up a little short. Jericho sold knee pain. Back inside the ring, Jericho caught Zayn with a springboard dropkick. Jericho controlled the bulk of the offense until Zayn caught him with a clothesline at 7:15. Zayn followed up a short time later with a flip (Tope Con Hilo) over the top rope onto Jericho on the floor.
Back inside the ring, Zayn performed a Michinoku Driver for two. Zayn went up top. Jericho cut him off. Jericho went for a superplex, but Zayn dropped him face first to the mat. Jericho came right back with a Walls of Jericho attempt, but Zayn avoided it. Jericho caught Zayn with an enziguri. Jericho went for a Lionsault, but Zayn lifted his knees.
Zayn set up for a Helluva Kick at 12:00, but Jericho rolled to ringside. Zayn followed and performed his dive through the ropes and into the tornado DDT, which looked clunky on the DDT portion. Back in the ring, Jericho avoided a Helluva Kick, but suplexed Jericho into the corner and then went for his finisher again. Jericho avoided it and applied the Walls of Jericho. Zayn eventually rolled under Jericho and then caught him in a small package for two.
At 14:35, Jericho went up top leapt into a Blue Thunder Bomb from Zayn for a good near fall. Zayn tried to pick up Jericho, who hit him with the Codebreaker for the win…
Chris Jericho pinned Sami Zayn in 15:20.
Powell’s POV: The timing of Zayn and Jericho seemed a bit off at points, but it was still an entertaining match with good drama thanks in part to the lack of predictability regarding the outcome. I had no idea who would win this match. I like that it was Jericho, as it keeps the feud going. Zayn has been wasted since his program with Owens, and now he and Jericho have a feud they can sink their teeth into.
The KFC commercial with The Miz and Dolph Ziggler aired… A Hispanic Heritage month spot aired…
Backstage, Kevin Owens was approached by Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley, who congratulated him on his first pay-per-view main event. Owens asked if Foley was proud of him for overcoming all the obstacles he put n his way. Owens said he was going to show them both why Triple H picked him over Seth Rollins, just as they should have done at the WWE Draft. Owens said he will show why he’s in the main event and why he is the main event. Owens said he will show that Seth Rollins is no longer the man, he’s just The Mistake…
The broadcast team spoke from their perch. Graves and Saxton spoke about how fired up Rollins was when they saw him earlier. Cole set up a video package for the women’s championship match…
5. Charlotte (w/Dana Brooke) vs. Sasha Banks vs. Bayley for the Raw Women’s Championship. JoJo delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Sasha had a wrap to sell her back injury. Cole said Charlotte is 11-0 in pay-per-view title matches. Sasha went after Charlotte. They fought to ringside and Bayley kicked them both.
Back inside the ring, Sasha shoved Bayley to the mat so she could fire away at Charlotte. Bayley stopped her and they bickered. Sasha shoved Bayley, who rolled her up for a one count. Bayley ran into Sasha’s boot, then Charlotte pulled Sasha to the floor and smiled as she entered the ring to face Bayley. Sasha returned and they threw a triple dropkick at the air at 1:45.
At 4:00, Sasha was distracted by Brooke going after Bayley, which led to Charlotte kicking Sasha from behind, sending her face first into a turnbuckle. Charlotte worked over Sasha with Bayley down at ringside. At 6:00, Charlotte wrapped Sasha around the ring post. Cole said she could apply the hold as long as she wanted due to the No DQ rules of a Triple Threat. Bayley stood up, Charlotte released the hold, and took a shot that knocked Bayley down again.
Sasha came back around 7:00. She set up for a Backstabber, but Charlotte caught her with an elbow. Bayley returned to the ring by diving off the ropes onto both women. At 8:20, Sasha stacked Bayley and Charlotte and performed her knee driver. Charlotte avoided the move and then broke up Sasha’s attempt to pin Bayley.
At 9:50, Bayley hit the Bayley to Belly on Charlotte and covered her, but Sasha rolled Bayley into a pin for a two count. All three women knelt in the ring and Charlotte dished out chops that were greeted with woooo’s from the live crowd. Bayley and Sasha both worked over Charlotte with punches.
At 10:55, Sasha threw a series of slaps at Charlotte. Sasha set Charlotte on the top rope and set up for a superplex, but Charlotte dropped Sasha face-first to the mat. Bayley tried to do something to Charlotte, but there was a botch and Charlotte remained on the ropes and then went on the offensive.
Charlotte performed a moonsault onto both women. She covered Sasha for two, then did the same to Bayley. Moments later, Brooke interfered to break up a pin on Charlotte. Cole reminded viewers where were no disqualifications and seemed fine with Brooke interfering.
At 13:30, Sasha performed a Backstabber and rolled into the Bank Statement. Brooke tried to help, but Sasha kicked her away. Charlotte held up her hand to tap, but Bayley broke it up with a kick. Sasha performed the Backstabber into the Bank Statement on Bayley, and this time Charlotte broke it up.
At 15:00, Bayley caught Charlotte with an inside cradle for a two count. Bayley tried to roll up Charlotte, but Charlotte held onto the hair of Sasha, who was on the apron. Charlotte kicked Bayley into Sasha, knocking Sasha off the apron. Charlotte followed up with a second big boot to the head of Bayley and pinned her…
Charlotte defeated Bayley and Sasha Banks in 15:30 a Triple Threat to retain the Raw Women’s Championship.
Powell’s POV: My favorite match of the night thus far with the women getting plenty of time and making good use of it. I can’t say I ever truly felt like Charlotte was at risk of losing the championship, but that had more to do with where they are in this feud than the in-ring work. One small complaint is that Sasha’s Backstabbers looked more like rolls into the Bank Statement than painful for her opponents. As good as these three are together, I am looking forward to singles matches rather than Triple Threats.
The Kickoff Show panel of Renee Young, Booker T, Lita, and Jerry Lawler checked in and discussed the show. Lita said the women may be a candidate for show stealing match. The regular broadcast team recapped Nia Jax beating Alicia Fox in a Kickoff Show match… A video package aired on the Rusev vs. Roman Reigns feud…
6. Rusev (w/Lana) vs. Roman Reigns for the U.S. Championship. Lana introduced Rusev prior to the match. Reigns received more boos than cheers when he was introduced. Cole noted that The Shield debuted in the same venue back in 2012. There were dueling “Let’s Go Roman” and “Roman Sucks” chants that were pretty equal in volume as Reigns sold around 4:00.
Reigns fired back with a few clotheslines and received more boos than cheers. Rusev eventually regained control and showed frustration over his inability to pin Reigns. Roman came back with a Superman Punch for a two count at 12:30. Lana caused a distraction that put Rusev back in control briefly.
Reigns avoided the Accolade and speared Rusev. Reigns had Rusev pinned, but Lana pulled the referee out of the ring. The referee ejected Lana from ringside. She threw a fit and fans cheered. Reigns rolled up Rusev for two. Reigns toss Rusev to the floor at 15:00 and then kicked him through the ropes.
Reigns followed Rusev to the floor and caught him with a Drive By kick on the apron and then another as Rusev leaned against one of the broadcast tables. Reigns went for spear, but Rusev caught him with a kick for a good near fall. Rusev applied the Accolade. Cole questioned whether Reigns would tap or pass out.
Reigns powered his way up to his feet with Rusev on his back. Rusev raked the eyes of Reigns. However, Reigns came right back and speared Rusev before pinning him. The ref held out the title belt and Roman smiled as he took the title…
Roman Reigns pinned Rusev in 17:10 to win the U.S. Championship.
Powell’s POV: Good drama down the stretch after a slow start. The U.S. Title win would seem to keep Reigns occupied and out of the WWE Universal Championship picture, but you can’t put anything past Vince McMahon when it comes to his obsession with getting Reigns over as a babyface, meaning there’s always a chance he will end up making a play for both titles. After all, he just beat the Universal Champion in a cage match on Monday.
A video package aired for No Mercy and the AJ Styles vs. Dean Ambrose vs. John Cena main event… A WWE Network commercial aired for Ride Along…
A shot aired of Seth Rollins walking backstage. Stephanie and Foley approached him applauding. Stephanie was all smiles as she wished him luck. Rollins told them to save it and said everything that comes out of Steph’s mouth is a lie. She tried to dispute that, but Rollins told her to save it and said he had a match to focus on. He told them that they would realize that they bet on the wrong guy. Rollins told Steph to tell her husband that he bet on the wrong guy…
The broadcast team hyped the Raw brand Hell in a Cell pay-per-view for October 30… A video package focussed on the Owens vs. Rollins feud, and Triple H helping Owens win the WWE Universal Championship…
Powell’s POV: The video package was as much about Triple H and Stephanie as the two wrestlers. That pretty much sums up the feud thus far and has to leave viewers assuming that Hunter will be showing up.
Seth Rollins made his entrance first. Owens mad his entrance while Cole noted that Owens’ father took him to his first WWE pay-per-view on September 21, 1995. Cole also said Rollins, Finn Balor, and now Owens are former NXT Champions who have gone on to become World Champions…
7. Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE Universal Championship. JoJo delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Cole said this was the first singles match between Owens and Rollins in WWE. They headed to ringside quickly, and Rollins ran Owens into the barricade. Both men returned to the ring, where Rollins put the boots to Owens in the corner. The ref pulled Rollins off, and Owens fled to ringside. Rollins followed by hitting a flying knee off the apron.
Rollins hit Owens with chops in the corner. Owens fired back with one, but Rollins threw more chops. At 3:00, Owens clotheslined Rollins on the rope. Rollins quickly recovered and hit Owens with some kicks. Owens returned fire with a kick to the knee of Rollins and a DDT. Rollins rolled to ringside while selling his knee. Owens went right after him and worked him over on the floor before rolling him back inside the ring.
At 6:15, Owens sent Rollins to the floor and then mockingly asked if he’s okay. Owens followed up with a Cactus Jack elbow drop off the apron. Rollins got back to his feet and returned to the ring to break the ref’s count. Owens quickly slammed Rollins and performed a senton for a two count.
Owens applied a chinlock and then boasted that he’s the man. Rollins stood up and threw punches to break free, but Owens threw him into the corner aggressively. “It’s my time,” Owens boasted before whipping Rollins into the opposite corner. “The Architect?” Owens asked. “You don’t even have a foundation.” Rollins came back with a clothesline.
At 12:00, Rollins got a rise out of the quiet crowd by taking apart the Spanish broadcast table. Owens returned to the ring and Rollins followed. Rollins caught a kneeling Owens with a superkick and covered him for two.
At 14:30, Owens set up for a Package Piledriver, but Rollins eluded it. Rollins caught Owens with a high knee. Owens fired back with a superkick. Rollins caught Owens with kick. At 15:40, Rollins went for a flying knee, but Owens caught him and performed a fisherman’s style backbreaker onto his knee, which led to a two count.
Owens went up top, but Rollins was there to catch him with a kick. Rollins went for a superplex. Like several other superplex attempts on this show, it didn’t happen. Owens ended up performing a gutbuster from the top rope and then followed up with a frogsplash for a two count.
At 18:45, Owens placed Owens on the Spanish broadcast table, then tore the top off Cole and company’s table. Owens stood on Cole’s table and delivered some crotch chops. Owens went for a senton, but Rollins moved, and Owens crashed through the table. The fans came to life a bit with a “this is awesome” chant.
Back in the ring, Rollins caught Owens with a flying knee off the top rope. Rollins went up top and performed a frogsplash that got a two count. Chris Jericho came out and provided a distraction that led to Owens getting a two count. Rollins came back and had Owens pinned, but Jericho reached in and placed the foot of Owens on the bottom rope.
Rollins went to the floor and chased Jericho around and then back inside the ring. Owens went for a Popup Powerbomb, but Rollins went over him and into the referee. REF BUMP!!! Rollins hit the Pedigree on Owens and got the visual pinfall with the live crowd counting to 20.
Rollins shook the referee. Jericho hit Rollins from behind. Saxton spoke about how ridiculous the interference was. Jericho barked at Rollins that Owens was his best friend. Rollins cleared Jericho from the ring, then performed a suicide dive onto him.
At 24:20, Rollins returned to the ring and performed a suicide dive onto Owens on the other side of the ring. Rollins rolled Owens inside the ring and then tried to wake up the referee. Stephanie came out and sent another referee to the ring. Owens hit the Popup Powerbomb and pinned Rollins. Saxton vented that it was ridiculous and Owens stole the match…
Kevin Owens pinned Seth Rollins in 25:10 to retain the WWE Universal Championship.
Powell’s POV: The crowd was very quiet until Owens crashed through the broadcast table. That’s what happens when the babyface hasn’t truly connected with the fans yet. Keep in mind that Rollins is only a babyface because he didn’t get the interference help from Hunter that he was hoping to get. It’s not like the fans have been given a real reason to rally behind his character’s quest to regain the championship. Jericho interfering rather than Hunter was a letdown. It’s not that I was looking forward to Hunter interfering in a pay-per-view main event, but it would have felt bigger than this did. As lame as the finish was, perhaps Rollins being screwed out of the title will actually lead to more fans viewing him as a babyface.
Overall, Clash of Champions was filled with a number of good matches. None of the matches were great or truly memorable, but none really disappointed either. Raw showed off its depth by delivering a show filled with bigger names without any filler or “get everyone on the show” matches. I will have more to say about the show when Jake Barnett and I get together for our member exclusive audio review moments from now. Be sure to stop back on Monday for my WWE Clash of Champions Hit List, and Will Pruett’s Pause review of the show, and WWE Raw live coverage.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ring of Honor's PJ Black discussing the ROH Pure Title tournament beginning on ROH Wrestling TV this weekend, ROH's COVID-19 safety precautions, his run in WWE as Justin Gabriel with The Nexus, wrestling as The Bunny, and more...