Powell’s WWE Clash of Champions 2017 live review: AJ Styles vs. Jinder Mahal for the WWE Championship, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn put their WWE careers on the line vs. Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura with Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan as referees

By Jason Powell

WWE Clash of Champions 2017
Aired December 17, 2017 live on WWE Network and pay-per-view
Boston, Massachusetts at TD Garden

The WWE TLC event opened with a video package that focussed heavily on Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn’s feud with Shane McMahon, and Daniel Bryan’s role in the saga, and then the video shifted to other matches… The broadcast team was Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton…

1. Baron Corbin vs. Bobby Roode vs. Dolph Ziggler in a Triple Threat for the U.S. Championship. Ziggler brought back the entrance without music or lighting. Roode and Ziggler teamed up on Corbin for the opening minute, then went at it in the ring with Roode performing a side Russian leg sweep for a two count at 1:30. Ziggler hit a Fameasser on Roode at 6:40 and went for the cover, but Corbin broke it up. Corbin ripped off his t-shirt. Roode had a brief flurry that Corbin cut off with a spinning side slam for a good near fall. There was a loud “Bobby Roode” chant.

After dumping Corbin to ringside, Ziggler tuned up the band. Roode avoided a superkick and then performed a spinebuster. Roode went for his finisher, but Ziggler avoided it and countered into a DDT for a two count.

At 12:00, Roode hit the Glorious DDT on Ziggler and had him pinned. Corbin tried to toss Roode to ringside, but Roode countered and threw him to the floor. Corbin reached in pulled Roode to ringside to break up the pin. Corbin brought Roode back to the ring and set up for End of Days, but Ziggler caught Corbin from behind with a Zigzag and scored the pin…

Dolph Ziggler beat Bobby Roode and Baron Corbin in 12:45 to win the U.S. Championship.

Powell’s POV: A good match with a well executed finish. Ziggler winning the match was a surprise, but my guess is that he’s a transitional champion. If Jinder Mahal loses tonight, it wouldn’t shock me to see him get the U.S. Title soon.

After some advertising, Daniel Bryan was holding up a referee’s shirt. He told a crew member that it was too big and asked him to find another one. After the production member left, Shane McMahon showed up and yelled not to look too hard. Shane showed a little frustration over Bryan naming himself the special referee. Shane asked if Bryan would be the ringside referee. Bryan said they would both be inside the ring. Bryan asked if they could talk about that in private…

Powell’s POV: Yes, Shane had a referee jersey made for the occasion.

Backstage, Baron Corbin was asked about developing a reputation for squandering opportunities. He said Ziggler never should have been in the match to begin with. He threw something and said Ziggler would pay for it when he takes back his championship…

2. Jimmy and Jey Usos vs. Rusev and Aiden English vs. Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable vs. “New Day” Big E and Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods) in a four-way for the Smackdown Tag Titles. English introduced Rusev prior to the match. There was a loud “Rusev Day” chant from the crowd. English sang his “12 Days of Rusev” song. New Day threw out pancakes on their way to the ring. The Usos sang about “lockdown” being every day.

The Usos and New Day worked together with Big E and one of the Usos working over Gable and English. There was a double pin and the referee counted, but the broadcast team indicated they had no idea what would have happened if there had been two three counts. That was it for the Usos and New Day working together. Gable applied a Boston Crab on Jey. Rusev eventually broke it up. The fans came to life when English got a two count on Gable.

Rusev applied the Accolade on Gable. Fans cheered and weren’t pleased when Big E broke it. Rusev rolled up E for a two count. Rusev connected with a Machka Kick for another two count. Rusev applied the Accolade on Big E, who started to power out before falling back into position. Gable broke it up with a German suplex. Gable performed a great roll into a German suplex on English, then performed the same move on E. The Usos cut off Gable with a pair of superkicks and a top rope splash for the win…

The Usos defeated Rusev and Aiden English, Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable, and New Day in 12:00 to retain the Smackdown Tag Titles.

Powell’s POV: A run match with plenty of near falls for Rusev and English, who had the fans with them from start to finish. It felt like everyone got a chance to shine during the match as even Gable, who took the pin, looked strong before doing so.

After some advertising, the broadcast team set up a video package on the Smackdown Women’s Championship match…

3. Charlotte vs. Natalya in a lumberjack match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Lumberjacks Naomi, Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, Sarah Logan, Carmella, Lana, and Tamina had televised entrances. Greg Hamilton delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Natalya was sent to ringside and was worked over with kicks by Naomi. Charlotte was sent out a short time later and was worked over by Carmella, Lana, and Tamina. Natalya was tossed to ringside later and the Riott Squad worked her over as well.

Carmella threw Natalya back inside the ring at 5:15. Charlotte worked over Natalya while Graves and Saxton bickered on commentary. Charlotte went for a figure four. Natalya kicked Charlotte off, and Charlotte intentionally dove through the ropes and onto Ruby Riott on the floor. The lumberjacks brawled. Naomi ended up performing a springboard dive onto all of the lumberjacks.

Tamina took a cheap shot at Charlotte from the floor. Natalya capitalized by putting the Sharpshooter on Charlotte, who eventually reached the ropes. Lana and Tamina pulled her to the floor. A big brawl broke out between the lumberjacks. At one point, Carmella ended up in the ring and teased cashing in while Charlotte was down, but Riott hit Carmella. The lumberjacks brawled at ringside again. Charlotte performed the obligatory moonsault onto the lumberjacks. A short time later, Charlotte caught Natalya with a kick and ended up applying the Figure 8 for the win…

Charlotte defeated Natalya in lumberjack match in 10:35 to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship.

After the match, Natalya was interviewed in the ring and was asked what went wrong. Natalya said she did nothing wrong and accused Charlotte of using her family’s name to cut corners. Natalya said she has given the WWE Universe some of the best matches the women in the company have ever seen. She said she carried the division for ten years and the fans treated her with nothing but disrespect. She got upset about the fans and the women turning their backs on her. “Well now I’m turning my back on all of you,” Natalya said. Natalya acted like she was crying as she left the ring while the fans sang the goodbye song…

Powell’s POV: A solid match with good use of the lumberjacks. It was nice to see Carmella at least tease cashing in the MITB contract even though it didn’t lead to anything. The post match promo from Natalya was successful in terms of working up the crowd, but I’m not sure where they are going with it.

A WWE Network ad aired… Backstage, Dasha Fuentes interviewed the Singh Brothers, who said Jinder Mahal could not be disturbed. They boasted about humiliating Styles on Smackdown. They said they were confident that Mahal would become a two-time champion. They said he was so confident that Mahal may not even need their help. When Fuentes asked if that meant they wouldn’t be at ringside, they told her to watch for herself… An ad aired for Talking Smack, which airs after the pay-per-view…

4. “The Bludgeon Brothers” Luke Harper and Erick Rowan vs. “Breezango” Fandango and Tyler Breeze. Breezango entered first and they had the international broadcast teams check in before the Bludgeon Brothers made their entrance. Breeze worked in a t-shirt. The match quickly went to ringside where Harper and Rowan dominated. They tossed Fandango back inside the ring and took out Breeze at ringside. The duo teamed up for a double powerbomb on Fandango and then performed their double crucifix bomb finisher for the win…

The Bludgeon Brothers defeated Breezango in 1:55.

After the match, Harper and Rowan had mics and spoke about how the future holds more bludgeoning, pain, agony, etc…

Powell’s POV: The match went just as expected and that’s not a bad thing. The highlight was Rowan picking up Breeze as if he was going for an atomic drop on the floor and instead driving him face first into the edge of the ring. For what it’s worth, the live crowd was very quiet during the match.

Backstage, Fuentes interviewed Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, who praised Daniel Bryan for being a fair man. Owens blamed Shane’s work as referee for costing him a U.S. Title match over the summer. He said Bryan is simply trying to make sure it’s a fair fight. They were asked about the possibility of losing the match and being fired. They glared at the interviewer and left without saying another word…

A Royal Rumble ad aired for the January 28 event. It will once again be a four-hour show (presumably with a two-hour pre-show)…The broadcast team set up a video package on the tag team match and the drama with Bryan and Shane…

5. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Randy Orton with Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan as special referees (Owens and Zayn are fired from all of WWE if they lose). Shane was out first followed by Bryan, who slapped hands with fans at ringside before entering the ring. Orton went for an early pin on Zayn. Shane was the first to start counting and Bryan was about a count behind. Around 5:00, they indicated that they would each take one half of the ring. Only Shane counted when Owens covered Orton for two on Shane’s side fo the ring.

Zayn chopped Orton and asked him if he wanted to take his job. Orton responded with an uppercut to the chops. The heels isolated Orton while Owens grumbled to Bryan about Shane’s slow count. Shane started having issues with his earpiece and ended up tossing it to ringside. Orton tagged in Nakamura at 10:10, and Nakamura worked over Owens with kicks. Shane counted a two count for Nakamura and showed disappointment when Owens kicked out around 12:00.

Nakamura put Owens in a triangle. Nakamura ended up on his back and Bryan made the two count even though it was on Shane’s side of the ring. Zayn tagged in and went for his Helluva Kick, but Nakamura caught him with a kick. Zayn came right back with a Blue Thunder Bomb for another two count. At 15:45, Orton crotched Zayn on the ropes. Bryan told Orton “that’s not legal.” Orton performed a superplex. Owens pulled Orton to ringside and ran him into the ring steps. Nakamura went after Owens and ran him into the barricade. Zayn struck Nakamura.

At 17:15, Owens and Zayn stripped two broadcast tables. Zayn held Nakamura on one table and Owens ran from the other and frogsplashed Nakamura through the table. Back inside the ring, Orton hit a powerslam and a hanging DDT on Zayn. Orton played to the receptive crowd and struck the Viper’s Pose. Orton hit the RKO on Zayn. Shane went to make the count, and Orton shoved Bryan into Shane, who then threw a fit about Bryan breaking up his count.

Orton approached Bryan. Owens snuck up on Orton, who put him down with an RKO. Zayn caught Orton in an inside cradle. They reversed position with Bryan counting for Zayn, and Shane counting for Orton. At 21:00, Shane stopped a count for Zayn at two even though he could have made the third count. Bryan and Shane went nose to nose. Bryan shoved Shane. Orton went for an RKO on Zayn, who avoided it, then rolled up Orton. Bryan made a fast count to give the heel duos the win…

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn defeated Shinsuke Nakamura and Randy Orton in 21:40.

Powell’s POV: The guest referees were a big distraction early, but they settled in and did a good job with the awkward assignment they were handed. It was a creative finish in that Shane clearly tried to screw Zayn and Owens by not counting a pin that would have ended the match, so Bryan didn’t look like a heel when he made the fast count to give the heels a win since it was basically making up for Shane’s screwjob. I wouldn’t want to see the two referee thing again anytime soon, but if you take them away from this match and it’s just a glorified Smackdown main event.

The broadcast team spoke about the WWE Mixed Match Challenge. They were sitting behind a broken table. Saxton said Shane and Bryan were both at fault, while Graves said Bryan was just making it right and saving the careers of Owens and Zayn. They shifted the focus to the main event and then a video package aired on the WWE Championship match…

Jinder Mahal and the Singh Brothers were out first. The broadcast team hyped Charlotte, the Usos, and thew inner of the WWE Championship match for the Talking Smack show that follows the pay-per-view on WWE Network. AJ Styles made his entrance…

Powell’s POV: It appears that someone has put the kibosh on Greg Hamilton doing the pause after he says “one fall” to let the crowd repeat it.

6. AJ Styles vs. Jinder Mahal (w/The Singh Brothers) for the WWE Championship. Greg Hamilton delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. There was a loud “AJ Styles” chant with some men countering with “Let’s go Jinder.” Yes, really. At 4:50, Styles was run into an exposed portion of the barricade and into the timekeepers area. Mahal threw him back inside the ring and continued to work him over before kicking him back to ringside at 6:00.

Mahal dominated the next four minutes. At 10:00, he went to the middle rope and struck Styles on the way down. Graves praised Mahal’s domination and pointed out that the Singh Brothers had not been involved in any fashion. Styles caught Mahal coming off the ropes with a dropkick at 10:45.

Styles hit Mahal from the apron with a punch and followed up with a springboard attempt, but Mahal hit the top rope under him and Styles crashed and burned. Mahal performed a gutbuster, which played into the story of his targeting the ribs, then covered Styles for a two count at 12:00. Mahal set up for a superplex, but Styles slid underneath him and ended up performing the electric chair at 13:20.

Styles came back with a neckbreaker for a two count. Styles set up for his finisher, but Styles drove him into the corner and drove a shoulder into the ribs. Mahal threw Styles into the air and Styles sold rib pain after he landed. Styles came right back with a suplex into a pin for a two count at 16:20. Styles went for a running forearm, but Jinder kicked him on the way down. Mahal picked up another two count and Graves continued with his theme that fans had to be impressed by the performance of Mahal and his improvement should be celebrated.

Styles connected with a Pele Kick at 18:00. Styles set up for the Styles Clash, but Mahal drove him into the corner again. Mahal performed a nice running kick for a near fall at 18:35. Mahal set up for his finisher from the second rope, but Styles escaped and gave him another Pele Kick. Styles pulled Mahal from the ropes to the mat. Styles sold rib pain before performing a springboard 450 splash. The Singh Brothers pulled at the legs of Mahal to prevent Styles from pinning him. Styles leapt over the top rope to take out one of the Singhs, then performed a Styles Clash on the other at 20:40.

Styles clotheslined Mahal with the top rope. Mahal ducked a springboard move and came back with a running knee to the back. Mahal performed his Khallas finisher and Styles kicked out at the last moment. Mahal picked up Styles and set up for a Styles Clash, but Styles avoided it and rolled Mahal into the Calf Crusher. Mahal eventually tapped out…

AJ Styles defeated Jinder Mahal by submission in 23:00 to retain the WWE Championship.

Powell’s POV: A good main event. Mahal gained something in defeat because of how much of the match he was given and thanks to Graves gushing over him. I still won’t be surprised if the plan is to have Mahal bounce right back from this loss by defeating Ziggler for the U.S. Championship. Overall, this show received poor storyline support in most cases, yet the wrestlers delivered in the ring and made this a quality show. Be sure to vote in our best match and letter grade polls on the main page. Jake Barnett and I will recorder a members’ audio review shortly, and Jonny Fairplay will join me for Prowrestling.net Live on Monday at 3CT/ET at PWAudio.net.

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Readers Comments (1)

  1. They have got to fire Saxton. He’s just horrible and distracts Graves from doing his typically good job.

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