Powell’s WWE Clash at the Castle Hit List: Damian Priest vs. Drew McIntyre for the World Heavyweight Championship, Cody Rhodes vs. AJ Styles in an I Quit match for the WWE Championship

By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE Clash at the Castle Hits

Cody Rhodes vs. AJ Styles in an I Quit match for the WWE Championship: This was a good WWE style I Quit match. Mama Rhodes being at ringside created the possibility that Styles would use her in some capacity to force Cody to quit. They didn’t really lean into that, but her involvement at least gave fans a reason to believe that such a scenario could play out. Michael Cole asked the question of what’s next for Styles now that he came up short. A lot of fans would love to see a Styles have a TNA homecoming. Only time will tell whether that happens, but it seems at least possible given the current working relationship between the two companies. The post match angle with The Bloodline attacking Cody was quick and rather ineffective, but the key was Randy Orton and Kevin Owens making the save, which led to Orton taking another look at Cody’s title belt. We’re always just one RKO out of nowhere away from Orton becoming Cody’s next challenger, which could be in play for SummerSlam. I suspect that’s the plan, but I also can’t rule out the possibility that they are misdirecting viewers toward Orton when it will actually be Owens who turns on Cody. With Sikoa also being an option, there are three intriguing possibilities for the next championship program.

Sami Zayn vs. Chad Gable for the Intercontinental Championship: An enjoyable match that featured good in-ring work along with the drama of what the Alpha Academy members would do. The drama overshadowed the early portion of the match in that it didn’t feel like a finish was going to happen until something played out with Otis and Maxxine Dupri. Even so, the ongoing saga of taskmaster Gable and his pledges is one of the best things going on WWE television these days. It was notable that Michael Cole made it seem like this was the end of the feud. It’s hard to imagine that’s actually the case, so it will be interesting to see how Gable goes about getting one more title match.

Bayley vs. Piper Niven for the WWE Women’s Championship: It was good to see Niven and Chelsea Green featured more prominently. Niven has been underutilized on the main roster, and I remain convinced that Green could be a real player in the women’s division if the creative team booked her to have in-ring credibility as opposed to making her character the butt of the joke nearly every time out. As good as Bayley is, I find myself caring more about the Women’s World Championship programs these days. Hopefully things will get more interesting now that the honeymoon phase of Bayley’s title reign feels like it’s over. Enough time has passed since Bayley won the title that it should no longer feel like a lock that she will retain, which will add more drama to her future title matches.

Jade Cargill and Bianca Belair vs. Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn vs. Shayna Baszler and Zoey Stark in a Triple Threat for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles: A soft Hit. There were some rough moments in the match, but it was still decent and the surprise outcome put the match over the top. Fyre and Dawn lost in clean and decisive fashion to Baszler and Stark on Raw, which in hindsight should have been a clue that Fyre and Dawn might win this match. Obviously, Cargill and Belair were protected by Fyre and Dawn stealing the pin from them. Fyre and Dawn have been wasted since they’ve been called up to the main roster and hopefully this will lead to long term success. Either way, it was a nice moment for the hometown duo to get the huge upset win, especially given the recent tragedy that took the life of Fyre’s mother.

WWE Clash at the Castle Misses

Damian Priest vs. Drew McIntyre for the World Heavyweight Championship: A soft Miss for a good match with a disappointing finish. Priest deserves a lot of credit for working through the injury he suffered when his foot was tied up between the top and middle rope, and. McIntyre was a total pro in terms of the way he responded to the situation. The bulk of the match was strong and the crowd was invested in the near falls. CM Punk costing McIntyre the title felt too predictable and deflated the live crowd. Predictability isn’t always a negative, but in this case it just felt so obvious that Punk would get involved that I hoped the creative forces had a curveball in mind. It was a logical development in the Punk and McIntyre feud, yet it also made the champion look weak. I’m curious to see what they do on Raw tonight because it didn’t feel like any of the three wrestlers involved in this match came out of it in a better place than they went in. By the way, nearly lost in all of this was the good bump taken by referee Eddie Orengo when he was knocked off the apron and into the barricade. I didn’t want to see a ref bump, but Orengo deserves credit for taking a good one.


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