WWE Clash of Champions saw almost every main-roster champion defend their gold (Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler, Women’s Tag Team Champions, were taken off the show for unknown reasons), so it’s remarkable that only one title changed hands: The opening bout saw Sami Zayn win back the Intercontinental Championship in an excellent ladder match.
Drew McIntyre retained his WWE Championship by beating Randy Orton in a confounding Ambulance Match, while Romain Reigns soundly defeated Jey Uso to keep his Universal Championship.
It was a decent show, with nothing abjectly bad to report. Outside of the opener though, it’s hard to say that anything was particularly good. At worst, it was a little boring (Asuka versus Zelina Vega, Apollo Crews versus Bobby Lashley), and there was a botched finish (Raw Tag Team Championships).
If you skipped the show and want to know what to catch up on, watch the opening and closing matches. Everything else is safely skippable.
Roman Reigns retains Universal Championship via forfeit
Roman Reigns, as if there was any doubt, is still your Universal Champion. He defeated Jey Uso after Jey’s brother, Jimmy, ran down to the ring and literally threw in the towel. Reigns had already speared Jey twice, and was throwing mounted strikes when Jimmy threw in the towel.
A bit of a letdown match. The way it was built — with Reigns smashing Jey around the arena, and the announcers talking at length at how Jey is over his head — seemed to indicate a big, fiery Jey comeback with a few close calls. But there really weren’t any, other than a superkick-splash combo that we all knew wouldn’t be a three count.
Jey didn’t really shine the way he should have, as this was all about solidifying Reigns as a badass heel. And that’s fine, but the way the bout built up, with a super slow start and heavy Reigns offense throughout, it felt like an anticlimax for Reigns to win so decisively and unceremoniously.
That said, it was mission accomplished as it relates to Reigns as a heel. He is awesome in this role.
Rating: 3 stars.
Drew McIntyre is still WWE Champion
After a fantastically stupid match, Drew McIntyre defeated Randy Orton to retain his WWE Championship.
The two competed in an Ambulance Match, so to win one had to stuff his opponent into a standby ambulance and close its doors. It ended with McIntyre hitting a Claymore Kick, a Orton Punt, tossing Orton inside and shutting the door on their rivalry (probably).
So that’s all fine. The dumb part? McIntyre was helped throughout the match by the legends Orton has injured over the past few months. Around a minute into the bout, The Big Show appeared and chokeslammed Orton through the announcer’s table. Later, when McIntyre and Orton were brawling backstage, Christian gave McIntyre a reprieve by surprise attacking Orton. Towards the end, as Orton was standing tall atop the ambulance, Shawn Michaels hit him with a surprise Sweet Chin Music.
Each time McIntyre, the hero, got a huge helping hand, Orton, the villain, valiantly fought back. The psychology was all wrong. Instead of McIntyre getting a hard-fought victory, he barely won after getting help from three legends.
Rating: 1 star. Just re-watch their awesome SummerSlam match.
Sasha Banks attacks Bayley
Bayley was meant to defend her SmackDown Women’s Championship against Nikki Cross, but Cross, possibly due to COVID-19, was unable to make the show. Instead Bayley had an open challenge — which was answered by Asuka.
It was a quick match that saw Asuka dominate a flustered Bayley. But after a few minutes, Bayley, scrambling on the outside, hit Asuka with a steel chair to retain her championship by disqualification.
After the match, Sasha Banks appeared out of nowhere and hit Bayley with a chair of her own. After Bayley briefly got the upper hand, Banks wailed on her with a Kendo Stick a bit before Bayley retreats.
Street Profits beat Andrade and Angel Garza
Botched finish to an otherwise strong tag team match. Angelo Dawkins pinned Andrade with a spinebuster even though Andrade very clearly kicked out at two. It appears to have come after Angel Garza legitimately injured himself, as Andrade and a bunch of refs were checking on him after the match.
What on paper was looking to be another Raw-quality tag team title match ended up being a lot of fun, thanks in large part to Andrade and Garza being so exciting to watch. They’re both just so crisp, and The Street Profits are solid babyfaces, with quality selling and comebacks.
Rating: 2.5 stars. Bad finish notwithstanding.
Bobby Lashley retains US Championship
After a back-and-forth match, Bobby Lashley tapped out Apollo Crews with a Full Nelson (or Hurt Lock, as it’s now being called).
Not much to say about this match. They had a similar bout at Payback, and though they worked hard it was a very straightforward bout. Back and forth moves, not much of a story (other than MVP talking smack to Crews throughout, which was moderately amusing) but at least a clean ending.
Rating: 2 stars. It was fine.
Asuka submits Zelina Vega
Asuka retained her Raw Women’s Championship after Zelina Vega tapped out to the Asuka Lock.
This was rough going. Zelina Vega’s strength isn’t in wrestling — at least, not yet — and so this match was essentially Asuka wrestling around Vega, working hard to make Vega’s offense look as formidable as possible. The story of the bout was that Asuka kept attempting the Asuka Lock, but Vega kept on finding ways to counter.
It got more fun as it went on, but Vega’s weaknesses were hard to ignore.
Rating: 2 stars. After the match, Asuka cuts a promo saying Vega was a tough opponent but not ready for Asuka. She tried to shake hands, but Vega threw a fit and kicked Asuka. Asuka then spoke angrily in Japanese, which is awesome all the time, ending the segment. Expect a rematch soon.
Sami Zayn wins awesome ladder match
Jeff Hardy, Sami Zayn and AJ Styles beat the crap out of each other. This triple threat ladder match ended with Sami Zayn unhooking the two Intercontinental championships — Jeff Hardy’s, and Sami Zayn’s old one he claimed he never lost — to become the undisputed IC champ.
This was a fantastic match. It started as a standard, very good ladder match. It escalated with thrilling spots, like Jeff Hardy being a maniac and hitting a Swanton Bomb off the tippy top of a ladder, crashing Zayn through another ladder. AJ Styles owned much of the match, dominating the first two thirds.
The final stretch was extra imaginative. Zayn brought out two pairs of handcuffs. He tied Hardy — through his earlobe — to a ladder, and handcuffed himself to Styles. As Styles struggled to climb a ladder while hoisting Zayn, Hardy, still attached to ladder, attacked Styles.
Zayn got a key from his mouth, uncuffed himself from Styles, climbed the ladder and won the match.
Rating: 4.25 stars. Great ladder match. This is one of those matches you wish had a crowd.
Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro retain tag team titles
Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro defeated Lucha House Party in the kickoff show to retain their SmackDown Tag Team Championships. Nakamura and Cesaro hit their awesome tag team finish — Cesaro’s Giant Swing into Nakamura’s Kinshahsa — for the pin.