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Clash of Champions 2016 Recap
This Raw exclusive pay-per-view event, Clash of Champions, is being broadcast from the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. They are coming off the heels of a pretty solid, if not memorable, SmackDown Live event, Backlash. There seems to be the recurring issue of Raw having intelligent booking, but horribly scripted storylines and promos, whereas SmackDown has had pretty good promos and storylines, but booking that is worthy of scratching one’s head (especially with the Women’s and Tag Team divisions). How would Raw fare on this outing?
THE CLUB vs. THE NEW DAY (Tag Team Championship): Luke Gallows immediately went outside the ring and took out Big E while Anderson blindsided Kingston with a quick running Liger bomb, but Kingston kicked out. Gallows also struck Woods with a big boot, keeping him out of the action. Gallows and Anderson kept the pressure on Kofi until he was able to make the hot tag to Big E. He delivered several Belly to Booty suplexes to Anderson, followed up by a big splash. Anderson was tossed to the apron. Big E went for the suicide dive that everyone in sports journalism has pleaded with him to stop doing. But Anderson caught him with the knee, preventing the dive. Gallows and Anderson hit several double teams and got quick tags to keep Big E on their side of the ring. Kingston finally got the hot tag back in, but was met with an Arn Anderson worthy spinebuster. Gallows followed this up with a choke slam. They went for the Magic Killer, but Kingston fought his way out of it. Kingston hit Trouble in Paradise and Big E followed it up with the Big Ending. Anderson was nearly pinned, but Gallows broke up the tag. While the referee was distracted, Woods blasted Anderson with Francesca II and his partners hit the super Big Ending, securing the win and bringing their tag title reign to a whopping 400 days. WINNERS: THE NEW DAY
THE BRIAN KENDRICK vs. T.J. PERKINS (Cruiserweight Championship): Kendrick aggressively forced Perkins down to the mat, attempting to keep his opponent grounded. But every time he forced Perkins down, the Cruiserweight Champ had a counter, which frustrated the veteran, Kendrick. Perkins went for a dive outside of the ring, but Kendrick pulled a page from Fit Finlay’s playbook and caught Perkins’ legs in the ring apron. Perkins attempted the knee bar, a modified Boston Crab and then a Muto Lock, but Kendrick made his way to the bottom rope to break the hold. Kendrick then applied a straight jacket submission to Perkins, who fought his way out of it. He then tossed Perkins over the top rope, while attempting a knee to the face, causing Perkins’ neck to whiplash off of the rope. Kendrick continued to focus on the neck. An Irish Whip reversal into the corner went awry when Perkins attempted a reverse neckbreaker, but Kendrick missed the spot. Kendrick attempted a top rope superplex, but Perkins countered and hit a top rope hurricanrana, whipping Kendrick out of the ring. Both men barely made it back into the ring before the referee’s ten count. Perkins hit his Wrecking Ball dropkick, but missed his 450 splash. Kendrick locked in the Captain’s Hook submission, but Perkins countered into the knee bar. Kendrick escaped and hit Sliced Bread #2, but Perkins kicked out of the pin. Kendrick went for the Captain’s Hook again, but Perkins countered into his Fireman’s Carry dropkick. Perkins locked in the knee bar a third time, but Kendrick had no way out this time and was forced to tap out. WINNER: T.J. PERKINS
SHEAMUS vs. CESARO (Final match of Best of Seven Tournament): This resembled less a technical wrestling match and more an all out brawl. Both men opened with clubbing blows, forearms and knees to each other. Cesaro gained momentum with a European uppercut, which knocked Sheamus clear off the apron. Sheamus escaped another uppercut attempt and then proceeded to work on Cesaro’s injured back. A suplex, followed up by a backbreaker, wore Cesaro down. Sheamus was relentless, catching his opponent with a clothesline from the top rope. He then attempted a Celtic Cross, but Cesaro countered and nearly pinned the Celtic Warrior. Sheamus then decided to add insult to injury by delivering a flurry of European uppercuts of his own. Cesaro escaped a third attempt at this and turned the tide with an uppercut train of his own, followed up by a Tornado DDT. This wasn’t enough to get the pin on Sheamus. Cesaro then took a page out of Rey Mysterio’s playbook by hitting Sheamus with a 6-1-9. He then nailed Sheamus with a corkscrew uppercut. Sheamus fought out of a Cesaro Swing and hit his opponent with an Irish Curse backbreaker, followed by a second and a third. Sheamus locked in a Cloverleaf submission, but Cesaro reversed it into a pin. Sheamus kicked out and hit a devastating Celtic Cross backbreaker on Cesaro. Sheamus went for the Brogue Kick, but was countered. Cesaro hit the Big Swing, and then locked in the Sharpshooter. But Sheamus made it to the ropes to force the break. Cesaro then went for his deadlift suplex into the ring, but Sheamus countered. Sheamus went for White Noise, but Cesaro hit Sheamus with a big boot. Cesaro went for a Tope Suicida, but landed on the base of his head, nearly knocking himself unconscious. Sheamus caught Cesaro with a Brogue Kick, but Cesaro kicked out of the pin fall. Cesaro nailed Sheamus with the Neutralizer, but Sheamus kicked out of the pin. Both men traded stiff blows back and forth. Sheamus pulled himself to the top rope, but Cesaro drilled him with a leaping uppercut. Cesaro once again went for his deadlift suplex from the middle rope, but Sheamus fought out of it. Sheamus dove off of the top rope; however Cesaro caught him with a well timed uppercut. Referees and doctors had to check on both men as they beat the holy hell out of each other. In the end, the referee called for the bell to stop the match. But both superstars angrily stumbled to their feet, and stated they want to keep fighting. The crowd chimed in too, chanting “let them fight”. The match wound up ending in a no contest.
SAMI ZAYN vs. CHRIS JERICHO: Zayn went right after Jericho with forearms and chops to the chest. Jericho got in a cheap shot, while the ref wasn’t looking, to counter. Jericho got caught with several arm drags and a dropkick. Jericho took a breather outside the ring, but was chased down and clotheslined. Jericho’s feigned a knee injury, and then hit is springboard dropkick, sending Zayn out of the ring. Zayn was slapped around then caught some chops to the chest. He returned fire, but Jericho hooked him on the top rope and then knocked his opponent off to the floor. Y2J followed up with a suplex to Zayn outside of the ring on the floor. Zayn crawled back into the ring before the referee’s count got to ten. Zayn used Jericho’s own momentum to send him careening out of the ring. He followed up with a Tope Con Hilo to Jericho out of the ring. Zayn nailed Jericho with a Michinoku Driver, but Jericho kicked out of the pinning attempt. Jericho attempted a top rope superplex. Zayn hit him instead with a front suplex. He dove off towards Jericho, but Y2J dodged it and went for the Walls of Jericho. Zayn escaped the submission attempt. Jericho drilled Zayn in the side of the head repeatedly with kicks and slaps. Zayn got the heat and mounted the comeback with several open handed strikes. Jericho went for a Lionsault, but Zayn got the knees up and nearly pinned Jericho. Zayn went for the Blue Thunder bomb, but Jericho countered. Zayn countered right back with a Tornado DDT. Jericho rolled out of the ring before getting hit with a Helluva Kick. Instead, Zayn hit his floating corner Tornado DDT outside of the ring. Zayn missed the Helluva Kick. Jericho went for the Code Breaker, but Zayn countered it into the Exploder suplex. Zayn missed the Helluva Kick again and Y2J locked in the Walls of Jericho. Zayn fought out and nearly pinned Jericho. Y2J went to the top rope, but got caught with a Blue Thunder bomb. Jericho nailed Zayn out of nowhere with a Codebreaker and got the three count. WINNER: CHRIS JERICHO
BAYLEY vs. SASHA BANKS vs. CHARLOTTE (Women’s Championship): Banks went right after Charlotte, wanting to exact a bit of revenge for the injury she suffered at Summerslam. Banks and Bayley joined forces for a brief moment and laid in some offense to the champion. Charlotte attempted a suplex, but Banks attempted to counter with a neckbreaker, but Charlotte countered that counter with a neckbreaker of her own. Bayley unleashed suplexes on both opponents and attempted to pin the champion, but Charlotte kicked out. Bayley hit Banks with a stungun on the second rope. Dana Brooke interfered and took Bayley out of the equation. Charlotte worked on Banks’ injured back, but Sasha would not quit. Every time Bayley tried to get back into the ring, one of her opponents would kick her right back out. Charlotte tore off the tape on Sasha’s back and did even more damage by stretching her back around one of the ring posts. Once again, Bayley tried to intervene and Charlotte drilled her with a stiff shot to the face. Banks went for the Backstabber, but Charlotte countered. Bayley came off the top rope with a cross body block, taking out both opponents. Banks went for the double knees in the corner, but Charlotte tried to intervene, colliding with Bayley. Charlotte hit Banks with a back breaker into a Sambo Suplex. Charlotte attempted the Figure Eight on Banks, but Sasha kicked out and knocked Charlotte into a Bayley to Belly suplex. Charlotte nailed both opponents with a moonsault from the top rope. She then drilled Bayley with Natural Selection. Banks locked in the Bank Statement submission on Charlotte. Bayley went for the Bayley to Belly suplex, but Sasha countered it. Banks locked Charlotte in the Bank Statement this time, but Bayley broke up the hold. Banks then locked in the hold on Bayley, but Charlotte drilled Sasha with a stiff kick to the face. Charlotte obliterated Bayley with a vicious big boot, picking up the pin fall and retaining her title. WINNER: CHARLOTTE
ROMAN REIGNS vs. RUSEV (United States Championship): Rusev tried to out power Reigns at the beginning of the match, but Reigns powered back, forcing Rusev out of the ring to reassess his strategy. Rusev went for quick hits and spinning heel kicks and repeated pin attempts. Reigns kept kicking out, but this wore down the Samoan wrecking ball. Rusev used the ropes to try and choke out Reigns. He kept using Irish whips into the corner to attack Reigns’ back. Reigns fight back with knee strikes and an explosive clothesline. Rusev used Reigns’ momentum to send him shoulder first into the ring post. The crowd was not really into the match or into Reigns. A “CM Punk” chant started midway into the match. Rusev sent Reigns careening into the steel stairs. Having Reigns doing so much selling in matches instead of having him destroy his opponents is really hurting him and this falls on the ineptitude of the booking team for the past 32 months. Rusev kept up the offense with a dropkick, but missed a flying headbutt when Reigns rolled out of the way. He followed up with a Samoan Drop to Rusev. Reigns winked at Rusev’s wife, Lana, outside of the ring and went for the Superman punch, but Rusev countered. Rusev signaled for The Accolade, but Reigns nailed him with a Superman punch. This wasn’t enough to put Rusev down. Reigns then hit him with a spear. Lana pulled the referee out of the ring. The ref then banished Lana from ringside. Reigns tossed Rusev out of the ring and followed up with the Drive By dropkick twice. Rusev shook it off and locked in the Accolade. Reigns powered out and stood up while the move was still locked in. Rusev went to follow up and caught another spear and suffered defeat and the loss of his championship. WINNER: ROMAN REIGNS
SETH ROLLINS vs. KEVIN OWENS (WWE Universal Championship): The fight went outside the ring very early, with Rollins sending Owens careening into the security barrier. Owens kept trying to escape Rollins’ offense, but going outside the ring was a mistake, as Rollins flew at him with a flying knee from the apron. Rollins maintained momentum, beating the holy hell out of Owens in the corner, and then catching the champion with a Blockbuster. Owens impeded Seth’s offense with a stungun on the top rope. Rollins attempted a Pedigree, but Owens escaped and then caught Rollins with a kick to the back of Rollins’ surgically repaired knee and then a DDT. Owens then proceeded to slam Rollins into the security barrier and then slammed Seth into the turnbuckle post. Owens then focused his attack on Rollins’ knee. Owens tossed Rollins out of the ring, sarcastically asked the referee if he was alright, and then dropped a Cactus elbow from the apron. Owens sunk in a rear chinlock, but Rollins tried to fight out of it. Owens let him go, but sent him flying into the turnbuckle so hard that you could hear the metal buckle. Rollins mounted a comeback with a Sling Blade. He hit Owens with repeated running forearms in the corner and then a backbreaker. Rollins cleared off the Spanish announcers’ table, but Owens retreated back into the ring. Rollins drilled him with a kick to the face and went for the pin, but Owens kicked out. Rollins went for the Pedigree, but Owens powered out. Rollins leapfrogged to the second rope, but Owens kicked him again in the back of the knee and followed up with a cannonball splash in the corner. Owens attempted a Package Piledriver, but Rollins countered. Owens delivered an amazing gutbuster from the top rope, and then hit Rollins with a frog splash. He still was not able to put Rollins away. Owens went for a senton splash to Rollins through the announcers’ table, but Rollins rolled out of the way. Rollins then hit a top rope frog splash of his own, but Owens kicked out of the pin. Owens’ buddy Chris Jericho came down to ringside to distract the referee, allowing Owens a cheap shot and then a pin attempt, but Rollins kicked out. Rollins sent Owens into a collision with Jericho, and then hit Owens with a Pedigree, but Jericho put Owens’ foot on the bottom rope, preventing the three count. Rollins then went after Jericho. Owens went for the Pop Up power bomb, but he collided with the referee. Owens tried the move again, but Rollins countered with a Pedigree. He wasn’t able to get the pin because the ref was knocked out. Jericho then blindsided Rollins. Rollins finally got him out of the ring and hit Jericho with a Tope Suicida, followed by another one to Owens. Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon ordered another referee to the ring. While Rollins was distracted by this, Owens hit him with a Pop Up power bomb, picking up the pin and retaining the championship. WINNER: KEVIN OWENS
I was expecting a far worse pay-per-view event than what was given to us tonight. While storylines and promos don’t seem to be Raw’s strong suit, their booking (for the most part) has been solid. Do you think that Clash of Champions surpassed SmackDown Live’s last event, Backlash?