Liam Hoofe reviews WWE Clash of Champions…
WWE finished their calendar year off last night with Smackdown’s Clash of Champions. The company has had a reasonable year from a PPV standpoint but the Blue Brand has struggled for the latter half of the year, mostly because of Jinder Mahal’s title reign. Did they manage to close out the year in style with Clash of Champions? Let’s take a look back at each match and see.
Dolph Ziggler Defeated Bobby Roode and Baron Corbin To Win the United States Championship
What an opening bout this was! While hype for Clash of Champions has not exactly been through the roof, if this is the type of match-up we can expect throughout the night then things should be okay. Ziggler picking up the victory was a massive surprise and the finishing moments were very well executed. Roode and Corbin still managed to look strong in defeat. Corbin has improved a lot in the ring over 2017, and his move set is one of the best looking in the WWE. Ziggler is still an incredible performer in the ring, while Roode should get his day with the gold soon. I think Ziggler will just be a transitional champ but either way, it’s nice to see he still has a place in the company. Great way to kick things off here.
Match Rating: *** 1/2
The Usos Defeated The New Day, Aiden English and Rusev, and Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin
The Smackdown’s tag division has had a great finish to 2017 and this match was a nice way to close out the year. It was a fun exhibition for all the teams involved. Rusev and English are super over right now, and it would have been nice to see them pick up the victory. The Usos, though, have had an exceptional year and I’ve no issue with them retaining here. There were some fun spots and some nice near falls / finishes. No-one looked bad here but I expect Gable eating the fall rules that team out of the title picture for the next few months.
Match Rating: *** 1/2
Charlotte Flair Defeated Natalya
As you could have expected from a Lumberjack match, it didn’t take very long for this bout to fall apart. The match’s main focus was the chaos outside the ring and the stuff inside the ring never really got going because of it. Charlotte’s moonsault was cool though, and Carmella teasing a cash-in made sense. Natalya has zero heat right now though and the match never really felt all that important. I suppose it had its moments but on the whole, this was the mess everyone anticipated.
Match Rating: **
The Bludgeon Brothers Defeated Breezango.
Well, this happened.
Match Rating: *
Sami Zayn and Randy Orton Defeated Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura
I’m happy this didn’t go on last. Shane McMahon is becoming tiresome at the centre of everything on Smackdown and main-eventing this event would have been a huge injustice to the title. The bout itself was perfectly acceptable and every wrestler played their part well. The two referees hogged the limelight, though and it definitely hindered the match quality. The finish saw Bryan hit a fast count after Shane had refused to count the three for Zayn. It made sense but this whole storyline is so muddled now. Bryan walked up the ramp with Sami and Owens while the crowd chanted ‘YES, YES’. They are supposed to be the heels, right? Or is Shane now the heel because, you know, he openly tried to screw someone out of their job! Shane is coming across like a dick here, not the heels, and there is no way the crowd will turn on Bryan. They need to give this storyline some clarity. Entertaining match, but the bigger picture is a mess.
Match Rating: ***
AJ Styles Defeated Jinder Mahal
If you still, for some bizarre reason, need proof that Jinder Mahal shouldn’t be anywhere near the WWE main event scene, then this is it. The former WWE champion even managed to make an AJ Styles match dull. The match, which was given a fairly lengthy run-time, was dominated for the vast majority by Jinder and it suffered massively because of it. The match lacked any sort of heat or excitement because, well, nobody cares about Jinder. AJ eventually finished the match off by forcing Jinder to tap, which hopefully, means we are done with this Jinder experiment now.
Match Rating: **
What did you think of Clash of Champions? Let us know in the comments below, and let Liam know on Twitter @liamhoofe