After Smackdown Live got the first crack at a single brand Pay-Per-View, Raw gets its first event with Clash of Champions.
This almost throwback to the NWA/WCW PPV (which was Clash of THE Champions) promises to be interesting at the very least. Sure, we can all wonder what this PPV would have looked like if Finn Balor wasn’t injured, but all things considered, this is a strong card. As usual, the WWE has tempered expectations somewhat with their questionable booking, but I feel like that’s their strategy at this point. I can almost imagine Vince McMahon and Triple H plotting out hours of mediocre television just so when the PPV comes around, it just happens to be both better and shorter than Raw (aka a poor attempt to try to make fans happy). Anywho, here is Spaceman Frank’s Clash of Champions 2016 predictions.
Special note: I totally see WWE putting a Braun Stowman squash match into the Kickoff. Raw PPV pre-shows should be the Nia and Braun show until the Royal Rumble at least. From there they can have a rivalry over who destroys their opponents faster until they get into a yelling match before making out. Greatest love story of 2016.
Alicia Fox vs. Nia Jax
This pre-show match is obviously going to end in Jax winning. The real question is how long this match will last bell to bell (I got three minutes). Jax is doing well squashing people, and Foxy is a good established name to feed to her. Who’s next on the Jax destruction tour? I predict Paige as punishment for her suspension/alleged temper tantrum.
Cesaro vs. Sheamus (Final Match in Best of Seven Series)
Who would’ve thought that Cesaro would have bounced back from 0-3? This feud has not been bad, but at this point the WWE Universe is ready to move on. After these guys have been brutalizing each other for weeks I really hope they get a championship program out of all this. I’d much rather see these guys bounce around the Universal Title picture then farting around the U.S. Championship as fodder for Rusev or Reigns. Cesaro wins to complete his underdog comeback story.
Sami Zayn vs. Chris Jericho
The last of the non-title matches on the show, this is the one I’m looking forward to the most. The Likable One feuding with his mortal enemy Kevin Owens’ new BFF Jericho makes sense, but it would have made much more sense if it happened at SummerSlam instead of here, but whatever. Jericho the character gets an A in my book, but Jericho the in-ring wrestler is about a C at this point of his career. As much as I like his character work I don’t enjoy his matches that much anymore. That being said, I can see this going at least another PPV, so Jericho gets the win here.
The New Day (c) vs. The Club (WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Match)
The Club is superb since ditching their hand at lowball comedy and just beating people up (Where were these guys this whole time?). Leave comedy to The New Day and Enzo and Cass. I feel like The New Day have nothing left to prove as champs at this point, so dropping the belts to The Club is the right move. From there I would rather see the team members get individual pushes while remaining a faction. This will allow other tag teams to get into the title hunt and we can get some fresh matchups for singles championships. The Club win and start going on a tear.
Rusev (c) vs. Roman Reigns (United States Championship Match)
This one is tricky. On one hand Rusev is an excellent U.S. champ, but too often is the Bulgarian Brute fodder for main eventers and guys like Reigns. On the other hand, pretty much the only scenario I can see Reigns getting over is by winning the U.S. Championship and issuing weekly title challenges like John Cena did in 2015. That way he can slowly but surely build up respect with the audience by putting on good matches every week. It worked wonders for Cena so I can see it working for Reigns as well. Reigns wins and the WWE continues the Rehab Reigns campaign while Rusev goes mega heel and pledges allegiance to Donald Trump’s America (Book it Vince. You know you want to.).
T.J. Perkins (c) vs. Brian Kendrick (WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match)
Things that have me worried about the cruiserweights after one week:
- No TJP on Raw.
- No subtitles for Gran Metalik’s spanish promo.
- A Fatal Four Way match where the divisions athleticism gets over more than the people involved.
I know that it will take time for a whole division to get over (as we’ve seen with the womens divisions), but this was a major misstep. I would much rather have the cruiserweights sprinkled in throughout the show taking on midcarders than just facing each other. The number one contender stipulation made sense, but everything else was pretty bad. Kendrick is the closest thing the division has to a heel, so he’s a good contender for the very likable T.J Perkins. That being said, the new champ wins here to build up a proper program for later.
Charlotte (c) vs. Sasha Banks vs. Bayley (WWE Raw Women’s Championship Match)
I was fine with the Charlotte vs. Banks rematch, although I’m also fine with Bayley getting but into the title picture. It seems like an 11th hour Hail Mary to get extra attention for this match (or explain the double pin scenario that happened the week before), but I’m not going to complain that my girl Bayley gets into the title picture. I really see each lady having an equal chance here. Charlotte’s been a fine champ, but she’s been champ in some form for close to a year (with a slight gap during Banks’ brief run) and it may be time to freshen up the scene. Banks has the motivation to regain her title, but the WWE may feel as though she is injury prone at this point. Bayley could pretty much win at any point and people would be happy, but the smart money is to build to Bayley vs. Banks III. When Spaceman Frank can’t tell what’s going to happen, he gives it to the champion. Charlotte wins in a good match.
Kevin Owens (c) vs. Seth Rollins (WWE Universal Championship Match)
This simply cannot be a bad match. Say what you want about the build or KO’s booking since being champ, but all you need to do to get me excited about this match is say “Owens vs. Rollins for the belt.” The big question here is what Triple H will do, if he’ll do anything at all. Rollins is a great heel, but there’s only so much space at the top and Raw desperately needs a babyface at the top of the card. Can we see Rollins getting a couple of cruiserweights on his side and form a high-flying faction to take on a Kevin Owens lead authority as Mick Foley just tries to eat his feelings away before he is replaced by GM Big Show? Anyway, KO retains and we get more of the Kevin Owens show for the time being.