Clash of Champions was a WWE Raw brand pay-per-view that took place Sunday night in Indianapolis. The event featured plenty of good matches, but was lacking in terms of memorable moments that are needed to get the WWE Universe excited about the weekly shows.

The main event saw Kevin Owens defeat Seth Rollins to retain the WWE Universal Championship in controversial fashion. There was a ref bump, as well as the blatant interference of Chris Jericho that played into the finish. The only title change saw Roman Reigns beat Rusev to win the US Title.

I was impressed by most of the matches at Clash of Champions because they were given time and the performers are very good. However, the booking of the matches was just not that interesting. There were things like ref bumps, a draw due to guys taking each other out outside the ring, plenty of interference in matches where fans didn’t want to see any of it and a couple of scary spots where a few people looked like they might be injured.

The show ran three hours and eight minutes, so it felt like a regular edition of Raw with that run time. When the WWE Smackdown brand had their Backlash show two weeks ago, it went about two hours and 40 minutes, which included some filler throughout the night too. I thought the pacing of Backlash was better, even with the filler. It also helped that the match finishes were a lot better on that show as well. I think Smackdown is clearly beating Raw two months into the brand split.

Here’s a rundown of all the matches, in the order that they took place.

Nia Jax defeated Alicia Fox (Kickoff Match)

It was a typical Jax match where she dominated much of it and won clean in a few minutes. Fox got in a bit more offense than a typical Jax opponent, but the result of the match was never in doubt. I hope Jax gets a more significant feud soon. Perhaps a rivalry with Bayley could be next for her.

The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) defeated Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson to retain the Tag Team Titles

This was a fast-paced tag match that was shorter than expected, only getting about eight minutes. The good thing is they knew they were short on time, so Gallows & Anderson were really aggressive right from the start of the match. Wrestling at a faster pace leads to a more interesting match a lot of the time. The finish was interesting because they had Xavier Woods hit Anderson in the head with the trombone (you may know “her” as Francesca 2), leading to Big E and Kofi hitting the double team Midnight Hour finisher for the win.

The victory took place on day 399 of The New Day’s Tag Title reign, so on Monday’s Raw, there might be a 400-day celebration. The all-time record is 478 days, held by Demolition. I think that they should break the record ,since Demolition is not really celebrated in WWE history that much. If New Day does break the record, then that means they’ll hold the titles into December and possibly into 2017 as well.

T.J. Perkins defeated Brian Kendrick to retain the Cruiserweight Title

Before talking about the match, I have to point out that Perkins has this unique entrance which features a song that sounds like something from the Mega Man video games of our youth. It was really cool.

I liked the match, which was the first title defense of the new Cruiserweight Champion Perkins. Kendrick was really good, as he got a near-fall with his Sliced Bread finishing move (the crowd thought that was it) and nearly won with his Captain’s Hook submission move. Perkins did an awesome job of coming back with unique moves, showmanship (dabbing is cool when he does it) and finishing with his kneebar submission. They were given about 10 minutes, which is fine.

Post-match, they did a handshake and hug as the crowd cheered. Then Kendrick gave Perkins a head-butt to knock him down, which some booed and others cheered. It looks like Kendrick will be the first clearly defined heel in the cruiserweight division.

Cesaro vs. Sheamus ended in a draw

It was match seven in their Best of Seven series, with things all tied up at three. The expectation was that Cesaro would get the win to end the series, yet here we are on Monday without any idea what’s coming next. Why? Because their Clash of Champions match ended in a draw. Who would have predicted that? Not many people.

The match was the best one in their series. I liked the physicality that both guys showed, with Sheamus working on the back of Cesaro for most of it, while Cesaro used his usual creativity to do some unique offensive moves. There were several believable near-falls for both guys. What was concerning was a bump that Cesaro took on the floor. With Sheamus outside the ring, Cesaro hit a suicide dive where his own head hit Sheamus and then went crashing onto the floor so that his head and neck were compressed on the floor. It looked brutal. Late last night, Cesaro tweeted that he was okay.

Aside from Cesaro’s nasty fall, the finish is what a lot of people were talking about after the match. Instead of booking a winner, they booked a draw. It happened after they brawled outside the ring and Cesaro nailed a clothesline that sent both guys over the barricade at ringside. With both of them down on the cement floor, doctors and referees went over to check on them with the doctors saying they can’t compete anymore.

It was all part of the storyline and the crowd absolutely hated it. I can understand wanting to put over the physicality of the match, but do we really need another match from these two after they were in this physical battle that was the best match of the night? Raw General Manager Mick Foley chimed in with this tweet.


It’s no surprise that Foley is going to support the booking decision. I just think he shouldn’t tweet stuff like that. Fans didn’t like the finish because the match was compelling and we wanted to see a winner. Booking a draw is frustrating because it means another match is coming, which is probably a bad idea because I have my doubts about them topping this one.

Why would people be happy with a draw finish ever? It doesn’t make sense to me that Foley would have a tough time understanding that. As for their future, I guess we’ll find out soon.

Chris Jericho defeated Sami Zayn

The most surprising booking decision of the night took place during this match. Jericho won clean with a Codebreaker after he managed to avoid Zayn’s Helluva Kick a few times. As expected, it was a good match since Zayn is one of the best workers in WWE while Jericho is still pretty good for a guy that’s 45 years old. I’m just confused about WWE wanting to put over an older heel like Jericho when they should be concentrating on Zayn rising up another level as a face of the future.

Jericho winning may have been done because he might be in the Universal Title picture soon. Before Finn Balor’s injury, the rumored main event at Hell in a Cell (Raw’s next PPV) was Balor vs. Owens vs. Jericho. Perhaps WWE is sticking to that plan with Rollins in Balor’s place. That’s really the only way I can explain the decision, because if they don’t plan on Jericho being in the main event picture then why book this finish?

Charlotte defeated Sasha Banks & Bayley to retain the Raw Women’s Title

I’m getting tired of triple threat matches. Sorry, WWE. I know you love doing them and apparently will never stop doing them, but they are really repetitive. Charlotte was able to hold onto the title, thanks to blatant interference from her friend Dana Brooke. Since there are no disqualifications in triple threat matches, the referee couldn’t do anything to stop Brooke from interfering.

The match was lacking the same intensity as the Charlotte/Banks/Becky Lynch match at WrestleMania, which was one of the best women’s matches in WWE in the last few years. Bayley didn’t look like she was going to win at any point. Banks came close to winning by submission a few times and she was my pick to win, but it didn’t happen. Charlotte won by kicking Bayley into Banks, who fell down when she was on the apron, and then a Charlotte kick on Bayley pinned her.

That’s it? A kick by Charlotte? I thought it was a really weak finish that made Bayley look bad. I’d rather keep Bayley out of the title picture instead of having her get pinned by a simple kick in her first title match.

Where do they go from here? Probably more Charlotte vs. Banks matches since Banks wasn’t beat in this match. The Hell in a Cell show on Oct. 30 is in Boston, which is Banks’ hometown area, so she might win the title back there.

Roman Reigns defeated Rusev to win the United States Championship

This was a boring match for about 12 minutes, then picked up the pace and Reigns got the win after 17 minutes, thanks to a Spear onto a charging Rusev. Going into the match, I actually picked Rusev for the win, thinking that Reigns would only win by disqualification. Instead, they went for the title change. The crowd didn’t seem to care for much of it, but by the end they did get into it a bit more. Hopefully, Rusev is seen as a bigger star now because he was great in this match. He stood out to me more than Reigns did.

I was hoping Rusev would drop the title to a deserving face on the rise like Zayn or Cesaro. Instead, he dropped it to Reigns, who rarely spoke about wanting to win the title. Should we care or like Reigns more now that he’s holding the US Title? I don’t think it matters that much.

Kevin Owens defeated Seth Rollins to retain the WWE Universal Championship

My expectations for this match were high because of the caliber of the performers. By the end of the match, I was disappointed mainly because of the booking. A 25-minute match with Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins should be talked about as one of the best matches of the year. Instead, it was just an example of how poor some booking decisions are in WWE right now, especially on the Raw brand.

Going into the match, I fully expected Owens to find a way to retain because it was his first major title defense. What I expected was the television return of Triple H, who was the main reason why Owens won the Universal Title in the first place and hasn’t been on Raw since that moment about one month ago. Instead, it was Owens’ “best friend” Chris Jericho, who came down to help Owens stay alive in the match by putting KO’s foot on the bottom rope. Later, there was a ref bump leading to a moment where Rollins hit a Pedigree and nobody was there to count the easy pin. In other words, Rollins was screwed out of the win on multiple occasions.

The finish of the match saw Stephanie McMahon send another ref down to the ring, which led to Owens hitting the Popup Powerbomb for the win. Jericho celebrated with Owens to end the show, even singing “We Are The Champions” a bit as the show went off the air with Rollins looking upset.

The question, which we hope will be answered on Raw, is why didn’t they send a referee down to the ring when Rollins had the win? The answer should be that Stephanie is evil, corrupt and working with her husband Triple H to screw Rollins out of the title. That’s why it’s important for the Triple H character to return to television as soon as Monday night on Raw.

If it were up to me, Stephanie and Triple H would be off television because their characters are so stale. But in today’s WWE, it’s not sensible to think that their egos would allow them to be taken off TV. In a perfect world, match results and storylines would revolve around the wrestlers, rather than the people running the show. That’s why Smackdown is clearly better than Raw at this point. They do involve the people in charge in storylines a bit (like Daniel Bryan with Miz), but not in the main storyline on the show.

I think this feud has a lot of potential no matter where they go with it, but WWE has to focus on making Rollins a more likable babyface wrestler. At this point, he isn’t doing much different than what he did as a heel. Owens winning matches in a cheap way is fine, because that’s what bad guys are supposed to do. I just think this finish was overbooked so much that it hurt both guys.

As a final note, there are reports that Rollins may have a rib injury following a top rope Gutbuster from Owens. No word on the severity of the injury at this time.

Closing Time

Clash of Champions was a slightly above-average show with a bunch of good matches all night, but nothing that you really need to go out of your way to see. There were only a couple of truly clean finishes while most of the rest of the finishes left people angry. I know that WWE can’t do clean finishes all the time. I just feel like they could have made better decisions with regards to the endings of some of these matches.

If you missed Clash of Champions, you really didn’t miss that much. Since WWE loves to repeat matches, they’ll probably rematch a few of them on television anyway.

The next WWE PPVs are the SmackDown brand PPV called No Mercy on Oct. 9. The Raw brand is back on PPV on Oct. 30 with Hell in a Cell. The next dual branded PPV is Survivor Series on Nov. 20.

As for Monday Night Raw, it’s going up against the first presidential debate for the last two hours of the show. Good luck competing with that. I’ll be back on Tuesday to make some sense of it all – I mean Raw, not the debate.

About John Canton

John has been writing about WWE online since the late 1990s. He joined The Comeback/Awful Announcing team in 2015. Follow John Canton on Twitter @johnreport or email him at mrjohncanton@gmail.com with any comments or questions. For more of his wrestling opinions, visit his website at TJRWrestling.net. Cheap pop!