I’ve got my food and drinks. I’ve got my daughter next to me to watch some “weh-wing” tonight. I’m ready to get another night of WWE pay-per-view action underway, so let’s not waste any more time. Are you ready? You know the routine… LESS DEW EET!!!
(0:01) John Cena is narrating tonight’s show-opening video package. Don’t get me wrong… it’s good and all. It’s just weird to hear Cena doing anything with WWE these days. Obviously, he’s gone far more often than he’s there. His Firefly Fun House “match” against Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania this year was his first match in 14 months. He’s wrestled a grand total of three matches since calendars turned from 2018 to 2019. It’s almost weird to hear from him in the world of wrestling again.
(0:04) Our first match is the Triple Threat Ladder Match between Jeff Hardy, Sami Zayn, and AJ Styles. Thank you, WWE. If you’ve been reading my work, you know how important I think it is to get these pay-per-view events started off with something wild and exciting to get viewers hyped. This match meets the criteria there. These three have the potential to do something special tonight.
(0:07) Hey, it’s brand new father, Sami Zayn. That guy fucks, AMIRITE?!?
(0:10) After everything he has put his body through during his lengthy career, can you imagine what Jeff Hardy feels like when he wakes up every morning? I don’t know how many of you reading this are 43 years old, but think about how YOU feel when you wake up in the morning. A 43-year-old Jeff Hardy might as well be a 129-year-old Jeff Hardy in the morning.
(0:13) As I’m typing that, Jeff dives from the turnbuckles and, as AJ Styles steps out of the way, he goes crashing onto the supports of a ladder as it’s upside down in a “V” position. He’s crazy. He’s absolutely, positively crazy.
(0:16) We’ve been having Ladder Matches in WWE for 28 years now, and Ladder Matches in wrestling, as a whole, for 48 years now. In all that time, you’re telling me that not one person… not a wrestler, promoter, writer, producer, etc… has come up with a different idea to avoid the “Wrestler A moves at a normal speed until it’s time to climb the ladder, when they start moving like an elderly woman” trope?
(0:20) LOL @ AJ throwing Hornswoggle’s ladder at Sami, who was climbing a ladder in the ring, like a javelin. That was great.
(0:23) We just had back-to-back-to-back spots that ended up with crashing and burning and being hit by ladders. This is car crash material. So… it’s a Ladder Match.
(0:24) Hey, speaking of car crashes, Hardy goes tumbling to the outside from on top of a ladder, being sandwiched between the ladder and the ring apron. He may have had the ladder hit his head. It was ugly.
(0:25) This is one of those matches that could really use a live crowd in attendance. It’s been fun, yes, but it’s missing the ooh’s and aah’s of the WWE Universe for every career-shortening bump.
(0:27) Jeff is going for his trademarked spot in Ladder Matches, performing a Swanton Bomb from the top of a giant ladder onto a prone opponent below… and he destroys Sami Zayn. He might have destroyed his tailbone, as well. Good Lord.
(0:29) I just don’t get how Jeff is even moving around anymore. Not just in general, but in this match.
(0:31) Zayn’s back is starting to look like Dominik Mysterio’s back during his “paying dues” moment on Raw a while back.
(0:32) Sami just handcuffed Hardy to a ladder… by slipping the cuff through Jeff’s stretched earlobe piercing. Ouch. Fucking ouch.
(0:34) With another pair of handcuffs, Sami attaches himself to AJ as AJ is preparing to climb a ladder. Brilliant move. AJ struggles to climb the ladder as a 200-some odd pound anchor weighs him down.
(0:36) Jeff Hardy, holding a ladder that is cuffed to his head, attacks Styles with said ladder, allowing Zayn to produce a handcuff key. The key unlocks him, and he then cuffs AJ to the ladder. Sami gets the win. Fantastic strategery. That was quite the hectic match, with an even more hectic finish. It was everything you’d want a Ladder Match to be. Other than the aforementioned overused trope, there was a lot of innovation in the match, which is very difficult to do after having so many versions of it through the years. Good stuff. I’ll give it 3.5 stars, at least, but I think a second viewing could potentially bump that to 4 stars.
(0:43) R-Truth gets caught by surprise backstage by Drew Gulak, and guess what happens? The 24/7 Title changes hands AGAIN on a roll-up. I still don’t care about this.
(0:45) Next up, Asuka defends the Raw Women’s Title against Zelina Vega. In no way, shape, or form should this match last any more than five minutes. Zelina just spent a large chunk of time being beaten up and made to look like a fool by Bianca Belair. In the world of kayfabe, if Asuka doesn’t dominate this match, Belair should be able to beat Asuka in mere seconds. You didn’t know it was as simple as that? Duh.
(0:50) Speaking of Bianca Belair, is it time for her to start getting presented as a big deal? Raw needs a new top tier talent in the division, and Belair could be just that.
(0:52) I like Zelina Vega. I really do. She’s a better in-ring performer than WWE has let her be so far. It’s just difficult to take her offense seriously against someone who has been pushed the way Asuka has.
(0:55) After locking the Asuka Lock in, Vega taps out in record time. It wasn’t under five minutes, but it was a short match. Nice performance by Vega when she was on offense, but this wasn’t an outcome that was ever in question.
(0:57) Zelina attacks Asuka after the match, and then we got several sentences in Japanese by Asuka in a promo. Joy. We get to see these two face off again. Probably on Raw. Then Raw again. Then Raw again. Then several more times over the next couple months.
(1:01) Our next match is the United States Title contest, with Bobby Lashley defending against Apollo Crews, making it the 298th time these two have faced off with each other in the last three months.
(1:03) I’ve said, time and time again, that WWE needs to give people more reason to care about Apollo’s character. He can’t just be “smiling guy” and advance to the next level of his career. WWE’s response? Make him “smiling guy with a wife and kids.” They love bringing his family up… every… chance… they… get. They’re really doing him no favors.
(1:08) Lashley and Crews facing each other so many times probably has something to do with it, but I just can’t get too excited about watching them face each other. They’re both incredible athletes, and there isn’t anything “wrong” with their matches. They just don’t seem to get into high gear.
(1:11) Apollo taps out again. Lashley retains the title. For the love of all that is holy, can we PLEASE move Crews on to something else? Put him and Ricochet in the Raw Tag Team Title picture. Just about anything would be better than watching Crews and The Hurt Business continue battling. Let’s go with 2.5 stars. Another match that, like I said, just didn’t seem to get going.
(1:14) Hey, speaking of the Raw Tag Team Titles, and speaking of MATCHES THAT I’M GETTING SICK AND FUCKING TIRED OF SEEING EVERY FUCKING WEEK… it’s time for The Street Profits to defend the belts against Andrade and Angel Garza.
(1:15) Can you imagine how frustrating it must be to write for WWE? You spent your entire week thinking of things, mapping out feuds and storylines, and probably avoiding everything else in your life… only to have everything thrown in the trash by a 75-year-old man that has shown zero signs of creativity in years. Yet, people keep applying for the job, and people keep taking the job. They inevitably get fired or quit out of frustration, and then the cycle continues.
(1:20) Honestly, I don’t give a country fried fuck about this match. Do you know how sad that makes me? I love all four men in the match. I’ve said it before, but Montez Ford has everything needed to be a future WWE Champion, and I feel the same about Andrade. As tag teams, both squads work very well together and are very entertaining. I’m just… *deep inhale*… SICK AND FUCKING TIRED OF SEEING THEM FACE EACH OTHER EVERY FUCKING WEEK.
(1:26) Andrade is RIGHT FUCKING IN FRONT OF THE REFEREE, who doesn’t see him kick out at two, and the match ends in controversy. The Street Profits retain. Fuck the fucking fuck, WWE. Now, we’re probably going to see these teams face off AGAIN on Raw. Either this is more piss-poor “creative” from the company, or it’s another piss-poor performance from a WWE Referee. Either way, that’s not a good look. It was a better match than Lashley vs Crews, but it still wasn’t anything to get excited about. I’ll say 2.75 stars. You’ve read my Running Diaries. You know how I feel about WWE pay-per-view events having match after match that is average-to-above-average, all night long.
(1:28) As I’m typing that, it appears that maybe… maybe… Angel Garza is injured, which led to the screwy ending. Of course, a WWE Referee also thought Mickie James was injured recently, so… who knows?
(1:30) Friday, October 9th and Monday, October 12th are the announced dates of the 2020 WWE Draft. Both Raw and Smackdown need some shaking up, and they need it badly.
(1:31) R-Truth wins the 24/7 Title back. No, thanks.
(1:32) In day 349 of her Smackdown Women’s Title reign, Bayley is on her way to the ring. She was supposed to be defending against Nikki Cross, but Nikki isn’t “medically cleared” to perform, so now we’re getting a Bayley promo instead. Depending on who you ask, Nikki may or may not be dealing with COVID-19, or is at least being quarantined right now.
(1:35) Bayley offers an open challenge, and it is answered by… Asuka. Holy shit, there’s only eight people actively competing for this company, isn’t there?
(1:39) Bayley hits Asuka with a chair, getting herself disqualified, making this all for nothing. Bayley can’t leave ringside, though, because Sasha Banks is here and looking for a fight. Sasha gets some quick offense, but her super duper sore neck makes her feel pain all of a sudden, and she can’t remain in control. Bayley is able to escape, and it’s more of a tease for a future fight. That entire thing, from the time Bayley came out until the time she scurried back up the ramp, was a mess. I feel like I’m going to have a stroke watching this show.
(1:45) Time for the Ambulance Match for the WWE Title. Drew McIntyre vs Randy Orton. Both men have broken faces. The Ambulance budget for this company is too damn high.
(1:54) Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Lengthy video package, followed by a typically slow Randy Orton entrance, followed by a slow Drew McIntyre entrance… and we’re still waiting for this match to begin.
(1:56) Now, we get the match introductions. More waiting. Sure, why not?
(1:57) Finally, a full 12-plus minutes after we found out it was coming next, we get the opening bell for this one.
(1:59) Big Show FUCKING TELEPORTS to ringside, pulls Orton out of the ring, and puts him through the announce table with a Chokeslam. Okay then.
(2:00) As Show FUCKING TELEPORTS away, McIntyre gives Orton a smirk, seemingly indicating that Show’s appearance was all a part of his plan. Okay then. Can we talk more about how a seven-foot-tall, 400-plus pound man can FUCKING TELEPORT to and from the ring? That’s incredible.
(2:06) McIntyre delivers a Claymore Kick to the driver’s door on the Ambulance. Cool visual, even though the door was clearly rigged.
(2:07) The problem with this match is the methodical style of both men. They’re both “injured” in the story, so their movements are even slower than usual. It doesn’t make things bad. Just slow.
(2:09) They fight backstage, and then Christian FUCKING TELEPORTS in to attack Orton. It’s interesting to see the face McIntyre require so much apparent assistance to try and win a match.
(2:12) After being slammed onto the windshield of the Ambulance, Drew’s back and arms have cuts and welts all over them.
(2:13) There’s a fan on the ThunderDome screens that is eye-fucking the camera and making a crazy smile. It’s happening in the shot right next to the action, so it’s hard not to see it. Really distracting.
(2:14) Shawn Michaels FUCKING TELEPORTS to the top of the Ambulance and hits Orton with some Sweet Chin Music. Again, it’s weird that McIntyre, the face, would be having this much help to win a match. I get the story and all. It’s people that have issues with Orton, coming back for some revenge, but it doesn’t make the entire thing any less odd.
(2:18) McIntyre hits Orton with a Claymore, puts Orton into the Ambulance, but then decides to hang Orton out the back so he can deliver his own Punt Kick to Orton’s skull. The doors close. McIntyre retains the title. It was a good match. It was the overbooked stuff that WWE has always loved to do in their World Title matches, but good fun nonetheless. I’ll go with 3.5 stars.
(2:20) Adding to the entire thing, Ric Flair is shown driving Orton away in the Ambulance. I was disappointed he didn’t turn around and say “BUCKLE UP, RANDY” but I guess it makes sense for him to be there, too.
(2:23) The next pay-per-view event, Hell In A Cell, comes to us on October 25th.
(2:24) It’s time for the night’s main event, as Roman Reigns defends the Universal Title against Jey Uso. This has been an incredible build, with Reigns and Uso playing their roles to perfection. Some of my favorite short-term storytelling that I’ve seen in wrestling in a long time.
(2:29) Hey, Roman was telling the truth about working this match without a shirt on. If I’m not mistaken, this is the first time he has wrestled “topless” since his days as Leakee and his early days as Roman Reigns in FCW and NXT.
(2:31) There’s just a big fight feel for this one. That’s saying a lot for a match between Roman Reigns and a tag team wrestler that nobody expects to win. I love this. This could be something special if they’re allowed to make it so.
(2:37) “Why did you do that, cuz?” – Something I never want to hear Michael Cole say again.
(2:38) I know we get to hear more of the wrestlers talking during matches because there isn’t a live crowd, but man, these two are talking a ton of trash so far. It’s great.
(2:42) Roman is SHINING in this character. Jey was on the outside of the ring, while Charles Robinson started his ten count. As Roman made his way to the ropes, Robinson very lightly touched Reigns as if to tell him to get back a bit. Roman shot Robinson a look like he was ready to kill him for even thinking about touching greatness. This is every little bit of what fans have been asking for with Reigns and his character.
(2:46) Reigns is bigger. Reigns is “better.” Reigns is also getting cocky, so he dominates the match for a stretch and then gets caught underestimating his cousin for a bit, before starting to dominate again. This is telling a good story, albeit one that everyone was expecting.
(2:50) In an absolutely brilliant move, Reigns kicked out of a pin attempt by delivering a low blow when his arm on the mat was between Jey’s legs.
(2:52) Reigns tells Jey that he’ll end the match if Jey refers to him as his Tribal Chief. Jey doesn’t do it, so he’s on the receiving end of a second Spear. Roman continues talking shit, and a defiant Jey Uso isn’t giving him what he wants. This is great stuff.
(2:54) Reigns turns his attention back to Charles Robinson, threatening Lil’ Naitch if Robinson gets in his way again.
(2:56) Jimmy Uso makes his return to the company, coming to the ring to throw a towel in for his brother. Jey tries to tell him not to do it, but Roman continues the beatdown some more until Jimmy has no choice but to throw the towel. Jimmy tells Reigns that he (Roman) is the Tribal Chief. We go off the air with Jimmy kneeling over his fallen brother, as his cousin looks on. That… was… incredible. I don’t care about anything you have to say. That was my Match Of The Year so far. Perfection from Reigns, Jey Uso, and Jimmy Uso. Is it too “controversial” to say that was 5 stars when you throw everything together? I cannot say enough good things about the ride we were just taken on.
Well, there you have it. The opening match? Good. The WWE Title match? Good. The Universal Title match? Amazing. Everything else was, at best, skippable. Let me know what you have to say about Clash Of Champions, folks. As always, hit me up in the comments section below or on Twitter (@HustleTheSavage) and tell me your thoughts on everything we witnessed tonight. I’ll be right back here in my usual Wednesday time slot with another look back at the week that was. Until then, be good to one another.