Warning: This article contains spoilers of WWE Clash Of Champions 2016. Are you ready to step into the ring?
Battle lines were drawn, wars have been waged and gold has been defended as every RAW champion found themselves on the line at WWE's Clash Of Champions 2016. Named after the legendary WCW event, the pay-per-view had a lot to live up to, especially considering it was RAW's inaugural solo PPV after SmackDown LIVE's debut with Backlash 2016.
Check out the promo for Clash Of Champions and its main event match:
With Kevin Owens's first title defense as Universal Champion, a Women's Championship triple threat match and the first PPV defense of the new Cruiserweight Championship, it's safe to say that history was made at Clash Of Champions. And don't worry if you didn't happen to catch the show, because we're taking a look back at all the electrifying action that it had to offer.
Pre-Show: Alicia Fox vs. Nia Jax
Result: Nia Jax defeated Alicia Fox.
The Good: While this match wasn't anything special, it continued to solidify Jax as the monstrous athlete she is, and her viciousness meshed well with Fox's craziness. After squashing jobbers over the past few weeks, a victory of a veteran like Fox is exactly what Nia Jax needed.
The Bad: Remember Kane's dominant PPV debut at Survivor Series 1997? Or the Great Khali's at Judgment Day 2006? Well this was Nia Jax's first PPV match against a legitimate threat, and it took place on the pre-show. Needless to say, she deserved much better.
What's Next?: After a decisive victory here, Jax will likely return to squashing unless another female athlete steps up to take her down.
The New Day vs. Anderson And Gallows — WWE RAW Tag Team Championship
Result: The New Day defeated Anderson and Gallows to retain the WWE RAW Tag Team Championship.
The Good: In its mere six minutes, the action never stopped and it really looked as though Anderson and Gallows might actually take the titles from the New Day. This was a brief match, but still packed with action.
The Bad: I don't think there was anything particularly bad about it, except its short length. The good guys desperately cheated to defeat the unstoppable bad guys, but it would have been better if it actually came across like that.
What's Next?: The New Day have beaten everyone there is to beat, and that's why RAW still has a tag team issue — no other team could be credible champions right now. And Anderson and Gallows produced those awful comedy segments only to ultimately lose. It's unlikely that this is over between them, and I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.
T.J. Perkins vs. Brian Kendrick — WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Result: T.J. Perkins defeated Brian Kendrick to retain the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.
The Good: This was a really good match between a veteran and rising star, proving that the new cruiserweight division is here to stay. Both athletes worked well together and told a great story throughout, and it's positively brilliant seeing Brian Kendrick back in a WWE ring. After the company's misuse of him and subsequent release back in 2009, it's great to see the gifted fighter getting the recognition he deserves.
The Bad: While the match was good, it didn't flow as well as I was hoping. It was solid but I guess I was just expecting more, and we'll likely get that in the rematch. I also really wish the crowd was into it a little more. Don't get me wrong, they were vocal at the right times, but there were periods of near silence throughout. It didn't hurt the match, but it does come across as a little awkward when the athletes jump around in silence.
What's Next: After the match, Kendrick shook Perkins's hand before ambushing the champion. The commentary team did a great job of bringing up the history between these two, planting seeds for a personal rivalry, and it looks like that's exactly what we're going to see next. The title may be on the line again, but next time it'll be personal.
Cesaro vs Sheamus — Final Match In Their Best of Seven Series
Result: Cesaro and Sheamus ended in a No Contest.
The Good: When we first heard that Cesaro and Sheamus would have an intense rivalry, I don't think many of us were excited. And when Sheamus won the first three matches in their best of seven series, it was beginning to look like the WWE was burying Cesaro again. But then he started fighting back and won three of his own. Both upped their game in what was supposed to be the final match in the series, and put on one heck of a spectacle by both refusing to give up. This would have been a fitting ending to a surprisingly great series.
The Bad: As usual, bad overbooking got in the way of a great match, and the "neither man can continue" ending really hurt this. This needed to be the tie-breaker match, but the ending will now lead to the continuation of their story. Unfortunately, I really don't think they'll be able to achieve the same heights they did here. And on that note, I think all our hearts were in our mouths when we saw Cesaro land on his head after diving through the ropes. If you look closely, you can even see Sheamus trying to protect the Swiss Superman's head with his hands. This didn't hurt the great match by any means, I'm just pointing out the risk, but I think we can all be thankful this didn't significantly hurt Cesaro.
What's Next?: The Best of Seven series was designed to have one overall victor. Both men entered Clash Of Champions with three victories each and nothing was resolved. This saga will continue.
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Chris Jericho vs. Sami Zayn
Result: Chris Jericho defeated Sami Zayn.
The Good: The veteran Jericho has done a great job working with young talent these past few years, including the likes of Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose, and he did the same with Sami Zayn as the two put on a really solid match. Jericho continues to prove that he can hang with new talent, and his mid-match trash-talking was as hilarious as ever.
The Bad: While this was good, it also felt like it could have been better. There were a few botches, including a moonsault in which Zayn barely landed on Jericho. Furthermore, Zayn keeps ending up on the losing end of these rivalries, which is a problem. How can we take him seriously if he keeps losing?
What's Next?: All was said and done here. Both guys will move on after this match.
Charlotte vs. Bayley vs. Sasha Banks — WWE RAW Women's Championship
Result: Charlotte defeated Sasha Banks and Bayley to retain the RAW Women's Championship.
The Good: In what was arguably the match of the night, these three competitors proved that the women's division is just as formidable as the men's. I really enjoyed this match and there were some great moments in there, including Charlotte's double moonsault onto both Sasha Banks and Bayley as well as Sasha's vicious chop assault on the Women's Champion. I would have been happy to see this match go a lot longer and thought any of the three women would have been worthy victors. In the end, the heel Charlotte successfully defended her title and brought her championship PPV matches record to 12-0.
The Bad: I felt the ending — in which Charlotte booted Bayley into Sasha, knocking her off the ring before the champion would pin the fallen Bayley — kind of killed the audience. The fact that Bayley, a fan-favorite NXT call-up, was pinned cleanly again so soon into her main roster career didn't do her any favors.
What's Next?: Things aren't over between Sasha and Charlotte. As for Bayley, things kind of broke down between her and Sasha, so I wouldn't be surprised if we see a former best friends rivalry in the vein of 2009's Rey Mysterio and Batista rivalry.
Rusev vs. Roman Reigns — WWE United States Championship
Result: Roman Reigns defeated Rusev to become the new WWE U.S. Champion.
The Good: This was a really physical and grueling brawl between the two titans, and we couldn't have asked for anything more. The two really pulled all the punches here and provided us with some "smash-mouth" in your face physicality. Roman Reigns needed to win this, now maybe they'll build him up in the mid-card rather than forcing him straight to main event like last time.
The Bad: This match was exactly what it should have been, but nobody really wanted to see it in the first place. Reigns versus Rusev battles have served as the main events in RAWs and SmackDowns in the past, and with Reigns's victory we'll likely see it a whole lot more.
What's Next?: Reigns took Rusev's U.S. Championship from him, so you can almost guarantee that a rematch is coming.
Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins — WWE Universal Championship
Result: Kevin Owens defeated Seth Rollins to retain the WWE Universal Championship
The Good: Rollins and Owens represent the future of not just Monday Night RAW but the entire WWE. Both wrestlers put on a great show with some truly remarkable spots, including Rollins reversing Owens's Pop-up Powerbomb into a Pedigree. Owens's hilarious in-ring rants throughout helped to keep the slower parts of the match entertaining.
The Bad: On paper, Rollins versus Owens sounds like a five-star match, and while this delivered some solid moments it never achieved those heights. Although the second half really picked up, the first dragged a little. The Rollins's knee injury angle caused the match to be too slow too soon. He's the quicker of the two, and slowing him down hurt the match. The ending, which saw the referee knocked down, Chris Jericho interfere and Rollins try to revive the referee as Stephanie McMahon sent another one down, only for the challenger to be Powerbombed by Owens — also hurt the match. It was muddled, ambiguous and made Owens look pretty weak. As funny as Jericho's interference was, I don't think he really added anything to the match. We were expecting a Triple H interference, but instead we got this badly overbooked finish.
What's Next?: Stephanie sending the official down to "help" Rollins at the exact moment he would be preyed upon by Owens will definitely come into play in the future. McMahon hasn't been able to convince Rollins that she didn't know about his ambush at the hands of her husband Triple H last month, so her unfortunate timing with the referee won't do her any favors here. Plus, that closeup on her cold reaction wasn't an accident. The McMahon/Triple H and Rollins angle will accelerate after this.
Check out Seth Rollins receiving a standing ovation after his match:
RAW's first solo PPV was certainly a divisive show. The majority of matches were marred with controversial and unsatisfactory endings, which really hurt the better matches. While they will certainly lead to interesting continuations, as far as PPVs go, RAW is now trailing behind SmackDown LIVE, which managed to deliver a fresh, entertaining and well-booked show with Backlash 2016. All in all, Clash Of Champions was good, but it could have been so much better.
What did you think of WWE Clash Of Champions? Let us know in the comments below!