Clash of Champions 2016: Awards and observations

(Photo courtesy of WWE.com)
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Sunday night, Raw presented its first solo pay-per-view since the brand extension, Clash of Champions. The card featured every title on the line, though only one belt switched hands.

Kevin Owens (Universal), Charlotte (Women’s), New Day (Tag Team) and TJ Perkins (Cruiserweight) all were able to retain their belts against Seth Rollins, Sasha Banks & Bayley, Gallows & Anderson, and Brian Kendrick, respectively. The matches were solid, though none completely stood out as all-time classics.

The only belt to switch hands was the United States Championship, as Rusev dropped the belt to Roman Reigns. It was a title change that was questionable in many fans’ minds, because Rusev was a good champion and Reigns has gotten a ton of opportunities — and the fans still dislike him.

With that, let’s hand out the awards for the night and take a look at some notes and observations from each match.

Wrestler of the Night: Chris Jericho

Although I was not a huge fan of the way the main event ended with outside interference again, Jericho had the best night of any wrestler. One could argue Reigns deserves this award, but the tepid response he received after winning the U.S. title held him back, as it should. Jericho put on a strong match against Sami Zayn early on, winning against the young, talented opponent. Then, he made an appearance in the main event, which was a major impact. It led to ally Kevin Owens retaining his belt.

Match of the Night: TJ Perkins vs. Brian Kendrick

This slot looked like it would go to Cesaro and Sheamus, but the abrupt ending that stalled the last match in their best-of-seven match took away that chance. That said, Perkins and Kendrick, given their limited exposure to main-roster WWE fans, put on a great match that had the audience hot. Perkins looks to be the type of babyface that can thrive in this newly minted division, while Kendrick is one of the only legitimate heels to be brought over after the CWC. That dynamic, in addition to their great chemistry, made the match intriguing.

(Photo courtesy of WWE.com)

(Photo courtesy of WWE.com)

Notes and Observations

New Day thrives, Club continues to flounder

Let me start off by saying that I am happy that the WWE has decided to let a champion (or champions) keep their belts for as long as they have let the New Day keep theirs. Sometimes belts change hands too frequently and it makes the titles seem less important. So, bravo on making the tag titles important.

That said, it’s amazing how badly the WWE has damaged Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson as a tag team. They came into the company as hot free agents and shoo-ins to be a dominant heel tag team championship team. That’s not quite how it’s worked out.

In fact, they have been completely buried. They have gotten terrible storylines, they’ve looked like stooges and now, they have been bested by the New Day yet again. Where do they go now?

What was a good match led to yet another defeat for the Club. I don’t know if their current run can recover. Clash of Champions was another bad night in a run of bad nights for what should have been one of the top teams in WWE.

Perkins and Kendrick keep cruiserweights cool

The cruiserweight renaissance has been one of the best things going in WWE in recent times, and the first title defense between TJ Perkins and Brian Kendrick kept that trend going.

In what was a great match with some solid spots, Kendrick and Perkins put on yet another great showing with strong suspense, good psychology and exciting action. For two guys that most of the fans don’t know, these guys really went out there and made a name for themselves.

With the attack after the match, you can guarantee that this feud continues on past Clash of Champions. In the meanwhile, the rest of the cruiserweights need to establish themselves, gain fanfare and continue to make this division deep and interesting.

Best of seven…goes eight…or 10?

Whether it was planned or an injury to Cesaro really foiled the plans of match seven of his series with Sheamus, the ending was highly dissatisfying from a feud that really didn’t have a ton of steam anyways.

Despite the fact that Cesaro and Sheamus have had good matches, I was really looking forward to it being done here. I quite frankly am sick of watching the same two guys wrestle all the time. Remember, before the best-of-seven series, they wrestled two times in a row leading to this series. So really, it’s best of nine.

Now, they have to break the tie again, unless the feud leaves the series unwon, which would be incredibly disappointing. Cesaro needs to win this feud, so unfortunately, we will have to watch unofficial match No. 10 in this series.

Solid Jericho-Zayn match…seeds to future Owens continuance?

In what was one of the better matches of the night, Jericho and Zayn once again proved why Canadian wrestling is a powerhouse. The feud itself hasn’t been anything to write home about, but at least the match was good.

Surprisingly, Jericho went over Zayn, which leads me to believe this feud is nowhere near done. However, Jericho is a proxy of Owens, and given the lengthy history between Zayn and Owens so far in the WWE, it seems to imply that this is a seed to a future rekindling of their fierce, fun rivalry.

Will we see Zayn challenging Owens in the future for his WWE Universal Championship? Maybe not, but if we do, it could be another great program between the two in what has been one of the best rivalries of the past couple years.

Charlotte wins…do we care?

Yes, the women of the WWE had another great match for the Women’s Championship. However, Charlotte retained over the two more vastly popular opponents in Sasha Banks and Bayley. So, does the WWE care that much?

Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of Charlotte’s work and athleticism. She’s been a very strong champion, but it’s almost like she’s approaching Triple H “Reign of Terror” proportions in her stranglehold of the belt.

And don’t get me wrong, I totally understand why.

Bayley is too new to the main roster to be gifted the belt. Sure, Finn Balor got the star treatment, but the company can’t make it a habit of always throwing the title on a newcomer.

And Banks has proven that she can’t consistently stay healthy enough to be trusted to carry the belt. That’s why her reign on top ended in the first place.

That said, the WWE needs to decide what they want to do and fast. They can’t keep feeding their top two female baby faces to their top heel or else the wind will come out of their sails.

Sigh…Roman Reigns = United States Champion

I will keep this brief. Because Kontek wants to crush, much like his hero Rusev.

WWE continues to give Reigns undeserved opportunity after undeserved opportunity. And now, they’ve taken the belt off of one of their most credible heels and gave it to their most natural villain.

On a side note, at least the match was good, despite the glaring disapproval of fans after Reigns secured the victory.

Great match…not so great finish?

Owens retained his belt, and like when he won it, he couldn’t do it by himself. It’s like he watched Seth Rollins’ title reign when he was in the Authority storyline and said, “Yeah, let’s do that!”

The fact of the matter is that the match itself was great. The ending was “meh.”

First off, Rollins has become super babyface since his turn, even though he’s always illiciting strong responses. He’s back to taking more daredevil chances, he’s convincing in his disdain for the Authority’s betrayal of him and he continues to put on stellar performances. He’s the complete package (sorry, Lex Lugar).

Now, it makes sense that Jericho comes down to aid his friend, but at the same time, can Owens just bend the rules instead of needing interference? It’s going to devalue him as a champion.

Either way, it was a good match.

Clash of Champions 2016: Awards and observations

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