Fill in the blank: WWE’s Clash of Champions go-home show was ________.
Joseph Nardone: An abomination to four of the five senses. Luckily, we — at least those watching at home — can’t smell how bad of a show that was.
One of the champions — TJ Perkins — wasn’t even on the show, the Universal Champion lost, and the biggest moment of Raw, at least for me, was when it was over and I got to look at my email to see the questions to this roundtable.
Honestly, it was as bad a go-home show a person can ask for — assuming people are magically asking for bad go-home shows.
You would think that the WWE would try like hell to make the first go-home to a Raw exclusive Network Special feel more important than what we witnessed, but then again, you would be thinking, which is a big no-no in pro wrestling consumption.
Travis Wakeman: Decent, but way short of spectacular. It didn’t make you want to watch Clash of Champions anymore than you did this morning, if that makes sense. I hate multi-Superstar matches and WWE just does it way too often. The whole thing with Jericho, Enzo and Cass, Sami Zayn, etc. lacked creativity for me. Instead of building each of those matches one by one, they decided to roll them all up into one and at the end. Who cares? That segment was the worst part of the show and had me flipping over to Monday Night Football. The show could have been booked better and that particular segment was my biggest gripe.
Daniel DeMarco: Typical of most WWE go-home shows nowadays: unmemorable. Think about it; Clash of Champions is going to feature five championship matches. That should be a major, major show, but it just does not feel like it. The only match that has some real heat going in to it is Rusev vs. Roman Reigns. This PPV build was slightly better than the recent Backlash buildup, but not a whole lot better. Now, it is not all bad. There are some really solid matchups coming up Sunday. But the intrigue seems to stem more from my own personal feelings towards the matches and the people involved than WWE’s direct promotion of the event. Overall, it was just a show.
Jason Hall: Pretty uneventful. Aside from introducing the cruiserweights it seemed like a pretty generic Raw. Basically everything was just setting up to what we already know. The only addition was that Bayley was added to the Women’s Championship match. Duh, why else would the pinfall even be close enough to look like both her and Sasha were down?
Riley Kontek: Pretty uneventful, surprisingly. There were a lot of useless squash matches, a lot of dumb backstage segments and very little overall substance, from this writer’s point of view. While Seth Rollins saving Roman Reigns after the main event was a major highlight and we got a top contender for the cruiserweight championship, there wasn’t a whole lot that got excitement flowing through my veins for Sunday.
Was Brian Kendrick the right choice for the first challenger to the CW title?
JN: Totally. You don’t want the other guys to look weak (yet) in singles matches. At the same time, Kendrick can function as a wrestler no matter the wins or losses he is racking up. Assuming Perkins is the Cruiserweight Champion for at least one Network Special, this was a good move.
Not to mention that Kendrick won’t be overwhelmed by being on a Network Special — and a presumed showcase match. Plus, he can work with nearly anyone. He can adapt to Perkins’ style, make him look good while looking good himself, and help put on a very entertaining match.
That’s not to say the others are incapable of that, but I like the idea of going for the more sure-thing for the first title defense of this new division.
TW: I’ll say no. I was surprised that Kendrick won. I expected Cedric Alexander to win but I was pulling for Gran Metalik so we’d get a rematch of the CWC finals. And to not even have TJ Perkins on the show tonight? That was bad too. As for Kendrick, I can only imagine WWE wants to go with a guy that at least some fans will recognize. It can also continue to play up this “comeback” storyline with him. I just really, really hope WWE doesn’t screw this cruiserweight division up. The 32-man tournament was so perfect that it was almost like it wasn’t a WWE event. However, the the division needs some outside-the-box booking and should stray from the usual WWE ideas. If not, it could fizzle out quickly and that would be a shame.
DD: Absolutely. Could not have picked a better guy to be Perkins’ first challenger. Obviously, there is basically no buildup to the match given the bad timing of everything. People who did not watch the CWC and/or don’t know the competitors are essentially going into Clash of Champions blind. That said, Kendrick is the closest thing to making the most out of that situation. The guy is a veteran. He is going to be able to make Perkins look great and do his thing. Plus, Kendrick has been in the WWE before and has that great storyline going for him revolving around his age and this being his last shot to do something big in the business. That’s a story you can present the night of and it will resonate. It is exactly what was done during the CWC, and it worked to a tee. Things look set for a great cruiserweight title match on Sunday.
JH: Kendrick is the most recognizable name to a common fan. Swann and Alexander are great and should continue to be built as credible competitors, but Kendrick provides veteran experience. Plus, it’s unlikely that TJP is going to drop the belt shortly after winning it. Kendrick is likely there in a similar role to Jericho, put over the newer guys.
RK: This may be unpopular, but yes, I think it was the right choice. He has the most name recognition and is the only heel to challenge the great babyface that is TJ Perkins. I thought they would go with Cedric Alexander, but Kendrick is a good choice. He’s a former WWE roster member, has great technical skills and will likely try to steal the show with Perkins. There are other guys that could have better matches with Perkins, but the dynamic that Kendrick will have with Perkins makes him the right choice for the first title defense.
What title match has the most momentum going into Sunday?
JN: The answer is honestly none, because they all feel like they were built in a scarp yard, but I will go with Rusev vs. Roman Reigns, only because the two don’t look incredibly weak heading into their scripted battle on Sunday.
Other than that, the rest of the builds felt a combination of forced and rushed. I get that the company had (relatively) little time to get this show together, but we very literally just watched a go-home episode of Raw in which the most important man on the brand — the Universal Champion — lost to a guy who can lose to a mid-card title holder on Sunday.
My brain hurts from all this sadness.
TW: I’ll go with the universal title just because it’s had the most focus placed on it, as it should. The segment between Seth Rollins and Stephanie McMahon in her “office” really helped build things up for the match with Kevin Owens. Whether Stephanie knew what Triple H had planned or not, she did make it clear that she feels Owens is the better guy to be in the top spot. I feel that line right there helped sell that match. On top of the fact that you know Rollins and Owens are going to put on a great match, it now has a little more fuel to it with the whole Triple H-Stephanie aspect hanging over it.
DD: Storyline-wise? Rusev vs. Roman Reigns. But as a match itself, you have to go with Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins. The cruiserweight match could be considered too, but if we are being honest, much of the WWE audience is not too familiar with that matchup. Owens-Rollins appeals to the hardcore fans and the casual fans alike. Two of the biggest stars in the company who also happen to be two of its best wrestlers. Barring WWE wants some type of gimmick finish for Sunday, Owens and Rollins could easily put on the best match on the night. It is a matchup with something for everyone — just the way a major title match should be.
JH: The Universal Championship. Owens vs. Rollins will be the best title match on the card. That’s a feud fans have been waiting for. Only now it’s a possibility since Rollins is a babyface. That match should deliver and elevate the new world championship.
RK: The Universal Championship match. The fans couldn’t care less about Roman Reigns in his United States Championship match. The Cruiserweight Championship match is still in its inception stage. The Women’s Championship probably has the second most momentum. The Tag Team Championship match has lost a considerable amount of steam. Owens-Rollins should be good and it has the most momentum.