WWE Clash of Champions will be going down this Sunday as part of the WWE SmackDown Live brand. While there is a lot of interesting match-ups on the card, one thing is for sure about it. The show is kinda meh. What makes it that, however? As mentioned, there are some interesting match-ups and that does make us believe normally that the show has merit. However, it happens to be an end of the year show for the WWE. It’s pretty common that December is a time that WWE simply does not care.
November is a sweeps month for American TV programming and the same month that Big 4 event Survivor Series takes place. WWE put all their time and effort into that, which they find to be a big deal for them. In January, another Big 4 event goes down in the Royal Rumble. This means that WWE has two big months that major content has to be made for. Yet December is smack-dab in the middle, and it still requires content to be made for it. WWE could spend time making content that gets them ready for the Rumble, but with the brand split….they have an issue.
WWE RAW is building toward the Rumble but the blue brand needs Clash of Champions out of the way before they can do that. The issue here is that none of these matches actually do anything for the progression of the roster, except two. That is for the WWE Championship, involving the champion AJ Styles against Jinder Mahal. And of course, we have Zayn/Owens vs Nakamura/Orton. After this, nothing of any value comes from the other matches other than some small set-ups for the Rumble and blue brand shows. Despite this, we need to break down what you should be expecting at this event.
WWE SmackDown Live Women’s Title: Charlotte Flair(c) vs Natalya
Charlotte Flair just won the WWE Women’s Championship on a big SmackDown Live episode when in Charlotte, North Carolina. Meanwhile Natalya has yet to get a true rematch for the championship that she feels is good enough. Therefore setting up the match we have now between the two ladies. Their storied history dates back years to even the WWE NXT Women’s Title, where Flair beat Neidhart for the vacant title. They have fought off and on since, always giving an interesting match each time out.
Flair is unlikely to drop this soon into her reign, and she has one of the best PPV records of anyone in the history of WWE. Knowing what we’re seeing here, it makes sense to believe Natalya loses and Flair retains. There is an expectation that Carmella could cash in tonight to surprise everyone when Charlotte least expects it, as well as fans. However, that is about all we could see that makes this any bigger. Ruby Riott is expected to begin a program with Flair heading into the new year, so it make sense to think she’ll want the title and could end up getting it.
If the rumors are true of Ronda Rousey coming in to face Flair, one would assume that she could make her appearance as soon as the Rumble and cost Flair her match against Riott. Thereby setting up their match on the grandest stage of them all. To get there however, she has to get through Clash of Champions. Which means we’re likely to see her retain. Seeing her walk out of the arena with the title is up in the air at any time however, as long as Carmella has Money in the Bank in play. With this being a Lumberjill match, we’re likely to see a lot of crazy things go down which could allow for the Staten Island Princess to cash in. Who knows?
The Bludgeon Brothers vs Breezango
Breezango realized that they needed to prove themselves and stand up to fear, so they, more-so Fandango, challenged the Bludgeon Brothers to a tag match at Clash of Champions. Harper and Rowan have proven to be a good team dating back to their time in the Wyatt Family. With Bray Wyatt on WWE RAW and with them on SmackDown Live, it makes sense to change up the gimmick and go a direction that allows them to tag together without being part of the family. They’ve done well so far, though the team has not exactly been beloved from a name and look perspective.
Fan-favorite duo Breezango make sense to win in a match like this right? Not so much. Expect Harper and Rowan to run through them, despite how hilarious they may be, they’re not going to win. It’s likely we see them in a tag title match down the line, but not soon. Harper and Rowan are likely bound to win the tag titles despite what anyone wants to see. WWE seems to be set on that, and it would not shock anyone to see it happen by WrestleMania next year. They need a win at Clash of Champions to ensure they get a shot at them.
WWE United States Championship: Baron Corbin(c) vs Bobby Roode vs Dolph Ziggler
It is odd to say this, because we have not said it about the WWE United States Championship in long time. However, this match for the title seems to be one that no one cares a bit about. There’s a reason for that. While Roode and Ziggler might be good performers, Corbin is a snooze-fest most of the time. Even Ziggler has gotten to the point where he’s just going through the motions and isn’t truly delivering at the level he once was. It’s as if he is a guy desperate to cling to what little he has left and is holding others back in the process. Ziggler being in this match only ensures he’ll take the fall to help set up a match with Roode and Corbin.
This is one of the few matches on the card that actually could result in a title change. While the rest seem to be a forgone conclusion that a retaining point is there, the U.S. Title match allows for a change. Again, Ziggler’s addition to the match allows for the switch to occur as Corbin never has to lose and Roode can beat Dolph. Roode is clearly someone fans love right now and it makes total sense to make him a champion heading into WrestleMania. But this soon? It’s unlikely Corbin loses, but we need to at least give Roode as high as a 30% chance to win just due to the match we’re seeing here.
WWE SmackDown Live Tag Team Championship: The Usos(c) vs The New Day vs Rusev & Aiden English vs Gable & Benjamin
This match is a clear cluster-f***, and there is no other way around it. WWE is desperate to try and keep The Usos looking relevant after they beat and ended the rivalry with New Day. They do not want them to drop the titles, but also do not want them to look stale as champions. So what better way to do that than have them take on various teams two on two? Oh, they’re too good for that. We’ve already seen New Day get their shot at the titles, and they were not supposed to be involved after their latest rivalry. So moving on to Gable and Benjamin made sense.
Not only did WWE crap all over that rivalry, not allowing it any legs to do anything worth something….but then they removed the idea of even considering it for an end of the year PPV one-off. WWE then establishes Rusev and English as a team yet has not had them tag very much until lately. Yet somehow they’re more worthy than others to be given a title match or they’re worthy enough to even get into this one?
It’s unlikely The Usos lose their titles this soon, as WWE is wanting to make them dominate. Though do not be surprised if WWE goes right back to the crutch of New Day vs Usos with New Day winning the titles at this event. Seeing as the company seems to be allergic to making any good tag program outside of this one on the blue brand thus far.
Randy Orton & Shinsuke Nakamura vs Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
While this could very well main event the show, it’ll likely be close to last regardless. The reason has not to do with the match being a big deal from a match-up perspective. There is no ill-will of any vast significance between the two sides. Well, other than Zayn and Owens interfering in the Survivor Series 5 on 5 men’s match. Nakamura and Orton have both gotten their hands on each man since then. WWE SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon, however, is overextending his power and plans to fire Owens and Zayn if they lose this match. Not just from SmackDown, but the entire WWE. So no hop over to RAW.
It appears Shane wanted to ensure the match went his way. So he added himself as the special guest referee. The fix is in and it made no sense to even watch, as the result was already decided. Right? Not exactly. See, SmackDown Live General Manager Daniel Bryan feels for Owens and Zayn and realizes it does appear that they will get screwed by a vengeful Shane McMahon. It makes sense to assume, because it would be a reality. In order to stop this, Bryan inserted himself as a second special guest referee. This is to make sure the result is fair for BOTH sides.
This is supposed to set up a rivalry between Bryan and McMahon. The goal ultimately would be to have the two wrestle at the WrestleMania 34 event. This would only happen if Bryan can get cleared when he visits Joseph Maroon in January, WWE’s doctor responsible for clearing talent. Cleared or not, WWE is going through with this rivalry according to reports. If he isn’t cleared, Bryan would simply name someone to wrestle on his behalf against Shane at the show of shows. However, to set that up, we’ll need to see Owens and Zayn win.
WWE Championship: AJ Styles(c) vs Jinder Mahal
It is unlikely you were a big fan of the Jinder Mahal push as things first got going. We do not blame you, as many were against the move made by WWE. Mahal had 6 wins in the span of 2 years for WWE by the time he won the WWE Championship. He has retained with the help of the Singh Brothers all year, annoying fans the entire time. While Jinder has looked the part, and his wrestling/mic work has all improved….he’s still not over to the extent that a World Title makes sense right now. Vince McMahon felt the same, which is why he went ahead and made the early call for AJ Styles to win the gold and even hold it past the Indian Tour this month.
AJ Styles needs to end the rivalry with Mahal, who has yet to his official rematch. Once this is over, we can move on from this rivalry and to another. It is rumored that Shinsuke Nakamura will be his opponent by WrestleMania 34. However, we’re months away from that. This means we’re likely to see a weird ending to this match that could end up concluding their rivalry at The Royal Rumble event next month. WWE can move on from this though, and they likely will. The question will be, whose next for AJ Styles? One would conclude it is someone WWE does not want to win the title, but could threaten for it. There are several who fit that on the blue brand today.
Conclusions For WWE Clash Of Champions:
We’re going to get an interesting event that won’t mean much. While no title is expected to change hands, WWE also likes to pull out surprises. This is a blink and you’ll forget this happened sort of show, despite Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn’s career being on the line. This is in spite of multiple titles being on the line and forcing an intriguing move for what’s next. The issue overall is that the show does not appeal like the last number of them have because we know WWE is preparing for the run to WrestleMania now.
It feels like they are as well, thus meaning this show seems like nothing. This is why WWE can try and flip the script and make this a must-see event. The problem? They simply do not have the ability to when, basically, they’re doing exactly what we’re assuming. Sad, but true.