Luke Harper returns to WWE! The Fiend shows up and fingers Seth Rollins’ mouth! And Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks have a great match, and a terrible ending.
I’m Oli Davis, press the thumbs up button, give us a subscribe and answer our question of the day in the comments down below:
What next for Luke Harper? Because I’ll be replying to people FROM OUTTA NOWHERE…saying it’s Clash of Champions. You know what that means.
Also vote in the poll above my head to give your rating for the show, where you can choose from: Best of Both Worlds, Great Per View, Thumbs in the Middle, Meh Per View and Worst of Both Worlds. While Luke and I review WWE Clash of Champions 2019!
As those who watched our livestream reactions of the show, you will know we giggled like school children with the fact that the acronym of Clash of Champions is CoC… cock. So, will Clash of Champions be a flaccid CoC or a rock hard stiff CoC?
Well if the pre-show was anything to go by, it’s very much the former. Tthe action kicked off with Cruiserweight action as Drew Gulak defended his title against Lince Dorado and Humberto Carrillo. This was pretty good, but the ending was a little sloppy – with Gulak retaining his championship after repeating the Baron Corbin King of the Ring semi final finish from just six days ago on Raw.
Surprisingly, given the Women’s Tag Titles were being defended on this show, AJ’s United States Championship defence against Cedric Alexander was somehow on the pre-show. Cedric started hot, but AJ took over with a brainbuster on the apron and a Styles Clash on the outside. He then pulled Alexander’s shoulder up off a pin he could have easily taken. Oh, I know this one, the cocky heel thinks they’ve got it all wrapped up, and come undone when the babyface pins them from out of nowhere to shock and surprise – oh no wait, AJ just beat him up more and won very convincingly. How… odd. This made Cedric Alexander look totally rubbish, and kills any credibility he might have had as a title contender. The O.C. then beat him up after the match to really put emphasis on that Cedric is rubbish. I guess that’s what you get for having the audacity to wrestle in front of your hometown crowd and get a hometown pop.
The main show kicked off with the Raw tag team champions Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman – who will also be fighting each other later in the night for Seth’s Universal title, I’m sure that won’t play into anything here – defending their tag belts against RooDolph the Impromptu tag team, where Bobby Roode and Dolph Ziggler isolated Rollins for most of the match, for Braun to then run round into people.
Unfortunately, one of those people was Seth, allowing Bobby to hit a Glorious DDT to become the new Raw tag team champions – which means we get to do this!
Next up came mostly heel, hometown girl Charlotte (so she’s definitely losing) against the also heel (recently turned) Bayley. But tonight, for about 4 minutes, Charlotte wrestled like a total babyface, until she was tripped into an exposed turnbuckle, where Bayley got the devious win and ran out the arena quicker than you can say Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tubemen.
Raw team The Revival looked to win the Smackdown Tag Team Championships from New Day – brand split lol – and they came out with Randy Orton inspired jackets, and trunks that reflected their new stable. Shame Randy didn’t get the memo for his match later. The heels worked over the babyfaces for a while, hit a Shatter Machine in Big E on the outside, and another to Xavier Woods. But instead of pinning, they targeted the injured knee and made Woods tap out. The finish sort of worked, but also fell flat as the crowd didn’t know how to react to it.
Alexa Blissly Quinn was backstage with Nikki Cross, when the boom mic came into shot. It was R-Truth who made Carmella instantly break character – SEND FOR THE MAN – and this resulted in some 24/7 comedy. And somehow that “comedy” spilled into Bliss & Cross defending their Women’s Tag Titles against Fire & Desire, with the 24/7 geeks all running down and jumping into the ring. The crowd were dead before this happened, and the shenanigans didn’t help get them into the women’s tag title match either. Cross won with her neckbreaker, and this company clearly doesn’t care about either the Women’s Tag Titles or the 24/7 belt at this point.
Shinsuke Nakamura’s selling is really good. Shinsuke Nakamura’s kicks are really good. Shinsuke Nakamura’s sliding German suplexes are really good. You know what, I think Nakamura might just be really good.
It’s easy to forget when you hardly see the guy wrestle for months, and watching him against the Miz here was a treat – especially with Miz holding up his sports entertainment side of the equation. Sami Zayn interfered constantly, helping Nakamura retain the Intercontinental title in a fun match.
Becky Lynch vs Sasha Banks was a war of submissions, with all the best moments of their 20 minute match happening in either the Banks Statement or the DisarmHer.
And the crowd got even more into the drama when the match went full on sports entertained, with Sasha using the steel chair behind the referee’s back, and then dodging a shot from Becky which practically killed the referee considering how frail they are. It’s like she’s a fan of Eddie Guerrero or something. She should really bring that up more.
This started a fun brawl through the crowd, around the concourse, and then back in the ring with the chair. Well, it was fun, until you realise the match had actually finished 5 minutes previously.
You see, Corey Graves explained, officials disqualified Becky as soon as she accidentally struck the ref. But then why didn’t anyone try to stop the ensuing brawl or ring the bell? This just made the crowd confused as the action fizzled out to a limp finish. And if there’s one thing you do not want CoC to be… it’s limp.
Oddly, given how the feud has been booked since Summerslam, Randy Orton vs. Kofi Kingston – I said the right names this time, right? – didn’t have the intensity their Summerslam match had. This felt like a match from 15 years ago, when every company had talent that was doing way more impressive and exciting things than WWE was producing. Only now those talents are now in WWE and they’re still putting this match out there. There’s nothing wrong with slow and methodical, but the finish to the Banks vs. Becky match totally killed the crowd and they were only reacting to the big spots. To quote Oli Davis’ notes on this match verbatim: “Boring, boring, boring. RKO from outta nowhere. Is Orange Cassidy a Randy Orton parody?” In the end, Kofi hit the Trouble in Paradise for the win. Even his celebration was a bit boring.
Street Profits then plugged the King of the Ring finals for Raw with some genuinely funny references to The Lion King, and a great bonus appearance from KING BOOKAH~!
Rowan vs Roman Reigns was the only match not for a Championship on a show called Clash of Champions. And it’s an 11 match card. There’s too many titles on the main roster. And it went on second to last.
As many of the big men are booked in WWE these days, Rowan’s major foe wasn’t Roman Reigns, but running into objects when Reigns moves out the way at the last second. Just like Sasha and Becky earlier, they got their own brawl around the crowd, with a fantastic crossbody from Rowan – which was the stiffest CoC of the night – and Roman getting put through multiple tables, and one MacBook Pro!
But just when Roman appeared to have it won, Luke Harper returned from out of nowhere (or ‘contract purgatory’, to be more precise) with a big boot to help his former Bludgeon Brother Rowan win.
Harper’s return is a genuinely shocking one, as Vince McMahon reportedly cancelled all of Luke’s creative plans after hating a match he had with EC3 in April. This led to Harper publicly requesting his release from WWE on Twitter, which was refused, and he became stuck in contract purgatory, possibly until it expired in 2020.
According to WrestleVotes, Harper’s return appears to have been in the works for weeks, as this match was scheduled to go on last, with him being the closing big angle surprise. But why now?
Harper’s return could mean he has agreed to sign a new deal with WWE, much like when Mike and Maria Kannelis, and Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson re-signed their contracts earlier this year, who were then brought back for brief pushes once agreeing to stay. But how long could Harper’s push last for?
If Vince has changed his mind on him, Harper could become a key player in SmackDown’s biggest storyline – ‘who attacked Roman Reigns?’ – where he could be the other assailant alongside Rowan as a Bludgeon Brothers reunion. Or, as some have pointed out, all the original Wyatt Family members played a part in the last two matches of the show – Rowan and Harper here, with Braun in the main event, and Bray attacking Seth afterwards. Could this also be foreshadowing a Wyatt Family reunion down the line, maybe even for the team-based Survivor Series?
The main event of the Universal Championship match between Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman was exactly the match it needed to be: a crash, bang, wallop, big move match that is done and dusted within 10 minutes. The tag title win and loss didn’t play it it at all, but that doesn’t really matter when Braun is doing a big splash from the top rope and blowing everyone’s tiny minds. Braun was made to look super strong, kinging out at 1 from a Curb Stomp, and being hit by three more and a Pedigree for Seth Rollins to add Monster Slayer to his list of rubbish nicknames. I’m pretty sure it was that Pedigree that really put Braun away.
And then as Seth walked up the ramp and celebrated, the end graphic of Swerve signalled an appearance from Bray Wyatt’s Fiend to Yowie the Wowies out of Rollins – hitting the Sister Abigail on the ramp and choking him out with the Mandible Claw. Not only was the Seth vs. Braun match exactly what it needed to be, the finale of The Fiend was a brilliant way to cap of the night and set up the Hell in a Cell Universal Championship match between Bray and The Fiend Slayer. Urgh, they’re going to call him that, aren’t they?
Clash of Champions 2019 was a mixed bag of a show. Some parts of it were very good, some parts where utterly forgettable, other parts where really pants, and some bits – namely the final two matches along with the surprise return and Fiend appearance – were fantastic. It is how you leave them, folks – and I was left a very happy man. But judging the PPV as a whole, Clash of Champions 2019 was Thumbs in the Middle.
Can I beat CastleVania? A game I’ve never finished despite playing it for a large portion of my 33 years on this planet? Click the ScreenStalker video to find out. And should The Fiend win at Summerslam? El Fakidor and myself discuss that and so much more in the WrestleRamble. I’ve been Luke Owen, and that was wrestling.