Clash of Champions was the final WWE pay-per-view of 2017 and it was supposed to be an impactful end to a long year in WWE. Sadly, it didn’t work out this way, as the second annual version of the event felt more like an extended episode of SmackDown Live, with so much promise coming from the buildup but so very little actually being delivered.
The company used pretty much the entire SmackDown Live roster for last night’s event, but it seems that they were still missing that star quality since they had four of the biggest stars on the brand stuck in a tag team match. It was always going to be a pay-per-view that was either solid or disappointing, but it seems that once again Clash of Champions will be put in the disappointment column since there are a number of things that WWE could have pulled the trigger with but essentially decided not to.
As with every pay-per-view, there were a number of things that WWE did manage to get right last night, but for everything that the company got right, there were two more things that they got wrong. The following list looks at 10 things that WWE got wrong last night as well as looking at the flip side and looking at five things that the company got right. It was a lacklustre night in Boston, Massachusetts, and considering this was WWE’s grand pay-per-view finale for the year, the WWE Universe has good reason to be disappointed.
15. Wrong: Rawley And Ryder Were Relegated To The Kick-Off Show
Mojo Rawley and Zack Ryder have been best friends and part of The Hype Bros ever since their time in NXT back in 2015, so how ironic is it that there was absolutely no hype surrounding their match against each other last night? Mojo and Ryder weren’t even on SmackDown Live this past week and instead had to announce their match on social media as a challenge.
The kickoff show is usually the thing that many members of the WWE Universe avoid watching before the main show because it is full of video packages that will be repeated later in the night. This means that relegating these two stars to the pre-show has left them in a position now where their feud against each other is probably over because most of the WWE Universe won’t even remember that they had a match last night. It’s sad because Mojo has a lot of potential, something that will be discussed further in this list.
14. Wrong: The Women’s Championship Match Was Hard To Watch
It was a gamble by WWE to make the SmackDown Women’s Championship match a lumberjack match last night, especially since The Riott Squad has been receiving a lot of negative attention over the past few weeks. The trio was promoted from NXT and it seems that many of the WWE Universe doesn’t feel as though they are ready to be on the main roster and last night proved it.
At times it was cringe-worthy watching these women attempt to attack Charlotte every time she was thrown outside of the ring. Lana and Carmella didn’t help matters by looking like deer in the headlights and botching a number of moves that just made the match look sloppy. Natalya and Charlotte should have faced each other one-on-one and the other women should have been put in a tag team match rather than allowing them to ruin a match between the two best women’s wrestlers that the company has.
13. Right: Mojo Rawley Defeated Zack Ryder
Mojo Rawley won the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royale at WrestleMania back in April, while Zack Ryder has already reached the point in his career where he’s realized that he will always be seen as a jobber. Mojo is said to be one of Triple H‘s favourite superstars, which means that he is obviously set to be a huge star on SmackDown in the coming months.
Mojo needed to defeat Ryder if he had any hopes of becoming the star that the WWE Universe thought he would be and shockingly, he actually did. It wasn’t a show-stopping match by any stretch of the imagination, but all Mojo had to do was defeat Ryder so that he comes out of this feud on top and can now continue to climb the ladder that will hopefully lead to a title shot or even a place in The Royal Rumble next month.
12. Wrong: Corey Graves Destroyed Byron Saxton On Commentary
Corey Graves is considered to be the best commentator that WWE has at the moment, while Byron Saxton is one who often receives more negative attention than positive. This is all with good reason since Corey always stands out and makes Byron looks stupid if he points something out that doesn’t make sense.
Graves was obviously in the festive spirit already last night and proved it whenever Byron spoke up as he epically shut him down. Graves is the only commentator in WWE who covers both Raw and SmackDown and he proved why last night, but it seems unfair that Graves always has to belittle Byron to put himself over. Graves isn’t a wrestler anymore. His job is to talk and he can easily do that without burying the people who sit beside him every week. Saxton does gain a lot of abuse on a regular basis, but Graves comments will only continue to fuel this, why is it wrong when JBL does it but not when Graves does?
11. Wrong: WWE Obviously Forgot How Over Shinsuke Nakamura Is
There could be an entire article dedicated to how much WWE has misused Shinsuke Nakamura ever since he arrived on the main roster a few months ago, but instead, this one is about how WWE found out the error of their ways last night. Nakamura was one of the stars who was wasted in the tag team match that was only used as a platform for Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan, but the WWE Universe was in full voice.
When Nakamura made his entrance, the crowd continued to sing his theme after it had finished and until Randy Orton‘s was played, showing WWE that even though they aren’t using Nakamura to the full extent of his potential, the WWE Universe is still behind him. The former NXT Champion has hardly been used on TV since Survivor Series, but he wasn’t the star who took the pin last night, which is about the only positive for the Japanese star right now.
10. Right: Charlotte Retained Her Women’s Championship
Charlotte only won the Women’s Championship two months ago in her hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina but it seemed a genuine concern that Natalya could defeat The Queen at Clash of Champions, especially since the odds were stacked heavily against her. The Riott Squad as well as Tamina, Lana, and Carmella were all on Natalya’s side as part of the lumberjack match, which left on Naomi in her corner.
Somehow Charlotte managed to defy the odds and take out all of the women with a top rope moonsault before Nattie tried to throw her into the ring and lock in the Sharpshooter, but Charlotte counted with a Figure Eight to win the match and retain her title at the second consecutive Clash of Champions event. It will be interesting to see which woman steps up as Charlotte’s next challenger in the coming months with WrestleMania season right around the corner.
9. Wrong: The Usos Retained The Tag Team Championships
The Usos walked into Clash of Champions with the SmackDown Tag Team Championships and walked straight back out with the titles after defending them in a match that was hard to follow from the beginning. WWE decided that the fatal four-way match would see four competitors in the ring at once and they were only allowed to tag in their own partners.
This made the match a little bit confusing for many fans, but it was obvious who the most over team was. Rusev and Aiden English were cheered from the moment they made their way to the ring and even forced to WWE Universe to boo The New Day, who are faces. WWE missed a huge chance to put the titles on the popular duo, who twice could have had the win in the match before The Usos pinned Chad Gable to retain. Hopefully, 2018 gives the WWE Universe a better reason to celebrate Rusev Day.
8. Wrong: Carmella Didn’t Cash Her Money In The Bank Contract
It was the perfect set up, the perfect moment and still, WWE didn’t pull the trigger on Carmella cashing in her Money in the Bank contract. Carmella is never going to be able to defeat Charlotte one-on-one. She is already aware of that, which means that the brawl that happened last night would have been the perfect distraction for her to cash in her case on the Women’s Champion.
While Carmella teased the fact that she was going to cash in, she was unable to actually do it because she was caught up in the fight and was then knocked out before the end of the match. It would have been the best time for her to do it. There may not be many other chances like that for Carmella to sneak in and pick up her first WWE Championship, and the longer she leaves it, the less chance she has of actually winning.
7. Right: Kevin Owens And Sami Zayn Saved Their Jobs
Was anyone actually worried? Alright, we were a little, but when the company announced that they would be fired from all of WWE and not just SmackDown Live, it was obvious that WWE wasn’t stupid enough to fire two of their biggest stars.
The match itself wasn’t a bad one. It was definitely interesting watching two referees attempt to do the same job and essentially just get in each other’s way. Orton and Nakamura had good reason to want Owens and Zayn fired after the stunt that they pulled at Survivor Series and they definitely made it look as though they were giving it their all. In the end, it was the result that deserved to happen, but it does beg the question of why this match wasn’t the main event when two peoples jobs were riding on it. Instead, it was AJ Styles and Jinder Mahal who were given that pleasure, but they will be discussed further in the list.
6. Wrong: The Bludgeon Brothers Destroyed Breezango
Six long months the WWE Universe have waited for Tyler Breeze and Fandango to realize that it was The Bludgeon Brothers who attacked them and destroyed their office, and finally, it all came to a head last night with a future shot at the Tag Team Championships on the line.
With so much build-up to this match, it was hoped that there would be some kind of swerve to ensure that Breezango weren’t completely bulldozed like everyone else who has stepped in their way. Instead, it was another straightforward match for the former Wyatt Family members who took Breeze and Fandango apart from the minute the bell rang. Another great swerve would have been to have The Ascension involved so that they could see some Tag Team action for the first time in a while, but once again, there was no hook following the match that gave the fans anything to be excited about.
5. Wrong: Natalya Hinted At Retirement Then Fake Cried
After Natalya was defeated by Charlotte Flair last night, she was interviewed in the ring and stated that the WWE Universe had turned their back on her even though she had been putting on some of the best matches that the company had ever seen.
Natalya went on to state that she was now going to turn her back on the WWE Universe, before rolling out of the ring and breaking down in tears. Many fans have questioned what this actually means since Nattie is already a heel and turned her back on the WWE Universe a long time ago. Was this Natalya hinting that she’s ready to hang up her boots after more than a decade in WWE? It’s unknown what she meant by this comment, but all could become clear on Tuesday night when she returns to SmackDown Live. Surely as a main star of Total Divas, Natalya couldn’t be preparing to leave the company, especially since her husband only recently returned as well.
4. Right: Dolph Ziggler Became United States Champion
This will probably be one of the more unpopular decisions that happened last night, but it seems that even after more than 12 years in WWE, Dolph Ziggler still has enough respect in the company that they have decided to give him the United States Championship, even though many thought that Bobby Roode would be the one leaving with the title.
This is the first title Dolph has won in 2017 and it also ends a year-long losing streak that The Showoff had dating back to No Mercy back in 2016 when it comes to pay-per-view matches. Ziggler wasn’t even part of Survivor Series last month and was a strange addition to this match a few weeks ago, but it seems that The Showoff managed to take advantage of the situation and pinned Baron Corbin to become the new United States Champion. This is also the second time that Dolph has won that Championship; his first reign was back in 2011.
3. Wrong: A Number Of Botches Throughout The Show
It was a main roster show, so the number of botches last night would be considered unacceptable on a show that wasn’t as high level as WWE. The Tag Team Championship match and the Women’s Championship match definitely had the most botches with the referee having to take hold of Natalya’s ankles at one point to prevent her from being pulled towards the ropes by Charlotte.
Shane McMahon then had a nightmare of a night when his technical equipment fell out when he was attempting to count a pinfall and he just decided to take it all out and go on without it. Later in the match, McMahon accidentally poked Bryan in the eye when he was talking to Sami Zayn, something that Bryan oversold but it didn’t look as though it was supposed to happen. All in all, it wasn’t a great night out for WWE as botches continue to haunt them.
2. Wrong: Daniel Bryan And Shane McMahon Upstaged Four Other Wrestlers
Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon are the two authority figures on SmackDown Live. It is their job to ensure that the show runs smoothly not for them to be part of some of the biggest matches that the show produces. Daniel hasn’t been cleared to compete in the ring and Shane only competes when he wants, which is why it is so hard to understand that these two men upstaged four other world-class athletes.
By the end of the match, it didn’t really matter about Zayn and Owens’ jobs because the WWE Universe was concentrating on what was happening between Shane and Daniel. This isn’t the way it should be. This is why SmackDown is having such a hard time trying to find a new star to take over Cena’s role because Shane McMahon loves to stand in the spotlight when he isn’t technically equipped to do so. If this doesn’t lead to a match between Shane and Daniel in the future then WWE has just allowed their authority figures to overshadow their stars for nothing.
1. Right: AJ Styles Retained The WWE Championship
AJ Styles defended his WWE Championship against Jinder Mahal last night in Boston as The Phenomenal One came out on top. Incredibly, WWE still allowed The Singh Brothers to be at ringside even though they have been the reason that Jinder has had the odds in his favour so many times, but a Phenomenal Forearm and a Styles Clash ensured that they didn’t try to interfere again.
AJ took a lot of abuse in the early stages of the match and it seemed that everything was going Jinder’s way, but Styles targeted the knee and later went back to this towards the end of the match as he was able to lock in the Calf Crusher and get the win via submission. It was a solid match from both men and undoubtedly the match of the night. In the end, the rightful Champion won and will now move on to a new challenger at The Royal Rumble.
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