wrestling / Columns

411’s WWE Clash of Champions 2016 Preview

September 25, 2016 | Posted by Sean Garmer
Clash of Champions Kevin Owens Seth Rollins

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The Staff

Mike Hammerlock, Wrestling Zone 8-Ball

Kevin Pantoja, Wrestling Zone Reviewer

Rob Stewart, Wrestling Zone Article Writer

Mitch Nickelson, Wrestling Zone Article Writer

Ron Waterman, Wrestling Zone Article Writer

Arnold Furious, Wrestling Zone Reviewer

Michael Weyer, Shining a Spotlight

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Nia Jax vs. Alicia Fox
Pre-Show Kickoff Match

Mike Hammerlock: I keep thinking there has to be something kooky planned here. We all know it’s going to be a squash for Jax. They want to make her the resident she-monster. Maybe they’ll have Braun Strowman come out to admire her work and then run a romance angle between the two of them. Yeah, I’m shipping that for sure. They need to make StroJax a thing.

Winner: Nia Jax

Kevin Pantoja: While I don’t think the Raw women’s division has been properly handled, I do have to commend them for the work done with Nia Jax. Her squash matches have been entertaining and, while the Alicia Fox stuff came up strangely, the story of Alicia’s random friend getting destroyed by Nia was at least different. Alicia got murdered herself recently by Nia and I think this goes similarly, with Alicia getting in some offense this time. Nia wins for obvious reasons and I suspect she moves into a rivalry with Paige once she returns from suspension.

Winner: Nia Jax

Mitch Nickelson: There’s no reason to overthink this one at all. Nia Jax will throw Alicia Fox around like a rag doll even more than when she hurled her by the head into the barricade then speared the life out of her on Raw. Better keep the medical personnel on standby.

Winner: Nia Jax

Rob Stewart: Nia smash puny jobber to the stars!

Winner: Nia Jax

Ryan Waterman: Where are we going with Nia Jax? It’s been two months of squash match, after squash match. This is the first main roster talent that she’s faced, so I’m hoping to see a bit of a fight from Alicia. Ultimately, I expect Nia to win. I’d just like to know what the plans are for her, going forward.

Winner: Nia Jax

Arnold Furious: Nia’s destruction of Foxy on RAW was a thing of beauty. I think Nia has finally found her style. She’s been working far too soft and she needs that aggressive streak to make her look like a beast. Like Vader. Foxy is the one to get that over, apparently. I see Nia legally murdering her in this match up. The thing with Nia is there are only so many people she can squash before she has to get a title shot and as long as Charlotte is champion, I don’t see that match happening. Nia certainly shouldn’t lose in her first big main roster match though.

Winner: Nia Jax

Michael Weyer: Not really caring, I’ll go with Jax just to give the new gal something to do.

Winner: Jax

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Cesaro vs. Sheamus
Best of Seven Series Final Singles Match

Mike Hammerlock: In the world of pro wrestling, being up 3-0 in a best-of-seven series is the most dangerous of all leads. You’re guaranteed to drop the next three matches and the odds are stacked against you in the deciding contest. Both guys have done nice work in this series. It’s reminded us that Sheamus can go in the ring and it’s giving Cesaro a chance to shine. Expect a stiff match filled with high impact moves. This calls for a hoss-off. I maintain Cesaro’s going to perform some kind of mind-blowing feat of strength. The stage is set for that. They’ve been dead even so far and the difference should be Cesaro going full-on freak for the win.

Winner: Cesaro

Kevin Pantoja: I have not enjoyed the way this series has been booked. Granted, all of the matches have been good since these two can seemingly have good matches with each other in their sleep. I’m just not a fan of the cheesy, cliche 0-3 comeback. It’s been done before and just doesn’t entice me. I get the idea behind it but it’s not my cup of tea. Cesaro has taken a massive beating throughout this and a loss here would be crushing for a lot of fans. While I could see it happening, I think Cesaro gets the win. If the prize is a Universal Title shot, Cesaro vs. Owens could be a good one-off program for Owens and the title.

Winner: Cesaro

Mitch Nickelson: This has been a very bland series. Sure, the matches haven’t been all that bad but they really haven’t been very memorable. This hasn’t been the showcase of Cesaro’s talents that were needed to finally help him break through to the next level like I was hoping it could be. If he wins #7, I don’t see how he has gained any significant momentum for the subsequent title challenge. Instead, I want Sheamus to win because the crowd will HATE that and that could get some sympathy going in The Swiss Superman’s favor. Let it be by cheating as well, so Cesaro can storm Stephanie’s office and demand to be released from his contract. Then, he can show up on SmackDown and hopefully get a refresh on that roster.

Winner: Sheamus

Rob Stewart: I’m going to vent a little here, and feel free to let me know if you agree or not in the comments: I hate the way this series was booked. The villain goes up an “insurmountable” 3-0, and then the hero fights back against all odds. It’s preschool level drama building, and it reeks of lazy writing. When I heard this series was happening, in my head, Sheamus would take the first encounter, shocking Cesaro since he had gotten a few wins before the series officially started. Refocused, Cesaro would win the next two in a row and be handily in control of match four. Feeling frustrated, Sheamus would take a disqualification loss there to go down 3-1, but in doing so, would badly injure Cesaro with a chair or something. A hobbled Cesaro would drop the next two to tie it at 3-3, and then the decisive seventh contest takes it to the Swiss Superman. That’s how I would have done it, but what do I know? Anyway, it’d be kind of ridiculous to have Sheamus win this since there’s really nowhere useful for him to go. Cesaro is the more unknown commodity, so he completes the comeback here to move into one of the title pictures.

Winner: Cesaro

Ryan Waterman: To recap, Sheamus starts out winning the first three matches, followed by Cesaro tying it up at three. Goodness, who didn’t see that one coming? It’s been long-rumored that this was the plan for the series, and it’s hard to imagine that they deviate from the plan this late. Cesaro wins the match, and the series, earning himself a future United States Championship shot. Regardless of who he’ll eventually face for the title, we can only hope that this is the beginning of a Cesaro resurgance.

Winner: Cesaro

Arnold Furious: This is the one match where the bookies favourite, Sheamus, just makes no sense whatsoever. The only way I see Sheamus winning is if the Cesaro’s back injury becomes the overwhelming story of the PPV match. They’ve had the back issue at the forefront for the majority of the matches but it’s rarely caused Cesaro major issues when he gets stuck into his comebacks. Maybe the final match is the one where it does. However the title shot, awarded to the winner, will (in all probability) be against Owens. Sheamus would be a firm heel in that and I’m sure WWE don’t want Owens cheered anymore than he already is. Kevin is doing a fine job of keeping himself heel so Cesaro would be a more natural opponent. It just makes sense to me.

Winner: Cesaro

Michael Weyer: Just once, I’d like to see a “best of seven” series where the face doesn’t make the big 0-3 comeback. Folks are favoring Sheamus because of that but I’ll give it to Cesaro as sounds like more of a push for him and makes a bit more sense to cap off the comeback but otherwise, just haven’t been feeling this feud overall.

Winner: Cesaro

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Chris Jericho vs. Sami Zayn
Singles Match

Mike Hammerlock: How good is this card? Zayn-Jericho is a relative afterthought. Mind you, they could steal the show if Jericho doesn’t try to turn it into an epic. He sometimes overdoes it. Yet I assume they can call upon their Canadian kismet to serve up a pretty tasty match. Normally you’d figure Jericho would job for the younger guy, but Zayn works best as an underdog who needs to fight his way up the ladder. He almost doesn’t make sense if he’s not getting up from getting knocked down (just pay the money for the Chumbawamba entrance theme already). He’s actually a lot like Syndrome’s Omnidroids from “The Incredibles”. He loses, learns from his mistakes and then comes back stronger. That also makes sure he and Jericho have dance partners through the fall months.

Winner: Chris Jericho

Kevin Pantoja: Thank goodness Sami Zayn is back to doing something of relevance. After his MOTY candidate at Battleground where he beat Kevin Owens, being placed in a throwaway pre-show tag match at SummerSlam was a disgrace. Working with Chris Jericho is still a big deal and this is a candidate to potentially steal the show. While the feud itself hasn’t been top notch, the match should absolutely deliver. I think that Sami should win here to set up something for him in the coming months. If Rusev keeps the US Title, I would love to see Sami be the guy to eventually take the title off of him. Expect a great match here.

Winner: Sami Zayn

Mitch Nickelson: There are several matches that can be penciled in as “potential show stealers” and this is one of them. Jericho has been a brilliant heel as of late and there’s really no more sympathetic babyface than Sami Zayn. I think they’ll work well together. My big hope is that this will be a multi-match program, so they might as well let Jericho score the first ‘W.’

Winner: Chris Jericho

Rob Stewart: I actually dig the whole idea behind this feud. Zayn just recently “won” his feud with Kevin Owens, and now Owens is the world champion. Zayn should, by rights, be first in line at a title shot at this point, but WWE doesn’t want to go that route just yet (both because they have other McMahon-driven stories to tell and because they don’t want to just keep spamming Zayn/Owens matches this year), so what do you do? You have Owens’ buddy act as a buffer against the guy Owens should be most afraid of in a “If you want him, you have to go through me” storyline. It’s a really good idea. Both of these guys should complement each other exceedingly well—Zayn is doing decent character work with brilliant matches; Chris is having decent matches with brilliant character work—and this has strong potential on a loaded card. I see Jericho winning here to keep Zayn off Owens’ back for the near future.

Winner: Chris Jericho

Ryan Waterman: I might be wrong, but this has been building off-and-on for a few months now, so it’s good to finally see a match between the two. This should be a very good, borderline great match. Given Jericho’s past feuds, I’m expecting this one to be a back-and-forth exchange. Sami stuns Jericho for the win, setting up a rematch at some point before the feud-ender at Hell in a Cell.

Winner: Sami Zayn

Arnold Furious: This feud has worked surprisingly well. Jericho is giving us all a gift and hopefully the end result is Sami getting a run of matches under his belt against someone who isn’t Kevin Owens. Naturally they can’t have a series if the face wins the first match so I see Jericho going over here. Neither man has anything else lined up in the near future and I’m excited to see how they work together.

Winner: Chris Jericho

Michael Weyer: Jericho has really been showing off great stuff lately, wrestling like a man years younger and killing it in promos. He and Zayn should bring about a fantastic battle, plenty of top moves and good to see Sami showing his stuff too. Zayn will come out the winner and push nicely and showcase Jericho as a guy giving the rub to others too and push things nicely along.

Winner: Sami Zayn

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(Champion) T. J. Perkins vs. Brian Kendrick
WWE Cruiserweight Championship

Mike Hammerlock: I’m kind of goofy for this match. I’m fully on Team Perkins after the Cruiserweight Classic and Kendrick is a favorite of mine dating back to the 2000s. They can tell a great in-ring story here. Perkins is now the hyperactive guy with an endless bag of moves while Kendrick is the grizzled vet who knows how to slow down someone like his former self. What’s got me most intrigued is whether Perkins can kick it up another notch after the CWC. His ability in the ring is outrageous and hopefully they don’t typecast him as “the leg-lock guy.”

Winner: TJ Perkins

Kevin Pantoja: This is, hands down, the match I’m most excited for. TJ Perkins is one of my favorite wrestlers in the world and his run through the Cruiserweight Classic was all sorts of awesome. The Brian Kendrick is also a guy I like and his new aggressive style is a pleasure to watch. This should be a very interesting contest. Kendrick could win to put the title on a known entity, but I don’t think they’d have Perkins win the CWC just to drop the title in his first main roster match. I believe they’re gonna go the route of Kendrick losing here and then playing the pissed off, grizzled veteran who has to claw his way back to the top. While he does that, Perkins can have some other fun title defenses (Metalik, Alexander, etc.).

Winner: TJ Perkins

Mitch Nickelson: With TJ Perkins just winning the Cruiserweight Classic and the Cruiserweight Championship as well, it feels way too soon to see a title change. Kendrick is a talented veteran who will give Perkins a competitive, athletic match. TJ will win while I wait for an eventual challenge from Neville.

Winner: TJ Perkins

Rob Stewart: Ah, to have Daniel Bryan on commentary for this match. Alas. I was not AS big of a fan of Bryan on commentary as others seemed to be, but his work on Kendrick’s matches showed real heart and emotion, and I’ll miss that here. Hard to believe how fast wrestling can move sometime; I know six months ago, I’d never have thought Brian Kendrick would be competing for a title on a live special in 2016, but… here we are. This match is TJ’s to lose; WWE didn’t have him win the Cruiserweight Classic just to trip him up in his first defense. This one is to keep building TJ as a deserving inaugural champion against the biggest name of the current cruiserweight division. It’ll be a great match along the way (unless they foolishly decide to give it, like, 5 minutes), and that doesn’t hurt.

Winner: TJ Perkins

Ryan Waterman: I’m very apprehensive about this match. I loved the Cruserweight Classic, despite the fact that Ibushi didn’t win (*sheds tear*). I was even more excited for the fatal-four way match on Monday. That was, until Brian Kendrick won. Don’t get me wrong, I have no issues with Kendrick. I’m just afraid that this is WWE’s way to stamp their mark on the Cruserweight division. I’m hoping that they allow Perkins a run with the championship, although I can say that I wouldn’t be shocked if they gave it to Kendrick.

Winner: TJ Perkins

Arnold Furious: The cruiserweights made a decent splash on RAW, even if Kendrick was probably the last guy you’d want in this spot. If they’re to get the division over with flash and excitement they’ve basically booked the wrong match. Kendrick is great but he’s not that kind of wrestler anymore and Perkins is more technically gifted than a thriller. I’d have popped Rich Swann in here as he excelled in the four-way. I can’t see Perkins battling through 31 other guys only to fall in his first defence, especially against veteran Kendrick who had his comeback moment already. The only way Kendrick wins is if Daniel Bryan has more pull than we think he does.

Winner: TJ Perkins

Michael Weyer: They just created the belt a week ago, are we really going to see a title change this soon? No, I don’t think so either. It should be a good battle with Kendrick reminding folks how great he can be and Perkins busting his rear to stand out but no change yet. Still, great to see the smaller guys get the spotlight once more and make this belt mean something.

Winner and STILL Cruiserweight Champion: TJ Perkins

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(Champions) New Day vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
RAW Tag Team Championship

Mike Hammerlock: I adore New Day, but they’ve come off the gas a bit since WrestleMania. They’re playing their own greatest hits rather than taking their nerd culture revolution to the next level. I blame the booking for that. I don’t think the WWE knows what to do with these guys, so it’s kept them in a holding pattern when it should have had them shaking up the whole roster. They’re the perfect mix of fun and good. Gallows & Anderson aren’t fun. OLD FART crashed and burned, and was there ever a gimmick that was more obviously from the mind of Vince McMahon? Yet they are good and they’ve been chasing the tag title for almost all of 2016. Most importantly, Raw needs to show that New Day has some real competition in the tag ranks. Dropping the belts would be healthy for both New Day and the Raw tag division. Hopefully they’ve got a cool plan for where New Day goes from here. Who am I kidding? The WWE has no plan, but hopefully New Day figures out how to write a new chapter in their story.

Winner: Gallows & Anderson

Kevin Pantoja: When Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson came to the WWE, I had high hopes for this rivalry. The hottest tag team in the WWE in a long, long time against the top tag team from NJPW. However, it has been a massive disappointment. The feud has consisted of a lot of bad jokes, lackluster promos and mostly dull matches. I expected them to do the change at SummerSlam, but since they didn’t, I think it happens here. New Day got past the one year mark and it’s time to make the change. Plus, the Tag Titles eventually moving to Enzo and Cass is the right move, so having Gallows and Anderson as the heel team for them to dethrone is a much better option.

Winner: Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson

Mitch Nickelson: I really, really want Gallows & Anderson to win this. If they cut out the comedy and just bust some heads on the regular then they could really liven up the tag division once again. But, we’re just a few months away from that Demolition record and I don’t see WWE foregoing that. New Day will win, even though the tag division needs a change badly.

Winner: The New Day

Rob Stewart: This has to be Gallows and Anderson, right? There’s just no one left to legitimately challenge The New Day once they vanquish these guys. I’m not saying The New Day has run its course by any means, but The New Day as reigning champs is a bit stale. WWE could make it work—they could have New Day win here, get super cocky and self-assured, and start doing Cena-like Open Challenges to any two guys that want a shot, thereby allowing some new unions to form just to go after the champs—but I think the writing is on the wall that the guard is going to change here. Gallows and Anderson take this, fend off any rematches The New Day get, and then move on to a program with Enzo Amore and Big Cas. And The New Day? Who knows where they go from here? But they’ll make it work; I believe in the booty.

Winner: Gallows and Anderson

Ryan Waterman: New Day…Falls. That’s right, the reign of The Club will finally begin on Sunday, as Gallows & Anderson are able to end the 400+ day reign of The New Day. In my opinion, this is WWE’s last chance at capitalizing on Gallows & Anderson. They’ve dropped the ball with these two since their arrival, and have recently started transitioning them into a heel comedy act of sorts. It’s time for everyone to be reminded that these two are bad-asses.

Winner: Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson

Arnold Furious: This is the only match on the show that I don’t care about. New Day have had a great run with the belts, to the point where I don’t mind if they hold onto them forever. One small problem (along with a very large problem) is Enzo Amore & Big Cass. At some point WWE will want them as champions and I’m certain they’ll want them to go over a pair of heels and that’s Gallows & Anderson. The Club are not one of my favourite acts and they’ve been able to slot into the ‘awful WWE comedy’ role seamlessly. I got sick of them in NJPW and thought that Gallows was holding Karl back. Well, here they are on the verge of winning WWE tag gold, so I guess I was off the mark. Although they are as over with me as they’ve always been, which is to say ‘not at all’. Looking forward to Karl Anderson forming some kind of gang of evil-doers that he can be the mouthpiece for at some point in the future. That’s his best role.

Winner: Gallows & Anderson

Michael Weyer: I love the New Day but long past time they dropped the titles. Yes, it takes away a bit of the act but it has to happen and this is as good a chance as any time. I do wish it was Enzo and Cass instead but Gallows and Anderson work too and can push themselves well. It should be a good match to finally end the New Day’s reign and give the division a bit more life than usual.

Winners and NEW RAW Tag Team Champions: Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson

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(Champion) Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. Bayley
RAW Women’s Championship Triple Threat Match

Mike Hammerlock: Hmm. I guess I should start by saying I wish this match wasn’t happening quite yet. They could have ginned up this feud for six months and then given us the three-way dance to settle their issues. Does the WWE generally have a big show in March? I feel like it might. Yet here we are. They probably need to move the belt off Charlotte before she starts drawing X-Pac heat. She’s been supremely annoying ever since she first won the defunct Divas Championship a year ago – wooden on promos, unconvincing in the ring, exhibiting way too much of the catty character work that should have been scrapped with the “divas” monicker. She terrible and she needs to be less prominent until she’s less terrible. Sasha seemingly rescued us from Charlotte immediately after the brand split, but then she got injured and had to drop the belt. It seems a little quick for Bayley to climb to the top of the mountain. She’s got that Sami Zayn underdog vibe and that works best with a slow climb, like they did in NXT. Yet I notice I’m picking a lot of successful title defenses and I suspect the WWE wants to have a “shock” win or two at this event, so I’m calling Bayley for the upset.

Winner: Bayley

Kevin Pantoja: The Raw women’s division has the big names, but it isn’t booked nearly as well as Smackdown. I’m the biggest Sasha Banks fan you’ll find and I really like Bayley, but I’m way more invested and interested in Alexa Bliss vs. Becky Lynch. This just feels really thrown together. It’s like, they brought up Bayley to replace Sasha since she was hurt, but she returned earlier than expected and now it’s kind of a mess. The match itself should be good, but the story being told leading up to it has severely lacked. The smart thing to do would be to put the Women’s Title back on Sasha Banks. It makes sense since her title win felt earned and it was ripped away from her due to injury. However, this is Raw and Charlotte seems destined to hold the title forever, no matter how bland or boring it is. Charlotte will retain here and most likely pin Bayley to keep her insane singles PPV record intact.

Winner: Charlotte

Mitch Nickelson: It was only really because of an injury that Sasha Banks dropped the Women’s Championship so soon at SummerSlam so I feel like it’s a safe pick that she’s winning the belt back at Clash of Champions. Who she pins is up in the air, depending on who WWE wants her to feud with right afterward. I’m guessing that she pins Charlotte due to a Dana Brooke kerfuffle. Charlotte then can rival with her protégé while Banks and Bayley continue battling it out for the belt.

Winner: Sasha Banks

Rob Stewart: This is the hardest call of the night for me, because any of these ladies really could win here. Bayley absolutely could win because she is a recently dominant NXT champion and is the hot new babyface who could get a big boon from bringing a more permanent end to Charlotte’s reign than Sasha had been able to. Sasha could win because she is the most versatile option; she could win to a huge babyface pop and form a partnership with Bayley to fend off Charlotte, Nia Jax, Emma, and others… or she could win and turn heel on Bayley to resume that NXT storyline. Charlotte could win because Jesus Christ… it’s all she does, right? It feels like she’s going to be Women’s Champ until the heat death of our solar system or we switch over into the Berenstain universe and wake up to find out we were wrong and she never actually was champ. I’m actually predicting ONE MORE live special championship defense for Charlotte. She defeats Sasha here and then moves onto a program with Bayley where Bayley can defeat her one-on-one.

Winner: Charlotte

Ryan Waterman: You wanna talk about potential? This match has potential to steal the show. Arguably the three best females in WWE today are finally going at it for the biggest prize. I was a little shocked they went to this so quickly, but I guess Sasha’s back injury may have accelerated Bayley’s main roster debut. Regardless, I see Bayley pulling out the shocking upset in this one. It’s time for a fresh chapter in the women’s division. It’s been Charlotte or Banks for the last year or so. Time for a shot in the arm.

Winner: Bayley

Arnold Furious: The inclusion of both Sasha and Bayley would suggest shenanigans of some sort and the usual business of Charlotte retaining via nefarious means. Charlotte has been an exceptional champion so I really don’t mind her retaining. Especially as issues between Sasha and Bayley will likely cause a friendly feud and we all remember the kind of quality they’re capable of producing one on one. This could easily be MOTN and if all three are firing on all cylinders, an outside contender for MOTY. The worry is that Sasha seems determined to break her neck to make herself the greatest women’s wrestler of all time and no one wants to stop her.

Winner: Charlotte

Michael Weyer: I wish they held off on this as it’s a great battle and would have been terrific for Survivor Series. I do love Bayley and having her with the belt would be great but a bit early yet for her while Banks is still coming off injury. These bouts favor the champ anyhow so Charlotte holds on to the title for a rematch with either of them later. Should be good but think could have been built better.

Winner and STILL RAW Women’s champion: Charlotte

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(Champion) Rusev w/ Lana vs. Roman Reigns
WWE United States Championship Match

Mike Hammerlock: Do Vince McMahon and Kevin Dunn have ears? I wonder. Because Memphis, which is generally a mark town, buried Roman Reigns on Monday. He was as popular as the University of Louisville basketball team. You’d have thought he came out flanked by Denny Crum and Rick Pitino. People really don’t like his character or the ham-handed attempt to push him down our throats for the past two years. It’s not getting better. Rusev – the vicious, Russian-adjacent heel – probably is going to be the crowd favorite on Sunday. They could have tried this rivalry in 2014, rather than feeding Rusev to John Cena earlier in the year, and it might gotten Reigns over. Yet they need to realize it won’t work in 2016. Nothing is getting Reigns over. Rusev is worth a lot as a foil for Cesaro, Zayn and/or Shinsuke Nakamura whenever they finally call him up to the main roster. The next belt Reigns wins, it should be as a full-blown heel so the crowd reactions will match the occasion. I sincerely doubt they’re pulling a double turn here. So, by hook or crook, I’m thinking Rusev wins this one.

Winner: Rusev

Kevin Pantoja: I honestly can’t really see Roman Reigns holding anything less than the Universal Title. But, considering how he’s been consistently placed above the Universal Title, I don’t think it matters. Part of me thinks he won’t be United States Champion, but a bigger part of me can’t envision a world where Rusev beats Reigns on a Pay-Per-View. Reigns will win this to prove his dominance. It’ll make Raw book the US Title like it’s important for a short while. Maybe he drops it by getting screwed or something like that. I don’t know and honestly, I don’t care. Rusev is easily one of the highlights on Raw but what can you do?

Winner: Roman Reigns

Mitch Nickelson: I’m liking not-main event Roman Reigns. He’s more about just being angry and hitting people…that works for him. The guy he’s going to hit in the mouth this Sunday is Rusev and it’ll be in a match for his United States Championship. I don’t mind Roman holding that belt – hey, Cena did it – but I’m not sure I see that happening. Roman will probably win the match but it will likely be because of a DQ or something. Rusev keeps his title.

Winner: Roman Reigns

Rob Stewart: I feel like WWE has been pussy-footing around this title change for a while at this point, and Clash is where they are going to pull the trigger. It seems to me that if this feud were going to end with Rusev ultimately keeping the belt and moving on, they could have accomplished that at SummerSlam. Also, the Universal Title picture seems a bit crowded at the moment, and I don’t see Roman fitting back in there fluidly. So no… a US Title reigns seems to be in store for Roman so they can rebuild him. You know, to win the Royal Rumble this winter.

Winner: Roman Reigns

Ryan Waterman: Are we finally going to get the title match? It was initially supposed to take place at SummerSlam, but never got off the ground. With this being the first championship match in the feud, it’s too early for a change. I’ll say Rusev wins with help from Lana, setting up a rematch at Hell in a Cell next month.

Winner: Rusev

Arnold Furious: I’m certain Roman wins here because he’s been coming up short since the wellness violation and Vince can’t stay mad at one of his golden boys forever. Especially when Reigns is delivering in the ring, which he is. Whether Roman’s win is clean or not is another matter. I can see him winning on DQ so he wins the match but not the title but I can also see him just winning the belt, to give the US title some major focus. The US and IC titles should be the workrate belts anyway. Those are the straps that should be defended on every single show, like the US belt was under the reign of John Cena last year. Make them TV titles. To get that concept over you need a top guy and Roman is “the guy”.

Winner: Roman Reigns

Michael Weyer: It’s not a bad feud but still shows how WWE refuses to accept the fans just not backing Roman as “the Guy.” But they’re going to try with him beating Rusev and using the US belt more to make a claim to the main event than the title meaning something. WWE will make it seem a huge deal when Roman just doesn’t seem to click well and annoy fans even more.

Winner and NEW US Champion: Roman Reigns

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(Champion) Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins
WWE Universal Championship Match

Mike Hammerlock: These guys have ring history that goes back almost a decade. They fought multiple times in ROH and should put on a stellar performance here. They’ve already got ring chemistry. If you like watching good wrestling matches, this one is about a close to a sure thing as it gets. I don’t think it matters who wins per se. They could tell a good story either way. Yet I suspect Owens is going to escape with his belt, most likely because HHH is due to make another appearance. That loose end has been dangling long enough. Owens is going to be Trips’ guy. I suspect this causes marital tension with Steph, who then decides to get her own guy: Roman Reigns. That leaves Rollins with no backer … except for the people. You don’t hit a flying crossbody off the top of a steel cage onto both of Raw’s heel champs unless you’re heading to the face side of the street. If they really want to be blatant about it, Rollins can start wearing his all-white ring attire. In fact, sub-question for the comments section: will Rollins break out the all-whites for this match? Anyway, Triple H should sticking his nose into their business, which no doubt will leave Michael Cole beyond shocked. I still expect a great match despite that.

Winner: Kevin Owens

Kevin Pantoja: Here is an interesting matchup. Seth Rollins has been the top heel for about two years right now and Kevin Owens is quickly becoming the new top heel on Raw. Seth has sort of transitioned into a babyface, but not quite fully. The fans are probably going to be very split, since both guys are still very popular among most chunks of fans. Unfortunately, this doesn’t even feel like the most important match on the card. They still feel like they’re behind Roman Reigns on the totem pole and it has hurt some of my interest in the match. Seth has been losing big matches left and right since returning, which ir probably going to be the catalyst for Triple H choosing a new guy. Owens should retain here to further that story.

Winner: Kevin Owens

Mitch Nickelson: While I think this will be a fantastic matchup between two skilled guys, I’m a little iffy on who I’m calling for the winner here. I’m pretty sold on the idea that KO is retaining his Universal Championship, but it’s the inevitable Triple H interference that makes this a tough call. Will he simply distract Rollins so that he takes the fall? Will he blatantly interfere and stop the match? The Hunter factor makes the victor here a wildcard but I’ll stick with Owens since I’m confident that he’ll keep his belt.

Winner: Kevin Owens

Rob Stewart: I already mentioned in this week’s Fact or Fiction that I see Kevin winning this match because WWE really shouldn’t have a third Universal Champion in the first 32 days of the title’s existence. That really dulls the prestige. So, no… Owens is going to leave this one with the belt in hand. And, yes… most likely HHH is going to rear his head here for some more funtivities. I don’t even have a problem with that, really; we’ve known for over a year at this point that WWE is going to build to a Rollins/HHH match, so if they are going to further that story, I’m fine with that. My hopes are that Trips’ involvement is ultimately more just to screw with Seth and less to be the puppet master behind KO (I’d like to see Kevin move on to being his own man after his dealings with Seth are done), but I’m accepting that Hunter is almost certainly making an impact in this main event.

Winner: Kevin Owens

Ryan Waterman: I am very much looking forward to this match. There is so much potential here, it’s not even funny. That being said, I am tempering my expectations a bit, as I’m expecting a Triple H run-in. We haven’t seen anything out of Hunter since he turned his back on Rollins, allowing Owens to leave the August 29 edition of RAW with the Universal Championship. Rollins gets close to upending Owens, before Triple H rips the rug out from under him.

Winner: Kevin Owens

Arnold Furious: I firmly believe Owens is retaining here for two reasons. 1. He’s doing a bang-up job with the strap and the unfortunate timing of Finn Balor’s injury has helped WWE to elevate Owens to the main event level. He feels like he belongs there and cutting the storyline short after Balor’s one day run with the belt seems unnecessary. 2. The ongoing storyline isn’t Owens vs. Rollins but rather the tried, tested and boring route of unruly anti-hero vs. authority figures. The obvious choice, for me at least, in that spot is Owens but WWE are keen to be insert Seth into the, sure to be prolonged, authority figures feud. The end game is probably Seth vs. Triple H, where Steph will probably screw Rollins over creating some kind of awful Steph vs. Foley feud, which has been brewing since day one on RAW. I hope I’m wrong but I’m probably not. At least our Kev gets a title run out of it.

Winner: Kevin Owens

Michael Weyer: Tempting to think Rollins gets the belt again but no, don’t see it. Owens is much better in the role right now and obviously holding it until Balor gets back. These two know how to give us a knock down, drag-out epic and this should be a great one. In the end, Owens retains and should still be amazing work to make this a top main event and give the Universal belt more push.

Winner and STILL WWE Universal champion: Kevin Owens

Overall Thoughts & PPV Interest Level (from 1 being the worst to 5 being the best)

Mike Hammerlock: My interest level for this PPV is a 4: Can I get a Ron Simmons “Damn!”? This is a mighty fine card. We’re going to get a high quality wrestling show. I’ve mentioned elsewhere that if everyone hits their marks, this should easily be the WWE’s best show so far in 2016. We could have multiple ****+ matches. It’s kind of funny because everyone assumed Raw would be the sports entertainment brand after the split and Smackdown would be the more wrestling-focused show. Yet Smackdown’s doing a good job with the sports entertainment and Raw’s got a chance at Clash of Champions to do some superb in-ring work. There’s seven matches here capable of stealing the show. It’s kind of a shame that they could burn down the house and play in front of an all-time low viewing audience on Monday (most people will be glued to the Presidential debate). Yet I suggest skipping the football game on Sunday night for this.

Kevin Pantoja: My interest level for this PPV is a 2: Look, I totally feel like this is one of those shows that could surprise me. I am not very interested in a lot of the matches, because the build and booking on Raw is not very good. The card has potential though as Zayn/Jericho, Owens/Rollins, the Women’s Title and Cesaro/Sheamus all could be great. I’m just not excited or heavily invested heading into the show.

Mitch Nickelson: My interest level for this PPV is a 3: I’m slightly above average in my excitement for Clash of Champions. There are some bouts on paper that could be amazing if I think about it but mostly due to WWE oversaturation, I’m not getting as excited as I probably should be.

Rob Stewart: My interest level for this PPV is a 4: I will again reiterate from FoF… I think this is a promising card. There’s really no match on the main card I’m NOT looking forward to, and when The New Day is in the most negligible bout on a card, you know the rest of the card is doing something right. Now, they could always screw it up: the cruiserweight match could get five minutes; Zayn/Jericho and Sheamus/Cesaro could fail to meet their potential; the main event could be a nightmare of overbooking. But based on the quality of the matches as they are presented? Yeah, I dig this one.

Ryan Waterman: My interest level for this PPV is a 4: I’m fairly excited for this card. RAW has a deeper, more talented roster than SmackDown, so this should be more entertaining than Backlash was. The feuds have been built up better, and there’s more continuity throughout the show. Given the nightmare known as SummerSlam, this could be a step in the right direction for the Red Brand.

Arnold Furious: My interest level for this PPV is a 4: Stacked card from RAW. Quality up and down the line-up with a variety of intriguing contests. Of the matches named for the main show there’s only the tag title contest that might be a damp squib. Everything else should be fiery good. If a couple of the matches (women’s and main event) really take off we could even have a show of the year contender. How’s about that brand split?

Michael Weyer My Interest Level for this PPV is: 2.5 The main event looks great but otherwise, a so-so card. Not into seeing Reigns winning US belt, tag match should be okay and Jericho/Zayn great. However, overall, looks more filler as we build to Survivor Series so not as big a deal as WWE might hope.

Well, that is all for this Roundtable everyone. Don’t forget to leave us your thoughts and predictions below in the comments and we will see you again next month for the Smackdown Only WWE No Mercy.

Remember to join 411 for our LIVE PPV coverage, starting at 7:30pm ET Sunday night.

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