With every WWE title on the line, Clash of the Champions lived up to its billing. But did it deliver in the ring? Matthew Roberts joins WWE Home Video to take a look at their latest DVD release to see if it did.
There’s too many titles in the WWE. And that’s before we’ve even got to adding in the NXT / NXT UK belts. I completely understand WHY there are so many and from a promotional view I can almost agree with it. But at the end of the day the more titles there are, the less meaning the majority of them have beyond being a “prop”. Which, it could be said, is all a wrestling title ever is. But those are points for another time.
At least there was truth in advertising with the name in this show. Including the kick off, every main roster title was on the line.
The 2019 version of Clash of Champions had it’s ups and downs. Overall it was solid but very few of the titles/championship belts left with any renewed vigour or new momentum.
One that did was the Raw Women’s Title. Even if it seemed incongruous that, if you believe Meltzer (and by the way, if you do please go and watch the Sasha Banks Chronicle episode, realise you are wrong and reassess you approach to following wrestling), the ungrateful, complaining, moaning, whining “full of her own self importance” Sasha Banks would walk straight back into title contention on her return to the company there was also the fact that to have her job out here would severely curtail the momentum of her comeback. Of course in hindsight, or even without it, we were merely setting up for the Hell in a Cell rematch but on the night that didn’t matter. The action was great, the crowd were hot and the non-finish made some kind of wrestling logic. And they were smart enough to tag on afters so most people’s minds had gone past the finish within seconds anyway. If you accept that on occasions there are reasons for non-finishes on PPV, this was excellent stuff.
Another title that came out of the show with momentum was the Smackdown Tag Team Titles (though it’s debatable to say whether that has lasted) as the Revival unseated incumbent champions The New Day in very good match. It’s perhaps a cliché to say that Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder are a great throwback to the “old school” style of tag team wrestling but they most certainly are and are one of the few teams in the WWE that actually feel like a team (other than two people put together). If you like your action to mean something and not be a string of flashy moves done for the sake of it you should have enjoyed this one.
Some titles somewhat kept the status quo, without ever threatening to be a banner night for the belts in question. It’s difficult to get overly excited about a four minute match for the Smackdown Women’s Title between Bayley and Charlotte and it did seem more like a match that should have been on TV rather than PPV. But, by the same token, it did tell a story as Bayley continued her “heel turn” in pleasing fashion. Not great in terms of action (though ok for what it was) but you should never turn your nose up at genuine character development in WWE programming. Similarly, the Women’s Tag Team Title match between Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross and Fire & Desire will not be in anyone’s year end list of greatest matches of 2019 but given that Women’s Tag Team, you know, matches seemed to be in short supply when the Iiconics had the belt it was great to see two teams going at it in a solid match, that had meaning, and was well put together. I could have done without the 24/7 interlude mind you…
The Raw Tag Team Titles were always going to be dropped by Braun Strowman and Seth Rollins via some form of miscommunication, and their defence against Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler was what you would expect. Solid, but predictable. Just as predictable was that Rollins would ultimately retain in the main event when he defended the Universal Title against his “former” tag team partner. I enjoyed the match though and it was a solid affair that timed the big moves and big spots well and didn’t outstay it’s welcome. And at least the title gained some momentum with the post-match run-on by Bray Wyatt.
The WWE Championship fared less well; even considering I don’t think Kofi Kingston is World title worthy and that I’d happily never see a Randy Orton match ever again – this was a disappointment. It was supposed to be a highly personal grudge feud where the two people had an intense hatred for each other. Instead it was your typical Orton formulaic match with the added “bonus” of barely any heat from the crowd. Whatever I think about Kingston and his suitability for a World Title run, the booking has done him no favours. Similarly, although Shinsuke Nakamura’s Intercontinental Title defence against The Miz was a reasonable effort did it boost the careers of either man or make the IC title more prestigious? Of course not. It existed as a match to give two people something to do on a show where every title had to be defended. Nothing more, nothing less.
The only non-title match was the No DQ match between Roman Reigns and Erick Rowan. It was a good effort, though went on too long (which meant they lost the crowd in parts). It was also another one of those matches that those people who are STILL in 2019 banging on about the over-booking of Reigns should watch and thus repent their ways. The win for Rowan, with the return of Luke Harper, might have achieved something if the WWE had really built on it in the weeks after the show. Alas…
The kickoff show matches are here too as bonus features. The Cruiserweight Three Way Dance between Drew Gulak, Humberto Carrillo and Lince Dorado was not perhaps up there with some of the genuine 205 Live classics we’ve seen over the past year or so but it was a fun match with plenty to enjoy. AJ Styles United States Title defence against Cedric Alexander was good for what it was, but at less than five minutes has to be considered something of a disappointment.
A solid, if unspectacular night of action that, given the limitations of the format – all the titles on the line – was about as good as you could have hoped.
Format Reviewed: DVD
Photographs courtesy of Fetch and WWE
Thank you to our Clash of the Champions 2019 which is out Monday 28 October on DVD. You can buy your copy from WWEDVD.co.uk by clicking here.
You can find me on Twitter @IWFICON