By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Sasha Banks and Bayley Interrupted Raw Women's Champion Charlotte
No, I'm never a huge proponent of authority figures opening Raw and SmackDown Live, but Mick Foley has been high on women's wrestling as anyone, so his involvement in this segment was logical (and hey, Stephanie McMahon was nowhere to be seen!). It was also important to follow up on the events of last week and how silly it was to announce Charlotte vs. Banks for Clash of Champions without giving Bayley a fair shot despite beating the champion last week. Here's hoping they actually follow through on the tension teased between Dana Brooke and Charlotte this time and don't have them go back to being buddy-buddy as they have done several times in recent months.
Sasha Banks def. Bayley and Dana Brooke in a No. 1 Contender's Triple Threat Match For the Raw Women's Championship
Of course, Brooke didn't do much to earn herself a spot in this match, but I had no issue with this being a Triple Threat match merely because it would have been idiotic to do Bayley vs. Banks so early on the main roster. Brooke was thankfully limited and Bayley and Banks worked their asses off to deliver a strong match. It was stupid to go to a commercial break just as they came face-to-face, but other than that, this was a great match and the right person went over. Banks' cover on Bayley was creative and not the tired roll-up we're so used to seeing.
Bo Dallas def. Brandon Scott
The "Bo-lieve in Bo" sign would have been fitting for his character two years ago, but not so much now that he's more aggressive. Nevertheless, I enjoy the change in character he's been undergoing and I'm glad they're finally doing something significant with him. But is it too little, too late? Are fans already conditioned to not care about him or view him as an enhancement talent? I suppose time will tell once he transitions into his first real rivalry.
Chris Jericho Hosted The Highlight Reel with Sami Zayn
I have been clamoring for a Jericho vs. Zayn feud for months and I'm ecstatic we're finally getting it. It couldn't have come at a better time either with Zayn fresh off his loss to Kevin Owens (Jericho's best friend) in the main event of Raw and both of them aren't doing anything of note at the moment. They had a strong verbal exchange here and the usually happy-go-lucky Zayn showed awesome fire in his promo, though I liked how Jericho ended it with the last word. Here's hoping their program continues on beyond Clash of Champions because the matches they could have would be exceptional.
Cesaro def. Sheamus in Match 5 of the Best of 7 Series; Sheamus Leads 3-2
As I've been saying since this whole thing started, I've loved how this Best of 7 Series has been booked and each of their outings have been a blast to watch. This was another really well-wrestled matchup from them and the crowd is certainly rallying behind Cesaro to catch up to Sheamus. I don't think the ending outcome of this match (or next week's match for that matter) was ever in any doubt, but I do like the story they've been telling.
Nia Jax vs. Alicia Fox Ended in a No Contest
I was hoping they would save their first real match for Clash of Champions, and they still might after what happened here. Jax's ambush on Fox was fantastic and the crowd in an absolute awe of how badly she destroyed her. It was one of the most brutal acts we've seen from the women in WWE in some time and she came across like an absolute monster. This might be the most sympathy Fox has garnered in her entire career.
The Club def. WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day (Non-title)
I'm not sure how The Club scored themselves another tag title shot after being made to look so weak lately, but the championship rematch was added to the pay-per-view card before this match took place. Why not wait until after they beat the champs in non-title action? That was slightly strange, but in addition to The New Day trashing last week's atrocious segment (which had to be a shoot, right?), this was the best thing I've seen from this feud up to this point, and I was happy Woods was given his time to shine and showcase his skills.
Jinder Mahal def. Jack Swagger
Uh, so why did it take WWE this long to start focusing on Mahal? If they were going to push him, why not do it from the get-go? At least he received some promo time, but I think the damage has been done, and either way, no one was going to care about him, regardless. I'm holding out hope that this was more a matter of teasing something with Swagger (whose contract is almost up apparently in storyline) than an attempt to push Mahal.
Epico def. Enzo Amore
Well, my worst fears have been confirmed: we are in for a feud between Enzo and Big Cass and The Shining Stars. Ugh. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of Enzo and Cass, but it's for that exact reason I'm not psyched about this pending program. They are so much better than this trash. And to make matters worse, Epico beat Enzo. Does anyone honestly care?
WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens def. Roman Reigns (Non-title)
Although it was all but confirmed that it would be Owens vs. Seth Rollins at Clash of Champions, you can never be so sure, so the nearfalls for Reigns down the stretch were suspenseful. On top of all that, they had great in-ring chemistry together and delivered an excellent match, making the most of the ample amount of time they were allotted. There was some speculation Rusev wouldn't be back for a while due to a near-three week long honeymoon, but he swerved us all and he is rekindling his rivalry with Reigns as he should be. Better yet, Owens scored a big win and can now fully focus on Rollins at the event.
I've already started to see some disdain for this show on social media, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. If nothing else, it was an improvement over last week's dud of an episode and the first two hours were strong along with the main event. As long as WWE can stray away from saving all of their filler for the third hour in the future, they will have a much better all-around edition of Raw. The latest additions to the Clash of Champions card are encouraging and it is shaping up to be a must-see show on paper.
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