WWE Clash of Champions 2020: Predictions & Analysis

Man, the end of summer/start of autumn has been absolutely packed with wrestling. Between WWE, NXT & AEW from August through October, there will have been 6 Pay-Per-Views in the space of 10 weeks, which is a lot of wrestling. That number would be even higher if I dedicated myself to watching NJPW on a regular basis, but I think if I did that I’d burn out completely.

Focusing on WWEland today, it’s the one night of the year where every championship is on the line. Funnily enough, this has actually become a big deal again, since there are now 9 titles on WWE’s main roster. If anything, I’m worried that several of the matches aren’t going to get the time they need to breathe.

Asuka(c) vs Zelina Vega
(Raw Women’s Championship)

You’ve got to be kidding me. The Raw Women’s title, the title that main-evented Wrestlemania not two years ago, is on the kickoff show?

This is an absolute disgrace. These are titles that are supposed to be on-par with the men’s world titles, and this is how it’s getting treated? Especially while Street Profits vs Andrade & Garza, a match we’ve seen about 12 times since the spring, gets to be on the main show. Even if you put aside what an insult it is to the prestige of the title, you’ve got Asuka, one of WWE’s most popular acts right now, slumming it on the part of the show nobody watches. My main problem though is that this is Zelina Vega’s big moment, her chance to show the wider audience that she’s actually been a great wrestler this whole time. I’ve always railed against WWE’s refusal to let Vega wrestle regularly, and now they’re finally giving her a shot but doing their damnedest to bury it.

Usually, I’d say I’m excited about this match, but given that it’s been relegated to the kickoff show, I doubt it’ll get any longer than 8 minutes. I’m sure we can all expect a paint-by-numbers face vs heel match where we don’t get to see anything remarkable; because all that time WWE spent patting themselves on the back about how progressive they are was all just empty words.

Asuka will retain, and I’ll continue to be grumpy about the placement of this match.

The Street Profits(c) vs Andrade & Angel Garza
(Raw Tag Team Championships)

I cannot even pretend to care at this point. Seriously, who still gives a shit about this match? These two teams have been feuding on and off since Wrestlemania, and they’ve not done a single unique or interesting thing with it. If you’ve ever wanted proof that WWE doesn’t care about tag team wrestling, this should be all the proof you’ve ever need. Nothing has changed with any of these teams this year, Andrade & Garza are still flipping between working perfectly as a team and hating each other’s guts week-on-week with no explanation, and I don’t have the capability to care about any of it anymore.

Andrade & Angel Garza to win, because they don’t, what has been the point of all of this? Meanwhile, I’m going to sit here and pray to every God anyone’s ever believed in that WWE find a new tag team to fight for the titles.

Oh, I guess Retribution could get involved, but after their laughably bad debut on Monday, I wouldn’t care if I never saw them again.

Shinsuke Nakamura & Cesaro(c) vs Lucha House Party
(Smackdown Tag Team Championships)

I’ve come around on Lucha House Party in recent months. Now WWE has tried to book them as something other than a generic pack of luchadores there’s something quite charming to their performance. Of course, this means that WWE is teasing a break-up because WWE doesn’t know how to write a story for a tag team other than making them hate each other. Nakamura & Cesaro are working well as tag champs, I think they could end up with a dynamic similar to that of The Bar, which was one of my favourite tag teams while they were together.

Picking winner is a tough call. I’d say the smart money is on the champions retaining, but I’m going to be picking a lot of champions to retain throughout these predictions. As I highly doubt WWE would put every title on the line, only to have everyone retain, I’d say this is the match most likely to have the titles change hands. So I’m going with Lucha House Party to balance things out.

Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler(c) vs The Riott Squad
(Women’s Tag Team Championships)

I was hesitant when Jax & Baszler first paired up. I’ve never been a huge fan of Jax, and I thought Baszler was the kind of character that only works when dominating on her own. However, this tag team seems to have brought a lot of positive stuff out of both women. I like the dynamic of two people who aren’t exactly friends, but they have a mutual understanding that they work well together in the ring. The match at Payback between them, and Banks & Bayley was really good, and it showcased what a pair of ass-kickers these two can be.

Hopefully, that is a pattern that will continue into this match. The Riott Squad are good, but I don’t have much reason to be invested in them right now. It looked like they might’ve been doing something interesting with Liv Morgan as a singles competitor for a little while, but now they’ve just slapped her back with Ruby. Of course, if the alternative was not even being on TV, then I’m glad they’re getting a spot on a show like this, but that still doesn’t mean I’m overly interested in their antics.

I think the match will be an enjoyable one, but Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler are definitely coming out on top. Jax & Baszler have only just won the titles, and they feel like the kind of team that needs to tear through the entire division before we even think about taking the titles off of them.

Bobby Lashley(c) vs Apollo Crews
(United States Championship)

I feel like I’ve already said everything I can possibly say about this feud. It’s another that’s gone on for too long by this point. However, unlike Profits vs Andrade & Garza, this is a story that has actually had a few twists and turns along the way to make things interesting.

I’m not sure what to make of Alexander joining The Hurt Business. Right now, it’s fine, because he’s the hot-button topic of the day, but I have a feeling he’s more likely to fade into a role similar to Benjamin, where he’s just kind of…there. That’s my main worry with The Hurt Business, is that it’s just a vehicle to get Bobby Lashley over, with little regard for the others. Regardless of my speculation, that has minimal bearing on this match, which could be a lot of fun if it’s given the time. There’s a good dynamic between Lashley & Crews’ styles, plus, there’s room for a whole host of outside shenanigans to make this a wild ride.

I’m pretty confident in picking Bobby Lashley to win though. It’s not outside of the realm of possibility that Crews could win the title back, but I honestly don’t see the point. Crews had a good run with the belt, but if Lashley wants to stick around as a force to be reckoned with on Raw, he needs to keep that title for a while.

Bayley(c) vs Nikki Cross
(Smackdown Women’s Championship)

This feels very placeholder. Two stories are surrounding this match, both of which have very little to do with Bayley & Cross being in direct conflict.

Firstly, there’s Bayley & Sasha’s feud. I don’t want to pass any judgement on it yet, because it’s still in its infancy, but I’m liking what I’m seeing so far. If anything, I wish Bayley didn’t have to defend her title on this show so we could focus 100% on building it. I doubt many would disagree with me when I say that a Hell in a Cell match next month is where things are headed between the two, so I’m hoping to see Sasha show up and bite back at Bayley, either on Sunday or next week on Smackdown.

Then there’s the storyline between Bliss & Cross. There’s a lot of theories floating around as to what exactly The Fiend did to Bliss’ mind, and quite honestly, your guess is as good as mine in this instance. Either way, I’ve enjoyed the way they’ve been telling it. For someone with such an expressive face, I’m surprised how well Bliss has been able to pull off the vacant expression that comes with her reaction The Fiend’s name, and Cross has been playing off of it well. I get the feel from Cross of someone’s who’s concerned for their friend, but also desperate to progress their own career and focus on their title match.

Ultimately, I think the situation surrounding Alexa Bliss will cause Cross to lose focus on Sunday and allow Bayley to retain. People can sit around and cry about how Bayley vs Sasha ‘doesn’t need the title’, but I’ve never agreed with that mentality. The Bayley vs Sasha feud is a massive story on its own, but the title adds another layer of depth to things and turns it into the main-event rivalry it should be.

Jeff Hardy(c) vs AJ Styles vs Sami Zayn
(Intercontinental Championship)

I mean…do I really need to say anymore?

Let’s break this down. We’ve got Jeff Hardy, a wrestler with endless charisma and an in-ring style that pushes him to constant do crazy stuff, especially when ladders are involved. We’ve got AJ Styles, one of, if not the very best technical wrestler of this, or any other generation who can pull a 4-star or better match out of his arse whenever he wants to. We’ve got Sami Zayn, an incredible wrestler with an explosive style and some of the best character work I’ve seen in WWE all year. Finally, we have a whole lot of ladders, surely you don’t need me to do the maths on this one?

As much as I was disappointed that Zayn couldn’t continue his IC title run in the spring, I was pleased with what we ended up with instead. Between Bryan, Styles, Riddle & Hardy, there’s been a lot to enjoy from the IC title scene this summer, even if it barely ever got onto a PPV. This match just looks to be a continuation of that, the pieces are still floating around right now, but once we’re past this match, I’m expecting a lot of great singles matches in this division.

It’s a little harder to predict this match, though. I don’t think it’ll be Styles, he’s already had his run, and his loss against Hardy was a good way to put a cap on it. Zayn winning the title back is a possibility, but I feel like it might be overplaying the hand. Plus, I’m not sure backstage will be wanting to put a title on Zayn after he took time off for COVID (even if WWE said they wouldn’t punish people). As such, Jeff Hardy retaining makes the most sense in my mind. The whole story since his return has been about his second chance, so holding that title until at least the end of the year feels like the right way to go.

Drew McIntyre(c) vs Randy Orton
(WWE Championship)

This feud as really solidified Drew’s title reign for me. I think that, no matter what happens going forward, Drew is a made man for life in WWE after the run he’s had, and the work he’s done in this feud specifically. The situation surrounding the Punt Kicks and Drew’s reaction to them have made him look like a bloody superhero, and while I doubt fans will be back in arenas anytime soon when they are, they will roar in support for the guy. Orton’s been on an absolute tear too, he’s turned all the motivation into some genuinely thrilling TV, and he even found the time to put over Keith Lee in the middle of it all.

I don’t know how this match is going to go down, but personally, I hope they turn the brutality up to maximum. This is one of those situations where I think a slow-paced, weapons-based match is actually exactly what the story needs. Whether it’ll be fun to watch depends on how well that story is told, but based on their previous work, I’m optimistic.

However, there’s the small matter of the result. I really don’t know. Once again, I feel like the smart money says Orton, but I just can’t see it. There’s something about the visual of Drew being thrown in the ambulance that just doesn’t sit right with me, especially given what he’s already been through this month. I don’t know how it’ll go down, but my gut is telling me that Drew McIntyre is going to retain. I’d like it to be clean, but if we’re going a bit out-of-the-box, maybe this is when Edge returns to attack Orton and set up a Hell in a Cell match.

There’s a whole world of possibility, but I’m going with my gut and picking Drew.

Roman Reigns(c) vs Jey Uso
(Universal Championship)

In today’s episode of “What?! Hell yeah! ….what?” we have one of The Usos fighting for a world title. This was very much a case of not knowing how badly I wanted something until I got it. The truth is if you want to establish the edge that this new version of Roman has, what better way to do it? The old Roman Reigns was all about honour, respect & family, so why not devise a scenario where he gets to beat the shit out of all three at once?

The build to this has been incredible. The touch of Heyman & Roman being the ones to get Jey into the 4-way match was perfect, and it’s created a scenario where we’re just waiting for Roman to utterly destroy Jey. The writing team have done a great job of letting all that tension simmers in the background while Roman & Jey deal with other problems. It’s been said by plenty of people by now, but the shot of Roman’s face dropping from a smile into a menacing stare as Uso turned his back was masterful acting.

All of those factors are going to make for a truly tragic tale when Roman Reigns turns Uso into a bloody smear on the canvas come Sunday. This is probably the most predictable match of the night, but it’s with good reason. Getting Roman to properly annihilate Jey will establish the monster that Roman is now. The kind of guy that doesn’t care about doing things ‘the right way’ anymore, and just goes with what works. It’s the version of Roman we’ve wanted to see for years, and it’s finally here.

So there you have it! Thank you very much for taking the time to read this, please let me know what you think is going to happen on Sunday, either in the comments below or on Twitter @10ryawoo! Finally, make sure to come back early next week for my review of the show!

Money in the Bank 2020: Every Match Ranked

Woah…ok. That sure was a night of wrestling.

It’s easy to forget given the…something…that was the main event, but there were actually proper wrestling matches on this show, and almost all of them were pretty good. The lower number of matches than usual did feel a bit weird, especially when some of them didn’t get to go very long, but much like the two-night Wrestlemania, I think it was actually a good idea. Things felt like they were paced a lot better because of it and my interest never wained in the show because it didn’t drag on for an hour longer than it needed to. Sure, I would’ve prefered it if more high-profile talent got a spot on this show, but I’m thankful that they didn’t stuff this show with guff.

So, let’s get on with the matches.

7 – Bobby Lashley def. R-Truth

Oh yeah, Bobby Lashley is a thing…how did I forget about him?

Not a whole lot to say with this one. Truth and MVP’s promo was kinda fun but not really all that intriguing, I guess it probably would’ve been a bit better if I knew anything about basketball, but that’s my problem. As for the bait-and-switch, I’m ok with it, since I don’t think MVP vs R-Truth would’ve been all that great.

Admittedly, this match wasn’t anything special either, but I certainly didn’t hate it. When you get matches like this that are just slightly extended squashes, you have to look at them through a different lens than you look at a regular match through. I think Truth’s antics of trying to escape kept this thing going through Lashley’s relatively uninteresting offence.

That said, it was still a standard squash match, so I can’t bring myself to put it any higher than this.

6 – Bayley(c) def. Tamina
(Smackdown Women’s Championship)

I really wanted to be optimistic about this one, but it just didn’t work.

It had it’s moments, mostly involving Bayley heeling it up, but the match ended up being quite slow for the most part and wasn’t able to carry the 10 minutes it got. I wish I could be positive about Tamina here, but there really wasn’t anything to like from her here. Her wrestling style is that of your standard “big-guy” in wrestling only she seems to have even less mobility than many of her counterparts. She can do a good superkick though…so there’s that I guess? Bayley didn’t seem to be at her best here either. I enjoyed her taunting Tamina throughout, and that aspect of her character has remained consistent, but something about her in-ring stuff just felt a bit flat to me; not to mention one of the worst knee-bars I’ve ever seen.

As for the finish, it’s about what I expected. It would’ve been nice to see a bit more of something between Sasha and Bayley (if that’s where we’re headed…it bloody well should be). Although, I understand that subtlety isn’t exactly WWE’s strong suit and they’re probably looking to keep this building until Summerslam, so maybe it’s a bit early. If Tamina does carry on pursuing this title, I can only hope it’s in the form of a multi-woman match, because I really don’t fancy sitting through another singles match between these two.

5 – Jeff Hardy def. Cesaro
(Kickoff Show)

You know, given that they spent a month hyping up his return, I really would’ve thought they’d have put this match on the main show…

As it stands, I enjoyed this one. Admittedly there’s not really all that much to say about it, as it generally filled the role of being a slightly above average TV match than anything else. I don’t wonder with matches like this whether I would’ve enjoyed it more if there was a crowd to react to stuff, even if I feel I’ve gotten used to the lack of background noise by now. I don’t really know what else to say here, there was no story going into this match since Cesaro and Sheamus have now disassociated from each other.

It was an enjoyable match from two great wrestlers, and I’d love to see more of this from both of these guys going forward.

4 – Braun Strowman(c) def. Bray Wyatt
(Universal Championship)

The fact that the lack of a crowd means we can very clearly hear the wrestlers talking in the ring is something that I don’t think has been taken advantage of nearly as much as it could’ve been up until now. Bray Wyatt was the perfect character to play to this, and he did an excellent job. From his ramblings to commentary and the camera during his entrance, to his comments to Braun throughout the match, Wyatt was able to tell the story absolutely perfectly.

I wasn’t actually all that interested in the story going into this one, but thanks to the work done between the two of them in the ring, I came away more invested than I came in. The injection of the puppets was the only thing that didn’t quite land for me. I know they’re supposed to be Wyatt’s tools for indoctrinating people into the funhouse, but they’re so disconnected from what Wyatt and Strowman had in 2015/16, that they felt a bit out of place. Everything else was really well done though, from Bray’s pleading with Braun, to Braun’s tricking of Wyatt, making him believe that he had actually convinced him to come back. In a way, this even justified the decision to had Funhouse Bray wrestle the match rather than The Fiend.

When it comes to the action, it wasn’t anything spectacular, but it was entertaining enough and served the story like it was supposed to. This wasn’t much of a competitive match, which tends to be where Wyatt shines best, so there was only so much interest it could have. That said, his more reactionary role in the pacing made for a more compelling story.

3 – The New Day(c) def. Lucha House Party, The Forgotten Sons, The Miz & John Morrison
(Smackdown Tag Team Championships)

Multi-team tag matches are always great.

This match followed the simple, yet effective, formula that most matches of this elk do. That being it started out pretty slow, with standard action between the two legal men, throwing in the occasional tag and double-team move. Then about 5 minutes in all hell breaks loose and the following 10 minutes of the match is a barrel of fun.

Lucha House Party ended up being the MVPs of this match if you ask me, one of them was almost always involved in the action, and they did a really good job of it too. This kind of chaotic and fast-paced match is perfect for their style, so everything they did felt very natural and compelling. Miz & Morrison were great too. It wasn’t quite as overt as it was in their previous matches, but they filled their role of picking their spots and only getting involved when they stood a chance of gaining the advantage to great effect.

The Forgotten Sons were, unfortunately, who I was most disappointed. They got a few notable spots in there, but nothing all that consequential. They’re one of those rare cases where I don’t think we saw their full potential in NXT and I was really hoping that we’d start to catch glimpses of it here. The New Day was great though, and I think the match was structured in such a way so that you really felt they deserved the win by the end. Kofi took a battering like he always does, and Big E ran through the whole thing with a head of steam in the way that only he can.

I’m not entirely sure where the feuds will go from here. My guess would be a regular two on two match between New Day and Miz & Morrison just to finally put the cap on that, but The Forgotten Sons may get that featured spot instead. Either way, I think we’re in for a good match at Backlash.

2 – Drew McIntyre(c) def. Seth Rollins
(WWE Championship)

Ok, when it comes to regular wrestling matches, this was far-and-away the best match on the show, but come on…

It seems Money in the Bank is just going to be the show where Seth Rollins had a brilliant singles match for a world title, his brilliant match with Styles was at last year’s show too. Given how dominant a champion Drew has been over the past month, there was a risk that making this too much of a competitive match might take away from some of that aura, but I think they did a great job of balancing it. Drew felt like he was in control for large swathes of the match and even in his more vulnerable moments, he never felt diminished because of it.

Rollins meanwhile has done an amazing job of making his fast-paced, high-flying offence – a style that typically only works for faces – into something quite methodical and heelish. The sequence where he did a bunch of flying knee strikes to Drew on the outside, in particular, felt very heavy and brutal, even though it’s usually a crowd-popping and exciting move.

Everything in this match worked to the benefit of both men. Rollins shows once again how he’s able to continually adapt and evolve his style for what his role is, and he genuinely looked like a credible threat to Drew’s championship. Meanwhile, Drew was able to look vulnerable without ever looking weak, and the handshake at the end solidified him as the top guy on Raw. Partly because it makes him look noble and honourable, but Rollins accepting it gives Drew a boost too, because Rollins’ whole point in this feud was his belief that Drew wouldn’t be able to handle leading Raw.

Combine all of that stuff with a sizable helping of exciting back-and-forth action, and you’ve got yourself a match of the year candidate right there.

1 – Otis and Asuka won the Money in the Bank Ladder Matches

Ok…ok. Let’s all take a breath…now let’s break this thing down.

First thing’s first, this whole thing was so incredibly dumb, but it was also absolutely brilliant. Let’s be honest here, the idea of a race through an office block to grab a prize on the roof is an absolutely ridiculous concept, so leaning all the way into that ridiculousness was the perfect way to play this match.

Things started off silly as Asuka did a dance on the balcony before leaping off of it onto all of the other women, meanwhile, the men fought in the gym, a sequence which featured Corbin being absolutely traumatised when he accidentally broke one of the mirrors. Then Asuka got into an elevator and seemingly danced the whole way up in it as the men ran past a bathroom, in which Brother Love was taking a piss for some reason.

Next up, then men fought into an elevator, which opened in the exact same place where the women had just started fighting. Some great spots included Asuka and Aleister Black doing shifty eyes like they’re in a Scooby-Doo cartoon before sneaking off. Meanwhile, Otis got carried away, cheering along with Daniel Bryan’s “Yes!” kicks and also…there was a clown…I don’t know why there was a clown, but the was a clown.

Moving on, the women fought their way into a conference room that, for some reason, had a fake Money in the Bank briefcase hanging from the ceiling. After all the other women were laid out, Dana Brooke, for some reason, thought that the briefcase above the conference room must be the real one, despite every advert for the past month saying it would be on the roof. At this point, Stephanie McMahon appeared in one of the worst editing jobs I’ve ever seen (it didn’t even slightly look like Stephanie was actually in the room with Dana) to tell Dana that the real briefcase was on the roof.

We then revisit AJ Styles, who’s hunting down Rey after Rey left him trapped under a set of weights in the gym and we get a rare bit of continuity in WWE as AJ becomes traumatised by a photo of The Undertaker. Which makes sense when you consider The Undertaker buried AJ alive last month…you would’ve thought that would’ve come up a bit sooner, but oh well.

Then we get to the stupidest, but also the best part of the match. As Paul Heyman was sat down at a table full of food, both the men and the women ran into the room and stared each other down. Otis then picked up a sandwich and started having a fit. Everyone else in the room put on their best melodramatic “oh shit” faces until Otis called for a food fight and chaos ensued. Some of the highlights of this segment include Rey Mysterio being choked out by Shayna Baszler, then literally squashed by Nia Jax and the music being absolutely perfect. That isn’t the end of the food stuff though, as Otis went into the kitchen and found a row of pies laid out. At which point, MOTHERFUCKIN’ JOHNNY ACE rolls in on a scooter and takes a pie to the face.

Dana then manages to slip on a wet floor (we never see her again in the match after this) and Nia throws Shayna into a wall, we’d never see Shayna again in this match either. The men have managed to fight their way into the main conference room, and after a small skirmish, Styles and Bryan stumble into an office that just so happens to have Vince McMahon writing on a clipboard. Styles and Bryan then look at each other like school children that have been caught messing around and leave the office with their tails between their legs. After that, another skirmish happens where Corbin comes out on top and declares “I’m going to the roof!” to absolutely no-one.

We finally get to the roof, and this is where things get a bit more tense and series. The women get to the roof first, and there aren’t any major ladder spots on the roof, just vague fighting and attempting to prevent each other from climbing the ladder. After Asuka and Lacey fought on the ladder for a weirdly long time, Asuka was climbing to the top. Corbin appeared and tried to stop her from grabbing the briefcase for some reason. Seriously, WHY did Corbin give a shit about Asuka winning the women’s briefcase? The men’s briefcase was RIGHT THERE, if he had just left Asuka alone, he could’ve won the match in seconds. Anyway, Asuka kicked him in the face and retrieved the briefcase.

We’re not done yet, though, as now the rest of the men emerged onto the roof. Corbin decided that the best course of action would be to launch both Mysterio and Black off of the roof (I know there was actually a crash pad about 10 feet down, but they shot it to look like they went off the roof). The men fought for a bit and eventually Styles and Corbin found themselves at the top of the ladder, the briefcase came off of the hook with both of them holding it until Elias of all people showed up and smashed Corbin in the back with a guitar. That left AJ with the briefcase and the win, right? WRONG. Instead, AJ managed to fumble the briefcase, which knocked it perfectly into Otis’ hands. Seriously, they showed the slow-motion replay, and it’s the most perfect fumble I think I’ve ever seen.

GOD, this was brilliant. The Boneyard and Funhouse matches were great because of their uniqueness and the cleverness of the writing and filming involved. This was great in the way that it’s so bloody stupid I can’t help but love every second of it.

As for the winners, as much as I would’ve preferred Shayna to win, giving it to Asuka is still a great choice and I hope they make something good of it. In regards to Otis, it’s certainly not who I would’ve picked, but given that this was a comedy match, why not have the comedy wrestler win it? I don’t think he’ll ever actually get to cash-in as I stand by my belief that there is no world championship in his future. However, right now, I can’t help but smile at it. Like the match as a whole, it’s incredibly dumb, but also beautiful.

That’s all folks! Thank you very much for taking the time to read this article, please let me know what your thoughts on the show are, either in the comments below or on Twitter @10ryawoo. Finally, make sure you come back this time on Saturday, where I’ll be releasing the second part of my Minecraft Updates list!