Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over twelve years now and have reviewed over 6,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Clash of Champions 2016
Date: September 25, 2016
Location: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
For some reason, this was requested back in the day so we might as well check it off the list. This is the first Raw exclusive pay per view after the Brand Split so the roster is a little limited. In this case, the main event is Kevin Owens defending the Universal Title against Seth Rollins. Let’s get to it.
Kickoff Show: Nia Jax vs. Alicia Fox
Jax showed up a few weeks ago and Fox didn’t like it, leading to Fox freaking out. Then Jax beat her up in a match so we’ll do it again. Fox dropkicks her at the bell to start fast and fires off kicks. That earns her some rams into the corner as Jax isn’t having any of that. We’re already in the chinlock for a bit before Jax sends her flying again. Fox slugs away in the corner though and hits a high crossbody. The ax kick gets two but Jax runs Fox over without much effort. The Samoan drop crushes Fox for the pin at 4:54.
Rating: C. This was about what you would expect here, as Jax shrugged off anything Fox threw at her and won pretty decisively. The match wasn’t anything special, with Jax getting a big push as she is new on Raw. Fox is someone who could be destroyed without sacrificing much and keeping it simple and to the point was the right way to go here.
The opening video looks at what it takes to be a champion and how we got to the major matches.
Tag Team Titles: New Day vs. Good Brothers
New Day, meaning Kofi Kingston and Big E. in this case, is defending. Before the match, Kofi talks about how a win here would make them champions for 400 days, but the Good Brothers want to break them up like Brangelina. Anderson and Gallows have never even had a big old bowl of Booty-O’s!
The Brothers finally come out and it’s a clothesline to Big E. on the floor, plus cheap shot to Woods. A Liger Bomb to Kofi for two and the champs are in early trouble. Gallows comes in for a kick to the head and hammers away in the corner. Big E. gets back up but Gallows knocks Kofi right back into the wrong corner. Kofi gets in a shot of his own though and the tag to Anderson takes too long, allowing Big E. to come in for the rapid fire suplexes. The Warrior Splash hits Anderson but he’s able to cut off the spear through the ropes.
Gallows comes in off a blind tag and boots Big E. in the face, setting up the big boot/flapjack combination for two. The tag brings Kofi back in and he is quickly spinebustered for two more. Big E. is dropped again but Kofi breaks up the Magic Killer. Kofi manages Trouble In Paradise and Big E. is back in for the Big Ending but Gallows breaks it up. The referee yells at Gallows, meaning Woods can get in a Francesca shot to Anderson. The Midnight Hour retains the titles at 6:45.
Rating: B-. They crammed a lot into a rather short match here but New Day is always a good choice to open the show. You are going to get the high energy match that the fans will react to and that is a smart way to bring up the energy. The Brothers were viable challengers here and had New Day in a lot of trouble more than once before coming up short. It felt like a hot house show opener and this worked well in pretty much every aspect needed.
We recap TJ Perkins winning the Cruiserweight Classic to become the new Cruiserweight Champion.
TJ Perkins has been working to get here since 1998 and his confidence is going to get him beyond Brian Kendrick.
Cruiserweight Title: Brian Kendrick vs. TJ Perkins
Perkins is defending and I do miss his video game entrance (and Kendrick’s I’m A Man With A Plan song). Not so much the purpose ropes, which was about all the identity the cruiserweight division had. They go with the grappling to start until TJP gets a headscissors. Kendrick switches that into a headlock but gets reversed into a kneebar, sending him straight to the ropes.
The fans are split as Kendrick ties him in the ring skirt and hammers away as commentary tries to get this division and its wrestlers over as much as possible. TJP is right back with a Muta Lock, sending Kendrick to the ropes again. Kendrick manages to send him outside to bang up TJP’s neck but his own knee is hurt as well. Back in and Kendrick gets in a cross arm choke before missing a charge and crashing out to the floor. TJP fights out of another crank and hits a dropkick into a heel kick.
A jumping neckbreaker doesn’t quite work for TJP but a double chickenwing backbreaker two two. With nothing else working, TJP snaps off a top rope hurricanrana to the floor for a double crash. Back in and Kendrick can’t hit the Sliced Bread so TJP goes up, only to miss the 450. Kendrick can’t get the Captain’s Hook but TJP can’t get the kneebar either. Now Sliced Bread gives Kendrick two but this time the Captain’s Hook is reversed into the Detonation Kick. The kneebar retains the title at 10:33.
Rating: B-. This was turning into a heck of a match but there was no way around the fact that it means absolutely nothing. The Cruiserweight Title was introduced in the Cruiserweight Classic and that worked well enough, but after that it became clear why it was gone again. No matter how good the matches might be, and this was a rather good one, you can only get so far with the purple ropes and a title for smaller wrestlers when Daniel Bryan was the hottest thing in the world just a few years ago.
Post match respect is teased but Kendrick drops him and walks off.
Cesaro, in his white tuxedo, is ready to finish the comeback and beat Sheamus to win their best of seven series. This series is about mental toughness and he is ready to show the Cesaro Section the biggest comeback in history.
We recap the first six matches, with Sheamus going up 3-0 but Cesaro has made a comeback to bring us to a winner take all match. The matches have been good, but egads it was hard to sit through this many matches between anyone.
Cesaro vs. Sheamus
The winner gets an unspecified title shot. Cesaro wastes no time in hitting a dropkick but Sheamus is right back with the forearms to the chest. Those are broken up and Sheamus is knocked to the floor, allowing Cesaro to hit the running seated senton off the apron. Back in and Sheamus knocks him off the top for a crash though, setting up a middle rope knee. Some backbreakers stay on Cesaro’s back and we hit the chinlock.
Back up and Sheamus hits a running spinwheel kick in the corner (that looked good) and a top rope clothesline gets two. Sheamus misses a charge into the post though and Cesaro scores with an uppercut to the back. A tornado DDT gets two on Sheamus and the Swiss One Nine (if that’s not the name, it should be) sets up a high crossbody for two more. The Neutralizer is blocked so Cesaro hits a heck of a springboard corkscrew uppercut for another near fall.
It’s too early for the Swing though and Sheamus gets two more off another backbreaker. Two Irish Curses combine for two (so hit a third one then) but the Cloverleaf is countered into a small package to give Cesaro two of his own. Sheamus gets creative with a Razor’s Edge dropped into a backbreaker (OUCH) but the Brogue Kick is countered into the Swing. Cesaro gets the Sharpshooter (while holding his back), sending Sheamus over to the rope.
The apron superplex is countered so Cesaro kicks him in the face instead, setting up one of those suicide dives which lands so badly that the referee runs out to make sure Cesaro isn’t dead. Back in and a quick Brogue Kick gives Sheamus two (as we see the fourth replay of the dive, which looked TERRIFYING).
Cesaro grabs a Neutralizer for two of his own and they’re both down again. Some uppercuts in the corner have Sheamus in more trouble until he cuts off a charge with a raised boot. Sheamus pulls himself up to the top but gets dropkicked down but Sheamus headbutts him right back off the top. A top rope clothesline to the floor hits Cesaro in the back and Sheamus hits White Noise on the floor. Cesaro clotheslines him into the crowd though and it’s a no contest as they’re both out at 16:30.
Rating: B+. This is a great example of a match where time has been kind. I couldn’t stand this feud at the time and the reveal of them getting a Tag Team Title shot didn’t help (though the Bar wound up being great) but this was an awesome fight. They didn’t stop for almost any time during the match and I wanted to see what they were going to come up with next. Awesome stuff here and if they hadn’t done the match to death, I would have liked it a lot more back in the day.
Post match Cesaro wants to keep going but Sheamus staggers out of the arena.
Bayley, still in the Hugger phase, is interrupted by Charlotte, still in….the only phase she has, who says Bayley cheated to get her title shot tonight. Charlotte insists that Bayley isn’t going to win tonight, with Bayley reminding her of that time she pinned Charlotte a few weeks ago. Charlotte: “You can’t even beat Sasha.”
Sami Zayn vs. Chris Jericho
I do miss Sami’s jaunty hat. Believe it or not, this is over Kevin Owens, who Sami doesn’t like but is Jericho’s new best friend. Therefore, this is about Jericho protecting his own honor after Sami said he was Owens’ b****. Jericho yells at the fans to start until Sami drives him into the corner and hammers away. The referee breaks it up and Jericho gets in the cheap shot.
Sami isn’t having that and snaps off some armdrags into a leg lariat, meaning Jericho needs a breather. With Jericho on the floor, Sami follows him out and hits the moonsault off the barricade. Back in and the referee distracts Sami, allowing Jericho to hit the triangle dropkick to take over. A top rope elbow to the face gives Jericho two and he crotches Sami on top to cut off a quick comeback bid. Jericho loads up the bulldog but Sami sends him hard into the corner and sends him outside.
There’s the big no hands running flip dive (that always looks great), followed by a Michinoku Driver for two on Jericho back inside. Sami misses a flying something off the top and Jericho is back with a step up enziguri. Jericho starts kicking him in the head but Sami pulls him down into a rollup for two more. The rope walk tornado DDT sets up the Helluva Kick but Jericho bails to the floor just in time.
The diving tornado DDT takes Jericho down again outside, only to have another Helluva Kick miss back inside. Instead Sami suplexes him into the corner but a third Helluva Kick misses, allowing Jericho to grab the Walls. Sami finally reverses into a rollup for two and the Blue Thunder Bomb connects for the same. Then Jericho hits the Codebreaker for the pin at 15:21.
Rating: B. Were you expecting anything else from Jericho vs. Zayn in a fifteen minute pay per view match? Sami was fighting from underneath for most of the match, which is where he excels like few others. There is something about watching him try to survive against a bigger star and even get close to winning multiple times, only to come up short. Awesome match here, as this show has been pretty great so far.
Bosses Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon come up to Raw World Champion Kevin Owens, saying if anyone can live up to the rest of the show, it’s him. Owens isn’t impressed ad is ready to show them why they should have taken him over Seth Rollins with the #1 Draft pick. Rollins is no longer then man, but rather the mistake. Their mistake.
We recap the Raw Women’s Title match with Charlotte defending against Bayley and Sasha Banks. Charlotte beat Banks to win the title at Summerslam when Banks had a bad back. Then Bayley showed up and beat Charlotte in a non-title match, setting up the title match.
Raw Women’s Title: Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. Bayley
Charlotte, with Dana Brooke (that didn’t go very far) is defending. Banks chases Charlotte straight to the floor and starts the fight so Bayley kicks both of them in the face. Back in and Bayley rolls Charlotte up for some near falls but Banks isn’t having that. Instead Bayley rolls her up for two but Charlotte pulls Banks down by the hair. We get the big three way standoff until Banks drops Bayley.
Charlotte grabs a neckbreaker to put Banks down but gets crotched on top. Bayley is back up and kicks Charlotte to the floor, setting up a twisting Stunner over the middle rope to take banks down. Brooke gets in a cheap shot on Bayley though, allowing Charlotte to knee Banks into the corner. There’s a hard whip into the corner and Banks’ back is getting a lot more messed up.
Charlotte stops to deck Bayley again but Banks sends Charlotte into the corner to even things up a bit. The Bank Statement is broken up but Bayley is back in with a double high crossbody. Bayley misses a running knee in the corner though and Banks stacks both of them up, setting up the double knees. Back up and Banks breaks up the Figure Eight and Bayley hits the Bayley To Belly for two on Charlotte, leaving everyone down again.
With nothing else working, Banks and Bayley beat up Charlotte…who of course shrugs it off and sends Bayley into the corner again. If that’s not enough, Charlotte drops Banks off the middle rope before doing the same to Bayley. Charlotte hits the moonsault onto both of them for two on Banks, who is right back up with the Bank Statement.
Brooke makes a save of her own and Bayley is shoved off the top for a crash. The Bank Statement has Charlotte in more trouble but Bayley breaks it up this time. Banks does the same thing with Charlotte and Bayley switching places, allowing Charlotte to send Banks hard into the barricade. Back in and Charlotte boots Bayley into Banks, followed by another big boot to retain the title at 15:28.
Rating: B-. Sweet goodness Charlotte was every bit as dominant back then and it was still not the most appealing thing. She kept shrugging off everything Bayley and Banks threw at her, including both at once, and then won the title by beating them both up without much trouble. Good enough match, but it was a lot of Charlotte, as tends to be the case.
The Kickoff Show panel recaps/previews the show.
Remember Nia Jax crushing Alicia Fox on the Kickoff Show? Here are some highlights, in case you were wondering about a near squash.
We recap Roman Reigns challenging Rusev for the US Title. Reigns, being kind of a jerk, interrupted Rusev and Lana’s celebration and shoved her into a cake. They had been supposed to fight at Summerslam but got in a fight before the match so nothing happened.
United States Title: Rusev vs. Roman Reigns
Rusev is defending and Lana handles his introduction. They fight over a lockup to start until Reigns knocks him outside. Back in and Reigns wins a slugout until Rusev spinwheel kicks him in the face for two. Rusev hammers away and whips him into the corner a few times as the fans are way behind Reigns. The clothesline comeback doesn’t last long as Rusev knocks him outside for some rams into the barricade.
Rusev is sent into the steps for two and we hit the chinlock. That stays on for a good bit before Rusev hits a running headbutt and stops for some Bulgarian style glaring. A dropkick of all things drops Reigns again but he rolls away from a top rope headbutt (he learned from the first headbutt you see). The corner clotheslines rock Rusev, who crashes out to the floor and gets sent into the steps for a bonus.
Back in and the Superman Punch is kicked out of the air, setting up a hot shot for two. Reigns cuts off the Machka Kick and hits the Superman Punch for two of his own. Back up and the Lana distraction lets the Machka Kick connect and Rusev loses it on the referee for a bit. The Accolade (camel clutch) is broken up though and Reigns hits the spear, only to have Lana pull the referee.
That’s good for an ejection and Reigns sends Rusev outside as well. The running dropkick hits Rusev but it’s the Machka Kick to give him two back inside. Now the Accolade goes on but Reigns powers up and hits the spear for the pin and the title at 17:10 (it’s as sudden as it sounds).
Rating: B-. This was the Reigns that does not have the best reputation, as while the wrestling was good enough, it wasn’t exactly exciting stuff and he kept shrugging off everything thrown at him. That doesn’t make for the most interesting matches and the ending came out of absolutely nowhere. Not a bad match at all, but there was no point where I was getting interested or excited.
Seth Rollins runs into Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley but he really doesn’t want to hear anything from Stephanie. They bet on the wrong guy, and tell HHH that he bet against the wrong guy.
We recap the Raw World Title match. Finn Balor won the Universal Title at Summerslam but got hurt, meaning the title was decided in a fatal four way. HHH interfered and cost Seth Rollins the title, siding with Kevin Owens instead in quite the screwjob. Now Rollins wants revenge, as HHH (and Stephanie) bet on the wrong guy (as you might have heard all of a few seconds ago). In other words, it was a bunch of Stephanie getting to be all fierce with people while Owens was just kind of there quite a bit of the while.
Raw World Title: Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens
Owens is defending and they fight to the floor to start with Rollins getting the better of things. Back in and Rollins stomps away in the corner, setting up the running knee to the face for two. Stomping and chopping in the corner have Owens in more trouble and the middle rope Blockbuster gets two. The Pedigree is blocked though and Owens snaps off a DDT for two of his own.
Rollins is sent outside and comes up favoring his knee, allowing Owens to stomp away back inside (the fans approve). Owens kicks away at the knee and backdrops a charging Rollins out to the floor. An elbow off the apron crushes Rollins again and the backsplash makes it worse. We hit the chinlock for a bit before Owens whips him hard into the corner to keep Rollins down. Back up and Rollins starts the comeback, including the Downward Spiral into the middle buckle.
A running dropkick sends Owens outside and Rollins uses the chance to set up the announcers’ table. Ever the smart champion, Owens bails back inside before anything can happen, only to get superkicked for two. Rollins misses a charge into the corner though and Owens kicks him in the knee again. The Cannonball gets two but Rollins is back up for an exchange of strikes to leave them both down.
Rollins’ springboard knee is cut off so Owens can hit the pumphandle brainbuster onto the knee for two more. A super gutbuster into the frog splash gives Owens another near fall and they head back to the floor. Owens misses the splash through the announcers’ table and it’s another double down. Back in and Rollins hits a frog splash for two so cue Chris Jericho.
The distraction lets Owens hit the package side slam but Rollins is back with a Pedigree for the same, thanks to Jericho putting the foot on the rope. The referee gets bumped (of course) so there’s no count for Rollins’ Pedigree. Jericho comes in but gets backdropped to the floor, setting up the suicide dive. Stephanie McMahon pops up to send in another referee….so Owens can hit the pop up powerbomb to retain at 25:07.
Rating: B-. This was REALLY long and could have easily had ten minutes shaved off. It was one of those matches where it felt like they were just trying to fill in time rather than winning the match most of the time. On top of that, it also felt like it was a HHH style match of “ok, let’s get everything done before we get to the shenanigans”. That’s not a great feeling, and it never came off like Rollins was going to win the title to make it even worse. Good action, but bad setup and execution.
Overall Rating: B. There’s a lot of good stuff on here, but it does run a bit longer than it needs to. It also doesn’t help that while the match quality is high, the show could not feel more second tier if it tried. Reigns winning the title was a moment that felt flat and other than that, there was nothing on here that came off like a game changing moment. It’s definitely a pick and choose show where some of the matches are worth a look, but you might not want to sit through the whole thing.
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