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 2019
Date: September 15, 2019
Location: Spectrum Center, Charlotte, North Carolina
Commentators: Michael Cole, Renee Young, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton, Tom Phillips
Even though titles are an everyday part of wrestling, we have here a full show all about them, because most shows need to have a theme these days. There are a lot of matches crammed onto this show, though thankfully they have moved King of the Ring to Raw tomorrow to save some space. Let’s get to it.
I was in the arena for this show, sitting in the upper deck opposite the hard cameras.
Kickoff Show: Cruiserweight Title: Drew Gulak vs. Lince Dorado vs. Humberto Carrillo
Gulak is defending. Every match is getting Big Match Intros and they’re lowering the lights during the introductions, which is a really cool visual that I hope becomes the norm. Also, cool shot from Gulak just sitting on the ropes and holding up the title because it’s all that matters. Gulak wastes no time in dropkicking Carrillo into the corner at the bell but both challengers go after him at the same time.
Carrillo’s half of a double dropkick misses but he makes up for it with a springboard armdrag to take Gulak down (that always looks great). Dorado sends both of them to the floor for a springboard crossbody, followed by a hurricanrana off the barricade to the champ. Gulak takes Dorado down though and goes back inside, where Carrillo’s flips offer some frustration. The armbar goes on, which just does not seem like a good idea in a triple threat.
Dorado comes back in with a crossbody on Carrillo for two with Gulak not being able to get there in time anyway. A gutbuster cuts Dorado down though and it’s something like a full nelson/abdominal stretch hybrid to stay on the ribs. Carrillo is back in with a dropkick and a COME ON, which is rarely a good sign for someone trying to fire up the crowd. Another dropkick puts Gulak on the floor again, where he catches Dorado in an electric chair. That’s fine with Carrillo, who dives onto both of them for a nasty crash.
Back in and the missile dropkick gives Carrillo two more with Gulak making a proper save this time around. Carrillo goes up for a moonsault but Gulak raises boots, which Carrillo catches and reverses into a modified Sharpshooter. That’s broken up as well so it’s the exchange of rollups gets a bunch of two counts.
Everyone is down again until Carrillo heads up top, with Gulak launching Dorado for a dropkick. Gulak is knocked outside, leaving Dorado to miss a shooting star press. Carrillo hits a Disaster kick into the Aztec Press, only to have Gulak come in and suplex Dorado for the pin (only after the referee tells Dorado that his shoulders are up, causing Dorado to drop down) to retain at 10:06.
Rating: C+. Exactly what you should be going for with this match in this spot as the fans are more fired up than they were before. Gulak retaining wasn’t exactly shocking but he is going to be the best choice if 205 Live moves to NXT as it is rumored to be (and should be doing). Carrillo could be something big in the future, but he isn’t ready yet. Dorado could have been almost any third person out there, which isn’t a terrible thing.
Kickoff Show: United States Title: Cedric Alexander vs. AJ Styles
Alexander is the hometown boy (and wearing the colors of the Charlotte Hornets) and challenging, meaning he gets quite the strong reaction, even though AJ was born in North Carolina as well. You can see what this means to Cedric and that’s not the kind of thing you can fake. AJ sends the Good Brothers to the back and is willing to go it alone. The bell rings and AJ charges straight at him, earning himself a Michinoku Driver for an early two.
The big running flip dive takes AJ down again and a Neuralizer gets two more. AJ breaks up a springboard though and takes him to the apron for a suplex. The Styles Clash on the floor knocks Cedric cold but AJ pulls him up at two for some reason. The Calf Crusher doesn’t stay on long so Cedric goes to the apron again, this time for a spinning elbow to AJ’s face. Cedric gets in the springboard Downward Spiral but AJ grabs a reverse DDT. With Cedric rocked, it’s the Phenomenal Forearm into the Styles Clash to retain the title at 4:55.
Rating: B-. They packed in a lot here and while I’m not sure I get the idea of having Cedric lose in his hometown in what should have been a layup, I can understand not letting him pin AJ for a title. Cedric had the crowd going here and that likely would have been the case in any city. Good match though, and a pairing I could go for more of in a longer form.
Post match AJ beats on Cedric some more, with Gallows and Anderson coming in to help. No one makes the save. I was expecting the Viking Raiders here but it was just a long beatdown instead.
The opening video looks at all of the titles and the people who hold them, which is exactly what it should be. Then it switches to Roman Reigns vs. Erick Rowan, which isn’t quite what I think of when I think of a show about champions. We switch into the usual opening hype video, as tends to be the case.
Raw Tag Team Titles: Braun Strowman/Seth Rollins vs. Robert Roode/Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler and Roode are challenging after winning the largest Tag Team Turmoil match in Raw history. So it’s on top of a list of…..probably five matches? That’s the second biggest/first time in history deal during the entrances as we heard about Rollins being the first person to defend the Tag Team and Universal Title in history. The title isn’t even forty months old yet and six people have been champion. Can we cool it with historic firsts for it for….I don’t know, until it has a history that matters?
Strowman stares at a scared Roode to start and a big shove sends Roode down. Ziggler comes in for the tried and false jump on the monster’s back sleeper with Strowman breaking it up and kicking him in the face. Now it’s off to Rollins, who has to fight off both villains at once. The running DDT plants Rollins on the floor though and the challengers take over back inside. Ziggler goes with the sleeper again, albeit from a standing position this time due to a lack of monster from Rollins.
The Fameasser gives Ziggler two more but Roode charges into a boot in the corner. Rollins grabs the Blockbuster but Ziggler is back in to prevent any hot tagging. Just to make sure he gets it in, Ziggler jumps on Rollins for another sleeper (he REALLY likes that move). That’s broken up again so Ziggler tries another running DDT, which is reversed into the Falcon Arrow. The hot tag brings in Strowman to clean house, including the running shoulders on the floor.
One big one knocks Roode into the barricade, with Cole saying he almost went into the FANS. That’ll be a fine, which Cole can count as Ziggler slips out of the powerslam. A rake to the eyes causes Strowman to go shoulder first into the post but he’s fine enough to break up the Glorious DDT. Rollins springboards back in with the springboard knee and a Sling Blade to Roode.
Ziggler gets knocked over the barricade and Roode uses the breather to come back with a spinebuster for two of his own. Strowman comes back in but knocks Roode into Rollins, allowing Ziggler to low bridge the monster to the floor. The Glorious DDT plants Rollins to give Roode the pin and the titles at 9:36.
Rating: C. The match was your standard Raw main event and that’s acceptable enough to open a pay per view. Strowman and Rollins were never going to be long for the titles so it’s not like this is some big shock. That being said, the fact that the World Champion has to get pinned in an opening match is another problem entirely, but that’s where they had to go to get out of this story, which absolutely needed an historic first double title defense.
Post match Strowman looks annoyed and Rollins looks up at the screen to see the replay of the loss.
In the back, Strowman says he didn’t get pinned and tonight he’s winning the Universal Title. Rollins might just get his hands.
Becky Lynch says she and Rollins will still be champions at the end of the night. In regards to meeting her match in Sasha Banks, it is Sasha who has questions to answer. Tonight we need to find out if Banks has what it takes to be great. Becky has accomplished more in WWE than any woman ever and she lists off a bunch of her accomplishments. Now Banks is complaining about Becky getting her spot, but Becky earned everything she has. Tonight, Banks finds out what happens when the Man comes around. Becky was bringing the fire here.
We recap the Smackdown Women’s Title match. Bayley had been scheduled to defend against Charlotte but Sasha Banks turning heel prompted a double turn, meaning we get heel Bayley for the first time. I’m not sure what this is going to mean, but it could go a lot of ways.
Smackdown Women’s Title: Bayley vs. Charlotte
Charlotte, of course the hometown girl, is challenging. The announcers talk about how awesome it is that Charlotte is going for her tenth title in just over four years because losing titles means nothing in this company. Charlotte boots her down at the bell for two in basically the same opening as Cedric vs. AJ. Some chops connect and it’s already time to go after Bayley’s knee.
Bayley rolls outside again and gets sent into various barricades as this is one sided so far. The fans are behind Charlotte as she drives Bayley into the corner for some shoulders to the ribs. A knee to Bayley’s knee has her in more trouble but the Figure Four is countered into a small package. Charlotte boots her into the corner and stomps away until the referee pulls her off. That’s enough of a distraction for Bayley to unhook the buckle pad and send Charlotte head first into the steel to retain at 3:45.
Rating: D-. Well that’s a thing that happened. I’m glad Charlotte didn’t get the title again but having the champion getting squashed might not be the best idea in the world. That being said, I do like the idea of Bayley cheating to retain the title like this and it does offer something new for her, which is what she has been needing for a long time now. Felt like a TV angle more than anything else, but at least Charlotte isn’t champion so soon.
Bayley grabs her title and SPRINTS out of the arena as Charlotte has to smile a bit.
We look back at Shane McMahon firing Kevin Owens for Owens doing his job which wasn’t his job.
Smackdown Tag Team Titles: New Day vs. Revival
New Day is defending but they’re banged up after some recent Revival attacks. Woods, with his injured knee, starts with Dash, who is smart enough to go after the bad leg. The good knee hits Dash in the head and Big E. runs Dawson over on the floor for a bonus. Big E. comes in legally to Rock Bottom Wilder out of the corner for two as it’s almost all champs so far. The Warrior Splash is broken up though and Wilder hits a clothesline to knock Big E. off the apron for a big crash.
Back in and the double teaming begins, which is where the Revival tends to shine. The belly to back legdrop gives Dawson two as Graves is all over Saxton again, which is making me long for the FOX move so these two can be away from each other for good. Dawson’s chinlock with a bodyscissors keeps Big E. down but you can’t fight thighs like his forever. The belly to belly plants Wilder and the hot tag brings in Woods to pick up the pace. Woods hits the bottom rope springboard DDT for two as the knee gives out again.
Big E.’s spear through the ropes misses so Wilder tries his own suicide dive, which is pulled out of the air. That’s fine with Dawson, who heads outside for the Shatter Machine. Woods is left to get double teamed, which includes a wise chop block. Another Shatter Machine hits Woods and it’s a reverse Figure Four to make Woods scream. With that out of the way, Woods finally taps away the titles at 10:03.
Rating: C+. Pretty formula based match here but it was a good example of Revival being a better team than most. They knew what they needed to do here and used their better teamwork to get rid of the big monster and then take out the injured man. This made a lot of sense and was well executed, which is what the Revival tends to do. Not a great match, but one that made perfect sense.
Post match Revival grabs the mic and says the titles have been revived. Later tonight, Randy Orton is taking the WWE Championship from Kofi Kingston. What a weird place for a promo.
Alexa Bliss (back to the Harley Quinn look) and Nikki Cross are ready to retain the Women’s Tag Team Titles. The boom mic comes down….because R-Truth and Carmella are running the production. R-Truth: “I’m sorry other Carmella!” Truth praises Bliss’ voice, which she uses to speak into the microphone that R-TRUTH IS ON THE SET SO COME GET THE 24/7 TITLE! The chase is on.
Women’s Tag Team Titles: Alexa Bliss/Nikki Cross vs. Fire & Desire
Fire & Desire is challenging and Graves is having his usual Bliss vs. Mandy issues. Mandy slams Cross to start and cartwheels over her, only to be clotheslined right back down. Cross does a weird dance, which Renee declares as the sexiest thing she has seen on WWE TV in years. I’d say Cross is good looking but egads with the hyperbole already.
It’s off to Sonya as Cole is trying to compliment Nikki like she just achieved her lifelong dream and the dream of everyone else who has been told she can’t do it. She’s a pretty, professional athlete who danced (or something close to it), in a wrestling ring for five seconds. Stop acting like she’s Marilyn Monroe winning a Nobel Prize for physics. Graves and Renee make Twitter jokes as Bliss suplexes Sonya for two.
Mandy comes in and Graves is quickly silent, which is just disturbing on a variety of levels. A slap to the face puts Mandy down so she shouts about being gorgeous, which at least cuts off Renee vs. Graves. Hang on though as here are R-Truth and the Mob, with Bliss rolling Truth up for two, which sends them running off again. We settle down to Sonya kicking Bliss in the ribs for two more and hitting the short form chinlock. Bliss gets double stomped in the corner and it’s off to a bodyscissors to keep her down.
That means a LEXI chant (or at least something close to it) so Mandy talks more trash, setting up a double knockdown. That’s enough for the hot tag to Cross, who suplexes and crossbodies Sonya for her own two. Everything breaks down and Sonya pulls Bliss off the top by the hair. A High/Low gets two with Cross having to dive in for the save, earning herself some nice applause. The hanging Purge to Bliss retains the titles at 8:06.
Rating: D. This was like some weird combination of a pretty lame match with comic relief thrown in for a bonus. The commentary made it even worse with everyone running their mouths the whole time and barely paying attention on the match because it wasn’t as important as their petty squabbling. That happens way too often these days and it gets really annoying, even in a low level match like this.
Kickoff Show recap.
Intercontinental Title: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. The Miz
Miz is challenging after calling out Nakamura for a title shot a few weeks ago. Hold on though as Nakamura’s injured mouthpiece Sami Zayn has something to say. Zayn rants about the level of disrespect around here, including from the Undertaker, who chokeslammed him on Smackdown. We even see a clip of it during Nakamura’s entrance. Just in case that isn’t enough, Zayn has a live mic during the match, which can be either awesome or a nightmare.
They trade arm control to start (with Sami describing Miz’s armdrag as “a decent armdrag at best.”) until Nakamura misses the big kick to the face. Sami’s mic is cut and Phillips is elated. An exchange of COME ON’S lets Nakamura get in the strikes, including the knee to the face as Miz hangs over the apron. Back in and Nakamura kicks away, only to have his leg kicked out from underneath him in a smart move. I mean, it’s not a move that tends to work but it’s smart.
Miz’s own kicks in the corner set up some running clotheslines and the ax handle gets two. The Figure Four is countered into a cross armbreaker but Miz stacks him up to escape. Miz’s big kick is countered into a rollup for two and the spinning kick to the head rocks Miz again. The sliding German suplex makes it even worse but we’re nowhere near enough teased finishers for Kinshasa to connect.
Instead Miz sidesteps it and slaps on the Figure Four until a rope is grabbed. Sami offers a grab of the leg though and it’s a running knee to the back of Miz’s head for two. Kinshasa is countered into the Skull Crushing Finale for a close two but Sami distracts the referee. This time the distraction lets Nakamura hit a kick to the head, followed by Kinshasa to retain at 9:34.
Rating: C-. I bought Miz has having a chance coming in but once the match started, it was rather clear that it wasn’t going to be happening here. Sami is making for a good help to Nakamura and I could go for having them together for a good while. Not a terrible match but it wasn’t exactly must see stuff.
Smackdown is coming to FOX and the Draft is coming on October 11/14.
We recap Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch. Banks came back for the first time in four months since Wrestlemania and she isn’t happy with all of the BECKY cheers. She beat up Natalya and Becky made the save, earning herself a beating. Becky called out Sasha for never being the star she thought she should be, but more importantly she wanted a fight, which got us here.
Raw Women’s Title: Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks
Becky is defending and slaps the trash talk out of Sasha’s mouth. It’s too early for either submission so Banks rolls to the floor in a wise move. For no logical reason whatsoever, Banks poses with her back to the ring, earning herself a baseball slide to the back. Becky’s middle rope legdrop is broken up though and Banks gets in the heelish kicks, setting up more gloating. The Meteora gets two on the champ as Cole suggests that the Four Horsewomen moniker might be an homage to the Four Horsemen.
What looked to be a middle rope Meteora is dropkicked out of the air and they’re both down. Becky is up first with the Bexploder and the fans are getting back into things, which has been lacking for a lot of this show. Another one sets up the middle rope legdrop but Becky’s superplex is broken up and the middle rope Meteora gets a quick two. The kickout draws screams but the Bank Statement is blocked.
The Disarm-Her isn’t though and Banks has to go to the ropes for the break. A running dropkick against the ropes has Banks in more trouble and a missile dropkick gives Becky two. Banks is right back with a pair of Backstabbers into the Bank Statement so Becky rolls into the ropes for the break. Both of them have bad shoulders now though so Banks grabs a chair to make things a little easier. She gets smart though by sliding the chair in for a distraction, meaning she can hit Becky in the ribs with another chair for the near fall (makes sense as Banks is a known Eddie Guerrero fan).
Sasha grabs the chair again but the referee takes it away, allowing Becky to pick it up. A pretty weak chair shot hits the referee and the fight heads into the crowd. Becky hammers away and grabs the Disarm-Her in a handrail, which would make no difference on the hold but looked cool.
They fight through the concourse (where Becky pours mustard on her) and down into another part of the arena with both of them getting knocked down the steps. Back at ringside, Banks drives her back first into the barricade as we’re told that Becky was disqualified for hitting the referee. This isn’t announced in the arena, but we’ll say the match is over at about 15:00.
Rating: B-. Out of everything on the show so far (and likely throughout the rest of the show), this was WAY better in person than it came across here, as there was good action but not the most fire. Banks winning the title was a strong possibility and she probably gets it in the end, but the ending brawl was the annual “here’s a feud that suddenly belongs in the Cell” because it’s September/October and that’s what we need to do.
Post match Becky beats her up even worse, including the Disarm-Her in a chair. The DQ is announced and Becky doesn’t seem to mind as she leaves.
We recap Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton. Kofi snapped at Summerslam and beat Orton up with a kendo stick for glaring at his family, so Orton has declared Kingston stupid. Orton is inside his head and wants to prove that he can beat Kofi one on one. If he had to beat Kofi up to get here, so be it. New Day has been beaten down and Kofi isn’t happy with his family and close friends being attacked. They had a pretty awesome segment on Smackdown where Kofi recreated his famous Boom Drop in Madison Square Garden, which would suggest that he is in trouble tonight.
Smackdown World Title: Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton
Orton is challenging. Feeling out process to start with Orton taking him down by the arm and stopping to smile. A headlock takes Kofi down again so he’s back up with the double leapfrog into a jumping back elbow. Kofi hits a forearm in the corner and Orton bails to the ramp, only to have Kofi strike Orton’s pose to bring him back in. I can always go for some mind games.
Back in and Kofi chops away in the corner but a poke to the eye cuts that off in a hurry. A throat snap across the top sets up a shoulder to send Kofi into the barricade, with Orton following instead of standing around. You can’t let Orton get that close to a table so he drops Kofi back first onto the announcers’ table twice in a row for a pair of twos back inside.
With frustration setting in, Orton sends him shoulder first into the post and strikes the real version of his pose. They head outside again with Kofi going face first into the steps, which just seems to trigger the comeback. Kofi hits a dropkick and the jumping clothesline, followed by the Boom Drop to put Orton in trouble for a change.
Trouble in Paradise is countered into the backbreaker though and Kofi is cut off again. The hanging DDT is countered with a backdrop to the floor and Kofi’s no hands dive puts Orton down. Back in and Orton hits his perfect dropkick for two but Kofi’s SOS is good for the same. Kofi gets crotched on top and the snap powerslam gives us the next near fall.
The hanging DDT knocks another item off of Orton’s to do list and the RKO connects, with Kofi right next to the ropes. Since RKOing a groggy Kofi is out of the question, Orton loads up the Punt. We’re not seeing that one though and Kofi hits Trouble in Paradise to retain at 20:48.
Rating: B-. This was more long than good, though it did have some moments. They could have gone either way here so the match wasn’t the most predictable. Kingston has pretty much plateaued as champion though and that means he needs a new challenger. Since Orton has been defeated, an Orton destroyer might be possible and I think you know where that is going.
The Street Profits preview the King of the Ring finals, including Ford singing the Circle of Life from Lion King. This includes Ford confusing Rafiki with Rikishi, but here’s King Booker to interrupt. Booker talks about the King of the Ring and Dawkins wants to be knighted. See, it sounds good in the club to call yourself the Dark Knight. Booker tells them to get their minds right but comes back for a catchphrase.
We recap Roman Reigns vs. Erick Rowan, which thankfully is not main eventing the show as was rumored. Reigns was attacked several times by a mystery assailant, eventually revealed to be Rowan. Daniel Bryan was involved for a time as well but now it seems to just be about these two, at least at the moment.
Erick Rowan vs. Roman Reigns
No DQ. They go straight to the fight here, as they should, with the brawl going to the floor, including Reigns being sent face first into the announcers’ table. Rowan drives himself into the steps, so he picks the steps up and hits Reigns instead. They hit each other with various things before making it back to ringside, with Reigns nailing the apron dropkick. Reigns stops to load up the announcers’ table though and gets run over again in a big crash.
They go back inside with Rowan running him over and kicking him in the face as this has been rather physical so far. Reigns clotheslines him to the floor but Rowan lands on his feet and beats Reigns up some more. The steps are brought in but it takes a little extra time so Reigns muscles him up for a Samoan drop. A shot with the steps and the Superman Punch give Reigns two in his best shot yet.
They head outside again with Rowan waking up in a hurry to powerbomb him through the table for two back inside. It’s back into the crowd as they seem to be repeating stuff for the sake of filling in time, which is never a good idea. They mix it up a bit by going to the tech area for a claw slam through a table to knock Reigns out again, allowing Rowan to put him on the stage.
Rowan grabs the camera again but Reigns pulls out….what looked like a spiked club to hit him in the ribs. The camera hits Rowan and so does a Superman Punch but the spear is cut off by the returning Luke Harper, who gets quite the reaction as soon as people realize who he is. The discus lariat sets up Rowan’s Iron Claw for the pin at 17:24.
Rating: C+. There were good and bad parts to this one and the good just outweighs the bad. First of all, they were very smart to make this a fight instead of a match because not only does it make more sense, but it made for a better showing. Harper was a great surprise too and a pretty welcome return. The problem though is the length, as this could have been cut in half to make things better. Rowan looked like an unstoppable monster though so well done for making something new.
Seth Rollins says the loss earlier wasn’t on him. He slayed a beast at Summerslam so tonight, let’s add a monster to the collection.
Raw World Title: Seth Rollins vs. Braun Strowman
Strowman is challenging and runs Rollins over at the bell because that’s the theme of the night. An early running powerslam attempt is escaped and Rollins starts in on the knee. Three straight superkicks into the frog splash don’t even get one and Rollins is stunned (fair enough). Strowman throws him down again and says Seth is tougher than this.
Rollins avoids a charge and hits back to back springboard knees to the head. A third is countered with a shot to the chest though and the champ is down on the floor. Strowman runs him over once but a second attempt is countered with a drop toehold to send Strowman over the announcers’ table. A suicide dive connects and Rollins puts him on the announcers’ table, but Strowman runs the steps to shove him off the top.
Rollins can’t superplex him so Strowman shoves the champ off the top, setting up a heck of a top rope splash for two. Strowman banged up his knee on the crash though so Rollins grabs a sleeper. With Strowman down, the Stomp connects for two. Then the Stomp connects for two and then the Stomp connects for two, then a Pedigree sets up a fourth Stomp to retain the title at 10:54.
Rating: B-. I know it’s not the biggest surprise as Strowman manages to come up short again, but they didn’t exactly hide that this was just a pit stop on the way to the real match with the Fiend next month. Strowman’s big man offense worked well as usual, but there wasn’t exactly much doubt about the ending. What we got was entertaining though, with that splash looking great. It’s good, but it’s nothing memorable, much like the show as a whole.
Post match Rollins poses on the stage but the lights go out and we’ve got a Fiend. Sister Abigail onto the stage sets up the Mandible Claw and various gyrations to leave Rollins laying and end the show with an evil laugh.
Overall Rating: C. This was a tricky one to grade as it’s certainly not a terrible show, but it’s one of the least interesting or memorable ones that I can remember. Above all else, watching it a second time made it feel really long. It felt like I watched this thing for the better part of a month and it wasn’t that great in the first place.
Nothing on here is going to stick with me beyond maybe a day or two more, which isn’t a good sign when I’ve watched it twice in less than five days. It felt like nothing happened here, with only the Tag Team Titles changing hands. That hasn’t meant anything in years so I need more than that to make for a good show. It’s watchable once at best, but don’t expect to see anything that hasn’t been done better before.
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