Needless to say, after nearly 7 months of a Worldwide pandemic, the COVID-19 virus isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Before we got news that President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the virus, we got 14 positive tests from the Tennessee Titans forcing them to postpone this weekend’s game with the Pittsburgh Steelers. And before then, we got news that coronavirus may have played a hand in the WWE’s Clash of Champions PPV. Before the event itself, reports spread that Shayna Baszler, Nia Jax and Nikki Cross were being pulled from card due to not being medically cleared. That news came on the heels of many at the Performance Center and NXT superstars were exposed to the virus after a party that some attended. Of course, since it is the WWE, we get no confirmation of any of this. They’re perfectly fine just throwing it to a fake storyline rather than get more of it by exposing the truth. Wrestling is always better when there’s an ounce of realism to it. Just ask Jey Uso and Roman Reigns, right?!
We’ll get into show recaps in a bit, but damn, kudos to SmackDown! They are cranking out quality shows week after week after week while their counterparts on Monday night seem to be struggling. They’ve got it all going on these days!
Clash of Champions PPV
All in all, a very good PPV IMHO. Aside from the COVID-19 changes, which we’ve already addressed, it was a solid card from start to finish with some awesome storytelling. We got Sami Zayn’s ingenious and creative way to lock up the Undisputed Intercontinental Title by handcuffing Jeff Hardy to a ladder with his own earlobe and AJ Styles to the ladder itself. We got Shawn Michaels, Big Show and Ric Flair showing up in different variations to exact revenge on Randy Orton and see Drew McIntyre retain his WWE Championship in a physically brutal match. Roman Reigns and The USOs took their Samoan Dynasty feud to a new level. And we got another chapter to the Bayley vs. Sasha Banks rivalry. Along the way, very solid in-ring performances all night long and yes, a tidy 3-hour evening is always welcomed!
NXT: TakeOver 31 – UPDATED CARD
- NXT Championship – Finn Balor vs. Kyle O’Reilly
- NXT Women’s Championship – Io Shirai vs. Candice LeRae
- NXT North American Championship – Damien Priest vs. Johnny Gargano
- NXT Cruiserweight Championship Match: Santos Escobar vs. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott
- KUSHIDA vs. The Velveteen Dream
- The Insurgent returns
Star of the Week:
Roman Reigns – Sure, it’s easy to give it to the guy at the top of the food chain on SmackDown, but Reigns is doing everything right these days. Randy Orton’s a close second this week along with Alexa Bliss. But I’ll do what Jey Uso couldn’t, give the Tribal Chiefs his props!
- RAW Women’s Championship Match: Asuka defeated Zelina Vega
- Keith Lee defeated Andrade
- Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke defeated Natalya & Lana
- Kevin Owens defeated Aleister Black by DQ
- 24/7 Triple Threat Championship Match: R-Truth defeated Drew Gulak & Akira Tozawa
- Murphy defeated Dominik Mysterio
- Mustafa Ali, Apollo Crews & Ricochet defeated The Hurt Business
- WWE Championship Match: Drew McIntyre defeated Robert Roode
What wasn’t there – Whether it be COVID-19 related or not, the absence of RAW Underground and RETRIBUTION (aside from a logo splashed around the ring during the six-man tag team match) made for a cleaner, more enjoyable Monday night. It wasn’t so disjointed which is good for all of us watching at home. It will be interesting to see how the WWE handles it going forward.
Randy, the janitor – What better way exact revenge and reclaim your Legend Killer moniker than to don night vision glasses and take out Shawn Michaels, Big Show, Ric Flair and Christian! The seeds were planted early in the night with Orton leaving the building, but not before he laid the groundwork for a Hell in the Cell match against Drew McIntyre for the WWE Championship in October. We’ll get that soon enough! Orton just keeps getting better with age.
Glorious – It’s good to see The Glorious one Bobby Roode back on WWE TV. Plus, it was nice to see them not forget the Dolph Ziggler-Roode connection as well as Roode accepted Drew McIntyre’s open challenge Monday night. Both guys came out strong for this one to make for one of the bright spots Monday night.
Mandy Night RAW – Mandy Rose, complete with her new blonde partner Dana Brooke, gave a cute nod to Trish Tribute. Will the Beautiful Blondes be wearing Glittery Gold soon?
Hitting the road:
Andrade & Zelina – Tough night all around for Zelina Vega and Andrade. First, they publicly dismiss each other. Then, the both lose to Keith Lee and Asuka respectively. It would be nice to see Vega start to bring guys along to fight Andrade and get revenge, no?
We told you son:
Murphy & Aalyah – We told you to watch for it and we’re getting it – a blossoming romance between Dominik Mysterio’s sister Aalyah and Mysterio’s bitter rival Murphy. The ring does make for such interesting bedfellows doesn’t it?
Makes no sense:
The Hurt Business – So one week, Bobby Lashley, MVP, Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander are there to take out everyone including RETRIBUTION. Then, this week, they can’t even beat Apollo Crews, Mustafa Ali and Ricochet. Either they are the best and prove it, or they’re no better than the 50-50 booking that the WWE is handing them week after week. They deserve better.
- Shotzi Blackheart defeated Dakota Kai
- Cameron Grimes defeated Joey Pistachio
- Cameron Grimes defeated Ridge Holland via DQ
- KUSHIDA defeated Tony Nese
- Adam Cole defeated Austin Theory
- Johnny Gargano & Candice LeRae defeated Damian Priest & Io Shirai
Main Event – Now that was one SICK main event! Io Shirai flying everywhere, including off of Damien Priest’s shoulders, moonsaulting on to Johnny Gargano and yet still not coming out on top. The Gargano Way reigns supreme at the end getting over on their champion counterparts setting up what should be a fun-filled NXT:TakeOver 31 Sunday night!
Kyle O’Reilly – Between the backstory, profile and face-to-face with Finn Balor, we got some needed insight as to who Kyle O’Reilly is beyond The Undisputed Era. It gives us a reason to want to see him fight Finn at NXT:TakeOver.
RESPECT – The face-to-face with Finn Balor, Kyle O’Reilly and Shawn Michaels was downright civil and respectful. A good conversation without the yelling, screaming and fisticuffs that we normally see in these types of affairs. Balor’s first title defense should be a good one.
Who is it? Who’s coming home to NXT: TakeOver 31?
The build-up to NXT:TakeOver – All the pre-produced pieces led some credibility and interest into the matches and that’s exactly what a go-home show is supposed to do! Give me a reason to watch the PPV this Sunday night. Scott vs. Escobar. Kushida. Kyle O’Reilly. As usual, the WWE does production like no other.
Tegan Nox injury – Tough news for Tegan Nox as she’s out for a while with a torn ACL. That Candice LeRae feud will have to be put on the backburner for now.
No friend of mine:
Xia Li – No handshake. No respect. Again. This time, Li spurs both Kayden Carter after her victory and her BFF Kacy Catanzaro.
Could do without:
Cameron Grimes Invitational – Why? What the hell was that? A squash win followed by a squash DQ finish with Ridge Holland. Why waste even that little time! Give that time to highlight KUSHIDA more than his 2-minute match with Tony Nese. Lovin’ that new attitude for KUSHIDA so give him more of a spotlight. Hopefully, we’ll see it unfold vs. The Velveteen Dream this Sunday. And oh yeah, back to Grimes. He should want no part of Dexter Loomis!
Jey Uso defeated AJ Styles
Otis defeated John Morrison
Sheamus defeated Shorty G
Matt Riddle & Lucha House Party defeated King Corbin, Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura
Intercontinental Championship Match: Sami Zayn defeated Jeff Hardy
Bliss-mate – At last, we get the on-camera pairing of Alexa Bliss and The Fiend. Using the KO Show with Kevin Owens looking for answers from little Miss Bliss so it can help him against Aleister Black is a creative way to bridge RAW and SmackDown storylines. Having The Fiend take out Owens with the mandible claw is equally intriguing.
The Tribal Chief – Starting the night with the family feud of Roman Reigns vs. Jey Uso after their epic battle at Clash of Champions makes sense. I didn’t expect Reigns, our star of the week, to go down the road of professing his love for Jey Uso and giving him one more match at Hell in the Cell, but I’ll take it. The personal side to their drama is gripping and we just want more. They are doing all the little things right, including have Reigns stop Paul Heyman mid-sentence to show just who wields the power in that relationship. Reigns isn’t going to stop until he makes Uso tell him he is the one and only Tribal Chief.
Sami vs. Jeff – Nice Medusa moment for Mr. Zayn as he throws Jeff Hardy’s version of the Intercontinental Championship into the trash. Then, they go out and delivery an enjoyable main event with the right guy going over. Zayn’s got great heel heat right now and they are right to ride it!
It’s Banks Bitch – Succinct and perfectly pointed. Sasha Banks is coming for Bayley’s SmackDown Title next week. This one’s going to end in the main event at Hell in the Cell PPV!
Squash me, squash you – Otis and Sheamus delivering one-sided victories over John Morrison and Shorty G wasn’t competitive, but it did move the storyline forward. Next week, we get Otis in court vs. The Miz in what should be a Cousin Vinny-like moment. Sheamus is ready for a street fight against Big E and I can’t wait for a new day of whooping!
Carmella revealed – So what exactly does Untouchable mean? What’s up with the polaroid camera?
It’ll be interesting how the WWE handles the pre-emptions of SmackDown during the MLB Playoffs and World Series. SmackDown has some serious momentum going and with Hell in the Cell and Survivor Series PPV’s coming up, I hope they get creative and don’t just waste shows on FS1. Out of sight sometimes means out of mind, so the WWE and FOX will have to be careful and creative with the product and the schedule. It’ll also be interesting to see how they handle the two-night Superstar Draft. I hope they don’t raid SmackDown to help RAW because Friday nights need to keep on track to keep FOX happy. All RAW needs is some TLC (no, not tables, ladders and chairs) and some creative, fresh ideas and they’ll be fine. It’s the little things that will help it rebound. I do expect Charlotte Flair to be part of Monday night’s future. I’d pair Flair and Andrade to build a stable to get back at Zelina Vega.
Coming up this week:
Randy Orton’s ambush reaction
NXT:TakeOver 31 fallout
Night 1 – WWE Superstar DraftKevin Owens vs. The FiendFalls Count Anywhere Match: Big E vs. SheamusSmackDown Women’s Championship Match: Bayley vs. Sasha Banks
Thanks for letting us share our thoughts! Shoot me an email at email@example.com. We’d love to hear your comments and suggestions! You can also check out my blog, The Crowe’s Nest as we delve into more pro wrestling, sports entertainment and the World of Sports. My apologies ahead of time – I AM a Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins fan! If you’re not down with that, I’ve got TWO WORDS for you… NEW ENGLAND