WWE rolls into Kansas City, Missouri and the Sprint Center tonight as the path to Clash of Champions heats up. Last week, Kevin Owens became the new WWE Universal Champion in a good four-way elimination match that ended in a bit of controversy. Triple H emerged, hitting both Seth Rollins AND Roman Reigns with Pedigrees, handing the win to Owens. Is Triple H making a power play against Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon? Is he looking to get revenge on his former protege, Seth Rollins? Does he have an axe to grind with Roman Reigns for beating him at Wrestlemania? So many questions, and so few answers. Will Triple H make an appearance tonight to answer them?
Show Open, Live from the Sprint Center in Kansas City, MO:
Editorial note – watching on fast forward via DVR to catch up. We’ll get live at some point, bear with me.
They recapped Kevin Owens’ victory last week and Triple H showing up to see it come to pass. They showed Stephanie on the phone demanding all sorts of hoopla for the victory and Owens’ coronation
Mick Foley arrived and noted that Stephanie had been ignoring his calls and texts. She said she didn’t have to apologize because she had no idea Triple H was going to do what he did last week, and got upset. Foley said that Steph gave him a sly smile when he had a tooth stuck in his nose following the Hell in a Cell match all those years ago.
Steph said she’s embarrassed as a commissioner and a wife, asking how she could represent herself in the boardroom or on Raw with any dignity. She begged Mick to believe her. Foley said he believes because he has to, otherwise she’s a really good liar and a really bad person, and he can’t believe that. The show opening video ran.
It was time for the championship coronation as balloons fell from the ceiling. Mick and Stephanie were in the ring as Cole, Graves, and Saxton checked in for the call. Stephanie introduced Kevin Owens as the new Universal Champion and he made his way to the ring wearing a black suit with the belt over his shoulder. A “you deserve it” chant got going, and Owens called the fans who chanted that 100% right. Some booed.
Owens said what he didn’t deserve was a crowd full of idiots trying to hijack his moment. He called the fans who chant that he deserves it as ones making it about themselves. “You’re not great, you’re not special. I am great, I am special. I know I deserve it and I don’t need anybody else to tell me. I’ve known I deserved this since the moment I set foot in this ring.”
Owens said he beat three men to win, acknowledging Hunter’s appearance to “gave me a little nudge.” Owens claimed he did 98 percent of the work on his own. Owens called Raw the Kevin Owens Show to more boos than cheers.
That brought out Seth Rollins. He told Owens it’s not about him, then asked Stephanie how he could do this. Rollins said Owens had been Hunter’s chosen one since he got into NXT. Rollins said if Owens is the face of a new era then he will burn it to the ground.
Foley interrupted and Rollins accused him of being in Stephanie’s back pocket. Foley noted he has Stephanie’s back. Owens said the architect has been designing blueprints for failure. That drew a punch from Rollins, and Owens rolled out. Owens got back on the apron and ate another punch.
Stephanie immediately suspended Rollins, but Foley stopped her. “No, he’s not.” Foley said they don’t hand out suspensions when tempers flare, they hand out rematches. Foley asked that Stephanie respect their agreement that he make the matches. He said he has never really liked Rollins but can’t deny his talent. Foley said he won’t put that kind of talent on the shelf, and booked a Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens for the WWE Universal Championship at Clash of Champions.
Bill Says: That was a lot of talking, but an overall solid opener. For some reason the end felt clunky and the title match announcement fell flat here. If I were to guess, we’re going to see Rollins go face, which he should have when he returned, and they’re going to keep playing the mystery as to what Stephanie knew, or didn’t know, about Hunter interfering.
Stephanie was upset backstage that Mick cut her off, and Mick said it’s because he cares about her reputation. Owens arrived and took issue with how things went down, and Foley immediately booked a match between Owens and Sami Zayn. OHHHH NO!!!!! They needed to hold back on that one, seeing as it was just a short couple months ago that the duo had “their last match.” Jericho showed up to take issue with the title match, and Foley booked him against Rollins for later.
Match #1 – Charlotte (w/Dana Brooke) vs. Bayley:
The Summary: They ran footage from the pre-show where Charlotte told Dana to take notes. The fans were clearly behind Bayley for this one. Charlotte took the early control, then Bayley no-sold a turnbuckle shot and gave Charlotte one of her own. They had a real clunky spot where Bayley drop kicked Charlotte through the ropes in the corner from the floor. It was clumsy, but Charlotte came back with a kick of her own.
Back live after a break, Charlotte focused her offense on Bayley’s knee, barking at Brooke to take notes. Bayley mounted a comeback and set up for a corner move but Brooke pulled Charlotte away. Charlotte rolled up Bayley, but she kicked out and Charlotte forearmed Brooke instead. Bayley came back with the Bayley to Belly to win.
A good match, but not what I wanted to see here. I would rather see Bayley be positioned as the underdog where she really has to battle to get the match with the champion and beat her. As it stands, this was match #3 on Raw and Bayley has already pinned the champion. I won’t argue she has fan support, and there certainly is more than one way to skin the cat here.
The commentary team noted comments on Twitter from Sasha Banks, who said she had bad news. They hyped the matches for later, then set up a video package on Conor Michalek. The video had clips from Stephanie McMahon, Conors father, and Daniel Bryan to hype the Conor’s Cure charity, which has raised over $1 million.
They ran a video package to spotlight the cruiserweight division coming in a couple of weeks.
Backstage, Charlotte yelled at Dana Brooke about what went down and how she lost to someone who doesn’t belong on the show. Dana apologized but got slapped.
Bo Dallas came to the ring with a “Bo-Lieve in Bo” sign. He set a flag up at ringside, then confronted an enhancement talent in the ring. “Don’t you know, you reap what you sow, there’s no where to go, Bo-Lieve in Bo.”
Match #2 – Bo Dallas vs. Tyler Roberts:
Winner; Bo Dallas
The Summary: This was over fast, with Bo dominating from start to finish and winning with a neckbreaker finish. The commentary team kept putting Bo over as a “different guy,” but the live crowd wasn’t buying it. Someone even yelled “boring.” Not sure what they were going for here but it didn’t work for me.
Graves hyped up that Gallows and Anderson would give New Day a glimpse into their golden years later.
Backstage, Jericho told Owens he would beat down Rollins for disrespecting his friend. Owens pointed out the cost of his suit, then Jericho boasted that Owens is the longest reigning WWE Universal Champion. He said Owens is his best friend, and Rollins is an ass. I wondered when someone would pull out the “longest reigning” bit and Jericho had some fun with it there. It was fine.
They hyped AJ Styles confronting Dean Ambrose on Smackdown.
Match #3 – Seth Rollins vs. Chris Jericho:
Winner: Seth Rollins
The Summary: Rollins threw a drop kick early as they showed Owens watching on a monitor backstage. Rollins had most of the offense early until Jericho used the official to create a distraction. He hit a missile drop kick that sent Rollins to the floor going into a break.
Jericho remained in control of the match but Rollins caught him and slammed him face first to the buckle. There were Y2J chants, but the “Let’s go Rollins” chant was louder. Rollins hit a slingblade for two, then a Blockbuster for another two count.
Rollins countered the Walls of Jericho by rolling Jericho up into a pinning predicament for two. Jericho ducked the flying knee and locked in the Walls again, only to have Rollins get to the ropes to break it. Jericho avoided a top rope splash moments later and hit a Lionsault for two. Rollins finished him off with the Pedigree in the end for the win.
A strong TV match that was really pretty competitive. Jericho was protected here better than I thought he would be. This worked out well for Rollins and Jericho looked good in defeat. I’m still struggling with the logic of Rollins taking Triple H’s help only to get burnt by Hunter helping Owens and that by itself has turned him face. It’s early, we’ll see what plays out.
The commentary team hyped Sasha Banks appearing and said Cesaro vs. Sheamus is up next for the third of their best of seven series of matches.
Match #4 – Cesaro vs. Sheamus; Match #3 of a Best of Seven Series (Sheamus up 2-0)
Winner: Sheamus (now up 3-0)
The Summary: The announcers played up Cesaro’s injury from last week, and we got pre-taped promos. Cesaro said Sheamus knows he’s one match from having it all slip away. Sheamus put himself over as the one worthy of the title match. Cole pointed out that Match #4 will take place in London on Wednesday. Cesaro was all taped up as he came to the ring.
Late in this one, Sheamus hoisted up Cesaro in the position for the Celtic Cross, but instead dropped him on his knee. He followed with the Brogue Kick for the win. Looks like they’re going to Cesaro winning three straight to force “game seven” at Clash of Champions.
The Shining Stars were introduced and came to the ring to cut a promo. Enzo and Big Cass cut them off, and once they got to the ring they called the Stars a couple of haters. He said they try selling fans on a Caribbean time share that no one wants.
Enzo noted that it’s Labor Day, and said listening to the Stars makes him feel like he’s in labor. He laid down, and Cass led him through “how you doin?” breathing techniques. Enzo acted like he had a baby. Funny stuff. Cass said they could name it after the Stars – Sawft. Funny. Enzo gave the baby to a woman at ringside who seemed to have no clue what he was going for at first.
Match #5 – Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs. The Shining Stars
Winner: The Shining Stars
The Summary: Enzo and Cass got off to a fast start before a commercial break. The heels took over on Enzo out of the break. Enzo dodged a charging Primo and got the hot tag to Cass. Cass went to work, and they set up for the Rocket Launcher but Primo grabbed Cass’ foot. Enzo dove on Primo, but got rolled up (with a handful of pants) by Epico for the win.
Looks like this set some people off on Twitter, but you have to start a feud somewhere. Enzo and Cass are without a dance partner at the moment, and the Stars stole the win with dirty tricks. It’s all good. Maybe this can elevate both teams by the time it’s over.
Backstage, Tom Phillips talked to Sami Zayn, noting that the Owens/Zayn feud appeared to be over. Zayn said he didn’t think he could move on until he beat Owens, and he did it but now he feels a bit directionless. Ain’t that so, WWE…ain’t that so. He admitted to a little jealousy over Owens winning the title.
Owens entered and said he was trying to catch Zayn before, but the belt was the finish line. Owens said that the belt means he’s better. “I am the WWE Universal Champion, and you are nothing.” Zayn said he didn’t seem like nothing when he beat Owens. Zayn said their feud will never end, and he will win the championship too. He said the difference will be that he won’t need Triple H to hand it to him on a platter.
A fine exchange, and I’m hoping that they still find a way out of the match because of the recent “last match” billing they got. Not hopeful, but, we’ll see.
Match #6 – Nia Jax vs. Ann Esposito;
Winner: Nia Jax
The Summary: The commentary team noted that Esposito is a friend of Alicia Fox, and showed a tweet from her. Esposito hit some kicks and locked in a sleeper. Jax backed into the corner twice then flung off Esposito, then dominated the rest of the way and finished her off. “Calm down, this isn’t a fairy tale,” Graves said at one point.
The hope spot added some interest, but it was really just more of the same to build Jax up as a monster.
The commentary team hyped up the latest from Anderson and Gallows.
Anderson and Gallows came to the ring and introduced themselves as retirement specialists. I already don’t like where this is going. Anderson said that after retiring the Dudleys, New Day is next at Clash of Champions. They welcomed “Old Day” to the ring. A man doing an old man’s voice impersonated the New Day entrance gimmick as three men dressed as old men wearing New Day t-shirts came to the ring. One drove a scooter, one used a cane, and one used a walker. This already has “bad TV” written all over it.
Gallows asked what happened. One man said that at Clash of Champions, Gallows and Anderson beat the power of positivity out of them. They mocked the “Big E” guy for having his pecs below his waistline, and offered him a Metamucil but he clearly had soiled himself. “You damn right,” the man said. The Old Day did New Day’s hip swivel. God this is awful.
The real New Day showed up to try and save the segment, to no avail. Woods wanted to know if his imposter was really from the future, and to tell him what his favorite X-Men character is. The man was wrong. New Day headed to the ring, and Kofi said that even if they were to touch “just the tip” with Old Day, then it would end the WWE Universe. This is getting worse.
New Day hit the ring, only to have Gallows and Anderson flee. The fans chanted briefly for New Day, who let the old men do the swivel again. They showed them how it’s done. Old E hit Big E with his cane, so Kofi and Xavier cleared their imposters then Big E and Woods hit a double team spot on Old E.
That segment was bad, and universally deadpanned on Twitter. I really think WWE did Gallows and Anderson a disservice by not bringing them in as strong heels and keeping them as such. That duo has lost a TON of momentum since coming to the company.
The commentary team set up a recap of the opening segment then hyped Owens vs. Zayn for later.
Match #7 – Darren Young (w/Bob Backlund) vs. Jinder Mahal;
Winner: Darren Young
The Summary: Titus O’Neil was on commentary and put himself over as always being better than Young. Titus got up and went to ringside, but Darren Young hit his Gut Check finish on Mahal to win.
Afterward, Titus focused on Backlund, but Young attacked from behind. Referees tried to break them up but Young kept getting free and attacking him. In the ring, Backlund raised Young’s hand while Titus pointed a shoe at him from the ramp. This was intense, and fairly well done but it’s a case of too little too late to make me care about it.
Backstage, Alicia Fox was leaving her friend’s locker room when she crossed paths with Nia Jax, who mocked her. Fox told Jax to get out of her face then did her flip out routine. She hit Jax, who shoved her back, then Fox went back to throwing random items after Jax left. Fox’s flipping out was comedic more than intense because she was so over the top. My guess is that Fox is the first main-roster talent fed to Jax.
Match #8 – Braun Strowman vs. Sin Cara;
Winner: Braun Strowman by Count Out
The Summary: They showed Strowman winning last time and unmasking his opponent. Will he unmask Sin Cara and end this awful gimmick too? Sin Cara got shots in but Strowman quickly took over. The commentary team hyped Backlash on Sunday. They fought to ringside, where Sin Cara threw a couple kicks and hit a missile drop kick. He headed back to the ring, but Strowman grabbed him and flung him into the barricade. Strowman went back to the ring and scored the count-out win.
Afterward, Sin Cara got to his feet but Strowman charged him from beind and knocked him back down. Strowman yelled at him to stay out of his ring. Short, makes Strowman look like a beast, but I do wonder about the count-out finish there.
They hyped Sasha Banks appearing next.
Sasha Banks came to the ring as commentary recapped the botched spot at SummerSlam where Charlotte dropped Banks awkwardly. Saxton said he was fearing the worst, and Sasha smiled at fans chanting her name. She said that every journey has an end and every story a final chapter. Sasha said that for years WWE Universe was looking for a revolution. Before social media, there were women like Fabulous Moolah, Mae Young, Luna Vachon, Trish Stratus, and Lita.
Sasha said the revolution became a reality when Stephanie introduced the women’s title. She said there would be no more bra and panties matches, or a stupid butterfly title. “We did it. We finally became what we deserved to all along, to be called superstars.”
Sasha said it’s about more than WWE – it’s about every mother, sister and daughter. “It’s about all of us.” Banks said that her revolution is every time she gets in the ring. She does it for every little girl who has a dream of becoming something bigger and for every person who dreams of being more, had nothing, and were told they couldn’t be anything great in life.
Sasha talked about getting up at 6AM to collect cans so she could save money for a WWE ticket. She said that’s why she fights so hard and it means everything to her. She paused and broke down, then said she was pushed beyond her limits at SummerSlam. She said Charlotte tried to break her back, and said she had Charlotte beaten straight up. She said she met with a doctor earlier today who gave her an update on her health, and said she had bad news.
Cue Dana Brooke for the interruption. She said the only champion WWE needs is Charlotte. Dana said she planned to finish what Charlotte started. Brooke came to the ring, but quickly got locked into the Banks Statement. Banks said the bad news wasn’t for Brooke, it was for Charlotte. “Let her know that at Clash of Champions, that title is coming back to me.”
Sasha came off very human here and very more likeable than she has at any point in her babyface run. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the swerve they played here, but the rest of it was actually well done. Seems as if they want to tone down the Boss part of her gimmick to make her connect with fans better if they see a longer-term face run for Sasha.
Match #9 – Kevin Owens (c) vs. Sami Zayn; Non-Title Match
Winner: Kevin Owens
The Summary: In the early going they fought at ringside. Owens threw Zayn to the barricade once, then tried to repeat it. Zayn instead sprung up on it and hit a kick heading to commercial.
Zayn got on a roll, hitting the Blue Thunder Bomb for two. Owens came back and looked for something on the apron, but Zayn battled him off. They jockeyed for position, and Owens clotheslined him over the ropes then hit a cannonball. Owens teased his finish but Zayn avoided it and hit a wicked suplex for two. Sami ran the ropes but came up gimpy on that bad ankle. The official checked on him, but Zayn insisted on continuing.
Owens teased a powerbomb out on the floor, but Zayn countered to another suplex. He sold the ankle, then as things moved back inside he set up his finish. His ankle gave, and he ate a superkick, then Owens hit a pop up powerbomb for the win.
Roman Reigns’ music hit as Owens celebrated the win, and he got a mixed reaction but more boos than cheers. Cole pointed out that Reigns also got screwed by Triple H last week. Reigns entered the ring and Owens stared at him, then exited with his belt to the apron. The fans weren’t happy about that. Jericho came out and stood on the opposite side of the ring.
Mick Foley emerged and said that he could tell that Reigns wants a piece of Owens for the title. Foley said that next week on Raw, Reigns would face Owens in a non-title match and if Reigns won, the match at Clash of Champions would become a triple threat match. Owens exited the ring and jawed at Reigns. Jericho tried to sneak attack Reigns, but he ended up eating a spear. The fans were mixed on that as Reigns’ music played. Cole hyped the match for next week.
The big problem with this main event is that they didn’t work to make it feel important or exciting. Zayn and Owens work so well together given their history and this was no exception, but WWE could have done so much more to build it up than they did. Hell, even if they would have held it off until Wrestlemania season (if the plan is for Owens to carry the belt that long) and have Zayn jump through hoops and win the Royal Rumble and all that kind of stuff to get another shot at Owens, I’d be fine with it. Owens and Zayn did what they could with limited mic time, but there was a lot left on the table in terms of building this match up for tonight.
I’m happy they promoted something for next week, as it’s the return of the juggernaut of Monday Night Football (the National Football League, American style for our foreign friends who refer to football as what we call soccer here). I might have rather seen something in the Triple H side of this story as I feel that could be something to get some eyes as Hunter is a legacy star, but they may want to draw that out for something bigger down the road. The match could have been booked as a title match and that would have felt big too. Either way, they advertised something in advance, when in years past they just threw in the towel and didn’t care.
We had a big drop in the quality of this show through hour 2 and into hour 3, but the main event was pretty strong and there are some good dynamics for next week involved. Tell us what you thought of the show in the reader poll, and Drew will be by tomorrow with his thoughts as well as Smackdown Live coverage. Thanks for understanding with the late start to coverage, and thanks for following along.