The Smackdown brand gave us their first pay per view offering last night at Backlash, but Raw still has a couple weeks to go until theirs – Clash of Champions. Tonight, WWE rolls into Baltimore, MD and Royal Farms Arena to continue their road. Roman Reigns has to go through Kevin Owens tonight in order to get his shot in a triple threat match at Clash of Champions against the Universal Champion and his former Shield mate, Seth Rollins. Will Roman get that win, or will Owens stay in a one-on-one match against Rollins? We didn’t hear from Triple H last week – will he make an unscheduled appearance to shake things up, or explain his actions a couple weeks ago on Raw in that elimination four way?
Show Open, Live from Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, MD:
They opened up with a recap of last week’s events between Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens, and the setup for Roman Reigns facing Owens tonight with a shot at making the Clash of Champions title match a triple threat match. After the opening video package, Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton checked in for the call.
Mick Foley was introduced and he got a good reaction. He mentioned the Backlash pay per view event by the Smackdown brand and gave them “credit where credit is due” for putting on a good show. He mentioned Becky Lynch winning the Smackdown Women’s Championship (which got a nice round of applause) to segway into introducing Charlotte and Dana Brooke to the ring. They recapped the drama from last week between Charlotte, Dana, and Sasha Banks.
Back live, Charlotte said an apology was in order, and Brooke tells her she doesn’t have to. Charlotte said she would never apologize to Dana, and claimed it was all Brooke’s fault that she lost to Bayley. She demanded Brooke apologize for costing Charlotte the match against Bayley, and tapping to the Bank Statement, or their friendship is over. Brooke apologized, then Foley mentioned that the women’s championship will be defended at Night of Champions.
Cue Sasha Banks. She talked as she made her way to the ring and called herself the face of the women’s division and the only legit boss in WWE. She entered the ring and said she planned to take the title back at Clash of Champions. Charlotte told her it was okay, because she is the one with the title. That brought out Bayley to a nice reaction.
Bayley came to the ring and said she would love to see Sasha compete tonight, but she did beat Charlotte last week. “So, maybe the person who deserves the title shot is me.” Sasha told her that they go back to NXT and Bayley may have supported her at Battleground, but there are no friends when it comes to the title. She told Bayley she has to go to the back of the line because she has unfinished business with Charlotte. Charlotte said that the only business that she and Sasha have is for her to continue handing out the career ending beating from SummerSlam.
Foley interjected and told the women they don’t decide when the title is defended, he does. He said that Sasha was to get her rematch at Clash, but he was having second thoughts. Brooke spoke up and said that Bayley and Sasha should compete in a best of seven to see who is worthy to face the queen. Charlotte told her that she didn’t ask for her opinion and threatened a slap.
Foley set up Sasha vs. Bayley for after the break and Charlotte told Brooke it’s all her fault. Brooke threw a slap, and that got Dana entered into the match as a triple threat match, and that match would start now.
This was a good segment. I liked the hesitation from Bayley, as that’s a trait that endears her to the fans. It could be interesting programming to put Brooke in that match, but I feel like she’s just here to lose the match to protect a finish between Sasha and Bayley for down the road somewhere. I get a weird vibe that the slap is just the latest swerve. Brooke is a good heel, but if they’re looking to turn her she needs to become more likeable somehow.
Match #1 – Sasha Banks vs. Bayley vs. Dana Brooke; Winner Earns a Title Match against Charlotte at Clash of Champions.
Winner: Sasha Banks
The Summary: Charlotte sold the slap as she joined the commentary team. Cole brought up the Four Horsewomen of NXT and noted that Becky Lynch won the Smackdown women’s championship last night. They teased a Bayley/Sasha exchange, and Brooke tried to jump them from behind. They disposed of her, then the show went to a break.
Brooke controlled the action with Bayley out of break. They showed Brooke slamming Sasha’s back into the edge of the ring during the commercial. Sasha returned to the fight moments later and got to Brooke while holding her back. Sasha stacked Brooke up on the middle rope then Bayley on the bottom rope and did the knee press to Brooke. Bayley rolled out of the way then came back with a cross body on Sasha for two.
They set up a tower of doom spot where Banks powerbombed Brooke who was suplexing Bayley. Big spot. A bit later, Sasha locked Brooke in the Bank Statement but Bayley broke it up. Bayley hit Brooke with the Bayley to Belly and covered, but Sasha rolled Bayley up for three. Charlotte and Sasha stared each other down.
The finish of this was weird, because both Bayley and Sasha’s shoulders were down. We’ll see if they round back to it and do something different than what they did here. A solid match though. I’m fine with Bayley losing here to kind of slow down the push a little. I liked how they brought some of the “underdog” touches back from her NXT run, and I think that does her good.
They highlighted that Cesaro got on the board in his best of seven series against Sheamus while on the London tour, and said Match #5 of the series would happen tonight.
Backstage, Dana Brooke profusely apologized to Charlotte, but she barked at Dana to shut up and get her bags. I heard that in Scott Steiner voice. They swung to the Shining Stars hyping a time share. Truth was about to pay for it with a check when Goldust cut him off. Enzo and Cass showed up and called the Stars cheating con men. Epico claimed they won fair and square, but Enzo noted that he had the tights. Enzo told them they had unfinished business.
Tom Phillips interviewed Kevin Owens. Owens asked if he wanted him to say something controversial like Rollins being jealous because Triple H figured out Owens is better, or that Reigns doesn’t belong in the ring with him, or Foley is trying to stack the deck because he is jealous and was never on the same page as Hunter. Owens said he would never say those things, and he would beat Reigns and walk out of Clash of Champions as the champion.
Owens walked away, and Chris Jericho showed up. He said the real story is that Foley pulled Owens out of the Highlight Reel. Jericho said Sami Zayn would be his guest instead, and he would let the world know who the real Sami Zayn is.
Match #2 – Bo Dallas vs. Brandon Scott
Winner: Bo Dallas
The Summary: Dallas came to the ring with a campaign sign before the break. After the break, Dallas cut a promo, ending with “only I can believe in Bo.” Scott got in a a hope spot, but Dallas ended up putting him away pretty quickly. Last week, this seemed kind of tongue-in-cheek, but this week it feels campy. I can’t take Dallas seriously if he’s carrying around a campaign sign.
Cole hyped the Highlight Reel up next.
The Highlight Reel:
Jericho made his entrance for the segment, and Corey Graves went crazy for him. Jericho took issue with Foley booking Owens in the match with Reigns for later, and said that Owens was pulled out of the Highlight Reel. He said he went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows and introduced Sami Zayn.
Jericho mocked the fans for singing “Ole'” along with Sami’s music, and they gave him some chants. Jericho mocked Zayn and said that Owens walks right by him now and didn’t share his new phone number. He teased giving it to Sami, but told him he can’t have it.
Jericho said he thought about the Owens/Zayn relationship and realized that Sami was the issue. Zayn retorted that he doesn’t care about Owens, but he does care about the WWE Universal Championship that he will hold some day. Zayn told Jericho he is a stupid idiot if he thought Owens is his best friend and brother.
Jericho mocked Zayn for being a condescending, rude name caller just like Baltimore (they are, trust). He called Zayn a taker while he’s a giver. He teased the “gift of Jericho” line but Zayn said “yeah, yeah, the gift of Jericho, we know, and that gift sucks.” Jericho called Zayn jealous of Owens for being the longest reigning WWE Universal Champion in history, “And you, well, you’re just Sami Zayn.”
Sami asked Jericho if he could hear himself. He ran down Jericho’s accomplishments, and told Jericho that he’s been reduced to being Owens’ bitch. The fans told Jericho he sucked, then Jericho piped up and asked Zayn if he wanted to see what Owens texted him prior to the segment. Jericho attacked Zayn then hit him with the Codebreaker.
This was solid, with Jericho playing the douchebag heel and Zayn having strong words to respond to him. Smart to have Jericho get the better of Zayn here to set up the need for a match. I expect that for Clash of Champions, and it should be a good match.
Saxton hyped the main event between Reigns and Owens, and they hyped Sheamus vs. Cesaro for the next match of their Best of Seven Series, next.
Match #3 – Cesaro vs. Sheamus; Match #5 of their Best of Seven Series (Sheamus up 3-1)
Winner: Cesaro (Sheamus up 3-2)
The Summary: They recapped Cesaro getting his first win in the series over in London. Sheamus cut a pre-match promo (picture in picture) about needing only one more win to win the series. Sheamus attacked Cesaro’s lower back to start only to eat an uppercut. Cesaro tried for the Sharpshooter early but Sheamus bailed to ringside. Cesaro jumped from the apron and landed on Sheamus outside, then threw him in and covered for two.
A bit later, Sheamus hit a rolling senton for two, but Cesaro came back with a springboard uppercut for two. Cesaro locked in the Sharpshooter, but Sheamus got to the ropes to break the hold. Cesaro went for the Swing but his back wouldn’t allow it. Sheamus hit the Irish Curse. Sheamus set up again, but Cesaro slipped out and ducked a Brogue Kick and rolled him up for the win, using the ropes for leverage.
This was solid, and the fans supported it. Cole played up the “rally from a 3-0 deficit,” but never really sold me on whether Cesaro was at risk of losing tonight.
Backstage, Seth Rollins talked to Mick Foley, saying he thought they were coming around last week but Foley offered Reigns a chance to get into the title match. Foley claimed fairness, but Rollins said he is the man and Reigns is not. Rollins said he beats Reigns every time they’re in the ring together.
Rollins told Foley if he will let this play out, then they should talk to Stephanie. Foley said she was in a conference in Singapore, adding that she wasn’t aware of Hunter’s actions and has nothing against Rollins. Rollins accused Foley of being in Stephanie’s pocket, and said he will take matters into his own hands.
Foley got upset and told him to not question his integrity and told him to not interfere in the main event. “Or what, are you gonna suspend me Mick?” Rollins closed by telling Foley that he won’t question his integrity, but if he was going to continue to support Stephanie then he’s a fool.
Rollins’ role is still not clear to me. Is he a face or a heel? Is Foley a fool or simply being a loyal babyface? This is a bit of a mess.
Cole said that Zayn vs. Jericho was official for Clash of Champions.
Match #4 – Nia Jax vs. Alicia Fox:
Winner: Jax by ref stoppage? No finish? What happened?
The Summary: They recapped how this match got set up between the two with their interaction last week as Fox made her way out. They got brief pre-match promo from Nia, saying she doesn’t deal with crazy and she will beat Alicia up. Jax got her entrance.
Jax controlled early with power but Fox fought back then went to the ropes. Jax shoved her to the floor then followed. Fox hit a kick, but Jax recovered and whipped her into the barricade by her hair. Fox got up, then Jax hit a spear and sent Fox through the timekeepers area. Jax went backstage while officials tended to Fox. There was no announcement of the finish.
This was actually good. Jax looked like a complete monster and the crowd was stunned by the way she threw Fox around, and the commentary team put over Jax’s strength well.
They recapped Jax destroying Fox, then Cole said Fox was being evaluated and did not know the extent of her injuries.
New Day came to the ring, and Cole hyped the tag team championship match for Clash of Champions. Woods waited out the cheers, then mocked Gallows and Anderson for trying their hand at entertainment. “Entertainment is our thing.” Big E yelled “Don’t touch our thing. No touching!”
Woods set up footage of the Old Day skit but said it was burned so it would never have to be seen again. Thank you! They said that Gallows and Anderson wasted five minutes and 38 seconds. They talked about things the fans could have done during the same amount of time. Woods said Anderson and Gallows took the fans’ time and turned it into a dumpster fire.
The challengers came out to the stage. Anderson accused New Day of pandering to a stupid crowd in Baltimore. Gallows told New Day they will rip the horns off their heads and beat them unconscious with them, then take the titles. Cole said that we would get a SummerSlam rematch between Gallows and Anderson and Woods and Kingston, next.
Woods was very confident here, and they tried to point the finger for last week at Anderson and Gallows to keep New Day looking good. It wasn’t nearly as bad as last week, and Gallows and Anderson were very “matter of fact” rather than playing the game.
Match #5 – Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston (w/Big E) vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson;
Winner: Gallows and Anderson
The Summary: Cole pointed out the run of Demolition with the tag titles of 478 days, and Graves said that Gallows and Anderson remind him of Demolition with their smash-mouth style. Gallows threw a kick on Kingston that sent him to the floor. Graves said that Gallows and Anderson look nastier than he’s seen them since they arrived in WWE. Kingston got the hot tag to Woods, who got offense in on Anderson.
Woods landed a top rope elbow on Anderson and had the pin, but Gallows broke it up. Anderson caught Woods in the end with a kick, then Anderson and Gallows hit Magic Killer for the win.
Gallows and Anderson were promised a match against Woods and Kingston but Big E got involved, so they got it here. I liked the departure from the comedy stuff for Gallows and Anderson. It’s nice to have flexibility, but they need to be badasses. Cole called it back to basics.
We got an ad for the WWE Cruiserweight Classic final on Wednesday. Drew and I need to sort out how we’ll cover that, as we’ll be recording Ring Rap Audio at the same time. Cole hyped the arrival of the Cruiserweights on Raw next Monday.
Jinder Mahal came to the ring and cut a promo to explain his absence. He said he spent time in the monastaries to let all the hate and rage go. He said he wanted to share peace with the fans. Jack Swagger’s music hit and he’s the next opponent.
Match #6 – Jack Swagger vs. Jinder Mahal;
Winner: Jinder Mahal
The Summary: Late in this one, Swagger teased the Swagger Bomb but Jinder got his knees up. Mahal hit his finish, which I have no idea what it’s called because we’ve never seen him use it, and got the win. Mahal is branded a heel because he’s dark-complected, wasn’t born here, and believes in peace, apparently. Odd.
They showed Enzo and Cass walking backstage, and they’re up next.
Tom Phillips asked Swagger about his contract expiring soon. “I just wanted to ask…” but Swagger glared at him and he stopped asking.
Enzo and Cass came to the ring and did their normal mic work. “Eskimo Zo ain’t sweating Epico.” Enzo said Epico would take a dirt nap and soil himself. Enzo said he will plan the little flowers Epico loves, and Cass called him SAWFT.
Match #7 – Enzo Amore (w/Big Cass) vs. Epico (w/Primo);
The Summary: Epico and Primo passed out literature for their timeshare on the way to the ring. Graves put the resort over even though the rooms were under construction.
Enzo put Epico down, then went top rope. Primo distracted him, then Cass hit him with a big boot. Epico hit a dive on Cass, then Enzo went up top and dove on Epico. Enzo tried a suplex back into the ring, but Primo tripped him and held his leg so Epico got the win. Cole noted that it’s the second time the Stars have outsmarted Enzo and Cass.
Why Cole didn’t call the heels out in outrage for the cheat is beyond me. I know it’s produced that way, but Cole should be pissed, not praising the heels for outsmarting the faces. It’s a huge flaw in WWE announcing.
They ran a Braun Strowman package.
Kevin Owens was walking backstage when Seth Rollins approached. Rollins said he wouldn’t dream of putting his hands on Owens, and wants him t to win so that he will get a one on one match with Owens. Rollins said that since Triple H won’t show his face, he can’t think of better revenge than tearing one of his golden boys to pieces.
Owens said that he thought he would want Reigns in the match so that Reigns could do the work and Rollins could pick up the scraps and steal the glory. Owens said that someone has always had to help Rollins, including Triple H. Owens told Rollins that he’s just hurt that Hunter saw the light and realized Owens is better.
Owens noted Rollins has repeatedly failed to regain the title since he came back to WWE, whereas Owens won on the first shot. He mocked Rollins’ catchphrase, saying it’s like “Redesign, Rebuild, Replaced.” Foley entered and told Owens that was enough, then Owens mocked Rollins’ laugh as he walked off. Foley told Rollins there would be repercussions if Rollins got involved in the main event.
Cole sold it as Foley trying to preserve the integrity of the main event, then Reigns made his entrance. Owens was shown walking through the curtain to make his entrance from the back.
Match #8 – Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens; If Reigns wins, he enters the Clash of Champions main event, making it a triple threat.
Kevin Owens by Disqualification Kevin Owens by pinfall
The Summary: Owens ducked to ringside off the bell but Reigns went after him and threw a punch then roughed him up. Back in the ring, Owens stood on Reigns’ hair and pulled him up by the arms. Owens wore down Reigns with a chinlock that Reigns turned into a slam to break up. Reigns cued the Superman punch a bit later, but Owens rolled out. Reigns gave chase and tried a move off the steps but took a superkick. Owens ran him face first to the post.
Owens continued the assault by running Reigns into the barricade then the steps. He stood on the steps and boasted. Out of nowhere, Rollins jumped Owens from behind and hammered away on him. Agents and referees came out to break it up. The official threw the match out at that point, with Owens getting the win by DQ. Cole and the rest of the commentary team ranted about how Reigns lost his shot because of this.
Foley came out and yelled at Rollins about getting involved. Rollins said he does what he wants, but Foley said he will do what Foley says. Foley promised to have a talk with Rollins. Officials escorted Rollins backstage, and Foley said the match wouldn’t end this way. He restarted the match.
Reigns set up a superplex, but Owens bit him to avoid it. Reigns recovered and tried again, but Owens countered with a fisherman’s buster off the second rope for two. Owens went up and hit a frog splash for a good near fall. A bit later, Owens hit a superkick the mockingly let out a yell before going for a cannonball. Reigns moved so no one was home. Reigns tried a spear, but Owens caught him with a knee. Reigns came back with a Superman punch for a good near fall. Owens came back with a couple cannonballs, then tried for the pop up powerbomb. Reigns came back with a slam for a two.
Rusev appeared, distracting Reigns momentarily. Reigns hit him with a Superman Punch, but the distraction was enough for Owens to set Reigns up with a pop up powerbomb for the victory. Afterward, Rusev hits the ring again to assault Reigns, landing a superkick then a series of punches. Lana, from the stage, pointed toward the ring. Rusev let out a yell, then stomped on Reigns and locked in the Accolade. Reigns passed out in the hold, and Rusev stood over him as the show ended.
The main event was solid. I don’t get the flat out Reigns hate, never have nor will I. He seems to deliver when he’s in the ring with good opponents and rises up to match them. He worked well with Owens here, and the booking of Rusev interfering makes a lot of sense as the two of them have unfinished business that got interrupted by Rusev’s marriage to Lana.
Owens’ antics were fun to watch, and the sequence between Foley and Rollins is interesting, at least to see where it goes next. Is there a turn by someone in the works here? Hard to say.
I hesitate to say WWE phoned this episode in, because there was a lot of good hype for Clash of Champions and they gave a good main event and a good triple threat opener. There were a lot of things that left to be desired too. If I were voting in our poll – and by the way you should do that – I’d probably vote “average” but I can listen to a click either direction on the poll. The closing image – a strong main event and a feud reignited, could shade my vote to “good” though.
Drew Koscelek will be by tomorrow with more on this show in Around the Ring and he’ll have your Smackdown live coverage as well. Thanks for following along, or checking in during Monday Night Football – whichever the case might be!