PWTorch Columnist Pat McNeill may have missed this year’s fantasy football playoffs, but he wouldn’t dare miss the final WWE pay-per-view of the year. His “Clash Of Champions” liveblog is straight ahead:
The brave among you should call in to “Wrestling Night In America”, immediately following Clash of Champions on PWTorchLivecast.com. Greg Parks is my cohost, former WCW star The Stro is our guest, and God is our co-pilot. (515) 605-9345. We’ll be ready to believe you.
Kayla Braxton is attempting to interview The New Day in the social media lounge. My money is on New Day winning the interview. (-1340)
Oh, yeah, if you missed the preview column, my picks look different from the oddsmakers’ selection.
Also, what is Sam Roberts doing on the preshow panel? I had my heart set on Peter Rosenberg. (Then again, it sounds like Sam read my preview column, so I’ll allow it.)
I wasn’t asking why it took so long for Mojo to turn on Ryder. I WAS asking why Zack didn’t turn on Rawley first.
The fact we’re getting an extended promo from Mojo and silence from the leader of the Whoo Whoo Whoo Tang Clan doesn’t bode well for the good guy.
When Aeropostale and Tapout unite to advertise a show, you know you’re in for something special.
Ryder vs. Rawley. Ryder’s wearing New England Patriots gear, and Rawley played for Maryland, so I hate each of them equally.
Due to my changing work schedule and upcoming fatherhood (mostly the work schedule) this is the last WWE pay-per-view I’ll be live blogging for a while. So we’ll try to make this special.
Ryder’s showing the sort of fire that got him killed in most of his major singles matches.
Rawley wins with the Lex Luger bionic forearm. Can’t wait to see Rawley & Corbin teaming together on live events as “The Practice Squad”.
Renee tells us “there’s plenty more where that came from” as a way of hyping the main show. I feel like that was a deliberate turn of phrase.
Did the British bookies set an over/under for how soon Shane McMahon blows up as special guest referee tonight? I have 12 minutes.
Renee Young refers to the former World champ as “in-ring veteran Dolph Ziggler”. Clearly, his career is on the fast track.
Time for the main show. Time to open up with Bobby Roode’s Glorious intro.
Ziggler gets his intro cut, in order to help him get over less or something.
It’s Corbin vs. Roode vs. Ziggler for the US Title. The three men circle, telepathically asking each other how they’re supposed to work a triple threat match.
I really thought Corbin was a lock to win this until I saw how much offense he’s getting. And…sure enough, Ziggler pinned Baron with a Zig Zag. How about that?
Phillips tells us this is Ziggler’s second reign as US champion. I’m glad I wasn’t trying to do this from memory. I would have bet on this being reign number twelve or something.
Backstage, Shane McMahon runs through the current storyline with Bryan as if he’s trying to explain it to Corky from “Life Goes On”.
Backstage, Kayla Braxton asks Baron Corbin who he pissed off this time to lose the United States Title.
Time for our four-way tag team title match. I am past rooting for Rusev & English to win the tag titles, and am now anticipating their inevitable buddy cop movie from WWE Studios.
Get your “Rusev & English: Over AF” T-shirts wherever fine WWE merchandise is sold.
The New Day is out. They brought breakfast food. We ARE getting a “New Day Pancakes & Booty-O’s” card WrestleMania weekend in New Orleans, aren’t we?
The Usos perform their prematch rap, after which the referee announces that the time limit has expired and the match is a draw.
Someone in the crowd has a sign saying “I want to watch anime with Xavier Woods”. Yeah? Ask Paige how that worked out.
We have four men in the ring at the same time, because that makes sense. The Usos clean house, until Shelton & Gable outwrestle them. Rusev saves an Uso and English almost pins Gable. Hot tag to Rusev. Big E almost powers out of the Camel Clutch. Gable makes the save then, inspired by Dalton Castle, starts suplexing the crap out of everyone. Until the Usos double team Gable and pin him.
Two matches in and we’ve established once again that Raw has the better roster, while Smackdown makes better use of what it has.
The women’s champion video package airs next. Are the main eventers heading over to Chili’s to watch the second half of the Cowboys’ game? Because I’m confused otherwise.
Also, Raw and Smackdown now have the same number of female wrestlers. But that’s not important now. Let’s meet the lumberjacks!
Charlotte vs. Natalya. I’m imagining the conversation between Mr. McMahon and Triple H about last month’s NXT women’s callups. “Sure, Pops, take whoever you need. Except for Ember. And the pirate. And Nikki Cross. And the Australian girls. But other than that, take whoever you need.”
Natalya dumps Charlotte to the floor. The heels work the champ over until Tamina decides we’ve seen enough terrible offense and mercifully returns Charlotte to the ring.
Carmella tries to cash in the briefcase on an unconscious Charlotte. But Ruby Riott, the hated heel, stops her. Okay then.
Turns out, Nattie’s game plan involved waiting for Charlotte to miss a moonsault and then finishing her off. Sounds legit. Yeah, Charlotte was playing possum, and ends up submitting Nattie with the figure-eight.
Kayla Braxton continues her gimmick by interviewing the loser, Natalya Kidd. Nattie’s tired of carrying the division, acts like she’s about to quit, doesn’t quit, and walks off crying instead. And we cut to an ad for the new WWE mobile game.
Dasha Fuentes tries to interview Jinder Mahal. Apparently I’ve confused Charly Caruso, Dasha Fuentes & Kayla Braxton. (Please, don’t tell the other Torch guys.)
Time for Breezango vs. The Bludgeon Brothers. Oh, look, Rod Smith scored for the Cowboys. Sorry, what did I miss?
Double Chokeslam by Harper & Rowan and…Fandango was 36 years old.
“Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, what happens if you lose your match tonight and you’re fired by WWE?” “I guess we’d be going to New Japan.” “Yup. Sounds good.”
It’s Orton & Nakamura vs. Owens & Zayn. Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan are your special guest referees. There’s a fan with a sign that reads “I Bleed Blue”. That sounds painful.
Here comes Nakamura. Hey, remember last month at Survivor Series, when Braum Strowman pretty much beat the crap out of the Smackdown team? That was great, huh?
“You know, Brain, I’ve always said we need two referees in tag team matches. Because there’s no way one referee can keep track of everything at once.” “That’s right, Gorilla. Plus, it’s easier to bump the ref.”
Corey Graves runs through all the logic flaws in this storyline until Mr. McMahon screams in his headset for him to shut up and enjoy the show.
The whole point is for the two referees in the ring to turn this match into a clustermess. Although I’m not sure how Shane McMahon losing his earpiece fits into the situation.
Zayn works over Orton in the corner, asking if Randy’s trying to take his job. In return, Orton asks if Sami works for Lyft or Uber.
Belly to back suplex by Orton. Tag to Nakamura, who gets in his best offensive flurry in six months. And now we’re back to normal.
I’m glad director Kevin Dunn is focused on the dynamic between Shane and Bryan. Granted, it’s awkward, because I’m used to seeing wrestling moves and near falls.
Orton hits a top-rope superplex on Sami, but Owens pulls Orton of the ring. Now all four men are out of the ring. There’s two referees, but neither of them are making a count.
Owens & Zayn put Nakamura through a table. Randy Orton is in the ring. If Shane McMahon were paying attention, he could have counted Kevin & Sami out ninety seconds ago.
Orton has Zayn pinned, and Owens pushes Bryan onto Shane McMahon. Orton hits KO with an RKO. Zayn has Orton down for the three count, and McMahon refuses to count. Zayn does it again and Bryan fast counts Orton. Controversy!
Shane McMahon’s a heel. That sounds about right.
An ad for next month’s WWE Facebook show. We get a video package for Styles vs. Mahal. It’s good enough work for a much more important match.
Main event. Let’s acknowledge one final time that while Jinder isn’t main event material, his Titantron and stage lighting are absolutely sick. Nice job, WWE.
Styles vs. Mahal. Jinder’s offense is deliberate. AJ is a fantastic extra-crispy white meat babyface.
Okay, Jinder perching on the middle turnbuckle to deliver the dreaded Khali head chop made me smile.
Mahal works the ribs. The challenger also gets to use a lot of different offensive moves. Having Styles for an opponent helps a lot. Pele kick. Another Pele kick, but we’re not done yet.
AJ beats up both Singhs, and kicks out of Jinder’s finish. Mahal goes for the Styles Clash, but Styles counters into the calf crusher. And that’s it. AJ Styles keeps the title.
That’s the Clash. It was okay, but it never made it to very good. The VIP Roundtable will be up later. “Wrestling Night In America” happens now over at PWTorchLivecast.com. See you there!