KELLER INTERVIEWS ROB VAN DAM FOR FIRST TIME...
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WWE CLASH OF CHAMPIONS 2019 KICKOFF
SEPTEMBER 15, 2019
STREAMED LIVE ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY MIKE F. MEYERS, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Kickoff Panel: Jonathan Coachman, Booker T, Charly Caruso, David Otunga
Kickoff Recap Session:
- Video package detailing the Banks—Lynch feud
- Video package detailing the Orton—Kofi feud
- Video package detaling the Reigns—Rowan feud
- Video package detailing the Bayley—Charlotte feud
The panel discussed the merits of Banks’s four-month disappearance, and the immediate title shot upon her return. David claimed that Banks became jealous while watching Lynch’s ascension from the sideline.
The New Day appeared for a video interview. Big E did a bit of his old preacher gimmick, then repeatedly licked his hand and polished his tag team belt. Kofi recapped how he put Orton through a table last week. Regarding the New Day’s self-assuredness, Booker T indicated that there’s no such thing as overconfidence in this business.
Charly described Rowan as “malicious, even as far as taking Roman’s life.” Booker T defended Rowan’s actions, saying he reached a breaking point after playing second fiddle for so long. Otunga attempted to lighten the tone by claiming Rowan tried to “end Roman’s career,” not embracing the murder attempt the like Charly.
Announce Team: Vic Joseph, Dio Maddin, Aiden English
(1) LINCE DORADO vs. HUMBERTO CARILLO vs. DREW GULAK (C) – WWE Cruiserweight Championship Title triple threat match
After the wrestlers made individual entrances, the ring announcer properly introduced all three men under a spotlight with the audience blacked out.
Early on, Dorado and Carillo teamed up to disable Gulak, quickly sending him out to ringside. Gulak yanked Dorado out to the floor by his ankle, then began combat with Carillo. Carillo had the upper hand briefly, but Gulak launched him to the mat from the top turnbuckle, then locked in an arm bar. Carillo fought out of the hold, then leveled Gulak with a front kick to the chest.
Dorado entered the ring by way of a high cross body from the top rope onto Gulak. Dorado rolled this into a pin and two-count. Gulak recovered and nailed Dorado with a gutbuster. He pinned for his own two-count, then gave Dorado the same arm bar treatment.
Dorado hip tossed Gulak to escape the hold, then leveled Gulak with an inverted flip kick. Dorado vanished for some reason, allowing Carillo to return to the offense, landing a rolling moonsault on Gulak. He then knocked Gulak out to the floor again. Dorado approached Carillo in the ring, but Carillo struck Dorado with a roundhouse kick, knocking him off the apron and conveniently onto Gulak’s shoulders who was standing at ringside. Carillo ran off the opposite ropes, then twirled over the top rope, toppling the Gulak / Dorado stack with a high cross body.
Back in the ring, Carillo leveled Dorado with a missile dropkick, and Gulak broke up the subsequent pin. Dorado rolled out of the way but remained prone in the ring. Carillo locked a modified sharpshooter on Gulak, but Dorado approached and locked a hold of his own on Carillo. Gulak extracted the parasitic Dorado from Carillo, then tossed him at Carillo, knocking him down.
The wrestlers delivered a series of frantic roll-up pins, each being broken up by the third competitor. All three men were down, but Carillo and Dorado got to their feet and they exchanged barrages of chops. The duo stood atop the top turnbuckle, and Dorado flipped Carillo down to the canvas with a super hurricanrana. Dorado quickly re-scaled the corner and went for a shooting star press, but Carillo rolled out of the way, then landed a springboard kick to Dorado’s head. Carillo then landed a springboard Aztec press onto Dorado, but his subsequent pin was broken up by Gulak before a one-count even occurred. Gulak then fired Carillo hard into the ring post, shoulder first. Gulak rolled up Dorado for the three-count.
WINNER: Drew Gulak by pinfall.
(Meyers’s Analysis: Some good action and a fun high spot outside the ring. The match was as unnatural as any triple threat could be, with a third wrestler repeatedly disappearing from action, with or without a causal event.)
Announce Team: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Renee Young
(2) CEDRIC ALEXANDER vs. A.J. STYLES – United States Championship match
Alexander and Styles got the same big-match introduction sequence as the Cruiserweight match.
The bell rang and Styles charged at Alexander, who scooped Styles into a Michinoku driver, scoring a believable two-count mere seconds into the match. Styles rolled out to ringside to regroup, but Alexander would not let up – he launched into a senton over the top rope, leveling Styles on the floor. Back in the ring, he struck Styles with a handspring kick to the face, then covered for another two-count.
When Alexander went to the top rope to prepare for an aerial attack, Styles swept Alexander’s foot out from beneath him, causing him to get hung up on the top rope. Styles suplexed Alexander onto the hard ring apron, neck-first. Alexander bounced to the floor, and Styles followed, scooped him up, and landed the Styles Clash on the floor.
After slowly pacing around Alexander and absorbing some boos, Styles rolled Alexander into the ring. He went for the cover, but decided to pull Alexander up at the two-count in order to exact more punishment. Styles hoisted Alexander into a fireman’s carry and flipped him into a neckbreaker across his knee.
Alexander slowly got to his feet and the men exchanged blows briefly, but Styles soon locked in the calf crusher. Alexander escaped with a rope break. Styles grinned at the audience after repeatedly kicking the left leg out from Alexander. Alexander eventually caught Styles’s leg in another kick attempt, and knocked him to the mat with a reverse elbow. Styles returned fire with a reverse DDT, then went to the ring apron and launched into the Phenomenal Forearm, then followed up with another Styles Clash. He rolled up Alexander for the three-count.
After the bell rang, Styles motioned to the ramp for the O.C. To come down and issue a proper three-on-one beatdown. Alexander lied prone on the mat while the O.C. And Styles made “too sweet” gestures to the crowd, then left up the ramp to Styles’s music.
WINNER: A.J. Styles by pinfall.
(Meyers’s Analysis: Surprising to see this match, which was picked by some as the potential match of the night, on the Kickoff show. It wasn’t bad – Styles exhibited strong heel behaviors, and Alexander had multiple hope spots. He also absorbed a great deal of dangerous moves, in and out of the ring. This match still needed more time and ideally a full arena to give it the heft it deserved.)