WADE KELLER PODCAST - EARLY PREVIEW OF ROYAL RUMBLE 2020 MEN'S MATCH, PLUS 2019 AND 2010 LOOK-BACK ROUNDTABLES
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KELLER’S WWE CLASH OF CHAMPIONS PPV REPORT
SEPTEMBER 15, 2019
STREAMED LIVE ON WWE NETWORK & PPV
Raw Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Renee Young
CLASH POST-SHOW PODCAST LIVE TONIGHT
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Smackdown Announcers: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
-A video package previewed the Clash line-up.
(1) SETH ROLLINS & BRAUN STROWMAN vs. ROBERT ROODE & DOLPH ZIGGLER – WWE Raw Tag Team Title match
Seth came out first. Then Braun separately. Then Ziggler and Roode walked to the ring together as Roode’s music played. They gave on-camera time to some non-English announce teams. Before the match, Graves said people shouldn’t assume Braun would want to turn on Seth in this match because being tag champs means more exposure, more money, and it makes your like exponentially better, so why would he want to give that up because he can still get his title shot later against Seth. Renee said, “So Corey, you’re saying one way or another someone is going to double-cross the other.” Graves, correctly, said, “That is precisely the opposite of what I just said.” Renee stood her ground. Graves said it’s going to be a long night. Renee said, “Buckle up, toots.”
(Keller’s Analysis: I like Graves touting the benefits of being champion, but Renee completely misheard what Graves said there and looked bad.)
Braun opened against Roode. Fans chanted “Get these hands!” Strowman powered Roode down at the start. Graves again talked about Roode’s greatest success in his career around the globe came in tag teams. (It’s funny how WWE announcers will talk about wrestlers’ history in the United States outside of WWE as “around the globe,” as if they’re willing to admit there’s non-WWE wrestling outside of the United States, but no wrestling worth acknowledging other than WWE in the United States. Roode’s tag wrestling was 99 percent in the U.S. and Canada.) When action dropped to the floor, Ziggler DDT’d Seth on the floor. Back in the ring, Roode scored a two count. (How is a DDT on the floor not a finisher almost every time it happens instead of “just a spot” early in the match?) Ziggler settled into a chinlock against Seth, then hit a Fameasser for a near fall. Cole called it a “tag team clinic by Roode and Ziggler so far.” Rollins eventually hit a Blockbuster on Roode. Ziggler tagged in and he sunset flipped Seth for a near fall. He leaped onto Seth’s back with a sleeper.
Seth finally hot-tagged Braun who went on a flurry against Roode and Ziggler. He did his lap around the ring, checking down Roode and Ziggler at ringside. Ziggler raked Braun’s eyes to escape a potential powerslam, then Braun went shoulder first into the ringpost. Braun blocked a Glorious DDT and tagged in Seth. Seth superkicked Roode in the chin. Ziggler yanked on Seth’s leg, which miraculously led to Roode not longer being hurt from the super kick as he went after a distracted Seth from behind with a Glorious DDT attempt. Seth landed a dive through the ropes onto Ziggler, then went back after Roode. Roode, though, landed a spinebuster. He played to the crowd and signaled for his Glorious DDT. Braun entered illegally and charged at Roode, sending him into Seth. Ziggler ducked a charging Seth, who flew over the top rope to the floor. Roode then gave Seth a Glorious DDT for the win.
Graves said Roode & Ziggler as champions is unlikely but reality. Renee said they weren’t a tag team a month ago. (Well, neither were Seth and Braun, so not much of a point there.) Braun looked upset. Seth looked over at him with apparent suspicion. Braun shook his head at Seth with disgust and left without him.
WINNERS: Roode & Ziggler in just under 10:00. (**1/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: Decent match. The ending was too predictable in that Braun’s misstep led to the finish, with the so-called ambiguity of whether it was intentional or not. It really wasn’t well-done, though, because Braun has no incentive to lose the tag titles unless he genuinely softened Seth in the process for later. So this just felt contrived and ineffective.)
-Backstage they showed Braun shaking his head with disgust and disappointment when Charly Caruso approached him. She asked how he focuses on his Universal Title match later. “First of all, I didn’t lose the tag team championships. Seth did. Seth’s on a losing streak and I’ll make sure it stays that way when he gets these hands.”
-An NXT on USA commercial aired.
-Kayla Braxton interviewed Becky Lynch backstage. She said she couldn’t disagree with Braun more. She said at the end of the night, she and Seth will both be champions. Becky asked what Sasha is made of. “Does Sasha Banks have what it takes to be great?” she asked. She said she’s already answered her critics with the greatest 12 month run in WWE. She listed her title wins including over Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania along with magazine and video game covers. She said by comparisons, Sasha dyed her hair. Becky said she didn’t “get Sasha’s spotlight,” she earned everything she has. She said when Sasha aimed for her head with a chair, she called for The Man. She said the table is set, and it doesn’t get any bigger than this. She said, “Tonight, The Man comes around.”
-They showed postcard shots of Charlotte as the Smackdown announce team took over.
-A video package previewed the next match.
(2) BAYLEY vs. CHARLOTTE – Smackdown Women’s Title match
Charlotte came out first as Phillips noted she’s returning to her hometown “with history in mind.” He said no one has ever captured ten women’s championships in WWE history, but Charlotte could accomplish that. She walked out smiling. Graves gave Saxton a hard time for not popping for Bayley’s ring entrance like he used to. Decent cheers for Charlotte during ring introductions. Bayley was booed.
Charlotte landed a big boot at the bell for a very quick near fall. Bayley rolled to the floor. Charlotte went after Bayley aggressively at ringside. When she went for a figure-four back in the ring, Bayley countered with a roll-up. Charlotte took control again immediately. Graves called it “a blitz of offense.” The ref backed Charlotte away from the corner where Bayley was down. Bayley countered a charging Charlotte by shoving her head into the lower turnbuckle, which Bayley had exposed, for the win. Bayley quickly grabbed her belt and ran to the back.
WINNER: Bayley in just under 4:00 to retain the Smackdown Women’s Title. (*1/2)
(Keller’s Analysis: I suspect Charlotte dreamed of a more memorable match in Charlotte, but storyline-wise this is a good move in terms of clearly establishing what Bayley is willing to do at this point as a heel to keep her title. It also helps keep the length of the show manageable.)
(3) BIG E & XAVIER WOODS vs. THE REVIVAL (Dash & Dawson) – WWE Smackdown Tag Team Title match
As Revival came out to the ring, Phillips plugged the Baron Corbin vs. Chad Gable King of the Ring finals. He said he couldn’t wait for the match. (Can robots technically “look forward to things”?) New Day controlled the first couple minutes. Dawson yanked Xavier off the ring apron and he crashed head-first into the ringside steps. Then they isolated Big E for a long stretch as Xavier sold being knocked out. Phillips said it had essentially become a two-on-one match. Xavier eventually got the hot-tag and took it to Dawson. Dash interfered, but ate a boot and an Honor Roll clothesline. Xavier then went back after Dawson with a DDT for a two count. Big E caught Dash at ringside, but Dash headbutted him to break free from an attempted suplex. Dash and Dawson then delivered Shatter Machine. All three were slow to get up.
Back in the ring Dawson approached Xavier, but then tagged in Dash. Xavier tried to fight both of them. Dash chop blocked Xavier’s leg from behind. Eventually Xavier tapped out to an inverted figure-four by Dawson. Graves freaked out in the lead-up because Das and Dawson took their time finishing Xavier. Saxton said they knew Xavier was done, but they wanted to make a statement and make him suffer. Dawson gloated afterward on the ramp about being the greatest tag team on the planet. He said they reduced Xavier and Big E to pancake better. “Consider yourself revived,” he said. Dash said old school has finally quieted the old noise, so no more swiveling and all that other stuff. They then predicted Randy Orton beating Kofi Kingston later and “extinguishing the flame Kofi lit at WrestleMania.”
WINNERS: The Revival in 11:00. (**1/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: Fine match. It told a specific story well. Good to see Revival get a decisive win like that and cut a gloating heel promo afterward.)
-Caruso interviewed Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross backstage. Charly asked about Mandy Rose’s insults. Bliss said they don’t need to go there. Nikki said she made her point on Monday, but tonight their focus is on retaining the tag titles. A boom mic lowered over them. The camera panned back and showed R-Truth and Carmella. Bliss then grabbed the mic and yelled, “R-Truth is on the set, so if you want the 24/7 Title, come on set and find him.” A parade of wrestlers chased after Truth, who yelled that Bliss was a stooge.
-A commercial aired for Hell in a Cell with Halloween style music and a graphic that said, “Escape if they let you!”
(4) NIKKI CROSS & ALEXA BLISS vs. MANDY ROSE & SONYA DEVILLE – Women’s Tag Team Title match
“Just because something hurts someone’s feelings doesn’t mean you shouldn’t say them anyway,” Graves said. Renee said, “I thought we were building women up.” Cross did an intentionally awkward hip swivel. Graves said, “I may never sleep again.” Renee called her a “sexy beast.” Graves said he doesn’t even know how to react to some things now. “There is literally nothing I can say that won’t result in Twitter outrage.” Graves said Renee was “sick” for “bronze-shaming” Mandy. Truth ran to the ring with his 24/7 Title and danced. Bliss rolled up Truth for a two count as the 24/7 contenders ran to ringside. Truth ran off with Carmella on his back. The tag match then continued.
Rose and Deville isolated Alexa for an extended stretch. Rose and Bliss both punched each other at the same time. Both made hot-tags. Nikki got in the flurry of offense against Sonya. She scored a two count on Sonya. Rose and Deville gave high/low high knee/sweep move for a near fall to Bliss, broken by up Cross. Cross tagged back in and hit a neck breaker off the ropes for the clean win.
WINNERS: Bliss & Cross in 9:00 to retain the Women’s Tag Team Titles. (*3/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: Just fine for what it aimed for, but nothing special at all.)
-A segment aired on Conor’s Cure.
-They gave more announce teams a chance to introduce themselves on camera.
-They recapped the finishes from the Kickoff Show.
(5) SHINSUKE NAKAMURA (w/Sami Zayn) vs. THE MIZ – Intercontinental Title match
Before the match they showed Sami being chokeslammed by Undertaker. He wore a neckbrace to ringside. Sami did commentary on the house mic at the start of the match, including a dig at the Carolina Panthers. His mic was cut a minute in. Phillips said it’s a miracle. Miz rallied, but scored a mere one count after a running kick to Nakamura. Nakamura came back and landed a series kicks to Miz’s chest. Miz rallied again with running high knees and a clothesline in the corner. He climbed to the top rope and played to the crowd quickly, then hit Nakamura with a double axe handle for a near fall. Nakamura ducked a Miz roundhouse kick, but Miz came right back with a Skull Crushing Finale attempt. Nakamura blocked it and set up his Kinshasa, but Miz countered with a Skull Crushing Finale. Miz draped his arm over Nakamura’s chest, but Sami distracted the referee from the ring apron. Nakamura rolled to the edge of the ring apron as Miz looked over at Sami, fuming mad. Fans began an “Un-der-taker!” chant. (I can promise them that Taker isn’t making a trip to Charlotte to counter Sami’s interference in a Miz-Nakamura match.) When Miz chased Sami, Nakamura caught him at ringside with a boot. Then back in the ring he landed the Kinshasa for the win.
WINNER: Nakamura in 9:00 to retain the IC Title. (**)
(Keller’s Analysis: Another roughly ten minute match in the two-star-or-under range.)
-A commercial aired for Smackdown on Fox.
-The Raw announcers talked on camera about the WWE Draft taking place Oct. 11 on Smackdown and Oct. 14 in Raw. They said wrestlers will become exclusive to each show. No mention of the “genius Wildcard Rule.”
-A video package previewed the next match.
(6) BECKY LYNCH vs. SASHA BANKS – WWE Raw Women’s Title match
After formal ring introductions (which every match got tonight), Cole said there’s a “big fight feel” in the arena. Becky took Sasha down with a hard slap to the face and then rammed her head into the mat four times. She celebrated and said that’s how this is going to go tonight. Sasha bailed out to regroup. Graves said Becky will be in trouble if the Banks from NXT shows up in this match. Becky slidekicked Sasha under the bottom rope, then went at her at ringside. Sasha then took over as Becky re-entered the ring. A few minutes later Sasha gloated while standing on the second rope. When Sasha finally leaped at her, Becky caught her with a dropkick out of mid-air. They were both slow to get up. Banks surprised Becky with a Bank Statement mid-ring. Becky escaped and landed a Becksploder. Becky landed a second rope flying leg drop for a two count. Sasha hit a meteora a minute later for a near fall. Sasha sat up and screamed in frustration. A minute later Becky countered another Bank Statement attempt with a Disarmer. Sasha teased tapping before rolling over and draping her foot on the bottom rope to force the break. Sasha hit two back stabbers a minute later and applied a Bank Statement mid-ring. Becky crawled over toward the bottom rope. Becky bridged Sasha’s shoulders down on the mat, so Sasha released and rolled to the floor.
Sasha jabbed Becky with a chair as the ref was distracted by another chair she slid into the ring. She landed a Shining Wizard and scored a near fall. The kickout got a nice pop. Cole said Sasha learned that move from Eddie Guerrero. (Mentioning that is probably not the best way to get Sasha heel heat.) Becky was slow to get up. The ref grabbed a chair from Sasha. Becky grabbed the chair and swung it, but Sasha moved and the chair hit the ref. Becky then jabbed Sasha with the chair and whacked her across her back. Cole said it was an accident. Grave asked if it really was an accident or was it genius. Sasha tried to retreat up the stairs. Becky pursued her. Becky took it to Sasha for a couple minutes in the crowd, and then dragged her back to the ring. Sasha showed signs of life on the way back. Sasha drove Becky back-first into the barricade. Cole noted the official was still down, yet they never heard a bell. Cole was then informed Becky was DQ’d for hitting the ref. (Since when can a knocked out referee make a call to end a match by DQ? Isn’t there a long history of referees being knocked down only to count a pin or DQ a wrestler for something that happened after they get back up?) Becky put Sasha in a Disarmher while sitting on a chair for extra leverage. Several referees ran out to pry Becky away from Sasha. As Becky walked up the ramp, the ring announcer said she was DQ’d for striking a referee. She shrugged it off and smiled. Cole said many will say Sasha deserved what she got tonight.
WINNER: Sasha via DQ in 13:00 so Becky retained the Raw Title. (***)
-A commercial aired for the NXT on USA premier this week.
(Note: Three matches left at 9:07 ET, just over two hours into the main show. Not bad.)
(7) KOFI KINGSTON vs. RANDY ORTON – WWE Title match
Orton made his ring entrance first. Orton controlled early after knocking Kofi off the ring apron with a running charge. He went to his mid-ring side headlock a couple minutes in. The slow early pace would typically indicate a long match was planned, although with Orton you never know if it’s just the mood he’s in. When Kofi made a comeback, after a leapfrog and a back elbow, Orton rolled to the floor to regroup. Orton took over again with an eye poke and went on a stretch of methodical offense. Graves defended the motion Orton might have worked behind the scenes to hold Kofi back. Orton yanked on Kofi’s hair to snap him over the top rope. Phillips asked, “How crafty is that?” (Wasn’t Orton going for a heel heat there, not a compliment?) Orton rammed Kofi head-first into the ringside table twice. Then he continued the beating before resetting the referee count. He then dropped Kofi backwards onto the announce table. Orton scored a couple two counts in the ring. Orton grew frustrated and took his time getting up. Kofi came back with a dropkick to Orton’s arm. Orton indicated to the ref he might be injured. Phillips said he has a history of shoulder problems. Orton then took a shot at Kofi when his guard was down. (No compliment about “craftiness” this time from Phillips.) Graves said it appears Orton is inside the head of Kofi and he has figured him out.
Orton snap-powerslammed Kofi a few minutes later for a two count. Saxton said Orton might be getting frustrated. Graves said he was focused and Kofi is beginning to feel the inevitability of the situation and the title slipping away. (That confirmed Kofi would be retaining because of Vince McMahon’s transparent and predictable “reverse psychology” in his announcing.) Kofi countered an RKO with a roll-up for a two count. Kofi then upkicked Orton. Orton came back with an RKO, but Kofi’s leg was on the bottom rope. Orton sat up and soaked up another close win. Graves said this merely delayed the inevitable. Orton went for his Punt Kick, but Kofi avoided it and landed a Trouble in Paradise on Orton for the clean win.
WINNER: Kingston in 20:00 to retain the WWE Title. (**3/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: Pretty lackluster. Kofi hasn’t been off the charts great in his matches since winning the title, but Orton has a long history of being the three-star specialist against four-star opponents, and this was another one of those slight letdowns. Good to see Kofi get a clean win. Seems like he’ll be WWE Champion heading into Smackdown on Fox.)
-They cut backstage to The Street Profits who reacted to the happenings so far. Montez Ford said the Clash if “far from over.” (Let’s hope that’s not true.) They plugged Raw’s King of the Ring final. Booker T walked in sporting his King Booker get-up and it led to Booker saying, “Tell me you did not just say that.”
-A video package aired on the Roman Reigns-Rowan storyline.
(8) ROMAN REIGNS vs. ERICK ROWAN
No sense of a strong reaction for Reigns cooking out. He made his usual slow walk to the ring and seemed pretty low-energy. People have walked through their backyard to retrieve hedge clippers from their utility shed with more enthusiasm and determination than Reigns did there. Phillips said: “Rowan is not a giant lumbering brute.” He predicted with the no-DQ stip, this will get ugly. He called Rowan a “towering, hulking menace.” He said he is no longer answering to anyone. Reigns met Rowan at ringside before the bell and they brawled briefly at ringside. Back in the ring, the bell rang and Roman took it to Rowan. Rowan soon took control and beat up Reigns at ringside. When Reigns pulled out a kendo stick, Rowan hit him with the base of the ringside steps, knocking him over the ringside barricade and into the crowd. Rowan hit him with the Kendo stick. They brawled amongst the fans. Reigns came back with a Drive-By. He then cleared the top of the announce table. Rowan recovered and knocked Reigns down hard.
Back in the ring Rowan continued his attack. He leaped off the second rope with a shoulder tackle for a two count. He yelled at Reigns to “stay down.” Some fans chanted, “We want tables!” Rowan threw Reigns into the ringpost and then pulled off the padded edge of the ring apron’s LED board. He dropped Reigns on it, then kicked him. When Rowan set up Reigns for a slam on the ringside steps base in the ring, Reigns countered with a Samoan Drop. He then hit Rowan with the steps and hit a Superman Punch for a near fall. Rowan threw Reigns through the announce table on the floor, then quickly threw him back into the ring and covered him for a very near fall. They went back to a walk-and-brawl near the production control area. Rowan claw-slammed Reigns through a table. Rowan lifted Reigns and carried him to the stage. Graves said Rowan is deriving some sort of sick pleasure from this. Rowan grabbed the camera crane. Reigns saw a big piece of equipment and hit Rowan with it first, then shoved the camera crane at Rowan. Reigns then hit a Superman Punch on the stage. Graves said Reigns has reached that “next gear that makes Roman Reigns who the hell he is.” Luke Harper then appeared out off nowhere and knocked a charging Reigns out of mid-air as he attempted a spear. Phillips said, “You have to be kidding me. We haven’t seen Harper in months!” Harper joined Rowan in double-teaming Reigns. Rowan claw-slammed Reigns for the three count. Graves called it a “bludgeoning.” (I see what he did there.)
WINNER: Rowan in 18:00. (**3/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: They keep the pace moving nicely throughout, but it still felt a bit too long. So are Harper and Rowan going to reunite with Bray Wyatt, or does this tie back in with Bryan, or do they do a callback to the aborted Bryan heel turn almost six years ago involving Bray and group them all together? Or none of the above?)
-Some in-house commercials aired.
-Caruso interviewed Seth backstage as he warmed up. She told Seth that Braun blames him for the tag title loss. Seth said he doesn’t care, but it was a team loss. He said the focus now is on his future defending the Universal Title. He said he has all the respect in the world for Braun and he considers him a friend, but hit’s not his time and tonight isn’t his night. Seth said he’s adding a monster to collection.
-They went to the announcers sitting at ringside in front of the smashed desk.
(9) SETH ROLLINS vs. BRAUN STROWMAN – Universal Title match
The bell rang 14 minutes into the fourth hour of the PPV portion. Braun shoulder-checked Seth at the bell and Seth flip-bumped hard. Seth came back with some kicks to Braun’s leg. Seth then landed a frog splash for a two count. Braun then went back to dominating Seth and he yelled that he expected more toughness from Seth. Seth side-stepped a charging Braun who flew into the German announce table at ringside. Braun shoved Seth off the top rope and then climbed the ropes himself. Seth climbed up to meet Braun there and set up a superplex. Braun sat down on the top rope to block it. He was bleeding from his nose. He stood on the top rope as Cole went bonkers. He almost lost his balance, but splashed Seth mid-ring. Braun sold a knee injury upon landing. He draped his arm over Seth a few seconds later. Seth lifted his shoulder. “Oh my God!” said Renee. Seth put Braun in a sleeper. Braun faded, then powered out. Seth came right back with a stomp for a one count. Seth looked completely freaked out at the kickout. Seth hit a second stomp for another two count. He delivered a third stomp for a believable near fall. “Are you kidding me?” asked Cole. Graves said that has never happened before. Seth countered Braun’s hint of a comeback with a Pedigree and a fourth stomp for the win.
WINNER: Rollins in 11:00. (***1/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: That was effective and didn’t overstay its welcome. That’s a big statement win for Seth. You just knew once Braun started kicking out of stomps, they were setting him for a “face-saving” performance by absorbing a lot of signature finishers before finally getting pinned. The idea here is Braun made a mistake with the top rope splash attempt, hobbling his leg, setting Seth on the course to victory.)
-As Seth celebrated on the stage, the lights went out and The Fiend suddenly appeared on the stage. He gave Seth a Sister Abigail on the stage. The lights then went out again. He then stood over Seth and applied the Mandible Claw. He yelled as the horror movie screeching sounds continued. Then he laughed and the show ended.