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KELLER’S WWE CLASH OF CHAMPIONS PPV REPORT
SEPTEMBER 27, 2020
ORLANDO, FLA. AT THUNDERDOME
AIRED LIVE ON WWE NETWORK
NOTE: On the Kickoff Show, they announced Nikki Cross, Shayna Baszler, and Nia Jax were not medically cleared to compete tonight.
Raw Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves
-A video package aired on key matches in the PPV.
(1) JEFF HARDY vs. SAMI ZAYN vs. A.J. STYLES – Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Title
Both belts hung over the ring as ring entrances took place for Styles, then Sami, then champ Hardy. You have to pull down both belts to win. Sami ended up getting the first advantage of the match a couple minutes in, beating up Styles and Hardy at ringside. He tried to set up a ladder mid-ring, but Hardy recovered in time to attack him from behind. He backdropped Sami on the ladder. Hardy dove at Sami, but Sami moved and Hardy landed on the ladder’s connecting bars when it was open and V-shaped in the corner. Styles whipped Sami into the ladder propped in the corner. The announcers talked about Styles feels he is the rightful IC Champion. Graves said he was robbed due to Hardy’s “nefarious deeds.” Cole pushed back. Styles was the first to climb the ladder. Sami grabbed his legs. Styles fired back with a Pelé kick. Styles positioned the ladder mid-ring again and climbed. Hardy met him on the other side. Styles knocked Hardy down after several seconds of fighting. Hardy stood quickly and pulled Styles down.
A couple minutes later, Sami climbed the ladder. Styles pulled him down. Sami threw Styles into a leaning ladder in the corner with an exploder suplex. Sami climbed the ladder, but Hardy yanked him down as soon as his fingers touched the ladder. At ringside a bit later, Hardy connected with Styles at ringside with a flying kick, knocking him over the barricade. Sami connected with a Helluva kick, taking down Hardy. Sami climbed the ladder. Styles threw a smaller step ladder at Sami to knock him off the ladder, but when Sami swatted it away with his hand, he lost his balance and bumped to the mat. Styles and Hardy battled on the ladder. It tipped and Styles took the worst of it, landing on the top rope abdomen-first.
Sami climbed a ladder. Styles springboarded at him. Hardy shoved the ladder at Styles, and then it tipped over onto Hardy. Sami set up the ladder again, but Hardy gave Sami a Twist of Fate. Hardy climbed to the top of the ladder a minute later. Sami began to tip it. Hardy crawled down the ladder head-first. Sami shoved the ladder and Hardy bumped over the top rope while the ladder was wrapped around him and he tumbled to the floor. That can’t be what they imagined would happen.
Styles went after Sami at ringside next. Sami shoved Styles into the ringpost and then bridged a ladder over the announce desk and ring apron. Styles leaped off the announce table with a backflip with an inverted DDT on Sami. He then put Sami on the ladder. It barely reached the distance needed and thus tipped over. He bridged the ladder again and this time more delicately put Sami on it.
Hardy recovered and hit Styles, then yanked off his shirt. He climbed the tallest ladder at ringside. He leaped off with a Swanton as Cole yelled for him to get down. “Jeff, get down from there!” Hardy crashed through Sami and the ladder broke. The announcers went bonkers. Graves said if Sami doesn’t have broken ribs, it’s incredible. They did a great job selling the magnitude of that spot. Cole said this is Hardy’s redemption year, his chance to prove to the world he’s still got it. Styles pulled a ladder into the ring with both Hardy and Sami out at ringside. Styles climbed, but Hardy knocked the ladder over. Graves said they have an ambulance match scheduled later, but they might need it sooner.
Sami got up and pulled out handcuffs. Sami bashed Hardy with a ladder at ringside and then put the handcuffs through the stretched piercing in Hardy’s ear lobe and then attacked the other side to ladder. “What kind of sicko does that?” exclaimed Cole. Graves said it’s brilliant. Cole said Hardy is a prisoner. Sami then cuffed Styles. Graves said Sami has a clear path to his destiny. Cole called it shrewd. Styles suplexed Sami, but then discovered Sami actually cuffed Styles to his wrist. Cole said in 24 years of announcing, he’s seen a lot, but never this. Hardy stood and carried the ladder next to his earlobe and slid into the ring. Sami pulled out a key and uncuffed himself and cuffed Styles to the ladder. Sami climbed the other side of the ladder and pulled down both belts to win. Cole called it one of the damndest matches he’s ever called or witnessed. He said he is shocked at what he just witnessed.
WINNER: Sami in 27:00 to win the Intercontinental Title. (****1/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: That was wild and a lot of fun to watch. The cuffing of Hardy’s ear to a ladder will be remembered for years. Three pros really put on a show there.)
-In a post-match interview on the ramp, Sami told Kayla Braxton he didn’t recapture anything. He declared himself “still Intercontinental Champion.”
-They showed a disguised R-Truth during the Kickoff Show visiting the panel. Then they went to Truth backstage. Drew Gulak was doing walking squats and rolled up Truth and won the 24/7 Title.
-Back to Cole and Graves at ringside, Cole excitedly reacted to that title change.
Raw Commentators: Tom Phillips, Samoa Joe, Byron Saxton
(2) ASUKA vs. ZELINA VEGA – Raw Title match
A minute in, Asuka knocked Vega off the ring apron and then went after her at ringside. Vega yanked Asuka into the ringpost by her arm, then threw he into the ring to take control of the match for several minutes including some near falls. Asuka eventually made a comeback and got Vega to quickly tapout in an Asuka lock. That was sudden and decisive.
WINNER: Asuka in 7:00 to retain the Raw Title. (**)
(Keller’s Analysis: Short match, but good action start to finish. Vega was resourceful in getting the advantage at ringside and credible in her sustained offense afterwards before the sudden tapout.)
-In a post-match mid-ring interview, Charly Caruso asked Asuka if Vega was more formidable than she anticipated. She said she was a firecracker, but she wasn’t ready for Asuka. Asuka offered Vega a handshake, but Vega attacked her briefly and then retreated to ringside. Asuka went into a rage on the microphone.
-A commercial aired.
-In a backstage interview, Apollo Crews said he’ll leave the Clash as a two-time U.S. Champion.
(3) BOBBY LASHLEY (w/MVP) vs. APOLLO CREWS – U.S. Title match
Phillips noted that Lashley said the hurt tonight is going to be the hurt feelings of Crews’ kids tonight. Crews landed a moonsault on Lashley at ringside and then a top rope body press in the ring for a two count. MVP yelled at Crews from ringside to try to get into his head. Joe said Crews is paying for rebuffing MVP. When Lashley made a comeback, Crews rolled out of the ring. Ricochet checked on Crews. Lashley yelled at Ricochet, then lifted Crews. As he tried to throw Crews into the ringpost, Crews slipped free and shoved Lashley into the post. MVP ran over to check on him. Crews rallied in the ring and knocked Lashley to the floor with an elbow to the chest.
Lashley eventually knocked Crews off the top rope and then superplexed him to the mat for a two count. Crews escaped Lashley’s grip and landed a quick standing shooting star press. He then climbed to the top rope and landed a splash for a near fall. Lashley escaped a Crews suplex attempt and gave him a high one-arm slam followed by his Full Lashley for the win. Ricochet consoled Crews afterward on the ramp.
WINNER: Lashley in 8:00 via tapout to retain the U.S. Title. (*3/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: It was fine. Nothing wrong with it, but it felt more like an exclamation mark on the feud that already was largely settled.)
-A commercial aired for NXT Takeover.
(4) THE STREET PROFITS vs. ANDRADE & ANGEL GARZA – WWE Raw Tag Team Title match
Phillips noted Vega has abandoned managing them, so the question is whether they can thrive without her. Saxton said they claim they’ll be better off without her. The Street Profits were shown previewing the match on Raw Talk last Monday night. They took turns on offense early, then Andrade & Garza got in sustained offense. Garza landed a top rope Spanish fly for a near fall on Ford. Both were slow to get up. Ford got up and leaped toward Dawkins for a tag, but Andrade yanked him off the ring apron so he was out of reach. Garza kneed Ford into his own corner and then tagged in Andrade.
Ford fought back and caught Andrade with a high roundkick to the head. He then leaped and tagged in Dawkins. Dawkins immediately dropped Andrade with a sidewalk slam for the three count. It appeared Andrade kicked out, but the ref called for the bell. That was odd. Phillips had to apologize for his initial call. The replay showed the ref blew the call, and the announcers acknowledged it.
WINNERS: The Street Profits in 7:00 to retain the Raw Tag Team Titles. (**)
(Keller’s Analysis: If the ref blew that call, how? If he didn’t, why? There was no satisfaction if you’re a Street Profits fan in a win like that.)
-A commercial for a car brand aired narrated by Roman Reigns speaking about putting smiles on people’s faces.
-A plug aired for Steve Austin’s WWE Network interview with Kurt Angle.
-They announced the WWE Draft will take place Oct. 9 and Oct. 12 (a much-needed reshuffling of key wrestlers on each roster to create some fresh match-ups).
-Kayla interviewed Gulak about becoming 24/7 Champion. He said as a coach, he tells students to always stay alert. He said he wasn’t scheduled to compete, but he stayed lose doing squats, and it paid off. Gulak said Akira Tozawa was apparently eaten by a shark last week. Truth hit Gulak with a giant steel salad bowl and scored the pin. He yelled, “You coulda’ had a V8!” Cole said that’s one of the shortest reigns in WWE 24/7 Title history.
-Bayley made her ring entrance. She pretended to be disappointed Nikki Cross couldn’t be there tonight. She said she would have lost either way, but she’d rather have defeated her the ring instead of by forfeit. She obnoxiously asked the referee to enter the ring and raise her arm and declare her the winner. Instead, Asuka’s music played. Asuka then came out and suddenly she was the new official opponent for Bayley’s title for some reason.
(5) BAYLEY vs. ASUKA – Smackdown Title match
They fought for a few minutes fiercely, but when Asuka got sustained advantage at ringside, Bayley hit her with a chair. The ref called for the bell.
WINNER: Asuka via DQ in 4:00, so Bayley retains her title.
-Sasha Banks hit Bayley with a chair from behind. Cole yelled, “It’s Boss Time!” She kicked Bayley in the head and pounded away at her. Bayley kicked her down. Sasha, wearing a neckbrace, grabbed her neck after that bump. Bayley threw Sasha into the ring and cornered her with a chair. Sasha mouthed off to Bayley, then bashed her with a kendo stick. Sasha stood over Bayley as she reached for a chair. Bayley begged off and rolled to the floor.
-The Raw announcers hyped “The Champion” by The Score as the official theme of the Clash
(6) DREW MCINTYRE vs. RANDY ORTON – WWE Title match
Drew relinquished his WWE Title to the referee with some emotion, putting his hand over it before letting the ref pull it away and hold it up. The bell rang 57 minutes into the second hour of the PPV event. They exchanged strikes in the opening minutes, with Drew getting the better of Orton with chops. Orton kicked the middle rope into Drew’s crotch to gain the advantage. Phillips said it’s all legal in a match like this. Orton gave Drew a draping DDT off the middle rope. He set up a Punt Kick to Drew’s injured jaw. Suddenly at ringside, The Big Show showed up and grabbed Orton’s ankle. He pulled his face mask down and smiled. He yanked Orton to ringside and chokeslammed him through the announce desk. Saxton said the sins of Orton’s past were coming back to haunt him.
Drew battled Orton to the ambulance. Drew picked up a red chair that was attached to the side of the ambulance and jabbed Orton with it, then bashed him across his back. Phillips said, “Dare I say Drew McIntyre is having fun.” When Drew went for another swing of the chair, Orton caught him with a crutch to the ribs. He then rammed the chair into Drew’s injured jaw. Orton opened the back of the ambulance. He tried to throw Drew into it, but Drew went in and dragged Orton with him. Phillips said you have to close both doors to win. They battled out of it. Orton caught Drew with a punch to the jaw. Orton then rammed Drew face-first into the side of the ambulance.
Drew came back with a running Claymore Kick, but Orton ducked into the driver’s side to avoid the boot. Drew kicked the door off its hinges and then went down in pain, clutching his knee. They fought backstage where Christian attacked Orton. “Randy Orton, this is your life, and it ain’t going too good!” Samoa Joe said. Phillips noted this is another person Orton crossed in the past. Saxton said this is a welcome surprise for Drew and a benefit of a match of this type. They fought back to the hood of the ambulance. Orton countered Drew with a thumb to the eye and then rammed him onto the windshield, which shattered.
They battled slowly to the roof of the ambulance next. Orton stomped on Drew’s hands as he hung on the back of the ambulance, sending him to the floor. As Orton stood on the roof, Shawn Michaels appeared and nailed Orton with Sweet Chin Music, knocking him off the roof. A crashing noise could be heard. Michaels crawled down gingerly on a ladder. They showed Orton on a replay falling onto a table at ringside. Drew sat up and carried Orton to the ambulance. Orton elbowed free and the hit an RKO on the floor. Both were down and slow to get up.
Orton threw Drew into the ambulance. He slammed one door closed, but was groggy and sl0w-moving. Before he could close the second door, Drew blocked it and jabbed Orton in the eye. He then delivered a Claymore. Drew then threw Orton into the ambulance and paused before closing the doors. Instead of winning, he draped Orton over the edge of the ambulance’s back bumper. He then delivered a running kick to the skull. Phillips said that was personal. Saxton called it Orton’s receipt. Drew slammed the doors closed to win. Phillips exclaimed that Drew flatlined Orton. They showed Ric Flair “woo’ing” from the driver’s seat of the door-less ambulance and drove away.
WINNER: Drew in 22:00. (***1/2)
(Keller’s Analysis: A little gimmicky having so many people interfere, but it also paid off a lot of lingering storylines and felt like appropriate justice. The match had surges of excitement, and stretches of slow plodding fighting, as was the case for the Orton-Edge match that wasn’t entirely dissimilar as this.)
-A video package aired on the Roman Reigns-Jey Uso match.
(7) ROMAN REIGNS (w/Paul Heyman) vs. JEY USO – Universal Title match
Reigns, notably, came out without a vest. Just long pants and nothing covering his tattooed chest. Cole said everyone sees Jey as an underdog except Jey. Graves said Jey has prepared his entire career for this moment, but this would overwhelm anyone. Jey avoided a charging Reigns in the corner and then celebrated with a little dance. Reigns gave him an incredulous look and went after him.
Reigns caught Jey with a flying clothesline after a duck-under as they rebounded off the ropes a minute later for a two count. Reigns started trash-talking and saying Jey should just let him finish this. “I told you, I told you!” he said. When the ref made Reigns break against the ropes, Heyman said, “He’s a little bossy, isn’t he?” He said he shouldn’t talk to a tribal chief like that. Reigns methodically beat up Uso, then said he should have listened to the tribal chief.
Reigns knocked Jey to ringside. He rammed him into the ringside table. Reigns applied a headlock back in the ring. Jey made a comeback a minute later and landed a Samoan Drop for a two count. Cole said Reigns is suddenly in a bit of trouble. Jey leaned in the corner and let out some yells, then charged. Reigns intercepted him with a Superman Punch to the jaw. Graves said it’s like the Samoan Drop just irritated Reigns more than anything. Jey rolled to the floor as the ref began counting him. Reigns broke the count by going after Jey.
Back in the ring, Reigns told Jey, “Listen up, there are levels to this. I told you. You’re trying to level up, and I live at this level. I’ve been doing this. It ain’t you fault.” Jey fired back with a chop. Reigns brushed it off and punched Jey. Reigns trash-talked some more, scolding Jey for not paying attention. Cole said Reigns is showing why he’s the Big Dog and at the top of the food chain. Graves said his cousin is being sacrificed.
Jey made another spirited attempted at a comeback, and he shoved Reigns shoulder-first into the ringpost. Jey clotheslined Reigns over the top rope, then dove through the ropes and knocked Reigns into the ringside barricade. Back in the ring, a fired up Jey kicked Reigns in the head. He dove through the ropes and tackled Reigns at ringside. Both were down and slow to get up. Jey got up first. Jey leaped off the top rope onto Reigns with a crossbody for a two count. Next, he superkicked a kneeling Reigns. Graves said, “He’s gonna do it!” Reigns kicked out.
Reigns came back a minute later with a flying leg lariat to take Uso down. Graves noted it’s a new move from Reigns. Reigns waited for Jey to stand. He set up the Spear. He didn’t let out his yell. When he charged, Uso schoolboyed Reigns for a two count. He superkicked him and then landed a top rope splash. Cole asked if you believe in miracles. Reigns kicked out just before three. Jey grabbed his crotch, indicating Reigns had low-blowed him on the kickout. Graves said it might have been incidental. A “This is awesome!” chant rang out, piped in.
Reigns speared Uso. Reigns then told Uso to acknowledge him as his trial chief, “Do it! Do it now and this is done,” he said. He lifted Jey and shoved him into the ropes, then hit another spear. Reigns said he wants Jey to tell the whole world. He said he is the head the table. He held Jey up to the camera and told him to tell the world he feeds them all. “Not today, not today,” Jey said. Heyman told Reigns, “You are my Tribal Chief!” Reigns said he needs Jey to acknowledge it because that’s how it works. He mounted Jey and punched away at him.
He told referee Charles Robinson to back off when he considered calling off the match. “This is my WWE, you understand me. Don’t make me address you again. I’ll knock you into next week and you won’t have a job. Let me do my work. This is family business here.” Reigns went to Jey and landed several elbows to the head. “Acknowledge me!” he said. The ref asked Jey. Jey didn’t want to quit. Reigns said he’s been dominating him like this his entire life.
Jimmy Uso limped out. He tried to pull Jey out of the ring. He said he has nothing to prove to those fools. Jey told Jimmy not to do it. He tried to make it seem “more real” by calling him John. Reigns dragged Jey back into the ring and attacked him again. Jimmy threw in a white towel. The ref then called for the bell. Jimmy entered and said to Reigns, “We’re family. What’s the hell wrong with you? You’re the chief. You’re the tribal chief, man. Just leave him alone. Just chill.” Heyman entered the ring and placed a lei around Reigns’s neck as the ring announcer proclaimed him still champion. His music played as booed filled the ThunderDome.
WINNER: Reigns in 22:00 to retain the Universal Title. (****)
(Keller’s Analysis: I really liked this match, even if admittedly it wasn’t always exciting in the traditional sense of the word. Reigns is tremendous as a heel. Heyman was great in his role. Jey was also stellar. An all-around well constructed and executed PPV main event. I had a moment here and there late that they were belaboring it, and coming after an Orton match, maybe my patience was thinner than usual for that, but overall a memorable and effective match given the stage of Reigns’s heel run and pairing with Heyman.)