SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
The WWE returns to the UK for its first stadium show since SummerSlam 1992 when Clash at the Castle takes place at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Drew McIntyre will try to carve a place at the top of the WWE by being the one to finally topple the dominating Undisputed WWE Universal Champion, Roman Reigns. Brawlers clash when Gunther and Sheamus collide over the WWE Intercontinental Championship. Personal issues drive the matches between Riddle and Seth Rollins, Bianca Belair’s team and Bayley’s team, and Rey Mysterio & Edge and the Judgment Day. Finally, Liv Morgan tries to overcome the odds as she defends the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship from Shayna Baszler. (Spoiler warning: I used info from the taping of the 9/2/2022 episode of Smackdown which hasn’t aired as of this writing.)
Roman Reigns (c) vs. Drew McIntyre – Undisputed WWE Universal Championship Match
Story in a nutshell: Drew McIntyre defeated Sheamus to determine the next challenger for Roman Reigns’s Undisputed WWE Universal Championship.
A brief feud between Drew McIntyre and Sheamus and Sheamus’s Brawling Brutes group ended with Drew McIntyre winning a shot at Roman Reigns for the WWE Universal Championship. When McIntyre went to confront Reigns, a returning Karrion Kross waylaid him an intimated that he had designs on both Reigns and McIntyre. Things haven’t gotten any easier for McIntyre as he’s also had to contend with the other members of Reigns’s group, the Bloodline. McIntyre did get the last laugh by disrupting the celebration of Reigns’s two-year championship run.
Prediction and Analysis: How do you end the show in Drew McIntyre’s “hometown” without him standing strong to close out the show? A massive win in the UK over Roman Reigns is the kind of win that can elevate McIntyre into being “THE Guy” for the promotion going forward and I believe he can be the wrestler to carry that mantle going forward. If you are ever going with McIntyre, now is the time to do it. Unless you are going with Cody Rhodes, the only one I see right now that can carry that mantle. The show will most likely end with McIntyre standing triumphant, either as champion, or bitterly, like Lex Luger beating Yokozuna via count out.
Gunther (c) vs. Sheamus – WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
Story in a nutshell: Sheamus won a fatal five-way match to determine the next challenger for Gunther’s WWE Intercontinental Championship.
After Gunther successfully defended the WWE Intercontinental Championship against Shinsuke Nakamura, a new challenger was decided in a fatal five-way match between, Sheamus, Madcap Moss, Happy Corbin, Ricochet, and Sami Zayn. Sheamus won the match and is now set to challenge Gunther at Clash at the Castle. During a tense face-to-face, Gunther’s second, Ludwig Kaiser got into it with Brawling Brutes member Butch. This led to a match that Butch won, which led to another stand-off between Gunther and Sheamus.
Prediction and Analysis: This match is going to be brutal (in a good way). Gunther wins this but I would not be surprised if we get some sort of face off between Gunter and Pete “Butch” Dunn in order to build something there.
Liv Morgan (c) vs. Shayna Baszler – WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship Match
Story in a nutshell: To prolong her fairytale run as the WWE Smackdown Women’s Champion, an injured Liv Morgan must survive the “Submission Magician” Shayna Baszler.
Liv Morgan retained her WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship when the referee missed Liv tapping out to an armbar, and instead counted Ronda Rousey’s shoulders giving Liv the win. A furious Rousey continued attacking Liv, the referee, and officials after the match. This earned Rousey a suspension and a brief run-in with Shayna Baszler that hinted at things to come. Meanwhile Baszler won a gauntlet match to determine the next challenger for the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship by pinning Raquel Rodriguez. Ever since winning the match she has been targeting Liv’s injured arm. For her part, Liv has been training in how to escape submissions (mostly told through social media).
Prediction and Analysis: Liv Morgan won the title through less-than-honorable means when she cashed in the Money in the Bank contract against an injured Ronda Rousey. Then Liv retained the title by defeating Rousey due to a referee’s blunder and she never owned up to it. This is either bad booking for a babyface, or the start of an emerging pattern. I am expecting Liv to retain in another screwy way she won’t own up to leading to an eventual heel turn. Another possibility is Rousey costing Liv the match and the title, teaming up Rousey with Baszler.
Riddle vs. Seth Rollins
Story in a nutshell: If you’ve seen the Family Guy episodes where Peter Griffin fights a giant chicken… pretty much that.
In the long, long ago, during the before times (before Paul Levesque took over booking), Riddle and Seth Rollins began feuding. They were supposed to have a blow-off match at SummerSlam but Riddle wasn’t “cleared”. Rollins can’t stand Riddle and Riddle wants to get back at Rollins for his disrespect. To paraphrase Riddle (who might’ve finally gotten his first name “Matt” back), he just wants to F’ Rollins up.
Prediction and Analysis: This has been going on for quite a while and a win by Riddle can catapult him to the next level in the WWE and even though this mean yet another loss for Rollins, Rollins can build on it.
Bianca Belair & Asuka & Alexa Bliss vs. Bayley & Dakota Kai & Iyo Sky
Story in a nutshell: Bayley made her return from injury at SummerSlam with Dakota Kai and Iyo Sky in tow, and immediately picked a fight with Bianca Belair who found backup in Asuka and Alexa Bliss.
Bianca Belair defeated Becky Lynch to retain the WWE Raw Women’s Championship when she was confronted by Bayley who was returning from injury. Bayley brought with her Dakota Kai and Iyo Sky (fka Io Shirai). Becky stood by Bianca to back down Bayley and her group. On the next episode of Raw, Bayley and her group injured Becky taking her out of the picture (Becky was legit injured at SummerSlam). Bayley, Dakota, and Iyo would go on and interfere in a match between Alexa Bliss and Asuka but Belair made the save. The three joined forces to work against Bayley’s group and Bayley challenged the three to a match at Clash at the Castle.
Prediction and Analysis: This is just the first chapter of what can be a long feud between these two factions, so I expect the heels to win, likely with Bayley going over Belair to have a claim for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship.
Edge & Rey Mysterio vs. Finn Balor & Damian Priest
Story in a nutshell: The excommunicated founder of the Judgment Day, Edge, teams with Judgment Day tormentee, Rey Mysterio, to try to take down Damian Priest and Finn Balor of the Judgment Day.
When Finn Balor joined the Judgment Day, Finn Balor, Damian Priest, and Rhea Ripley turned on Edge and put him out of action for a while. They then set their eyes on the legendary Rey Mysterio and his son Dominick. The Mysterios have suffered multiple attacks with Dominick taking the brunt of the abuse. Eventually Edge returned to even things up. Dominick is weary of Edge thinking that his father is choosing Edge over his own son. Rhea Ripley seems to have some influence over Dominick.
Prediction and Analysis: Regardless of match outcome, Dominick turns on, or begins to turn on his father. The stated goal of the Judgment Day is to eliminate weakness from their midst, and they have been trying to convince Dominick that his father Rey is holding him back.
Also, the Viking Raiders and New Day have been feuding and they had a “Viking Rules” match on Smackdown that may or may not lead to a match on this card. If that happens, New Day finally get their win back. Happy Corbin has also been down on his luck and has been calling out wrestlers to come fight him so I can see him doing that here to get a quick match with some European talent.
CATCH-UP: WWE RAW HITS & MISSES 8/29: Rollins and Riddle hit with final Clash hype, women’s tag main event misses, more
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