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LECLAIR’S WWE CLASH AT THE CASTLE 2022 REPORT
SEPTEMBER 3, 2022
CARDIFF, WALES AT PRINCIPALITY STADIUM
AIRED LIVE ON PEACOCK (U.S.), WWE NETWORK (Int.)
Announcers: Michael Cole & Corey Graves & Byron Saxton
-The show opened with a narrated video package showing off the beauty of Wales and highlighting the show’s major matches.
-The camera panned down from the massive castle LED tron suspended above the ring. Michael Cole welcomed the over 60,000 in attendance and those watching at home to Clash at the Castle.
-Bianca Belair’s music hit and she skipped through the small, recessed entrance way. The camera cut to the announcers desk at ringside, where Corey Graves and Byron Saxton rounded out the commentary crew with Michael Cole. Alexa Bliss and Asuka entered to strong reactions.
Bayley, Dakota Kai, and Io Sky entered to new graphics and music. “Damage Control” appeared on the graphics, but they were announced individually.
(1) BIANCA BELAIR & ALEXA BLISS & ASUKA vs. BAYLEY & DAKOTA KAI & IO SKY – Six-Woman Tag Team match
The crowd began serenading Bayley as soon as the bell rang. She couldn’t help but smile, but quickly gave them a thumbs down and plugged her ears to save it. All six women entered the ring and a brawl broke out. Alexa Bliss, Asuka, Dakota Kai, and Io Sky spilled to the outside, leaving Bianca Belair and Bayley to officially begin the match. Belair dropped Bayley quickly and went for a handspring moonsault, but Kai and Sky tripped her up and pulled her to the floor.
Alexa Bliss hit the ring, followed by Asuka. Bayley and Belair joined, and the babyfaces executed a triple Suplex. Belair covered all three opposing women for a quick two count. The Raw Women’s champion led the crowd in a loud clap. Bayley rolled to the outside to regroup. Cole tried to egg on the crowd to continue singing to Bayley. Bayley tagged in Io Sky. Belair tagged in Alexa Bliss. Sky threw a clothesline, but Bliss ducked it wildly and went for a kick. Sky caught the leg and whipped Bliss off the ropes. Alexa caught herself, dropped Sky and stepped on her. She hit the double rolling knees and covered for a two count.
Sky thwarted an attempt by Bliss to tag Asuka. Sky reached Bayley for a tag. Bayley went on the offensive, working Bliss into the corner. The crowd continued to sing her, further agitating her. Bayley and Dakota Kai tagged in an out, driving their boots into Bliss’ neck in the corner. Alexa finally managed to work her way out and tag Asuka. Asuka hit Bayley with a bulldog as the match crossed 5:20. Bayley ripped Asuka to the mat after deflecting a kick. Asuka worked Bayley to the ropes, but Io Sky tagged herself in. Sky hit Asuka with a leaping dropkick off the ropes. Io rolled up Asuka for a two count, then tagged in Dakota Kai.
Dakota Kai isolated Asuka near the heel corner. She worked over her arm and tagged in Bayley. The crowd cheered, so Bayley tagged out immediately. Io Sky drove her knees into Asuka’s ribs and covered her for a two count. Asuka finally worked her way to Bliss for a tag. Alexa flipped off the apron onto Bayley on the outside. Dakota launched Bliss into the barricade then tossed her back into the ring. Kai gave Bliss a Suplex and covered her for a two count. Kai taunted Bianca Belair while working over Bliss. She drove her boot into Alexa’s neck in the corner and tagged in Sky. The announcers pointed out that Bayley’s team is deliberately keeping Belair out of the match.
Bliss and Sky traded forearms. Sky whipped Bliss head first into the middle turnbuckle, then delivered a flapjack off the Irish Whip. Sky covered Bliss for two. The match ticked past 10:00 as the heels continued to work over Bliss in the corner, tagging in and out. Bliss fought out of the corner and hit a Sunset Bomb on Sky, but Sky wasn’t the legal woman. Dakota ran in with a boot to the face. Kai and Bayley worked Bliss to the corner again, but Bliss knocked Bayley to the outside and caught Kai with a hurricanrana out of the corner. Bliss crawled desperately to the her corner. Bayley ripped Belair off the apron. Bliss reached Asuka instead. Kai tagged Io Sky.
Asuka caught a running Sky with a missile dropkick from the top rope. She hip checked Sky in the corner, then caught her with a lifting knee to the face. She connected with her signature backfist combo, then a German Suplex. Asuka covered, but Bayley and Kai broke up the pin. Alexa Bliss entered, but got caught with a Bayley-to-Belly. Sky kicked Asuka in the face and tagged in Bayley. Bayley and Sky set up an awkward and delayed sunset bomb/kick combo. Asuka retreated to the corner. Bayley charged, but Asuka caught her with knees to the face. Asuka dove and tagged in Belair.
Bianca Belair drove Bayley into the corner. She flipped over her, slammed her, then hit a standing Moonsault for a two count. Bayley raked Belair’s eyes and tagged in Dakota Kai. Belair, unaware, continued to attack Bayley. She set Bayley up on the top rope. Kai ran in, but Belair calculated it and flipped over her. Bayley used Belair’s momentum against her to ram her into the turnbuckle. Asuka and Bliss ran in, using Belair’s back to hit Bayley with a Superplex off the top rope. The camera pulled back as Cole reset the stage at around 16:30.
Sky hit a moonsault onto Bliss and Asuka on the outside. Belair set Kai up for a Powerbomb, but Kai latched onto the ropes and kicked free. Belair grabbed her and hoisted her into a Military Press. She used Kai’s body to take out Io Sky. Belair transitioned and hit the Powerbomb. She climbed to the top rope and dove, but Kai moved. Dakota hit the Scorpion Kick. Belair stumbled into the ropes. Kai charged, but Belair scooped her up into K.O.D. position. Bayley leapt onto the apron and grabbed Belair’s braid. Kai tagged in Sky. Bayley entered and delivered the Rose Plant. Sky hit a Moonsault. Bayley covered Belair for a three count.
WINNERS: Bayley, Dakota Kai & Io Sky in 18:46
(LeClair’s Analysis: Decent match. Truthfully, this didn’t feel all that different from something you could see on any given Raw across multiple segments with some commercials thrown in. All six women worked hard, and there were a few innovative spots, but it took quite a well to really get going. Bayley and a few awkward moments where her offense was delayed, seemingly because she was waiting for Sky or Kai to be in position. Not a huge deal, but quite noticeable. The crowd really helped fuel the atmosphere of this one. They were really into singing to Bayley, and while she couldn’t help but smile early on, I thought she did a nice job turning it around on them and playing up the idea that it was getting to her negatively. Bayley getting the pin over Belair is pretty classic WWE booking. It’s been clear that Bayley will be the next major challenger for Belair’s title, and this is an easy, if not a little lazy way to get there quickly. Ultimately, a fairly pedestrian opener that was aided quite significantly by the crowd.)
-Drew McIntyre was shown backstage in an “earlier today” video. He shared a friendly greeting with Tyson Fury.
-Back in the stadium, Fury was shown sitting ringside.
-The announcers tossed to video from Summerslam 1992, the last time a major WWE event was held in the United Kingdom. Samantha Irvin welcomed the family of Davey Boy Smith, and Bret Hart. Hart waved to the crowd and received a huge ovation.
-Sheamus’ music played and he emerged from the entrance, bathed in white light and flanked by Ridge Holland and Butch. Sheamus marched to the ring, Brutes in tow, clearly excited. He received a very positive reaction.
The camera cut to Ludwig Kaiser, who introduced Giovanni Vinci. The reassembled Imperium walked to the ring in lockstep. Vinci, Kaiser, Holland, and Butch came to immediate blows. They cleared the ring, leaving Shemus and Gunther staring each other down stoically in the center of the ring. Butch launched himself off the turnbuckle, taking out Kaiser and Vinci with a big moonsault. All four men disappeared to the back.
(2) GUNTHER (c) vs. SHEAMUS – WWE Intercontinental Championship match
The bell seemed to take both wrestlers by surprise. They came to immediate blows. Gunther overpowered Sheamus, driving him to the corner. He chopped Sheamus’ chest repeatedly, but Sheamus fought out, already sporting a marks across his upper body. The two men traded body shots, each growing more red by the moment. Sheamus dumped Gunther to the apron and set him up for the Ten Beats. He got Gunther in position and looked around the crowd for approval, allowing the champion to escape to the floor. Sheamus followed.
Sheamus tossed Gunther into the steel steps and looked to the crowd for approval. He tossed the champion back inside, and looked for the Beats a second time. Gunther fought it valiantly, refusing to let his arms by wrapped in the ropes. The two traded punches again. Gunther worked Sheamus into the corner and slapped him hard across the chest. Sheamus gave Gunther a boot to the chest, then hoisted himself to the top rope. Gunther stood and chopped Sheamus so hard that he fell to the outside. Gunther continued to chop Sheamus. The crowd chanted “Walter” at him. Cole acknowledged it. Gunther body slammed Sheamus onto the ring steps.
Gunther returned to the ring and waited. Sheamus just barely answered the referee’s count. The two men began trading massive chops. Gunther dropped Sheamus and kicked him in the spine. Sheamus rose to his knees and slapped Gunther hard. Gunther retaliated with a slap to the face and boot to the temple. Sheamus looked rocked. His chest was bleeding. He used the ropes to steady himself, but Gunther kicked him in the head again. Sheamus collapsed in a heap. Gunther turned Sheamus over into a Boston Crab at 6:50. Sweat poured from the bridge of Sheamus’ nose as he reached desperately for the ropes. Gunther collapsed onto Sheamus into a Crossface. Sheamus bent Gunther’s fingers to break the hold. Unbothered, Gunther chopped Sheamus’ back.
“Let’s go Sheamus!” the crowd implored. The two men traded forearms again. Sheamus hit a pair of overhead, open chops. Gunther shrugged them off, dropped the challenger, and threw an arm to the sky. He held onto Sheamus’ wrist, forcing him back to his feet again and again. Sheamus ate the chops, staring Gunther down. He caught Gunther’s arm and burst to his feet with a flurry. Gunther snuffed it, tossing Sheamus to the outside. He delivered a body slam onto the floor, then tossed Sheamus right over the announcers desk as the match crossed 10:00.
Sheamus managed to climb back over the desk and pull Gunther into a beats to the chest. Gunther retreated back toward the ring, but Sheamus followed. He finally hooked Gunther in the ropes and delivered the Ten Beats. They battled to the outside again. Sheamus leapt over the barrier into the crowd, bending Gunther over the barricade and delivering the Beats there too. Gunther stumbled in retreat. Sheamus tossed him inside and climbed to the top rope. He hit a knee to the face off the top, then pounded his chest, screaming to the crowd. Sheamus hoisted the champion onto his shoulders, but Gunther slid free. They traded chops and forearms again. Gunther broke the stalemate with a German Suplex. Sheamus rose and caught Gunther with a hard bicycle knee for a cover and near fall.
A “this is awesome” chant broke out. Sheamus tried to lift Gunther for a Backbreaker, but Gunther blocked it with elbows to the neck and shoulder. Gunther slid behind and locked in a Sleeper. Sheamus broke free. Gunther set up for a Powerbomb, but Sheamus blocked it, scooped Gunther up, and connected with White Noise. He covered for a near fall. The camera pulled back as the fans stood and cheered. Sheamus set up for the Brogue Kick. Gunther side stepped it and dropkicked Sheamus into the corner. Sheamus stumbled out, and Gunther hit the Powerbomb for a cover and near fall. The announcers sold that Gunther didn’t quite get all of it.
Gunther climbed to the top rope. Sheamus met him. The two traded punches and chops again. Gunther created separation, then tried to stand. Sheamus kicked out Gunther’s leg. He grabbed Gunther’s arm and hit the Celtic Cross Bomb off the top. Sheamus hooked both legs, but Gunther kicked out at the last moment. Both men struggled to stand as the match approached 19:00. Sheamus went for another Brogue, but his back gave out. Gunther immediately hit a Powerbomb, but collapsed himself. Both men rose together, Gunther screaming in frustration. He hit Sheamus with a massive clothesline and covered him for a three count.
WINNER: Gunther in 19:32 to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Imperium joined Gunther at ringside and the three left together. Sheamus rose to a massive standing ovation. The announcers went silent, allowing the moment to stand on its own. Sheamus was battered, but visibly emotional. He collapsed into the arms of fans on the ramp-way as the camera faded out.
(LeClair’s Analysis: What a fight. This delivered by any definition. These two went full tilt from opening bell and never let up for a moment. The brutal, overhead chops. The rocking forearms. Every major move was earned, felt big, and received a massive reaction from the crowd. Again, this match was helped out by a fully engaged, lively audience who had something to cheer for, but these two would’ve delivered in any setting. Sheamus certainly showed that he has another babyface run in him with this performance, and Gunther continues to bring prestige to the Intercontinental title. It was so great to see the Intercontinental title featured in a long, meaningful match on a Premium Live Event. Just all around excellent.)
-After some quick promotion for Cardiff, Michael Cole tossed to a video package hyping the Smackdown Women’s title match.
Shayna Baszler entered first. Corey Graves wondered which Shayna we’d see – talking up her dominant run in NXT in contrast to her time on the main roster. Cole noted that it’s been over 900 days since Baszler had a title shot. He welcomed UFC Welterweight Champion Leon Edwards, who was shown sitting at ringside. Liv Morgan entered next to a decent, but muted reaction. Samantha Irvin introduced both champion and challenger.
(3) LIV MORGAN (c) vs. SHAYNA BASZLER – Smackdown Women’s Championship match
Michael Cole noted that it’s the first time Shayna Baszler and Liv Morgan have ever faced off one on one. Baszler immediately went for the Kirifuda Clutch. Liv Morgan was able to slip out of it, then attempt the hold herself. Baszler was unbothered, easily breaking it up. Morgan tried to transition into an Arm Bar, but Shayna fought her off. Morgan gave the challenger a dropkick into the corner. Cole said Baszler needs to slow the match down. Morgan leapt to the top rope, holding Shayna’s arm. Baszler ripped Morgan to the floor, then taunted her in the ropes.
Baszler left the ring and tossed Morgan into the barricade. She threw her back inside the ring and covered her for a one count. Baszler immediately went to work on the champion’s arm, bending it and spinning her own body to apply more pressure. Morgan broke free and retreated to the corner, shaking her arm out. Baszler caught Morgan with a dropkick and covered her for a two count. Cole noted that Baszler smiled, knowing she didn’t have the win there, but instead taking pride in making the champion spend the energy to kick out.
The champion looked for a clothesline, but Baszler telegraphed it, ducked, and connected with a German Suplex. Baszler covered for two, then kicked the injured left arm for good measure. Morgan held her left arm close, but Baszler grabbed it and continued to manipulate the wrist. Morgan screamed in agony, but refused to tap out. Baszler broke the hold and missed a sweeping kick, buying Morgan a moment to jump to the middle rope and connect with a missile dropkick as the match crossed 5:30. The referee began counting both women down. Morgan kipped up at 8. She charged at Shayna, spun her around and leapt off the middle rope with double knees to the face.
Morgan side-stepped a knee out of the corner. Baszler shook her leg out and caught Liv with a knee to the face anyway. She covered for another two count, then yelled at Morgan to give up. Baszler stepped on the champion’s hand and taunted the crowd. Morgan rolled herself into a Triangle. Baszler fought free, but Morgan transitioned into an Arm Bar. Baszler turned it over into a cover, but Morgan rolled back into the hold. Shayna managed to get her own hands locked, allowing herself to roll over and break the hold. She stomped Morgan’s face, then delivered a Gutwrench. Baszler delivered a knee strike to the face and covered for a near fall.
Both women rose slowly in the center. Morgan walked gingerly to the corner. Baszler set her up on the top turnbuckle and continued to manipulate the injured arm. Liv slid out from underneath Baszler and bashed Shayna’s arm against the turnbuckle. Morgan flipped into Powerbomb position, hit the move, the stack covered Baszler. At two, Baszler flipped Morgan into the Kirifuda Clutch. Morgan flailed, but managed to roll into the ropes to break the hold at 10:35. Shayna looked for the Kirifuda again. Morgan rolled it into a cover. Shayna kicked out at one. Morgan popped up and hit a Codebreaker. Shayna stumbled into the ropes. Morgan charged and connected with Oblivion for a cover and three count.
WINNER: Liv Morgan in 11:00 to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship
(LeClair’s Analysis: This was on the higher end of what I think could’ve reasonably been expected here. It didn’t necessarily need to be great to serve as a means to an end. Baszler dominated throughout, working over Morgan’s arm and refusing to let up, Morgan, for her part, sold the attack well, as she often has. Baszler looked to have the match in hand on a couple of occasions, but Morgan wrestled her way out in somewhat believable fashion. I think it helped that the announcers mentioned that Morgan had been training extensively with Matt Riddle to prepare for an MMA-style offense. It never seemed like Baszler had much of a chance here, but I thought the most important thing was getting out of this with a decisive win for Morgan. Her run this far has been marred by finishes befitting a heel champion, so in order to maintain her status, she really needed to get a clean pin with her own offense. They did that, and I do think it will help her cause. I expect her to move back on to Ronda Rousey.)
-Michael Cole tossed to a video package promoting Edge & Rey Mysterio vs. The Judgment Day.
The Mysterios headed to the ring first, receiving a strong ovation. Cole talked up the disconnected between father and son. Graves said Dominick needs to stop being a cry-baby. Edge followed to an absolutely massive pop. He exploded from the stage, running corner to corner as the crowd sang “Metalingus” back at him. He wore a lucha mask to the ring, and couldn’t wipe the smile off his face as the crowd showered him in chants and cheers.
The stadium went dark and the Judgment Day music hit. A spotlight focused on Rhea Ripley, Finn Balor, and Damian Priest standing smugly at the front of the stage. They headed to the ring as Graves talked about Balor wrestling in front of 60 people many years ago in Wales. Ripley posed on the ropes beneath Balor and Priest.
(4) EDGE & REY MYSTERIO (w/ Dominick Mysterio) vs. THE JUDGMENT DAY (Finn Balor & Damian Priest w/ Rhea Ripley)
Rey Mysterio began the match with Finn Balor. The two men locked up in the center, with Balor taking control. He forced Mysterio to the corner and gave him a quick knee before whipping him out. Mysterio leapfrogged Balor and got in some quick shots before rolling over Balor and catching him with a kick to the head. Mysterio followed up with a headscissor, sending Balor reeling to his corner. He tagged in Damian Priest.
Priest ignored Mysterio, instead pointing to Edge. Edge looked around and the crowd rose to their feet to demand in. Mysterio tagged out. Edge and Priest went to lock up, but Priest instead caught Edge clean in the face with a hard right hand. Edge shook it off, but Priest tossed him into the corner and delivered a few more shots. Priest whipped Edge toward the corner, but Mysterio used his own body to cushion Edge’s landing. This allowed Edge to burst onto Priest with a series of rapid punches. Balor tried to get involved, but Edge shoved him off the apron. The Judgment Day regrouped near the ramp. Edge tagged in Mysterio and Powerbombed him over the top rope, onto Finn and Damian below.
Mysterio and Priest returned to the ring. Mysterio tried a Springboard cross body, but Priest caught him and hit an Oracle Slam. Priest kicked Rey haphazardly into the corner, then delivered a hard leaping elbow. Balor tagged in. He worked Rey over in the heel corner, then tagged in Priest. Balor gave Rey a Backbreaker and held him in place, allowing Priest to hit a leg drop. Mysterio tried to fight back with a kick, but Priest shrugged it off and booted Mysterio. Priest spit in Edge’s face, then tagged in Balor. Priest and Balor hit kicks on Mysterio. Balor hit a Snap Suplex, then popped the hips to initiate the Three Amigos. Instead, Balor dropped Mysterio and held his arms up, taunting the Cardiff crowd.
Balor grabbed a seated side headlock as the match hit 6:30. Mysterio fought free quickly, but Balor cut off the comeback attempt. He tried to whip Rey to the corner, but Mysterio kicked out his knee. Balor still managed to save the tag by reaching Priest first. Damian knocked Edge off the apron and tossed Mysterio to the floor. With the referee distracted, Balor went to work on Rey on the outside. Mysterio managed to toss Balor into the crowd. Rey climbed the barricade, but Priest leapt up to meet him there. Rey kicked out Priest’s legs, crotching him on the barricade.
Rey made the long climb back to the ring and to his corner. Rhea Ripley implored Priest and Balor to prevent the tag. Priest saved it momentarily, but Rey kicked him away. Edge got the hot tag and dropped the Judgment Day with multiple clotheslines. He hit Balor with the Edgecution, then brought the crowd to life, setting up for a Spear. He clotheslined Priest to the outside. Mysterio dove onto Priest with a Senton off the apron. Edge tripped Balor into the ropes and hit a 619. Graves called it “more of a 519.” Mysterio hit a splash off the top rope. Edge covered Balor, but Priest broke it up by delivering a kick through the ropes.
Edge speared Priest through the middle rope to the floor. Balor tossed Mysterio through the bottom rope. Edge returned to the ring and got caught withe Sling Blade. Balor set up for the Coup De Grace, but Dominick Mysterio jumped onto the apron, distracting the referee. Rey returned, grabbing Balor’s leg and then delivering a Hurricanrana from the top. Rhea Ripley gave Dominick a huge clothesline on the outside. She scooped him up for a Powerslam, but Rey Mysterio dove onto them both. Mysterio returned to the ring and tripped Balor into the ropes. He set up for the 619, but Balor moved. Dominick tripped Balor. Balor spun around to confront him. Rey tripped Balor into the ropes and hit the 619. Balor stumbled right into a Spear from Edge for a cover and three count.
WINNERS: Edge & Rey Mysterio in 12:34
Edge, Rey, and Dominick circled the ring. Rey and Edge celebrated, asking Dominick to join them. He seemed to reluctantly oblige, but then kicked Edge below the belt. Edge collapsed in a heap. Rey was dumbfounded. He shoved Dominick and began yelling at him. Dominick contemplated for a moment, then gave Rey a clothesline. The camera cut to the Judgment Day, laughing maniacally while licking their wounds. Dominick left, ripping off his Mysterio shirt as he climbed the ramp. The crowd pelted him with boos.
Rey helped Edge to his feet and apologized profusely. Edge shrugged it off, hugging Rey. The two received a standing ovation.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Before addressing the match itself, it’s important to note the monstrous reaction Edge received. It was loud enough to be notable above and beyond an already loud and engaged crowd. To me, it further cements what a colossal mistake it was to ever turn him heel. The crowd loves Edge, loves his entrance, and just wants to cheer the guy. I’m glad we’re back to that. This one was a little slow in the early going, but turned out to be pretty fun as it progressed. There were a number of chaotic, cool little moments in the latter stages of the match that popped the crowd. Edge’s spear through the ropes looked great, but man, that was scary to watch. Ultimately, I think the right team won here, but it’s becoming increasingly challenging to view the Judgment Day in any sort of serious light when they just lose virtually every feud and match they’re in. I thought it was interesting, at least, that they saved Dominick’s turn for the post-match angle, leaving it in question as to whether he’ll be joining the Judgment Day, or simply walking away from Rey. It seems very unlikely to me that Dominick has the chops right now to stand on his own, but perhaps putting him on a journey toward the Judgment Day makes a bit of sense.)
-Samantha Irvin announced the attendance as 62,296. The announcers thanked Our Lady Peace for the show’s theme song. Back at the desk, Cole announced the Clash at the Castle Press Conference on Facebook and YouTube, scheduled to begin 5 minutes after the show. He then tossed to a video package for Seth Rollins vs. Matt Riddle.
Matt Riddle entered first with remixed music, riding his scooter over new graphics featuring his first name. They piped in pyro audio as he kicked off his sandals and AR fish flew from his feet. Seth Rollins followed, wearing a flame suit and feathered wings. He had a devil horn crown and Elton-inspired heart shaped glasses. He led the crowd in a loud rendition of his theme song.
(5) SETH ROLLINS vs. MATT RIDDLE
Seth Rollins and Matt Riddle charged at one another as soon as the bell rang. They fired off wild punches simultaneously. Riddle got the better of the initial exchange, backing Rollins into the corner and throwing fast kicks. The referee pulled Riddle back. Riddle got in the official’s face. Cole said Riddle needs to be careful. Matt Riddle side-stepped the referee and climbed outside to meet Rollins, continuing his assault Rollins rolled back in the ring, followed closely. Riddle hit him with a pair of Gutwrench Suplexes. He followed up with a standing senton and covered Rollins for a two count.
The camera pulled back to a wide shot and nearly missed Rollins’ guillotining Riddle over the top rope. Riddle stumbled to the corner, but pulled in Rollins with his legs. Riddle tried to lock in a Triangle, but Rollins deadlifted him off the mat. Seth stumbled foward and the two went tumbling over the top rope. Riddle tried to hook Rollins again from over the ropes, but Seth caught him in Powerbomb position.; Seth delivered a running barricade-bomb. Riddle grabbed at his lower back as the referee began to count him out. Just as Riddle stood, Rollins launched himself through the middle rope, splaying Riddle out of the announcers desk. Seth tossed Riddle back in the ring.
Rollins dropped Riddle and taunted the crowd. Matt battled to his feet and ate a quick back elbow. Rollins covered for one. He got in the referee’s face and argued, allowing Riddle to recover. Riddle hit a number of kicks but Rollins shrugged them off and hit one of his own. He followed up with a Falcon Arrow for a near fall at 5:22. Rollins looked around in frustration. The crowd began singing to him again. Riddle returned to his feet and elbowed Rollins out of the corner. He climbed to the top, but Seth cut his legs out. Seth climbed the ropes and hooked Riddle for an Inverted Suplerplex. He couldn’t get a grip and slid awkwardly. Instead, he moved to the apron and hit a leaping double stomp to the chest. Rollins covered for another near fall.
Both men battled to the top turnbuckle again. Rollins connected with a Superplex and rolled through, but Riddle countered it into a Fisherman Buster. Riddle hit Rollins’ in the chest repeatedly with open palm strikes. He caught Seth with a knee to the face, sending him reeling. Rollins tried to burst from the corner with a spinning lariat, but Riddle caught him with a T-Bone Suplex. Rollins rolled to the apron and Riddle kicked him to the floor. Matt jumped to the apron himself and hit a springboard Floating Bro off the middle rope onto Rollins on the floor.
Riddle tossed Rollins back in the ring. Seth set up for a Pedigree, but Riddle blocked it. He hit a Bro to Sleep and covered for a near fall. Riddle climbed to the top rope and went for another Floating Bro, but Rollins got the knees up. Seth went for the Stomp, but Riddle moved. Rollins went for a Powerbomb, but Riddle locked his legs and dropped Seth into a Triangle. Seth struggled, kicking at Riddle’s face to break the hold. He managed to hoist Riddle up and hit the Bro Derek, trying to beat him with his own move. Rollins covered, but Riddle managed to just get the shoulder up.
Cardiff continued to serenade Rollins as he and Riddle struggled to their feet beyond the 12:00 mark. Rollins climbed to the top rope, looking for the Phoenix Splash. Riddle rolled out of the way, but Seth landed on his feet. Riddle caught Seth with a swift kick, but Rollins shook it off and hit the Ripcord Elbow. Riddle hit a knee to the face. Rollins hit an Enziguri. Riddle went for a Powerbomb, but Rollins flipped through it and delivered a Pedigree. He rolled Riddle over for a cover and believable near fall.
“You’re a loser!” Rollins yelled as he lifted Riddle by the hair. “Your wife knew it, your kids knew it, these people know it!” Riddle exploded, punching Rollins rapidly. He tossed him to the apron, but Rollins caught him with a kid to the face. He draped Riddle over the middle rope and delivered Randy Orton’s signature draping DDT. Rollins smiled and brought the crowd to their feet. He fell to the mat and pounded, setting up for the RKO. Rollins went for it, but Riddle pulled him into a Rear Naked Choke. Riddle couldn’t help himself, he broke the hold and began punching and kicking Rollins wildly. Seth rolled to the outside to escape. He grabbed a steel chair. He swung it at Seth, but Rollins moved. Riddle struck the announcers desk.
Rollins slid back in the ring and Riddle gave chase. Rollins caught him with a Stomp out of nowhere. Instead of covering, he climbed to the middle rope and waited for Riddle to stand. Seth delivered a stomp from the middle rope, then covered Riddle for a three count.
WINNER: Seth Rollins in 17:21
(LeClair’s Analysis: Excellent match. I’d said a couple of times on Raw post-shows that I didn’t feel particularly invested in this feud, but I thought they did a really good job ramping up the intensity over the last couple of weeks to make this feel like a hotter issue. I don’t think there was ever much doubt that these two could have a really good match, but the story they’ve told over the last couple of weeks really helped them get to a different territory. I thought they blurred the lines between fiction and reality just well enough to work without feeling forced, and it gave them a perfect finish where Riddle’s anger got him caught in successful Rollins’ plot. Rollins needed a big win here after losing the Cody Rhodes feud so decisively, and I don’t think giving it to him here does any real damage to Riddle long-term. I think what I like most about this was the stark contrast to the Sheamus vs. Gunther match earlier in the show. They had two totally different philosophies, both of which worked tremendously well for the stories being told and the wrestlers involved. While Sheamus and Gunther worked a hard hitting brawl where every single move felt earned, Riddle and Rollins built to a huge flurry of spots and counters and signature moves that were fluid and crowd-pleasing. I like when you can have two very end end matches of two completely different styles on the same show.)
-Back at the announcers desk, the announcers talked about the next Premium Live Event, Extreme Rules. Cole then tossed to a clip from earlier today, showing Roman Reigns talking to Tyson Fury. They showed Fury at ringside again. The camera then cut to Karrion Kross and Scarlett, seated nearby.
The announcers talked about Cardiff again, thanking the city and its fans for their hospitality. Michael Cole then switched focus to the main event, tossing to a video package.
Drew McIntyre’s original theme music played, with a reworked tron video including clips of a young McIntyre leading up to his first run in WWE. The footage slowly transitioned to the present day before fading out on McIntyre staring out into the abyss, swords surround him. McIntyre’s current music hit and he emerged slowly from the back, carrying his sword. The crowd gave him a warm welcome. McIntyre looked around and smiled. He held the sword high to a loud pyro sound without the pyro. McIntyre climbed a turnbuckle and hoisted the sword again. This time, fire shot from the other three turnbuckles. Drew soaked in a “Drew” chant. The crowd began singing “Oh, Drew McIntyre!” He nodded along, psyching himself up.
Roman Reigns’ music hit the speakers and the crowd erupted in boos. Roman emerged from the back alone, wearing his customary big-match lei. He wore the WWE title around his waist and carried the Universal title at his side. Reigns looked around at the crowd, stoic. He glanced down at the Universal title before holding it up high. Cole said he’s on 734 days as a champion, with 23 title defenses. The last time Reigns was pinned, Cole remarked, was in December of 2019. He listed Reigns’ conquests, including even Cesaro and Daniel Bryan. Cole said Reigns coming to the ring alone is akin to the President traveling without the Secret Service. “He’s vulnerable and alone,” he concluded. He noted that, during Reigns’ historic run, there have been 55 title changes in WWE.
The champion threw up the “one” as the camera pulled back, positioned perfectly under a “if Reigns wins, we riot” sign. Samantha Irvin provided Championship match introductions as the crowd buzzed with anticipation. Reigns and McIntyre came face to face. Roman didn’t break his stare as he handed the titles over to Charles Robinson.
(6) ROMAN REIGNS (c) vs. DREW McINTYRE – WWE Undisputed Universal Championship match
The crowd popped for the opening bell. Drew McIntyre looked around with a smirk. Roman Reigns scowled in disgust. The crowd began singing to McIntyre again. Roman shook his head in frustration. The two circled the ring and locked up. Cole compared the crowd to a “sixth man” in basketball. McIntyre and Reigns struggled in the tie-up. Drew got the better of it and worked Reigns to the corner. He invited Roman to step out. Reigns nearly shook with rage. They circled again.
McIntyre took a relaxed stance as Reigns paced. They locked up again, but this time Reigns grabbed a side headlock. Drew worked Roman to the ropes and sent him running. Reigns ran into a hard shoulder from the challenger and begged off. He slid through the middle rope, placing the referee between he and Drew. Reigns was noticeably shaken. McIntyre smirked again. He whipped Reigns off the ropes and caught him with a big shoulder. Reigns rolled to the outside, hands on hips. He sold the unease. The camera zoomed in on Reigns. Cole noted that this is the moment where Paul Heyman would be in Reigns’ ear, talking strategy.
Roman returned to the ring slowly. Drew implored the crowd to stay on Reigns, and they did. Roman caught Drew with a punch and shushed the crowd. They ignored him. McIntyre flew out of the corner and placed Reigns there. He hit ten punches, then tossed the champion to the outside. McIntyre stayed on the attack, slamming Reigns off the barricade and then whipping him into the steel steps as the match hit 6:40. McIntyre rolled inside to break the referee’s count, then went to retrieve the champion. A water bottle flew into frame, hitting McIntyre. The camera panned, revealing it was Karrion Kross who threw it. McIntyre got in Kross’ face, allowing Reigns the time to recover and caught McIntyre in the chin with an uppercut.
The champion returned to the ring as the referee counted McIntyre. Drew returned at nine, and was immediately overwhelmed by Reigns. The champion kicked Drew repeatedly, then covered him for a two count. McIntyre used the corner to steady himself. Reigns peppered him with short-arm corner clotheslines, then tossed him into the ring post. McIntyre fell awkwardly through the middle rope, catching his shoulder on the steel steps as he fell. The referee counted again. McIntyre returned to the apron at 7.
Reigns beat Drew down on the apron. McIntyre managed to fight back with a guillotine. He slid in the ring, but Reigns caught him with a leaping clothesline. Reigns covered for a one count at 10:15. Reigns grabbed another head lock, but Drew worked out of it quickly. Drew hit the ropes and ate a big boot. Reigns covered again for another one count. Roman shook his head in frustration. The camera pulled back to show the entire stadium again. Reigns sauntered to his feet. McIntyre rose, too. They traded chops. Reigns whipped Drew into the turnbuckle. McIntyre buckled. Reigns felt McIntyre’s sweat on his chest and wiped in disgust. “Who do you think you are?” he poked.
McIntyre delivered more chops. Reigns threw a number of punches, dropping McIntyre to the mat again. The two men attempted multiple Suplexes, each blocking the others attempt repeatedly. Reigns eventually broke the stalemate, kicking McIntyre back to the mat. He asked for a microphone. “Cardiff, acknowledge me!” The crowd booed loudly. Reigns turned around and ate a Glasgow Kiss from McIntyre. Both men were laid out. McIntyre began to stir first. Reigns met him. They traded punches in the center. Reigns kicked McIntyre in the gut and whipped him toward the corner. McIntyre bounced out and caught Roman with a clothesline. Reigns rose quickly, but McIntyre hit him with a quick pair of over-head belly-to-belly Suplexes. McIntyre hit Reigns with a neckbreaker, then kipped up.
Cardiff roared with a big “Drew” chant” as McIntyre continued his comeback. He hoisted Reigns to the top turnbuckle and set up for Superplex. Reigns fought back with punches, causing McIntyre to lose his balance. Both men teetered on the turnbuckle. McIntyre pulled at Roman’s hair. McIntyre slipped into Tree of Woe position. He sat up and flipped Reigns off the turnbuckle. Drew set up, counting down for the Claymore. Reigns rolled from the ring, sensing it. McIntyre joined Reigns outside at 18:00. Roman quickly brought him back in the ring.
Drew McIntyre set up for the Future Shock DDT, but Reigns blocked it with an uppercut. McIntyre hit a Spinebuster and moved into a jackknife cover for a very near fall. Drew willed Reigns to stand. He scooped him onto his shoulders, but Reigns raked the eyes. Roman hit McIntyre with a Uranagi and covered him for a two count. Cole said it’s the first two count Reigns’ has managed. Reigns threw up a “one” and cocked his fist. Drew stumbled back and Reigns launched for a Superman Punch. McIntyre blocked it and hit the Future Shock DDT. McIntyre counted down for the Claymore. He charged, but Reigns caught him with a Superman Punch. Reigns hooked the leg for a near fall.
Both men struggled to stand as the match ticked past 21:00. The camera pulled back again and Cole reset the scene. Reigns began jawing at the crowd. He set up for a Spear, throwing back his arms. McIntyre kicked him in the face. Reigns fell back into the ropes and then charged forward with a Spear. He hooked the leg, but McIntyre kicked out at the last moment. Reigns covered his face in dismay. He waited for McIntyre to stand, then stumble into his grasp. Reigns locked in the Guillotine. McIntyre began to fade, but managed to scoop Reigns up and drive him into the corner to break the hold. Reigns didn’t let up, pouncing right back in and locking hold again. Reigns wrapped the legs, but again, McIntyre hoisted him into the air. He dumped Reigns in the corner and tossed him into the ring post. Reigns fell to the floor.
Champion and challenger reconnected at ringside. McIntyre speared Reigns through the timekeeper’s barricade. He tossed him in the ring quickly and set up for the Claymore. He charged, but Reigns intercepted him with another Spear. Reigns covered for another very near fall. The crowd began singing to McIntyre again. Reigns rose slowly, questioning the referee’s count. He began screaming at Robinson. Meanwhile, McIntyre set up in the corner. Drew delivered a Claymore to the back of Reigns’ head, sending the champion stumbling into Charles Robinson.
Austin Theory’s music hit. He ran to the ring with a referee in tow. He handed the briefcase over, but got punched in the face by Tyson Fury from over the barricade. Roman Reigns retrieved a chair. He swung it at McIntyre, but Drew caught him with a Claymore. Drew hooked the leg, and Theory’s referee entered the ring to count. Reigns kicked out just before three. Reigns and McIntyre grabbed at each other’s hair, trying to stand as the match approached 29:00. They traded punches from their knees. They rose together, still throwing blows with increasing pace. Reigns stepped back and it a Superman Punch. McIntyre didn’t fall. He hit Reigns with a Glasgow Kiss. McIntyre hit the ropes and Speared Reigns. McIntyre set up and connected with a Claymore. He hooked the leg, but the referee was pulled out of the ring. A hooded figure stood at ringside. He pulled down the hood, revealing himself to be Silo Sikoa.
Sikoa guillotined McIntyre off the top rope. McIntyre turned around, eating a third Spear. Reigns hooked the leg as Charles Robinson returned to the ring to count to three.
WINNER: Roman Reigns in 30:47 to retain the WWE Undisputed Universal Championship
Tyson Fury entered the ring, standing opposite Reigns. He nodded. Reigns offered a hand, and Fury shook it. Roman left the ring, joining Silo Sikoa on the ramp. He slung the titles over his shoulders. Cole said Reigns survived, and the 734 day reign will continue.
Reigns returned to the back. The camera returned to the ring, where Fury helped McIntyre to his feet. Tyson grabbed a microphone. He said the entire stadium was there to see him. He told McIntyre to keep his chin up. Fury then sang “American Pie.” He invited the crowd to join him. Drew joined in for the chorus. Fury turned the microphone over the McIntyre. Drew thanked the crowd. He said his island didn’t let him down. McIntyre promised to keep fighting. He said he’d get his hands on the undisputed titles, then began singing Oasis. He and Fury shared a hug, then posed on the ropes as the show faded out.
They did a WrestleMania style, post show video recapping the event start to finish.
(LeClair’s Analysis: This was on the highest end of WWE’s willingness to subvert expectations of their own tendencies for a big, main event match. They tossed all the usual bells and whistles out there – multiple finisher kick outs, a teased Money in the Bank cash-in, interference from other challengers and guest athletes alike, and a ref bump for good measure. Additionally, Reigns’ usual companions were nowhere to found, leaving him, as Cole mentioned earlier, “alone and vulnerable.” In theory then, when McIntyre hit the final Claymore, WWE booking would dictate that it was a done deal. Surely, he’d hook the leg and the replacement referee would count to three. The crowd bought in, and Silo Sikoa ripped the rug out from underneath them. The start of the match was a great departure from Reigns’ typical title defenses, with Drew overwhelming the champion in the early going. Michael Cole did an excellent job at framing Reigns as being in danger, and helped to sell Reigns’ clearly rattled facial expressions. Once they settled in, this played out like most of Reigns’ title defenses, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. There’s a strong aesthetic and tone they’ve set with his matches that allows them to slow the pace and tell a story without ever losing the crowd. Reigns’ performances have earned him that ability.
I know many had this show pegged as the conclusion of Reigns’ title run, and there is inevitably bound to be some discontent. Ultimately, though, I think this was the right decision. While they’ve done an excellent job rehabbing McIntyre, he still doesn’t quite feel like he’s reached Reigns’ level of stardom, and I think there are still plenty of stories yet to tell with Reigns as champion. This has been a two plus year saga of rehabbing the championships, and it’s been a literal two decades or more since they’ve carried this much weight. I think an eventual McIntyre title win can and will mean more because of it.
The only downside here was McIntyre’s post match sing-along with Tyson Fury. This felt very off-the-cuff, and while sometimes that can create some great pro wrestling moments, this just felt better left a moment for the Cardiff audience, and not for those watching at home. While it served to close the show on a positive note for the fans in attendance, I think those of us watching at home would’ve been better left with the lasting image of Reigns and Sikoa.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: It was certainly strange to sit down and watch and cover a WWE Premium Live Event on an early fall Saturday afternoon, but this was well worth the time. The wrestling delivered in spades, with three excellent matches and an equal number that were good to very good, or, at the very least, served their purpose nicely. The Cardiff crowd was electric for nearly the whole event, adding to an already tremendous looking stadium and atmosphere. Thumbs up all around.