WWE PLE HITS & MISSES FOR CLASH AT THE CASTLE 2022: Gunther vs. Sheamus, Riddle vs. Rollins, McIntyre vs. Reigns, more

BY FRANK PETEANI, PWTORCH.COM CONTRIBUTOR

Full WWE Clash at the Castle Preview
PHOTO CREDIT: WWE

SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

WWE CLASH AT THE CASTLE HITS & MISSES
SEPTEMBER 3, 2022
CARDIFF, WALES AT PRINCIPALITY STADIUM
AIRED ON PEACOCK; 1:00 p.m. EDT, 12:00 p.m. CDT
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH.COM CONTRIBUTOR

Announcers: Michael Cole, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves

Damage Control (Bayley, Iyo Sky, and Dakota Kai) defeat Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair & Alexa Bliss & Asuka

I come from a time where the World Wrestling Federation, World Wrestling Entertainment, or WWE (as it is properly called today) built towards six-person tag team matches. I was on the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling post show when this was announced. I was positive on it then and I’m positive on it coming out of the match.

You don’t have to have a championship match at EVERY show, and I say that emphatically because I think the modern audience is trained to think that that should be the case. It doesn’t. It’s ok to feature your top talent and here, it was important to showcase the Damage Control faction on a big stage.

They set the stage for a few feuds I want to see, most notably Bayley vs. Bianca Belair for the Raw Women’s Championship. There is the tired formula of the future challenger pinning the champion to set that up. I don’t like it but, I understand it at the same time especially in this setting. This wasn’t Bayley’s finest showing, but I must give her a break. She JUST came back from a long layoff. I know she wrestled Aliyah this week, but to be honest who cares about that.

The other feud I want to see is Asuka vs. Iyo Sky. You can tell things are different in WWE when Michael Cole acknowledges the faction they were in along with Iyo’s sister.

Overall, a nicely worked match. Like I said, it’s ok to have this match on a PLE. For the better part of the last 20-25 years, they are done on TV, and I understand why. Years ago, they were done on house shows and PPV (as they were called until this year). SummerSlam ’89 had two six-person matches as an example.

Hit or Miss: Hit

Gunther (w/Ludwig Kaiser & Giovanni Vinci) defeats Sheamus (w/Butch & Ridge Holland) to retain the Intercontinental Championship

It’s nice to see Imperium back together. I never understood the Vince McMahon philosophy of splitting factions up. I suppose in this case they saw something in Giovanni Vinci (the former Fabian Aichner) considering he was getting a singles push in NXT, so it’s justified. Still, it’s nice to see them reunited despite everyone having different names.

I didn’t need the factions fighting before the match. I would have preferred to just see these guys stare down without all the background stuff. That said, what can’t you say about the match. It was a fight through and through. In losing Sheamus did hit the Celtic Cross but not the Brogue Kick, which is usually his finisher. I like a world where finishers are protected.

The Intercontinental Championship has been minimized for far too long. I can’t remember the last time it was defended on a PLE much less given the time it was given. The title felt important, and Gunther felt like a champion behind which WWE is investing. The show of respect for Sheamus after the match was a nice touch. Granted it was localized, but it made me want to see what I’ve wanted to see for some time and that’s a babyface run. He’s done it before and still has it in him. I don’t know what that would mean for Butch and Ridge Holland, but I’ll leave that to Paul Levesque to figure out.

Hit or Miss: Hit

Liv Morgan defeats Shayna Baszler to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship

This wasn’t a match that pulled me in to be frank with you (I can only be Frank). Liv’s offense doesn’t really hit for me, and she doesn’t pull me in as a character other than being someone everyone likes. I feel bad saying this because we all know she didn’t have the most fortunate upbringing. I’m happy for her that she’s achieved her goal. I’m sorry but I’m not gonna “fake” being into her because of all that.

Shayna hasn’t been the killer she was in NXT for a while, so it was nice to see her get back to that albeit in a losing effort.

It was good to Liv a more decisive win, even if the finish looked a little weak for my taste. Let’s just say for argument’s sake they’re going back to Ronda vs. Liv, and I believe that’s where we’re headed, you want Liv to be strong as a champion. Getting cheap wins she’s gotten has NOT helped. The problem is beating Shayna doesn’t mean a lot because she’s lost so much since being on the main roster.

I’m giving this a miss because I can’t bring myself to give it a hit. Yes, it was a good enough match based on the position of both women. Yes, Liv got the decisive win. Yes, Shayna showed some of her old self. It just wasn’t good enough for a championship match, and I grade these harshly.

Hit or Miss: Miss

Edge & Rey Mysterio defeat The Judgment Day; Dominik turns on Edge and Rey after the match

To be honest I was done with Judgment Day feuding with Rey and Edge heading into this show. If anything, I thought we’d be heading towards a mixed match involving Beth Phoenix alongside her husband Edge and of course Rhea Ripley for Judgment Day. They got here though off the angle run on Raw, and the match was fine. It’s another case where a straight-out tag match was saved for a PLE. See my argument for this when I discussed the six-woman tag earlier.

Dominik helping his dad and Edge by tripping Balor, leading to the finish, was a good way to throw everyone off the scent for what was to come. There’s not much to discuss with the match. It was the post-match angle. I believed Dominik wasn’t turning, and then he kicked Edge in the balls. Then he clotheslines his father. I can’t lie, I bought in to the deal. I wasn’t high on Dominik as a face alongside his father, but I’m interested in his run as a heel.

What was interesting was Judgment Day didn’t factor in the turn. You wonder if he still may join them, as working alongside them may help give him the rub. I’m not sure he can get over on his own, but we’ll see as TV rolls in this Monday.

Hit or Miss: Hit

Seth Rollins defeats Matt Riddle

Riddle doing his full entrance was kind of annoying. Coming out of Raw I would have like to see him walk to the ring determined, no scooter, no smiles, just all business. This happens way too often in the modern WWE. Go back and watch Shawn Michaels do his entrance at In Your House: Good Friends, Better Enemies to see how to do an entrance for a grudge feud.

That out of the way, they went right to a fight and not a collar/elbow tie-up. That’s a big sticking point for me. Make the match fit the story. Very similar to Sheamus vs. Gunther this was hard hitting. I especially liked Rollins using Randy Orton’s moves to get into Riddle’s head, which was the story of the match. He got in his head Monday talking about his family in that “off script” interview, and that continued here. Generally, I’m against talking about things like “your wife left you” and “your kids will know you’re a loser” that Rollins was saying to Riddle. I just like the family kept separate, but I’m an old school hard head, I admit it. I can compartmentalize that stuff when I watch. Anyway, saying those things got Riddle to level 20 pissed, and it bit him in the ass in the end. I’m happy Rollins got a clean win and it didn’t end with Riddle hitting him with the chair. This felt like there was resolution given, while keeping some meat on the bone for another match. Rollins also like … needs to win some matches too you know whether you like him or not.

I got the sense the crowd was into Rollins more so than Riddle, so that will be interesting to watch as they come back to the states.

Hit or Miss: Hit

Roman Reigns defeats Drew McIntyre to retain the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship

Broken Dreams was one of my favorite themes of the early 2010s, so hearing that before they went to Drew’s current theme was a beautiful touch. On to the match.

There’s SO MUCH to unpack from the match. The bottom line is I bought that Drew could win the match a few times. Kicking out two spears had me going back to Warrior vs. Savage from WrestleMania 7 and Undertaker vs. Michaels from ‘Mania 25. With Reigns having a historic run, the key is to have matches where you believe he could lose, otherwise what’s the point. I never got into the matches with Cesaro, Finn Balor, Goldberg, etc. When Drew hit the Claymore Kick I have to tell you I thought there was a chance, until Solo Sikoa stopped the ref from making the pin.

Look if you were going to be upset about shenanigans in this match, this show wasn’t for you. I’m usually not thrilled about them myself, but it was expected. They want to protect Drew which I understand. What I liked here was we got the interference we didn’t expect. They teased Karrion Kross getting involved, and that didn’t happen. They teased Austin Theory cashing in Money in the Bank, and that got thwarted by Tyson Fury. Solo Sikoa getting involved was a legit surprise for me. Was this the right spot for it? I don’t know, but I hope they have big plans for him putting him in a spot like that.

I’m not sure Drew is earmarked as the guy to take down Roman. This match did leave meat on the bone for the feud. WWE has some options moving forward in that situation. I was engaged throughout the match, the crowd was engaged, and both men worked them perfectly.

I felt like the singing between Tyson Fury and Drew McIntyre was not meant to make air, and quite frankly I could have done without it. It kinda dumbs down what we had just seen, but I’ll get over it.

Hit or Miss: Hit

Final Score

Hits 5
Misses 1

Clash at the Castle is officially a winner by virtue of the score, and it should have been. Now truth be told, it did have a B-PLE house show feel but that’s fine. They knew their audience. This is the same audience that loved SummerSlam 1992 and that show had a TON of filler. Check out Pro Wrestling Then and Now for my review of that event with Torch contributor Jon Mezzera. With Dom’s turn, Sikoa’s interference, the Imperium now at full strength, and Braun Strowman returning to Raw according to multiple reports there are some hooks for next week’s TV. See you next month when WWE takes it to the EXTREME!!!!

Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Thank you for reading!

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