In my "Notes" posts, these are random observations, written in real time, as I'm watching the event. These posts are not meant to be traditional blog style articles, they are just random lists of observations. I hope you enjoy them and thanks for taking the time to view my website. Any comments can be sent to @NVSportscards on Twitter.
From Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana, it's WWE Clash Of Champions 2016. Michael Cole, Byron Saxton and Corey Graves are your announcers. The pre-show panel is made up of Renee Young, Booker T, Jerry Trawler and Lita.
Don't look into this match at all. Nia Jax won and Alicia Fox was Alicia Fox. Moving on.
WINNER: NIA JAX
Coming out of the video package, we are reminded that The New Day's current title reign is at 399 days. In the past, once WWE starts tracking the number of days in a title reign, the titles are almost assuredly changing hands. However, they've been tracking this particular title reign for a couple of PPV's now. So, I give up. I guess WWE is trying to break the all-time record, held by Demolition.
In an interesting note, the name "The Club" seems to have been retired, as every mention of this team is referencing "Gallows & Anderson".
Gallows and Anderson come out very quick and there is a moment where fans might believe that the match might be over in under a minute.
Great pace to this match, the crowd was really in to it.
The ending is a head-scratcher. Xavier Woods konks Karl Anderson in the side of the head with Francesca 2 (the trombone), then Big E and Kofi Kingston hit Anderson with their Midnight Hour finisher, while Luke Gallows lays helplessly outside the ring.
For whatever reason, the belts are still on The New Day, even though their gimmick is feeling very stale as of late. If teams keep losing to them, then there will be NO tag-team division on Raw, because every team will look weak and pathetic, by comparison.
My only guess is that the trombone finish will lead to a "cage" stipulation for their next match, so Woods can't interfere again. Oh hey, surprise surprise, the next Raw PPV is Hell In The Cell on October 30th. So, instead of bringing this story to a close, it looks like it's going to be extended for another 5 weeks. Yay! This means another 5 weeks of every other tag-team treading water and trying to stay relevant while Gallows and Anderson lose steam and become further separated from the gimmick that brought them to WWE in the first place.
WINNER: THE NEW DAY
Social media was blazing hot for TJ Perkins's entrance and theme (heavily lifted from the Mega-Man video game series). The entrance is at 23:59, if you have the WWE Network. It's different and a refreshing change of pace, so we'll see how this helps or hurts TJP, in the near future.
The ring ropes were changed out for purple ropes, specifically for this match, with the main color theme of the Cruiserweight division being purple. This was a nice detail, because it creates a line of demarcation between the Cruiserweights and everyone else. If they can contain this division within itself, it could potentially breakout like a mini version of NXT, which I'm for 100%, as there is a lot of potential here.
Overall, this was a very Indy-rific match but not a true showcase of what the Cruiserweight Classic offered the fans, during it's run. Perkins is good, but he isn't the mainstream breakout star that this division truly needs. On the plus side, thee Brian Kendrick maintained his heel persona, so it looks like all the baby faces of the CW division will be going through him to get over with the crowd and to earn a #1 contender spot.
WINNER: TJ PERKINS
A Cesaro win seems way too predictable. After losing the first 3 matches to Sheamus, it seemed inevitable that Cesaro would sweep the last 4 matches and claim the "title shot to be named later", essentially a poor man's version of the Money In The Bank briefcase.
As I'm watching the match, Sheamus is surprisingly solid. He's doing great heel work and I'm looking forward to his next feud, after Cesaro.
Cesaro is pulling out all the stops for this match, including a random 619 in tribute to Rey Mysterio Jr, as Sheamus is slumped over the middle rope. Corey Graves says something to the effect of "If you run out of your own moves, you can always do someone else's", which I thought was great.
Good solid match, almost 20 minutes long. Things get a little hairy when Cesaro does a Suicide Dive to the outside of the ring and lands awkwardly on his neck and shoulder. It seems as though Sheamus didn't catch him completely and I'm sure many fans thought that Cesaro may have been lost to injury, yet again.
On the outside, Cesaro clotheslines Sheamus over the ring barricade into the crowd. As both men lay there on the arena concrete, the ref calls a stop to the match and rules it a no contest. This is not the way to end this match. The fans were already dreading 7 matches out of this pair, and even though this last match was very good, it was time to pull the plug on this feud.
I have a hunch that WWE may be trying to bring these guys around to form a unique tag team, with both men showing mutual respect for each other, just like Bob Holly and Cody Rhodes, where they started off as enemies and ultimately gained respect for one another. If that's the direction, then I'm fine with this no contest decision. If this feud is going to be extended another 5 weeks, then this is potentially the worst ending to a good match, ever.
WINNER: NO CONTEST
Some people on Twitter and various internet forums are loving this match, but I didn't think it was anything special. In fact, I thought the overall presentation and execution was very sloppy. Sami Zayn's various DDT's to Chris Jericho looked slow and lacked power which the fans caught right away. I don't know if Jericho was sandbagging or if he just didn't want to commit to a high speed DDT, but it was obviously all on him that these moves looked sloppy.
One interesting note, is Graves' use of the names Tope Suicida and Tope con Hilo, which were used liberally by Mauro Ranallo during his calling of the Cruiserweight Classic. This is a very obvious nod to the Lucha Libre style of wrestling and with the earlier reference to Rey Mysterio, I can't help but wonder if WWE is giving some backdoor recognition to Lucha Underground, much like they did with Evolve and Ring Of Honor prior to the start of the Cruiserweight Classic tournament. There has been a rumor that Sheamus and Cesaro were fighting over a new belt, which would have been unveiled as the WWE European Championship. Taking this into consideration, I'm wondering if that plan was scrapped and if WWE plans on having a Lucha division, with it's own Lucha Championship. If so, this sounds like a Triple H plan, not a Vince McMahon plan, as Triple H is fairly high on creating luchadors in WWE, for cross-market promoting of WWE's product into Mexico. I really hope this is the case, as this is something that I hoped WWE would do 5 years ago when Del Rio had some heat and WWE had no real way of getting him over to the mainstream.
Anyhow, Chris Jericho wins this match with a sloppy, one legged Codebreaker to Sami Zayn's jaw. I don't know how this helps Jericho or Zayn, as this seemingly elevates Jericho to the very high mid card and makes Zayn a loser, once again. With Jericho leaving in 6-8 weeks to do another tour with his band, Fozzy, all this really does is bury Zayn a little further down the card.
WINNER: CHRIS JERICHO
WWE keeps trying to capture the magic that the women's matches had in NXT, but it flat out is not working. Don't get me wrong, this match was decent, but it wasn't main event worthy like the NXT matches were.
There were some more teases of a Sasha Banks heel turn and more building towards the eventual feud between Banks and Bayley, to determine the true #1 contender. I'm guessing that this will last a while longer, as Banks wins the title from Charlotte at Royal Rumble, then Bayley wins the title from a heel Banks, at Wrestlemania. Either way, I hope they bring more contenders into the mix for the meantime, as this trio is wearing thin on crowd excitement. Without further involvement from others, this story doesn't have the legs to make it all the way to Mania.
Not much here. Decent match, about 20 minutes long, and in the least surprising title change in a while, Roman Reigns wins the US title. This seemed very predictable, with WWE giving Roman a renewed push, lately and with Lana being banished from ringside, a win over Rusev seemed to be written in stone.
I'm not a Reigns fan, and even though this match was decent, it shouldn't have been this high on the card. The women's match and Sheamus/Cesaro should have been billed higher, if only to keep the fans from saying "Here we go again" with regard to Reigns' push back into the main event picture. Baby face Roman isn't a real thing, WWE. Stop trying to make it a thing. He's a heel, plain and simple. Not a tweener, not a face. He's heel. The quicker they realize that, the quicker Roman can be a main eventer again, without wholesale rejection from the fans.
WINNER: ROMAN REIGNS
This also was a decent match, but it was very similar to the match before it. So again, I'll reiterate that Reigns/Rusev should have been lower on the card.
The takeaway here is that Seth Rollins is indeed on his way to becoming a major face in WWE. The ending of the match saw Chris Jericho do a run in and look like a clown, to eventually give Kevin Owens the full heel win. I don't like the way this ended, only because I feel that Owens is plenty heel, all on his own. He doesn't need The Authority or Jericho or heel referees to get heat. So, if anything, the Jericho run in was just confusing. Add in the fact that every fan in the world was waiting for Triple H to make an appearance, but no. Nothing. Still no explanation as to why Triple H interfered in the Universal Title picture, to begin with.
I'm thinking that Hell In A Cell will be a handicapped match (in the form of a Triple Threat) between Jericho, Owens and Rollins. Maybe there we will see Triple H pop up and with the odds completely against him, Seth Rollins will have his proper baby face turn. I don't think he'll win the belt, because I think the long term plan is to get to Rollins/Triple H at Mania, but I do think he'll have some kind of victory, like a post-match beat down of all 3 men, while the crowd erupts in favor of Rollins.
WINNER: KEVIN OWENS
This was a bad show. There were several good moments and looking back there are some interesting doors opened for future story lines, but in the present, this is a bad show.
As many have said online, it seems like Raw is using PPV's to build to Monday Night Raw viewership and not the other way around. The big payoffs are happening on Raw, not PPV, which will start making PPV events skippable, in very short order.
To answer the lingering question of: Raw or Smackdown? The clear choice is Smackdown. There are better stories, fresher matches and more surprises around every corner. You know, like how pro wrestling is supposed to be.
Earlier this week, there was a very interesting tweet, where someone said "Smackdown is a wrestling show and Raw is a show about a wrestling show". Very applicable here.
In this New Era of WWE Wrestling, I think the score is Smackdown 1, Raw 0.