Every title is on the line this Sunday, but they’ve done very little to make us care about the majority of these matches. Some have some built in excitement due to the history between the competitors, but others seem thrown together and under built… or perhaps too much like place holders for bigger matches to come later.
WWE Clash of Champions Sept 15
Universal Title: Seth Rollins© vs Braun Strowman
Raw Tag Titles: Rollins & Strowman© vs Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode
I think it’s probably best to just talk about these two together since that’s the way they’ve been presented. Two of the top faces on Raw teamed up unnecessarily to take the Raw Tag Titles off of the Club a few weeks back just as the tag roster was beginning to build steam again. If that wasn’t enough of a burial of the division, Ziggler & Roode, teaming for the very 1st time, defeated every other established tag team in a gauntlet match to become number one contenders. Who possibly thought that was a better idea than letting the Club and the Viking Raiders battle over the titles?
At least Ziggler & Roode actually went through that match to earn their title shot though. All Strowman had to do was stare longingly at his partner’s Universal title. This is the exact argument AJ Styles made multiple times. In fact, way more work was done building AJ and the Club as foes for the champs than there was in building interest in Sunday’s actual title matches.
Predictions: Rollins & Strowman lose the tag belts, because they don’t need them and the loss will give them a little bit of tension when they face each other later in the night. Knowing that whoever comes out with the Universal Title at the end of the night moves on to face the Fiend at Hell in a Cell, I’d almost prefer a Strowman win. However, I think Rollins with retain.
Raw Women’s Title: Becky Lynch© vs Sasha Banks
Smackdown Women’s Title: Bayley© vs Charlotte
I promise I’m not just being a lazy writer here, but these two matches also feel intertwined enough to discuss together. Bayley & Charlotte were already well on their way to another showdown when Sasha made her big return and really set things on fire. The Boss attacked an already injured Natalya before also setting her sites on The Man. The fallout from this built beautifully to a Bayley heel turn.
With former Women’s Tag Champions Banks and Bayley clearly on the same page, former friends turned rivals Lynch and Flair also found themselves working together against common enemies. Though Flair has not made a complete face turn (yet), she is something of a tweener at least thanks to Bayley’s new dark side.
Prediction: I’m not particularly keen to see The Man without a title, but in this scenario I think the story dictates that the former Boss n Hug connection end the night as title holders.
WWE Title: Kofi Kingston© vs Randy Orton
This is potentially the most exciting match of the card. These two had a rather intense feud over a decade ago. At that time Orton was already an established top star and Kingston was trying to break out of the mid card. For a variety of reasons, things didn’t work out for Kofi at that time, and both men went on to have very different though equally celebrated careers.
Fast forward to 2019 and Kofimania finally catapults Kingston to the top, but Orton is here to remind him from whence he came. After nearly 6 months of defending the WWE Title, this is by far the most brutal and intense challenge Kofi has faced, and he’s risen to that intensity like the star he always has been.
Prediction: I’m torn here. Part of me sees that Kofimania has to end sometime, and the powers that be might prefer the more veteran star Orton carrying the belt to SDL’s new home on Fox. However, Kingston has been enough of a draw this year that he should be just as capable of doing that, and it would be great to see him finally overcome his old foe. By the slimmest of margins, I pick Kofi to retain.
Smackdown Tag Titles: New Day© vs Revival
I almost combined this one with the match above, but felt the story of Kingston and Orton deserved its own space. That said, this match pretty much grew out of that feud. The Revival has found a great new niche for themselves working alongside Orton, and we’ve seen all sorts of combinations of that trio battling various New Day members. This saga has brought out the serious side of every man involved.
Prediction: This is another tough call, but I’m giving the challengers the slight edge.
IC Title: Shinsuke Nakamura© w/Sami Zayn vs Miz
This is the first big test for the newly founded relationship between Nakamura and Zayn. Miz is a big enough star to present a realistic challenge, but he’s also Teflon enough to recover from a loss.
Prediction: Nakamura retains, because it would damage him too much to lose right now.
US Title: AJ Styles© vs Cedric Alexander?
As of this writing, this match has not yet been officially announced for Sunday’s card. That said, it was clearly being built on TV. Alexander won a match against Styles AND went on to team with Rollins, Strowman, and the Vikings in a tag match vs the Club, Ziggler, and Roode. If every title is supposed to be defended on this show, we can expect this match to be made official in the coming days.
Prediction: Styles retains
Women’s Tag Titles: Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross© vs Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville
There wasn’t a ton of build for this match. The champs needed opponents, and there are only a handful of teams they could face. Thus Fire & Desire get to step up to the challenge. While I know it’s classic wrestling shtick, I wasn’t a fan of Rose basically calling Cross ugly to build heat this week. Stuff like that just isn’t appropriate in the supposed “Women’s Revolution” era. These women fought hard to be taken seriously as competitors, and making it about looks is a slap in the face to that hard work.
Prediction: Rose & Deville WILL hold gold eventually, but now is not the time. There’s far too much gas left in the tank for Bliss & Cross as odd couple champs.
King of the Ring Final: Baron Corbin vs Chad Gable
My views on this KotR are likely to differ wildly from those of many of my colleagues, but I stand by them. Would I like to have seen this be Ricochet vs Andrade? 100%! However that doesn’t mean this isn’t also an excellent finale worthy of the legacy of King of the Ring.
Corbin has shown himself to be the absolute epitome of the cocky, opportunistic heel who would make the most out of strutting about and bragging about this win. History shows us that heels make excellent Kings, and Corbin has shown himself to be the guy who would make the most of that opportunity.
On the other side we have Gable. I’ve been a fan of this young man’s potential since his NXT house show days, but his main roster career has been a bit of a roller coaster ride. Every time they seem to be really investing in him they lose interest and he disappears from TV for a while, so I was confused at first about his inclusion in this tournament. They really used it to tell a great underdog story with him though and position him for a breakout moment. The only thing stopping me from fully investing in that push though is the aforementioned history of start stop pushes.
Prediction: IF they truly intend to give Gable a meaningful push, they can still do so even without the crown. The man who benefits most from this title, and the man I say sits atop the throne on Sunday is King Corbin (sorry not sorry haters).
Cruiserweight Title: Drew Gulak© vs Humberto Carillo vs Lince Dorado
Carrillo defeated Oney Lorcan to earn his shot at the title, Dorado defeated Carrillo to be added to this match, and Dorado also pinned the champ in a tag match this Tuesday. I’d say that gives the Golden Lynx a good bit of momentum coming into Sunday.
Prediction: Using WWE logic, the fact that Dorado has so much momentum right now signals to me that he WON’T be winning. It feels too early in Carrillo’s journey for him to hold the gold, so I’m picking Gulak to retain.
Roman Reigns vs Erick Rowan
They were telling an ok story in the lead up to Summerslam, but somewhere along the line it just got messy and convoluted. I think we’re supposed to currently believe that Rowan is his own man and fully responsible for the attacks on Reigns. Instead, the entire audience is just waiting for the other shoe to drop so we can get on with the real feud, whether that be with Bryan or some other mystery person.
Prediction: Reigns wins. If they really wanted to establish Rowan as a singles star he would NEED to win, but there’s no way he’s putting down the Leukemia survivor during Connor’s Cure month. It’s just not happening.
WWE Hell in a Cell Oct 6
NXT TakeOver Wargames Nov 23
WWE Survivor Series Nov 24
WWE TLC Dec 15
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