The SmarK Rant for WWE Clash of Champions 2017 – 12.17.17
(Originally written 12.17.17)
RIP Tom Zenk. We still don’t even know where he was for the past decade, but hopefully he found peace.
Live from Boston, MA
Your hosts are Tom Phillips, Corey Graves & Byron Saxton
US title: Baron Corbin v. Bobby Roode v. Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler’s new entrance, which is apparently a permanent thing, is just the worst. Really, this is the clash of the midcard geeks at this point anyway. The announcers note that we’re approaching the “43rd anniversary of the US title”, which is not only wrong on its face since they’re different titles, but even if you’re pretending that there’s an unbroken link from the title that Harley Race won in ’75 to the one brought over from WCW in 2001, the title was inactive for FOUR YEARS! That’s like a Ross and Rachel break. Anyway, Ziggler gets taken out early and Corbin slowly goes to work on Roode and pounds the back. “Corbin is able to slow this match down to a halt!” notes Tom. Truer words have never been spoken. Ziggler lays around on the floor like a doofus and Roode tries a comeback, but walks into a Corbin sideslam that gets two. Ziggler briefly gets a comeback and then gets beat up and tossed again, while Roode gets some offense on Corbin with a blockbuster for two. Corbin leaves and Dolph heads back in to get his shit in with a fameasser for two. Corbin puts them both down and hits Roode with the Deep Six for two. They fight to the top and Ziggler tries a superplex on Roode, but he blocks and we get the contractually mandated Tower of Doom spot. Corbin gets two off that. They seriously need to let that one rest for a few months before they haul it out again. Corbin charges and hits the post, leaving Ziggler to come back with a superkick attempt, but Roode counters with the spinebuster. Ziggler escapes the Glorious DDT and hits his own for two, however. Roode blocks a superkick and catapults Dolph into the post, and follows with the DDT, but Corbin tries to steal the pin, gets tossed, and then saves at two anyway. Back in, Ziggler counters the End of Days with a Zig Zag and gets the PIN at 13:55?!? Neat finish. At least they let his music play for winning the title. Fun match, as Ziggler and Roode worked well around Corbin’s limitations and had a fast-paced match. ***1/4
Meanwhile, Shane and Daniel Bryan try to hash out their differences.
Meanwhile, Baron Corbin was ROBBED, or so he claims.
Smackdown tag titles: The Usos v. Aiden English & Rusev v. The New Day v. Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable
Aiden English finally gets to finish “The 12 Days of Rusev” in glorious celebration of Rusev Day, and brings the house down, as they’re the clear babyfaces here. So this is a wacky deal where one person from each time is in at all times, and we immediately get a big brawl, with Kofi diving onto multiple guys on the floor. Shelton gets a superplex on Jimmy for two. New Day works Shelton over in their corner, but Rusev wrecks some people and kicks Kofi down for two. So we settle into dueling chinlocks from English and Gable as this thing is taking a while to figure out a rhythm. It’s really hard to pay attention to both pairings at the same time and it was a HUGE mistake to book it this way. So Rusev Day works over an Uso while American Beta works over Kofi and it’s just a complete mess. No one can get any heat and the crowd is completely confused and dead. So Jimmy and Big E get hot tags at the same time and try to clean house individually and we get a dumb spot where both are trying for a pin and the ref counts both at the same time. So who was the ref counting? Even the announcers acknowledge how stupid that was. Gable somehow ends up with a Cloverleaf on an Uso while Benjamin guards against the other teams, but Team Rusev breaks it up and Aiden gets two on Gable. Rusev CRUSH Gable, but Big E saves, so Rusev kicks HIM down for two as well. They’ve somehow managed to stumble ass-backwards into getting Rusev over again and they’re gonna kill him off again. Gable saves Big E from the Accolade and then suplexes him on his head, but tries the same thing on the Usos and gets superkicked, splashed, and pinned at 12:48. This was a complete disaster and I don’t know why they needed four teams. *1/2
Lumberjack match, Smackdown Women’s title: Charlotte v. Natalya
So just to be clear here, the storyline is there’s two essentially groups of women on either show, attacking people for their own purposes, and no one on either show has even brought up that it’s the same thing? Also, Lana and Tamina get their own entrances, and they’re introduced in the graphic as “Tamina (with Lana)”. So does Lana not count as her own person in the match? Is she just managing Tamina and not an official lumberjack? Anyway, the video package doesn’t really make 100% clear what the storyline for this match actually is or what the purpose of the lumberjacks is, but I’m assuming they don’t really care either. From what I took from it, the Riott Squad is attacking everyone, so they booked a match where they’re allowed to be at ringside and interfere more freely. Because reasons. Natalya gets dumped and Naomi beats her up, but Nattie takes over on Charlotte in the ring. She dumps Charlotte and the Riott crew gets some shots in. Back in, Natalya works a chinlock and chokes her out on the ropes while the announcers do their stupid bickering routine, but Charlotte makes the comeback. She goes up and Natalya yanks her down and tries the Sharpshooter, but Charlotte rolls her up for two. Charlotte gets dumped again and we get the big brawl on the floor before Naomi dives onto everyone. Back in, Natalya with the Sharpshooter, but Charlotte makes the ropes and then the heel girls beat her up again. Carmella teases a cash-in and then everyone runs into the ring for the brawl as this completely falls to pieces. Charlotte dives onto everyone and nearly doesn’t make it, but Natalya sends her into the post and tries the Sharpshooter. Charlotte immediately reverses into the Figure eight and retains at 10:33. A completely overbooked mess, and the finish made no sense. She just magically recovered from the shot to the post and got a submission after spending exactly zero seconds working the knee? I still have no idea what the point of the lumberjack stip was. * Nattie throws a tantrum afterwards and declares that she’s turning her back on us. OK? Well, let me know how that works out for you.
Meanwhile, the Singhs have no doubt that Jinder will regain the title tonight, and they might not even bother to show up as a result. I don’t know who that interviewer is, but she’s TERRIBLE. Dascha?
The Bludgeon Brothers v. Breezeango
So, I don’t watch the weekly TV, did we ever get a resolution to the Fashion Files stuff? Rowan gets double-teamed by the fashionistas, but the BBs quickly no-sell and lay out Fandango. In the ring, Harper powerbombs him and a double chokeslam finishes at 1:55. I mean, OK, they’re fine, but it’s just the Wyatt Family in Viking outfits. That’s a pretty lazy repackaging. Rowan informs us that the future holds more bludgeoning. I have a doctor’s note that says I’m limited to one bludgeoning a day for medical reasons, so that’s not gonna work for me. DUD
Meanwhile, the idiot interview asks Zayn & Owens what will happen if those lose tonight and get fired, and the heels give her a mean look, but she just stands there with a stupid look on her face like an android waiting for new programming. CANNOT LOCATE FEAR SUBROUTINE.
Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn v. Shinsuke Nakamura & Randy Orton
If Zayn & Owens lose, they’re fired from ALL OF WWE. Because apparently Shane managed to form some kind of agreement with Stephanie where she wouldn’t hire them to screw him over. So both Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon are in the ring as refs at the same time, in case this wasn’t going to be overbooked enough. And the crowd is clearly cheering for the heels anyway. Orton beats on Zayn to start while the refs fight over who gets to count. Over to Nakamura, who trades wristlocks with Sami. Note on Bryan as referee: If Kevin Owens doesn’t tell him at some point that HE HAS UNTIL FIVE TO BREAK, they’re doing wrestling wrong. Owens comes in and gets two on Nakamura and the refs can’t get their counts synced. Maybe referees are like women, where they live together for a month and their cadence is in sync? Finally the refs agree to split up the ring as this match continues to stumble out of the gate, and Owens superkicks Orton for two. The heels cut off the ring and work Orton over while Owens complains about the quality of refereeing. Orton fights back with a suplex onto the top rope to escape Zayn’s chinlock, but Owens cuts him off with a senton for two. Off to CHINLOCK CITY, and then Zayn comes in for another chinlock. Finally it’s hot tag Nakamura, I think, because the crowd is ridiculously dead for this and I can’t really tell. Nakamura throws knees on Owens and gets Good Vibrations for two. Spinkick gets two. Whatever they’re trying for in this match, it is not working at all. Nakamura manages to get a triangle choke on Owens, but now the refs are arguing over which half of the ring it was being applied in. Nakamura blocks the Heluva kick, but he gets the Blue Thunder bomb for two anyway. It’s BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA and no one in the crowd cares. Orton makes the comeback on Zayn and Daniel has to explain to him that dropping someone crotch-first on the top rope is not legal. Orton with a superplex, but everyone brawls on the floor as this is supposed to be the point when everyone is scripted to chant “This is awesome” but the wrestlers just can’t get anything going to save their lives tonight. So the tables are cleared and the heels put Nakamura through one. Corey questions whether either of the referees is actually going to do anything at some point. It’s a valid question. Back in the ring, Orton with the draping DDT on Sami. Byron: “Randy Orton is making some travel plans…to that place!” Could he sound like any bigger of a dork? RKO gets two as Owens shoves Bryan into Shane to break up the count, and now we get more referee drama as they argue. And then Orton cradles Sami and they trade near-falls as Shane and Bryan switch off with counts. Shane then refuses to count Sami’s pin, so Bryan fast-counts a Sami rollup on Orton at 21:55 and gets a huge babyface pop as a result. The dynamics were all kinds of screwed up here and the match SUCKED. It was boring and shockingly heatless and the referee stuff just sucked all the life out of it. Orton and Nakamura in particular were both sleepwalking through it moreso than usual. *
WWE title: AJ Styles v. Jinder Mahal
They’re gonna need a hell of a match to save this shit sandwich of a show. For those waiting to find out if the Singh brothers were actually going to be at ringside following their interview earlier where they teased not being at ringside, they are in fact at ringside. So rest easy, Jindermaniacs. Jinder attacks to start, but AJ goes for the knee and works it over in the ring. OK, gotta ask: What the fuck is that tripod at ringside that’s been there for the whole show? Some kind of camera? Anyway, Jinder takes over on the floor and sends AJ into the timekeeper’s nook. Back in, Jinder works on the back a bit, and then out to the floor where he suplexes AJ onto the table and then into the ring for the chinlock. And then a bodyscissors. Jinder then switches to an abdominal stretch. Jinder comes off the middle rope with a forearm, but a second one is countered with a dropkick and Jinder bails. WHOSE BRIGHT IDEA WAS IT TO LET JINDER GO ON OFFENSE FOR TEN FUCKING MINUTES? Back to the floor and AJ fights back, but Jinder cuts him off again and a gutbuster gets two. AJ finally fights back with the strike combo and a clothesline, but Jinder escapes the Styles Clash and faceplants him for two. Back elbow gets two, samoan drop gets two, no one in the crowd cares. AJ counters out of the Khallas with the Pele Kick, but Jinder cuts him off yet again and blocks a tornado DDT. Big boot gets two. AJ comes back with the 450, but the Singhs break up the pin attempt and AJ beats them up. Back in, Jinder with the Khallas, but thankfully it only gets two. Jinder tries a Styles Clash, but AJ reverses to the Calf Crusher, rolls him to the middle, and Mahal taps to end our national nightmare at 23:01. I dunno, it was a match, it was fine. **1/2
Meh. I didn’t actively hate it, but it was mostly just excruciatingly dull for 2.5 hours and felt like the millionth PPV of the year. They tried some stuff, it mostly didn’t work, like at all, but they tried, I guess. And the booking was all the right people going over, aside from Dolph, who should never go over anyone ever again.
Thumbs down, but not maliciously so or anything.
Tags: AJ Styles, SmarK Rants, WWE Clash of Champions 2017, WWE Network