I’m not ashamed to admit that I’d forgotten that Kevin Owens had been fired until I watched Clash of Champions. And then I promptly forgot it again in my excitement at 1) the return of Luke Harper and 2) the Fiend fucking up Seth Rollins. So, on reflection, I’d say that I just can’t wait for WWE to tell me exactly why I should care.
Apparently, both Erick Rowan and Daniel Bryan are going to make statements tonight. Byron Saxton also referred to Bryan as “the perpetrator behind the Roman Reigns attack”, and if it turns out that that’s been what’s going on, then fuck you for the spoiler, Saxton. No wonder Corey Graves bullies you if you’re going to blow the big reveal like that.
Oh, and SmackDown has to host Corbin’s coronation? Fuck you, RAW: you win King of the Ring, you get to deal with the asshole.
Do the Revival count as Wildcards if they’re the SmackDown Tag Team Champions?
But before any of that, we’ve got a six-man tag team match, pitting the New Day against the Revival and Randy Orton. You know, in case you wanted more. I’ll admit to a vicious satisfaction at watching Randy fail to become WWE Champion once again, mostly because I violently dislike him. Bugger me if I know who the new challenger’s going to be; both Roman and Bryan are clearly busy, and Shinsuke’s doing stuff with the Intercontinental Championship right now. Maybe Braun will take advantage of the Wildcard Rule while he’s got the chance and go for a belt that he can actually win.
Dash Wilder runs at Big E, which is a fun and efficient way to get belly-to-bellied across the ring. He splashes down on Wilder as Dash is draped over the ring post, then he tags in Woods so he can drop him onto the Revival member. Wilder is able to kick out Xavier’s knee, tagging in Scott Dawson to wail away at him. Woods fights his way back, finally decking the bald man with a back elbow.
Kofi Kingston tags in now, coming down with a flying axe handle on Dawson’s arm. Scott manages to drag Kofi over to the corner, tagging in Randy Orton. Randy eats a dropkick before getting pummelled by a barrage of effort from all three members of the New Day. Wilder tries to interfere, but all he gets for his trouble is another belly-to-belly. Kofi tries to end the match early with Trouble in Paradise, but Randy ducks out of the ring, escaping into a commercial break.
When we come back, the Revival are in control of Woods, working over his leg, which Xavier apparently jut remembered is injured. Quick tags are the name of the game, although it also appears to go by “break Xavier Woods’ leg”. Orton gets in on this, hitting a thumb to Woods’ eye to keep the former Tag Team Champion under control. And do you like stomps? Because Randy Orton’s got all the stomps in the universe. The assault on Woods’ leg continues as Dawson re-enters the match, but he’s kicked away by a desperate Xavier. Wilder’s able to hustle Dawson back into the ring to make a tag, stopping Woods from reaching his corner. Woods counters further punishment to his knee with a roll-up, heading out onto the apron as Orton tags in.
Woods batters away Randy, then tries to deliver a tornado DDT to Wilder, only for the Revival member to use Woods’ own momentum to toss him out of the ring! Orton follows that up with a back suplex on the announce table, bouncing Xavier off it with authority. During the break, Orton continues to hammer Woods with offence, keeping him far away from his partner. Xavier finally manages to rally with a dive from the top rope, reaching Kofi for the tag!
Kofi and Orton charge into the ring, picking up where they left off last night, except that Randy is now conscious. Kingston smacks Orton around, disposing of Dash Wilder at the same time, and almost picks up the win with an SOS before Scott Dawson breaks up the pin. On the outside, the Revival take out Big E and Woods, and Orton turns Kofi’s attempt to dive out onto them with a Vintage DDT.
Now Randy wants his RKO, then changes his mind, instead opting for a Super Duper RKO. Big E manages to make the save, dragging Orton out of the ring and shoving him into the ring post. Kofi DDTs both Revival members, with Woods hitting Wilder with a springboard elbow across the whole length of the ring! Scott Dawson and Kofi Kingston are the two legal men, both left in the ring, and Kofi blasts Dawson with a Trouble in Paradise to pick up the win.
Solid opening match. It’s always good to see the New Day fight as a three-man unit, and Orton and the Revival are some grand heels. 3 Stars.
The New Day celebrate, but then…fuck me gently with a chainsaw: it’s Brock Lesnar. Guess they didn’t have any trouble finding a new challenger. Christ, does this mean this show’s going to be without a main champion for months on end?
Brock and Heyman approach the ring, with Brock apparently weighing up his chances in a three-on-one effort against one of the most successful stables in recent WWE memory. And then Kofi tells Big E and Woods to leave the ring, because I guess your principles are worth getting suplexed to death for.
Brock swaggers up onto the apron, and Paul Heyman starts to introduce the pair of them before Lesnar gets into the ring, managing to block Paul from also getting in, leading to a cute moment of physical comedy. Lesnar and Heyman are my favourite friendship in WWE. Paul continues with his introduction, telling Kofi that Brock is the one standing in the way of his title reign continuing, stating that Lesnar wants him to tell Kofi that “it’s a bad day for the New Day, yes it is”. Jesus Christ, you can just imagine Brock coming up with that line at 3 am after staying up all night working on it, then giggling about it until breakfast the next day.
So, Heyman challenges Kofi to a match on the October 4th SmackDown on behalf of Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship. That’s one way to increase viewing numbers. Kofi takes the microphone, stating that he promised the WWE Universe that he’d be a fighting champion. He accepts Lesnar’s challenge, and Brock immediately F5’s him. Enjoy seeing that title, guys; I’ve got a feeling we might soon start forgetting what it looks like.
Oh, and WWE has remembered that Kevin Owens has been fired. Again. Hand to God, I’d genuinely forgotten since the start of this article.
Kayla Braxton is backstage with Sasha and Bayley, asking Banks about Hell in a Cell. Sasha states that she’s the star of this division, that she’ll take on all challengers, and that she’s been in Hell in a Cell before. Yeah, because that went well for her.
They’ll give Cole a Pulitzer for this
Michael Cole has been shipped in from RAW to interview Erick Rowan, I guess because this is the kind of dangerous assignment you need a war correspondent for. Cole finally asks why Rowan would try to kill Roman Reigns, and really? Are we all pretending that we still don’t know the answer to this? It’s because everyone in WWE is insane. Seriously: WWE’s roster are, to a man/woman, willing to risk serious injury for championships, money or just revenge. Droz was rendered a quadriplegic and the show went rolling right along; Owen Hart literally died and the show kept going. WWE is a hellish dystopia in which the most kind-hearted and generous people are capable of losing every scrap of humanity in an instant, turning on former best friends and trying to end either their career or even the ability to walk for the smallest of perceived slights. Everyone acts shocked about Bray Wyatt and the Fiend, but the truth is that the Fiend is the only logical endpoint of this whole endeavour, and I’m personally amazed that it’s taken this long for the WWE to reach this stage. So how dare Michael Cole search for some kind of rationale to explain Erick Rowan’s actions? The man once sequestered himself in a glass chamber to shield himself from the consequences of his own foray into this pitiless hellscape, and it’s hypocritical of him to deny the inherent lack of sanity required to exist in WWE for any meaningful length of time.
Actually, Rowan claims that he was just trying to scare Reigns, which is probably easier for the audience to accept than the fact that WWE employees spend their waking hours trapped in an unending vista comprised of cruelty and spite. It’s not good enough for Michael Cole, however, who angrily tells Rowan that what he did was attempted manslaughter. And yet, still no cops. I can only imagine the size of the bribes Vince McMahon pays the U.S. Department of Justice.
Erick states that he wanted to prove to Roman that he wasn’t invincible, because God knows his brush with life-threatening leukaemia must have barely been a blip on the Big Dog’s radar. He claims that everyone thinks that he’s some grunt, there to do the dirty work, but he’s a leader, mentally superior to Bryan, who thought that they were equals. He promises that Reigns, Bryan and the whole WWE will learn never to underestimate or to overlook him again.
Well, that was a big nothing
Here’s Ali. Remember when he promised to fight the darkness? Remember all those endless videos about that? Because you’d sort of think that he’d have been interested in solving the case of Roman’s would-be killer, or maybe trying to hold back the Fiend. I guess King of the Ring was a bit of a distraction from truth, justice and the American way. Tonight, he’s fighting Shinsuke Nakamura, hinting once again that his crusade against evil might just be coming in second place to his ambition of personal glory. You can’t believe in anyone in wrestling these days.
Sami Zayn shows up to yell words at all of us, then Nakamura makes his entrance, the cape making him even more of a live-action anime character than he was already. Zayn reminds all of us that Ali beat Shinsuke several weeks ago, in case you’d forgotten about one of the thousands of storylines that WWE started, delayed and gave up on. He continues to talk, getting into the ring and distracting Ali, who’s forced to split his attention between Zayn and Nakamura. Sami tells Mustafa that he’ll never be a champion, and both Zayn and Shinsuke jump him, beating him down efficiently before Nakamura finishes it with the Kinshasa.
Fine. I never wanted a good wrestling match in the first place.
I hope Shane McMahon hires Mick Foley as his attorney; he has wrestling courtroom experience
Oh, it looks like Kevin Owens has gone to the old wrestling standby of buying a ticket to the show he got fired from, because he’s walking through the crowd right now. Jokes on him; he missed Brock Lesnar.
Backstage, Shane McMahon is watching this unfold on his unnecessarily large television screen when he’s told that there’s someone here to see him. After the double surprises of Luke Harper and Brock Lesnar over the past few days, this could be anyone: Cody Rhodes, CM Punk, Chris Benoit, even Spike Dudley. It turns out that it’s someone there to serve him with a summons. Looks like the law does apply to WWE, just not for murder investigations.
After a commercial break, Shane McMahon and group of racially diverse security guards make their way to the ring, pausing only so that Shane might force Greg Hamilton to aurally rape us. He addresses Kevin Owens, telling him to get in the ring and get a microphone. Owens makes his way to the ring, watched closely by the security team.
Shane sends the security guards out of the ring, which seems like a poor way to utilise them. He states that the summons he’s been given pertains to the largest wrongful dismissal suit in history, which seems unlikely. And, really, Owens should also sue Shane for smacking him around after firing him. The amount is apparently $25 million, and I really don’t want to know what any professional wrestler would be capable of with that amount of capital.
Owens tells Shane to shut up, denying McMahon’s claims that his case is weak. He states that he was punished for putting his hands on Elias, but Shane did the exact same thing to him last week. KO says that the threat of the fine made him do what Shane wanted, but McMahon still couldn’t get the job done and fired him for insubordination. He claims that he’s tried everything with Shane, and now he just wants to hurt him, hitting him in his wallet and in his pride.
Owens tells Shane that there’s a second clause in the contract, which would allow him to fire Shane himself. I’m…not quite sure how that works, either in a business sense or in a legal sense. Kevin Owens drops the microphone, leaving into the crowd. Man, I remember when Stone Cold Steve Austin stuck it to the man by bringing a legal case against Vince McMahon, providing testimony against him in a court of law.
Meanwhile, AOP have apparently started working for the Salamancas. I’m not sure what was wrong with their NXT incarnations, but I’m sure that this change will bring nothing but good things.
Also, there’s going to be a draft in a couple of weeks and the Wildcard rule is dead. It’s the end of an error.
We’re still yet to have the first-ever women’s Buried Alive, Inferno or Last Ride match
A hip-hop artist called Offset is in the ring to introduce Charlotte Flair. That’s a good use of everyone’s time, that’s what that is. Charlotte makes her way to the ring, ready for a match against her old rival, Sasha Banks. Banks and Bayley make their way to the ring, and the bell rings.
Charlotte catches Sasha with a kick to the gut, immediately on the offensive against Banks, who tries to counter to no avail. An exploder suplex tosses Sasha across the ring, and Charlotte spots Bayley trying to take the turnbuckle pad off. The attempt at a distraction doesn’t work, with Charlotte tossing Banks through the ropes to the outside, but then the Queen manages to distract herself, going after Bayley and allowing Sasha to drive her into the ring post.
Sasha dominates for much of the break, working Charlotte over while suppressing the Queen’s multiple attempts to snatch control back. When we return, Charlotte manages to elevate herself onto the apron, catching Sasha by surprise with a kick before unloading on her opponent with a volley of chops. A crossbody attempt from Banks is countered by a fallaway slam, and now Flair goes to work on Sasha’s leg. Banks tries to counter a suplex, bridging out to land on her feet, but Charlotte promptly adjusts her positioning and drops Sasha with a neckbreaker.
Banks tries a hurricanrana, only to get caught by Flair, who for a second genuinely looks like she’s about to say “fuck it” and perform a Styles Clash. Can’t say I’d be upset. But rather than imitating Styles, she decides to emulate Y2J, applying the Walls of Jericho. Banks manages to pull herself back through Charlotte’s legs, escaping the hold and kicking Flair in the face. Charlotte powers through, tossing Banks onto the apron before blasting her right the fuck to the outside with a big boot.
And then Charlotte clearly decides to take a massive risk, because what’s life without a little excitement? Yep: she’s going for the moonsault – by far the most common way she loses control in her matches. Admittedly, it does work this time, with Charlotte taking out Banks and Bayley. When she tries to get back in the ring, however, Bayley is able to grab her leg, delaying her long enough for Sasha to roll her up. Charlotte kicks out, countering another roll-up, applying the Figure Four, and Bayley breaks up the match.
Good match, with Charlotte looking dominant as all hell. 3 Stars.
Bayley and Banks beat on Charlotte post-match, leading to a rescue by…Carmella? Well, all logic and explanation aside, Carmella cleans house, superkicking Banks and setting Bayley up for a big boot from Charlotte which knocks the Woman’s Champion clean out of the ring.
If I know anything, it’s coronation ceremonies
Oh no, the throne’s in the ring. And I was so enjoying life without having that vest-wearing goon infesting my reviews. It’s honestly a mark of how excellent a villain Baron Corbin is that I genuinely enjoy his matches and admire his work, but my hatred for his character manages to obliterate all of that and I just end up drunkenly typing out abuse, like in this very sentence where I hope his entire family develop crippling heroin addictions.
Anyway, Corbin arrives and dons the presumably faux-ermine robes and plastic crown, completing his transition from Baron to King, managing to skip over being first a Viscount, an Earl, a Marquess, a Duke, and a Prince. He’s only got one more rank to go before he’s Emperor, and I think you have to rule India for that to apply. So, the good news is that Jinder Mahal’s got one more high-profile feud in his career.
Corbin crowns himself, which as a Briton is really irritating. Honestly, this whole ceremony has been a sham: no anointment, no oath, no sword of state or presentation of spurs. No Archbishop of Canterbury or Dean of Westminster either. And I know that getting those two over here would be a bit of an ask, but if something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing properly. At least have Triple H present to lend the proceedings a sense of officiality.
King Corbin takes a microphone, hopefully either to complain about this shoddy state of affairs (of state) or to make the Accession Declaration, as was first required by the Bill of Rights 1689. Instead, he proclaims his royal ascension as a breath of fresh air, claiming to be the King that the WWE Universe needed, possessing all the qualities required. He demands to be shown the respect and adoration that he deserves, and states that he wants to recognise his opponent from last night: Chad Gable.
Gable comes out to the ring, and our new monarch Corbin cracks a couple of short jokes. God save the King. He says that Gable is the perfect example to these people, as he proves that no matter how much work they put in, they’ll come up short. Well, it’s not exactly “I comma square bracket monarch’s name square bracket comma here do solemnly and sincerely in the presence of square bracket monarch’s deity of choice square bracket profess comma testify comma and declare that I am a faithful square bracket monarch’s religion square bracket comma and that I will comma according to the true intent of the enactments which secure the square bracket aforementioned religion square bracket succession to the Throne of my Realm comma uphold and maintain the said enactments to the best of my powers according to law full stop”, but it’ll do.
Chad finally snaps, hurling himself at the new King of the Ring. To be honest, I did always think that you lot were against royalty on some kind of principle. He throws him through the chair, rips Corbin’s robes of state off, then whacks King Corbin with a sceptre, sending him fleeing from the ring. As Corbin looks on, Gable rips apart the robes and stomps on the crown. That has got to be the fastest shift from new monarch to revolution that I’ve ever seen, and it wouldn’t have happened if there’d been a proper coronation ceremony.
If WWE was a news show, this would be introduced by, ‘…and, on the lighter side’
Here’s Heavy Machinery, apparently here to take on the B Team. Um…okay?
Tucker kicks things off against Curtis Axel, overpowering and outwrestling him easily in the early going. A distraction from Bo Dallas allows Axel to take advantage, the pair trading quick tags and performing double-teams which, in this match, is the definition of wheel-spinning.
Knight flips over Axel’s head before decking him with a clothesline. Otis is tagged in, rapidly and effectively cleaning house. Bo’s offence does barely anything to him, and Otis throws him across the ring with ease before squashing him in the corner. The Caterpillar hits, followed by the Compactor for a dominant victory.
It could be simple crowd-pleasing, or it could be an attempt to keep Heavy Machinery in our minds moving forward. Whichever it is, I hope something comes up for them soon. 1.5 Stars.
I’d forgotten how much I missed the Bludgeon Brothers on a full rampage
Daniel Bryan’s here, walking to the ring in what seems to be a subdued state. He tells the audience that many of those who are chanting his name right now are the same people who thought he was responsible for trying to off Roman Reigns. He repeats his claim that he’s never lied, stating that he is completely exonerated before moving on to the subject of Erick Rowan.
Bryan says that, despite what Rowan says, he saw him: his potential, his talent, his intelligence. He claims that he treated Rowan as his equal and his friend because he is his friend.
Before this can get any further, Erick Rowan himself comes out, telling Bryan to stop. He refutes Bryan’s claim that they were equals, saying instead that Daniel tried to turn Rowan into his follower and his puppet. Daniel Bryan has finally come full circle and become Bray Wyatt.
Bryan gets mad at this, telling Rowan that if he feels disrespected then he should do something about it. He says that nothing that Erick Rowan could do to him physically could ever compare to the emotional pain he’s already been put through, which I bet is about to be proven wrong in about three seconds. And I’m right, because Luke Harper suddenly jumps Bryan, and he and Rowan quickly begin picking him apart.
Roman Reigns’ music plays, and Rowan strides right out there, ducking Harper, making a beeline for Rowan and laying him out with a Superman Punch. Roman’s able to keep both Bludgeon Brothers at bay for a few moments, but Harper finally catches him with a big boot before running him into the steel steps. Rowan powerbombs Reigns into the steel post, then he and Harper start ripping the protective covering off the ring and the surrounding ringside area.
Security arrives, dying valiantly as they try to stop whatever Harper and Rowan have in mind. The Bludgeon Brothers continue to tear apart the ringside area, whacking Roman in the face with a piece of barricade. They turn their attention to Bryan, double-chokeslamming him through the announce table to close out the show.
Tags: ali, Baron Corbin, bayley, Brock Lesnar, Carmella, Chad Gable, charlotte, Daniel Bryan, Erick Rowan, Heavy Machinery, Kevin Owens, Kofi Kingston, Luke Harper, paul heyman, Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, sami zayn, sasha banks, Shane McMahon, shinsuke nakamura, smackdown live, The B-Team, The Bludgeon Brothers, The New Day, The Revival, WWE