It’s sad to admit that over 50% of my interest in Clash of Champions revolves around the violent death of Jey Uso. And I love Jey Uso or, rather, I like the Usos.
But I also love violent deaths in wrestling, and I can only hope that Roman is going to commit cousin-cide on an unprecedented level in a little over a week’s time.
Otis needs to cash in on Roman, whatever happens afterwards
The show kicks off with The Dirt Sheet: the inbred sibling of MizTV. They’ll be covering a range of different topics, from Bayley to the Bloodline, but their headline is Mandy Rose leaving SmackDown for RAW. Miz refutes any accusations of vindictiveness or being the world’s biggest arsehole, claiming that he helped get rid of Mandy out of concern for Otis’ success as Mr Money in the Bank.
Miz and Morrison have a completely unproblematic conversation about the entire RAW locker room running a train on Rose before Otis shows up. Someone should tell Otis that doing your typical theatrics on the entrance ramp detracts somewhat from the portrayal of anger.
Otis dives on Miz and Morrison, battering the pair of them before throwing them out of the ring, where Tucker is waiting. I’ve said throughout this whole Mandy storyline: Tucker is the best friend that everyone should want to have. Tucker keeps throwing Miz and Morrison back into the ring every time Otis tosses them out, allowing the destruction to continue.
The big man finally finishes things with a Vader Bomb to the Miz, then decides that enough is actually not enough, stripping the Miz’s clothes off. Miz is, of course, embarrassed even though his underwear covers the exact same amount of him that his wrestling gear does.
Backstage, Miz tells Jon Morrison that this is all “part of the plan” before receiving a phone call where he asks “was it enough?” If this is supposed to end with the Miz to suing Otis for assault, I would like to refer the jury to decades of men and women beating the goddamn fuck out of each other without the slightest consequence. King Corbin once attempted murder on Dean Ambrose and got a WrestleMania match for it.
Kalisto and Dorado are the angel and devil on your shoulder, but with more flips
Here’s Gran Metalik, accompanied by Lucha House Party. We’re shown that LHP have been having some problems behind the scenes, and then Nakamura and Cesaro arrive, with Cesaro ready to face Metalik in singles action.
Metalik manages to hold the advantage in the opening moments, using his speed, but an inadvertent distraction from Kalisto gives Cesaro an opening, allowing him to use his strength and power to contain the LHP member. Metalik finally manages to gain the advantage, but contesting advice from Kalisto and Dorado causes another distraction, and the referee – clearly sympathetic to Metalik’s crisis of loyalty – tosses LHP from ringside.
After a commercial break, Metalik is building momentum, but a moonsault is scouted by Cesaro, who blasts Metalik with a boot to the face. One Neutraliser later, Cesaro is the winner.
This was fine, and it furthered the story of the LHP break-up, which to me is preferable to Nakamura and Cesaro losing the titles. 2 Stars.
Jey Uso is backstage with Kayla Braxton. He and Roman are taking on Sheamus and King Corbin tonight in a “Samoan Street Fight”, which I’m betting is just a Street Fight. We’re shown Roman Reigns being the worst cousin but THE VERY BEST HEEL, and Kayla asks Uso “What’s up with that?”
Jey says that last week was a miscommunication, but tonight he trusts that Reigns will have his back. This is like a Shakespearean tragedy, only the main character is a goddamn idiot.
This is exactly like a Shakespearean tragedy.
A Moment of Blair Witch
It’s time for A Moment of Bliss, with Nikki Cross as the guest. Alexa is acting like nothing happened last week, and considering that it was a Fatal Four-Way match, it’s actually not like Alexa did anything wrong. Cole mentions that this took place after the commentary team used the words “the Fiend”, which is a worrying amount of power for those two to have.
Nikki shows up, also acting like nothing is wrong, and Alexa congratulates her on the victory before starting to neg that fuck out of her about her inability to defeat Bayley. Cross states that she’s feeling more confident now that Sasha’s neck is too screwed up for her to be a useful distraction, and she promises Bayley that she will be the new SmackDown Women’s Champion.
But now the number one contender has a question of her own, to wit: what the fuck, Alexa? Bliss says that she has no explanation and that she doesn’t understand. Really, if she was a normal human being, she’d get some therapy, but she’s a wrestler so she’ll just power through until this all goes away.
And now Lacey Evans shows up to be all condescending and…actually, that’s it. Lacey mocks both women before claiming that Nikki won’t beat Bayley because she lacks a mean streak. I mean…has Lacey not met a Glaswegian before? Those people have meanness and spite encoded into their DNA.
Nikki’s response is to blow her nose on Lacey’s handkerchief before smacking her around a little. Again, King Corbin once tried to murder Dean Ambrose, and we all acted like that was just par for the course. Maybe Nikki really doesn’t have a mean streak.
Nikki is fuelled by rage and Buckfast
After the break, the bell rings, and Nikki and Lacey are having their scheduled match. Both of them struggle for control in the opening moments before Nikki starts building momentum. That doesn’t last long before Evans zeroes in on Nikki’s arm, working over the limb while putting Cross firmly on the back foot.
Lacey clamps on a hold, refusing to allow Nikki to get back to a vertical base. She goes back to the arm, only breaking the hold when Cross almost catches her with a roll-up. More punishment to the arm continues, and Lacey shows off with a moonsault as Alexa, on commentary, gets more and more agitated.
Evans then grabs some of her ringside hand sanitiser, spraying and rubbing it into Cross’s eyes, which is apparently not enough for a DQ in today’s WWE. Maybe they don’t want to discourage hygiene. Nikki manages to fight Lacey off, thanks to alcohol making Scots stronger and more quarrelsome: schoolgirl error from Evans.
Nikki unloads on Lacey, turning her inside out with a monkey flip before ending things with a tornado DDT and a neckbreaker.
This was a solid match, which I’m surprised about considering Lacey Evans was in it. Working the limb for the whole match was a good touch, and it’s nice to see dominant Nikki. I’m also happy that the Alexa turn is on a slow burn: enough is happening right now, and this storyline is definitely a long-term one. 2.5 Stars.
Lacey crawls out of the ring, coming face-to-face with Bliss. She yells angrily at her, asking if she’s going to “get the Fiend”. Alexa’s face goes blank as Lacey calls Michael Cole “a four-eyed nerd” (outstanding Evans moment), and then she gets up, walking dreamily around the table before blasting Lacey with a Sister Abigail.
Okay, so Alexa has a trigger word. It’s not like we’ve not seen this before: May 19th, Festus and the ring bell, etc. Surely WWE has some measures in place for this sort of thing.
Michael Cole calls Roman and Jey’s relationship “unique”, which is an odd word for “cousins”, but whatever. We get a video package narrated by Paul Heyman, which is a goddamn delight while also being horrifying propaganda. Seriously: if you watch nothing else from tonight’s show, watch this video.
I have zero sympathy for Sasha Banks
Sasha is getting interviewed now, and we’re all acting like the last several months never happened. I’m excited for Sasha/Bayley, but surely acting like she’s the victim undermines the lesson that there every action has consequences, and being an asshole means that no-one helps you when your former friend decides to cripple you.
In short: fuck Sasha.
We’re shown the video of the attack before Banks talks about her feelings like she suddenly has a soul again. Not a single apology for being such a dickhead for the last several months, just the statement that Bayley is “nothing without her” and the promise to take the SmackDown Women’s Championship away, thus guaranteeing victory for Bayley in every title match until then.
Bayley suddenly jumps Sasha, trying to actually break her neck this time, which I’m sure I’m supposed to care about for some reason. Security actually manages to back her off, which I’m sure for them is the equivalent winning the war of 1812.
1) Death 2) Taxes 3) Jeff Hardy grabbing a ladder
It’s time for AJ Styles vs Sami Zayn, in what I’m sure will be a match with zero interference or shenanigans. Styles makes his entrance, and Sami follows him, taking a moment to admonish the ring announcer for not calling him the Intercontinental Champion.
Styles jumps on Zayn, laying on a beatdown until Zayn is able to roll out of the ring to avoid a Styles Clash. He finally manages to get into the fight, felling Styles with a DDT. He works over AJ for a short while before missing a Helluva Kick that would have smashed Styles’ head against the ring post, leaving him open to a forearm from AJ as we head to a commercial break.
When we return to the action, Sami is in control, managing to dodge a Phenomenal Forearm and hang Styles up on the ropes. He tries to reverse a suplex, but AJ turns it into a neckbreaker, stalling Zayn’s dominance. Both men blast each other with strikes and both fall to the mat following a Pele Kick from Styles.
Sami surprises AJ with a Blue Thunder Bomb then counters the Calf-Crasher before sending Styles into the corner with an exploded suplex. A Helluva Kick misses, and Zayn tries to roll AJ up, grabbing a handful of tights. The referee notices, distracting Sami long enough that AJ can roll him up, securing the win.
This was a fine match, but I’m sure both men were holding back in advance of the presumed-triple threat match with Hardy. 2.5 Stars.
Zayn attacks Styles after the match, yelling at the ref that AJ had his tights. Before this can go on for too long, Jeff Hardy sprints down to the ring, decking Styles out of what’s probably general annoyance before heading after Zayn. He grabs a table, then a ladder and a chair from underneath the ring, hitting Styles with the ladder before blasting both him and Zayn with it.
In the ring, Jeff hits Sami with a Twist of Fate before ascending the ladder, only for Sami to roll out of the ring. Hardy grabs a microphone, saying he’s done with this nonsense before challenging both Sami and AJ to a Triple Threat Ladder match.
Backstage, Otis gets served with a lawsuit. This seems particularly ridiculous considering Bayley trying to break Sasha’s neck about twenty minutes ago. Apparently, Otis needs to either lawyer up or forfeit the Money in the Bank contract.
I think WWE giving Otis the briefcase with no plan for the eventual cash-in is indicative of how fucking stupid this company can be sometimes.
Elsewhere backstage, Sheamus and Corbin are engaged in a mutual masturbation session over being jobbers to the stars tonight, when the security guy that Sheamus used in his scheme shows up to tell the Celtic Warrior that his car is being towed. Alarmed, Sheamus races out of the building…
…and right into an ambush from Big E, who lands like two punches on Sheamus before murdering the security man. See, he can sue Big E. Also, despite Security Guy now receiving a remorseless beatdown – including Big E putting him through a car windshield – I don’t feel sorry for him.
However, fired-up and furious Big E is a pleasant surprise, and I hope that this push keeps moving right along.
I am genuinely scared of Roman Reigns
It’s main event time, and Roman Reigns actually breaks his streak of showing up to matches late. I suppose all streaks were made to be broken. Roman grabs the microphone, claiming that this his world, his island, and his WWE, and that anyone who wants to can try to take it from him.
Jey Uso follows him to the ring, as do Corbin and Sheamus. King Corbin keeps hold of his sceptre, making him the only one smart enough to bring a weapon to the ring.
Roman and Jey seem to work together pretty well at the outset, and Reigns actually gets involved, battering Sheamus before elevating him over the barricade while Jey Uso handles Corbin. Jey then blasts Sheamus with a superkick, only for Corbin to catch Reigns with a chair and Uso with a Deep Six.
The King chucks Roman back into the ring, stopping to retrieve the chair, but that costs him as Reigns recovers, disarming Corbin with a stiff kick before leathering him with the steel chair. He then goes searching under the ring, presumably disappointed to find that Jeff Hardy nicked the ladder. Instead, he settles for a table, but Sheamus prevents any more furniture being employed by running a knee right into Roman’s face.
Corbin and Sheamus gang up together on Roman, tossing him over the announce table before setting up Roman’s table in the ring. Jey has re-entered the match now, trying to fight off both men in a valiant yet useless effort, culminating in him being put through the table, only just getting his shoulder up.
On the outside, Reigns hurls an announce chair at Corbin, but Sheamus dives on him, stopping him from building a head of steam. The Celtic Warrior wants a White Noise onto the announce table, but Roman catches him with a low blow, Samoan Dropping him onto the table instead.
Now Roman throws Corbin into the ring post before spearing Sheamus directly through the barricade. Corbin tries to suppress Reigns, gets distracted by having to catch Jey and throw him into the timekeeper’s area. He heads back to the ring, picking up the sceptre, but Jey blasts Corbin with the Universal Championship, and the King turns directly into a spear, followed by a splash from Jey that Roman has to scramble out of the path of. Jey gets the pin and the win, God rest his soul.
This was hard-hitting and chaotic, and I am genuinely scared of Reigns’ reaction to Jey touching the Universal Championship and almost catching him with the Samoan Splash. They’ve done such an excellent job with Reigns that him actually doing stuff has become must-see. 3 Stars.
Roman doesn’t seem too pissed off…and then he sees the title. Oh God, Mummy and Daddy are going to fight.
And then Jey picks up the title, mimes being about to raise it, and then tosses it to Roman LIKE HE WANTS HIS COUSIN TO KILL HIM.
Roman laughs it off and hugs Jey, but I don’t believe it for a second. For a SECOND.
Jey heads off up the ramp, celebrating, and Roman’s smile dies instantly. I can’t believe there’s another episode of this before Clash of Champions. The tension is giving me genuine anxiety.