Your SO OF COURSE preview of WWE (RAW) Clash of Champions 2016!

In this day and age you can’t just “predict” a PPV anymore, you have to to account for the capricious whims of WWE’s septuagenarian, sleep-deprived egomaniac owner. You can’t just “preview” a PPV…you have to preview how things should go, in a reasonable and sane world, and then add “so of course…” and explain what Vince McMahon will probably do instead.

Consider this your SO OF COURSE preview of BRING BACK WARGAMES ALREADY! NO ONE CARES ABOUT A CHAMPIONS-ONLY SHOW WHEN YOU ONLY HAVE FIVE CHAMPIONSHIPS!

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Seriously, if this new Brand Split PPV format is going to work, WWE is going to have to dig into their bag of tricks. I’m talking Halloween Havoc, Starrcade, Fall Brawl/War Games, King of the Ring, The Great American Bash. They all need to come back. No one cares about Hell in a Cell, when WWE just throws whatever feud is going on at the time into what is supposed to be the “queen mother of all end of feud matches” and then continues on like nothing happened a month later. The real “themed” PPVs are the ones the company bought and paid for years and years ago and either did nothing with, or did so little no one cares.

I care. I still care. I want my War Games.

Last time on SO OF COURSE we previewed Smackdown’s first blue-only show, BACKLASH. Now it’s Raw’s turn. Expect Clash of Champions to be a lot like Backlash, except that it will make less sense, feel longer than it’s run-time, feature too much non-wrestling segments and overall disappoint you despite how good some of the matches will end up being.

Let’s talk about Raw.

Let’s talk about how Raw is the same unfocused, directionless, hastily put-together three hour slog it’s always been, only now with a third of the roster not appearing. Why is it that Raw is loaded with almost all my favorite superstars but Smackdown is the better show? Answer: Because writing and booking really are the most important part of a wrestling show. It’s the reason why Vince Russo failed as WCW’s head writer, despite a big budget and loads of big names and underutilized talent. It’s the reason the hashtag #LOLTNA exists.

It’s also the reason the mocking #WWELOGIC hashtag gets used whenever the latest Vince McMahon storyline goes off the rails.

So actually let’s not talk about Raw. Let’s talk about Raw’s first red-only PPV. It’s almostNight of Champions” but not. It’s even more almost WCW’s Clash of the Champions” but again is not. It’s an entirely new thing. It’s the XFL of those other things. It’s the TOUT of those other things.

It’s a show based around the “every title on the line” gimmick, despite the fact that (A) every title will almost certainly be on the line in every future Raw PPV and (B) almost half the matches on the card are non-title.

#WWELOGIC

Excited?

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Let’s break it down (and also not break down the preshow Nia Jax vs Alicia Fox match, because why bother):

CESARO vs SHEAMUS – BEST OF SEVEN MERCIFUL ENDING

From the beginning, everyone predicted this thing would go to seven matches. It almost had to, since this is a scripted sport. It’s the same reason a “two out of three falls” match almost never ends two falls to none. But having seen all of the matches thus far, can anyone say this thing needed seven? I don’t even think I’d want a best of seven between Dean Malenko and Chris Jericho. Seven different matches, spread out over a few years? Yes. Seven matches taking place one after the other, week after week…there’s only so many ways to feed a turtle, ya know?

What should happen? Cesaro should win, be promised a Universal Championship match as a reward, and then offer that back to Foley/Stephanie as a buyout to let him move to Smackdown. Also, bribing Stephanie to move to Smackdown should be the go-to for literally everyone on Raw. It’s a toxic work environment; people can do better. Sheamus has held up his end of the bargain: He has been big and physical and kept the stupid stuff he sometimes busts out to a bare minimum. But in the end Cesaro is the one with a future.

SO OF COURSE…

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NEW DAY vs THE {NAME REDACTED} CLUB – RAW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP

New Day should have lost these belts last month. I can only think they held off so that they could give Clash of Champions a proper title change of significant proportions. Since coming to WWE, Vince has managed to turn the silent assassins of Anderson and Gallows into a comedy team whose comedy was so bad, they were forced to backpedal and admit—on air—that the writing for them has been terrible. They’re chumps. They are lackeys without a boss. They are a tag team without a focus. Winning the belt resets the whole division (which consists of New Day, the Club, the fake Puerto Ricans, and…) and gives New Day a new focus.

It’s time. It’s been time. Make the change.

SO OF COURSE…

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 TJ PERKINS vs (THE) BRIAN KENDRICK – CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP

The lazy, tired, three hour wrestling show has added cruiserweight action to Monday Nights! And if this past Raw is any indication it will get the 9:30pm (CT) death slot, right in the middle of Monday Night Football. Even Nitro had the good sense to put the little guys out there first, to get the crowd fired up with jumpy/flippy stuff. Putting them in the second-to-last segment of the night is just asking for the exhausted middle-America crowds to sit on their hands.

Longtime Ring of Honor superstar TJ Perkins won the Cruiserweight Classic Tournament, won the Penis Trophy, and won the very purple Cruiserweight Championship. It looks like a belt Jeff Hardy would be proud to wear out to eat at a Denny’s. He’s a tremendous talent and a great choice to be the first champion of the restarted division.

Naturally he did not appear on Raw to promote his first title defense (#WWELOGIC).

Instead WWE threw four random cruisers in a match, with no storyline or any kind of buildup, in order to crown the #1 Contender. Brian Kendrick (formally “the”) won the match and will face Perkins at Clash of Champions, in his first WWE PPV match since the 2009 Royal Rumble.

Kendrick is the veteran worker in the division (having done some training and teaching at the Performance Center for a while now), and is the right move for Perkins’ first title defense. He’s got the most credibility of anyone in the division (especially since established guys like Neville and Smackdown’s Kalisto don’t seem to have been invited) so the expected win by Perkins will set his reign off on the best note possible.

Following that, a long title reign with great matches and clean finishes will hopefully give him and the title enough popularity that it can become a big attraction to TV audiences and house show ticket buyers as well. Perkins needs a strong win here and several more before finally losing the title.

SO OF COURSE…

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SAMI ZAYN vs CHRIS JERICHO – FOR KEVIN OWENS’ HONOR!

Remember when Sami Zayn beat Kevin Owens for the first time on WWE/NXT programming? It was a stellar PPV match right as the brand split was getting underway. Not three months later Owens—the loser of that match—worked his way into a match for, and won, the Universal Championship. Logic would dictate that Zayn would be one of the first in line for a title shot. He was, after all, one of the last people to beat the now-champion clean in the middle of the ring.

But lol at using real logic.

Instead Zayn has meandered from Raw to Raw, directionless and wasted. He has no character. Seriously, he has no character. Right now you’re thinking of all the character traits Zayn has, but no: Those are traits developed while he was on NXT. On RAW he is not even two dimensional. He’s just a bland ball of nothing. He’s great in the ring and has real authenticity when you give him a mic, but he’s just drifting from Raw to Raw without any purpose. Such is the way things are when Vince McMahon is paying attention. Somehow the more focus Vince gives a thing, the less enjoyable it becomes. It becomes stripped down to the lowest common denominator, because deep down Vince believes his audience is stupid and can’t grasp a storyline for more than minutes at a time (which is why he has commentary recap the recaps of the recaps during each show).

Anyway…what was I saying?

Zayn is wrestling Chris Jericho. It should be a great match, but what’s it about? Jericho is in the midst of a fun bromance angle with KO so naturally his sights are set on Owens’ original frenemy. That’s it. That’s the “story.” It’s not a story, it’s a one-sentence explanation for why two dudes are fighting. There’s no stakes. There’s no vendetta. There’s no drama. That’s Raw for you.

What should happen? Zayn should win, KO should get mad at Jericho for not beating him (since that makes Owens look bad) and then Jericho and Zayn can both get worked into a title match with Owens. Anything to keep Reigns away from the title.

SO OF COURSE…

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CHARLOTTE vs SASHA BANKS vs BAYLEY – RAW WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP

Here’s the rundown: Charlotte, Sahsa and Becky Lynch debuted on Raw a year ago and became the focal points around which a revamped women’s division would be build. Even though Sasha was clearly the “it” girl, Charlotte got the nod to first carry the new title because she had the pedigree. Her long reign peaked at WrestleMania 32 where she was        defeated       by         Sasha Banks         in         a        great           crowd pleasing          moment                    on                a card                        filled                     with                      cr o  w   d      p      l          e         a             s                i                  n             g—–

No. Charlotte’s reign lasted until July when she finally lost the title, about four months after the right time. But that’s #WWELOGIC for you. A month later Charlotte won it back because Sasha was apparently injured, but not too injured because she would be back on TV like three weeks later. She could have just cut promos in the meantime; she didn’t have to drop the belt, but whatever.

Bayley meanwhile debuted and immediately got into it with the champ, so there’s no starting over on Raw for her. This isn’t “scrappy underdog, climbing to the top NXT Bayley.” This is “dominant women’s wrestler and female John Cena” Bayley. She and Sasha competed to determine the number one contender, despite the fact that Sasha had a rematch clause that should have granted her a rematch anyway… Sasha defeated Bayley but due to a funky pin, her shoulders were also down. Although no one made any mention of this or acted as though it was at all planned. Either way Bayley was inserted into the match, rendering the entire play-in match moot, but it was moot to begin with because, again, Sasha should have just been granted a rematch in the first place.

Moot.

What should happen? Freaking Sasha should be dominating right now. The kid gets a booboo on her back and they make her drop the belt. She’s back now so she better win it back and carry on as though the past month has been just a bad dream. Let Charlotte and Dana Brook feud on the side over nothing and build up to Sasha vs Nia Jax at Survivor Series, Sasha vs Paige (maybe?) at the Rumble and Sasha vs Bayley at WrestleMania. Basically Sasha everything, everything Sasha. Seriously, Smackdown wasted zero time putting their belt on Becky Lynch. Why does Raw make it so hard?

SO OF COURSE…

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Good heavens, no

RUSEV vs ROMAN REIGNS – US CHAMPIONSHIP

I feel like most of my resentment toward Roman Reigns is actually just resentment toward Vince that is taken out on Roman Reigns. Is that fair? No. But here we are.

This can go one of two ways: Either Rusev wins (not clean though, because lol at Roman losing clean to Rusev), continuing his promised “seven year US title reign” or nobody wins and they do another schmoz where the two just brawl and nothing ever gets resolved, no one wins or loses and everyone just sort of forgets about it by the next night so Roman can slide into the title picture.

Which would you like to see? Cause there’s no way Roman is winning the US title.

SO OF COURSE…

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KEVIN OWENS vs SETH ROLLINS – UNIVERSAL CHAMPIONSHIP

WWE’s treatment of Seth Rollins for the past 365 days has been abysmal. A year ago he was the reigning US and WWE Champion on account of Jon Stewart (the Daily Show guy, not the Green Lantern…at least I don’t think so) and despite being a duel champion he was a chump. He was Triple H’s lackey, Stephanie’s water boy and an all around dweeb.

A cowardly heel can be magical if you book him right. Ric Flair’s NWA career was mostly spent with him running away from a fight. What worked about it was the understanding that if he wanted to, he could beat you straight up in the ring. The fact that he could out-wrestle you, but chose to cheat made him more insufferable.

Seth, however, was presented as a loser that couldn’t beat eggs to make an omelet without daddy Hunter giving him an assist. After that he lost the title on account of a freak injury and began the slow rehabilitation process. That, coupled with a great inside look at his therapy instantly made him a sympathetic figure. He returned to a huge ovation and immediately was booked as a heel again.

#WWELOGIC

And then, Triple H made his triumphant return (unseen on WWE programming since WrestleMania) to help Kevin Owens win the title by attacking Seth Rollins. Where is that going, you ask?

NOWHERE I ANSWER!

It was just a deus ex machina shock finish for the sake of it. Oh I’m sure we’ll eventually get to a Triple H vs Seth Rollins match (probably at Mania) but in the meantime, since Raw has no idea how to slowly develop a long story, we’re just going to spin our wheels. Which means Seth Rollins, who returned as a heel despite fans wanting to root for him, and was attacked by uber heel Triple H is still not a babyface. He’s a tweener. He wrestles like a babyface but cuts promos like a heel.  It’s maddening. It defies common sense. It’s terrible terrible storytelling.

What should happen? Owens obviously has to retain, but since Vince hates clean finishes I’m sure there will be some tomfoolery to give KO a dirty victory. He’ll come out looking whelming and vincible, Seth will continue to send mixed signals to the crowd as to whether they should cheer or boo him, and Roman Reigns will make his long-awaited return to the main event. Expect a triple threat at the next Raw PPV (Hell in a Cell on Oct. 30th).

SO OF COURSE…

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Oh well there’s always NXT…and Smackdown!

Here’s to Sunday.

Tags

  • conan_kun

    What Vince think could be:

    Charlotte vs Sasha vs Bayley: Of course Ric Flair’s daughter Charlotte retains, then feud with Dana Brooke for title, it gonna be 5 stars match classic. Who cares about Sasha and Bayley, Sasha is injury prone and Bayley is boring

    Rusev vs Reigns : Of course “The Guy” Roman Reigns gonna win US title

    Owens vs Rollins: Who cares anyone wins, Reigns gonna win Universal title and become Universal champ and US champ at the same time soon. That’s what best for business.

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