With all that is about to go down in the WWE looking at CLASH OF CHAMPIONS feels a bit like what it would be like to play three dimensional chess. Trying to figure out this card gives me a headache:
Who do you want to hold the belts going into the draft before the alleged brand split becomes a reality again until it’s not?
Which wrestlers do you want on the two brands?
Do the WWE and Universal Championships and the two mid-card belts have to remain on their current shows and what about the Women’s Tag Team belts if we are going back to a true brand split?
How are we going to “strengthen” NXT as it takes on the challenge of confronting AEW on Wednesday nights?
Have we entered the era of NXT “call downs” and, if so, who goes back to their NXT origins and flourishes again?
All these questions and others have to be on the minds of the powers that be as they book this card. Ironically, a PPV which features all the belts in play is the perfect leadin to this transformative moment in the WWE and professional wrestling in general.
One clue as to what might go down on Sunday is how AEW put the belt on Chris Jericho going into their premiere on TNT. I think the WWE knows it’s not the time to start this new era of competition with the straps on some untested talent. You want your biggest stars with the gold and you want them on the right shows. I think RAW will continue to be the “big guy” show, SMACKDOWN will go for athleticism over size and NXT will be the most exciting “indie” with the story telling taking place in the ring.
All these things are going through my mind as I make my match and, of course “Holy Shit”™ predictions. Let’s figure this all out.
AJ vs. Cedric Alexander (US Championship)
Cedric’s getting the push but I think AJ retains and he’s headed over to SMACKDOWN most likely with his posse. SMACKDOWN is the house that AJ built and I think it will be a better fit and, down the road, set up a feud with Kofi and the New Day. This should be a solid 💩💩💩💩1/2 match.
BLISSCROSS vs. FIRE AND DESIRE (Women’s Tag Team Championship)
I have no idea what’s going to happen with this belt given the brand split. Will this remain a floater belt? No idea. What I do know is that, if she’s healthy Alexa Bliss is one of the top shelf performers and they’re gonna need her to be on her own. She’s helped build up Nikki Cross but it’s time and their opponents are solid wrestlers who will benefit from winning the straps. This feels like a 💩💩1/2 match. I think all four stay on RAW.
ROMAN vs. ROWAN
Daniel Bryan makes his presence felt in some way and we go from there. I think no contest or Rowan with shenanigans. 💩💩 and I assume Bryan and Reigns are on SMACKDOWN when the dust settles.
BECKY vs. SASHA (RAW Women’s Championship)
I find it hard to believe that they would take the belt off of Becky right now and I don’t think they would reward Sasha so soon after her return. Becky stays and Sasha goes over and joins her bestie on SMACKDOWN. I think they want to tear down the house so I’m guessing a 💩💩💩1/2 match.
NAKAMURA vs. MIZ (Intercontinental Championship)
The WWE wants the strap on the name talent and they (and COMCAST) want The Miz over on RAW so he can promote his show. Look for the mid card belts to switch brands. Also, here’s a bold prediction: Sami and Shinsuke join KO on NXT as part of a group of “call downs”. Both will benefit and they will elevate NXT. The match will be a quick and painless 💩1/2.
NEW DAY vs. REVIVAL (SMACKDOWN Tag Team Championship)
You’re just not taking the belts off of these dudes with all that’s going on. The Revival are solid wrestlers but they’re not the New Day. Few are and I’m a 69 year old guy who wears a New Day tee. Big E and X never disappoint and I’m going 💩💩💩1/2
Going to skip over the Cruiserweight and go to
KOFI vs. Randy (WWE Championship)
I feel there’s more to this story so Kofi retains in a 💩💩💩💩1/2 match.
SETH/BRAUN vs. ROODE/ZIGGLER
Have to believe that this match will go early in the card and set up the story for the championship match which will most likely close the card. Hard to see the boys retaining here. Question is who turns and what role, if any, is Bray “The Fiend” Wyatt gonna play here or later in the evening. This feels like 💩💩1/2 to me. Roode and Ziggler are solid workers and talkers. They can handle all shapes and sizes.
BAYLEY vs. CHARLOTTE FLAIR (SMACKDOWN Women’s Championship)
More than any move on the roster, having Charlotte Flair with the strap to start the new era of SMACKDOWN on FOX is essential. She is one of the best all-around wrestlers and a dominant run while putting over some of the new talent (Toni Storm, Io Shirai) will pay off for the brand. Bayley is not going to make it easy and I think this is a minimum 💩💩💩💩 match.
SETH vs. BRAUN
This should be brutal and bloody and I think Seth retains. You don’t beat Brock Lesnar clean on two occasions and lose to a guy who Brock manhandled. The big questions are does Seth come out of this a heel , and, as mentioned above, is it Fiend Time. I’m going 💩💩💩1/2
The more I think about it this could be a solid PPV with lots that will start here and unfold over the next few weeks. I really hope NXT winds up with the three wrestlers mentioned above as well as Andrade Cien Almas (with his full name back) and Asuka who has been so mistreated on the main roster it’s criminal.