REVIEW: Clash of Champions 2016

Hi Everyone! Before I jump into the review of Clash of Champions, I wanted to go ahead and introduce myself. My name is Dennis and I am a new correspondent for Squared Circle Sirens. I have been watching wrestling since I was 7 (which is 1999, you can do the math to figure out my age). Since then, I have always been a huge fan of the women’s division and now I get to write about it! I want to thank Casey and Jason for this opportunity, especially since I applied on a whim, and here I am! I am really excited to be able to interact with more women’s wrestling fans so please comment below and reach out to me on Twitter!

But enough about me, you clicked this post for a reason!

Clash of Champions was the first Raw exclusive PPV since the draft. In my opinion, Raw has been quite the cluster since the split. Between Sasha getting injured, Bayley getting called up and slightly rushed to take over the top babyface role, Charlotte and Dana being….well… Charlotte and Dana, Nia Jax running through every independent wrestler, and everyone and their mother asking where is Summer Rae?! Raw has been quite the interesting show, albeit much of the same thing week after week. But lets not forget it has the clearly better commissioner in Stephanie McMahon.

Clash of Champions seems to be a culmination of a few things. Charlotte, Sasha, and Bayley step into the ring for the Women’s Championship. We all know what Charlotte and Sasha are capable of in a triple threat match with another Four Horsewoman member (hello, Wrestlemania match of the night). And lets be real, the expectations are very high when it comes to these three being in the same ring. Can they meet the expectation?

Early in the Preshow, we are taken to Charly and Sasha Banks for an interview. Charly asks Sasha what her emotions are heading into the match. Sasha tells us that she has been waiting for a month since Charlotte tried to end her career. After a small stumble of her words, Sasha stops and the camera pans to Dana Brooke. Dana says that if we want to talk about emotions, Sasha should be feeling fear. Dana says Charlotte is going to put Sasha on the injury list forever. Sasha smirks back and asks who told Dana to say that her “friend” Charlotte, the “friend” who slapped her, who makes her carry her luggage. Sasha leaves Dana speechless as we cut back to the preshow panel who takes us to the video package hyping the Women’s Championship match.

After the commentators discuss the three women in the match for a brief minute. They all go on to say that they are picking Charlotte to retain the Women’s Championship. Will that be the case?

But first, Nia Jax has been going through numerous enhancement talent week after week. It is exactly the same formula that NXT used to build up Nia Jax to go after the NXT Women’s championship. Now, through an interesting “friendship” between Alicia Fox and one of the enhancement talents, to then watching Alicia Fox get speared through a barricade, Clash of Champions pre-show is getting graced with seeing Alicia Fox go one on one with Nia Jax.

We are taken to the ring as Pa-Pa-Pa-Pa-Party hits the PA and Alicia Fox struts her way to the ring in some amazing new white gear. Michael Cole takes us back to Nia and Alicia’s confrontation 3 weeks ago and then to their “match” the following week showing us why this match is happening. Alicia Fox has a look of determination as she stares up to the ramp as Nia Jax makes her way to the ring.

The bell rings and Alicia snaps with a quick dropkick and multiple kicks to the legs of Nia Jax. Alicia hooks on a front facelock and tries to jump up on Nia who slams her into the turnbuckle before eventually flipping Fox over on her back. Fox gets a kick to the face of Nia in but Nia kicks her square in the back before sending Alicia to the corner. Nia charges the corner with a splash and then grabs Alicia by the hair and whips her across the ring. Nia takes her time to get back to Alicia who tries to kick Nia but it doesn’t even seem to phase her as she soon applies a half nelson chin lock. The crowd starts clapping behind Alicia and I am utterly overjoyed!

normal_011_champ_09252016jg_0056-d5040a06a4ee842a18abc68058ae2351The rest hold stays applied but Alicia slowly fights her way to her feet however Nia then wrenches the hold harder sending Alicia back to the mat and keeping the hold locked in. Alicia kicks Nia twice in the head and gets back up to her feet when Nia just flings Alicia across the ring. Alicia spins in the air and this throw looks so forceful as Alicia slams into the mat. Alicia makes her way to the corner and again starts fighting Nia back with kicks and an elbow before escaping to another corner. Nia charges the corner but Alicia moves out of the way. Alicia is quick with some forearms to Nia. Nia pushes her into the ropes and Alicia comes back with a kick but it doesn’t take Nia down. Nia whips Alicia into the ropes and over the top rope Alicia goes, but she is hanging on and finds herself seated on the apron. Nia is quick to come over and grab Alicia by the hair, But Alicia grabs Nia and drops down hanging up Nia by the neck on the top rope. Nia is stunned as Alicia climbs the top rope and connects with a crossbody taking Nia down! She covers her for a one count but Nia powers out.

Alicia is quick to get back to her feet as Nia is slow to try and rise to her own. Alicia charges and nails the scissors kick! Alicia rolls Nia over but Nia kicks out at 2! Alicia yells and tries to charge Nia who has made it to her feet but Nia simply body checks her and Alicia goes straight to the mat. Nia grabs Alicia by the hair and lifts her up on her shoulder but Alicia is able to get down and crawl her way to the corner. Nia turns around and charges the seated Alicia with a hip check in the corner and Alicia looks out. Nia grabs Alicia by the arm and pulls her up to a power slam position and throws her up on her shoulders to take her down with a samoan drop and Nia covers Alicia for the three count. As the replays begin we see Alicia still on the mat and not moving as Nia leaves to the back.

It is a few matches in before we get another female sighting. After a no contest between Sheamus and Cesaro, we see Bayley putting a headband on as Charlotte comes in to the locker room saying that Bayley “really” earned the match. Bayley says she’s happy to be here and that she did earn it. Charlotte says it doesn’t matter she is not going to win the title anyway. Bayley reminds us that she beat Charlotte before and can beat her again. Charlotte stops her and says “You can’t even beat Sasha.”

Um. Okay? We will just pretend NXT didn’t happen. I get it.

Finally an Hour and a half in to the PPV and we get our first Stephanie McMahon sighting. Stephanie is with Mick Foley and Kevin Owens and she hypes that we are at the first Raw exclusive pay per view. Unfortunately, that’s about all we get from Stephanie, as Kevin and Mick Foley trade words, but she looks awesome.

But it is Women’s Championship time! We see the video package again to hype us up for the match, followed by Bayley making her way to ring to a great pop from the crowd. She is followed out by Sasha who also gets a pop, but I don’t think it’s as loud as Bayley’s. Charlotte comes out last with Dana Brooke and as the camera pans to the ring we see that Sasha Banks is sporting the tape around her back. As Charlotte’s music fades we are treated to a championship ring introduction from Jojo. And yes, Bayley and Sasha’s pops are similar but I’m going to say Bayley’s is louder. What I am impressed with is the crowd against Charlotte who booed her rather loudly.

normal_163_champ_09252016hm_0854-334f5200b09fbc32b2aa237bcaff06e8The title is raised and the bell rings Sasha quickly goes after Charlotte with multiple strikes and they go under the bottom rope and out of the ring. Bayley looks puzzled before coming back with a baseball dropkick to both then heading outside and grabbing Charlotte and bringing her back in for a quick pinfall cover, but Charlotte kicks out. Sasha is back in and again goes after Charlotte. Bayley finally grabs Sasha and tells her she is in this spot too. Sasha and Bayley share words before Sasha shoves Bayley back Bayley quickly rolls up Sasha for a two count. Sasha yells if Bayley is kidding her and tries to swing at Bayley but Bayley ducks and sends Sasha into the ropes. Sasha clings on to the top rope and kicks Bayley in the face but Charlotte jumps up from the outside and grabs a handful of Sasha’s hair and slams her to the mat.

Charlotte comes back into the ring and goes behind Bayley who grabs Charlotte’s arm with an armringer. Bayley ends up getting sent into the turnbuckle. She jumps up to the second turnbuckle and comes back with a springboard armdrag. Sasha comes back in and tries to swing at Bayley who ducks, and then Charlotte tries to swing at Sasha but she ducks. They all turn around and everyone goes for a dropkick but misses in what is a cool spot in the match.

They are all back in the center of the ring and have a stand off. Charlotte then charges both Sasha and Bayley with clotheslines but they both duck and take Charlotte down with chops. Sasha then gets Bayley out of the ring and turns her attention back to Charlotte. Charlotte ends up slapping Sasha in the face proclaiming she is the baddest. She tries to take down Sasha with a slam, but Sasha gets down behind Charlotte and goes into the ropes. Charlotte looks for a sideslam, Sasha tries a headscissors but ends up dropping to her feet. Charlotte tries a suplex but Sasha lands on her feet. The two spin and Charlotte ends up taking Sasha down with a spinning neckbreaker after a complex series of reversals.

After some gloating. Charlotte goes to the top rope looking for a moonsault, but Sasha trips her up on the turnbuckle and drops her in the tree of woe. Sasha then charges and connects with double knees to Charlotte, when she comes back away from the corner she is met by Bayley who takes Sasha down with an overhead suplex. She then sees Charlotte still in the tree of woe and charges, jumping off the bottom rope and nailing Charlotte with an elbow. Bayley with a cover but Charlotte kicks out at two. Charlotte rolls out of the ring as Sasha comes back and kicks Bayley in the gut before whipping her in the ropes. Bayley jumps through the top and second rope and lands on the apron. Sasha charges toward her but Bayley shoulder tackles Sasha in the gut and ends up grabbing Sasha’s head in a stunner position and slams her neck first into the rope as she drops to the floor.

normal_173_champ_09252016hm_0877-6e02735515ad73ae9f026d87d5013a26Bayley gets to her feet on the apron but Dana Brooke grabs Bayley by the leg, which slams her face first into the apron. Dana then slams Bayley into the barricade as Michael Cole reminds us this match is no disqualification since it is a triple threat match. As Sasha sees what is happening to Bayley on the outside, Charlotte attacks kicking Sasha in the back and sending her face first into the turnbuckle. Charlotte then knees Sasha into the back a couple of times before applying a back stretch rest hold submission. She drives her knee into Sasha’s back again and eventually Sasha slowly gets to her feet but Charlotte slams her into the mat. Bayley tries to get back into the ring but Charlotte charges and sends her back into the floor. Charlotte grabs Sasha and whips her into the turnbuckle hard and Sasha goes straight down to the mat. Charlotte then nails an overhead suplex to Sasha and covers her for a two count before Sasha kicks out.

Charlotte is back to her feet and sends more knees to the back of a seated Sasha and then rips off the tape that was on Sasha’s back. Sasha lands a couple of kicks to Charlotte but Charlotte slams her fist into the back of Sasha who then rolls to the turnbuckle. Charlotte rolls out of the ring and begins to stretch Sasha across the turnbuckle post and put her boot on the turnbuckle for extra pressure. Bayley gets up to her feet on the outside but Charlotte nails a forearm and takes Bayley back out before taunting to the fans.

Charlotte goes back into the ring with Sasha who lands a few shots on the gut of Charlotte and a couple of forearms. Charlotte sends Sasha into the ropes but Sasha comes back with a head scissors takedown. Charlotte goes back after Sasha and Sasha sends her face first into the turnbuckle. Charlotte tries to go back after Sasha but is met with more forearms and takedowns by Sasha include a dropkick and flying clotheslines. Charlotte tries to kick Sasha but Sasha grabs Charlotte’s foot. Sasha then swings Charlotte’s foot down forward so that Charlotte connects face first to her knee which makes a wicked sound that could be heard on TV. Charlotte looks visibly dazed. Sasha looks for a backstabber, but Charlotte shakes her off. The two turn around and are met by a diving crossbody from Bayley.

All three are down, and Sasha and Charlotte use opposing turnbuckles to get to their feet. Bayley takes advantage and charges Charlotte with a shoulder tackle in the corner, and then one to Sasha. Then a charging elbow to Charlotte and one to Sasha, Charlotte is met with a running high knee from Bayley. Bayley turns and charges Sasha with the same, but Sasha moves and Bayley lands in the corner. Bayley tries to kick Sasha but Sasha grabs her legs and spins Bayley so she is resting on the second rope and Sasha is looking for her springboard knees, Charlotte charges but Sasha catches her in a headscissors and sends her head first into Bayley. Sasha puts Charlotte underneath Bayley in the same position and goes for her springboard knees. She connects with Bayley but Charlotte has moved outside of the ring. Sasha with a cover on Bayley but Charlotte pulls Bayley out of the ring before the three count. Sasha goes out to the apron and charges along the apron as Charlotte lifts Bayley and Bayley is met with flying double knees from Sasha which allows Charlotte to avoid them. Charlotte grabs Sasha and they trade blows and chops, and kicks on the outside. Dana yells at Sasha on the outside and Sasha takes down Dana with a forearm. Sasha then grabs Charlotte and throws her in the ring.

Once in the ring, Sasha charges Charlotte but Charlotte takes down Sasha with an STO backbreaker, and then an STO to the mat. Charlotte grabs Sasha’s leg and looks for the figure 8, but Sasha kicks Charlotte who is met by Bayley who has just reentered the ring and nails the Bayley to Belly and goes for a cover but Sasha breaks up the pin with a jackknife cover of her own but Charlotte saves the match at two. All of the women are down as the crowd cheers.

Charlotte ends up grabbing Sasha and the three women are on their knees. Bayley gets to her knees and Charlotte is chopping both of them back and forth until Sasha and Bayley team up and begin to strike Charlotte repeatedly. They raise Charlotte up and whip her into the ropes. Charlotte kicks Sasha and sends Bayley face first into the turnbuckle. Charlotte turns around but Sasha slaps Charlotte and begins to nail rapid fire shots on Charlotte forcing her into the corner. Sasha raises Charlotte to the top turnbuckle and goes up on the turnbuckle herself looking for a superplex, but Charlotte sends Sasha down to the mat with a reverse suplex of her own. Bayley then charges Charlotte who is still seated on the turnbuckle but is met with a knee to the face from Charlotte. Bayley comes back but Charlotte hangs up Bayley on the top rope and slightly falls herself on the ropes but ultimately lands on her feet. She grabs Bayley and takes her down with a suplex and lines her up next to the fallen Sasha. Charlotte then climbs the turnbuckle and nails a beautiful moonsault on both of them.

Charlotte pins Sasha but only gets a two count. She tries Bayley but Bayley kicks out at two as well. Charlotte then charges Bayley and nails Natural Selection. She covers Bayley but is broken up by Sasha who grabs Charlotte and applies the Bank Statement. This leads Dana to run in the ring and pull out Charlotte. Bayley comes back into the ring and then tries to roll up Sasha but gets a two, Sasha counters into another rollup for another two count. Both women are back to their feet and Bayley grabs Sasha in what looks to be another Bayley to Belly and the two go into the turnbuckle causing a break of the grab. Sasha charges Bayley but is met with an elbow. Bayley hops up onto the top turnbuckle but is pushed off to the floor by Charlotte. Charlotte then hits a boot from the apron to Sasha and tries to roll up Sasha with her feet on the ropes but only gets a two count.

normal_188_champ_09252016jg_0781-ced81f6713b449aebcbdd9e817dcf912Charlotte yells at Sasha and charges her again but Sasha goes behind and nails the backstabber and applies the Bank Statement. Dana tries to get involved again but Sasha boots her off the apron and rolls back to reapply the Bank Satement but it is shortly broken up by Bayley. Charlotte rolls out of the ring. Bayley tries another overhead suplex, but Sasha slides back behind Bayley and nails a backstabber and applies the Bank Statement to Bayley but Charlotte reenters the ring and kicks Sasha right in the face to break the hold. Charlotte then dropkicks Sasha low out of the ring. Charlotte slides out of the ring herself then yells at fans to move before she slams Sasha into the barricade. Dana adds insult to injury yelling at Sasha as Charlotte comes back into the ring.

Bayley tries to roll up Charlotte but only gets a two count. Bayley tries to roll up Charlotte with a sunset flip, but Charlotte tries to stay on her feet. There we see both Charlotte and Bayley look to the outside but Charlotte ends up pulling herself to the ropes and Sasha eventually gets up onto the apron and Charlotte grabs Sasha by the hair while Bayley is still trying to roll up Charlotte. Bayley slides under the legs of Charlotte and Charlotte tries to swing at Bayley but she ducks and almost knocks Sasha off the apron. Bayley turns around but is met by a big boot from Charlotte which sends Bayley into Sasha knocking Sasha off the apron and then takes Bayley down with another big boot! Charlotte covers Bayley and gets the three count to retain the championship.

Dana brings Charlotte her title as we get some replay highlights including Corey Graves saying “Yaaas Queen” to Charlottes moonsault (I’m dying.). Charlotte and Dana head to the back as Sasha is still laying on her back on the outside and Bayley looks disappointed in the ring as Charlotte raises the title above her head one more time.

After the match we cut to the preshow panel, and after Jerry Lawler and Booker T tell us about their favorite moments of the show, Lita tells us that the Women’s Championship match was awesome and the women may have stolen the show. (eh, good try Lita, I really appreciate your effort). Renee takes us back to the pre show of Alicia versus Nia and the commentary team covers the match as we get highlights from the match.

In the next match, Roman Reigns challenges Rusev for the U.S. title. The Ravishing Russian, Lana introduces Rusev. Towards the end of the matchLana does get involved in this match, jumping up on the apron to distract Roman Reigns at one point, and pulling out the referee right as Roman was about to get a three count. The ref ends up ejecting Lana from the match, but her presence was definitely felt in the match even though Roman Reigns did end up becoming the United States Champion.

We get another Stephanie sighting! And its Déjà vu! Stephanie is proud of Rollins just like she was Kevin Owens and touts it’s almost the main event of the first Raw exclusive Pay Per View. Rollins snaps back at Stephanie who reminds us she had nothing to do with Triple H attacking Seth Rollins. Can she please get involved in this match…. Please.

And in our main event, we do get one more Stephanie McMahon sighting. After the ref was knocked out, Stephanie comes out with a new ref and sends him into the ring to finish officiating the match and Owens picks up another victory. The camera pans to Stephanie McMahon who has a glare in her eye before she exits to the back as Kevin Owens celebrates.

Well, this was a packed PPV especially for the women. Kudos to Lana here, she definitely played her role well, and her actually getting more involved in the match than usual was fresh and I appreciate that.

I would have liked to see more of Stephanie, but who doesn’t?! Her spot at the end with the referee and that glare will be enough to keep this going on Raw and into the next PPV and continue this little bout with Seth Rollins.

Onto the matches. I really really enjoyed Nia Jax vs. Alicia Fox. In all honesty, we all knew Nia Jax would win. There was really no reason for Alicia Fox to win, and we knew that Nia Jax has been on a roll. However, the way they had this match really made it seem for a hot second that Alicia was going to win. I mean, she hit a scissors kick! The match definitely made it seem like Alicia Fox was a viable threat against Nia Jax and I loved it. And Nia looked so powerful, the way she whipped Alicia around that ring, and the samoan drop at the end looked painful. The only question now is, where does Nia Jax go? They can’t just put her up against enhancement talent forever. Now that Nia has taken on a main roster competitor, she needs to stay on this track. But who will it be? Paige? Summer? Bayley? Sasha? It doesn’t make sense for her to go against Charlotte for the title, plus I doubt WWE would book that now anyway.

As for the Women’s title match. I mostly liked it. In all fairness, it was not as good as the Wrestlemania match, or even necessarily what they did in NXT. But it was a good match. There were some really cool spots including that triple dropkick, and Charlotte’s moonsault. But there was a small slip with Charlotte on the turnbuckle and her landing on the ropes when it was clear she wasn’t supposed to. And the end was not as smooth as it should have been. You could clearly see Bayley and Charlotte were looking for Sasha and she wasn’t there at exactly the right time which slightly threw off the ending and made it look choppy. But overall, a solid 3 stars out of 5.

Much like with Nia Jax, the question here is what is going to be next. Dana was HEAVILY involved in this match, and so there is a case for Sasha to go again with Charlotte. I won’t be surprised if the next pay per view is Sasha versus Charlotte again. But it needs a stipulation. It needs something to be the end all be all, and something that keeps Dana Brooke out. That is if Sasha continues to be pushed as the next challenger for Charlotte, which is what I see most likely happening.

As for Dana Brooke, she really has just become Ric Flair. I remember when Charlotte finally turned on Ric, I was excited, because Charlotte would have to do it on her own, but instead of Ric interfering, it’s Dana. I am really looking forward to Dana and Charlotte splitting. Or at least Dana doing something, anything more than what she has been doing.

But where does this leave Bayley if Sasha is the one being pushed for the title match? She took the fall here, and there really is not much of a case for her to get a rematch after this. If I had to guess, I think she is going to be next in line for Nia Jax, and I will be very interested to see how the WWE plays that off.

There are so many directions this could go, and although I did predict both matches correctly, the WWE did do a good job of setting things up in a way that they could take all of these women and put them in 500 different directions if they wanted to. We will have to tune in to Raw to see where we are headed.

Thanks for reading! Please tell me your thoughts in the comments below or follow me on Twitter! I’ll be back soon with more, and until then, I’m out!

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