I dunno if this is just me but that month between WWE PPVs felt really short. Maybe just because the rest of 2020 has seemed so damned long. I can’t say I’m adverse to them starting to shorten… anyway WWE Clash of Champions 2020 is soon at hand. This event has recently taken up the mantle once owned by Night of Champions, which is to say every title must be defended. And so we have nine title matches on tap and here’s my prediction for all of them!
(Note: This article was written before word of match changes started to spread. Reportedly, Nia Jax, Shayna Baszler and Nikki Cross are all off the show. So those matches are either cancelled or will require replacements.)
WWE Raw Women’s Championship: Asuka (c) vs. Zelina Vega
Listed first as it’s been officially announced for the Kickoff Show. Zelina Vega genuinely is a pretty talented worker but she’s been made into a pure manager for years until this abrupt shift. It feels like something of a last-minute decision, which is to say it has not been built too strongly. She’s about as big of an underdog as any heel you’ll ever see, and being on the pre-show makes the odds feel all the more against anything of significance happening. Asuka over, but hopefully it’s a decent showcase for Zelina.
WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championships: Shinsuke Nakamura & Cesaro vs. Lucha House Party
As always, they like to be cute and not tell us which combination of Lucha House Party is involved in the match. Either way, Lucha House Party are my picks for the worst built challengers on this show, and that includes Zelina. Since August, the three of them have a combined record of 2-5. Even when they’re going after titles, they just can’t seem to stop beating them. They have this match as the result of a fluke victory as well, when the Street Profits helped them out.
To make matters worse, they’re also going through a breakup as this is happening, with Kalisto being the center of tension. Regardless of whether he’s in this match or not, I assume the end result will either be him accidentally screwing over his team or turning on them and screwing them on purpose. Either way, champs retain here.
WWE United States Championship: Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Apollo Crews
I’m a little impressed by how long they’ve managed to keep this story going without it dragging on like… well nearly every other long-term story that they’ve been trying to do. (Amazingly they couldn’t figure out a way to get the Rollins/Mysterio angle on this show…) Apollo Crews and Ricochet have been fighting an increasingly out-manned war against the Hurt Business, which really ratcheted up in intensity after Cedric Alexander’s defection.
Even so, at the core of it we still have the United States Championship. While the feud will continue, somehow I feel like this is the end of the line for Apollo’s challenge. I figure Lashley will retain, and after that, perhaps Ricochet will have a shot at a real run with it down the line.
WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler (c) vs. The Riott Squad
From the very beginning, Nia and Shayna’s alliance seemed designed to be short-lived. They were a force big enough to defeat Sasha and Bayley but not one that would last very long afterwards. In other words, straight-up transitional champs… or maybe that’s just wishful thinking.
Liv and Ruby are more cohesive in-storyline and make for a much better team. As a fan of both, this would be a nice thing to see them get. There’s not really a bevy of teams for them to defend against afterwards, but the same can be said for the current champs. Riott Squad over.
WWE Raw Tag Team Championships: The Street Profits (c) vs. Andrade & Angel Garza
As dire as the women’s tag scene in WWE is, I’m not sure if it’s worse off than the Raw men’s division. This feud has been going on since March, wholly by necessity. For perspective, Austin Theory was part of it at the start. The Profits have been in some sort of tag match with Angel Garza eight times already, twice on prior PPVs. I think the only reason Angel and Andrade’s repeated break-up attempts never stuck is because at the last minute they always remember “Wait, damn, we need challengers for these tag titles!”
Now they’re minus Zelina Vega. And somehow this is being sold as a plus for this team. I don’t get that but I’m pretty sick of seeing the will-they won’t-they here so I do hope they use that as an excuse to just drop the tension. Profits have held the tag titles for over 200 days and they’ve been… okay champs throughout. Some dumb angles, some eh matches, but also plenty of solid performances. Nothing that’d make having the gold on them for eight months seem worth it if not for the depth issues – some of which was unavoidable.
To me, now’s as good a time as any to take the titles off of them. If you let Angel and Andrade actually gel on-screen, they’d make for a great team and have much better matches on average than the Profits. So I’m picking new champs here.
WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship: Bayley (c) vs. Nikki Cross
As opposed to the Street Profits, even though Bayley’s already had a very long reign, we don’t feel at all close to the finish line with it. She got a new resurgence when she turned on Sasha Banks and there seems to be money in that as a big title match whenever they decide to have Sasha return. They could well take that program to Mania if they play their cards right, though odds are good they’ll just blow it and have them in a Cell match next month.
Either way, this makes Nikki Cross the epitome of a filler challenger. They just needed somebody for Bayley to face tonight and she was the most well-suited at the time. Bayley over.
Triple Threat Ladder Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship: Jeff Hardy (c) vs. AJ Styles vs. Sami Zayn
Even though the build to this has been rife with problems, it really has done nothing to make me less excited for it. It’s just sorta hard to screw up something like this. Three great workers in a ladder match for a championship on PPV in what should be positioned as one of the bigger matches on the show. And boy is this a show just ripe for stealing…
Something else that’s in it’s favor is that it feels like the toss-up of the night. Admittedly AJ just up and winning it back might be slightly redundant, but they could reasonably go in any direction. Any of them would make for a good IC champ. And there are both faces and heels waiting in the wings to challenge (Sheamus, Big E, Corbin, Riddle… Gable, I guess?) so it has that going for it too.
Of them though, the face challengers are the freshest and I’d say going with a heel champ makes sense. Which lines up well for Sami Zayn, fresh off his return. He didn’t get to have much of a real run with the gold since he was portrayed as a non-wrestler holding a championship essentially. That’s gone away so I’d be cool with a do-over. Sami Zayn to win.
WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Jey Uso
The build to this has been very cool, largely carried by that final segment on the Go-Home SmackDown which had two money promos from the both of them that really sold this match as a big deal. And I’m sure they’ll be working their hearts out to try and make Jey seem like a legit main eventer here. But, I mean… c’mon. Roman Reigns to retain.
Ambulance Match For The WWE Championship: Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Randy Orton
I must say, nothing screams B PPV main event quite like an Ambulance Match. A lot of people have looked at Orton as a potential WWE Champion pretty much since the start of his feud with Edge. The talk has only intensified now that he’s actually going after the champion. While they still want to make Drew McIntyre into the Next Big Thing, that only highlights the reason for this match to exist.
After all, what better way to take the title off him without pinning him than with a stip like this? Generally they do imply beating someone so badly that they actually need an ambulance, which doesn’t seem like an inconclusive victory on paper. But it’s not like they have to be done that way, you can totally get a fluke win out of this. The idea seems clear. Orton wins the title here without really beating Drew, you let him chase again and hopefully by the time he’s ready for his rematch they have an audience again. Orton over.