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WWE Clash of Champions is billed as the one night of the year when every title on Raw and SmackDown must be defended, so WWE spent the last few weeks setting up all of the feuds that made up Sunday’s card.
One of the biggest matches of the night saw Roman Reigns take on his cousin, Jey Uso. Was the healthy twin able to take down his own family to win the universal title or did The Big Dog prove his bite is just as bad as his bark?
The WWE Championship was also on the line in a SummerSlam rematch when Randy Orton battled Drew McIntyre.
We also saw a ladder match with Sami Zayn, AJ Styles and Jeff Hardy, while Zelina Vega got her first shot at a title when she battled Asuka, and The Hurt Business’ Bobby Lashley took on Apollo Crews in another rematch.
However, Charly Caruso announced on the pre-show that Nikki Cross, Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax were not medically cleared to compete.
Let’s take a look at everything that happened at Sunday’s Clash of Champions.
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Here is the updated lineup for Clash of Champions:
- Asuka vs. Zelina Vega (SmackDown Women’s Championship)
- Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton (WWE Championship)
- Roman Reigns vs. Jey Uso (Universal Championship)
- Cesaro and Nakamura vs. Lucha House Party (SmackDown Tag Team Championships)
- Jeff Hardy vs. AJ Styles vs. Sami Zayn (Intercontinental Championship)
- The Street Profits vs. Andrade and Angel Garza (Raw Tag Team Championships)
- Bobby Lashley vs. Apollo Crews (United States Championship)
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Cesaro started off against Lince Dorado. The Swiss Cyborg took control for a moment by using his power to his advantage. Once Kalisto got the tag, he took over with a big splash off of the shoulder of Dorado.
Nakamura eventually for the tag and regained the upper hand with a few well-placed strikes. He and Cesaro began making quick tags to keep Dorado cornered and keep themselves fresh.
The Golden Lynx tried to turn things around with a sunset bomb but one quick kick from Cesaro put him down for a near fall. The champions maintained control for quite some time. Dorado kept kicking out but it took him a little longer to kick out with every cover.
Kalisto made the hot tag and with a little help from Dorado, they were able to send both men to the floor. Dorado helped Kalisto hit a tornado DDT on the floor before they took turns hitting moonsaults on Cesaro. Big Tony kicked out at two and prevented Kalisto from making another tag.
Nakamura attacked Dorado and suplexed him over the barricade. This allowed the champions to team up on Kalisto. Cesaro swung Kalisto into Nakamura’s Kinshasa to get the pin and retain the SmackDown tag titles.
This was a fun, energetic tag match to get the action going. Some of the double team moves from Kalisto and Dorado were both memorable and impressive.
Nakamura and Cesaro continue to shine as a team at a time when the tag team division seems to be at a low point. They never give less than 100% when they are in the ring.
We didn’t get a big fight between Kalisto and Dorado or a breakup angle, so WWE must be saving that for SmackDown.
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Zayn talked a little trash to get things going. Styles took the first few shots at him but it was Hardy who cornered both men and took control with a clothesline and bulldog combo. He tried to bring in the first ladder but Styles hit a baseball slide to send it into his ribs.
Zayn hit his trademark springboard moonsault to the floor before he picked up the ladder and threw it at Hardy. The Phenomenal One and The Charismatic Enigma both recovered and began fighting in the ring. Hardy ended up missing Styles with a leap from the corner and hit his ribs on the supports of an upside-down ladder.
Styles was the first to attempt going after the belts hanging above the ring but Zayn was there to pull him back down. He took out The Great Liberator with a Pele Kick. Hardy stopped Styles from getting to the belts as they fought on top of the ladder. Hardy went crashing to the mat but he was able to get up and keep Styles from reaching the top.
Zayn sent Styles onto a ladder with an exploder suplex. All three men ended up at ringside and after a brief scuffle, Zayn was the last man standing. He slowly climbed up the ladder until Styles launched a step ladder at him to knock him off. Styles and Hardy climbed opposite sides of the ladder and it ended up tipping over to take both men out.
The Enigma took out both opponents at once when he pushed over the ladder to knock Zayn off and take out Styles in midair as he attempted a Phenomenal Forearm. Hardy took a rough spill to the floor when Zayn tipped over the ladder he was on. Zayn used a ladder to make a bridge between the ring and announce table. Styles spiked him with a moonsault DDT from the table.
Hardy put Zayn on the bridge and climbed up a different ladder. He hit a Swanton that took out Zayn and broke the ladder in half. Styles was all alone as he set up another ladder in the ring. He began to climb and Hardy made it into the ring in time to push him off of the ladder.
Zayn used a pair of handcuffs to attach Hardy’s ear to a ladder outside of the ring. He tried to handcuff Styles to a ring rope but The Phenomenal One wouldn’t let it happen. Zayn ended up handcuffing himself to Styles to keep him from climbing the ladder. It was a genius tactic
Hardy dragged the ladder into the ring by his ear as Styles tried to climb up with Zayn on his shoulders. The Liberator produced a key to unlock himself and cuffed Styles to the ladder. Zayn ascended the ladder and took down both belts to become the rightful IC champion.
Was this the best Ladder match of all time? Maybe not but it’s going to be a contender for WWE match of the year for sure.
All three competitors gave nothing less than 100% to make this a show-stealing performance. They are on a B-level PPV with no fans in the arena and they wrestled like they were in the main event of WrestleMania in front of thousands of screaming fans.
Hardy was his usual risk-taking self and gave us a few more moments to add to his eventual Hall of Fame highlight reel, as did Zayn and Styles.
In fact, this bout had some of the most creative spots we have seen in a Ladder match in quite some time. This was an all-around awesome performance by everyone involved.