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    Wednesday, September 18, 2019

    The Smark Henry Pay-Per-Review: Clash of Champions 2019

    Nowadays, it's hard not to think of WWE pay-per-view events as monthly run-of-the-mill Long Wrestling Shows. The workers are special, but the stories tend to not be; and even when they are, the mentality of having to cram so much talent (all good ones, mind you) on one card tends to get too routine and draining.

    So when you get to the usual necessary milestone every month and it's not exactly mindblowingly good—no matter how much the packaging tries to convince you otherwise—you just kind of accept that it's there.

    That's what Clash of Champions really is: it's a Show, and there ain't anything too special about it to report. All the championships are defended. The one thing that was supposed to be super special about it, the King of the Ring finals, was bumped off to the RAW next night. The good thing might be WWE learning to pace their gargantuan shows even better with each passing PPV, even though it still totaled around four hours of wrestling. (There's not much they can do about that, other than putting the payoff of a big chunk of midcard storylines on TV.)

    Perhaps, given the enormity of the main WWE roster, it's time to rethink the purpose of monthly PPVs. They had it right when they opted not to rush any sort of match between Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan/Erick Rowan on SummerSlam, choosing to tell that story—as flawed as it may be—over the course of multiple SmackDown episodes. A lot of storylines don't even need the PPV climax anymore, with TV payoffs becoming more and more okay. Like why would it be a bad idea for the US and/or Intercontinental Championship matches to have a decent-length TV match instead of a rushed and ultimately forgettable PPV outing? Couldn't those have been moved around to accommodate an impactful King of the Ring final worthy of the solid tournament they've put together?

    There's a dissonance around here, and it's a terrible thing when you consider the world-class talent WWE has on its hands. No matter how good they are, everything and everyone is made to feel like a mere part of the machinery; so much that when you tune into an NXT TakeOver the change in atmosphere is so palpable. I just wish they'd do better for their guys.

    Clash of Champions 2019 Final Grade: B+

    Match of the Night

    I'm honestly amazed that Rollins applied the Lesnar Formula to Braun, but at the same time I shouldn't be surprised—like cheap low hits in Tekken, if it works, it works. And while Braun is not on Brock's level just yet, boy does it fucking work. Just by doing so, they (and Cedric/AJ from the kickoff, to a lesser extent) ended up standing out from the rest of the action we've seen the entire show. Sometimes it pays to buck tradition. My only wishes for next time: a little more Braun domination, please.

    Other observations

    • I'll admit that even though I'm the 205 Live homer around here, I wasn't all into the triple threat for the cruiserweight title. It was what I wanted, and it was probably better than a singles match between Carrillo and Gulak, but I dunno, something just seemed off. Maybe it wasn't that good of a night for all, but I'd like a do-over. Maybe with another agent.
    • Don't let anyone tell you you're getting buried after you get to nail a Michinoku Driver to start a match. That's not the end for Cedric Alexander, and the lack of match length isn't an indictment on someone's status. (You wouldn't say the same for Charlotte after that SmackDown Women's Championship match, would you?)
    • The more I think about Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler being a team to beat Rollins and Strowman, the more I get annoyed. While it's nice to know that the deep roster is being maximized, why couldn't Gallows and Anderson have been the ones in that role? It's a proper dilemma when you realize they're making the most out of their spare guys, but I would have continued to build the OC as another viable threat in the stacked division.
    • While we're on this, I appreciate the AOP soft reboot. Can we get Ali's video guy to shoot their vignettes though?
    • I'm all for the Revival being SmackDown Tag Team Champions, so long as this means they're officially on one brand now. God, I can't wait for the draft.
    • Could have done without this Intercontinental Championship match, to be honest with you. I do see how they're eventually building to a Nakamura/Zayn feud, because Sami being annoying is working. I'm sufficiently annoyed, and I would assume Shinskay would be too.
    • I'm probably in the minority for thinking that Sasha/Becky was pretty good, even with the seemingly weird DQ finish. It does make sense as the referee sees Becky swinging the chair at him, but I wish they just went ahead and gave Sasha the win. I get what they were going for, though, and they'll need to strip away the Bayley and Charlotte element from this particular feud. Like WrestleMania, it's starting to get a little clunky—the feud needs to go back to being about Sasha and Becky again. (Also probably means they'll go for Hell in a Cell at, uh, Hell in a Cell.)
    • Reigns is really good at starting a match hot, but that no-DQ match probably ran a little too long, especially when the endgame really was to bring Harper back.
    Photo from WWE


    Romeo Moran (@roiswar) is the Editor in Chief of Smark Henry and one of the three hosts of the Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. He gets by in this hard knock life through working in publishing. Smark Henry was his and Stan Sy's original vision of a watering hole for local wrestling fans. He roots for the undersized guys who hit hard, but really hates Davey Richards with his entire soul. He likes taking your wrestling questions over on his CuriousCat account.
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    Item Reviewed: The Smark Henry Pay-Per-Review: Clash of Champions 2019 Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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