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CINCINNATTI — At least, there can be no debate: Roman Reigns is here to stay as United States Champion. In what was essentially The Big Dog’s second 12-round slugfest in two days, Reigns picked up where he left off against Rusev at WWE Clash of Champions, throwing bombs left and right throughout the majority of the title rematch that Rusev evoked.
Thanks to a coordinated attack on his tenderized back, The Big Dog struggled from underneath to even the odds. But the match quickly turned into a fight when champion and challenger spilled out into the arena and brawled far past the point of a double count-out. Rusev seemed to get the last word courtesy of a chair to Reigns’ back. The Big Dog answered with a Spear, though he seemed content to hold off on a chair attack of his own … at least, before he thought better of it and took a whack at Rusev’s back to send him stumbling to the showers.
New Day wins! Again! Ya boys extended their Raw Tag Team Title reign to a whopping 401 days off the strength of a repeat win over Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson in Raw’s second Clash of Champions title rematch. That they managed to do so was something bordering on miraculous, since Gallows & Anderson were every bit as dominant in defeat as they were the previous night — and a good deal angrier to boot.
Still stewing over the illegal trombone attack that cost them the titles at Clash of Champions, the good brothers handed Kofi Kingston & Big E a shellacking, once again isolating The Dreadlocked Dynamo in the ring. And once again, New Day rallied to hit the Midnight Hour on Anderson, only to be answered with a Magic Killer to Big E. Kingston’s heroics ended up being the difference-maker, as the champion tagged in — despite being busted open to the tune of nine stitches — to clock Anderson with Trouble in Paradise. Whew.
So Bayley isn’t quite ready to win the Raw Women’s Championship yet. But it’s not like she’s ready to throw in the towel. Bayley began her long road back to the championship picture with a victory over a local competitor named Anna Fields, who attempted to make a name for herself by attacking early and often. Bayley tapped into her own aggression in response, bashing Fields’ head into the turnbuckle, charging into the corner and hitting a textbook Bayley-to-Belly for the win. Was it a heartfelt moment? For sure. Somewhat less epic than the highs she’d reached the previous night? Absolutely. But if there’s one thing we know about Bayley, it’s that her path down the long road always pays off in the end.
Can we interest you in some Cruiserweight action? Of course we can. Raw’s most dynamic division got its first tag team bout when Cedric Alexander & Rich Swann — both of whom debuted last week — joined up to face the team of luchador Lince Dorado and Philadelphia brawler Drew Gulak. Despite the sportsmanlike handshake between all four Superstars before the bout began, the high-flyers were all business once the bell tolled, with Dorado giving his team a sizable lead thanks to a moonsault on the outside.
With Swann and Dorado in a dead heat, Cedric and Gulak tagged in and Cedric let ’er rip, sending Gulak stumbling and dispatching Dorado with a hellacious Lumbar Check. Swann tagged in and nearly fell to a textbook rollup, but rallied to blast Gulak with the Rich Kick and a sunset flip stack-up for the pin.
It’s the million-dollar question in the Raw Tag Team division right now: Can Cesaro & Sheamus co-exist? At least for one match, the answer is yes. Granted, it came against two local competitors named Nick Cutler & Willis Williams (nice) and The King of Swing and Celtic Warrior couldn’t stop antagonizing each other for half the match. But once Cutler & Williams took advantage of the discord and got a few licks in, they settled into a groove. The results were astounding.
Cesaro singlehandedly took out both opponents and set Cutler up for the Neutralizer, and Sheamus saved him from a bum-rush by Brogue Kicking an interfering Williams. He blasted Cutler for good measure, too, but instead of throwing down with his partner, Cesaro shrugged it off and pinned Cutler to seal the win. Now, let’s not fool ourselves, this wasn’t exactly a showdown with the reigning Raw Tag Team Champions. But it is a start.
For a while, it seemed as though WWE Clash of Champions was going to be Sasha Banks’ long-awaited one-on-one rematch for the Raw Women’s Championship. And before Bayley threw a wrench into the whole thing, it was. But despite Charlotte retaining her prize at the first Raw-exclusive pay-per-view, The Boss still has beef with the champion. That’s not to mention a legitimate claim to a Title Match seeing as she wasn’t the one Charlotte pinned the previous night. So she crashed Charlotte’s gloat session and demanded her one-on-one rematch on the spot.
Ordinarily, this would be about the time where Charlotte threw Dana Brooke at Sasha instead, but the Queen decided to tap into her inner fighting champion and accept Sasha’s demand … for next week, of course. What, you didn’t think it was going to be tonight, did you? Fear not, however: Sasha got the last word in by slapping Charlotte clear across the face and expelling her and Dana Brooke from the ring.
The Cruiserweight division is still a relatively narrow field, which means WWE Cruiserweight Champion T.J. Perkins is beset by enemies from all sides. But (Yoda voice) more than up to the task, “The Wrestling Yoda” is. Perkins brought his title onto Raw for the first time and gave the Team Red audience a taste of his skills, knocking off debuting Cruiserweight Tony Nese in a non-title match that, to Nese’s credit, was far from a walk for the reigning titleholder. In fact, “The Premier Athlete” made a big statement at the champion’s expense thanks to an escape of the Kneebar and an over-the-top-rope dive.
When Perkins rallied, Nese was right there with him, reversing a tornado DDT to drape the champion over the ropes and knee him in the side of the head. But Perkins would not be denied, unleashing a last-minute flurry to lock in the Kneebar and tap Nese out. He’ll need it, too: Brian Kendrick is coming for a fight next week.
Seth Rollins’ loss to Kevin Owens at Clash of Champions was crushing in more ways than one. The Architect both missed out on KO’s WWE Universal Championship and injured his ribs in the process, which meant he spent the entire Raw being warned by Mick Foley to not mix it up with The Prizefighter until he was medically cleared. So, of course, Rollins went and defied him.
Rollins picked his moment perfectly, too, crashing Chris Jericho’s long-planned “Highlight Reel” with his bestie. But before Rollins could be added to “The List of Jericho,” Foley emerged with a posse of security to save Rollins from himself while Jeri-KO hurled insults from the ring. Owens and Jericho weren’t exactly done for the night, however, as Foley passed a cuppa' guys backstage who were more than willing to mix it up ...
HOW YOU DOIN’? Not great, guys. Not great. Enzo Amore & Big Cass were conspicuous by their absence at Clash of Champions. And even though The Realest Guys in the Room certainly made a splash upon resurfacing on Raw, taking on the reformed Jeri-KO in Raw’s main event (and, coincidentally, a SummerSlam rematch), the result was the same as it was in August.
Give Enzo credit, however, as he proved he was made of the strongest stuff around even in a loss. Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho isolated him for minutes on end, taking advantage of a dropkick to Owens that left Enzo seeing stars. “Muscles Marinara” found salvation by countering the Lionsault with a pair of knees to the face, but Jericho wisely nullified Big Cass’ comeback rampage by distracting the big man mid–Rocket Launcher. That left Enzo, who had just tagged in again, to suffer the wrath of Owens’ powerbomb on his own. Bada-boom indeed.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Roman Reigns vs. Rusev (w/ Lana) ended in a Double Count Out in a WWE United States Championship Match (25:34)
- The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) (c) (w/ Xavier Woods) defeated Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship (11:05)
Other on-screen talent