WWE Clash of Champions
December 17, 2017
TD Garden
Boston, Massachusetts

Watch: WWE Network

Meet our reviewers:

Garrett Kidney: Garrett hasn’t reviewed a WWE PPV since Extreme Rules back in June, he also hasn’t reviewed a Smackdown PPV since Backlash in May where Jinder won the title – so let’s just say he was protesting that by not reviewing PPVs. But he’s back and he’s better than ever, got a knack for making things better. And don’t think he didn’t notice that you didn’t notice he was gone. He did. And he’s a little hurt by it to be honest. But it’s okay, you can make it up to him by following him on Twitter @garrettkidney. Kelly is incorrect, Zelda is better. However Golf Story is best.

Kelly Harass: While Kelly has greatly enjoyed The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, he still thinks that Super Mario Odyssey is a better game. Garrett may disagree, but Kelly is fine with that. Nintendo love is right in any form. Find Kelly on Twitter @comicgeekelly.

Pre-Show: Mojo Rawley def. Zack Ryder

Garrett Kidney: Zack Ryder’s theme song is still very good – Mojo’s is as bland as you get. This wasn’t really designed to be a blow away grudge match but they did come flying out of the gate full of intensity. These two are likely better able for more responsibility other than pre-show fodder – their match was pretty much the only one on this card that had any real emotional hook – but they still seem firmly rooted in the lower card. Hopefully there’s more to come from these two because I think they have a lot more in them. **3/4

Kelly Harass: For the first time ever, I was actually looking forward to a pre-show match. After seeing Mojo’s promo on Twitter, I was fired up for this one in a way that nothing else on the card had managed to do. The match itself was fine, but there were some moments that I really enjoyed. Things started off super hot, but cooled down heavily around the commercial break. Mojo came off great, working stiff and really coming off like he hated Zack. Ryder didn’t work this like a normal match either and I was very happy to see him skip the “woo woo woo” before hitting the face wash on Mojo. These two have something great going here, hopefully they’ll have a chance to do more than just this match. ***

WWE United States Championship
Dolph Ziggler def. Baron Corbin (c) and Bobby Roode

Garrett Kidney: Gotta commend these three for barging into TD Garden relatively cold and putting on one of the best US Title matches in recent memory. This is everything the workhorse title should be about, hungry individuals looking to win the title at any cost – overcoming relatively mediocre storytelling with raw hard work. Everyone played their role superbly with Corbin being at his best in triple threats (with two people creating movement for him and hiding his limitations) — the monster middle man that you get excited to see be down and out. Ziggler and Roode’s constant exchanges were pleasant sights to see as they’ve developed chemistry over the past few months (and Ziggler continues to deliver bell to bell even if he’s incredibly stale). After some brilliant twists and a tremendous nearfall seeing Corbin trying to steal a pin only to be thrown out of the ring only for him to get back in to break up the pin, came a wonderful finish reminiscent of a spot from last December’s triple threat with Styles in Roode’s place. Corbin was about to hit End of Days on Roode when Ziggler hopped on Corbin to hit a Zig Zag at the same time. In the most unexpected finish possible, Dolph Ziggler is the new US Champion for what feels like the fifteenth time but is somehow only the second. ***3/4

Kelly Harass: When Baron Corbin is the most interesting person in the match, you’re in trouble. This ended up being better than I ever thought it would have been. The opening minutes were kind of rough, especially when Corbin heavily slowed down the pace. As the match wore on, the crowd got way behind Roode and heated up the match a bit. As the action picked up, Corbin stood out as the star of the match. I would be lying if I said that the ending wasn’t a bit deflating when Ziegler won because we all know that his title run will go nowhere, just the same as all of his other title runs. For a WWE triple threat match, this was pretty good, but ultimately, it just barely kept my attention. Credit where credit is due though, the finish with the End of Days stopped by the Zig Zag was pretty awesome. ***

WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championships
The Usos (c) def. The New Day, Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin and Rusev Day

Garrett Kidney: The format hindered this a little – the decision to have four men in the ring at once was a bit of a head scratcher and resulted in a bit of a mess (and stretched logic a little as to why people would disappear from the match when convenient) – but when they dismissed the format the match soared. Gable rattling off suplexes and Chaos Theory’s across the board was wonderful. Rusev and Gable shone brightest (and it will forever be questionable why Rusev (and Big E for that matter (and Gable too actually)) isn’t headlining this company right now) while the Usos continue to deliver more consistently than any act in the company. They can spin off strong Rusev and English vs. Usos and Gable and Benjamin vs. Usos programmes out of this. It was interesting to see the crowd firmly behind Rusev particular, even going so far as to boo Big E when Big E cost Rusev the win. They obviously have something in Rusev but they were apparently too busy pushing Jinder. Skip the first half, watch from when the match breaks down. ***1/4

Kelly Harass: When the match began, I was a little confused by the rules and it didn’t seem like I was alone as the four men in the ring meandered around for a while, leading to a fairly boring opening stretch. Thankfully, things got sorted out and the match got awesome. Rusev killed it here and was the MVP… until Chad Gable started suplexing everyone in sight. Gable has such an amazing upside, I can’t believe that this company hasn’t done more with him. At any point, the crowd would have exploded for a victory by Rusev or Gable, but it wasn’t their night. As much as I wanted to see either one of those two win in the moment, the Usos wouldn’t have deserved to have their fantastic tag title run end that way. The brothers retained their titles, taking advantage of the chaos caused by Gable to hit him with the superkick/splash combo. The fantastic second half of this match really did make up for the lackluster open. ***1/2

WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship – Lumberjack Match
Charlotte (c) def. Natalya

Garrett Kidney: Lumberjack matches suck. They always suck. The heels drags the babyface out of the ring and they are so dastardly – oh how outraged I am. If the same thing happens in every single match, and it’s always boring – then what’s the source of drama? There is none. Charlotte overcame the odds, uncharacteristic in WWE I know, and won a boring match. These two have done much better in the past. Even Charlotte doing a wacky dive onto a pile of people didn’t save it. **

Kelly Harass: Take out all the lumberjack stuff and this was solid. Take out the extended Natalya control period too, while you’re at it. So yeah, a third of this match was good and that’s one third better than I was expecting it to be. Lumberjack matches are universally terrible (outside of the great Ambrose/Rollins match from a few years back) so any boring or just plain bad segments of the match were not surprising at all. After the match Natalya cut a promo that only would have had any impact if she was turning heel. Just a mess. **

The Bludgeon Brothers def. Breezango

Garrett Kidney: This sorta sucked. Breezango are a level above pure squash so they got a little in here but it was mostly a squash, and not a good one. The Bludgeon Brothers (who’s entire act is terrible – they look bad, they have utterly generic music and their promos are filled with terrible WWE speak) should just smash people. Utter dominance, high impact and high intensity. This was slow, meandering and entirely counterproductive toward making Harper and Rowan seem like an unstoppable force. Harper and Rowan can deliver as a team, that has long since been proven especially opposite The Usos, but this repackaging feels cheap. *

Kelly Harass: Uninteresting squash. The worst squash is a squash where the losers still get offense in. If you’re doing a match like this, I want complete destruction. I’m not looking for anything other than big dudes killing little dudes in a squash. 1/2*

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn def. Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura
Special Guest Referees: Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan

Garrett Kidney: Remember when Shinsuke Nakamura debuted in WWE vs. Sami Zayn is an electric magnetic, landmark match that was considered by most a match of the year candidate? Those two guys were in this match. And it was one of the worst matches of 2017. A long, thoroughly boring match where literally nothing happened for long stretches, where Nakamura seemed like a complete afterthought, where the crowd didn’t care at all, where Randy might as well have stayed at home he was so disinterested and where contrived referee drama took center stage at the end – there were little redeeming qualities here. A waste of talent and a waste of time all to build around a guy who can’t even wrestle. The degree to which they build Daniel Bryan into stories they can’t payoff reminds me a lot of when TNA used to build weeks of TV and feuds around Hulk Hogan only to go nowhere in the end. This match was reflective of just how much WWE has dropped the ball with everybody involved – WWE killed all interested in Nakamura in favour of putting Jinder over him shattering Nak’s aura in the process, Owens is a guy who the crowd have desperately wanted to support as an anti-hero (remember the WWE audience believes so much in Owens’ heel act that they chanted “You Deserve It!” when he was handed the WWE title on a silver platter by HHH) but has instead been treading water as a heel and WWE failed to get Sami Zayn (one of the most authentic babyfaces of this era) over in the slightest. An irredeemably contrived snoozefest. DUD

Kelly Harass: I want you to imagine an average Smackdown main event. And when I say average, I mean AVERAGE. A match so unmemorable that you’ll never think of it again. Now take that match and make it stupid. Just make it as dumb as a box of rocks. Once you’ve made it as stupid as possible, make it slow like a sloth. There, now you’ve got this match. For the caliber of talent involved, this might actually be the worst match of the year. I can’t really blame them for it either. The match had zero heat and they were shackled by the stupid stipulation. Matches like this make me never want to see wrestlers I like work for this trash company. Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, and Shinsuke Nakamura are three of my favorite wrestlers and it pains me to see them in matches like this. Nothing could have saved this one. One final shit log for the trash bonfire that was WWE’s 2017. DUD

WWE Championship
AJ Styles (C) def. Jinder Mahal

Garrett Kidney: I don’t even really have any thoughts about this. It was a Jinder match. It was devoid of emotion as Jinder ran through his by the numbers painfully mediocre heel act. The were no peaks and valleys, no passion or intensity. It was all just there. Jinder is not a dynamic wrestler at all. AJ was AJ but you can add Jinder to the likes of Frank Trigg that AJ couldn’t quite carry. The crowd didn’t care about Jinder. The Jinder experiment failed on every level and did severe damage to a number of people on Smackdown. It turns out that you can’t actually just throw a title on somebody to pander to a particular international market, irrespective of quality or talent. Who’d have guessed it? Just leave that Smackdown belt on AJ forever. Just let Smackdown be the cool show where AJ Styles does cool stuff. Eh. I hope I never have to see a Jinder main event ever, ever again. **1/4

Kelly Harass: AJ tried, he really did. He bumped around like a maniac for Jinder, but even that couldn’t save this match. More than anything, this match truly exposed how boring Jinder is. Mahal was placed in a main event spot and was expected to fill a decent amount of time with one of the best wrestlers in the world. A truly good performer would have stepped up to the occasion. Jinder proved that he couldn’t do that and once and for all proved that he doesn’t deserve to be in that spot. Hopefully this is the end of the Jinder push because I can’t think of a better place to call it quits.