WWE
CLASH AT THE CASTLE: Scotland
JUNE 15, 2024
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND
OVO HYDRO

Watch: Peacock

MEET YOUR REVIEWER:

Suit Williams: You can read Suit’s long-form previews and reviews of wrestling from around the world here at Voices of Wrestling. You can also find his weekly reviews of AEW Collision over at F4WOnline. Check out his brand-new wrestling blog Williams Watches Wrestling, where he’ll engage in watch projects like Williams Watches WrestleMania and review requests. Follow Suit on all social media platforms @SuitWilliams.

WWE TITLE I QUIT MATCH
CODY RHODES (C) DEF. AJ STYLES

Cody opened the show here with his World Title defense against Styles. McIntyre main eventing is probably the right call as long as he wins, I say expectantly.

I thought this match sucked. The stipulation took me out of it, as it was the typical WWE I Quit match where the ref asks too many times. I don’t think Cody is going to quit after a DDT, you can let it lie, pal. I think all I Quit matches would benefit far more by being treated like submission matches, where the ref only gets in there when the wrestler is in a hold of some sort. The referee with the mic just serves to get in the way. The violence was your garden variety plunder, where after a walk and brawl, Styles beat up Rhodes with chairs and kendo sticks. I’m not asking for Tournament of Death out here, just make it a bit more violent if you’re gonna sell it like it is.

Both guys bled a little bit in another bit of basic pro wrestling that makes WWE fans lose their minds. Styles handcuffed Cody to beat on him more, but after distracting himself with Cody’s mom in the front row, Cody just got his hands in front of him anyway. Cody sent AJ through a table, then cuffed AJ to the ropes and beat on him. AJ quit when Cody threatened him with the steel steps before Cody hit him with the stairs anyway at the behest of his mother. You’ll see a match like this 100 times this year, and you might remember five of them. This wasn’t one of those five. *1/2

After the match, Solo Sikoa stared Cody down before GOD attacked him. Kevin Owens and Randy Orton made the save as a giant brawl broke out, getting Cody back in the orbit of the Bloodline. No TALLA TONGA, which may disappoint the many New Japan fans hoping he’s officially gone.

WWE WOMEN’S TAG TEAM TITLE TRIPLE THREAT MATCH
ALBA FYRE & ISLA DAWN DEF. BIANCA BELAIR & JADE CARGILL (C), SHAYNA BASZLER & ZOEY STARK

We got a pre-match video of Fyre and Dawn, showing their numerous highlights from Main Event. One women from each team was in the ring, and for a while this was just a match. The heel teams ganged up on Belair & Cargill, then Baszler & Stark jumped on the Scots to turn them face for the night. Everything was going fine.

Then, Jade made her hot tag. The second Jade slipped off the ropes on a springboard, this match went straight to hell. Jade was clearly shaken up on the slip, as she barely got on the same page as everyone else. She almost slipped and blew her knee out on a kick to Baszler while she had Fyre on her shoulders. Then, Baszler put her in a choke with Jade visibly doing something that looked like tapping out, to the point where the announcers had to bring it up. Belair went for a 450 on Baszler but didn’t rotate around enough, landing knees-first on Baszler’s back. Belair and Cargill hit their finish on Baszler, but Dawn stole the pin and the titles.

Jade completely fell apart here. I was out on her ever being an in-ring stud toward the end of her AEW run, but they never asked her to do anything over her skis. Jade, EIGHT MONTHS into this WWE run, is still the shaky worker she was in AEW. The major difference here is that Jade isn’t even getting the direct focus and spotlight that AEW gave her. She’s just one of six bodies out here in this tag match, her loss being nothing notable. She’s another name in the crowd. Eight months into her AEW run, Jade was an undefeated force and a few weeks out from winning the TBS Title that was basically made to spotlight her. She wasn’t hidden in a tag team, for better and for worse. It’s funny that silly Twitter people will say that AEW fumbled Jade, but so far, WWE is the one bungling the ready-made star handed to them on a silver platter. This match ended up being an absolute disaster. *

After the match, Dawn and Fyre celebrated with their families in the front row as Michael Cole talked around the tragic passing of Fyre’s mother earlier this week. If you’re gonna have this emotional moment with them celebrating with their families in front of their home country, maybe have them run wild at the end of the match and triumph instead of stealing the pin like heel geeks. But WWE’s idea of a special moment is far different to mine, and I’m used to it.

WWE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE MATCH
SAMI ZAYN (C) DEF. CHAD GABLE (W/ OTIS & MAXXINE DUPRI)

We got a QR code gimmick for what is clearly Bo Dallas reprising the Bray Wyatt stuff, but the longer I can go without talking about that, the better.

What we had here is exactly what WWE wants their brand of sports entertainment to be. What they train their wrestlers in NXT to do, and what they’ve developed their fanbase to believe is storytelling in wrestling. If this is the future, count me out. The simple story of Otis and Maxxine not wanting to cheat for Gable became the entire focus of the match. It wasn’t the work being done in the ring, with Gable going after Zayn’s surgically repaired shoulder before focusing on the ankle. It was all waiting for the Otis sideshow. This is a lot like downturn era Nitro, where the crowd would be staring at the ramp waiting for the inevitable run-in. Nothing matters until the ACTING begins. That’s not even getting into the fact that we’re doing the O-TIS thing again, as I swear this is the third or fourth time I’ve seen this geek get a push that goes nowhere.

Gable handed Maxxine the belt to hit Zayn with behind the referee’s back, but she hesitated. Otis got in Gable’s face when he yelled at her but took a dive from Zayn. Gable got Zayn in an ankle lock, but Zayn rolled through and had Gable run into Maxxine on the floor. Gable took the ref for Otis to interfere, but instead he took Maxxine up the ramp. Zayn hit the Helluva Kick and won this absolute sideshow of a match. It’s a shame, as these two probably have a legitimately good match in them where they tell this story in a much simpler and less overwrought way. But this is WWE, where the motto is “Tell, don’t show.” **1/2

WWE WOMEN’S TITLE MATCH
BAYLEY (C) DEF. PIPER NIVEN (W/ CHELSEA GREEN)

What is Piper Niven’s finisher? Would anybody in this building have known what it was? Is it the Michinoku Driver she got a nearfall with here? It would’ve been nice to know, then maybe there’s an outside chance I would’ve thought that Niven could win here. There was some silliness with Green on the outside, getting ejected early in the match before coming back in a Rey Mysterio mask to cause a distraction.

The match itself was fine. It’s not 2017 anymore, as Bayley isn’t the worker she used to be, but they put together a fine little match here. Niven kept countering the Rose Plant, as everyone should because it’s a terrible finish, so Bayley hit a crucifix bomb to retain. Outside of singing the Hey Bayley song, the Scottish crowd wasn’t super into this one. It probably had something to do with Niven not being any kind of threat alongside Bayley not being that over as a babyface. With all of that said, this was easily the best match on the show so far. ***1/4

WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH
DAMIAN PRIEST (C) DEF. DREW MCINTYRE

“It’s a new era,” they shouted. “Vince is gone, everything will change,” they proclaimed.

Eat shit, I say.

A ref bump and a screwjob finish sees the European fans left stunned again, as this company does the EXACT same finish they did at the last Clash at the Castle by screwing Drew McIntyre out of the title. That time, the guy doing it – Solo Sikoa – was a heel. This time, it’s supposed top babyface CM Punk that robs the hometown hero of the championship. The original referee got bumped, leading to Punk in a ref shirt feigning the three count off of a Claymore Kick. Punk then hoofed McIntyre in the balls, leading to Priest hitting the South of Heaven for the win.

A mind-bogglingly dumb series of events here. The allegedly important World Championship remains on placeholder champion Damian Priest, your top babyface on Raw screwed a country out of a moment two years in the making, and top heel McIntyre is left holding the bag. The nerve of this company to milk these people dry on tickets, selling them on the idea of righting the wrong from a few years ago, and punch them in the balls AGAIN is a move that would kill a town if it were any other promotion in history.

But as I said in the preview, WWE is bulletproof. They can piss on your head, call it rain, and not even bother to give you an umbrella. They come to Scotland, have three matches with hometown Scottish heroes, and end the night beating two of them in a row. They have the easiest fanbase in the world to please, and they still go out of their way to fuck with them while telling basic-ass, poorly thought out, overwrought stories. But keep telling me how great a booker Paul Levesque is as he pulls every scrap off the Bloodline bone that he can.

I’ve asked for months upon months; someone has to tell me what is good about this company. Why are they the red hot ones? How is this selling out arenas at extortionate prices? Is it just the brand? Is it just that they’re the ones everyone grew up with? If someone could tell me what makes this place so great that they’re doing business like this, at least I could understand it. Because from what I’m looking at now, it’s just people lining up to be served shit month after month. I truly don’t get it.

 

The match was nothing special. It was your WWE formula main event. Finisher kickouts, moves through barricades, ref bumps. It’s going through the motions. The most interesting part of the match was toward the beginning, when Priest slipped on the ACH step-up dive and took a disgusting bump on the apron as a result. Priest was limping for the rest of the match, but McIntyre never did anything toward the leg or ankle. It may have been out of concern, but I think the match gets a bit of juice if McIntyre pounced on the injury or went after it at an opportune moment in the match.

And juice is what Priest lacks. He’s not a capital-S Star, and at 41 years old, he’s probably never going to be one. But WWE will keep it pushing. Maybe they’ll turn him face against the Bloodli-I mean Judgment Day. Maybe it’ll work then. Even if it doesn’t, it doesn’t matter. The people will keep lining up, keep standing in the rain, and keep hoping for the rainbow that never comes. ***