Old North Banter: WWE Clash of Champions Captivates Charlotte

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Seth Rollins & Braun Strowman vs. Robert Roode & Dolph Ziggler — Raw Tag Team Championships

PREDICTION: Rollins & Strowman; WINNER: Roode/Ziggler (ONB: 2-1)

The main card started with Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman defending their Raw Tag Team Championships against the hastily-assembled team of Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler. Despite the team of Rollins and Strowman appearing to be the more physically imposing team, “Roodolph” won via miscues from the Universal Champion and the No. 1 contender for said belt.

The finish came with Roode and Ziggler as the legal men in the ring. Rollins was prepared to finish off Roode, but Ziggler provided a distraction as Strowman came into the ring to break up the interference. Strowman threw Roode away, but he threw him into Rollins. Trying to swing at Ziggler, Strowman then got removed from the ring via a low-rope bridge by the Show-Off. Roode then took a disoriented Rollins and finished him off with a Glorious DDT for the pinfall.

After the match, Strowman walked off disappointed yet determined. During a backstage promo, Strowman pinned the blame for the loss on Rollins, staying that he’s on a losing streak and that the Monster Among Men is going to ensure it stays that way.

REVIEW: This match just seemed to be virtually nothing more than a continuation of the storyline between Rollins and Strowman. However, this contest managed to entertain the crowd throughout its entirety. The two babyfaces are great workers, and Roode and Ziggler both held their own against them. (6.5/10)

Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair — Smackdown Women’s Championship

PREDICTION: Bayley; WINNER: Bayley (ONB: 3-1)

On paper, the match between Bayley and Charlotte Flair appeared to be a heel-versus-heel matchup. However, Charlotte, the city, was firmly and emphatically behind Charlotte, the wrestler. Bayley didn’t let the clear hometown disadvantage derail her though as she entered the ring as the same character she’d always been, only with the perception of superiority that any self-righteous heel would embody.

Flair hit a Big Boot out of the gate, but that wasn’t enough to put the Hugger away. The Queen showed the Spectrum Center crowd exactly why she is the most decorated women’s wrestler in WWE history, but Bayley kept staying in the match. However, the defending champ held on to win but through chicanery.

After attacking a prone Bayley in the corner, Charlotte was backed off by the referee. While the official’s back was turned, Bayley removed the padding on the lowest turnbuckle, exposing the metal. When Charlotte turned her attention back to Bayley, the champ dropped the challenger onto the exposed metal, knocking her out. Bayley pinned Charlotte for the three-count, took her championship, and ran for the hills as to avoid the wrath of the Queen. The daughter of the Dirtiest Player in the Game lost her title opportunity via dirty means.

REVIEW: This took an extra step in Bayley’s character development. Considering not much had changed on television other than joining Sasha Banks in her beatdowns against Becky Lynch, Bayley using heel tactics to win cemented her status as a heel rather than leaving ambiguity for her potentially being a “tweener.” The match, in and of itself, is serviceable, and it works as a means of progressing the storyline. (5.5/10)

The New Day vs. The Revival — Smackdown Tag Team Championship

PREDICTION: New Day; WINNER: Revival (ONB: 3-2)

As mentioned before, several North Carolinians challenged for championships in the Spectrum Center, but the only ones who claimed their respective titles were Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder. The fans in Charlotte, however, did not appreciate the Revival’s victory.

Xavier Woods and Big E entered as the defending Smackdown Tag Team Champions, but they had been victimized by the Revival as well as Randy Orton who challenged fellow New Day member Kofi Kingston later in the night for Kingston’s WWE Championship. The most impactful result of said attacks was a leg injury to Woods. This left E to take the brunt of the damage through the majority of the middle of the match. However, the crowd popped when Woods made the hot tag and began a comeback for the struggling New Day.

That spark came to a sad, crippling end as the Revival hit the Shatter Machine onto Big E on the outside of the ring, leaving Woods alone to take on Dawson and Wilder singlehandedly. Despite Woods doing his best to attempt to outfight the number’s game, Dawson and Wilder hit the Shatter Machine. Not content to letting the match end there, the Revival then exploited Woods’ injured leg by removing his brace and locking in an Inverted Figure Four Leglock to make Woods submit. The Revival then cut a promo in front of the livid crowd, reveling in their removal of the “proverbial pancake batter” from the tag team title picture.

REVIEW: The Revival are tremendous workers. They represent old school wrestling, and they can fight with anyone on the roster. On top of that, their heel tactics and mic work have put them as two of the top heels in WWE. As painful as it was to see the New Day lost, especially how they lost, respect must be given to the Revival for the story in the ring. (8/10)

Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross vs. Fire & Desire — Women’s Tag Team Championships

PREDICTION: Bliss/Cross; WINNER: Bliss/Cross (ONB: 4-2)

Prior to the start of the Women’s Tag Team Championship match, the defending titleholders, Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross, cut a backstage promo but got interrupted by a rogue boom microphone. Holding the mic: WWE 24/7 Champion and Charlotte native R-Truth, accompanied by Carmella. Bliss used Truth’s mic to inform the crowd and, more directly, the lower-card wrestlers interested in the 24/7 Title that Truth was in the building. Several wrestlers then gave chase, including Drake Maverick who thanked Bliss for her tip-off.

Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville then entered the ring followed by Bliss and Cross to start the match in earnest. The story throughout centered around Rose’s insults to Cross about her appearance. Cross even managed to mock Rose by exaggerating God’s Greatest Creation’s suggestive poses and motions, making the Charlotte crowd laugh at Rose’s expense.

Midway through the match, R-Truth and the wrestlers chasing him came into the arena to interrupt the match. At one point, Truth made it into the ring to evade those pursuing him, but then Bliss tried to roll him up for the title. Truth kicked out at two before Carmella hopped on his back so that the two can escape. After the 24/7 Title hopefuls left the ring, Cross eventually ended the match by pinning Rose.

REVIEW: With the story heading into the match revolving around Rose insulting Cross, the outcome was inevitable. That didn’t take too much away from the match, but the best parts of the match involved either jokes at Rose’s expense or the 24/7 shenanigans. (4.5/10)

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. The Miz — Intercontinental Championship

PREDICTION: The Miz; WINNER: Shinsuke Nakamura (ONB: 4-3)

After the Miz entered the arena, Sami Zayn came out to say that he’d still be in Shinsuke Nakamura’s corner despite sustaining a neck injury in Madison Square Garden due to a choke slam from the Undertaker. The match shortly began in earnest thereafter. The early part of the match involved Zayn exclaiming insults at Miz and the local Charlotte crowd, including digs at the Carolina Panthers involving their loss on Thursday. Zayn’s mic eventually cut out, and to alleviate the crowd further, Miz threw his mic out of the ringside area.

Miz and Nakamura matched each other tit for tat. Miz also got cheers for executing his Figure Four Leglock, paying homage to his former mentor and local favorite Ric Flair. Miz also received a huge pop when he kicked out of a middle-rope Kinshasa at two. The Awesome One nearly picked up the win over the King of Strong Style after hitting his Skull-Crushing Finale, but Zayn distracted the ref when Miz went for the cover.

Nakamura then subdued Miz long enough to successfully hit the Kinshasa for the pinfall win to retain his title. Zayn celebrated with Nakamura as Miz fell short of his ninth reign as Intercontinental Champion.

REVIEW: These two wrestlers are among the best on the roster. The match lived up to expectations, and the two put on an impressive showing. It wasn’t the best of the night, but it was one of the better matchups. (7/10)

Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks — Raw Women’s Championship

PREDICTION: Becky Lynch; WINNER: Sasha Banks via DQ (ONB: 4-4)

This had one of the best, if not the best, story heading into the pay-per-view. With Sasha Banks returning to the fray, this brought out the best in Becky Lynch. The physicality throughout the match never relented. Banks and Lynch traded momentum with each of them never able to put the other away. Banks managed to escape the Dis-Arm-Her, and Lynch maneuvered out of the Banks Statement.

Banks later tried to add a chair from the timekeeper’s area to the ring, but when the referee tried to throw it out of the ring, The Boss then found another chair under the ring and struck Lynch with it. Later in the match, Lynch tried to exact revenge on Banks with a chair shot of her own without the ref’s knowledge, but Banks evaded the hit, allowing the referee to get knocked out by the Man. With no official, Banks and Lynch expanded their melee into the WWE Universe as the pair climbed up the stairs, explored onto the concourse area, and then went down the stairs back to the ring with Lynch having all the momentum.

After tapping out to a modified Dis-Arm-Her through the stair railing, Banks then tapped out to another Dis-Arm-Her in the middle of the ring through one of the chairs. However, the ref who officiated the match never recovered from Lynch’s chair shot, and officials in the back had to disqualify Lynch for striking the referee. Lynch still retained her championship as the title doesn’t change hands on a DQ.

REVIEW: Match of the night. Undoubtedly. The end result kept Banks looking strong while still preserving Lynch as the champion. The action kept the audience captivated throughout, and though the crowd appeared to be split down the middle in terms of allegiance, the WWE Universe appreciated the work the two put into it. This feud should continue nicely into Hell in a Cell. (9.5/10)