Old North Banter: WWE Clash of Champions Captivates Charlotte

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Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton — WWE Championship

PREDICTION: Kofi Kingston; Winner: Kofi Kingston (ONB: 5-4)

Most of the disinterest in this matchup boils down to following the Banks/Lynch debacle. The other part of that disinterest comes from Randy Orton’s non-signature move set: slow and methodical. Kingston felt hindered by basically being slowed down to match Orton’s pace.

That being said, whenever Kingston got his offense going or when Orton hit his Vintage DDT or RKO, the crowd managed to perk up. One of the bigger pops of the match came when Kingston managed to get his foot on the rope after an RKO. Incensed after coming up short, Orton prepared to finish the match with his Punt, a move so protected, it took Husky Harris off television, and when he returned, he was Bray Wyatt. However, Kingston evaded the Punt, turned Orton around, and struck him with Trouble in Paradise to retain the world title.

REVIEW: This felt like a slog to watch live. The most invested the fans got, aside from the signature moves, was from the dueling chants for Orton and Kingston. Both wrestlers are capable of performing at a higher level, but this match did neither wrestler any favors. (5/10)

Roman Reigns vs. Erick Rowan — No Disqualification Match

PREDICTION: Roman Reigns; Winner: Erick Rowan (ONB: 5-5)

Another slog of a match to watch for the opening two-thirds, Erick Rowan maintained control throughout most of the match with the better moments came when Roman Reigns managed to strike back. The brunt of the disdain fell onto Rowan who the fans didn’t seem to watch apart from the extreme moments that included slams through tables and onto exposed sections of the ring apron

The match eventually spilled into the production area where Rowan looked to replicate his attack on Smackdown by using a camera jib, but Reigns countered by using a rod to disorient Rowan before Roman used the jib himself. Reigns then struck Rowan with a Superman Punch that knocked him all the way down the ramp. However, as Reigns prepared to hit the Spear on Rowan, a mysterious figure emerged from under the ring and hit the Big Dog with a Big Boot. The figure: Luke Harper.

After last appearing at Wrestlemania in the Andre the Giant Battle Royale, Harper returned to aid Rowan in his match with Reigns. After a Discus Clothesline from Harper, Rowan slammed Reigns down with the Iron Claw for the pinfall.

REVIEW: This match could have been more impactful, and Rowan looked inept despite Reigns selling his moves like a pro. However, the match’s saving grace came from the return of Harper. With the story revolving more around Rowan and Daniel Bryan, Harper’s arrival came out of nowhere despite Harper and Rowan’s shared history in the Wyatt Family and as the Bludgeon Brothers. (4/10)

Seth Rollins vs. Braun Strowman — Universal Championship

PREDICTION: Seth Rollins; WINNER: Seth Rollins (ONB: 6-5)

The main event was as action-packed and exciting as it needed to be. Strowman and Rollins traded the advantage throughout, and both utilized their skill set to the best of their abilities, including a previously-abandoned move by Rollins toward the end of the match.

One of the best highlights came when Rollins attempted to set Strowman up on the ring post for a superplex, but Strowman threw him to the ring mat. Unexpectedly, Strowman then perched himself atop the ropes for a splash that excited the Charlotte crowd. Rollins managed to kick out of the ensuing pin attempt.

The finish came when Rollins gained the advantage over Strowman and had the Monster Among Men kneeling on the mat. The Beast Slayer then hit the Curb Stomp on Strowman, but Strowman kicked out at one. Rollins hit the Stomp again, but this time, Strowman kicked out at two. The Architect then Stomped Strowman a third time, but once again, Strowman kicked out at about 2-1/2. Strowman avoided a fourth stomp and tried to put Rollins in position for a Running Powerslam. Then Rollins escaped the carry to put Strowman in position for a Pedigree, Triple H’s finishing move and formerly used by Rollins during his time affiliated with the Authority. After the Pedigree, Rollins executed a fourth stomp for the 1-2-3.

REVIEW: The match itself was incredible. The two showed why they’re the best in the WWE. Rollins came, saw, and burned it down, but it still took everything but the kitchen sink to put Strowman away. The show ending there would have been amazing…. (9/10)

Main Event Aftermath

However, Clash of Champions did not end with Rollins standing proudly and victorious. After making his way to the top of the ramp, Rollins celebrated by holding his Universal Championship high. Then, the lights cut out, and the crowd popped the loudest it had all night. High-pitched screeching then played as the lights strobed with Bray Wyatt as the Fiend clutching a passed-out Rollins. The Fiend then hit Rollins with Sister Abigail. After the lights when out again, the strobe lights returned with Wyatt holding Rollins’ head up with one hand while listening to his free, gloved hand labeled “HURT.” Wyatt then applied the Mandible Claw onto the Universal Champ. The last sounds the Queen City crowd heard before the event ended was the sound of Wyatt laughing.