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Mr. Tito's PHAT WWE Clash of Champions Pay Per View Review (Smackdown Brand) with Match Ratings & Show Grade
By Mr. Tito
Dec 17, 2017 - 10:47:10 PM

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Welcome to the Mr. Tito review of the Smackdown Brand WWE Clash of Champions Pay Per View exclusively here at LordsofPain.net / WrestlingHeadlines.com. Very few places are posting columns instantly after the show, let alone without a filter and being brutally honest. That's why most of you are here along with the appreciation I give to my audience. I wouldn't be able to write these reviews without you and I'm motivated to keep writing these insta-columns following Pay Per Views for you.

If I could name the "Biggest Wrestling Blunder of 2017", I could easily say that the "Superstar Shake-up that followed Wrestlemania 33 was the biggest WWE mistake of the year. Not even close... The trade involved Smackdown giving away KEY wrestlers that made that brand great such as Miz, Dean Ambrose, and Bray Wyatt who INSTANTLY went to crap on the RAW roster. Those 3 went from important and main event players on Smackdown to midcarders on RAW. Then, the rosters swapped Alexa Bliss for Charlotte Flair. It was 6 months before the Smackdown roster even noticed that Charlotte was even on the roster! Then, Smackdown acquired the RAW enhancement talent and jobber Jinder Mahal to which Smackdown instantly pushes as the #1 contender to the WWE Title and then wins the WWE title on the first try!

The Jinder Mahal stuff was unbearable to follow... I don't blame him as he has ZERO creative control in the WWE. The WWE Creative Team, Road Dogg as the new Smackdown Lead Writer, and CEO/Board Chairman Vince McMahon deserve 100% of the blame for Jinder's rushed push. All for the country of India, too, which minus a generous television deal, isn't pumping revenue into the WWE compared to other countries. Not only that, but the WWE pushes Jinder as a stereotypical foreigner heel and wonders why he can't draw. Dave Meltzer reported that India's 2nd Quarter WWE Network buys declined after the 2nd Quarter 2017 and then the WWE cancelled one of the India December houseshows because of poor ticket sales. Jinder Mahal TRIED and I give him credit for that... But SKIPPING AHEAD OF THE LINE and IGNORING THE PROMOTION PROCESS to the Main Event does not make an instant main eventer. Guys like Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar are freaks of nature... Everyone else starts in the midcard as a singles wrestler and naturally works their way up to EARN that Main Event spot. On the RAW roster, the same problem exists with Roman Reigns only tried for 4 years now (and RAW has lost over 1 million viewers).

Heading into WWE Clash of Champions, I'm on the verge of cutting the Smackdown brand out of my wrestling viewership. Seriously. It's been THAT poorly booked. Since the Brand Split of 2016, I have devoted time to both RAW and Smackdown brands while giving NXT the backseat... If things continue to get overlooked on Smackdown, I may just go RAW and NXT for my WWE viewership. I DON'T want to go that route because I really like a handful of wrestlers still on the Smackdown roster. But there's only so much Jinder Mahal overpushing and Shane McMahon backyard wrestling that I can withstand. With the show going from averaging 2.6 to 2.8 million viewers to under 2.5 million viewers, the WWE management needs to evaluate who is writing for Smackdown... Oh wait, parts of management (Vince & Triple H) oversee that Smackdown creative process.

Been an awful 2017 for the Smackdown brand and that does include the timeframe BEFORE the "Superstar Shake-up". All dates back to Royal Rumble 2017 where AJ Styles lost his WWE Title to John Cena. Now, I'm not blaming Cena, but John Cena only held that title without defending it until he lost the following month at the Elimination Chamber to Bray Wyatt. Wyatt was awful as champion and that Wrestlemania 33 match against Randy Orton was a DISASTER. Orton should have never won the Rumble match and be granted try #16363727374 to be a World Champion. All of that effort in "making" Orton become World Champion again was quickly flushed when they handed the WWE Title to a ponzi scheme to gain new wrestling fans in India with Jinder Mahal.

Smackdown does have some talented guys even with the "shake-up"... But the Creative braintrust is just not there and they are pushing the absolute wrong individuals as their top guys. It should have been Miz in place of Jinder's heel champion spot but the WWE completely blew that opportunity. Miz rehabbed his character on Smackdown, along with Maryse, and we were denied seeing that comeback following his 2011 WWE Title disaster run as complete. Opportunity lost.

As you'll probably see with parts of this review, I'll sign high praise for several matches... Again, they still have decent talent there... It's how each are used by Creative and also pushing a guy like Jinder, who between August 2016 and Wrestlemania 33, didn't win a televised RAW match. That's the problem. I'm still LAUGHING that Triple H beat Jinder in India. What a disaster.

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Mr. Tito's PHAT WWE Clash of Champions (Smackdown Brand) Pay Per View Review

I did not watch the pre-game show because, well, New England Patriots vs. Pittsburgh Steelers. During the off-season, the NFL needs to define their rules a little better on simple things like "what is" and "what isn't" a catch along with what it means to "cross a plane". For the past 5 years, I've grown to dislike the NFL on how poorly interpreted its rules have been, poor referee calls, politics injected into the sport, concussion victimization, and labor strife. Poor rules interpretations takes away from how great both teams played on Sunday. Hopefully, they have a rematch in the AFC Championship and the game is legitimately played without any rule or referee drama.

OPENING MATCH was fantastic between Dolph Ziggler vs. Bobby Roode vs. Baron Corbin (c) for the United States Title and the finish saw Ziggler hitting a Zig Zag on Corbin as Corbin attempted to hit an End of Days on Roode. If you want to see a real clinic on in-ring ability, watch Ziggler. He's working his arse off in this match to keep the energy high and selling everything thrown at him. Both Roode and Corbin have been a bit marginal lately on performance but against Ziggler, everything they tried looked great. Ziggler, in my opinion, is the closest human to ever resemble Shawn Michaels in terms of pure in-ring athletic ability. Why the WWE doesn't push him is beyond me... BUT they have a good opportunity now that he's United States champion and build off tonight's momentum. Push the damn guy already! [ **** ], although Ziggler himself deserves the infamous 6th or 7th star for his performance alone. By they way, I kept laughing at how the dogpatch announcing crew kept trying to tie the United States Title to the NWA/WCW United States Title. I guess those fools missed Survivor Series 2001 where Edge defeated Test to merge the Intercontinental Title and US Titles together. Then, that IC Title was merged into the RAW Brand World Heavyweight Championship which, more than 10 years later, was merged into the WWE Title. That US Title was created during July 2003 on the Smackdown brand... No lineage! FINGER OF SHAME for that ignorance!

The second match of the night was the Smackdown Tag Title Fatal 4 way between Usos (c) vs. Jason Jordan/Chad Gable vs. Aiden English/Rusev vs. the New Day. I would have pushed this up the card and placed another midcard in its place... Match full of talent yet they had to follow that opening match... The teams as well as they could but the fans needed a breather. Oddly enough, Rusev was very over by this Boston crowd and I think that it's a sympathy vote. I also believe that Aiden English is a great personality for wrestling. Guy has real microphone skills and a way to command heat by the fans. Fun match overall but didn't blow me away... This is the kind of match that could have been the hot opener instead. Usos retained and I 100% agree with that. Usos just went to war with the New Day and overcame that feud. Smackdown needs to build up a new babyface team to become an equal to the Usos or maybe turn the Usos babyface instead and find a new heel team. [ *** 1/4 ] I also believe that Big E needs to become a singles wrestler while Woods and Kofi become a consistent tag team. They can remain the New Day, just a tad more organized and Smackdown needs a new heavyweight singles wrestler. Big E is ready.

Charlotte Flair beat Natalya to retain the Women's Title for Smackdown and I'm thankful... I was worried that the Lumberjack match could cause controversy but it didn't... Beautifully bridged Figure 8 by Charlotte. Match resembled that of a televised midcard match, as we do see the Lumberjack match used often for televised events. Just no flow to the match due to the chaos of the lumberjacks. Furthermore, can someone show me a "great" match involving Natalya? I keep hearing how she's a great in-ring veteran but I'm repeatedly bored by her work. Solid worker, yes, but nothing spectacular or earth moving. Her reign as Women's Champion was uneventful and I don't understand why the other ladies with more upside have to show more on-screen respect. If her name was "Natalya Smith" and had zero connection to the Hart family, would the WWE keep her around this long? She has a rendition of Bret Hart's theme music for Christ's sake. That's unlike Charlotte who can be easily argued as exceptional despite her dad's shadow. I just don't get it and I'm only saying it because we're subjected to Natalya for years upon years as one of the best... But I just don't see it. [ *1/2 ]

Bludgeon Brothers vs. Breezango... What, is tonight KANE APPRECIATION NIGHT for the Bludgeon Bros? Awful right attire. ZERO heat for this match as we're getting 2 guys rebranded with a new name and it's a stupid name. With those poor Kane attire ripoffs, they look goofy. Their opponents are a team pushed as a joke by the WWE for many months now with those backstage mystery segments. Why on earth should I care about this match or either team? [ - ** ], and that's NEGATIVE 2 Stars if you can't see the dash.

Next match was Randy Orton/Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens with the added drama of 2 referees in Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan. Maybe it's just me, but I don't like Sami as a heel... Too forced and synthetic for me. Maybe it's because of the blood feud between Sami and Owens that I've seen for years that I just don't believe in this heel turn. That, and I'm sick of anything involving Shane McMahon. Makes me appreciate what William Regal does in NXT when he just makes matches and doesn't get involved with wrestlers at all. Hell, I appreciate Jack Tunney if we want to go back on authority figures. Just there if you need them to settle disputes and ZERO agenda. Good bit of this match was Randy Orton in the ring and eventually playing "face in peril". Nakamura gets the hot tag and some of those kicks/knees connect... You know Vince will be overly critical of that. Oddly enough, the crowd is kind of silent here as the 2 referees seem to be sucking the attention away from the in-ring action. Case in point, Nakamura had the Triangle Choke on Kevin Owens. Rather than selling the drama of that submission being locked in, Daniel Bryan counts Nakamura's shoulders as being down and Shane argues with Bryan for doing that. The entire match, too, Owens & Zayn have heat with Shane and are constantly bickering with him. YOU SEE, excessive overbooking like Lumberjacks or Special Guest Referees don't let the WRESTLERS showcase their talents. Attention is on the gimmick or special attractions added and NOT THE MATCH. The 4 wrestlers are putting on a decent match but it has zero heat because of the "sports entertainment". Orton had an RKO finish on Sami Zayn but as Shane was counting, Bryan bumped into Shane to break the count. Then, a bunch of roll-ups between Orton and Zayn had both counting back and forth... As Zayn appeared to have Orton pinned, Shane REFUSED to count to 3... Daniel Bryan was clearly upset by this and as Zayn rolled up Orton again, FAST COUNT by Daniel Bryan to help Zayn/Owens win. [ *** ] Like I said, lots of "sports entertainment" drama with the 2 referees that dominated the match. Much of the crowd is chanting "YES! YES!" in favor of Zayn & Owens, but they're the heels. Ooops, WWE.

MAIN EVENT is here with AJ Styles (c) vs. Jinder Mahal for the WWE Title. Somehow, the Singh Brothers are at ringside. Didn't Jinder turn on them? And furthermore, why does every babyface wrestler even allow Jinder to have 2 helpers at ringside? At the very least, bring 2 friends ringside to counter that... But if championship gold is on the line, complain to your TWO authority figures (Shane or Bryan) about constant interference from those two. Then, just log into your WWE Network account from your phone and SHOW THEM how the Singh Brothers are repeatedly cheating for Jinder for World Title matches. So much technology surrounding the ring and boasting of how "great" the WWE Network is, but much of the wrestlers and authority figures ignore that it exists for their own benefit. Makes the WWE look rather stupid when they are oblivious to their own reality. Match starts off with Jinder Mahal acting in the dominant heel role and whooping AJ Styles for a good while... That should generate heat BUT nobody cares about Jinder because he was a manufactured entity reliant on xenophobia for any heat instead of quality promo or in-ring work. Styles is trying his best to sell everything, but it won't matter... No heat and it's funny to hear dead silence as Cole, Saxton, and Graves are fawning over how "great" Jinder is as a wrestler. But he's not... Styles tries his best to carry the match but it goes no where. Finish saw Jinder hitting his finisher and AJ kicking out... But then Jinder FOOLISHLY tries the Styles Clash and gets reversed into the Calf Crusher which causes Jinder to tap. [ ** 1/2 ] and those stars go to AJ for trying to carry this. THANK GOD that he's still WWE Champion because had Jinder lost, Smackdown would have been boycotted by yours truly.

LAST WORD: When you need to add gimmicks to matches instead of doing straight-up singles or 2 on 2 tag matches, you're desperate as a wrestling brand. Triple Threat, Fatal 4 Way, Lumberjack Match, and 2 Special Guest Referees in 2 match ALL IN ONE NIGHT! The show is called "Clash of Champions" where the titles being on the line should SELL the Pay Per View as is. Nope, because Smackdown's Creative Team are total enablers for Vince McMahon's BAD ideas, we get this overbooked pile of crap. Sadly, the wrestlers involved are actually talented and could put on a great match. See Ziggler's efforts in the Triple Threat, some of the moves Charlotte was landing, and the crisp action of Zayn/Owens vs. Orton/Nakamura... But nooooooooo, we have added "sports entertainment" drama clogging the pipes of what should be a nicely flowing show. [ C- ] for this show with Ziggler's efforts saving things but the rest of the show was extremely overbooked with "sports entertainment" crap. WWE stands for World WRESTLING Entertainment.

SO JUST CHILL... 'TIL THE NEXT EPISODE!

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