WWE Clash of Champions 2016 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterSeptember 25, 2016

WWE Clash of Champions 2016 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Buzzing, brutal in-ring action comprised WWE Clash of Champions 2016, but the event failed to accomplish much storyline-wise.

    Backlash, SmackDown's first brand-exclusive pay-per-view, arranged the show's world, shifting championship belts to new owners. At Clash of Champions, Raw's landscape instead stayed in place.

    The Kevin Owens-Seth Rollins rivalry is still awaiting clarity about Triple H's involvement. The New Day and Charlotte's championship reigns rolled on. Sami Zayn remains in search of momentum after falling to Chris Jericho. 

    But where the narratives, especially the endings in several cases, left one unsatisfied, the PPV boasted a number of strong matches. Cesaro, Brian Kendrick and Charlotte are among those who delivered big-time at Clash of Champions.

    Backlash was the more important show of the two, the table-setter for what's to come in the New Era. Raw's PPV, however, was a collection of matches well worth watching again, even if how they climaxed left fans scratching their heads. 

     

Alicia Fox vs. Nia Jax (Pre-Show)

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    Alicia Fox fired away at Nia Jax as the match opened, but the powerhouse soon flattened her.

    Jax stalked her opponent, kicking her in the back, flinging her across the ring. Fox managed a bit of offense that stunned Jax. Strength overcame courage in the end, though.

    The heel smashed on Fox, finishing her off after a short match.

     

    Result

    Jax wins via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • "She just enjoys hurting people."—Michael Cole on Jax.
    • Fox hits Jax with a scissors kick for a two-count.

     

    Grade

    C+

     

    Analysis

    The bout partially showed off Jax's power and ferocity. A dominant performance was a must to continue building Jax. This contest was that to a point, but it could have used more lasting images of violence.

    WWE had the right idea. It just didn't go far enough with it.

The New Day vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson (Tag Team Championship)

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    The New Day trash-talked Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson before the bout began. Kofi Kingston promised their foes wouldn't be able to take the championships from them.

    Gallows clobbered Big E on the outside as Anderson pounced on Kingston. The champs recovered and traded blows with The Club.

    Xavier Woods battered Anderson with his trombone to help The New Day steal the win.

     

    Result

    The New Day wins via pinfall to retain the tag team championship.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • "We have been married to these championship titles."—Kingston.
    • "These are the kinds of guys who give out raisins on Halloween."—Woods.
    • Anderson hits Kingston with a running Liger Bomb.
    • Gallows yanks Big E off Anderson to save the match.

     

    Grade

    B-

     

    Analysis

    With no juvenile humor or silly gimmicks to hold them back, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson were allowed to be beasts aka their best selves. At least, until they fell to the champs once more.

    The match was really starting to cook when the climax came a bit early. 

    The fluky finish suggests this feud will roll on. That surely means more defeats for The Club. It has not been blessed with a large supply of big wins, and it continues to look below The New Day's level thanks to how WWE has booked the rivalry so far.

T.J. Perkins vs. Brian Kendrick (Cruiserweight Championship)

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    Brian Kendrick refused to shake T.J. Perkins' hand before the two cruiserweights squared off.

    The match remained on the mat early on. Perkins used his speed to fluster the challenger. Kendrick countered with more vicious techniques. 

    Both men worked on their foe's neck to set up their respective finishing holds.

    Perkins showed off his wide array of moves, using it to slow the predatory veteran. His high-risk style put him in danger, but he battled on. The kneebar finished off Kendrick after several chaotic sequences.

    Kendrick embraced the champ afterward, only to headbutt him to the mat.

     

    Result

    Perkins wins via submission to retain the Cruiserweight Championship.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • Kendrick traps Perkins with the ring skirt.
    • Perkins misses a neckbreaker, mostly grabbing hair instead.
    • Perkins sends himself and Kendrick to the outside with a hurricanrana off the top rope.

     

    Grade

    A-

     

    Analysis

    Crisp counters and a high-octane style provided a preview of how electric the new cruiserweight division will be. A few flubbed moves hurt the bout some, but the drama and the action made it easy to forget about those slip-ups. 

    If there had been any time to hype this showdown, it would have felt bigger and grabbed the audience even more. 

    That will come. Kendrick looked like an invaluable piece to the division moving forward. Perkins showed potential to thrive with the title in hand.

Cesaro vs. Sheamus (Final Match in Best of 7 Series)

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    Cesaro's bad back played into the match in the early going. Sheamus took advantage of the weak spot, pounding on The King of Swing.

    Sheamus stayed atop his foe as he kept the pace slow.

    The rivals traded heavy blows. Cesaro rattled The Celtic Warrior with his creative arsenal. Sheamus responded with straight-ahead brute force.

    Sheamus' cloverleaf didn't put Cesaro away. The Sharpshooter wasn't enough to finish off Sheamus. 

    The Swiss Strongman and his foe hammered each other, with the fight traveling over the security barricade. The referee stopped the bout after Cesaro hurt his arm, and Sheamus was unable to stand.

     

    Result

    Match ended in a no-contest.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • Cesaro leaps onto Sheamus from the ring apron.
    • Cesaro hits a 619 a la Rey Mysterio.
    • "It's been physical, exhausting, competitive."—Cole on the Best of Seven series.
    • Cesaro lands on his head on a suicide dive.
    • Corey Graves calls Cesaro a "Swiss cyborg."
    • Cesaro uppercuts Sheamus out of the air.
    • "I can fight with one arm!"—Cesaro to a referee.

     

    Grade

    A-

     

    Analysis

    Cesaro and Sheamus were on the verge of crafting something special. The pseudo-climax of their series featured the right blend of a methodical pace and bursts of full-throttle action. They had the crowd roaring despite how many times these two have gone at it of late.

    The ending, whether it was planned or a result of a legitimate injury, held it back, however.

    Rather than be the emphatic end to this long battle, this bout's final moments were unsatisfying. The audience was left waiting for fireworks that remained unlit.

Sami Zayn vs. Chris Jericho

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    Sami Zayn fired away at Chris Jericho as soon as the opening bell rang.

    Jericho used the referee to shield himself as he went after Zayn. That opened the door for Y2J to take the reins of the bout.

    A high-flying attack allowed Zayn to frustrate Jericho. The two smacked each other around, with both wrestlers swinging for the fences with big moves.

    Jericho came out on top thanks to a Codebreaker.

     

    Result

    Jericho wins via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • Jericho hits a low blow behind the referee's back.
    • Jericho throws Zayn onto the security barricade.
    • Zayn leaps past the ring post and hit Jericho with a tornado DDT on the floor.

     

    Grade

    B+

     

    Analysis

    As good and fun as this showdown was, especially toward the end, it didn't quite have the electricity Sheamus and Cesaro boasted earlier.

    The dynamic through much of the bout was just what it needed to be. The heel veteran outsmarted the emerging star, but the gutsy babyface outshone his opponent. The story didn't end that way, though.

    Zayn will likely get his wins over Y2J in the end, but it would have done a lot for his sagging momentum to get him a victory here.

Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. Bayley (Women's Championship)

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    Charlotte and Sasha Banks slugged it out on the outside. Bayley looked to jump into the fray, but The Boss told her to back off.

    With Dana Brooke cheering her on, Charlotte emerged from the ensuing chaos in control.

    Brooke attacked Bayley. Charlotte focused on Banks' injured back, wrenching her body with a smile on her face.

    The action turned intense as each women blasted each other with hard strikes. Charlotte repeatedly prevented pinfalls to save her championship.

    Brooke aided her, helping her to take out Bayley and score the win.

     

    Result

    Charlotte wins via pinfall to retain the Women's Championship.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • Banks, Bayley and Charlotte all try to hit a dropkick on each other at the same time.
    • Banks hits Bayley with running double knees off the ring apron.
    • Charlotte hurls Banks off the top rope onto her face.
    • Charlotte hits a moonsault onto both Banks and Bayley.

     

    Grade

    A+

     

    Analysis

    Bayley made it clear she belongs in the same spot under the spotlight as Charlotte and Banks. She looked comfortable in the big spot and was one of the keys to the action creating pathos.

    She and her opponents composed an engaging, dramatic bout that was a work of art.

    Charlotte's heel work was stellar. And WWE didn't overdo Brooke's participation. She was around just enough to frustrate the babyfaces and give them another obstacle to overcome.

    This was the latest bit of evidence that women should absolutely main-event a PPV in the near future.

Rusev vs. Roman Reigns (United States Championship)

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    Rusev took the cautious approach against Roman Reigns, prowling around the ring, keeping his distance at first. 

    The Bulgarian Brute then beat on Reigns. He clocked his foe with right hands and kneed him in the gut.

    The champ kept The Big Dog down for a long stretch. When Reigns finally charged back, Lana saved her husband by yanking the referee out of the ring.

    After the ref tossed Lana from ringside, Reigns speared Rusev to claim his crown.

     

    Result

    Reigns wins via pinfall to become the United States titleholder.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • Fans issue dueling "Let's go, Roman!" and "Roman sucks!" chants.
    • Fans briefly chant "CM Punk!"
    • Reigns dropkicks Rusev off the announcer's table.

     

    Grade

    D

     

    Analysis

    On a night filled with engaging action, Reigns and Rusev stood out as the slowest, least interesting showdown. The crowd was clearly not invested. And one can't blame them.

    WWE's stubbornness continued, presenting Reigns in the same way, regardless of how much the audience makes it clear it wants something different.

    Reigns delivered a John Cena-eqsue comeback, had no variety to his offense and is still supposed to be a babyface in spite of the boos he receives. This U.S. title win isn't going to be the game-changer for him WWE wants it to be.

Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins (Universal Championship)

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    Seth Rollins put Kevin Owens on the defensive from the get-go. The Architect clubbed the champ with methodical offense.

    Owens rebounded with a smashmouth attack. He zeroed in on Rollins' knee, mocking him as he attacked the surgically repaired body part.

    With a snarl on his face, Owens throttled his foe while talking trash.

    The match moved to the outside where Rollins charged back. The weary challenger then traded the momentum with Owens. They flew at each other, hurting their own bodies in the process. 

    Chris Jericho arrived to distract Rollins. That didn't work, but he managed to put Owens' foot on the rope to save the bout for the champ.

     

    Result

    Owens wins via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • "Seth Rollins is no longer the man; he's the mistake."—Owens.
    • "Is he OK? I hope he's OK?"—Owens mockingly to the referee.
    • Rollins escapes a package powerbomb.
    • Owens hits a top-rope gutbuster followed by a frog splash.
    • Owens uses the D-Generation crotch chop before missing a senton onto the announcer's table.
    • Rollins counters the pop-up powerbomb with a Pedigree.

     

    Grade

    C+

     

    Analysis

    Overbooking held back a showcase of two excellent performers. The Jericho shenanigans felt out of place after WWE had played up Triple H's relationship with Owens and Rollins so much beforehand.

    The match's poor buildup before the PPV gave fans little reason to engage.

    WWE has mishandled the babyface-heel dynamic with his rivalry poorly. It talked up Owens' hard work to get to this point despite him being the heel. And Rollins has only shown glimpses of being a fan favorite.

    Too many questions about Triple H's part in all of this plague this story. Clash of Champions didn't answer them, instead offering a lackluster story mixed with some strong in-ring work.