WWE Clash of Champions 2017 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterDecember 18, 2017

WWE Clash of Champions 2017 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

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    Credit: WWE.com

    SmackDown closed out its pay-per-view schedule with WWE Clash of Champions 2017, an uneven show that was at times messy and at times intriguing.

    AJ Styles held tight to the WWE Championship in the best match of Jinder Mahal's career. The Maharaja outdid himself, looking more like a legit main event star than he did when he carried the title on his shoulders.

    Mojo Rawley took a step toward stardom. The tag team scene continued to buzz. And the United States Championship bout outpaced expectations.

    Clash of Champions had its warts as well, though.

    The lumberjack stipulation during the SmackDown Women's Championship match was overused. Breezango faded into the background of another duo's tale. The PPV's contest with the highest stakes turned out to be its least interesting. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn's fight to keep their jobs was a snoozer, as unlikely as that sounds.

    Read on for a breakdown of 2017's final PPV from the pre-show collision to the WWE title fight.

Zack Ryder vs. Mojo Rawley

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    The collision of The Hype Bros saw the fight move to the outside right away. Mojo Rawley and Zack Ryder traded the advantage in an intense brawl.

    Rawley overpowered his former tag team partner, taunting him while in control.

    After taking a load of punishment, Ryder charged back. But the comeback didn't last long. A running forearm shot left Long Island Iced-Z out cold.

              

    Result

    Rawley wins via pinfall.

                 

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • Rawley shoves Ryder off the top turnbuckle and outside the ring.
    • "Show me your killer instinct! Where is it?"—Rawley.
    • "We are witnessing a transformed Mojo Rawley."—Byron Saxton.

           

    Grade

    C+

              

    Analysis

    The match itself featured mostly run-of-the-mill action, but Rawley looked tremendous as a heel here. His intensity was palpable. He looked energized, transformed, brimming with momentum.

    WWE has to move him out of the pre-show slot in a hurry. Rawley is poised to make a hell of an impact on SmackDown.

Baron Corbin vs. Bobby Roode vs. Dolph Ziggler (United States Championship)

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    Baron Corbin found himself at the wrong end of a double-team, as Bobby Roode and Dolph Ziggler aligned to take him down. The Glorious One and Ziggler briefly fought alone before the United States champ stormed back into the fray.

    The Lone Wolf took over with a methodical offense, leaving both foes writhing at his feet.

    The combatants all scored a series of near-falls. After Corbin crashed into the ring post, The Showoff came within milliseconds of winning but couldn't finish off Roode.

    Corbin soon seemed to have victory locked up too, but Ziggler slipped in to steal the win.

         

    Result

    Ziggler wins via pinfall to win the U.S. title.

         

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • Roode and Ziggler clothesline Corbin over the security barricade.
    • Corbin charges into opposite corners to flatten Roode and then Ziggler and Roode again.
    • Corbin powerbombs Ziggler in a Tower of Doom spot.
    • "It's mine now!"—Ziggler.
    • Corbin yanks Roode out of the ring to prevent a sure three-count.
    • Ziggler delivers a Zig-Zag to Corbin as The Lone Wolf nailed Roode with End of Days.

         

    Grade

    B

         

    Analysis

    Solid back-and-forth competition got going in the final third of the bout. The near-falls revved up the bout's energy.

    The clash's subpar build hurt it. The story was cold going into this match, and the wrestlers had to work their asses off to create any real momentum.

    Ziggler's win is a shocker. Corbin was just getting started as champ, and The Showoff has been a low priority of late.

    WWE has yet to fully commit to Corbin, and this is the latest example of that in action.

Fatal 4-Way SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match

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    The Usos vs. The New Day vs. Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin vs. Aiden English and Rusev

    Aiden English sang "The 12 Days of Rusev" before the match got underway.

    Chad Gable, Jey Uso, English and Kofi Kingston began things for their respective teams. Seconds later, a ring-clearing brawl erupted. The New Day emerged from the chaos on top.

    A game of one-upmanship broke out between several opponents.

    The Usos floored their foes. Gable and Benjamin counterpunched in a big way. English and Rusev had their turn atop the heap, as well. The Lion of Bulgaria, though, couldn't keep Big E down long enough to claim the titles.

    Thanks to a superkick and a diving splash, The Usos held on to their belts through it all.

         

    Result

    The Usos win it via pinfall to retain the SmackDown Tag Team Championship.

         

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • The crowd chants "Rusev Day!"
    • Benjamin suplexes Jimmy Uso to the mat from the top turnbuckle.
    • English sings while clamping a rear chinlock on Jimmy Uso.
    • Kingston nails Gable with a nasty superkick.
    • After catching Kingston in midair, Benjamin powerbombs him onto the canvas.
    • Gable hits German suplexes on Rusev and Big E.

         

    Grade

    B

         

    Analysis

    The tag team match was an unwieldy, wild fight on a crowded stage. It often had too much going on at once but thrilled at its high points.

    The match proved to be a showcase for all four teams. The Usos came off as survivors. Rusev went on a tear. Gable and Benjamin looked like a formidable force.

    No one earned a bigger reaction than Rusev and English from start to finish. Fans ate up everything they did and were sucked into the times they scored near-falls. Those fellows need to wear the gold soon.

Charlotte Flair vs. Natalya (Lumberjack Match, SmackDown Women's Championship)

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    Tamina, Lana Naomi, Carmella and The Riott Squad surrounded the ring as Charlotte Flair and Natalya went to battle.

    The first time the champ stepped outside the ring, she suffered a barrage of right hands from The Riott Squad and others. Natalya was able to maintain the advantage early on by continually tossing Flair out into the sea of lumberjacks.

    Flair was able to fight back but continually fell victim to the hyenas lurking at ringside.

    Carmella thought of cashing in her Money in the Bank contract. Ruby Riott made sure that didn't happen.

    In spite of everything, The Queen was able to force Natalya to quit with the Figure-Eight.

    After her loss, Natalya berated the fans. She had a tearful outburst before leaving.

         

    Result

    Flair wins via submission to retain the SmackDown women's title.

         

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • "They look like jackals ready to attack."—Corey Graves on The Riott Squad.
    • Naomi springboards from the top rope onto the rest of the lumberjacks.
    • Flair moonsaults onto the lumberjacks.
    • "Now I'm turning my back on all of you."—Natalya.

         

    Grade

    C-

         

    Analysis

    The lumberjacks provided an overwhelming obstacle for the babyface champ. While that created a sense of drama, the execution made it feel gimmicky and repetitive. The match beat us over the head with the idea.

    The teased Carmella cash-in was a nice moment.

    But this bout lacked focus, and the stipulation didn't quite mask the lack of electricity for the Flair-Natalya feud. Flair's moving on from The Hart Dungeon Diva will be good for both women.

Breezango vs. The Bludgeon Brothers

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Harper and Rowan ran over Breezango. Tyler Breeze and Fandango showed spunk as they fought back, but it wasn't enough.

    A quick match ended with The Bludgeon Brothers towering over a fallen Fandango.

         

    Result

    The Bludgeon Brothers win via pinfall.

         

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • "How do you say nightmares are real in eight different languages?"—Graves.
    • Harper and Rowan slam Breeze's face onto the ring apron.

         

    Grade

    D+

         

    Analysis

    This match wasn't supposed to be entertaining. It was supposed to be the latest reminder of how powerful this repackaged team is. The dominant win was the right move.

    It just wasn't particularly fun getting there, as the beatdown was over in a hurry.

    One would have expected a comedy spot or two from Breezango. They didn't stand a chance against these destroyers, but a flash of what makes them so fun would have been welcome.

Shinsuke Nakamura and Randy Orton vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn

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    Credit: WWE.com

    General Manager Daniel Bryan and commissioner Shane McMahon struggled to officiate the match together as Shinsuke Nakamura and Randy Orton clashed with Owens and Zayn.

    KO and Zayn were able to work over Orton in their corner in between bickering with the refs. The heels left The Viper reeling until Nakamura was able to tag in.

    Strikes and submissions had Nakamura on a roll. He wasn't able to maintain control, though, as Zayn and Owens felled him, too.

    An RKO seemed to have victory locked up, but Owens pushed Bryan into McMahon to break up the count. Shane-O-Mac refused to count to three when Zayn had Orton pinned. Bryan then fast-counted Zayn's next pin.

         

    Result

    Zayn and Owens win via pinfall.

         

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • Dueling chants of "Nakamura!" and "Sami Zayn!" break out.
    • Orton suplexes Zayn onto the top rope and flips him over.
    • Owens hits a Frog Splash onto Nakamura on the announce table.

         

    Grade

    D+

         

    Analysis

    The referees were the stars of the story, overshadowing the Superstars. The overreliance on that narrative element caused the action to stagnate.

    This was slow and underwhelming despite all the talent amassed in the ring here. It set up some intriguing tension between Bryan and McMahon moving forward, but this was a match the audience had to wade through.

AJ Styles vs. Jinder Mahal (WWE Championship)

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    Mahal overpowered Styles early on, but the champ was able to outwrestle him and keep him off his feet. The Maharaja limped along as he battled back and left Styles' ribs hurting.

    At times, The Phenomenal One looked to mount a comeback, but Mahal continually smothered him.

    Mahal flung his foe around the ring, making sure Styles' ribs collided with the canvas. The champion never stopped fighting, however. He was able to clamp on the Calf Crusher, forcing his opponent to tap.

         

    Result

    Styles wins via pinfall to retain the WWE title.

         

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • Mahal throws Styles into the exposed steel of the security barricade.
    • Mahal suplexes Styles onto the announce table.
    • "Everything is showing up Jinder right now."—Graves.
    • Styles hits the Styles Clash on Samir Singh on the floor.
    • Styles kicks out of the Khallas.
    • Mahal attempts the Styles Clash.

         

    Grade

    A-

         

    Analysis

    Styles' coming through in big spots is nothing new. Mahal, though, has to be saluted for having a second straight knockout WWE title bout.

    The Maharaja played the stalking monster really well. He and Styles' in-ring psychology was excellent. They zeroed in on each other's weak point to set up their finishers. And The Phenomenal One looked crafty and gutsy, like a worthy champion.

    WWE wisely had Styles cling to the gold heading into 2018, setting up the possibility for him to enter WrestleMania as champion.