WWE held its Clash of Champions pay-per-view event on Sunday at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.
On a night where every single championship in WWE was on the line, two titles changed hands and, despite the women’s championship picture remaining the same, the Four Horsewomen took center stage.
Here are the five biggest takeaways from Sunday night’s action.
Bayley’s not your buddy
Going on second on a card like this isn’t easy, but Charlotte and Bayley put on an impressive show that showed off the former’s physical dominance and furthered the Smackdown women’s champion’s heel turn.
Flair, who was the heavy crowd favorite due to the event’s location, nearly picked up a quick victory with a big boot, setting the tone for the rest of the match. After a good mix of action both inside and outside of the ring, Bayley utilized an exposed turnbuckle to beat the nine-time champion and barely escape with her title.
Bayley’s underhanded tactics continue to push her as a heel — a somewhat sudden change that coincided with Sasha Banks’s return to action last month. It’s unlikely we’ve seen the end of the Bayley-Flair feud and there’s potential to build into a bigger angle involving Banks and Becky Lynch down the road (more on this later).
Shinsuke Nakamura’s art on full display
Nakamura and Sami Zayn is undeniably one of the strangest pairings on Smackdown Live right now and after Zayn’s run-in with the Undertaker this past Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, I didn’t think we were going to see him tonight.
As odd as this couple is, it worked on Sunday night.
Zayn did an excellent job in turning the crowd against Nakamura and eventually would factor into the decision, helping the former NXT champion retain his Intercontinental championship. While Zayn’s in-ring ability is strong, it’s a role like this that shows why he’s a total package when it comes to sports entertainment.
Nakamura’s match with The Miz was one of the best either of these stars has put on this year and they showed incredible in-ring chemistry. Multiple false finishes and innovative offense helped Miz and Nakamura show off their skill set and tell a strong story in the process.
Here’s hoping we see more of this feud moving forward.
The Man shows Sasha Banks who’s ‘Boss’
There was no way either Becky Lynch or Sasha Banks could have lost this match cleanly, so more than any other pairing on the Clash of Champions card, some shenanigans were expected here.
Lynch and Banks — like their fellow Four Horsewomen Flair and Bayley — are two of the most talented women in WWE today. Both women traded offense for the duration of the match, exchanging finishers and submission moves before Banks eventually introduced two steel chairs into the equation.
After Lynch inadvertently hit the referee with the chair — and was disqualified — the two women entered the crowd and fought their way around the Spectrum Center. Lynch eventually got Banks back into the ring and put her in a chair-assisted Dis-Arm-Her finisher before more WWE officials broke up the action.
The crowd chanting “Let them fight!” along with the intensity of this feud should signal that these two women will be meeting next month in a Hell in a Cell match.
Kofi Kingston overcomes his biggest rival
WWE has done an excellent job in building the most meaningful feud of Kingston’s title reign — and arguably his career.
After a somewhat sudden and disappointing finish last month at SummerSlam, Orton and Kingston went on after Lynch and Banks got the Charlotte crowd amped — no small feat — and managed to put on a solid match that should put a cap on this chapter of their careers.
This match was essentially a “greatest hits” between the two stars, and that was totally OK. Orton was poised to win after landing a late RKO on Kingston, but the WWE champion managed to get his foot on the ropes to break the three count. In a nice callback to a decade ago, Orton lined up for a punt before it was countered and Kingston hit Trouble in Paradise to score the victory.
Orton losing clean means it’s unlikely we’ll see these two square off in the near future. With a draft coming up next month, the door is open for plenty of new feuds for Kingston.
Seth Rollins adds “monster slayer” to his resume
Rollins and Braun Strowman losing the Raw tag team championships earlier in the night set the stage for these two to be on bad terms heading into their WWE universal championship match.
The contrasting styles here allowed for an entertaining match with some incredible moments. Rollins was faced with an uphill battle against the massive Strowman, utilizing his entire arsenal multiple times to ground the behemoth. The best moment of the match — and maybe the night — came when Strowman hit a splash from the top rope, leaving Rollins barely able to kick out.
After a pedigree and four stomps, Rollins retained his championship and was standing atop the ramp before being ambushed by The Fiend.
We already knew Bray Wyatt’s alter ego was facing the winner of this match at Hell in a Cell, but that didn’t make The Fiend’s appearance any less jarring or surprising. It’s telling that the show went off the air with the company’s top champion getting buried by its most interesting character.