WWE Champion Drew McIntyre Challenged Randy Orton to an Ambulance Match at Clash of Champions
McIntyre's promo addressing Orton was solid, but this rivalry is starting to wear thin with me. It was so strong before SummerSlam, but I have not been a fan of all the ambulance stuff. Speaking of which, I don't have high hopes for McIntyre vs. Orton in an Ambulance match at Clash of Champions. We know they have great chemistry together in the ring, so why throw a silly stipulation in there and potentially hinder the quality? I know McIntyre and Lee would go on to face each other later in the show, but Lee confronting McIntyre at the end of this segment and not saying anything felt pointless.
Raw Tag Team Champions The Street Profits def. SmackDown Tag Team Champions Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura (Non-Title)
I guess this was supposed to be a battle of "brand supremacy," but it hardly matters at this point, especially when Survivor Series is right around the corner and that's usually when WWE does the Raw vs. SmackDown vs. NXT angle. From an in-ring standpoint, however, this was an entertaining encounter and I wouldn't be opposed to a rematch. In fact, it would be ideal to unify the tag titles from each brand with how depleted the divisions are. If not, I have no clue who Street Profits face at Clash of Champions, unless two members of The Hurt Business go for the gold.
Cedric Alexander def. Ricochet
This was the match I was looking forward to the most following Alexander's heel turn last week, but I really wish they had saved it for down the road (preferably at Clash of Champions) or at least advertised it in advance. They're capable of ripping it up against each other, and although this was fun for what it was, I know they could do better with more time. A real rivalry between them would be nice, but it's all about Hurt Business vs. Ricochet and Apollo Crews right now in the never-ending series of multi-man matches. By the way, why isn't Mustafa Ali helping out the babyfaces?
Raw Women's Champion Asuka def. Mickie James
James had a hell of a comeback against Asuka four years ago at NXT TakeOver: Toronto, and while this wasn't quite on the same level, I appreciated the effort and thought the early goings were very good. Unfortunately, there was a bad botch down the stretch and the finish was awkward. In other words, this might be it for James in the title picture. Zelina Vega emerged afterward and immediately challenged Asuka to a championship match. Yes, she's a fresh face, but she lacks credibility and I can't see it being anything but a quick win for Asuka.
United States Champion Bobby Lashley def. Erik (Non-Title)
These two brawled during Alexander vs. Ricochet earlier in the evening, leading to this match being made. Ivar is unfortunately out injured for a little while after getting hurt in last week's eight-man tag team match, but I'm glad he's okay and that Erik may still be used in the meantime. This was a standard squash for Lashley, who's off to a strong start as United States Champion.
Seth Rollins def. Dominik Mysterio in a Steel Cage Match
There are few things I loathe more in wrestling than interference in Steel Cage matches. The whole point of the stipulation is to keep people out! Other than that, this was great. Every match Rollins and Dominik have had so far has exceeded my expectations, but I'm ready for this rivalry to be done and I assume it is to allow Rollins and Murphy do their own thing with Rollins brutalizing Murphy at ringside post-match. As for Dominik, he's been incredibly impressive over the last month, but I think it may be time for him to report to NXT so he can get more seasoning. I mean, there really isn't much for him to do on Raw now that he's lost to Rollins three times.
Kevin Owens def. Aleister Black
Black attacked Owens before the bell, but Owens still managed to emerge victorious, albeit after a distraction from RETRIBUTION. They worked well together and had a hard-hitting match, but much like Alexander vs. Ricochet, I'm slightly surprised WWE gave it away with no notice when it could easily been saved for Clash of Champions. I was also surprised Owens won this early in the feud. Expect more matches between them, though.
The Riott Squad def. Lana and Natalya
The women's tag tea division is ice cold right now. Bayley turned on Sasha Banks and The IIconics have split up, so that doesn't leave a lot of competition for the current champions Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax, who barely get along as it is. The Riott Squad make sense as the number one contenders, but this was utterly forgettable. That said, you won't get any complaints out of me about Jax and Baszler laying out Lana and Natalya afterward.
WWE Champion Drew McIntyre vs. Keith Lee Ended in a No Contest (Non-Title)
McIntyre vs. Lee continued the theme of the night as a match that should have been saved for a later date when it could have meant more because you knew this wasn't going to have a clean finish. On the bright side, there were stakes, because if Lee won, he would have earned himself a shot at the WWE Championship at Clash of Champions. This was on its way to being a top-notch main event, until RETRIBUTION showed up and attacked everyone. The Hurt Business, McIntyre and Lee taking the fight to the group was a welcome change of pace, but WWE desperately needs to get to the next chapter of this story with RETRIBUTION because it's been a month of nothing with them. I'm well aware the company itself probably doesn't know where the angle is headed or who will be under the masks ultimately and that's why it's been treading water for so long.
Dumb tagline aside ("In Your Face"? Really?), I applaud WWE's effort to combat the return of Monday Night Football by setting up so many matches in advance, but this didn't feel like a hot episode by any means. That isn't to say it was entirely terrible, but the main event ending the way it did was a letdown and Asuka vs. James also underwhelmed to an extent. Rollins vs. Dominik, Alexander vs. Ricochet, and Street Profits vs. Cesaro and Nakamura were worthwhile, but the Clash of Champions build has been lackluster and RETRIBUTION is a consistent low point on the program week after week. All in all, it was a slightly-above-average show. It would have been even better with a little less of RETRIBUTION.