WWE's Clash of Champions pay-per-view on Sunday saw 10 titles defended over 11 matches on the card, yet just two championships changed hands in an up-and-down night. Luckily for fans, a pair of late reveals may have been enough to save the evening. The results of this card, which emanated from Charlotte, in some ways triggered a fresh start as WWE enters a crucial period ahead with rival promotion AEW launching the same week as SmackDown Live moves to Friday nights on prime time television.
Although the night featured a smattering of big moments, what it lacked was consistently strong matches. Still, a violent turn for Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch may have served as the card's high point until a memorable swerve after the main event that sets up an interesting future for the universal championship on the road to Hell in a Cell. CBS Sports was with you the entire way Sunday updating this story with results, grades and highlights from the show.
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2019 WWE Clash of Champions results, grades
Cruiserweight Championship -- Drew Gulak (c) def. Lince Dorado (via pinfall) and Humberto Carrillo to retain the title (Kickoff Show): Fun piece of business to open the event as both Dorado and Carrillo stood out for their aerial theatrics in this step-up opportunity. The match was frantic and fun for as long as it lasted with Gulak earning a sneaky win late. The only issue was the somewhat sloppy finish. Carrillo landed an Aztec Press on Dorado that was anything but clean. And after Gulak tossed Carrillo out from behind, a rollup attempt on Dorado saw the referee need to verbally cue Gulak that Dorado's shoulders weren't both down before delivering the 1-2-3. Grade: C+
United States Championship -- AJ Styles (c) def. Cedric Alexander via pinfall to retain the title (Kickoff Show): The booking was strong in this one as Alexander, donned in Charlotte Hornets pants and wrestling in his hometown, scored a pair of near falls off the opening bell and appeared to have Styles on the ropes. But not only did Styles reverse the momentum, he did so emphatically. Styles hit a suplex on the ring apron and a Styles Clash on the floor but refused to go for the pinfall by pulling Alexander's head up at two. He followed with a Phenomenal Forearm and a second Styles Clash to put Alexander away in a statement win. Styes then motioned for The O.C. to come out as Alexander fell victim to a running boot from Luke Gallows and some ground-and-pound from Kyle Anderson. Grade: B
Raw Tag Team Championship -- Robert Roode & Dolph Ziggler def. Seth Rollins & Braun Strowman (c) via pinfall to win the titles: The finish here seemed about as predictable as any on the card coming in given that Rollins and Strowman were scheduled to face each other for the universal championship later in the night. That doesn't mean it lacked for excitement or execution, however. Chaos ensued late as Strowman accidentally bulldozed Roode into Rollins with Rollins slamming his head into the turnbuckle. After Ziggler pulled Strowman outside the ring, Roode hit a stunned Rollins with a Glorious DDT for the pin. Strowman angrily left the ring on his own afterwards before cutting a backstage promo in which he promised Rollins will "get these hands" and continue his losing streak later in the night. Grade: B-
SmackDown Women's Championship -- Bayley (c) def. Charlotte Flair via pinfall to retain the title: There was no shortage of intensity in this one from Flair popping the hometown crowd with a big boot and near fall off the opening bell to Bayley further exploring her heel turn. It was the latter that ultimately decided the finish as Bayley deftly removed the bottom turnbuckle cover while recovering in the corner as Flair was inadvertently distracted by the referee. Bayley then slammed Flair's face into the exposed turnbuckle and rolled her up for the pin. To cement her purposeful wrongdoing, Bayley grabbed her title and sprinted boldly to the backstage area. Grade: B-
SmackDown Tag Team Championship -- The Revival def. The New Day (c) via submission to win the titles: Another brief yet efficient piece of storytelling on Sunday's show. Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson targeted and took advantage of Xavier Woods' left knee injury throughout the match. After hitting Woods with Shatter Machine, the heel duo refused to try a pin and instead ripped off his knee brace before Dawson applied an inverted Figure Four Leg Lock. With Dawson talking trash in his face from outside the ring, Woods eventually tapped out. A post-match promo on the stage saw The Revival, dressed in their new #FTRKO gear, put over stablemate Randy Orton's chances in his WWE championship match later tonight. Grade: C+
Women's Tag Team Championship -- Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross (c) def. Fire & Desire via pinfall to retain the titles: Cross proved to be both the workhorse and the savior in this one as the champions were able to defend thanks to Cross' late save. After Mandy Rose and Sonia Deville combined to hit their Total Elimination knee-strike finisher on Bliss, Cross dove in at the last second to break the pinfall. Shortly after, Rose missed a running knee in the corner and Cross followed with her swinging fisherman's neck breaker while Rose's legs were draped over the top rope for the pin. The match also featured a run-in from 24/7 champion R-Truth as a group of WWE low-card wrestlers gave chase. Truth entered the ring and was briefly rolled up by Bliss for a pin attempt that could only get two. Truth and Carmella escaped through the crowd and the match continued. Grade: C
Intercontinental Championship -- Shinsuke Nakamura (c) def. The Miz via pinfall to retain the title: A fairly forgettable build to this title bout gave way to fairly predictable storytelling. Sami Zayn, who donned a neck brace and cut a promo on The Undertaker before the match, gave commentary from ringside during the match until his microphone was cut (and The Miz tossed it onto the stage). From there, Zayn's interference was constant. The Miz ate a knee to the back of the head following a distraction from Zayn and later saw his Skull-Crushing Finale on Nakamura hit without a pin attempt as Zayn stood on the apron to grab the referee's attention. An angry Miz gave chase outside and ran himself into a kick to the face from Nakamura. He followed up with his Kinsasha finisher for the 1-2-3. Grade: C+
Raw Women's Championship -- Sasha Banks def. Becky Lynch (c) via disqualification; Lynch retains the title: Banks may have won the first chapter of their new feud, but Lynch is certainly winning the war at this moment after a physical brawl post-match that took place all over the arena. This one was dripping with intensity from the opening bell as Lynch responded to Banks' trash talk with a hard slap to the face. Both wrestlers were able to escape the other's submission attempt at various points, and Banks secured a late near fall when she used Lynch's body to block the referee's vision of a chair shot in an homage to her idol Eddie Guerrero. The match came to an end when Banks brought the chair in the ring and the referee pulled it out of her hands. Lynch picked it up and swung it at Banks but inadvertently took the referee out to trigger the DQ.
Lynch beat Banks down with the chair and followed her into the crowd where she forced a meaningless tap out by using the guardrail to apply the Dis-Arm-Her. The brawl continued onto the concourse where Lynch covered Banks with mustard. They traded stiff punches on the way back down the stairs before Lynch finished Banks off with a thorough chair beating and applied the Dis-Arm-Her again while sitting on the chair until referees ran to the ring and broke the hold. Talk about whetting the appetite for what is to come between these two for the rest of 2019. Grade: B+
WWE Championship -- Kofi Kingston (c) def. Randy Orton to retain the title: Putting this on after the hot ending to Lynch-Banks this match gave it an unenviable spot. But the storytelling and pace showcased throughout the match did no favors to try and wake up a suddenly dead crowd. The match was too long and featured far too many slow and deliberate beatings from Orton. Even worse, the buildup toward Kingston's eventual rally from the brink of defeat fell hard and flat in the face of a crowd who simply were waiting for the next match to begin. Orton feigned being hurt late only to land a surprise RKO, but Kingston was able to get his foot on the ropes to break the pinning attempt. After Orton took too long and missed a running punt to the head, Kingston countered with Trouble in Paradise for the pin. Seeing Orton succumb to the finish after beating Kingston down for so much of the match just didn't seem believable. Grade: C-
King Booker interrupts the Street Profits: Backstage after the match, the Profits were celebrating Kingston's win and previewing the King of the Ring final Monday night on Raw when Booker T. -- dressed in his King Booker garb -- interrupted the tag team. Angelo Dawkins asked Booker if he would "knight" him, to which Booker bristled and told both Dawkins and Montez Ford to straighten up and, "Get your mind right!"
Erick Rowan def. Roman Reigns via pinfall (No Disqualification): Trending towards another predictable Reigns victory despite the odds and multiple near falls from Rowan stacked against him, the return of Luke Harper certainly raised the rent late. Dressed in similar attire as Rowan (which likely makes their short run as Bludgeon Brothers a thing of the past), Harper intercepted a Reigns spear attempt on the ramp by emerging out of nowhere to hit a boot to the face. A discus clothesline inside the ring from Harper followed before Rowan hit an Iron Claw Slam for the pin. While it's too early to tell whether this means Harper and Rowan are joining forces for some kind of Wyatt Family 2.0 with their former leader, the run-in rescued a match that was going nowhere and running far too long. Grade: C+
Universal Championship -- Seth Rollins (c) def. Braun Strowman via pinfall to retain the title: Any remnants of the boos which sprinkled over Rollins' rally to finally put Strowman away will be long forgotten thanks to a timely and needed reveal. Just as Rollins hit the top of the ramp to hold up his title as the broadcast appeared to be going off air, the lights went out and Bray Wyatt emerged as The Fiend to hit Sister Abigail from behind before applying the Mandible Claw. The Fiend alternated screams and laughs to the delight of the crowd. The late run-in likely signaled the start of a new program for Rollins entering Hell in a Cell after putting the Strowman chapter behind him (complete with their tag team title loss earlier in the night).
The issues that the crowd took with the booking to close the match had more to do with the lack of protection shown to finishing moves as Rollins inexplicably kicked out of an impressive frog splash from Strowman off the top rope. Rollins went on to land four finishing Stomps in all, plus a Pedigree, to package with Strowman selling a left knee injury to finally secure the pin. The victory only continues Rollins' stretch of immaculately strong booking which includes a pair of clean wins over Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania and SummerSlam. Although the main event hit a few high notes on Sunday, it essentially featured the same story that was told against Lesnar only with Strowman subbed in. In some ways, that foundation helped put over the Wyatt reveal even more as WWE sent fans home happy. Grade: B
2019 WWE Clash of Champions recap, highlights
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