Clash of Champions 2016 predictions

Clash of Champions

Not to be confused with the mobile game “Clash of Clans”, Raw’s first solo-PPV of the new era is this Sunday, with the title-heavy Clash of Champions.

WWE Universal Championship: Kevin Owens (c) vs. Seth Rollins
It feels like it was only a month ago that fans in Brooklyn were booing the red belt and celebrating Finn Balor winning the belt with an injured shoulder. Since then, Kevin Owens has become the second/first (depending on how WWE wants to paint it!) champion, with the unanswered question of “why did Triple H help him?” casting a shadow over it all.

In his new role as a babyface, Rollins really should be chasing the title, and certainly shouldn’t be winning the belt in his first shot against a heel champion. On paper, this could be a sleeper match. Prediction: Kevin Owens

WWE United States Championship: Rusev (c) vs. Roman Reigns
Will we actually see this match? At SummerSlam, it was dumped off an overly-long card, with a pre-match beatdown forcing an injury postponement. As opposed to a forfeit or anything else…

Since then, Roman Reigns has been flirting more with the Universal championship, and actually picked up a win over Kevin Owens this past week on Raw in a cage match. So why is he fighting for the US title? Rusev remaining as champion would make sense, but I’m not too sure if this is going to remain their long-term plan – particularly since all signs seem to point to a three-way program for the Universal title… because that type of match isn’t getting done to death lately! This feels like a pick ‘em, but I’m not picking a title change. Prediction: Rusev

WWE Cruiserweight Championship: TJ Perkins (c) vs. Brian Kendrick
It’d be fair to say that WWE stumbled with their launch of the Cruiserweights on Raw. Somehow, someone thought it’d be a good idea to debut them without showing the champion, and have a long talking segment with Mick Foley as a set-up. Yeah…

Anyway, so in light of that, Brian Kendrick won a four-way against Cedric Alexander, Gran Metalik and Rich Swann on Raw. Which is weird as hell to type, but it happened. Unfortunately, we got none of Kendrick’s back-story in that match, or the “this is my last chance” storyline that ran through Kendrick’s Cruiserweight Classic run. So at best, he’s a guy that casual fans may vaguely remember… and at worst, he’s “that jobber from seven years ago”.

Fortunately, this being on a pay-per-view, we should at least get some time devoted to this match, but the one nagging worry I have is that Brian Kendrick worked the most “traditional WWE style” of the entire division. So this may be cruiserweight in terms of size, but I’m not expecting anything to come close to what we saw in last week’s finals. Unless Brian Kendrick’s found a way to turn back the clock sixteen years. Prediction: TJ Perkins

WWE Raw Women’s Championship: Charlotte (c) vs. Sasha Banks vs. Bayley
The undecided women’s title match: at first, it was going to be Charlotte vs. Sasha in a SummerSlam rematch. Then, that match got pulled, and Sasha won a triple-threat to reclaim her spot. Except the finish to that match was a missed double-pin, and Bayley was added to the title match.

Since her call-up after SummerSlam, Bayley’s risked becoming an afterthought, particularly once Sasha Banks’ return from injury was confirmed. Having her win the belt here won’t solve anything, but at the same time, given that the long-term feud seems to be Charlotte vs. Dana Brooke, I fully expect Dana to get involved and perhaps cost Charlotte the match. Prediction: Sasha Banks

WWE Raw Tag Team Championship: The New Day (c) vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
This feels like a stale feud, and with Raw having precious few in the way of heel tag teams, we’re either getting this or the Shooting Stars. As if. New Day have the record of longest reigning tag team champions in their sights, which should give the Raw crew time to come up with some viable heel teams. Prediction: The New Day

Cesaro vs. Sheamus – Best of Seven Finals
With an unspecified “championship opportunity” on the line here, of course their best of seven series ended up tied at three wins a piece! Earlier in the series, rumours flew around speculating on Cesaro’s contract status, and that could swing the result, much like the Cruiserweight Classic. Right now we’re predicting the Universal and United States champions to be heels, which’d really point towards Cesaro winning. So that’ll be our pick. Prediction: Cesaro

Sami Zayn vs. Chris Jericho
In the latest chapter of “Sami Zayn beat Kevin Owens at Battleground, but they had no future plans for him”, Zayn’s up against Kevin Owens’ “best friend” in the only match on the main card that has no clear championship implications. Depending on which Chris Jericho we get, we’ll either have a good match, or a frustrating affair which will do neither man any favours. This is another pick ‘em, but I’ll go for Sami Zayn, just in the name of building up a future babyface contender. Prediction: Sami Zayn

Nia Jax vs. Alicia Fox
This pre-show match stems from a backstage segment where Alicia Fox accidentally-but-legitimately threw a tissue box in Nia’s face, following one of Nia’s squash matches on Raw. Deservedly on the pre-show, a win for either woman isn’t going to put them anywhere close to the title picture, unless they suddenly develop an affinity for Charlotte… likewise, I don’t expect this to go long. Jax’s entire act so far has been based on squash matches, and Alicia Fox on a pre-show is the wrong person and place to start changing. Prediction: Nia Jax

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ian Hamilton has been a wrestling fan since 1992, and when he’s not watching WWE, New Japan or his latest wrestling love, PROGRESS, he’s usually suffering through Sunderland AFC and the New York Jets. He’s got a couple of books out on Amazon – “Wrestling’s Sinking Ship” and “Gone Too Soon”, and can be reached via his website,, or on Twitter @theianhamilton