Updated: Feb 9
Match #1 - Cesaro O def. Erick Rowan X
With the inaugural WWE World Tag Team Champions to be decided at the Clash of Champions PPV, Rowan and Cesaro faced off in the second of these singles matches, after Harper defeated Sheamus in what was somewhat of an upset at the start of last week's show. Rowan unfortunately could not find anywhere near the same level of competitiveness as his Tag Team partner had, and spent a large portion of the match fighting for survival rather than fighting for the victory, though his resilience was commendable, kicking out of two top rope European Uppercuts and a Neutralizer. Any brief rally the crowd thought was coming never came, and Cesaro strapped in the Sharpshooter to, not only notch a win for himself, but also gain that all important momentum heading into Clash of Champions. As the show went to an ad break, the last image we saw was both teams staring each other down, intensity ingrained in all four of their faces. Clash of Champions could not come quickly enough.
Backstage, Becky Lynch was seen walking toward Kayla Braxton to give an interview regarding the upcoming 6-Woman Elimination Match at Clash of Champions, when she was jumped by Logan and Morgan. After throwing Lynch into the storage containers, Logan located a chair and was shaping to hit her with it when Sasha Banks pulled her, by the hair, away from the defenceless Lynch. Incensed, Morgan attempted to help Logan but Banks, who had wrestled the chair out of Logan's hands, was wielding it like a sword, forcing the two members of the Riott Squad to retreat sullenly.
Banks then offered her hand to help Lynch out of the tangle of boxes she was in, but The Man slapped the hand away and instead stood nose to nose with The Boss, before shouldering her out of the way as she left.
Tensions were certainly running high heading into Clash of Champions!
Match #2 - Roderick Strong (c) O def. Tye Dillinger X
[WWE United States Championship Open Challenge Match]
This was Roderick Strong's Fourth Successful Title Defence
For the fourth successive week, Roderick Strong came to the ring to commence another round of his WWE United States Championship Open Challenge on the back of 3 solid, hard-fought defences against The Big Show, Goldust and Oney Lorcan.
The crowd's anticipation for the identity of his next challenger was palpable, and when the word 'TEN!' echoed around the arena, the noise escalated to welcome crowd-favourite Tye Dillinger to the ring for his taste of Main Event action.
The match itself started at a much slower pace than Strong's other encounters, with both men seemingly feeling each other out, and this slower pace benefited Dillinger, who got a lot of the early offence in. Strong seemed to notice this and went for broke with a Plancha over the top rope, only to miss and eat guardrail - Tye Dillinger stood over him and mimed 6 with his hands, before picking him up and chopping his chest savagely, miming the number 10 with his fingers to the crowd's delight.
The action made it's way inside the ring and while the action remained a more cautious pace, Strong began feeling his way into the match. Dillinger began to show the frustrations of not having capitalised on his early dominance and began to make erratic choices, including going to the top rope despite having hit the Tye Breaker on Strong. This would prove costly, as Strong rallied, coming back at Tye in a big way, using his arsenal to Backbreakers to break down Dillinger before finishing it off with an End of Heartache.
Celebrating his fourth successful title defence, Strong ascended the turnbuckle and celebrated to a gracious crowd, but as he attempted to roll from the ring, the house lights went out. For a few seconds there was total darkness. As the lights came back up, Strong was still in the ring, looking puzzled but otherwise unharmed, and he made his way backstage, clearly pondering what on earth had just happened.
Match #3 - Ruby Riott vs. Lana ended In A No Contest
Lana had the chance here to be a part of the Elimination Match at Clash of Champions for the WWE Women's Championship. All she had to do, as per Dusty Rhodes's instruction, was to beat an established member of the Women's roster.
Who that woman would be was soon made clear as the leader of the Riott Squad swaggered out to the ring. Lana prepared herself for a stern test, only to have the opportunity instantly ripped from her as the returning Bayley jumped Ruby Riott from behind, slamming into her with a chair, before mounting and reigning punches down on her, the beatdown she received at the hands of the Riott Squad clearly still painfully vivid.
It took several minutes for the arena security staff and Riott's stablemates - Morgan and Logan - to finally pry Bayley off her. Bayley was escorted to the back, smiling as the crowd chanted her name, while Riott was helped back shortly after by Morgan, Logan and Medical Staff.
Lana, who had watched the entire incident unfold before her eyes without moving, stood dumbfounded in the ring. Once the realisation hit her that her opportunity had gone, she dropped to her stomach and exploded into a tantrum that greatly entertained the Pennsylvania crowd.
Post-match, Dusty Rhodes announced that after the actions of this week, a match had been set for Clash of Champions; Bayley facing off against Ruby Riott in Singles action, with the Riott Squad banned from ringside.
The traditional table was set up in the middle of the ring next as the official contract signing for the WWE Championship match at Clash of Champions took place.
General Manager Dusty Rhodes was out to officiate the signing but Guerrero was the first competitor out, and received an astronomical pop from the Pennsylvania crowd, and the chants of 'Eddie!' and 'Viva la Raza!' continued long after the last bars of 'Lie, Cheat, Steal!' had tailed off. Kevin Owens was next, and though his reception was more muted than that of Eddie's, he was still greeted with appreciation by the crowd.
The signing itself passed with no real issue; both men signed on the dotted line though Owens did not break eye contact with Guerrero the entire time. With the match made official, both men took to the microphone.
Guerrero spoke first, sounding off about how his professional wrestling career, and indeed his life, had built to this very moment, the moment where he reached the pinnacle of this industry. He then turned to Owens, smiled, and stated that if realising that dream meant lying, cheating and stealing, then the entire WWE Universe knew he wasn't above such things.
Owens laughed, and replied that he had all the respect in the world for Guerrero, and in fact, he was a hero of his growing up, that he was tired of the cliche of every contract signing ending with someone going through a table. All he wanted here was to shake hands, there was no heat here, simply two men doing battle for the Championship. Guerrero obliged, with Owens holding the grip slightly longer than necessary and smiling, feigning hitting Guerrero before waltzing from the ring and walking backwards up the ramp, once again never breaking eye contact with Guerrero.
Match #4 - BlackHearts [Drew McIntyre, Edge O & Randy Orton] def. Daniel Bryan, Aleister Black, KUSHIDA X
Tonight's main event saw the newly formed partnership of Daniel Bryan, Aleister Black and KUSHIDA take on the tyranny of Blackhearts in 6-Man Tag Team action.
The action was quick; even the usually clinical and methodical Randy Orton stalked the ring with more purpose. Bryan and Drew were kept well apart from each other during the opening salvo of the match, with Aleister Black dominating the ring, wiping out Edge with a sharp kick to the chin and causing Orton to slither back out of the ring with another.
KUSHIDA for his part, fired around the arena like a firework, dropping Dropkicks and Moonsaults all over the ring, and it took a desperation RKO to halt the juggernaut. From there, Orton and Edge took their time dismantling the Japanese star, targeting his knees and cutting the ring in half, stopping him from tagging in Bryan or Black. However, as Orton went for the killing blow in an RKO, KUSHIDA reversed it, launching the Viper into Edge and threw himself into his corner to allow Bryan into the match just as Edge tagged in McIntyre.
The two tore into each other, almost 2 months of pent-up rage and aggression over-spilling into the ring. No wrestling moves, just brutal strikes and brawling. The two fought out of the ring, rolling onto the mats before brawling into the crowd, the match seemingly forgotten.
This didn't last long. Orton, still doubled over from his collision with Edge, attempted to get unsteadily to his feet, with a rejuvenated KUSHIDA waiting to strike with the Running Knee. As he sprinted, full-tilt, at the unsuspecting Orton, he was met with a crunching Spear at the hands of Edge. The Rated-R Superstar, revealing himself to be the legal man, covered for the 3 count, giving BlackHearts an important win heading into the PPV.
Bryan and McIntyre continued brawling, both now bloodied, until a whole host of security, led by General Manager, Dusty Rhodes, managed to pull them apart. Dusty took to the microphone and exploded that McIntyre and Bryan would face off once and for all in a Steel Cage Match at Clash of Champions, before adding that if anyone intervened, they would be fired, leaving Drew screaming angrily at Dusty about the unjust nature of his decision. Rhodes didn't back down however, staring bullishly into the angry face of the Scottish Psychopath until eventually, begrudgingly, McIntyre allowed himself to be escorted up the ramp by security.