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DON “THE PREDICTOR” MURPHY — “CLASH OF CHAMPIONS” PICKS

Posted September 14th, 2019 by 1Wrestling News Team


“THE PREDICTOR” PREDICTS: WWE CLASH OF CHAMPIONS 2019

By Don “The Predictor” Murphy (Twitter: @DonThePredictor)

Get ready wrestling fans! Very soon, there will be over fifteen hours of wrestling on television each week, not counting pay-per-views. I’ve said it before and it bears repeating – it’s a great time to be a fan, as there’s really something out there for everyone. And for those that follow WWE, let’s face it. There’s been a lot of scrutiny around the creative decisions lately, which can be partially attributed to a decline in ratings. But, I’ve followed this company long enough to know that they are not out of it by a long shot. It’ll take baby steps, but I’m liking a lot of things on Raw and Smackdown lately and I am very much looking forward to seeing NXT emerge as a third major brand when it officially moves to the USA Network. And, having increased competition from other companies will only make the WWE do the best they can to produce a top-quality show. This leads us to Sunday night, when the WWE presents its annual Clash of Champions show, emanating from the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. On paper, it’s a solid show and I was thinking about the winners and losers on this particular card, my attention looks to NXT debuting on USA and Smackdown moving to Fox, as I think these upcoming shifts will greatly impact booking decisions in the short-term. Let’s run down the card!

WWE Universal Championship Match: Seth Rollins defends the WWE Universal Championship against Braun Strowman

Topline Thoughts: I’m glad the creative team found a way to get Strowman back to the top of the card. Admittedly, I’m not usually a fan of enemies becoming tag team champions, but in this case, it helped add a little juice to this story. Rollins is just coming off a dramatic victory over Brock Lesnar, so continuing to match him against guys much bigger than him makes sense. I would have preferred a scenario with a clear babyface and heel, but I don’t think we are getting that here. In the end, Seth retains and I think this program is a one and done, especially as it seems like the next championship program will involve “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. Don’t rule out a schmoz of a finish, featuring AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, Bobby Roode and Dolph Ziggler (or some combination of the above).

The Predictor Predicts: Seth Rollins retains the WWE Universal Championship

WWE Championship Match: Kofi Kingston defends the WWE Championship against Randy Orton

Topline Thoughts: This program started out flat, but I really like the story they’ve told here. You can say what you want about Orton’s ability as a performer, but he’s a great storyteller and a great promo. Brining the viewer back to their feud in 2009, capped off by a re-do of the famous MSG “Boom Drop” spot has been a nice touch. Given that they’ve had a bit more time to build this, I am expecting a better outing than their SummerSlam one. I expect Kofi to retain here, which is good because they’re continuing to stack his championship resume with wins over top-tier contenders. This will make it mean something when someone finally defeats him.

The Predictor Predicts: Kofi Kingston retains the WWE Championship

WWE United States Championship Match: AJ Styles defends the WWE United States Championship against Cedric Alexander

Topline Thoughts: It’s taken a while, but I’m seeing a slow build to Cedric Alexander emerging as part of the main even picture. And that’s a good thing, as I think there’s a lot they could do with him, particularly given that good babyfaces are becoming hard to come by. This has the potential to be the show-stealer; however, I’ve said this before about AJ Styles matches and have been let down. It could be a result of him getting older, but I’d like to think that the right opponent can get a top performance out of him. I don’t see a title change here, but expect Cedric to be positioned strong in defeat.

The Predictor Predicts: AJ Styles retains the WWE United States Championship

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match: Shinsuke Nakamura (w/Sami Zayn) defends the WWE Interontinental Championship against The Miz

Topline Thoughts: I love that they are trying to do something with Nakamura after being stagnant for so long. He still has a lot to give as a performer when motivated, so I’m liking what I’m seeing so far. I also like that they took an old tool out of the shed –the manager. Sami Zayn fits this role perfectly and if they’re not going to use him strongly as an in-ring performer, utilizing his strong mic skills is a great idea. For the Miz, while his reality show continues to draw strong ratings, his act seems to be flattening a bit. He’s still a strong player, but if the babyface act is stalling, it may be time to move him back to the heel side where we know he can flourish.

The Predictor Predicts: Shinsuke Nakamura retains the WWE Intercontinental Championship

WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Match: Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman defend the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship against Bobby Roode and Dolph Ziggler

Topline Thoughts: This match will serve two purposes. First, it will heighten the conflict between Rollins and Strowman as we head toward the main event. Second, it will attempt to solidify Ziggler and Roode as a tag team by giving them the belts. I’m all for WWE trying to elevate their talents, but as we’ve said many times before, if this is going to work, both need to be repackaged. Roode needs to lose the “Glorious” gimmick, while Ziggler needs a new look and new music altogether. If they’re successful in establishing them, that’s a very good thing, as the product can definitely benefit from more top-performing tag teams.

The Predictor Predicts: Bobby Roode and Dolph Ziggler win the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship


WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match: The New Day (Big E and Xavier Woods) defend the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship against The Revival

Topline Thoughts: I’ve lost track of which talent is on which brand, given the Wild Card rule, but I’m all for the Revival landing on Smackdown with the titles. The New Day is a popular act that have held the belts multiple times. I don’t think they need the belts at this stage and I’d like to see a loss start to set the stage for a potential breakup of the team, particularly if they want to start showing some jealousy between the members if Kofi ends up keeping his title. I’m not sure what to make of the Revival’s alliance with Randy Orton, but if it’s short-lived, I really don’t want to see them laid out with RKOs at the end. If you’re going to start them fresh on a new brand, start them strong.

The Predictor Predicts: The Revival win the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship


WWE Raw Women’s Championship Match: Becky Lynch defends the WWE Raw Women’s Championship against Sasha Banks

Topline Thoughts: This is another match that sets the stage for Smackdown’s move to FOX. If you’ve seen the ads, Becky is heavily featured. So, I think it’s a forgone conclusion that Becky drops the Raw title here so that she can move full time to Smackdown, where she’ll likely take the title from Bayley. With Becky likely leaving Raw, I’ll be interested to see who they decide to elevate to challenge Sasha. Raw has talent, albeit a bit flat. Do they try to repackage someone or do they look to move someone from Smackdown or NXT to Raw?

The Predictor Predicts: Sasha Banks wins the WWE Raw Women’s Championship


WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship Match: Bayley defends the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship against Charlotte Flair

Topline Thoughts: Don’t get me wrong, the Bayley heel turn was much needed. The issue now becomes how this match is handled since both she and Charlotte are heels. Now, they are in Charlotte’s hometown, so that makes her the babyface. But is that the plan moving forward? And if so, is that the right move? Similar to the Miz, Charlotte is usable as a babyface, but clearly isn’t as comfortable as she is as a heel. And, if she stays a heel and eventually wins the title, does she feud with Becky again when she comes to Smackdown? That feud has been played out a lot and they really need to give it a chance to breathe. For Bayley, like I said, expect Lynch to take the title from her. And then, I know it’s wishful thinking, but I’d love to see her go away for a little bit and have the WWE do a reset when she comes back, reverting back to the character we all loved in NXT.

The Predictor Predicts: Bayley retains the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship


WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship Match: Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross defend the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship against Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville

Topline Thoughts: I like all four of these competitors, but I feel like the division as a whole is flat. Maybe once NXT is on USA, we’ll see more attention paid to nurturing this division and making it relevant. I think a step in the right direction would be to be titles on Rose and Deville here and transition into a feud between babyface Cross and heel Bliss.

The Predictor Predicts: Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville win the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship


WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match: Drew Gulak defends the WWE Cruiserweight Championship against Lince Dorado and Humberto Carrillo

Topline Thoughts: This will be fun as I’ve really enjoyed 205 Live as of late. I don’t quite know what becomes of the brand when Smackdown moves to Fridays, but there’s a lot of good talent here. It’ll be moved to the pre-show and I don’t see a title change here.

The Predictor Predicts: Drew Gulak retains the WWE Cruiserweight Championship


Singles Match: Roman Reigns meets Erick Rowan

Topline Thoughts: Sadly, I don’t think we’ve seen the end of this poorly executed “who dunnit” angle. I do like that they’re trying to do something with Rowan, but I still think they need a lot of work to get him over. Expect Daniel Bryan to play a role here in the finish and be revealed as the true culprit.

The Predictor Predicts: Erick Rowan defeats Roman Reigns


Bonus Prediction/King of the Ring Finals: Chad Gable meets Baron Corbin

Topline Thoughts: OK, I know this match was moved to Raw, but it’s the culmination of the big tournament, so I figured, why not? The logical thing to do here would be to make Corbin the heel king, as he plays the obnoxious heel role so well. Plus, this gimmick works best when the king is heel. However, I’m reading between the lines with Gable. I think the company I very high on him. He’s had some great matches on 205 Live and I see the creative team looking at a King of the Ring win as a way to establish him, particularly over Corbin who we know gets heat, whether it be “go away” heat or not. So, against my better judgment, I’m going with a babyface win here.

The Predictor Predicts: Chad Gable becomes the 2019 WWE King of the Ring

Category: Wrestling.

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