WWE Clash of Champions 2020 is the company’s third pay-per-view in five weeks, and boy oh boy, does it have a lot to live up to.
For all of the criticism WWE has rightfully gotten for its up-and-down booking of both Raw and SmackDown in 2020, last month’s SummerSlam and Payback events were both incredibly well-booked—and quite newsworthy—shows. Now that Raw finds itself battling Monday Night Football head-to-head once again while SmackDown needs to maintain its audience on FOX, the booking of WWE’s marquee events is more important now than it is at perhaps any other time of the year.
From Roman Reigns’ dastardly heel turn to the ending of the friendship between Bayley and Sasha Banks, WWE has wisely been going all in on some of its biggest storylines, which is a necessity as the company looks to turn around its ratings woes. Clash of Champions should be no different. WWE needs to put on a fantastic show as the TV competition heats up and as some of its biggest storylines, like RETRIBUTION, have failed to deliver.
Here are five smart booking decisions WWE must make at Clash of Champions 2020.
Bayley Retains Thanks To Alexa Bliss
The big money match WWE is building toward in the women’s division is clearly Sasha Banks vs. Bayley, which may be taking place at Hell in a Cell and has been delivering incredibly strong ratings on SmackDown.
At Clash of Champions, Bayley will defend her SmackDown Women’s Championship against Nikki Cross in a match that feels like it’s happened about 100 times recently and is clearly just a placeholder bout to get to the ultimate goal of Bayley vs. “The Boss.” For all of the creative team’s faults, it should be commended for the fantastic job it’s done with this rivalry, which should end with Banks toppling Bayley to become SmackDown Women’s Champion.
Aside from a brief five-day reign for Charlotte Flair, Bayley has held that title since May 2019, and there’s no logical reason why she should drop it right before her expected match with Banks. Instead, Bayley should retain via an assist from Alexa Bliss, who has been channeling her inner “The Fiend” and is primed for a heel turn—or major character shift—that should come to fruition at Clash of Champions, assuming the bout actually happens as there remains some uncertainty about whether Cross will be on the show.
Both Tag Team Champs Retain, Build Toward Unification Match
WWE’s tag team division is, for all intents and purposes, nonexistent. The New Day, The Usos and The Viking Raiders—arguably the best three teams in the company—are all on an indefinite hiatus, and the rest of the division is, well, kind of meh.
In a surprising move, Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura will defend the SmackDown Tag Team Championship against Lucha House Party, which appears to be on the verge of a split, at Clash of Champions while The Street Profits will defend the Raw titles against the duo of Angel Garza and Andrade, which split up and got back together within the span of just one week. That’s strange because WWE sure seemed to be building toward a title unification match between both sets of champions in what would have been a logical move by the creative team.
The WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship, which is also booked poorly for the most part, functions as a floating set of titles that can be defended across all WWE brands, and that’s done at least in part because the division simply isn’t very deep. As the men’s tag team division continues to shrink, WWE needs to do something similar with the tag titles, have both duos retain at Clash of Champions and build toward that unification match that once looked inevitable.
Randy Orton Beats Drew McIntyre
The idea of Randy Orton winning his 14th world title—even despite his recent greatness—is one that won’t sit well with many of WWE’s most diehard fans, especially if it comes at the supposed expense of Drew McIntyre.
But here’s something that not many are considering: Even if Orton does beat McIntyre for the WWE Championship at Clash of Champions, that doesn’t mean that McIntyre will simply disappear from the world title scene, especially with WWE specifically choosing the Ambulance Match stipulation as a way to potentially protect the WWE Champion in defeat. McIntyre, of course, could very well win back the title from Orton in a month or two, especially considering that the two seem poised to have a lengthy rivalry for the title. While the ultimate goal of this rivalry should be to make McIntyre a bigger star, that doesn’t mean that Orton’s momentum should be stopped dead in its tracks.
Orton lost to McIntyre at SummerSlam and then put over Keith Lee clean as a sheet in lightning quick fashion at Payback, and he badly needs a win. He should get one at Clash of Champions in a fashion that paves the way for this feud to continue while ensuring that Lee remains relevant at the top of the card.
Nia Jax And Shayna Baszler Successfully Coexist, Retain Their Titles
The majority of fans will be rooting for the newly reunited Riott Squad duo of Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott to win the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship for the first time at Clash of Champions, but if they do, where do they go from there?
Of course, it’s likely that Jax and Baszler are a short-term tag team that will soon implode not unlike Bayley and Banks, but the women’s tag team division has really fallen apart over the last few weeks. Banks and Bayley have gone their separate ways while The IIconics are on more, so WWE essentially has no long-term female tag teams anymore. The division is paper thin, and if Baszler and Jax lose the titles—and especially if they do so in a way that leads to a breakup—you have to wonder if the women’s tag team division would be on its last legs.
With the unlikely Jax/Baszler duo and The Riott Squad essentially being the only two tag teams who are being featured at the moment, WWE needs to extend this rivalry by having Jax and Baszler retain, ideally in a way that leads to a rematch.
Roman Reigns Destroys Jey Uso
How can WWE ensure that Roman Reigns is solidified as an uber-heel? By having him dismantle his cousin at Clash of Champions, similar to the way he did at the conclusion of last week’s SmackDown.
Now that Reigns is clearly moving forward as a full-blown villain rather than a tweener, WWE needs to take his newfound heel status a step further by giving him a short-and-sweet, one-sided victory over Jey Uso. Look, virtually no one watching this match expects Jey to win it, and he is—for all intents and purposes—serving as a sacrificial lamb to put over the heel Reigns, which is exactly what he should be doing.
Reigns, who has never held a world title for more than 77 days, is reportedly in line for a lengthy title reign, and that reign needs to get going at Clash of Champions, where a lopsided win and post-match beatdown of Jey can get things started off on the right foot as “The Big Dog” continues to cement himself as a great heel.