Last night saw the WWE serve up its final PPV event of 2017, as the WWE Clash Of Champions rolled into Boston. The pre-event hype for the Clash of Champions was a relatively low-key affair, Bleacher Report said the buildup to the event lacked “a spark of intrigue or excitement” and that pre-show story building was “disappointing.” So, if the buildup to the Clash Of Champions was disappointing, could the show provide a pre-Christmas treat for the WWE universe? According to CBS Sports, the answer to that question is a resounding no.
In fact, CBS Sports don’t even focus on the wrestling from the Clash Of Champions, they lead on whether Daniel Bryan executed a heel turn. A feud between Bryan and Shane McMahon has been bubbling for a few weeks now, so it seems that the two veterans are being lined up to clash at WrestleMania 34. The choice of lead for CBS Sports is reflected in their gradings for the Clash of Champions in-ring action, with only one match achieving better than a “B” grading.
No one will be surprised at the fact that AJ Styles’ match against Jinder Mahal for the WWE Championship was the highlight of the night. As reported by Sky Sports, Styles retained his title by forcing Mahal into submission. If there is one thing that has truly baffled the WWE universe during 2017, it was Jinder Mahal’s elevation to championship status. The “modern-day Maharajah” was cut from the WWE roster in 2014, and yet he assumed championship status within weeks of his return.
Of course, Mahal’s elevation had more to do with WWE’s expansion in India and the Far East than his wrestling skills. That elevation also kept AJ Styles out of the championship picture for far too long. At Clash of Champions, Styles showed once again why he is widely regarded as the best wrestler on the WWE roster.
It was an often bruising encounter, Mahal smashed Styles through tables and barricades, and physically dominated throughout the first half of the match. In the end, Styles’ skill and timing proved too much for Mahal to cope with. The Phenomenal One gradually got on top and ended the match when Mahal submitted to a Styles’ “calf crusher.”
Styles’ defeat of Mahal at the Clash of Champions PPV should see him head into 2018 as the WWE Champion and reassert his claim to be the top talent on the WWE network.