The WWE stadium PPV experience has finally come and gone again, the first such show WWE has held in the UK in 30 years. Clash at the Castle righted that wrong, and it did it in style.
Clash at the Castle was a highly enjoyable show from Bell to Bell, with not a bad match in sight and a hot, extremely vocal crowd creating a celebratory atmosphere. I’d go as far as saying Clash at the Castle is currently tussling with Hell in a Cell for MY WWE PPV of the year.
Let’s take a look at the five biggest talking points to come out of Clash at the Castle!
1. Roman Reigns is Still Your Undisputed Champion
One element of Clash at the Castle that seems to have caused a lot of controversy is the result of the main event. Over the course of a dramatic, rugged, physical half hour, a Drew McIntyre victory was teased, a reflection of how Davey Boy Smith won WWF gold on UK soil 30 years ago at SummerSlam. Some very near-falls only added to the anticipation.
That Roman won has caused some consternation amongst the WWE Universe. However, I think Roman winning was ultimately the right choice, long-term.
Yes, Drew winning in the UK would have been a great feel-good moment (although it would have meant even more if the show was in Scotland, not in Wales). But it would have been a short-term gain. Fans are complaining about who’s left for Roman to face. It’s a fair complaint; WWE did book themselves into a hole with how they’ve dealt with Roman’s challengers. And yes, having Drew as Champion would freshen things up, but to what extent? Who would be a credible challenger to his throne? WWE still needs to build its mid-card and main eventers back up after the last months of Vince’s frankly poor booking over the last couple of years.
The fact is, Roman is a part-timer to some extent, and I know that irritates people and I get it. I do. However, this might work to WWE’s advantage. I can only really see Roman defend his Titles twice more on PPV before ‘Mania: at Survivor Series and the Royal Rumble. That gives WWE a chance to build up new main eventers and give them big headlining moments on the smaller PPVs so when Roman is finally defeated at WrestleMania, there will be some fresh and rehabilitated challengers for the new champ’s gold.
Yes, Hunter has made some changes so far, but there’s still much more to do. Us fans are going to have to be patient in the meantime. Overnight reboots do not tend to work. Look at WCW and the New Blood/Millionaire’s Club reboot. If we want a better WWE, we must let them do the work.
And let’s be honest. If Roman is going to drop the titles anywhere, it’s going to be at the Grandaddy of Them All. WWE has made such a big deal of the length of Roman’s reign (!) that when they dethrone him, it has to be a special moment to justify the length of the Reign. If they had Drew dethrone Roman at Clash and then had Roman quickly regain it and lose it at ‘Mania, it would ruin the long-term story in service of a short-term feel-good moment.
It’s not often that I trust WWE anymore to stick the landing, but I believe they’re not going to mess this up. There’s too much at stake. I am excited to see how this is going to play out. We just need to give it this last little bit of time to do so.
Let’s just not mention Drew and Tyson Fury’s surreal singing session, ok?
2. Dominic Mysterio Turns Heel
In what was possibly one of the most predictable moments at Clash at the Castle, Dominic Mysterio finally turned heel, kicking Edge square in his little edges. In all honesty, it was time. Dominik has worn out the welcome of being new and being Rey’s son. He needed freshening up, and hopefully, this will do the job. The inevitable father vs. Son match, if done well, should be pretty emotional as well.
3. Gunther and Sheamus Have the Match of the Night
Was it ever in doubt? Well, possibly a little, but we all knew it was going to be a banger of a match. What we didn’t know was it was going to be this good. The pair battered the absolute s**t out of each other, much to the delight of the crowd and this writer. There were no cliched and overdone Mexican standoff-style “slap me and I’ll slap you” moments. Just two absolute bruisers who wanted to prove they were the best. They didn’t need to prove they were tough—we all know how tough they are!
Gunther has been one of the best things about SmackDown in recent months and as a fan from his days as PROGRESS champ, I’m so happy to see him make such a big splash so far on the main roster when it could have been—and nearly was—booked to be very different. But let’s not forget about Sheamus. He displayed a fire here that he doesn’t often show anymore, and he very much deserved the standing ovation he get as he picked himself up off the mat at the end of the match.
And hey! Imperium are back together! The mat in SmackDown is going to be sacred now.
4. Bayley Pinned the Raw Women’s Champion
So: a six-woman tag. The Women’s Champion is one of the participants. It’s no problem if the champ is on the losing side—it sets up future storyline moments and matches. What’s the champ got to lose? She’s not going to take the pin. That’s what her two teammates are for. Except…
Damage Control vs. Bianca Belair, Asuka & Alexa Bliss was the perfect choice to open the card. They put on a high-energy, entertaining display that got the crowd pumped up. Nobody, I’m sure, expected Damage Control to lose their first PPV match. And they didn’t. But I’m also positive that no one expected Bayley to pin Bianca Belair cleanly to win the match!
This was only Bayley’s second match since coming back from injury, and you can’t make a bigger statement than pinning the Raw Women’s Champion so early on in your return. Unlike the Becky Lynch shocker at SummerSlam ’19, Bianca taking a pin here in her first confrontation with Bayley won’t hurt her. It was a tag match, first of all, not a title encounter; it reestablishes Bayley’s credibility as a title challenger post-injury, and if nothing else, it gives Bayley something to use as a verbal weapon against Bianca to generate real heat building up to their inevitable title match. It creates doubt that Bianca can win, so imagine the pop she’ll get when she does conquer Bayley! Works for me.
5. Karrion Kross and Solo Sikoa Make an Impact on the Main Event
One of them appearing was a surprise, one of them not so much, but both Sola Sikoa and Karrion Kross (with Scarlett) made an impact on the main event of Clash at the Castle and set up some interesting developments moving forward.
Karrion Kross has, of course, been stalking both Roman Reigns and Drew McIntyre in recent weeks, and he made his presence felt again here, throwing a water bottle at Drew McIntyre, the distraction allowing Reigns to recover and get the jump on McIntyre. No doubt this will set up a feud between Drew and Kross, which is certainly a better option than just directly feeding Kross to Reigns and killing any momentum he has before he’s even gotten going. And while you don’t want Drew to continually lose, a win for Kross over ‘The Scottish Warrior’ would do Kross the world of good and help to lessen the memories of that horrible gladiator gear.
Solo Sikoa, meanwhile, is the brother of the Usos and was last seen in NXT. He’s an impressive talent and he’s a genuine part of the bloodline. His addition to the fold should hopefully freshen up the stable and create some new matches going forward. Could we see Sami Zayn get jealous and enter a feud with Sikoa? I can think of worse options.
What were your biggest talking points from Clash at the Castle? Let us know in the comments!