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WWE Clash at the Castle review: A classic in Wales

WWE

WWE

Make no mistake, the Vince McMahon era of WWE is over.

While most WWE premium live events post-WrestleMania have been good, Clash at the Castle was the best showing by WWE all year, and, dare I say it, could be in contention for show of the year. Between a dramatic main event between Drew McIntyre and Roman Reigns and an extremely physical encounter between Sheamus and Gunther, it’s going to be hard to top a show with this many great matches that was helped by one of the best crowds WWE has had in awhile in Cardiff, Wales.

Reigns’ long run with the Undisputed Universal WWE Championship continues, as he defeated McIntyre in what ended up being a slow-paced, yet dramatic main event with many twists and turns, including Austin Theory (he has his first name back) attempting to cash in, only to get knocked out by Tyson Fury, who was sitting at ringside. However, it was the debut of NXT’s Solo Sikoa that gave Reigns the distraction needed for the win, continuing his long reign as champion for as long as WWE wants.

The question, as it is following every Reigns title defense, is what’s next? Unlike the Vince McMahon era where no one seems ready, there are actually a few people that could challenge Reigns next, including Karrion Kross, Kevin Owens, and even Fury, who had a staredown with Reigns after the match. Not that the latter would necessarily be a good match, but at least there’s a few directions WWE can go in that will at the very least be intriguing.

The strongest match of the night absolutely goes to Gunther and Sheamus, who destroyed each other in a match that saw Gunther successfully retain the Intercontinental title after one of the most wicked lariats you’ll ever see. Going in, I expected this to be a hard-hitting match and now I can pat myself on the back, as they delivered a classic with sick sounding shots amid a great atmosphere. With Giovanni Vinici being called up as a surprise to reform Imperium, it is likely we’ll at least get one trios match between Imperium and the Brawling Brutes going forward.

Liv Morgan and Shayna Baszler had a good match. Considering they had to follow one of the better WWE matches of the last few years, they did a tremendous job. With Ronda Rousey’s suspension being lifted, it is very likely that Rousey and Morgan will go at it once again, likely at the October pay-per-view.

The trios match won’t be remembered for what happened before or during the  bout. It’s too bad, as it was good and there were some fun moments. But it was the backdrop for what happened after Edge and the Mysterios won, as months of speculation finally became reality as Dominik Mysterio turned on both Edge and his father following some miscommunication. I am not sure exactly where Dominik goes from here, as his record so far is...mid. But it's possible he could be better as a heel than a babyface.

Seth Rollins and Matt Riddle (another who has gotten his full name back) had a great match, though I am not sure if Riddle should have lost the match as this is his second loss in a row to Rollins. I have a feeling there will be a third match, and probably one that will involve many weapons. It’s a match Riddle needs to win; with the new regime, there’s a chance he could break out into one of WWE’s top babyfaces if given the opportunity.

Bayley vs. Bianca Belair for the Raw Women’s title seems to be the next match for Belair, as she was pinned in a hot trios match that opened the show. It seems natural based on the surprise finish on Raw, Bayley’s faction (named Damage Control) needed a big win, which they got here. 

WWE’s next show will be in October with Extreme Rules. The women’s title directions seem to be clear (Rousey/Morgan, Belair/Bayley), and I think the next Rollins/Riddle match will be here in some sort of stipulation match. What will headline will be anyone’s guess, as Roman Reigns isn’t scheduled to be on the show. Whatever it may be will be the next test in the new WWE regime. It's one thing to hold big stadium shows like SummerSlam and Clash at the Castle. We'll know be seeing what kind of matches we'll get on a show that's designed for a much smaller in-person audience.