After a scintillating kickoff show that featured a match between Cesaro + Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Lucha House Party that we've already seen eight billion skillion times on Smackdown, Clash of Champions kicks off from the WWE Thunderdome in Florida with lots of pyro, which hopefully will burn away all the coronavirus. Incidentally, Nikki Cross, Nia Jax, and Shayna Baszler are all "not medically cleared" to wrestle tonight, creating uncertainty about two scheduled matches for the show.
It sounds like John Cena is narrating the intro video for the show. The stage looks pretty cool in gold, and there are ladders lining the entrance ramp.Ring announcer Greg Hamilton kicks off Clash of Champions by introducing the Intercontinental Championship triple threat ladder match. AJ Styles, Sami Zayn, and champion Jeff Hardy come out to the ring for the first match of Clash of Champions.
WWE Clash of Champions Results – Intercontinental Championship Triple Threat Ladder Match
- The story of this match is that Sami Zayn defended the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania, but then decided to take WWE up on their offer of staying home during the pandemic. They put it up in a tournament on Smackdown which AJ Styles won. Then Hardy won it from Styles. Then Sami came back with the old belt, claiming to still be the champion while everyone makes fun of him for being a wimp and staying home for a few months because the coronavirus is a liberal hoax. Remember, these shows are written for an audience of one.
- Jeff Hardy and AJ Styles are 43-year-old men and Sami Zayn is 36. None of them reasonably ought to be bumping off the top of a ladder, but none of them have the good sense not to do something crazy to try to steal the show.
- Painful spots involving a ladder that occurred during this match:
- Hardy backdrops Zayn into a ladder leaning against the ropes.
- Styles sidesteps a Hardy splash so that Hardy goes ribs first into the bottom of an upside-down, open ladder. Ouch!
- Styles armdrags Zayn into a ladder leaning against the corner, sending him bouncing off.
- Styles sort of judo flips Hardy off the top of the ladder to the mat.
- Zayn gives Styles an exploder suplex onto that ladder that's still leaning in the corner.
- Styles javelin-tosses a ladder from the outside into the ring to knock Zayn off the ladder when he's climbing for the belts.
- Hardy tips over the ladder with him and Styles on top to prevent Styles getting the belts, sending them both tumbling to the floor.
- Zayn jumps off the ladder as Hardy flings it over into the face of AJ Styles, who's coming toward it off the top rope, which then sends the ladder crashing back into Hardy.
- Jesus Christ! Zayn slowly tips a ladder over with Hardy on top of it. Hardy climbs over the top and upside-down on the opposite rungs to stay on top. Then Zayn tosses the ladder with Hardy on it over the ropes and it and Hardy tumble gruesomely to the floor. Agghhh! I can't stop wincing.
- Styles does a moonsault into a Scorpion Death Drop off the announce table. He puts Sami on a hanging flat over a gap between the apron and the announce table, but it falls, so he slams Sami into the announce table, sets it up again, and puts Zayn on it. But then Hardy slams Styles in the face with a ladder, sets up and climbs another ladder, and does the Swanton Bomb off the top of the ladder through Zayn on the ladder.
- Hardy tips over a ladder with Styles on top of it, sending him falling into the mat and into the turnbuckles.
- Oh god almighty! Zayn gets out two pairs of handcuffs, puts one handcuff through the stretched hole in Hardy's ear, and then puts the other end around a ladder on the outside.
- But none of those spots were more painful than Michael Cole and Corey Graves' announcing. Jeff Hardy's legdrop to the balls isn't called "Vintage Hardy," dammit!
- For the finish, Zayn is trying to handcuff Styles to the ropes when Styles fights back. Styles suplexes Zayn, but Zayn puts the other end of the handcuffs on his own wrist. This forces Styles to have to carry Zayn on his back up the ladder. Meanwhile, Hardy has gotten up with his ear still handcuffed to the ladder. He's carrying the ladder with him. He beats Styles with the ladder attached to his ear, but Styles kicks the ladder. While this is happening, Zayn unlocks himself from the handcuffs and handcuffs Styles to the ladder, then climbs the other side to win the belts.
God damn! WWE has done so many formulaic ladder matches that I nearly forgot how good one with the right people and a good story could be. "Who's the real champion" is a classic story, and all three of these guys are great. On top of that, Hardy his absolutely zero regard for his own body. I can't see any scenario where this isn't the match of the night, which means, of course, it's all downhill from here.
The Clash of Champions Thunderdome fake crowd noise generator boos Sami very loudly as he poses with the belts at the top of the stage. Hey, maybe Cesaro and Nakamura will let him hang with them again. Then they could have a story.
Bleeding Cool's WWE Clash of Champions coverage continues. Chelsy Bloomfield will be taking over for the next match which is good because I need to gather myself after watching that handcuff in Jeff Hardy's ear.