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With less than a week left to garner attention, excitement and anticipation for the Clash of Champions pay-per-view Sunday night, WWE will go into hype mode across its Raw and SmackDown brands.
Hot angles, a plethora of last-minute announcements and matches for title opportunities should be expected.
Over on the NXT brand, the most talented women’s roster in pro wrestling will compete for the right to challenge Io Shirai at TakeOver on October 4, while All Elite Wrestling counters with a high-profile title match featuring The Dark Order’s Mr. Brodie Lee defending the TNT Championship against Orange Cassidy.
What should you expect from a jam-packed week of wrestling TV and the prominent bouts already announced? Find out now with these predictions.
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Might the disciple be growing weary of his relationship with The Monday Night Messiah?
A week ago, a mid-match mistake earned Murphy an ass-kicking at the hands of Seth Rollins, despite the latter’s victory over Dominik Mysterio inside a steel cage. Rollins was brutal, unforgiving and cruel as he assaulted Murphy, slamming the cage door in his face and throwing him into the guardrail.
Seven days after what appeared to be a breakup of sorts, Murphy will have to swallow his pride and team with Rollins in a Triple Threat Match to determine the top contenders to The Street Profits’ Raw Tag Team Championship.
Andrade and Angel Garza and the new team of Humberto Carrillo and the aforementioned Mysterio make up the competition.
Considering WWE has already beat the Profits-Andrade/Garza match into the ground and is unlikely to book a babyface vs. babyface match for the pay-per-view, it appears as though Rollins and Murphy will challenge Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins on Sunday night.
And that works.
Rollins and Murphy’s relationship was at its strongest when they lost the tag titles to the Street Profits in February. What better way to spell the end of their partnership than where the slow descent began?
The messiah and his disciple will score one last great win on Raw before Murphy’s frustration at Rollins’ tyrannical rule forces their split Sunday night, sparking a rivalry that should produce some hellish matches, if nothing else.
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WWE has a tendency to book itself into a corner for the sake of popping a television rating, with no obvious way out of its predicament. That appears to be the case Monday, as Braun Strowman and Dabba-Kato enter Raw Underground for the highest-profile fight in that setting to date.
Booking Strowman over Kato at this point would diminish the relative newcomer’s aura. He has been a staple of Raw Underground, an imposing force to any and all that have opposed him. He has the look and could be a major threat on the main roster if and when management deems him ready.
Losing to Strowman only hurts the rookie, while a win for The Monster Among Men does nothing to help or hurt him at this point. At the same time, a loss would only create the perception of a downward spiral for a Superstar who was the universal champion as recently as August.
This feels like the perfect place for Retribution to attack, targeting the biggest and baddest in an attempt to send a message. The group gets to look unstoppable, Strowman and Dabba-Kato are spared unnecessary losses and all is right with the WWE Universe.
At least until Vince McMahon and the creative staff book another stupid, needlessly complicated match that backs them into a corner.
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Rhea Ripley’s year has been one of ups and downs.
She made her first WrestleMania appearance, squared off with the measuring stick in women’s wrestling in Charlotte Flair and recently defeated Mercedes Martinez in an acclaimed Steel Cage match. In between, she lost her NXT Women’s Championship, ate the pinfall in the TakeOver: In Your House main event and fell down the card and into a feud with The Robert Stone Brand.
Wednesday will represent another up for the 23-year-old Australian when she wins a Battle Royal and earns a shot at regaining the NXT Women’s Championship, now held by Io Shirai.
To do so will be difficult, as she will have to overcome one of the deepest, most talented rosters in wrestling. Opposing her? Kacy Catanzaro, Indi Hartwell, Aliyah, Dakota Kai, Candice LeRae, Tegan Nox, Shotzi Blackheart, Raquel Gonzalez, Kayden Carter and Xia Li.
While someone like Blackheart, Kai or even Nox cannot be counted out, this feels like Ripley’s opportunity to jump back into title contention. She has unfinished business with Shirai, the woman who temporarily ended her title aspirations this past summer, and would love nothing more than to introduce the Goddess of the Sky to the Riptide.
She is arguably the biggest star in the division and the one person who could conceivably upend Shirai at this point. It makes sense, and it will come to be by way of Ripley’s hard-fought win on Wednesday’s show.
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Credit: All Elite Wrestling
The King of Sloth Style is the biggest breakout star of All Elite Wrestling to this point, a wildly popular slacker whose two wins over Chris Jericho this summer catapulted him to the forefront of AEW and set him up for a championship opportunity Wednesday night.
Unfortunately for him, Orange Cassidy runs into a buzz saw in the form of “The Exalted One” Mr. Brodie Lee, the TNT Champion.
In any other situation, this would feel like a sure thing for Cassidy. After all, management has spent so long building him up and positioning him to be an antihero of sorts that this would be his crowning moment—his first championship in a major North American wrestling promotion.
Unfortunately, The Dark Order is among the hottest acts in AEW. And Lee, the group’s dominant leader, is in no position to drop the title.
Losing the championship would unravel everything that has been done to boost The Dark Order’s stock in recent months. It would be a nonsensical development that stunts the growth of one of the top heel factions in the sport and render the past two months of television meaningless.
Cassidy is red-hot right now, and a loss to someone who just single-handedly destroyed and banished Cody from television will hardly hurt him. And therein is all the reason you need for Lee to go over Wednesday night.
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Roman Reigns doesn’t like to be upstaged.
Not even by family.
In the closing moments of Friday’s Samoan Street Fight, The Big Dog blasted King Corbin with a spear, only for Jey Uso to fly in from out of nowhere with a top-rope splash for the win. Reigns flashed a big smile as he embraced his cousin, but as Uso celebrated the victory on the entrance ramp, the universal champion’s look turned from one of joy to seething rage.
He exchanged a quick glance with Paul Heyman, seemingly understanding what he must do.
Friday night on SmackDown, Uso will find out the hard way what that means for him and his championship aspirations come Clash of Champions.
Reigns will unload weeks of pent-up anger on his cousin, leaving him a mass of battered flesh and broken bones in one final, lasting message before they clash on PPV. It will be the beatdown fans have expected for weeks but WWE has held off on in order to drive interest for Sunday’s showdown.
A fantastic seller, Uso will make it look good, and Reigns will continue his callous turn. All involved will benefit, and their match at Sunday’s extravaganza will take on greater meaning, not to mention anticipation.