Clash at the Castle Reviews
Updated: Sep 26, 2022
Reverse Hipster's Reviews
Asuka, Alexa Bliss, and Bianca Belair vs. Bayley, Iyo Sky, and Dakota Kai 6/10 D
This match was too clunky. The crowd came out hot and cheered for Bayley at the top of their lungs. It was fantastic to hear the "Hey, Hey Bayley, I want to know if you'll be my girl" chant again. However, the chant clearly threw the match off.
Both teams had moments where they made uncharacteristic mistakes. Bayley's team, in particular, made several huge mistakes like forgetting to tag out or stay in and execute their moves, and it messed up the planned sequences.
The way the match was booked also didn't help. The crowd was amped, and they wanted to cheer and freak out. However, even the good match spots didn't seem to give the crowd that opportunity. I hate to say it, but this match disappointed me big time.
Gunther vs. Sheamus, Intercontinental Championship 8/10 B-
Very interesting match. It seemed basic at times, but nobody can say it wasn't hard-hitting. The crowd gravitated toward Sheamus, but Gunther won the match after clotheslining Sheamus's last bit of resilience.
Gunther and Sheamus did well. The match was basic, but physical. The crowd made this match, and their buy-in and enthusiasm made this match feel special.
Liv Morgan vs. Shayna Baszler, SmackDown Women's Championship 8.99/10 A-
This match didn't go how I expected, but it was still great. Shayna Baszler was imposing and dominant again, but Liv Morgan shattered expectations. Many people think that Liv is just another pretty face. However, they forget that she grinded from NXT to SmackDown to Raw. She started from the bottom, and now she is here, but she is not an overnight success story. She put years of work into her character and in-ring work in the singles and tag division, and it was on full display against Shayna.
Liv used her strong character work to sell the agony of Shayna's offense while also showing off impressive offensive moves that people wouldn't expect from her. The finish was the cherry on top when Liv decisively knocked out Shayna and got the win. This was a statement victory for Liv and is probably one of the top three most important matches of her career thus far.
Edge & Rey Mysterio vs. Finn Balor & Damian Priest 9.1/10 A
I didn't have any interest in this match going in. However, the action was so exciting that it forced me to get into this match. Everyone did their part, but I have to give a lot of credit to Edge, who is on an incredible run right now. Edge just doesn't have bad matches. After Edge and Rey won, Dominik Mysterio turned on both of them, and now I'm back into the storyline. The only criticism I would give is that if Dominik was going to turn, he could have helped Judgment Day win because they lose pretty often. However, the way WWE executed the turn was still intriguing and impactful. It just offered less cover to Judgment Day.
Matt Riddle vs. Seth Rollins 10/10 A+
I didn't have super high expectations for this match, and I thought it could be good, maybe great, but not 10/10. However, the match forced me to grade it as such. This match left me with no other choice but to give Seth and Riddle the ten they earned. Even as I sat there thinking, yeah the wrestling is amazing, but is it emotionally charged enough? Well, that's when Seth Rollins brought up Riddle's wife and kids, and Riddle tried to take out Rollins with a chair.
This match was Shawn Michaels and Undertaker good. I say this could be the next Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels if I hadn't just seen Seth trio with Cody Rhodes. The sequences were well-crafted and awe-inspiring. The action was beautifully brutal, and the finish left me wide-eyed. Seth hit a Curb Stomp off the second rope. Seth needed this win more than Riddle, so he was the right winner. The match was perfect top-to-bottom booking, storytelling, and wrestling: 10, 10, 10.
Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre, Undisputed Championship 9.3/10 A
I think WWE missed a huge opportunity to crown Drew. Drew winning the Undisputed Title overseas in front of a home crowd would have been a moment for the ages. However, I will say if he had to lose, this was the way to do it. This main event gave us so many moments. Tyson Fury knocked out Austin Theory so that he couldn't cash in. The numerous kick outs from Drew and the moments where Drew had Roman dead to rights, where you have to think if nothing wonky happens, Drew wins the title. Also, we got the debut of Solo Sikoa with The Bloodline. This match was so well done, even though the wrong man won. I think Drew and Roman are magic, and I think, even in defeat, Drew still looks amazing.
Alexa Bliss, Asuka, and Bianca Belair vs. Damage Control
This was the perfect match to start the night, and the crowd was everything we’ve come to expect from a UK wrestling show. They even brought back an uber-specific chant for Bayley from NXT Takeover UK. With no real stakes, this was a consistently entertaining match. I’m continually amazed by how well Bayley, Dakota Kai, and Iyo Sky work together, and they were the right team to win as they build this faction. Everyone came out looking good, regardless.
Final Grade: 7/10 Good
Gunther vs. Sheamus (Intercontinental Championship)
If you love physical bruisers, this was absolutely your match. It’s not my favorite style, but even I have to admit that both of these guys are experts in the genre. By the end, they even pulled big grappling moves out of their hat, My personal highlight was actually the debut of Giovanni Vinci and the reunion of the entire Imperium faction. I’m excited to see this feud continue in a potential three-on-three with both factions. Gunther was the right guy to win, the crowd stayed hot, and the ovation that was given to Sheamus made me emotional. To think Sheamus was almost retired a couple of years ago, and now, he was given this moment. Final Grade: 7/10 Good
Liv Morgan vs. Shayna Baszler (SmackDown Women’s Championship)
This was a step down from the first two matches, but it made both women look good. Their style was unique from the other two matches. We saw the old Shayna Baszler in this match, as she was quick and lethal with her submission maneuvers. Liv Morgan delivered the flash and craftiness that made fans love her in her rise to the championship. I’m glad WWE decided to keep the championship on her, even though it didn’t really make sense in the context of this match. Final Grade: 5/10 Average
Edge and Rey Mysterio vs. The Judgment Day
The in-ring work was nothing special, as we’ve seen combinations of these superstars wrestle for weeks. It was special to see the reunion of two WWE legends in front of the hot UK crowd. It’s easy to forget sometimes that we are watching some of the best to do it every week. They made this match fun, and Dominick Mysterio’s involvement singlehandedly got them the win. I suspect that played into why Dominick ultimately betrayed Edge and his father. That will be the more exciting development coming out of this match. Final Grade: 6/10 Above Average
Matt Riddle vs. Seth Rollins
The UK crowd LOVED Seth Rollins. I think that threw a wrench in their plans when you consider that Rollins was the dastardly villain to Matt Riddle’s loveable babyface. Because of that, they worked really well together, but the match never really made sense storywise. I think it also fell into a common issue when WWE books a really good personal feud. The match between two really good wrestlers has to become a brawl, or else it doesn’t really make sense. Because of that, I have to call this match a step in the wrong direction.
Final Grade: 4/10 Below Average
Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre (Undisputed Championship)
This match went nearly an hour, and it had so many spots that you can’t even recount them all. Drew McIntyre entered with a special video package with his old theme music, and it instantly reinforced that this was a must-win for McIntyre. Roman Reigns looked a little nervous in his entrance, and it reinforced the magnitude of this moment. They worked a really smart, slow-paced, old-school WWE-style main event. They had impeccable timing in-ring with big spots and near falls. They hit all the classics outside the ring with interference from Karrion Kross, a cash-in by Theory foiled by a knockout punch from Tyson Fury, and a debut of Solo Sikoa to help Reigns win. All of the antics were really the only way to book them out of the moment. Clearly, WWE wanted to have Reigns retain and continue his record-breaking championship reign. But if you’re not going to give the moment to McIntyre in the UK, I REALLY don’t know who you’re going to give it to. The result was a super disappointed crowd, and the show ended on an awkward moment where Fury shook Reigns’s hand and then sang on the mic to close the show in the ring with McIntyre. It’s frankly an unsatisfying ending to McIntyre’s story. I just hope WWE will eventually cleanly transfer the magnitude of Reigns’ run to someone who is full-time and up-and-coming. If it wasn’t this moment, I think our next big hope is for Cody Rhodes at WrestleMania. My final grade is only because this was so well-executed. I was tempted to give it a negative grade, but assuming that WWE was unwilling to compromise on the finish, this was damn near the best they could do. Final Grade: 7/10 Good
Rob's Final Grade
The UK crowd did not disappoint in this show. Instead of more Saudi Arabia shows or meaningless premium live events, I would love to see this become an annual stadium show. I can’t help but think they deserved better. Looking at the results, nearly every match had a disappointing finish. The heels won nearly every match. Even Liv Morgan’s retention arguably feels like a heel win because of Shayna Baszler’s recent push and maintaining the status quo. Edge and Rey Mysterio only won to get turned on by Dominick Mysterio. The final two matches of Seth Rollins cleanly putting away Matt Riddle and Drew McIntyre coming up short against
Roman Reigns are borderline inexcusable. I also admit my expectations were high for surprises and returns based on the recent changes under Triple H. Compared to Summerslam, the debuts of Giovanni Vinci and Solo Sikoa are sort of underwhelming. Still, I have to admit the energy of the crowd and the work that everyone put forth was enough to say that this show was more than worth my time. To counter my earlier negative thoughts, there is still a lot to be excited about in Triple H’s WWE- the women’s division is hitting women’s revolution hype levels, the trios potential of Imperium is insane, and even Reigns’s bloodline has new life with Sikoa’s debut. Final Grade: 6/10 Above Average
Reverse Hipster's Final Grade 8.55/10 B
This was a pretty great PPV that was dragged down by the start of the PPV. Vince McMahon was on a run of great PPVs before Triple H took over creative. SummerSlam wasn't great, but with Clash at the Castle, Triple H is reminding people of what he is capable of. He is the same man that brought us many classic NXT TakeOvers. He is not rock and rolling yet, but he is fine-tuning the roster and is much closer today than yesterday. Clash at the Castle was a strong show with tons of great moments. I can't wait to see the next PPV.
Also, the United Kingdom was absolutely electric. They made their case to WWE tonight, and I agree there has to be a WrestleMania held in the U.K.