Clash at the Castle kept WWE’s momentum under Triple H moving in the right direction and brought some clarity to the direction of a number of key storylines.
Drew McIntyre appears to have been crossed off the list of people who will end Roman Reigns’ now two-plus year run as a world champion. The Scotsman, despite losing thanks to the debuting Solo Sikoa, still left this event looking like a million bucks and Reigns’ equal. He just won’t be the guy to get the best of him. The 60-plus thousand fans that packed Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales for WWE’s first U.K. stadium show since SummerSlam 1992, saw a new women’s world title challenger emerge, a son turn on his father and two of the toughest dudes in the company nearly steal the show.
Here are five takeaways from a superb Clash at the Castle that made it feel like it UK/European event needs to at least be a semi-regular thing on the WWE calendar.
Family Runs Deep
Roman Reigns and Drew McIntyre delivered a main event for the Undisputed Universal championship befitting of the stage and the moment. While going into the match, the thought was Karrion Kross – who was ringside – may cost McIntyre the championship and his moment in front of a U.K. crowd itching to celebrate him. Instead, it was a called-up Solo Sikoa – the Uso’s younger brother – from NXT who pulled the referee out of the ring just after McIntyre hit the Claymore that appeared would end it. He then attacked McIntyre by the ropes.
It opened the door for Reigns – who went to the ring alone on Saturday, to hit the third spear to finally put the Scotsman away and left The Bloodline stronger today than yesterday. Austin Theory was going to try to cash in at one point with both Reigns and McIntyre down, but he got knocked out by heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, who was ring side.
I can’t say enough about the match Reigns and McIntyre put on over about 30 minutes, starting with a very slow 80’s-style pace to gradually moving things into the current era with a flurry of counters, finishing moves and false finishes that just got you fully invested in the story being told. This goes near the top of Reigns’ matches as champion and is probably the most he’s been pushed by one man in a traditional contest. Cody Rhodes still feels in line to be the man to unseat Reigns.
McIntyre may not have won, but he did get to sing in the ring with Fury after the match and got a great reaction from the fans after lobbying for this show for years. One thing I could have done without was Fury shaking Reigns’ hand at the end. I get having the champions getting a moment for WWE, but Reigns clearly needed interference to win and that doesn’t deserve a handshake.
Dominik Mysterio provided the most shocking moment of the show. After doing everything he could to ensure his father Rey and Edge defeated The Judgement Day’s Finn Balor and Damian Priest, he then for some reason chose this moment to turn on his dad and Edge. He kicking Edge in the nuts and then clotheslined Rey after saying “you ruined it.” It left all three members of Judgment Day laughing their asses off.
Before we get to the why, this was an excellent match with Rey and Edge pulling off some cool tag team offense and really looking like they enjoyed getting to work together again. There may lay the problem.
Dominik’s turn coming after he helped his dad and Edge to win made it even more of a shock but added to the awkwardness that now needs to be fully explained. So to me, there is only one way to adequately explain why Dominik’s turn was done in this manner. Dominik should feel sick of Edge seemingly taking his place next to Rey, his dad not trusting him to be his partner for this match and ruining the good thing that had going on.
Even as good as Edge is, they still needed Dom’s help to get the win. Edge even came out wearing a mask to show some solidary with Rey, but a mask is sacred in Mexico and something Dom is try to earn. You can either have Dominik join the Judgement Day and have Rey fight to get his son’s soul back or make him join Legado Del Fantasma when the make their main roster debut ad really give him a fresh start. Either way, a giant spotlight is now on Dominik, and he will be given the chance to take his career to the next level.
Won’t Back Down
No more talk of Liv Morgan being an underdog. Her character grew up Saturday and has now beaten Ronda Rousey twice – though not exactly in the cleanest of fashions – and now her friend Shayna Baszler clean by pinfall. Morgan did all of that in Cardiff while working a storyline arm injury and refusing to give up even when Baszler demanded it. It was great to see Morgan use some of MMA submissions supposedly taught to her in training by Matt Riddle. She ended up frustrating Baszler enough to catch her with a Codebreaker – which Rousey has showed Baszler how to counter – and then the ObLIVion for the win.
This story feels far from over. The un-suspended Rousey likely will tell Baszler on SmackDown your play-by-the rules way didn’t work so join me and let’s try it my way as the two team up and probably beat down Morgan. The champ will need an ally and that person may not be active right now if you look at the rosters. Still, we need to get to Morgan vs. Rousey one more time – probably at Extreme Rules unless the Survivor Series format changes because Bianca Belair vs. Rousey is money.
Gunther and Sheamus provided fans exactly what hoped for when their Intercontinental championship match was made. Oh, and Triple H put Imperium back together (and gave himself another tag team) by promoting Giovanni Vinci from NXT.
Gunthar and Sheamus was stiff, they battled on the outside, chests were left red and the Cardiff crowd being fully behind the challenging Irishman trying to finally become a grand slam champion, only leveled up the drama of the numerous finishes. Gunthar was unable to fully deliver his powerbomb to Sheamus, but it hurt the challenger enough that he couldn’t deliver a Brogue Kick late. It opened the door for Gunthar to hit a vicious lariat to get win. The match got a standing ovation during it and Sheamus got one afterward in what was one of the show’s best contests. A date with Ricochet seems next for Gunthar.
Back in the Win Column
Seth Rollins’ streak without a clean pay-per-view victory is over as the last one was all the way back in June 2021. This was as much a fight was it was a wrestling match after the moment Rollins made about Riddle’s real-life divorce during a storyline promo this week on Raw. Rollin eventually used Riddle’s rage against him after calling him a loser and that’s why his wife left him. It provided the opening Rollins needed for an eventual Stomp off the top to get the 1-2-3. The camera showed Riddle still steaming after. This story seems like a perfect fit for Extreme Rules, so this likely isn’t the end.
Bayley, Iyo Sky, Dakota Kai (Damage Control) over Bianca Belair, Asuka and Alexa Bliss
It took Iyo Sky and Dakota Kai both to help Bayley to pin Raw women’s champion Bianca Belair for the win. It’s Belair’s first time being pinning on WWE TV since Becky Lynch did so the Nov. 1 “Monday Night Raw.” It was a great way to protect Belair, but still setting up a likely championship match with Bayley, whose group is now called Damage Control.
Street Profits, Madcap Moss over Alpha Academy and Austin Theory
It appears preshow matches are back and this one was fun. The highlight was super blockbuster over the top rope to the outside by Monte Ford that led to a frog splash for the win.
- Triple H said during the post-event press conference that he is set to have a talk to Bad Bunny about a return to WWE.
- WWE announced United States championship cage match between the Miz and Bobby Lashely for Raw on Monday.
Biggest Winners: Liv Morgan and Dominik Mysterio
Biggest Loser: Riddle
Best Match: Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre (Undisputed Universal championship)
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