Clash at the Castle kept WWE’s momentum under Triple H in the right direction and brought some clarity to the direction of a number of key storylines.
Drew McIntyre appears to have been dropped from the list of people who will end Roman Reigns’ more than two-year run as world champion. The Scot, despite losing thanks to the first Solo Sikoa, still left this event looking like a million dollars and the equal of Reigns. He just won’t be the guy to get the best out of him. The more than 60,000 fans who packed the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, for WWE’s first UK stadium show since SummerSlam 1992, saw a new challenger for the women’s world title emerge, a son turn around against his dad and two of the toughest dudes in the business nearly stole the show.
Here are five takeaways from a superb Castle Clash that made this UK/European event feel like at least a semi-regular thing on the WWE schedule.
The family is deep
Roman Reigns and Drew McIntyre delivered a main event for the Undisputed Universal Championship fitting the stage and time. Going into the match, the thought was that Karrion Kross – who was at ringside – could cost McIntyre the championship and his moment in front of a British crowd eager to celebrate. Instead, it was a called Solo Sikoa – the Uso’s younger brother – from NXT who pulled the referee out of the ring right after McIntyre hit the Claymore that seemed to end it. He then attacked McIntyre by the ropes.
It opened the door for Reigns – who went into the ring alone on Saturday, to hit the third spear to finally put the Scot away and left The Bloodline stronger today than yesterday. Austin Theory was going to try to cash in at one point with Reigns and McIntyre, but he was knocked out by heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, who was at ringside.
I can’t say enough about the match that Reigns and McIntyre put on for about 30 minutes, starting with a very slow 80s-style beat and gradually moving things into the current era with a flurry of counters, finishing moves and false finishes. you are 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 for by a man in a traditional contest. Cody Rhodes still feels in line to be the man to topple Reigns.
McIntyre may not have won, but he was able to sing in the ring with Fury after the match and got great fan reaction after pushing for this show for years. One thing I could have done without was Fury shaking hands with Reigns at the end. I’m getting the Champions to get 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 make sure his dad Rey and Edge beat Finn Balor and Damian Priest from The Judgment Day, he then chose this moment for some reason to turn against his dad and Edge. He kicked Edge in the nuts, then clothesline Rey after saying “you ruined it”. This left all three members of Judgment Day laughing their heads off.
Before I get to the why, it was a great match with Rey and Edge pulling off a cool tag team attack and really looking like they enjoyed working together again. This may be the problem.
Dominik’s turn after helping his father and Edge win made the win even more shocking, but added to the awkwardness that now needs to be fully explained. So, to me, there’s only one way to adequately explain why Dominik’s trick was done this way. Dominik should be sick of Edge seemingly taking his place next to Rey, his father not trusting him to be his partner for this match and ruining the good thing that had happened.
Even as good as Edge was, they still needed Dom’s help to get the win. Edge even came out wearing a mask to show some solidarity with Rey, but a mask is sacred in Mexico and something Dom is trying to earn. You can either have Dominik join Judgment Day and have Rey fight to reclaim his son’s soul, or have him join Legado Del Fantasma when his main roster’s first announcement truly gives him a fresh start. Either way, a giant spotlight is now on Dominik, and he’ll get the chance to take his career to the next level.
Will not back down
No more saying that Liv Morgan is an outsider. Her character grew on Saturday and has now beaten Ronda Rousey twice – though not exactly in the cleanest way – and now her friend Shayna Baszler cleans up by dropping. Morgan did all of this in Cardiff as he worked on an arm injury and refused to give up even when Baszler demanded it. It was great to see Morgan use some of the MMA submissions he would have been taught in training by Matt Riddle. She ended up frustrating Baszler enough to catch her with a Codebreaker – which Rousey showed Baszler how to counter – and then the ObLIVion for the win.
This story seems far from over. The unsuspended Rousey will probably tell Baszler on SmackDown that your way of playing by the rules didn’t work out, so join me and let’s try my way as the two team up and probably beat Morgan. The champion will need an ally and that person may not be active right now if you look at the lists. Still, we have to go to Morgan vs. Rousey once again – probably at Extreme Rules unless the Survivor Series format changes because Bianca Belair vs. Rousey is money.
Gunther and Sheamus provided fans with exactly what they were hoping for in their Intercontinental Championship match. Oh, and Triple H put the Imperium back together (and gave themselves another team) by promoting NXT’s Giovanni Vinci.
Gunthar and Sheamus were stiff they fought on the outside, chests remained red and the Cardiff crowd being fully behind the tough Irishman trying to finally become a Grand Slam champion, only increased the drama of the many finishes. Gunthar couldn’t fully deliver his Powerbomb to Sheamus, but it hurt the challenger enough that he couldn’t deliver a Brogue Kick late. This opened the door for Gunthar to hit a vicious lariat to win. The match received a standing ovation during this match and Sheamus got one afterwards in what was one of the best contests of the series. A date with Ricochet seems imminent for Gunthar.
Back in the Win column
Seth Rollins’ pay-per-view winless streak is over as the last was in June 2021. It was as much a fight as it was a wrestling match after the time Rollins opened up about Riddle’s real life divorce during of 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. This provided the opening Rollins needed for a possible Stomp from the top to get the 1-2-3. The camera showed Riddle still smoking afterwards. This story seems like a perfect fit for Extreme Rules, so it’s probably not the end of it.
Bayley, Iyo Sky, Dakota Kai (Damage Control) on Bianca Belair, Asuka and Alexa Bliss
It took Iyo Sky and Dakota Kai to help Bayley pin Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair for the win. This is Belair’s first time pinning on WWE TV since Becky Lynch did it on the November 1 “Monday Night Raw.” It was a great way to protect Belair, but still setting up a likely title match with Bayley, whose group is now called Damage Control.
Street Profits, Madcap Moss on Alpha Academy and Austin Theory
It looks like the pre-show matches are back and this one was fun. The highlight was a super blockbuster over the top rope on the outside by Monte Ford which led to a frog splash for the win.
- Triple H said at the press conference after the event that he was about to talk to Bad Bunny about returning to WWE.
- WWE announced the United States Championship cage match between the Miz and Bobby Lashely for Raw on Monday.
The biggest winners: Liv Morgan and Dominik Mysterio
The Biggest Loser: Screen
Best match: Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre (Undisputed Universal Championship)