In this edition of The Wrestling Estate roundtable, the staff give their picks for WWE Clash of Champions 2017.
Will this be Jinder Mahal’s final PPV main event?
Evan Cross: Yes, short of a Royal Rumble or Money in the Bank match. Mahal’s (limited) main event appeal is so reliant on his gimmick that it’s hard to imagine him getting another world title run.
John Corrigan: Definitely. Once you bow to Triple H in your homeland, you’re one step closer to being packed in a crate and shipped to NXT.
Jack Goodwillie: I believe the Jinder Mahal experiment has reached its end. The reality of wrestling is looks are important and can take you far, almost to the top. Rob Lowe put it best in Wayne’s World: “I’ve learned that a flawless profile, a perfect body, the right clothes, and a great car can get you far in America – almost to the top – but it can’t get you everything.” Mahal started hot, but doesn’t have the “it factor” to keep fans engaged in the long term. The whole experiment has also hopefully proven to me and everybody else that the best way to sell your product in an international market is to sell your best product – ethnicity be damned.
Troy Taroff: Most likely. I just don’t see him being a viable challenger going forward. His championship run was so lame and over done that I don’t think WWE is that dumb to do it again.
Anthony Mahalis: God, I hope so. He should have been out of the main event picture months ago.
Who is the hottest woman on Smackdown?
Cross: Ruby Riott pinned the champion a few weeks ago and has a couple of loyal cohorts, so I’d say she has the most momentum right now.
Corrigan: When she changed her ring attire, Carmella made me jealous of James Ellsworth.
Goodwillie: Becky Lynch, for as terrible as she has been booked, is still a beautiful woman. Honorable mention to Liv Morgan, however, as she is a national treasure.
Taroff: This is a real question? *Looks around and see if everyone agrees* It’s Lana, right? *Still looks around* Ok, let’s move on.
Mahalis: If you asked me this question three weeks ago, the answer would have been The Princess of Staten Island. However, the answer now is Liv Morgan. No disrespect to Carmella, they are both stunning.
Can Dolph Ziggler’s career be resuscitated?
Cross: Only if he leaves WWE, goes to New Japan, and then comes back in two years. The trigger on his push should have been pulled 5 years ago. He needs a fresh start.
Corrigan: Nope, the damage has been done. Vince McMahon has never believed in him, which is a travesty because Ziggler could have been a huge star. Even with that silly name.
Goodwillie: Yes it can. But it will take a demotion to NXT, a run with the Ring of Honor World Championship or some kind of change of scenery to make it happen. It won’t happen in the current Smackdown climate, but I do think as long as the athleticism is there, Dolph is not going to have any problem drumming up interest with a career move. When the time is right, he can come back into the fold with a fresh coat of paint.
Taroff: I feel a guy like him needs one more good run. He’s too good to just fade off into obscurity. I’ve always loved Dolph and what he does in the ring.
Mahalis: It can be, but I don’t think it will be. That’s a shame because Ziggler can still put on a great match. But hey, if Jinder can make it to the main event, you never know.
Has 2017 been Shane O’Mac overkill?
Cross: At this point, any year where he wrestles more than once is Shane overkill. WrestleMania is fine, any other time he should stay on the mic.
Corrigan: Much like Triple H, I never need to see another Shane O’Mac match. I guess Vince wants to get the most mileage out of bringing his son back, but he’s just not a very interesting character. He likes shoes and jumping – who cares?
Goodwillie: Remember when the internet completely blew its top when Shane McMahon came back? Well, I’m beginning to think he’s been overexposed. Don’t get me wrong, his ring work has been more than up to code, particularly considering his age and all the time he’s been out of the game (despite as bad as those rabbit punches look). He’s definitely lost his aura, though, and that lends itself to the borderline excessive exposure he has received. I could be wrong, but I believe he has had heavy involvement in Smackdown’s top two storylines since the show went live. That tells you all you need to know.
Taroff: It’s been WAY too much Shane O’Mac for my liking. The fact that it seems every SmackDown Live starts out with him and his dumb “What’s up ‘insert city they’re in here’” thing just makes me dread the first 15 minutes of Tuesday nights. His promos aren’t that good and his weird punches just make me laugh.
Mahalis: I will preface this by saying I love Shane O’Mac. However, I think we can all agree he should not be wrestling so much. At least if you are going to keep wrestling, win a damn match.
Which match are you most looking forward to?
Cross: As overbooked as the match is (TWO guest refs?), I am excited to see Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn as a team in a PPV tag match.
Corrigan: It may be on the pre-show, but I’m hype for Mojo Rawley vs. Zack Ryder. The former’s promos have been great since turning heel, seemingly unscripted and genuine. Plus, Ryder plays a great babyface so this could be the sleeper feud of 2018.
Goodwillie: Even with my last answer in mind, I have to say it’s Owens and Zayn vs. Orton and Nakamura. The implications of the result don’t really pique my interest in the other matches the way this one does. Sure, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn aren’t actually going to be fired, but what kind of tomfoolery is going to ensue? Do one of the referees, Shane or Daniel, go rogue? The range of possible outcomes stretches far and wide.
Taroff: It has to be the KO and Sami match, right? That’s the angle on Smackdown Live that I actually care about right now. Also looking forward to AJ and Jinder finally ending and having Jinder be a jobber again.
Mahalis: The fatal four way for the Tag Team Titles is really the only match that I am 100% interested in. If it involves The Usos and The New Day, sign me up.