WWE's Clash of Champions pay-per-view is the first Raw-exclusive event since the brand split back in July, and it's also replacing the Night of Champions moniker pay-per-view as well, but still holds the tradition of having every title on the line.
There's a lot going into tonight's event with Kevin Owens defending his newly-won Universal Championship against Seth Rollins, Charlotte in a triple threat match against rival Sasha Banks and newcomer to Raw, Bayley. Anderson and Gallows are looking to add WWE Tag Team Championships to their already impressive resume, and Roman Reigns is on his road to redemption as he goes one-on-one against Rusev for the United States Championship.
This is Owens' first big-time Universal Championship defense, but the question is can WWE's Prizefighter take on "The Man" without the aid of Triple H, or will Rollins become a three-time World Champion?
In addition to this, the high-flying action of the Cruiserweight division will be added to a WWE pay-per-view for the first time in almost a decade with WWE Cruiserweight Champion TJ Perkins taking on veteran Brian Kendrick. Of course, there are non-title matches in the mix as well featuring the seventh match of the Best of Seven series between Sheamus and Cesaro.
With each title match brings high stakes, so let's take a look at the final card of tonight's Clash of Champions and who could walk out as champion and who would have a title opportunity in their future.
Sami Zayn vs Chris Jericho
Starting things off, we see quite the match with Sami Zayn and Chris Jericho. The former best friend of Kevin Owens versus Owen's current BFF has the least build up on the card, but should be a thrilling match. Jericho has been on a roll recently, and again, reinvented himself to keep up with modern times. The combo of Jeri-KO has been gold as well, but with Owens reaching the pinnacle of the industry
The combo of Jeri-KO has been gold as well, but with Owens reaching the pinnacle of the industry, he seems to have left his friends behind and upgrading to aligning himself with Triple H. With Zayn pointing that out to Jericho, it led to a struggle between the two men and Raw General Manager Mick Foley making the match official for tonight.
Zayn needs this victory more than Jericho and considering Jericho's history of helping get younger stars over, the Underdog from the Underground is going over here.
Winner: Sami Zayn
Best of 7 Series, Match #7: Sheamus vs Cesaro
"The King of Swing" Cesaro has made a comeback with this series against Sheamus, but the Irishman's early domination of this contest, which man will prevail?
With Mick Foley arranging this match series over the summer, with the winner getting a future title match (though it's still unspecified of which title exactly) the two competitors are now locked 3-3. Sheamus took an early lead with three wins, but Cesaro fought back leading us to tonight's match.
Both men are former champions in their own right, but Cesaro has yet to win the Big One, and the win here could cement Cesaro's step back into the big time. The Swiss Superman is incredibly over with the fans and is the kind of champion that the WWE Universe is clamoring for.
Cesaro and Sheamus both have something to prove, but there are two different stories here. One is about a man who wants to show he still has what it takes to be world champion material, the other proving that he deserves to be. However, it's the latter makes the most interesting story.
WWE Cruiserweight Championship: T.J. Perkins vs. Brian Kendrick
This match should be great for a few reasons. One, it's been great to see Brian Kendrick back in a WWE ring on the main stage. Two, if there's one thing that WWE Cruiserweight Champion TJ Perkins has to prove is that for the people who didn't follow the Cruiserweight Classic Series, they severely missed out.
Perkins is the first Cruiserweight champion in about a decade so there's a lot riding on his winning streak, which should give some validity to both the championship and the champion. This is Perkins' first title defense so from a storyline point of view, it doesn't make a lot of sense for him to lose just two weeks after being crowned champion.
Though Kendrick's revival has been something interesting to witness as a longtime fan of the former wrestler known as Spanky. These performers could easily bring the house down, but it's Perkins that is on his way to superstardom starting with this victory.
Winner: TJ Perkins
Raw Tag Team Championship: The New Day vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
The New Day are officially in the history books as the longest WWE Tag Team Champions lasting over a year with the gold, and the last to be recognized as the sole tag team champions of the company. To say it's been a good year for the New Day is an understatement.
But all good things...
With the introduction of former Bullet Club members Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows back in April of this year, the tag team division had quite the injection of new blood into its system. Anderson and Gallows have had title opportunities in the past, but it seems like tonight could be their night as they've joked about emasculating the New Day, even going as far as taking their "manhood".
Anderson and Gallows are a dominant team and if you've ever managed to catch their New Japan matches, you'll know they are some of the most talented tag team performers out there. Already crowned IWGP Tag Team Champions in the past, Anderson and Gallows look like they'll come on top, adding another accolade to their already impressive resumes.
Plus, it shakes The New Day up a bit, and that's always a good thing.
Winner: Anderson and Gallows
WWE United States Championship: Roman Reigns vs Rusev
It's been quite the year for both of these men.
After losing the United States Championship to John Cena last year at WrestleMania, Rusev found himself floundering around with various feuds and forming the League of Nations. Outside of his nuptials to his manager, Lana, Rusev seemed to have lost his dominance in the WWE that made his monster reputation.
Then you have Roman Reigns. Once deemed Vince McMahon's chosen one of the New Era, he found himself suspended after a Wellness Violation, that dampened any sort of momentum he had. Upon his return, he was thrust into the main event spotlight, but the WWE Universe pushed back on the former champion.
However, fans have lightened up to Reigns again as he's once again booked as this powerful beast of a man and with Rusev playing up the angry foreigner gimmick as hard as ever, it's solid booking that could help put both guys over.
The thing here is that Roman actually needs the win, but politics could come into play and maybe the office isn't quite ready to forgive Roman for his gaffe. Then again, with Rusev out of the secondary title picture, he could elevate towards Universal Champion status.
Tonight, though, the Bulgarian Brute will keep his title on his shoulders.
Raw Women's Championship: Charlotte vs Sasha Banks vs Bayley
You're looking at the match of the night here.
There's so much story here that it really go could in any direction. You have Charlotte, who is quickly defining her role as the face of the Women's Division. There's also Sasha Banks, who is the perfect foil for Charlotte in every way, and looking to reclaim a championship she only held briefly.
Then there's Bayley.
Adding Bayley into the mix was a sincerely good call and puts that wild card element into the match. Coming up from NXT and making her main roster debut this month, Bayley was an instant star and that showed from the reaction to her presence in the ring. The problem here is that adding Bayley to a championship match of this caliber so soon is that if she loses, she loses a certain amount of momentum. At the same time, if she wins it's seemed like too much of a push too soon.
Then again, they did a similar route with Paige.
With so many factors going in, it's hard to predict this so going out on a limb, Bayley will pick up the win, but that will eventually drive a rift between her and Sasha.
WWE Universal Championship: Kevin Owens vs Seth Rollins
This should be a solid match, but whether or not it's given a clean finish is very doubtful.
The two men here are both long time veterans of the ring and both are ROH World Champions as well as NXT Champions, with a history of working with Triple H. Making his return over the summer and winning the WWE World Championship moments before losing it to Dean Ambrose, Seth has been haunted by the all-too-quick taste of victory that has him wanting more.
There's a lot of story here with Owens taking the place as the company's top heel (outside of Triple H himself) and Rollins' surprise face turn (which should have been initiated since day one of his return) because of Triple H's involvement which led to Owens becoming champion. The problem is with WWE's double booking with the brand split, a match like this seems too soon to really make anything of. If Owens wins, great. He'll continue his streak of being an incredible heel providing entertainment and all of that. Now if Seth wins, his road to redemption is finished and he's a three-time world champion.
Here's the problem, though: there hasn't been enough time for a proper build to make any sort of pay off. The story elements are there, but with a match like this, there should be more hype involved. It's like a dessert you weren't quite ready for as you're still finishing your steak dinner.
That aside, these guys are going to tear the roof off of the place, but it's almost too certain that Owens will walk away with the championship around his waist.
Winner: Kevin Owens
WWE Clash of Champions airs live Sunday, Sept. 25, 8 PM ET/5PT only on the WWE Network.