Clash of Champions (2020)
|Clash of Champions|
|Date||September 27, 2020|
|WWE Network event chronology|
|Clash of Champions chronology|
Clash of Champions is an upcoming professional wrestling pay-per-view and WWE Network event produced by WWE for their Raw and SmackDown brand divisions. It is scheduled to take place on September 27, 2020 (originally September 20) at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. It will be the fourth event in the Clash of Champions chronology.
Clash of Champions is a recurring pay-per-view (PPV) event established by WWE in 2016. Similar to its predecessor Night of Champions, the concept of the show is that every active WWE championship for the brand divisions featured at the event are defended. The 2020 event will feature the Raw and SmackDown brands and their respective titles—Raw's WWE Championship, SmackDown's Universal Championship, the Raw Women's Championship, the SmackDown Women's Championship, Raw's United States Championship, SmackDown's Intercontinental Championship, the Raw Tag Team Championship, the SmackDown Tag Team Championship, the Women's Tag Team Championship, and the 24/7 Championship. The 2019 event had also featured the 205 Live brand and its Cruiserweight Championship, but that brand and title were merged under the NXT umbrella in late 2019.
Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, WWE presented the majority of its programming from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida since mid-March with no fans in attendance, although in late May, the promotion began using Performance Center trainees to serve as the live audience, which was further expanded to friends and family members of the wrestlers in mid-June. On August 17, WWE announced that all future shows and pay-per-views would be held at the Amway Center, a larger venue also located in Orlando, for the "foreseeable future", beginning with the August 21 episode of SmackDown. Furthermore, the shows now feature a new fan viewing experience called "ThunderDome", which utilizes drones, lasers, pyro, smoke, and projections. Approximately one thousand LED boards were installed in the Amway Center to allow fans to virtually attend the events for free and be seen on the rows and rows of LED boards. Arena audio is also mixed with that of the virtual fans so that chants from the fans can be heard. Clash of Champions itself was originally scheduled for September 20, but was pushed back to September 27.
The show will include matches that result from scripted storylines, where wrestlers portray heroes, villains, or less distinguishable characters in scripted events that build tension and culminate in a wrestling match or series of matches. Results are predetermined by WWE's writers on the Raw and SmackDown brands, while storylines are produced on WWE's weekly television shows, Monday Night Raw and Friday Night SmackDown.
At SummerSlam, Drew McIntyre defeated Randy Orton to retain the WWE Championship. The following night on Raw, McIntyre gloated about his victory against "the greatest wrestler ever" with a wrestling move, and stated that he knew that Orton wanted a rematch. As McIntyre made his exit, Orton attacked McIntyre and delivered two Punts to him. Later, Orton was confronted by former NXT wrestler Keith Lee, who made his Raw debut. Lee, on behalf of McIntyre, challenged Orton to a match. The two faced each other that night; however, the match ended in a disqualification win for Orton after McIntyre attacked Orton. After the ensuing brawl, Orton delivered a third Punt to McIntyre, taking him out for the next two weeks. Lee then faced Orton in a rematch and on behalf of McIntyre once again at Payback where he defeated Orton. On the following night's Raw, three singles matches were set up with the winners of each facing each other in a triple threat match that night to determine the number one contender for the WWE Championship at Clash of Champions. Orton, Lee, and Seth Rollins won their respective matches with Orton winning the ensuing triple threat to secure another title opportunity against McIntyre. Throughout the course of that night, McIntyre delivered three Claymore kicks to Orton. The following week, McIntyre changed the stipulation of their match to an ambulance match. Also that night, due to the uncertainty if Orton would make it to Clash of Champions as a result of McIntyre's attacks the previous week, Lee faced McIntyre in a non-title match where if Lee won, he would replace Orton in the event that Orton could not compete at Clash of Champions; the match, however, ended in a no contest when Retribution attacked both men.
At Payback, Big E and Matt Riddle won their respective matches against Sheamus and King Corbin, while in the main event, a now heel Roman Reigns, who aligned himself with Paul Heyman, won the Universal Championship. On the following SmackDown, a fatal four-way match between Big E, Riddle, Corbin, and Sheamus was scheduled to determine the number one contender for the Universal Championship at Clash of Champions. However, Sheamus attacked Big E backstage, taking him out of the match. Big E was subsequently replaced by Reigns' own cousin Jey Uso, who won the fatal four-way to earn the title match against Reigns.
On the September 11 episode of SmackDown, Nikki Cross defeated Alexa Bliss, Lacey Evans, and Tamina in a fatal four-way match to earn a SmackDown Women's Championship match against Bayley at Clash of Champions.
At Payback, Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler won the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship, while during the Kickoff pre-show, The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan) defeated The IIconics (Peyton Royce and Billie Kay). The following night on Raw, The Riott Squad faced The IIconics in a rematch with the added stipulation that the winning team would earn a shot at the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship while the losing team would disband. The Riott Squad won the match and the title opportunity, while The IIconics had to disband as a team. On the September 14 episode, it was announced that Jax and Baszler will defend the title against The Riott Squad at Clash of Champions.
On the September 11 episode of SmackDown, Lucha House Party's Kalisto and Gran Metalik (accompanied by their fellow team member Lince Dorado) defeated SmackDown Tag Team Champions Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura in a non-title match. The following week, Cesaro and Nakamura were scheduled to defend the title against Lucha House Party at Clash of Champions.
In May 2020, Sami Zayn was stripped of the Intercontinental Championship after refraining from competing during the COVID-19 pandemic. A tournament to determine a new champion was then won by AJ Styles on the June 12 episode of SmackDown. Jeff Hardy then defeated Styles to win the title on the August 21 episode of SmackDown. Prior to the match, Styles attacked Hardy's leg which led to medical personnel placing a leg brace on Hardy's injured leg. The following week, Styles interrupted Hardy, feeling that Hardy had cheated in their match as Hardy kicked Styles with his leg that had a knee brace. As Hardy was leaving, however, Zayn returned with his own title belt, claiming that he was the true champion as he was never defeated, and attacked Hardy. Styles then watched and taunted Hardy. Over the next few weeks, all three would bicker and state their claim on who is the real champion. The rivalry would eventually reach a boiling point on the September 18 episode when an enraged Hardy announced that he would defend the Intercontinental Championship against Styles and Zayn in a triple threat ladder match at Clash of Champions.
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