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Friday, March 24, 2023

Clash at the Castle Keeps WWE Rolling with Stunning Turn

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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.

Daddy Issues

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.

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.

Title Toughness

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.

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