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Predicting the match order at Clash of Champions 2017

WWE.com

It's one thing to predict the winners and losers at Clash of Champions 2017, but how about taking a guess at the match order on that card?

WWE has announced 6 different matches for the main card of Clash of Champions 2017, not counting the Kickoff match featuring Zack Ryder versus Mojo Rawley.

Here is my subjective view of how important each of these 6 segments rank on the Clash of Champions card, ordered from most important to least important.

  1. Orton & Nakamura vs. Owens & Zayn
  2. AJ Styles vs. Jinder Mahal
  3. Tag Team Championship Fatal 4-Way
  4. Charlotte Flair vs. Natalya
  5. Corbin vs. Roode vs. Ziggler
  6. Breezango vs. Bludgeon Brothers

It is important to come up with a list like this to get an idea of which matches are going to be placed in the key spots on the card or take up the most time, and which matches might end up in the cool-down spots or be given the least amount of time.

The tag team championship and women’s championship have roughly equal importance in my view; I’m ranking the 4-way match higher because I think its match time will be longer.

Main event

The theme of this event is all about defending championships, so the WWE Championship match between Styles and Mahal should be the favorite to headline the card. However, the Owens/Shane/Bryan drama has main evented 5 consecutive episodes of SmackDown television and potentially has huge stakes for the future of the brand.

Therefore just like at Survivor Series, I’m going to follow what the television episodes tell me is the most important story, and that means I’m picking Randy Orton to main event yet another PPV.

Opening match

The opening match of the night is usually one of the mid-level attractions with good work rate that normally doesn’t require a dedicated video package ahead of time to hype it up.

Any of the three undercard championship matches are viable options to open the night. WWE generally chooses something faster paced, so Charlotte’s match seems less likely for this spot than the other two undercard championship matches.

Therefore I’m left with either the triple threat or fatal 4-way match. This is a pretty tough choice because the fatal 4-way match could be a great choice to anchor the middle of this lackluster card. But the triple threat doesn’t seem all that important and might not be the best option to get the crowd hyped up for the rest of the night. The tag match is the better choice for the opening match.

That gives me the following card:

Segment 1: Tag Team Championship Fatal 4-Way
Segment 2:
Segment 3:
Segment 4:
Segment 5:
Segment 6: Orton & Nakamura vs. Owens & Zayn

Everything else

The tag team championship match could very well be the longest and/or most exciting match of the night, so it’s probably best to use the Breezango cool-down match right after it, in Segment 2.

Following that, it makes sense to get the US Championship match out of the way due to it being less important than the remaining matches.

That gives me the following card:

Segment 1: Tag Team Championship Fatal 4-Way
Segment 2: Breezango vs. Bludgeon Brothers
Segment 3: Corbin vs. Roode vs. Ziggler
Segment 4:
Segment 5:
Segment 6: Orton & Nakamura vs. Owens & Zayn

That leaves the Women’s Championship and the WWE Championship for Segment 4 and Segment 5. I would normally place the women’s championship earlier in the night than the WWE Championship. However, this card is really lacking a high quality lengthy match to carry the second hour of the show, and AJ Styles is one performer who can certainly do that. So it’s a little off the beaten path, but I’m putting the WWE Champion in Segment 4 and the Women’s Champion in Segment 5.

Finalized card

So here is my final prediction for the match order at Clash of Champions, along with guesses on the bell-to-bell match times.

Segment 1: Tag Team Championship Fatal 4-Way (19 minutes)
Segment 2: Breezango vs. Bludgeon Brothers (6)
Segment 3: Corbin vs. Roode vs. Ziggler (13)
Segment 4: AJ Styles vs. Jinder Mahal (18)
Segment 5: Charlotte Flair vs. Natalya (12)
Segment 6: Orton & Nakamura vs. Owens & Zayn (20)

This card looks like it needs a 7th segment to fill out 3 hours, so I’m pushing a few of the matches towards 20 minutes to help make up the gap. These times still only add up to 88 minutes, which is less match time than WWE typically includes on a 3-hour PPV event. Perhaps the show will actually open with a filler Bryan/Shane talking segment, rendering my entire match order prediction useless.

That's my prediction for the match order at Clash of Champions. What's yours?