WWE championship match
Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Randy Orton
Kofi Kingston has been the WWE champion for more than five months, starting with his memorable victory over Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 35.
His first four title defenses on pay-per-view (PPV) came against Kevin Owens, Dolph Ziggler (twice), and Samoa Joe. None of these opponents felt like they had much of a chance at dethroning Kingston. Owens was a substitute for Daniel Bryan, Ziggler has been beaten into the ground by WWE for more than a decade, and Samoa Joe never wins the big match on PPV. These guys collectively didn’t seem like plausible WWE champions.
Randy Orton emerged as Kingston’s challenger for SummerSlam, and Kofi finally had an opponent who was a serious threat to his title. That’s because Vince McMahon loves Orton; he positioned Randy as the number two star in the company (behind only John Cena) for much of the Viper’s career. WWE is moving SmackDown television to the Fox network in October, and it’s not crazy at all to think McMahon is tempted to put the WWE title on Orton right as that deal is about to begin. Before you scoff at that notion, keep in mind that Vince McMahon is the same out of touch guy who thought that Randy Orton versus Batista would have been an incredible main event match for WrestleMania 30 back in 2014.
The SummerSlam match between Kingston and Orton ended in an underwhelming double count out draw. I don’t have any stats on this, but I think it’s natural to assume that the probability of a non-finish occurring on consecutive PPV matches within the same feud is low. Looking ahead, Randy Orton has competed in many Hell in a Cell matches, and it’s reasonable to expect this feud will culminate at that event next month. One obvious way to get to Hell in a Cell would involve Orton winning the title at Clash of Champions, and then Kingston earning a rematch inside the cell.
Putting all of this together, Kingston’s championship reign has never felt more vulnerable than it does right now as Clash of Champions approaches.
The buildup for this match has involved the Revival joining up with Orton to viciously attack Kingston and the New Day. Here is one such example, where Xavier Woods’ leg was sadistically targeted and destroyed while Randy forced Kofi to helplessly watch the massacre.
Kingston got a measure of revenge at Madison Square Garden when he recreated his famous moment from 2009 and once again put Orton’s ass through another table.
That powerful moment was a reminder of the controversial history that underlies this entire feud, stemming back to when Randy Orton allegedly played a large role in ending Kingston’s push in 2009. Kingston and Orton have used that history during their promos over the last two months, and for some fans, the only way this story can end is with Kingston pinning Orton and healing that wound from 10 years ago.
Any other finish to this story would be (in the words of Randy Orton) “Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid...”
Find out who walks away with the gold by tuning into Clash of Champions 2019 and keeping it right here at Cageside Seats!