Clash of Champions 2017: 5 reasons why Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Randy Orton should main event 

clash of champions
Owens & Zayn will fight Orton & Nakamura for their livelihoods this Sunday

This Sunday night, SmackDown Live will present the final WWE pay-per-view event of the year, Clash of Champions. It’s the show based on every championship being defended. That said, there’s a match of much greater importance than any of the title matches this year, being that Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens will be fighting for their livelihoods in a match with the vindictive Commissioner serving as the special guest referee.

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And they’re the bad guys! Daniel Bryan has been inserted into the match as the second referee in an attempt to keep McMahon from intentionally screwing his nemesis. But It’s pretty obvious that it’s leading toward Shane McMahon turning heel, although it’s an odd way to do it by having him go that way due to his hatred for a pair of heels.

To be honest, it’s actually logical and refreshing, because it doesn’t follow normal pro wrestling trends but does depict how real human beings can become villainous due to their temper, family history, and certain circumstances all meeting in a perfect storm.

In that, we have our main event. The match that closes the evening, because it’s far more important and noteworthy than any of the four title matches that will be taking place. And even though it’s the PPV that is named and promoted around the idea that every title is being defended, that’s okay. It should be the main event.

#5 There’s already precedent for a non-title match to close the show

triple h vs cm punk
Triple H fought to keep his title of COO against CM Punk at Night of Champions 2011

The most memorable part of 2011 in WWE was probably their version of the “Summer of Punk”, which saw CM Punk cut a scathing “shoot” promo about the awful McMahon family and by extension Triple H, while threatening to walk out of WWE on the final night of his contract, the same night in which he would win the WWE Championship.

He did indeed do just that but came back only a few short weeks later and it became a run-of-the-mill WWE storyline. That’s a shame indeed, but it’s a topic for another time.

The meat on this bone lies with the fact that it led to CM Punk eventually taking on one of the highest bosses, Triple H himself, in a match with Triple H’s job as the company’s Chief Operating Officer on the line. Punk would not succeed in ending Triple H’s reign in high management, much like Shane McMahon’s hand-picked team of Orton & Nakamura won’t succeed in ending Sami & Kevin’s careers.

But WWE decided 6 years ago that the most important match on the show wasn’t the WWE Championship match nor the World Heavyweight Championship match. Every Night of Champions event before and after this one had either the WWE or World Heavyweight Championship match close the show, and last year’s Clash of Champions ended with Kevin Owens defending RAW’s top title, the Universal Championship.

So even though it will be only the second time in 11 years that the top title (or any title at all) will not be defended to close the show, a precedent has been set that if somebody’s career is on the line, it trumps all other title matches. That’s exactly what is taking place on Sunday.

#4 It will probably be the best match of the night

zayn and owens
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn might have Daniel Bryan on their side

This show looks to feature seven matches in all, including one pre-show match. They don’t look like bad matches on paper and certainly won’t be bad matches when they actually occur on Sunday night. But none of them have nearly the potential that Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn vs. Randy Orton & Shinsuke Nakamura does.

No offence to AJ Styles, but he’s had two attempts and has only been able to pull, at best, a decent match out of his challenger on Sunday, Jinder Mahal.

The other matches will all range from decent to very good, but the tag team main event has the potential, even the likelihood, of being a legitimately great match.

Maybe not an all-time classic as there’s likely going to be a lot of interactions between the wrestlers and referees, but it will be exciting and feature the wrestling of four of the best in the business, who will give it their very best. It’s going to be the best match of the night, and that’s definitely the match that should go on last.

#3 Jinder Mahal is wrestling for the WWE Championship

Jinder mahal
Jinder Mahal may be getting his final opportunity at the WWE Title on Sunday

I don’t dislike Jinder as much as most people seem to. I think he’s much better at cutting promos than he’s given credit for. I think he carries himself like a star. I think, even though he’s not a main event calibre Superstar, he is trying his hardest to live up to the expectations that he has been given under his unique circumstance.

At the same time, his run as a “top guy” is coming to a close, and it looks like the experiment has failed. He’s not good enough for the spot he’s in and hasn’t made anybody believe he should be an upper echelon guy. It hasn’t made the company money or drawn the interest of anybody (at least not in a way positive for WWE).

Chances are that if this wasn’t an event in which all of the WWE championships had to be defended, they would have gone a different direction. Jinder may have received his rematch on an episode of SmackDown instead of PPV. AJ Styles may have found himself intertwined in the Owens/Zayn/McMahon/Bryan feud in some manner since he’s the WWE Champion, and could have been involved in some form in that match instead.

That, or he would simply have a better opponent lined up. There are plenty of variables, but the one constant remains. Jinder Mahal is done as far as being on the top of the card, and even a match with AJ Styles doesn’t change that.

#2 It’s the most important match on the show

owens and zayn
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn "occupied" SmackDown Live this week

Yes, championships are important, but they are competed for and won and lost all the time. WWE has also done a heck of a job in making the belts all feel much less significant and important than they should be, to the point that even on a show based around the titles.

None of the title matches are big enough to be placed above a tag team match featuring two disgruntled wrestlers, a makeshift tag team and the two guys running the show.

I’ve already covered the fact that Jinder Mahal challenging AJ Styles simply isn’t a big match. Meanwhile, the Women’s Championship match is a rematch in a cold feud with the stipulation that lumberjacks will be ringside.

The challenger, Natalya, isn’t the second most important person in the women’s division on SmackDown Live. There are a number of women with higher prominence than her, but they’re all going to be on the outside of the ring.

The US Title match was hastily thrown together and the feud leading to the match isn’t very exciting or interesting. The Tag Team Championship match is similar, as there will be four teams vying for the title in a match that does have some history behind it but doesn’t feel like a big-time championship contest.

Owens and Zayn have been made out to be seen the most important members of the SD Live locker room for a couple of months at this point, and their storyline is heads and shoulders above the importance of any of the championship matches.

#1 You can’t follow it

us title match
This triple threat match could be a good one, but nobody would care about it after the big tag match

This match simply cannot be followed. Even if it turns out that one, or even all of the matches for that matter, are better than this one, that’s not the main point. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn could get fired as a result of this match, and a moment like that can’t happen somewhere in the middle of the show, especially with the low profile of the other scheduled matches.

If they don’t lose their jobs, the match will still result in a very significant development for the SmackDown Live brand as a whole. The two main antagonists along with the General Manager and Commissioner are involved, and that’s a big deal. Plus, it’s the first time Daniel Bryan will be inside a ring as a sanctioned part of a match since his retirement.

Sure, he’s only one of two referees, but having him in a match, even in that capacity, is an extremely big deal. Not only that, but he’s arguably still the most over guy on the whole SmackDown Live roster.

Nothing can be done in any of the other matches scheduled for Sunday night that can be as noteworthy as what’s going to happen in this match. The only thing I think I could see being bigger, and the only thing that I would think that could happen that this match couldn’t follow would be if Daniel Bryan were to call out AJ Styles and challenge him for a one-on-one title match in the future. That would be something you end a show on.

That won’t be happening, and none of the other matches have anything to offer, either. The storylines are all very generic and pedestrian, so they will pale in comparison to Owens & Zayn vs. Nakamura & Orton. Any match that comes after this one would feel like a post-show exhibition match instead of a main event championship match.

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Edited by Nishant Jayaram
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