During their first show on the heels of a Survivor Series loss, SmackDown Live was attempting to come to grips with their brand moving forward. Tuesday’s show saw the furthering of multiple rivalries that were in full swing prior to the brand supremacy storyline, along with the debut of a new trio of females that made a hellacious statement.
SmackDown Live returns to PPV for the first time in over two months at Clash of Champions, with a ton set in motion in the first show on the road to Boston.
Everyone hates Sami & Kevin (except Rusev and Aiden English):
The show began and ended with the Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn vs. Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan saga. In the wake of costing Team SmackDown at Survivor Series, it appeared Shane was on the verge of firing the French-speaking Canadians, until Bryan intervened.
That led us to our main event of the evening, in which Owens & Zayn got a much-needed win over The New Day, even if it did come after some smoke and mirrors interference. Owens was only able to escape the attack after the match due to some help from his new-found friends in fellow Rusev Day celebrators, Rusev and English, who covered him while he ran to the back. Zayn was not so fortunate, eating an additional beat down from The New Day.
Owens & Zayn are embroiled in a reverse superstar vs. The Authority gimmick. They have embed and flowed from the most important part of the show, to washed over, back to the mountain top. But if the first show on the other side of Survivor Series is any intention, they will be key players come Clash of Champions.
Ruby Riot, Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan have arrived:
They are quite the eclectic group, but the trio of Ruby Riot, Liz Morgan and Sarah Logan made a big time statement on Tuesday, taking out the quartet of Naomi, Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, and Natalya in succession.
The three ladies all have a different look to them, which could wind up making their alliance work, at least in the short term. They come as a much-needed infusion of additional talent to the SmackDown Live women’s division, establishing their presence immediately.
The Bludgeon Brothers have also arrived (and they love maroon and beating the snot out of people):
Gone are their first names and we are left with Harper and Rowan. BLUDGEON BROTHERS. GRUNTING-NOISE-AS-SOMEONE-SMASHES-CAMERA-WITH-HAMMER.
Decked out in maroon that made them look as if they were chosen for the House of Maroon on sorting hat day, the Bludgeon Brothers did nothing short of bludgeoning the Hype Bros. on their way to victory.
Normally it’s Mojo Rowley who is hyped, but the re-packaged Harper and Rowan appeared plenty hyped in their own right. The real test comes moving them forward, but for now, they sounded good, had a nasty look, and performed well in the ring.
A.J. Styles vs. Jinder Mahal is going down at Clash of Champions:
Jinder Mahal went from challenging A.J. Styles to a WWE Championship rematch as soon as possible, to waiting nearly as long as possible, selecting a date almost a month in advance: Clash of Champions, from Boston on Dec. 17.
Could the Singh Brothers be any less useful? They attempted to ambush Styles after Mahal maniacally laughed like a mad scientist despite merely challenging Styles to a match over three weeks away. Sunil and Samir then got mauled by the Phenomenal One despite having jumped him from behind.
So we also learned the Singh Brothers are lacking the skills to back up the Modern-day Maharaja, but you knew that already.
Creative has not a single clue of what to do with Shinsuke Nakamura:
Another thing that seems painfully obvious, but true; the WWE creative staff is at a loss as for what to do with Shinsuke Nakamura.
Nakamura was the first man eliminated from the Raw vs. SmackDown Elimination Match on Sunday, before being resigned to merely a lumberjack during the main event on Tuesday night.
For whatever reason, he has been pushed to the back of the line and has no real direct next feud in front of him. One of the world’s best in-ring performers is floundering on a show that thrives on in-ring performances while everyone tries to figure out how to get him involved.