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5 things we learned from SmackDown Live 12-5

Joe Nocco



SmackDown Live

SmackDown Live went with an unconventional method prior to this week’s episode, choosing to announce three Championship matches for the PPV event, Clash of Champions, before going on the air.

Why they couldn’t have simply been made on the show is the shrug emoji personified, but all’s well that ends well, assuming it ends well.

The two hours of the blue brand this week felt short. And it’s not just because the main event and the ensuing beat down ending three and a half minutes early. It was an Owens-Zayn centric show, with the rest of the night feeling like filler until Clash of Champions gets on the air. After an electric Raw on Monday, SmackDown was as laid back and relaxed as the San Diego weather.

Which reminds us…

SmackDown does indeed still have a theme song!:

Someone has to begin developing the algorithm on the percentages of what shows are solid/subpar when the theme song actually gets played, in comparison to when it’s put on the back burner.

There seems to be no rhyme or reason as to what leads to the package rolling, but it’s a welcome addition that sets the stage for the following two hours.

Shinsuke Nakamura and Randy Orton are the new most dangerous duo on the block:

After the announcement earlier in the night that Orton would be able to team with any partner of his choosing come Clash of Champions, Nakamura came to his aid during a beat down following the main event between RKO and Zayn.

The tandem makes sense in the short-term, as both men desperately need direction on the show, but also leaves open a wide swath of possibilities going forward.

Following the match, the announcement from Shane McMahon that he would not only be the Special Guest Referee, but that Owens and Zayn’s jobs were on the line at Clash of Champions makes the PPV event all the more must-see.

Rusev Day shirts are here!:

Rusev is so over at the moment that it’s stunning he still has not yet officially turned babyface. His partnership with Aiden English is birthed in some bizarre past alliances, yet most importantly, the two will have their chance to become SmackDown Tag Team Champions at Clash of Champions after they beat The New Day on Tuesday.

Maybe more importantly, “Happy Rusev Day” shirts are out, complete with the colors of the Bulgarian flag. Corey Graves said he already has three of the shirts and while that may seem excessive, you almost certainly need one, with it being the holiday season and all. No matter what religious holidays you celebrate (if you do), we can all come together this month and celebrate Rusev Day.

The Women’s Championship Match is set for a Riott:

After complaints from Carmella, Tamina/Lana, and The Riott Squad about their lack of involvement at Clash of Champions, they were somehow satisfied with becoming lumberjacks (lumberjills?) for the match between Charlotte Flair and Natayla. Not sure how that becomes a better solution, but they appear to have taken to it.

The two sides came to blows later in the night, with Charlotte awkwardly escaping the scene with her belt raised high. Some tomfoolery lurks on the horizon with this one.

Mojo Rawley is still hyped:

Complete with his own logo emblazoned on his shirt, Mojo Rawley delivered a nearly flawless promo explaining his actions taken against Zack Ryder. The best part? Show me where he’s wrong; he won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania and even had a 1-on-1 match with Jinder Mahal, before fading back into the tag team scene once Ryder returned, and not with much success.

The Hype Bros could have always used that additional push to get over the hump as a team, but now that they’ve separated, Rawley can use it as a launching pad to his own singles career. He’s difficult to project as a singles competitor due to the fact he hasn’t performed in such a capacity in a prolonged period, but if nothing else, the man can cut a promo.

Joe Nocco is a recent graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, born and raised in the New York area. Previously a contributor to SB Nation, and his own website titled Joe Nocco Sports, among others, Nocco has experience covering a variety of sports having specialized in content surrounding the NFL, NHL, NBA and MLB. You can follow Nocco at @JoeNoccoFRS on Twitter.

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