By: Keila Cash
Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of The SmackDown Files. Tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live emanated from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. WWE’s four-night stand in H-Town comes to an end as SD Live eats a slice of humble pie because Raw beat them at Survivor Series in head-to-head competition by a narrow margin.
The blue brand didn’t get punked out, but their egos were bruised after Shane McMahon’s Guerrilla Warfare tactics backfired. Did Shane-O-Mac offer a mea culpa or did he have a taste for revenge instead? The answer to that question can be found throughout this blog. Without further ado, let’s dissect tonight’s show in no particular order.
· Daniel Bryan spared the careers of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, but he didn’t let the outcasts off the hook after they tried to screw over Team SmackDown at Survivor Series. Since the entire locker room hated their guts, Bryan booked Owens and Zayn against The New Day in a Lumberjack Match as the opening segment came to an end.
· This was a fine way to start the show. Shane McMahon put over the SD Live roster for busting their asses on Sunday, but he singled out Owens and Zayn for being selfish megalomaniacs who only cared about their own self-interests. He was about to fire them when Daniel Bryan came out and gave them a reprieve before handing out their punishment.
· Zayn being an over joyous asshole kept the segment afloat from an entertainment standpoint. Outside of that, this was a blah way to start the show.
· Shelton Benjamin defeated Jey Uso with Pay Dirt in a solid match. Chad Gable ran interference at ringside which enabled Benjamin to pick up the tainted win. The heel-babyface dynamic has been flipped as American Alpha 2.0 have used heelish tactics in order to outsmart The Usos in recent weeks. The role surprisingly suits them while Jimmy and Jey are getting over as badass babyfaces. Their eventual rematch for the SmackDown Tag Team Titles should be very good if both teams are given enough time to do their thing in the ring.
· The NXT Invasion continued as Ruby Riot, Sarah Logan, and Liv Morgan attacked Naomi backstage. Becky Lynch tried to make the saved, but she got tripled teamed as well. This was an impressive debut for Riot, Logan, and Morgan as they’ve raised the stakes in the SD Live Women’s Division. It’s about damn time!
· I think Shane McMahon is in for a rude awakening when he realizes that Daniel Bryan is not going to fire Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn after they are beaten to a pulp during the Lumberjack Match against The New Day later today. I smell a double-cross coming.
· The Bludgeon Brothers defeated The Hype Bros when Harper and Rowan laid out Mojo Rawley with a Double Chokeslam for the win. This was a one-sided rout that showcased the twisted duo in the best possible way. This team has potential if they are booked properly.
· The WWE Championship rematch between AJ Styles and Jinder Mahal will take place at the Clash of Champions PPV on December 17th. Here’s hoping this is the blow off match because Styles needs to hold the belt through WrestleMania. No offense to Mahal, but his title reign left a lot to be desired.
· The Singh Brothers attacked Styles from behind, but The Phenomenal One made quick work of Singh One and Singh Two as he laid one of them out with the Styles Clash as the segment came to an end. This was a good way to build heat for their WWE title match next month despite Mahal cutting his promo from the Titantron.
· The SmackDown Women’s Championship rematch between Charlotte and Natalya came to a halt when Ruby Riot, Liv Morgan, and Sarah Logan attacked Natalya at ringside which caused the referee to ring the bell. Once Natalya was taken out, the trio set their sights on Charlotte as they triple teamed her as well.
· Prior to the DQ, Charlotte and Natalya were having a solid match. It was a mirror copy of what they did last week, but it made sense in the grand scheme of things.
· Riot, Logan, and Morgan made an impactful debut while Daniel Bryan remained mum about their actions. Very interesting…
· Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn defeated The New Day when Zayn pinned Kofi Kingston with a roll-up after the BBFs took advantage of the lumberjacks fighting each other down the stretch. The match was solid, but it was nothing special.
· Sensing that things were going downhill, Owens made a run for it while leaving his best friend behind. Rusev and Aiden English tried to intervene on Zayn’s behalf, but Kofi Kingston laid them out with a dive from the top rope onto the floor.
· Xavier Woods threw Zayn back in the ring as the rest of The New Day pounced on him like a pack of angry unicorns. Kingston nailed Zayn with Trouble in Paradise before Woods and Big E finished him off with The Midnight Hour.
· As The New Day celebrated in the ring, the camera cut backstage to Owens begging Daniel Bryan not to fire him. Bryan reassured Owens that he was never going to fire him. He recognized KO’s talent and decided to book him in a match against Randy Orton next week. Owens was about to pitch a fit, but he kept his cool as the show went off the air.
· Shane McMahon’s reaction to Daniel Bryan’s decision not to fire Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn should be very interesting. Bryan is still salty that Shane invaded Raw without consulting him first. Hence the power struggle that has boiled over into tonight’s show.
· Can the brain trust of SD Live settle their differences before one of them decides to join the dark side of the force? Shane-O-Mac is susceptible to corruption based on his DNA alone. The same can’t be said for Bryan, but absolute power corrupts absolutely. Here’s hoping he can resist temptation because the blue brand doesn’t needed a bootleg version of The Authority wreaking havoc on Tuesday nights.
· Overall, I thought tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live was decent at best. The in-ring was fine, but it was nothing to write home about. The fallout from Survivor Series felt muted as everything went back to business as usual after Raw and SD Live went to war with nothing on the line except pride. That’s the major drawback when it comes to Brand Wars (Insert Year Here).
· WWE needs to explore ways to up the ante next year when it comes to trades, future draft picks, and Royal Rumble positioning. Having something tangible to fight for will enable fans to care about both shows which should always be the ultimate goal. If not, it’s another frivolous battle for brand supremacy that rings hollow if nothing is gained in victory except bragging rights. Minus the bullshit trophy, of course.
· Based on what happened during the Lumberjack Match, it appears that Baron Corbin and Bobby Roode will be feuding over the United States Championship. Roode’s transition to the main roster has been disappointing thus far. I don’t think a series of middling matches against Corbin is going to get him on the right track, but we shall see.
· With three more live shows to go until Clash of Champions, the creative team has enough time to flesh out the PPV card. The major title bouts are seemingly locked in, but a lot can happen between now and then. Here’s hoping the Powers That Be can work their magic because the blue brand needs to end the year on a high note because the quality of the show has taken a nosedive Post-WrestleMania season. Fingers crossed!
On that note, this wraps up another edition of The SmackDown Files. I hope you enjoyed it and I will be back next week with a brand new installment of The Raw Exposé. Happy Thanksgiving, boys and girls!