By: Keila Cash
Location: The Laredo Energy Center in Laredo, Texas
Sleep Mantra: "Enter Sandman" by Metallica
Dream Mantra: “The View from Hell is Blue Sky”
· Jinder Mahal advanced to the finals of the United States Tournament when he defeated Xavier Woods with the Khallas in a solid match. Mahal dominated 85% of the action which didn’t make for exciting television. Woods made a nice babyface comeback, but the outcome was never in doubt. Outside of The New Day rolling their R’s when it came to pronouncing the word Maharaja, this was an uneventful way to start the show.
· Bobby Roode advanced to the finals of the United States Tournament when he defeated Mojo Rawley with the Glorious DDT in a solid match. Once again, the heel was in control until the babyface made the comeback down the stretch. Rawley needs to add variety to his in-ring game, but he held his own against Roode for the most part.
· After the match was over, The Singh Brothers attacked Roode from behind as a way to soften him up before his US Title Match against Jinder Mahal next week.
· Mahal appeared on the main stage to gloat, but Roode didn’t want to wait until next week to face the modern-day Maharaja. Mahal scoffed at the notion because he was the one who determines the time and place to fight.
· Danial Bryan came out to remind Mahal that he was in charge by booking Mahal vs. Roode for the US Title later tonight. The finals were bumped from the Rumble to next week to tonight in less than 24 hours. Best laid plans, be damned! At least the fans popped huge for the announcement.
· The Riott Squad defeated Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Naomi when Liv Morgan nailed Naomi with a double knee facebreaker for the win. The match was decent as Lynch played the babyface in peril until she made the hot tag to Naomi.
· Naomi had the match won when Ruby Riott kicked her in the face behind the referee’s back which led to the finish moments later. This was a nice way for the heels to build momentum leading up to the first-ever women’s Royal Rumble match in a couple of weeks.
· Bobby Roode is the NEW United States Champion when he defeated Jinder Mahal with the Glorious DDT in an okay match. The match was fine for the most part, but I was distracted by Roode and Mahal wearing the same color scheme. It was all blue everything from their trunks right down to the kneepads. Batista (AKA Bluetista) must be smiling from ear to ear.
· Mahal dominated most of the action which damn near put me to sleep. Thankfully, Roode scored the pin which ended things on a high note. Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan presented the Glorious One with the United States Championship as SD Live went off the air with Roode celebrating in the ring.
· The ending was a little surprising because I thought Mahal had the mid-card scene on lock after losing the WWE Title last November. Therefore, I am pleasantly surprised that Roode won his first major championship on the main roster.
· He’s still miscast as a babyface, but the pickings are slim when it comes to viable challengers at the moment. Here’s hoping business picks up after the Royal Rumble because there is a lot of downtime between now and Fastlane which takes place in March.
· Overall, I thought tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live was boring. The in-ring action left a lot to be desired. Jinder Mahal wrestling TWICE in one night didn’t help matters, but Bobby Roode made everything better in the end.
· The show lacked star power as the broadcast was filled with pre-taped segments and backstage promos from AJ Styles and The Usos. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn were MIA while the power struggle between Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan ceased for one night. It seemed as if WWE was doing some extra event planning for Raw 25 which might explain why tonight’s broadcast seemed thrown together on a whim.
· This was by far the worst episode of SD Live since the 2016 reboot. It wasn’t dog shit terrible, but it was a chore to watch. Let’s hope next week’s go-home show from Washington D.C. is better because this was a piss poor effort from the E tonight.
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. See you later, boys and girls!