Happy Boxing Day, Win Column’ers, and welcome to your first Smackdown Live preview after the Christmas festivities. While I love the holiday season, I’m glad we can get back to the holiday that truly matters - Rusev Day!
While I write this with a much larger headache than I usually do, I’m @SpennyLove, and this is your official Boxing Day preview for Smackdown Live!
Last Week’s Smackdown:
It’s odd to call it the “main event scene” when it consists of a retired and a part time wrestler, but here we are. That’s not a complaint, however; this week, we opened with Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon explaining their actions at Clash of Champions. If you haven’t tuned in to last week’s Smackdown, I suggest watching; Bryan and McMahon both nailed their parts as they justified what they did as referees during the Owens/Zayn vs. Orton/Nakamura match at the blue brand’s last PPV. Bryan, especially, has been fantastic, and delivered in spades when cutting down Shane’s apparent favouritism. It led to Bryan challenging Shane to fire him, to which McMahon responded by leaving the building. Eventually, a CoC rematch was made that included AJ Styles and Jinder Mahal, with the babyfaces picking up the victory. All in all, pretty standard - however, the tension between the GM and commissioner make it must-watch TV.
It was ironic that Rusev was dressed as Santa Claus last week, because he’s truly a gift. His and Aidan English’s match against the New Day - who themselves were dressed as elves - was perhaps the first holiday-specific match that I’ve enjoyed in years. While obviously tied into Christmas, it didn’t seem forced, which is usually my major complaint in matches like this. Besides - it was fun! Even a cynic like myself can enjoy something like this every once in a while, and especially when it involves the Bulgarian Brute.
More Quick Hits:
- Naomi became the first woman to declare herself for the Women’s Royal Rumble
- Randy Orton continued to grow his hair, and therefore continued to make me uncomfortable
- The Riott Squad lost a match - again
- There were a ton of SuperStars missing, for no apparent reason - Bobby Roode, Baron Corbin, the Bludgeon Brothers, Natalya, and the former Hype Bros were all missing.
State of the Belts:
AJ Styles didn’t do much with the WWE Championship last week; instead, both himself and Jinder Mahal were part of the main event tag-team match.
However, it doesn’t seem as though there’s a challenger to the belt currently; at the moment, Mahal isn’t owed any more rematches, and no one has laid claim to the belt. Will we see a new challenger before the Royal Rumble? There’s only a month left; however, as they say, it only takes three seconds to crown a new champion.
One of the more noteworthy parts of last week’s Smackdown was the development of Dolph Ziggler. After winning the United States Championship at CoC, Dolph cut a promo in the middle of the ring…and simply dropped his belt and walked off. It was confusing, but a genuinely interesting moment for Ziggler. It remains to be seen what will happen with the championship, and with Ziggler’s career. Hopefully, it’s not the last we see of the Showstopper in the WWE.
The tag team scene in WWE is a blessing right now, and that’s even outside of Rusev. I’m interested to see where the division goes with the Usos on top, as I thought it was unlikely they’d remain champs after CoC. I’d have to guess that Gable & Benjamin continue their chase for gold after defeating Rikishi’s sons last Tuesday. Outside of the Usos and American Alpha 2.0, the Bludgeon Brothers are poised for a move up the card, Breezango continues to entertain, and the New Day is, well, the New Day.
After Charlotte Flair’s promo last week, I have to assume that she won’t be involved in the Royal Rumble match. It’s a similar situation to Styles; will there be an interim challenger for the title, or will Charlotte not have to defend until post-Royal Rumble?
Here and There:
I loved them at the start, but I’m starting to lose faith in the Riott Squad. While Ruby Riott herself is still a personal favourite, Liv Morgan seems out of her element as a heel, and I frankly couldn’t care less about Sarah Logan at this point. With two losses over the last two weeks, it seems that WWE shares my opinion. What’s next for the blue brand’s women’s faction?
Give me some damn Tye Dillinger! While it’s rumoured that Vince McMahon has kept him off TV due to disliking the “10” chant, he’s simply too talented regardless not to be featured at least semi-consistently. He’s a completely underrated wrestler, and is a guy who can make a genuine connection with the crowd. Even in a mid-card role, he could be a great part of Smackdown Live.
Three Things to Watch For:
- I fully expect a shakeup in the tag-team scene soon; can we begin to see a shift today? With such a deep tag division, it’ll be interesting to see where teams like the New Day and Breezango go with no clear direction.
- Speaking of tag-teams, I fully expect the Bludgeon Brothers to bludgeon the hell out of someone(s) tonight - could it be a stepping stone on their way to the tag-team titles?
- With John Cena and Elias both declaring for the Royal Rumble over the last two weeks, Smackdown is still waiting for their first male participant. Who’s your pick to enter?
WWE: Last Five