Smackdown Live was built around the fallout from Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn attack on Shame McMahon at Survivor Series. The Smackdown Women’s Championship was on the line and another three NXT Women made their Smackdown Live Debuts.
Shane McMahon Promo. Grade: B- The Commissioner tried to brush off the loss at Survivor Series and quickly turned his attention to Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens. The teasing of firing the duo adds stakes to the rivalry and the fact that the entire locker room is against them is exactly what was needed. Sami Zayn going over the top as a heel with his “Double Yep and Triple Yep” was genuinely hilarious.
Shelton Benjamin defeated Jey Uso. Grade: B. A solid opening match; Shelton Benjamin has barely stretched the surface of what he is capable of. The Usos seem to be quickly turning face given their Black Friday Sale advertisement later in the show and how the crowd responded to them during the match, and the coming hele turn of Gable & Benjamin is interesting. Double turns are always fun.
Sarah Logan, Liv Morgan and Ruby Riot Debut. Grade: A- Another great debut for three NXT women with an excellent assault on both Naomi & Becky Lynch backstage that had great intensity and viciousness behind it. Perhaps a bit lazy that this was very similar to the debuts of Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville the night before but nonetheless these three make for interesting additions to the Smackdown Women’s Division.
The Bludgeon Brothers Debut and defeat the Hype Bros. Grade: A- Weeks of vignettes have worked wonders as Harper & Rowan came in with great purpose and intensity. They crushed the Hype Bros with ease who seem to be falling further apart each week. A perfect debut for the Bludgeon Brothers here and hopefully they quickly move on and capture the Tag Titles.
AJ Styles Promo and is challenged by Jinder Mahal. Grade: B+ Styles cut a great promo on his match at Survivor Series and kept the door open for a rematch with the Beast Incarnate. Jinder Mahal appeared on the screen to evoke his rematch clause at Clash of Champions, claiming he only lost the title as he was distracted by Lesnar. The Singh Brothers tried to jump the champion, but Styles cleared them both out. a great promo and a clear story makes for a great segment.
Charlotte vs Natalya for the Smackdown Women’s Championship ends in No Contest as Ruby Riot, Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan interfere. Grade: A- The match was developing well when the NXT trio crashed the party and laid out both champion and challenger. Again, they showed great aggression and intensity; it will be interesting to see what their motivations are, a great debut for three new superstars.
Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens defeated New Day in a Lumberjack Match. Grade: B. The match was still not near the potential of these two teams but the story here was the Lumberjacks around the ring. Chaos broke out and we seemingly had Roode vs Corbin set up as well as Rusev & Aiden English getting involved in the Zayn & Owens and New Day feud. Owens escaped through the crowd, but Zayn was left to be beaten down by New Day. Owens begged for his job backstage to Daniel Bryan who booked Owens against Randy Orton next week.