The final build towards the Clash of Champions PPV saw Smackdown Live hit the ball right out of the park! The story between Daniel Bryan, Shane McMahon, Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn may be the very best in the WWE or perhaps in Wrestling in a long time. Unpredictability was added into the WWE Championship match between AJ Styles & Jinder Mahal, and both the Riott Squad & Bludgeon Brothers continued to look as dangerous as ever.
AJ Styles Kicks Off Smackdown. Grade: A. The WWE Champion opened the show and was interrupted by the Singh Brothers who tried to tell AJ that they were done with Jinder Mahal, but Styles saw right through them and attacked them as the Maharaja made his entrance. It was so refreshing to see a babyface actually portrayed as smart and seeing through heel tactics. Afterwards backstage the Indian trio attacked the champion. A great opener that did well to play up the question as to whose corner the Singh Brothers will be in at Clash of Champions.
Charlotte Flair defeated Ruby Riott by Disqualification. Grade: B+ A great showing for Riott here dominating the early portion of the match against the very top of the WWE Women’s Division. Things eventually broke down and chaos ensued with Naomi making a great return, Carmella, Tamina & Lana attacking while Natalya tried to side with the Riott Squad who looked very dangerous even though they were outnumbered and ultimately retreating.
Dolph Ziggler vs Baron Corbin ends in Disqualification when Bobby Roode Interferes. Grade: D. Just copy and paste exactly what happened last week, but swap Ziggler’s and Roode’s roles. Lazy booking.
Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley. Grade: D- Nothing happens between these two again apart from backstage interviews and promo packages, and the challenge was made and accepted for a match on the Pre-Show. Why even break them up if you’re not going to take this seriously and invest time and effort into it.
Fashion Files. Grade: B. Breezango accidently sat in at The Ascensions funeral only to find they survived the Poison Gas. This was finny but kind of silly but ultimately concluded with what will be Breezango vs The Bludgeon Brothers on PPV, and Breezango will do an excellent job in making the Bludgeon Brothers look like a million dollars.
The Bludgeon Brothers defeated Colin Delaney & Joe Monroe. Grade: A. Colin Delaney returned to WWE and it is a credit to the crowd that they recognised and reacted. Regardless of this spectacular return (I didn’t mind Colin in ECW personally) the Bludgeon Brothers decimated yet another team; they are so fun and so dominant, absolutely perfect so far.
Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn introduce the “YEP” Movement. Grade: A+ Zayn & Owens are so sarcastic and cocky its absolutely perfect. The best friends introduced the YEP movement, a play on Daniel Bryan’s YES movement complete with their own modified T-Shirts. They called Shane McMahon the worst of the McMahon family; the General Manager appeared and announced he would be the second special guest referee for the match at Clash of Champions. While I have no idea how that will work, it is absolutely fantastic and this whole story is intriguing; what will happen between Shane & Bryan? Where do Bryan’s allegiances lie? This is perfect booking, intriguing stories with depth, history and unpredictability; amazing stuff.
Rusev & Aiden English defeated The Usos. Grade: B+ I love Rusev Day, and I seriously want them to win the Tag Titles on Sunday. We heard 8 Days of Rusev from Aiden English which was fantastic; the New Day on commentary were funny and Rusev & English got a win over the tag champions; while that means they probably wont win on Sunday, its still good to see. Gable & Benjamin on the other hand; their promo here wasn’t good and their title push has turned into them being the fourth most important team in this match.
Kevin Owens defeated Shinsuke Nakamura. Grade: A+ Again, this feud is perfect. Kevin Owens vs Shinsuke Nakamura, on Smackdown, in 2017, that in itself is amazing and the match was fantastic. Eventually everything broke down with the ref being knocked down and Daniel Bryan who was on commentary dawning the referee’s shirt, and after Orton cleared out Zayn, a distraction allowed Owens to hit the Pop-Up Powerbomb on Nakamura for the win; and Daniel Bryan called the three count. Again this is absolutely intriguing, and no one truly knows what Daniel Bryan will do or what his true motivations are. This one match, ironically not a title match on the Clash of Champions PPV, this match feels like the biggest thing in the world.