Pretty sure Teddy Long (the best Smackdown GM ever) secretly returned tonight as Smackdown Live was full of high quality TAG TEAM MATCHES! Smackdown Live saw the fallout of the recent Clash of Champions PPV and began building towards the Royal Rumble.
Shane McMahon & Daniel Bryan Discuss Clash of Champions. Grade: B. The Commissioner & General Manager went back and forth explaining themselves for their actions as Special Guest Referees at Clash of Champions. This didn’t raise nearly as much tension as was present at the PPV but there were still a number of great jabs in there; none better than Bryan telling Shane he doesn’t want to see him become Mr. McMahon & saying that he did what was “Best for Business”. The slow build in progress here is fantastic.
Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin defeated The Usos. Grade: B. A solid match here giving Gable & Benjamin who came out of Clash of Champions looking the weakest a good win over the Tag Champions. Hopefully now Gable & Benjamin can be built into a proper threat to the titles.
Charlotte Flair & Naomi defeated Ruby Riott & Sarah Logan. Grade: C+ Charlotte gave a standard but underwhelming promo on the Women’s Royal Rumble, before her and Naomi defeated the Riott Squad. If they are being built as a legitimate dangerous threat, even as a trio, why are they losing to two women who hardly ever team together?
Dolph Ziggler Championship Celebration. Grade: A- Ziggler looked rejuvenated here; he was passionate, intense and convincing as he reminded the fans of all his championship success before blasting the fans saying how he never needed them and never will. Ziggler left his US Title in the ring as he left, the perfect way to lead to speculation as to what may happen in the immediate future of Ziggler & The US Title.
The New Day defeated Rusev & Aiden English. Grade: B. I hate Christmas gimmick matches, but all these men made this a world of fun. You couldn’t find two better teams to make this entertaining; Rusev yelling at English to put more whipped cream on the pancakes that ended up in English’s face was genuinely hilarious. Backstage the two teams were even more hilarious; Rusev & English need to be the next Tag Champions as major babyfaces.
Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Styles & Randy Orton defeated Jinder Mahal, Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn. Grade: B+ Nothing too spectacular, nothing ground breaking or anything that will change the course of WWE; but this was a solid six-man tag team match to main event what was a very good show. The backstage segment between Owens Zayn & Bryan was far more entertaining.