Throughout 2017, it was always impressive how much action WWE managed to pack in to SmackDown Live considering it's over an hour shorter than it's Monday night counterpart, Raw. If the company want fans to continue viewing both brands as equals, then they would want to carry that trait on into 2018. With Superstars like The Bludgeon Brothers on your brand as well as the most popular guy in the company—and arguably the best wrestler in the world today—AJ Styles you can rest assured that each and every show will feature at least a few big moments. Here are the five biggest from the very first SmackDown Live of the new year.
Pretty much every single match The Bludgeon Brothers have had since they debuted on SmackDown Live has lasted no longer than a minute or two. That's why it's all the more impressive that Harper and Rowan have managed to demonstrate such a large repertoire of power moves. They use so many different ones from week to week that we forget which ones we have already seen—but this one is an oldie but a goodie. This week it was The Ascension's Viktor who felt the wrath of one of the Bludgeon Brothers' innovative moves. After The Ascension decided to interfere in their match with Breezango both Harper and Rowan lifted Viktor up, holding an arm each, and slammed him to the mat with force.
Pretty much anything involving the women of SmackDown Live lately revolves around chaos, and at the center of that chaos, and you can normally find The Riott Squad. This week, the trio picked up a win over Natalya, Tamina, and Carmella, but it wasn't Ruby's women who got the last laugh. Charlotte Flair interrupted Riott's promo and was not only joined by Naomi, but also a returning Becky Lynch. The Lasskicker has been out of action since The Riott Squad attacked her on their first night on the main roster. That's why Flair and Naomi let her take the lead during the beat down and it's why said beatdown came to an end via a couple of explosive looking Bexploder suplexes.
For the past few days, Xavier Woods has been rallying fans in his plight to become United States Champion. Well, Tuesday night was the night that he had his first round match and it was against Aiden English. Woods and English may very well be two of the most underrated wrestlers on the roster right now, and the two of them certainly put on a good advert for themselves. Woods may look smaller in stature, but he is an extremely strong individual. The New Day member demonstrated that when he carried his opponent on his shoulders before throwing him over his head and into a devastating backbreaker, similar to Cedric Alexander's lumbar check. That move, in particular, didn't win Woods the match but it was the four-time Tag Team Champion that wound up advancing.
Chad Gable has been a regular fixture on these lists for the last few weeks. The former amateur wrestler has been hitting German suplexes on any opponent regardless of size and sometimes even two at a time. The former NXT man isn't the subject of this entry though, although he was the man who got hit with the move. After the Tag Team Title match was restarted due to a legal man mix up Gable leaped over Shelton Benjamin's shoulders only to be met by a devastating Uso superkick as he fell through the air. More super kicks followed and unfortunately, it meant that Gable and Benjamin's luck had run out as they lost the restarted match.
There was a time when fans would have believed the only event big enough to stage Sami Zayn versus AJ Styles was WrestleMania. Well, in the present day, it's the main event of SmackDown Live. We'll leave it up to you to decide whether that's a good thing or not. The two incredible in-ring performers clashed on Tuesday night with a lot of people watching on from ringside. It was those onlookers getting involved with the match and one another that led to the bout coming to an end. With all the confusion Zayn managed to turn the tide in his favor and connect with a devastating Helluva Kick to the WWE Champion. It proved enough of a hit to win The Underdog the match.
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