SmackDown Live has been very up and down as of late. The first Tuesday night after SummerSlam we were treated to a breathless edition of the two-hour blue brand show. Bobby Roode debuted, the United States Championship was defended in the main event, it was great! WWE couldn't ride that wave though and last week's SmackDown Live was pretty poor. It was harder to sit through than Raw, and it's an hour shorter. Historically, since the roster split though, fans have typically preferred the action they're getting on Tuesdays compared to Mondays. With a lackluster Labor Day Raw to compete with this week, that shouldn't be too hard for Shane McMahon and his roster. Here are five things you can expect from what will hopefully be a great episode of SmackDown Live tonight.
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Current United States Champion AJ Styles has been desperately trying to reinstate the US Open Challenge. Although the challenge was technically answered last week, and a title match took place, it was hardly the type of thing we were used to seeing John Cena do when he was champ. Tye Dillinger took the call last Tuesday, but Baron Corbin was not happy about it and the two brawled at ringside before The Perfect Ten scrambled into the ring only to be beaten in short order by The Phenomenal One. The Lone Wolf clearly wants a shot at Styles' gold, but will he answer the challenge in time tonight, or will someone beat him to the punch once again?
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Bobby Roode is on SmackDown Live. What his actual goal is on the brand, however, remains unclear, apart from to make it glorious of course. It's two wins in as many weeks for the former NXT Champion. On his unexpected debut, Roode made short work of Aiden English, and last week he managed to dispatch a slightly tougher opponent in fellow SmackDown Live newbie, Mike Kanellis. It would appear that at this time, WWE is happy just to get Roode's entrance on live television each week, and who can blame them? It's the ultimate sing-a-long for the in-house crowd. Sooner or later Roode's glorious path is going to have to reach a destination. Tonight though it will likely be another easy-ish win for Roode.
Dolph Ziggler disappeared from our screens for a while there, and it doesn't seem like too many of us had a real problem with that. Considering how long Ziggler has been with WWE now without really tweaking his gimmick at all—and I'm reluctantly using the word 'his' since it's a combination of Shawn Michaels and Billy Gunn—most would have assumed The Showoff was getting repackaged. Not so. Two weeks ago Ziggler returned to TV and carried on the same old schtick he was doing months before, that he doesn't get the shots he deserves. News flash Dolph, pro wrestling may all be a show, but you still have to win matches. Ziggler will likely complain to Renee once again tonight, claiming that because he doesn't have a robe or ring gear that glows in the dark, he won't be able to rise higher than his current station.
This feud has been bubbling for a while now, and it's still unclear as to when exactly we're going to see it boil over. At first, it appeared that the two were on a collision course that would culminate at SummerSlam, but that has now been and gone of course. The underlying factor in all of this is Kevin Owens' frustration at WWE officials. Last week, The Prizefighter took the place of a referee in a match between Aiden English and Sami Zayn and cost The Underdog the win. Shane McMahon was quick to inform us that the match result will be stricken from the record, but KO already left the building by that point. You would think that there is some sort of punishment coming the way of the former Universal Champion.
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How do you decide who should face Jinder Mahal next for the WWE Championship? Well, you put two people the champ has already beaten against one another of course. All kidding aside, it wasn't as if The Modern Day Maharajah beat either Randy Orton or Shinsuke Nakamura cleanly to defend his title, so it's only fair that one of the two gets the next shot. Last week, the potential number one contenders worked together to defeat the current champ and Rusev, that was until the job was done and The King of Strong Style was dealt an RKO. Orton may have gotten the upper hand last week, but it's hard to see a result that doesn't crown Nakamura the new number one contender in tonight's main event.
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