Clash Of Champions was this past Sunday, and that meant pay-per-view fallout heading into this week's SmackDown Live. One of the biggest issues that needed addressing was the chaotic events that took place while Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan proved that two referees are most definitely not better than one. Fear not, as that problem was tackled right from the start on Tuesday night. Following that, fans of tag team matches would have been very pleased as every single bout on the show this week was a tag match. Here are five huge takeaways from that opening confrontation as well as all those tag matches.
5. Daniel Bryan Is Really Pushing His Luck
Fans were likely expecting something a little more definitive when it came to a potential heel turn from either Shane McMahon or Daniel Bryan at Clash Of Champions. That didn't happen, but the match that the two officiated certainly raised a lot of questions. Bryan and McMahon opened SmackDown Live on Tuesday night to both ask and answer those questions. McMahon explained that he let his feelings and adrenaline get the better of him on Sunday night, however, Bryan took a different stance telling his boss that he's protecting him from himself. The General Manager wasn't done there either. He went on to say that if the commissioner isn't careful he'll wind up turning into his father. It was at that point Shane-O Mac wished Bryan good luck for the rest of the show and left the ring.
4. The Brass Still Has Hope For Benjamin And Gable
Following the terrific summer-long rivalry between The Usos and The New Day, the powers that be at WWE went about finding a new team to step up and challenge for the Tag Team Championships. A few weeks ago, it looked as if they made their decision and that Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable were going to be the ones to step up. Well, they had big shoes to fill and they didn't exactly succeed in doing so. That's why the titles were defended in a four-way match at Clash Of Champions instead of a simple two on two. Well, after Gable's performance on Sunday night, it seems as if he earned his team a second bite of the cherry. He and Benjamin not only faced Jimmy and Jey on Tuesday night, but they won. A win against the champion in a non-title match normally means that a shot at the gold is in the victor's future.
3. Apparently We Don't Deserve Dolph Ziggler
At Clash Of Champions, Dolph Ziggler managed to surprise the WWE Universe and win the United States Championship for the second time in his career. Naturally, on SmackDown Live there was going to be more than a little bit of gloating from The Showoff. Ziggler came to the ring midway through the show for a celebration. The segment revolved around the new US Champ reminding us of all the times he has been a singles champion, and there have been a few. Two-time US Champion, five Intercontinental Title reigns, plus that unforgettable Money In The Bank cash in. Then the celebration took a turn. Ziggler informed the WWE Universe that they don't deserve him, laid the US Championship down in the ring, and just left.
2. Rusev Has Returned To Being The Butt Of The Joke
For one reason or another, there is something the majority of the WWE Universe see in Rusev that the bookers and writers simply don't recognize—at least not since his initial run on the main roster. Time and time again, The Bulgarian Brute has proved that he has what it takes to be a top guy both in the ring and on the mic. For the last few weeks, it looked as if he and Aiden English were receiving something of a push. While that didn't result in a crowning moment at Clash Of Champions, that momentum still could have carried on beyond the pay-per-view. No such luck. This past Tuesday, the two of them were dressed in Christmas outfits losing in comical fashion to The New Day. Normal service has been resumed.
1. 50/50 Booking At It's Best
The final match of the night was a six-man tag team bout, meaning that every single matchup on this week's SmackDown Live was a tag team one. The main event pitted Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, and Jinder Mahal against Randy Orton, Shinsuke Nakamura, and WWE Champion AJ Styles. Pretty much all of these men have issues with each other and following on from Clash Of Champions, it was a safe match to put on without creating any new angles for the time being as we head into the awkward and quiet time between Christmas and the beginning of the build to Royal Rumble. What this match also did was give Orton and Nakamura their wins back. It's a habit that WWE exhibits far too often and now honors are even between those two and the men that beat them on Sunday—Owens and Zayn. Sadly though, not everyone enjoyed the fruits of WWE's 50/50 booking as it was two losses in three days for The Modern Day Maharajah.