The first SmackDown Live of the year and the powers that be in charge of the blue brand were looking to start 2018 off with a bang with some huge takeaways. The Usos put their Tag Team Championships up for grabs plus we would likely come at least one step closer to discovering who the next United States Champion will be. Add to that a few more women declaring themselves participants in the first-ever women's Royal Rumble match plus the inevitable continuation of the Kevin Owens/Shane McMahon storyline then you'd hope that we were in for a pretty entertaining couple of hours.
5. Some People Don't Know How Tag Matches Work
The first match of the year on SmackDown Live was for the Tag Team Championships between The Usos and Benjamin and Gable. In fact, it initially seemed as if the blue brand started 2018 off with a title change. Benjamin and Gable performed their signature move on Jimmy Uso and pinned him to win the titles, or so they thought. Turns out neither Gable nor Jimmy Uso were the legal men in the match and the bout was restarted after that was pointed out by a second official. As you might expect that meant the final result was an Usos win. Jimmy and Jey reversed their opponents' second attempt to use their finisher, unleashed a litany of superkicks, and finished things off with an Uso Splash.
4. Breezango Won't Want Any More Rematches
It feels like The Bludgeon Brothers debuted on SmackDown Live months ago yet they have still only faced one other team of note, Breezango. Fandango and Tyler Breeze have hardly proved to be much of a challenge for the two behemoths either and they only found themselves in the ring with them again this week because their so-called friends The Ascension offered them up. The replay of what happened last week hadn't even finished before Harper and Rowan went to work on The Fashion Police once again. This week Konnor and Viktor wasted no time at all in coming to help their friends, clearly realizing that putting them in a rematch was a bad idea. The Ascension's arrival merely meant there were two more men for The Bludgeon Brothers to flatten, however, taking Breezango's knights in shining armor out as soon as they stepped into the ring.
3. There's Just One Spot Left In The US Title Final Four
Last week on SmackDown Live Daniel Bryan declared that the United States Championship has indeed been vacated by Dolph Ziggler. With that the General Manager announced an eight man tournament to decide who will be the next US Champion. Bobby Roode and Jinder Mahal won their first round matches, and this past Tuesday Aiden English and Xavier Woods went one on one for a spot in those semifinals. In an ideal world, fans would have probably liked to see both men go through to the next round but sadly that couldn't happen. It was Woods who triumphed and the New Day member versus Jinder Mahal will be a very interesting match.
2. Just Declare That Every Woman Is In The Royal Rumble Already
We're not entirely sure where or when this trend started, but apparently all a Superstar needs to do nowadays to earn their place in a Royal Rumble match is to declare that they will be in it. Unfortunately, that trend has caught on for the first women's Royal Rumble too. What makes it even more frustrating with the females is that there are only 19 women eligible to compete in the match so we already know they're all going to be in it. That didn't stop Ruby Riott letting us know that the other members of her squad would be joining her in the landmark match after they had dispatched of Natalya, Tamina, and Carmella on Tuesday night.
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1. Daniel Bryan Is Doing Himself No Favors
As seems to be the norm on SmackDown Live nowadays, the show opened with Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon continuing to be at odds with one another. McMahon told the General Manager that if Kevin Owens was going to be at ringside for the match between Sami Zayn and AJ Styles later that evening, he would be joining him. Bryan then said that means he would be at ringside also. That all made for a very crowded ringside area for the night's main event in what wound up being something of a carbon copy of last week's show closer. Shane-O Mac didn't like KO talking to the referee and wanted him sent to the back, which led to Bryan requesting that the commissioner also head to the locker room. Amid all the chaos Zayn landed a Helluva Kick on The Phenomenal One and picked up the win. An irate Styles directed his anger at all four of the men around the ring after the match and demanded a handicap match against KO and Zayn. Bryan did just that, but he made it a WWE Championship match that will take place at the Royal Rumble.