Raw is currently trying to fight the lull that comes with not having a pay-per-view in the near future. SmackDown Live has no such problem. We are now less than three weeks away from the blue brand's final pay-per-view of the year, Clash Of Champions, and you can see some of the rivalries beginning to take shape. The build to Dec. 17, 2017, has well and truly begun and you can see that in some of the takeaways from this week's edition of the blue brand's show.
The second half of 2017 has been all about The Usos and The New Day in SmackDown Live's tag team division. Throughout the summer and into the fall the two teams put on tag team master classes and traded the SmackDown Tag Team Championships back and forth. Recently though, their heated rivalry came to an end. They continue to interact on Tuesday nights most weeks though despite not being embroiled in a feud together. WWE tried to insert Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable into the mix, but it hasn't really worked out. This past Tuesday night WWE may have given up on legitimizing Gable and Benjamin altogether. The New Day picked up a win over the pair while Jimmy and Jey watched on from ringside.
At Clash Of Champions Jinder Mahal will get his WWE Championship rematch against AJ Styles. On Tuesday night though, The Phenomenal One had The Modern Day Maharajah's lackeys to worry about, The Singh Brothers. Even the two of them taking on one AJ Styles didn't seem like much of a fair match for The Singhs, which is probably why Jinder decided to soften up the champ before the match began. Styles managed to overcome even those odds though, and in impressive fashion. The WWE Champion delivered a middle rope Styles Clash on one Singh on to the other and picked up the win.
Cracks have been beginning to show in the friendship between Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley for a long while now. It actually felt like WWE had so much going on with Survivor Series that they either put the angle on hold or actually forgot about it altogether. Well, unfortunately for Ryder, they remembered what exactly they had planned this week. The Hype Bros lost to The Bludgeon Brothers in embarrassing fashion for the second week in a row and it proved to be the last straw for Mojo Rawley. Rawley demonstrated that he might be able to have a pretty successful singles career while Ryder was injured, and clearly he plans on returning to that now. Rawley attacked Ryder after their match and brought an end to the two of them staying hype together.
On Monday night, Paige announced to the world that her new faction has a name, and that name is Absolution. That naturally meant that their SmackDown Live counterparts needed a name as well. Ruby Riot revealed that name to be The Riot Squad. The newly named trio then went on to do something that Absolution haven't done yet, and that's pick up a win. Riot, Logan, and Morgan featured in six-woman tag action against Charlotte Flair, Natalya, and Naomi, three of the four women they wronged last week. Thanks to Nattie, her team never really stood a chance. The former Women's Champion almost immediately abandoned her teammates. Shortly after that The Riot Squad dispatched of Naomi, and that just left them to swarm like vultures around Charlotte and pin the champ to pick up the win.
Last Tuesday night, SmackDown Live came to a close with Daniel Bryan informing Kevin Owens that he would have to take on Randy Orton in seven days time. Well, on the night Shane McMahon added to that match via a no disqualification stipulation and by declaring that Sami Zayn would be banned from ringside. Those two rules clearly fly in the face of one another and WWE played up to that fact. Towards the end of a short but grueling match, Zayn did, in fact, join proceedings while the two competitors battled it out in the entrance way. The announcers were quick to point out that the match was no DQ and that Zayn wasn't technically at ringside. The steel chair attack from The Underdog proved enough to swing the match in KO's favor. After a short back and forth when they returned to the ring Owens delivered a frog splash to The Viper and picked up the win.
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