Someone must have told the blue brand that Christmas weekend was not a time to phone in the show because SmackDown Live offered one of the more entertaining shows of 2017 with a few talents chasing championship gold and a couple of the company’s best in-ring performers going one-on-one in a non-title bout.
Daniel Bryan revealed there would be a tournament to crown the new U.S. Champion (after Dolph Ziggler vacated the belt) and a Triple Threat Match was set to determine a number one contender for the SmackDown Live tag belts.
It wasn’t a perfect show, but there were more winners than losers on this special year-ending Tuesday episode. Here are your Winners and Losers From SmackDown Live – December 26, 2017.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
When the WWE sets an entire show in a very compact and poignant segment, it usually means good things for the rest of the night. Such was the case with the Daniel Bryan segment that moved quickly, made sense and set a number of key matches.
It was smart to set a tournament for the U.S. Title as it brings a change of pace to the title scene and still opens up the opportunity for Ziggler to play a role. What’s fun to watch is Bryan’s reaction when the fans like something. He truly enjoys wrestling and when the fans popped at the mention of Rusev, you could see Bryan smirk.
Loser: New Day
Choosing the add The New Day as losers here is not actually an indictment of the team. But, because Rusev and Aiden English are so popular and because the WWE wanted to give Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable an opportunity to shine, The New Day got the shaft.
Fortunately, this doesn’t really hurt New Day as they’ve been so over with the crowd for so long, a loss doesn’t affect their popularity. They were still a key part of a strong match to the start the show and their in-ring work rate is top notch.
Loser: Bludgeon Brothers Versus Breezango
The WWE Universe is now keenly aware that the Bludgeon Brothers are a dominant tag team. That said, it’s hard to tell if their continued squashes of teams like Breezango is actually leading to something or if this is just filler. That the team is now potentially set to either face the Ascension or this is a ruse to allow Konnor and Viktor a measure of revenge, The Bludgeon Brothers need a worthy opponent as they head toward the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania.
Winner: Baron Corbin
Every once and a while a WWE Superstar gains more from their defeats than they do from their victories, and this appears to be the case with Baron Corbin who is actually having a storyline develop around his recent losses.
Corbin is becoming more and more frustrated with each loss. This time getting rolled up by Bobby Roode, Corbin is about to snap and that could lead to interesting things for his character.
In a match that was supposed to be a way for Naomi to exact a measure of revenge, the segment didn’t accomplish that feat and Naomi looked somewhat useless as it took the other women from the locker room to come and help her.
The only positive here is that the women of SmackDown Live seem to be uniting and fans could see an all-out brawl between the two sides of the battle. If that’s the case, the Riott Squad is severely outnumbered.
Loser: Ty Dillinger
He hasn’t been on television for some time and the WWE chose to throw him into a match against former champion Jinder Mahal. There was virtually no chance Dillinger had of winning this match and everyone in the crowd knew it. As such, fans weren’t at all into the bout and it was clear as day.
It’s not a great way for Dillinger to return. If you’re going to keep a WWE Superstar off the program for some time, at least give him a realistic chance of winning when he comes back. That is, of course, unless the company has decided he’s officially an enhancement talent now.
Winner: Styles/ Owens Segment
The match between AJ Styles and Kevin Owens was a smart way to close out 2017. Two competitors who have a history squared off one more time, but with the background storyline of Shane McMahon wanting revenge on Owens and it costing Styles the match.
There are so many layers to the Shane McMahon, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, and Daniel Bryan drama that now adding Styles to it makes this one of the more currently interesting ideas in the entire company.
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