The question on Tuesday was, could WWE put together a show that felt much less awkward than the episode of Raw that aired on Monday? It shouldn’t have been a difficult task considering Monday included a couple good segments, but over two hours of confusing and seemingly unplanned writing and delivery.
While there was a United States Title tournament match and some interesting developments when it came to Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin, this week’s SmackDown Live featured management and their struggle as it pertains to the main event for both the show and the blue brand at the Royal Rumble. Right in the thick of things, Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan laid on the drama fairly heavily. Did it work?
Here are your winners and losers for SmackDown Live on Tuesday, January 9, 2018.
4. Winner: The Bludgeon Brothers
We’ll get this one out of the way first because it’s become typical Tuesday news. Yes, the Bludgeon Brothers appeared and yes, they destroyed their opponent. This is all well and good for now and we all know that it’s leading to a match where the duo has some real competition but who will it be? How will the team take out whoever their next challenger is?
The one thing we learned this Tuesday that we didn’t already know is that the tag team has an extra layer of meanness in them. They attacked Konnor after the match was over and they are definitely heels.
2. Loser: Rusev and English
The WWE must be toying with fans to see how much they’ll back the duo of Rusev and Aiden English. Otherwise, why book them to lose when everyone knows how popular they are?
Perhaps the company is testing the resolve of fans and hoping they push harder to support Rusev Day. By having the duo lose clean to Breezango, WWE has told everyone in the WWE Universe they aren’t going to push these two just yet. Fans are going to have to get so loud Rusev will need a Daniel Bryan type backing.
3. Winner: Benjamin and Gable
This was a night that did a lot for the tag team and if the duo of Benjamin and Gable were looking for an opportunity to speak their minds, they were given a good amount of time to do so. For the most part, they took advantage.
There was an Usos sort of vibe to their delivery (if that was intentional, it was subtly awesome) but who knew either could go for so long on the mic and keep fans engaged? That this all is going to end in a two-out-of-three falls match at the Royal Rumble works too. Man, the Rumble is going to be a long show.
1. Loser: Mojo Rawley
There is an argument that could be made Rawley’s win moves him forward, but we’ll argue the opposite. The one thing about tournaments like the U.S. Title one is that they are about as predictable as Triple H being in the main event around WrestleMania time. Everyone knows Roode will win the match and set a finals contest between himself and Jinder Mahal. Rawley is a just there to get Roode over.
The fact that WWE forgot to really deal with Mojo after he turned heel is unfortunate. He’s now just a wrestler and not a heel with momentum. One thing we should add, his finishing forearm is pretty cool.
2. Winner: Becky Lynch
Her match with Ruby Riott was nothing to write home about but the fact that WWE thought to put her in this match and give her a decisive victory over Ruby Riott shows that the company still sees Lynch as a force in the women’s division.
Every once and while, the company needs to remind people they haven’t forgotten about a WWE Superstar. This was one of those times as Lynch had gone relatively unnoticed. She’s back in her spot where she should be with this win.
1. Winner: Owens and Zayn
Sometimes, the duo being super annoying works and sometimes it doesn’t. On Tuesday it worked and one of the better parts of the program was hearing Owens suggest that the team would be co-champions if they won the WWE Title. How interesting would that be?
Could you imagine the subtle bickering and animosity that would build as Zayn and Owens would have trouble figuring out who would hold the belt, defend the belt and ultimately, lose the belt? If the WWE allowed this, it would be pure gold.
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