SmackDown Live on Tuesday focused on a few main ideas. The first seemed to be the ostracising of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. After failing to stick up for the blue brand as they battled Raw leading up to Survivor Series and then attacking Shane McMahon at the pay-per-view, neither SmackDown’s talent pool nor the commissioner was too happy with the best buddies.
Second, a group of women from NXT showed up and devasted at SmackDown Live’s Women’s Division in much the same way Paige and her friends did the night prior on Raw.
Finally, a number of feuds that seemed to start before Survivor Series continued right where they left off.
Here are your 5 Winners and 5 Losers From SmackDown Live – November 21, 2017.
5. Loser: Shane McMahon
Shane McMahon’s promo to start the show was OK, but where it fell flat was that he really didn’t acknowledge the loss at Survivor Series nor the weird storyline that played itself out to end that main event match. For a guy who led the charge and declared war on another brand, he didn’t seem terribly bothered that he and his roster lost.
He also seemed fairly certain he was going to terminate both Owens and Zayn on the spot and sort of just let Daniel Bryan overrule his decision. That didn’t make a lot of sense considering he had his mind made up. We’ll have to see where this goes before declaring it a real problem area though.
5. Winner: Owens and Zayn Tandem
If the WWE had a backstage beef with Owens and Zayn, you’d never know it. The way the recent storylines have gone it makes you start to wonder if their being sent home from the European tour was actually a punishment or not because both men are making lemonade out a lemon if that’s the case. They were left off Survivor Series, they are being written into scenarios where they can’t possibly win but somehow, they are still the most entertaining part of the show.
Their back and forth with McMahon was great and the WWE is effectively working their supposed backstage heat into the depth of their story and it’s interesting television.
4. Loser: Sami Zayn Solo
As a team, he and Kevin Owens are magic. By the end of the show, Zayn was all alone and the WWE may have laid the foundation for a rift between the two. That would be a huge disaster and terrible for Zayn’s momentum as a heel that is almost too fun to watch.
If the WWE is trying to get fans to feel sympathy for Zayn because he was left behind, it’s way too early. This kind of drama should be slowly built up. WWE would be better suited not to rush things. If they do, Zayn will be the player who takes the hit the most.
4. Winner: Shelton Benjamin
Not only does Benjamin look like he’s getting in better physical shape, his in-ring performances are starting to shine through and he and Jey Uso put on a clinic. It’s great to see Benjamin getting back to his old way and he and Chad Gable could make for an interesting force in the tag division as the weeks roll on.
The only thing that might be worth keeping an eye on is the heel/babyface role reversal that is happening with the Usos and Benjamin and Gable. Will it affect how effective both of these teams have been in their current roles if the dynamic changes?
3. Loser: Singh Brothers
If we’re going to suggest Jinder Mahal is a loser this week, then we have to include the Singh Brothers in this conversation because what will happen with them once Mahal’s push slows down? Where do they fit?
They’ve been played off as weaker than weak opponents for so long they’ll never be taken seriously as a tag team. They won’t compete on 205 Live, and they’ll eventually be expendable pieces if Mahal’s push isn’t maintained. Maybe we’re wrong on both accounts but the Singh Brothers might be the next James Ellsworth.
3. Winner: NXT Female Invasion
There are a million questions coming out of the NXT Invasion angle that saw Ruby Riot, Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan attack the women of SmackDown Live. Are they connected to the ladies who were led by Paige and attacked the women on Raw? Is there another leader here or is all of this just leading to a female Royal Rumble match and a way for fans to really get to know these competitors a bit better?
If this is temporary, it’s still being done effectively and the attacks were much more vicious than the ladies were on Raw. If it’s long-term, it’s good that the women’s division will have an influx of capable talent.
2. Loser: Kevin Owens
For the first time in a while, Kevin Owens wound up being a loser by the end of the night. He started well and his promo with McMahon was gold, but by the time the night came to a close he had ditched his best friend out of cowardice and begged not to be fired by Daniel Bryan. It’s not the look that best serves Owens and it leaves too many open holes in the relationship between Owens and Zayn as these two are just starting to hit their stride.
It’s unclear why WWE is making Owens look so weak, but fans can only hope it doesn’t continue.
2. Winner: Bludgeon Brothers
We’ll be the first to admit that I was a bit concerned the debut of the Bludgeon Brothers would be a total flop. I’ll also admit that I didn’t hate what they did in their debut match. There are some elements to be concerned over, such as their attire and what could be a devastating finish but also one that could look horrible if done out of sync but they were effective, mean and destructive as they took out The Hype Bros.
It seems clear the WWE will push these two to the moon in the tag division. This is great news for them. Hopefully, the crowd stays on their side and gives them a fair shake.
1. Loser: Jinder Mahal
The promo between Mahal and AJ Styles wasn’t actually that bad. It was some of the better work Mahal has done in a while. That said, he’s no match for Styles and this match they’ll have at Clash of Champions is likely to be the highest status matchup Mahal has in a while. He’s not likely to win the title back and when he doesn’t, he’ll move down the card pretty quickly heading into the Royal Rumble.
1. Winner: Intrigue
SmackDown Live did a good job of creating intrigue through its storylines on Tuesday. Are Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn going to have issues after Owens ditched his friend and left him to the wolves to end the show? Is there a mastermind behind the attacks perpetrated by the women of NXT? Are fans seeing new potential rivalries between guys like Bobby Roode and Baron Corbin? Maybe Aiden English and Rusev finding a nemesis in the New Day?
There are many potential plotlines that started on the show that followed up Survivor Series. It should keep fans wanting to come back and see where these ideas go.
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