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THE SMACKDOWN LIVE REVIEW – 12/12/17

It’s the go home show for Clash of Champions tonight, so we can expect a packed episode. The preview says we’re getting AJ Styles and Jinder Mahal face-to-face, and a special tribute to The Ascension from Breezango. Advertised matches are; Riott Squad versus Carmella, Tamina and Lana, Usos versus Aiden English and Rusev, and Nakamura versus Owens,

I’m Amanda, and I’ll be taking you on a sleep-deprived trip through SmackDown Live.

The Opening Segment

The show opened with a recap of everything that’s been going on between Shane McMahon and Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, then cut to Zayn and Owns wearing ‘Yep, Yep, Yep’ t-shirts, modelled on Daniel Bryan’s ‘Yes, Yes, Yes’ shirts and handing out fliers. I guess we find out what that’s all about later.

AJ Styles took to the ring to start things off, and talked about his upcoming title defence at Clash of Champions. He said he was a fighting champion and would defend his title. But Jinder Mahal will do anything and everything to get the championship back, then it was time for the first interruption of the evening.

The Singh brothers came out and said they weren’t introducing Jinder Mahal this week, and showed footage of Mahal giving them a beatdown after they lost to Styles.

AJ Styles said he felt sorry for them and told them to go to the ring so they could hug it out. He gave them both a fatherly hug, and they said that on Sunday, they want to be in Styles’ corner. They are done with Mahal, and he will be facing Styles alone. They called Mahal a disgrace.

photo credit: wwe.com

Styles asked why they were with Jinder Mahal during the India tour last week, and showed photographs of them together. They said they were done, Styles looked sceptical, but shook their hands.

Jinder Mahal came out and Styles said not to come any closer, and he hadn’t bought into anything they said, but he and Mahal were going to have a one on one match on Sunday, then he laid the Singh brothers out, and threw them out of the ring. Mahal had a stare down with Styles (with some really loud ‘Jinder Sucks’ chants), collected the Singh brothers, and that was that.

The rest of the stuff

– In a change to the advertised women’s match, Ruby Riott went one on one with Charlotte Flair. The match had a lot of potential. Well, until Natalya intervened and caused the DQ by attacking Charlotte Flair (in retaliation it has to be said). Predictably, a beatdown of Flair, by the Riott Squad, ensued. Natalya stood watching. When the Riott Squad started to arrange the steps over Flair, like they did to injure Naomi, Naomi’s music hit and she made the save by double dropkicking Morgan and Logan. Naomi dragged Ruby Riott into the ring and beat on her a bit. Tamina, Carmella and Lana attacked the Riott Squad from behind when they were retreating up the ramp.

photo credit: wwe.com

– Bobby Roode joined commentary for Baron Corbin vs Dolph Ziggler. Roode stayed on commentary for about a minute before getting in the ring and hitting the Glorious DDT to Ziggler, then to Corbin. I’d be ok with Sunday’s match being that quick, to be honest.

– Fashion Files segment, or a bit of one. Apparently, Fashion Files has now been moved to wwe.com. See here for the whole segment. The Ascension was there and somehow convinced Breezango to fight the Bludgeon Brothers at Clash of Champions on Sunday. Sad if there won’t be any more Fashion Files on SmackDown Live, it’s been consistently entertaining, but I’ll take it if it means Breezango get to have matches.

– Bludgeon Brothers had a squash match against two ‘local enhancement talent’(Colin Delaney and Joe Monroe). Standard squash/murder.

– Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens did a ‘Yep Movement’ segment. They tried to get everyone to stand united with them against management. They showed footage of Owens being handcuffed to the ropes last week. Owens said Shane McMahon is the worst McMahon of them all and whined about him being a guest ref on Sunday, and about the stipulation that they will be fired if they lose. Then they asked everyone to come and occupy the ring like the Yes Movement’s occupation of RAW. The only person to come out was Daniel Bryan.

photo credit: wwe.com

They explained the concept of the ‘Yep Movement’, Bryan told them why they were wrong. He said that he was going to make sure that their match at Clash of Champions would be fair, and named himself second special guest ref for the match.

– Usos vs Aiden English and Rusev. New Day joined commentary for the match and were their usual entertaining selves. Benjamin and Gable came out before the match even started. Lots of talking and posturing from everyone. I’m sure the match on Sunday will be brilliant, but I’d rather just see New Day vs Usos again. Have the Usos ever had a better year than this one? It wasn’t their night though. Aiden English pinned Jimmy Uso off a DDT after Rusev kicked him in the face.

photo credit: wwe.com

– AJ Styles interview with Renee Young. He said that the Singh Brothers weren’t fooling anyone, and he didn’t need anyone’s help to win the match. That was as far as he got before being attacked by Jinder Mahal. Mahal told him, after an awkwardly long pause, that Styles would not be beating the odds on Sunday.

– Renee Young also did an in-ring interview with Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura. She asked about whether the motives of Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan will be conflicting on Sunday. Orton said he doesn’t know, but he doesn’t like Owens or Zayn, so he and Nakamura will do everyone a favour and make sure they lose their jobs. When Nakamura was asked if he agreed, he just said ‘Yep’.

The Main Event of the Evening

Shinsuke Nakamura vs Kevin Owens

Daniel Bryan joined commentary for this one. Was commentary lonely tonight or something? They had visitors for four matches. Randy Orton was with Nakamura, Sami Zayn accompanied Kevin Owens.

The early part of the match was just Daniel Bryan confessing to commentary that he wasn’t sure how two refs would work, but they’ll figure it out before Sunday. He just wants to keep things fair. Commentary threw a bunch of potential scenarios at him, while everyone ignored what was going on in the ring.

Daniel Bryan pointed out a series of punches from Owens to Nakamura, but only to tell a story about Owens doing that to him on the indies and gouging his eyes. The entire main event was just commentary, specifically Byron Saxton, questioning Daniel Bryan’s motives for inserting himself as the second ref. Occasionally a little match commentary broke out, but not often. To be fair, a lot of what Bryan had to say was quite interesting.

Kevin Owens accidentally knocked the ref out, so Daniel Bryan left the announce desk and stripped the ref’s shirt off for himself.

photo credit: wwe.com

It got messy then. Bryan was slow in to count a Nakamura pin attempt. Sami Zayn got in Daniel Bryan’s face. Orton threw Zayn out of the ring, and they had a little scrap.

Kevin Owens pinned Shinsuke Nakamura from a Pop-up Powerbomb after Nakamura allowed himself to be distracted by Sami Zayn. Good match, annoying it got so little attention from the announce team. The crowd were into it, but I’m not sure the main roster crowds have really invested in Nakamura yet.

Renee Young gave Kevin Owens the chance to have a last word before Sunday. He said ‘Nobody, not Shane McMahon, not Shinsuke Nakamura and not Randy Orton will take this away from us because the bottom line is we are the absolute best, not just on SmackDown live, but in the entire WWE’. Then he kissed Sami Zayn on the cheek and yelled ‘Yep’ over and over again. A long distance, trash-talking, stare down, with Daniel Bryan in the background, closed the show.

Essentially, tonight was a two-hour build to Sunday, but I guess that’s to be expected. Clash of Champions looks decent, but not outstanding, with some intriguing elements. It’s the last PPV of the year though, so it’s got to be worth a watch.

Clash of Champions card

AJ Styles (C) vs Jinder Mahal – WWE Championship match

Charlotte Flair (C) vs Natalya – SmackDown Women’s Championship Lumberjack match

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn vs Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura – If Owens/Zayn lose, they will be fired – Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan as special guest referees

Baron Corbin (C) vs Bobby Roode vs Dolph Ziggler – US Championship Triple-Threat match

The Usos (C) vs New Day vs Aiden English and Rusev vs Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin – SmackDown Tag Team Championship Fatal Four-Way match

Bludgeon Brothers vs Breezango

Mojo Rawley vs Zack Ryder – Kickoff Show