SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon Called Out SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan
What I enjoyed about SmackDown Live compared to Raw for the first year of the second Brand Split was that they never teased tension with the authority figures, but now it looks like Bryan and Shane are taking center stage on SmackDown. Sure, the storyline is compelling to an extent, but I don't think either one of them need to turn heel. There was quite a bit of bickering between them here, and most of it was stuff we have heard before. If nothing else, it did establish the Randy Orton vs. Kevin Owens main event as a No Disqualification match.
The New Day def. Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin
What a weird match this was. They apparently had beef on social media before the bout that I was completely unaware of, and I'm somewhat surprised New Day is already back in SmackDown Tag Team Championship contention. The in-ring action was entertaining and I understood that New Day needed a win coming off their recent losses, but Gable and Benjamin haven't lost many matchups (if any at all) since partnering up, so this seemed to be a step in the wrong direction for them. Perhaps a multi-team title match is in the works for Clash of Champions?
The Bludgeon Brothers def. The Hype Bros
Yes, this was essentially the exact same match that we saw last week, but it was even shorter and exactly what it needed to be with The Bludgeon Brothers completely dominating The Hype Bros. I'm still not sold on their gear, but their intensity in the ring speaks for itself. Needless to say, Mojo Rawley turning on Zack Ryder was long overdue. They'll be better off because of the split, but look for this to be your Kickoff match at pending pay-per-view.
WWE Champion AJ Styles def. The Singh Brothers in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match
Styles' previous matches with The Singh Brothers didn't last long at all, but I appreciated that he was overcome by the odds if only for a few minutes here before putting away the devious duo. The Singh Brothers will likely never be taken seriously as a threat to anyone, but to their credit, they can sell their asses off and did so for Styles here. In fact, the finish was fantastic with Styles hitting the Styles Clash off the top rope to one brother on top of the other. I wouldn't say Mahal attacking them afterward means he's breaking off from them just yet, but it does mean he'll well on his way to becoming a midcard act again.
The Riott Squad def. SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair, Natalya and Naomi
Ruby Riot is now known as Ruby Riott, and as dumb of a name change as that might be, I've read that it might be due to a legal issue. Nevertheless, I'm not feeling this stable as of now. I like that there's new blood on the blue brand in the women's division, but their backstage promos weren't that good at all. The subsequent match was at least serviceable, and thankfully, they picked up the victory. I assume this will lead to a SmackDown Women's title match at Clash of Champions pitting Charlotte against Riott.
Kevin Owens def. Randy Orton in a No Disqualification Match
It was never explained what would happen to Sami Zayn if he interfered in this match despite it being No Disqualification. Yes, he did ultimately get involved, but it wasn't around ringside, so that was the loophole. That said, this was a quality main event as Orton and Owens made excellent use of the extreme environment. Owens winning was the right call, but I have no clue where this is headed with the pay-per-view quickly approaching. That's concerning considering it's less than three weeks away.
This wasn't the most amazing edition of SmackDown Live I've ever seen, but it was certainly solid and featured some enjoyable wrestling between the main event and the tag team matches. Nothing newsworthy happened except for Rawley turning on Ryder, but as previously noted, it is odd that not many feuds have been put into motion since Survivor Series. Here's hoping they can pull together a decent Clash of Champions card in time.