With two weeks to go until Clash of Champions, the final WWE pay-per-view of 2017, all that was accomplished Tuesday on SmackDown Live was the company making a mess of what looked like an interesting card with bland storylines and forced multi-person matches when none were needed.
Underlying the entire show was the fact that its supposed main eventers were nowhere to be seen as a feud that has done little to draw serious heat keeps taking center stage. Rather, it’s the potential for a rift between commissioner Shane McMahon and general manager Daniel Bryan, who himself has not been cleared to wrestle in WWE, that remains the primary focus of the show despite only getting a couple minutes of air time per week.
Let’s take a look at Tuesday night’s mess of a show.
The continuation of a go-nowhere feud
SmackDown opened with Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn crowing about how they outsmarted McMahon last week. After Randy Orton hit the ring to catch Owens with an RKO outta nowhere, McMahon set a tag team match between Owens/Zayn and Orton along with a partner of his choosing at Clash of Champions. He then put Orton and Zayn head-to-head in the main event with Owens handcuffed to the bottom rope. Late in the match, Zayn found some bolt cutters, which Owens eventually used to free himself. Orton dove away from a Helluva Kick and rolled up Zayn to pick up the win. After the match, Owens attacked Orton from behind only for The Viper to be saved by Shinsuke Nakamura, who cleared the ring.
Bryan asked McMahon backstage if he was done punishing the two, but McMahon shook his head and said not only was he not done with them, he would be the special referee in the tag team match and both Owens’ and Zayn’s WWE careers would be on the line in the bout. Bryan stared at him the entire time he said that until he walked off the screen and the show faded to black.
It is this feud and not the WWE title — now on AJ Styles — that has main evented SmackDown every week since Survivor Series. And every week, it is only mildly interesting and seemingly going nowhere, which is strange because we actually know where it is going. We have already come to understand that Owens and Zayn hate McMahon, and McMahon hates them back. Orton and Nakamura have been placed together over the last couple of months that even their union for this upcoming tag team match is not a surprise.
WWE has these guys basically going through the motions on a week to week basis while teasing a potential rift between McMahon and Bryan. Even if that comes to pass, how would Owens or Zayn participate in a meaningful way? And even if they figure that out, what do Orton and Nakamura have to do with it?
Is Dolph Ziggler about to … get a push?
It was previously announced on social media that the United States title match between champion Baron Corbin and challenger Bobby Roode had been turned into a triple threat match with Dolph Ziggler added for no apparent reason. WWE did little to provide that reasoning on Tuesday. Corbin and Roode discussed backstage why the match was changed, and Ziggler stepped in only to say, basically, “because I’ve been a champion before.” This…