It’s Tuesday, and that means it’s time for our WWE SmackDown Live preview! When we last left our heroes, Sami Zayn was finding loopholes, Mojo Rawley was a smidge too hype, and the Ascension may have died.
What will the Blue Brand have in store for us tonight in San Diego? Let’s have a look…
1. Trouble In Bollywood
After the Singh Brothers failed to defeat A.J. Styles in a Handicapped match last Tuesday night, Jinder Mahal was there to show his disappointment. The Maharaja followed up on the Styles Clash by jumping into the ring and hitting his henchman with a Khallas to show his frustration.
I’m of the opinion that based on how much of Mahal’s success has been due in large part to Sunil and Samir, he’s not completely ridding himself of the Bollywood Boys quite yet. Also taking into account the Singh’s puppy dog-like loyalty to the former WWE Champion, and there’s good reason to think last week’s attack isn’t signaling a break-up within the trio at this point. Will we see the Singh’s back with Jinder on tonight’s show, or will they be moving on to…actually I have no idea. They have no place else to go.
2. Shaking Up The Women’s Division
Charlotte Flair will defend her SmackDown Women’s Championship against Natalya in just 12 days at Clash of Champions, but the build to their rematch features its share of outside factors. Last week, the two teamed with Naomi to take on the Riott Squad, but Nattie leaving her partners soon after the start of the match left both Naomi and Charlotte vulnerable to the numbers game.
Will Charlotte be out for revenge tonight? Will Natalya continue to look for ways to soften up her Clash of Champions opponent, and will the Riott Squad continue to play a role as we get closer to Women’s Title match?
3. The More The Merrier
Last Tuesday night, we saw the New Day defeat Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin. In spite of the Usos’ next title defense against Gable and Benjamin appearing to be set in stone, the SmackDown announce team made it clear that last week’s match would have an impact on the number one contenders for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships.
It seemed strange that the New Day would be back in the hunt so soon after their long-term angle with the Usos came to an end, but things were made a bit more clear this last week when it was announced that the Clash of Champions match would feature all three teams. How will they handle the build now that an extra team is in the fold, and what squad will be able to pick up momentum as we get closer to the title match?
4. Triple Threats Are In Right Now
Speaking of Triple Threat title matches, we have a second one that was recently announced for Clash of Champions. First, Bobby Roode was thrown into the mix in a backstage segment that saw Roode challenge Baron Corbin for his United States Title.
Then, for reasons that are genuinely inexplicable, it was announced that Dolph Ziggler would also be involved in the match. Ziggler was out of action for the entire month of November, and had lost approximately 280 consecutive matches prior to that. How will WWE justify Ziggler’s opportunity story line-wise, and how will they treat the lead-up to the match after the underwhelming angle between Roode and Ziggler we saw in October?
5. When Staying Hype Goes Wrong
After getting demolished by the the Bludgeon Brothers for the second consecutive week, the incredibly slow burn that was the Hype Bros split finally came to fruition last Tuesday night. Much like his good friend Rob Gronkowski, Mojo Rawley delivered a cheap shot after the whistle, attacking Zack Ryder from behind following the match.
It’s difficult to be too invested in either one of these guys at this point, but a blood feud is a blood feud, so let’s do it. Will they save it for the pay-per-view, or will we see the former Brothers of Hype tear each other apart on tonight’s show?
WWE SmackDown Live airs on The USA Network at 8:00 pm EST. Make sure to check back after the show for my full recap.