By Steven Flora
Even as a handcuffed Kevin Owens found a way to break free and help his friend Sami Zayn in a showdown against Randy Orton, The Viper still emerged victorious in SmackDown Live’s main event. Then, after the bell, Shinsuke Nakamura joined the party, stopping a 2-on-1 assault to unleash bedlam and become the partner of WWE’s Apex Predator at Clash of Champions.
[Read Steven Flora's recap and review of Monday Night Raw here]
Orton & Nakamura set their sights on Owens & Zayn at Clash of Champions
Randy Orton def. Sami Zayn
With Owens being begrudgingly handcuffed to the ring post, Zayn was left to battle Orton, the Superstar he attacked with a steel chair one week earlier, all by himself. But when Zayn reached the bolt cutters and helped to get them to Owens so his friend could free himself, it appeared the numbers game would overwhelm The Viper. Nevertheless, Orton refused to give in, and after avoiding the Helluva Kick, he rolled up his adversary for the pinfall. Winner: Randy Orton.
Before he could catch his breath, though, Owens and Zayn launched a 2-on-1 post-match onslaught until Nakamura suddenly emerged to even the odds! As he and Orton dismantled their adversaries with two Kinshasas and a pair of RKOs, it became very clear that The Artist would be the partner of the Apex Predator at Clash of Champions.
Back in the locker room, Shane McMahon raised the stakes even further, making himself Special Guest Referee for the tag team match. He also informed Daniel Bryan that if Owens and Zayn lost, they would be finished in all of WWE.
Side Note: For the talent involved, this was a flat main event and even though the pay-off was Nakamura coming to the aid of Orton, it just didn't give that big ending to a main event it usually does. With the addition of McMahon as the special guest referee for the tag team match, this should be very interesting as Bryan may have other ideas ...
The Riott Squad becomes neutralized
Non-Title Match: Charlotte Flair def. Tamina
Looking to defuse a potentially volatile situation in the locker room, Bryan decided to use the rising tension inside the Women’s division by turning the SmackDown Women’s Championship Match between Charlotte Flair and Natalya at Clash of Champions into a Lumberjack Match. This move would bring the likes of The Riott Squad, Carmella, Lana and Tamina into the pay-per-view equation.
In response, Charlotte looked to send a message to the Lumberjacks-in-waiting by forcing Tamina to tap to the excruciating Figure-Eight Leglock in their one-on-one match. Winner: Charlotte Flair.
After the bell, Natalya, Carmella and Lana all climbed up on the apron to give The Queen a taste of what is in store for her at the Dec. 17 pay-per-view. But before they could, The Riott Squad decided to make their presence known as well. The intimidating trio stood toe-to-toe with the rest of the Women’s division until Tamina opted to unload on Sarah Logan, and the two competitors brawled before being separated.
Side Note: This wasn't a good segment/match. Tamina felt sloppy in-ring, Sarah Logan should stop talking, as she feels awkward, and the whole SmackDown Women's division just needs a reshuffle because it seem as though there is only one woman who owns the division and that's Charlotte Flair.
Everyday is RUSEV DAY!
Rusev & Aiden English def. The New Day
After The New Day interrupted English’s festive rendition of “Twelve Days of Rusev,” the teams went head-to-head in a fierce tag team match. Just when it looked as if Kofi Kingston was about to earn another win in the name of positivity, a distraction from English allowed The Bulgarian Brute to turn the tables and deliver a savage kick to the back of his adversary’s neck before picking up the three-count against the longest-reigning Tag Team Champions in history.
Because of their huge victory, Rusev and English received an early Rusev Day gift when McMahon and Bryan decided to add them the SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match at Clash of Champions, meaning The Usos will now defend their titles against Rusev & English, The New Day and Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin in what is sure to be a wild Fatal 4-Way Match. Winner: Rusev & Aiden English.
Side Note: By FAR the most entertaining portion of SmackDown Live. Rusev & Aiden English together is the best pairing since Booker T & Goldust in 2002. It was nice to see them win and also great to see them involved in the tag team title picture. May Clash of Champions forever be RUSEV MONTH!
The U.S. Title picture in turmoil
Non-Title Match: Bobby Roode def. Baron Corbin via DQ
Looking to make a strong statement en route to the United States Title Triple Threat Match at Clash of Champions, Dolph Ziggler interrupted a one-on-one contest between his two pay-per-view opponents, leaving the announce table to drop Roode with a Zig Zag. Though his nefarious actions gave The Glorious One a disqualification win, The Showoff evened things out by hitting a second Zig Zag on United States Champion Baron Corbin after the bell. Winner: Bobby Roode via DQ.
Side Note: This title picture is a mess. It's almost as if the feud is between Ziggler & Roode and Corbin's just standing there showcasing his U.S. title in the background. These past few weeks haven't got me vaguely interested in this match, though with the talent involved, this will probably make this a show-stealer.
Other Notable Moments
McMahon made major changes to the SmackDown main event: Still employed on SmackDown, Owens and Zayn kicked off the latest episode of the blue brand by welcoming one and all to “The Sami and Kevin Show!” Describing McMahon’s “vendetta” against them to be just another in a long line of McMahon vendettas over the years, they proceeded to gloat over KO surviving – and winning – a No Disqualification Match against Shane’s “vessel of destruction” Randy Orton one week earlier, as the crafty Zayn got around being “barred from ringside” by only attacking The Viper on the entrance ramp with a steel chair. The outspoken pair were completely silenced, however, when Orton suddenly slid into the ring and dropped Owens with an RKO outta nowhere. Orton’s strike left Zayn trapped between The Viper and McMahon, who emerged on the entrance ramp and announced that Zayn & Owens would battle in a tag match against Orton and a partner of his choosing at Clash of Champions. Shane-O-Mac followed up by placing Sami into a SmackDown showdown against WWE’s Apex Predator and ordered Owens be handcuffed to the ring rope for the main event match!
The Bludgeon Brothers vs. Josh Carr & Adam James: After charging their way into SmackDown Live’shighly competitive Tag Team division several weeks ago, The Bludgeon Brothers continued their mission of dark destruction by laying waste to Adam James and Josh Carr, earning the victory with their devastating double-team maneuver. Winner: The Bludgeon Brothers.
Overall SmackDown Live Rating: D
Things to look forward to next week
Are the Ascension finally gone forever? #FASHIONFILES
The WWE Champion maybe?
What's happened to the Singh Brothers and their allegiance with Jinder Mahal?
What's next for Mojo Rawley?