By Steven Flora
In an impromptu main event, the Final of the United States Championship Tournament went down when Jinder Mahal took on Bobby Roode after each qualified earlier in the night. Elsewhere, the women of Team Blue continued to slug it out as the first-ever Women’s Royal Rumble draws near.
The United States Title is officially GLORIOUS
United States Title Tournament - Finals: Bobby Roode def. Jinder Mahal in the to win the vacant United States Championship
With both having already won grueling battles earlier in the evening, Bobby Roode and Jinder Mahal went toe-to-toe with the iconic United States Championship on the line.
The two Superstars engaged in a hard-hitting contest, as SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon and General Manager Daniel Bryan watched from ringside. Roode and Mahal were unrelenting, both going deep into their playbook while vying to become United States Champion for the first time.
With Roode in serious jeopardy, The Glorious One seamlessly countered the Khallas into the Glorious DDT for the 1-2-3, sending the WWE Universe into a frenzy, becoming the new United States Champion and ensuring the star-spangled title was now … GLORIOUS. Winner: Bobby Roode (c).
Side Note: Very fitting indeed. Roode was always going to win because he's just that good compared to everyone else, besides maybe Kevin Owens, Shinsuke Nakamura & AJ Styles. I still think Roode works better as a heel but I'm just glad he's won his first U.S. title. He deserves it and I'm looking forward to seeing how he elevates the title, gearing up toward WrestleMania season.
Roode advances to the finals
Bobby Roode def. Mojo Rawley in the Semifinals of the US Title Tournament
After an incredibly intense staredown last week, Roode faced off with Mojo Rawley on SmackDown with a spot in the Final of the United States Championship Tournament up for grabs.
Rawley, bursting from the seams with his new brash attitude and youthful aggression, took the fight to The Glorious One early in the contest. Primed for an upset of epic proportions, Rawley did not account for Roode’s perseverance, with the former NXT Champion finally edging out the young lion with the Glorious DDT for the win. Winner: Bobby Roode.
The victory party would be short-lived for Roode, though, as he was soon blindsided in the ring by The Singh Brothers, who snuck in several cheap shots before scurrying away. After the attack, Jinder Mahal stepped onto the stage and made it clear he planned on taking Roode down next week. The Glorious One then vamped on the microphone, declaring he didn’t need to wait until next week for the Tournament Final, as he and Mahal could square off for the star-spangled title tonight.
Side Note: Solid match with the right man going over. Yes, Mojo has just embarked on a singles run, however, this is Roode's moment and the right man won.
The Modern-Day Maharaja conquers the Power of Positivity
Jinder Mahal def. Xavier Woods in the Semifinals of the US Title Tournament
The stakes couldn’t have been higher when Mahal kicked off Team Blue by taking on Xavier Woods, with the winner advancing to the Final of the United States Championship Tournament.
With Woods and Mahal being flanked by The New Day and The Singh Brothers, respectively, the two Superstars battled it out in the ring knowing they each had formidable backup at ringside, at least until Samir & Sunil tried to get involved and Big E and Kofi Kingston chased them to the backstage area. The Modern Day Maharaja attempted to use his size and strength edge to leverage out a victory, but The New Day member refused to go down easy, using every tactical advantage he could find throughout the contest.
However, despite a valiant showing from Woods, he suffered a major setback when he missed his signature top-rope elbow drop. From there, Mahal brutalized Woods, throwing him neck-first into the bottom rope and drilling him with a brutal Khallas to advance to the Final. Winner: Jinder Mahal.
Side Note: Quite surprised with this one to be honest. Yes Xavier Woods was the favorite in this match and seemed over with the fans but the renegade foreigner known as Jinder Mahal seemed to have a point to prove, that he was a dominant world champion and deserves his spot in the finals of the U.S. title challenge.
The Riott Squad finally conquer the SmackDown Women's division
The Riott Squad def. Charlotte Flair, Naomi & Becky Lynch
With the conflict between The Riott Squad and the rest of the Team Blue Women’s division escalating by the week, Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan squared off against the all-star team of SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair, Naomi and Becky Lynch.
The momentum swung back and forth, as both sides attempted to assert dominance while also looking to gain a critical edge less than two weeks away from the historic first-ever Women’s Royal Rumble Match.
In the bout’s critical moments, a surging Naomi was hitting anything that moved, but with the referee distracted by the melee outside the ring, Ruby drilled the former SmackDown Women’s Champion with an illegal kick from the apron, and Morgan capitalized by planting Naomi with an impressive jaw-jacking maneuver to pick up another huge win for The Riott Squad. Winner: The Riott Squad.
Side Note: It was OK I guess. I feel like I've seen this match or a variation of this match with the same women for about two months straight. They need to freshen up these matches or get more women involved because if you keep putting the same women in the same type of matches, chances are your audience will get bored fast.
Overall SmackDown Live Rating: C
Things to look forward to next week
A NEW GLORIOUS U.S. Champion
What's next for Jinder Mahal?
Who will enter the Men's & Women's Royal Rumble?
The final build up to the Royal Rumble