5 things that could happen on SmackDown Live next week
This week’s episode of SmackDown Live had some strong wrestling on it, the beginning of a tournament, the announcements of two huge names for the Royal Rumble match (Orton and Nakamura) and the naming of new number one contenders for the SDL Tag Titles. It was a pretty good episode and like most weeks, the two-hour format is much easier to get through than the three hours of RAW on the night before. Last week, I wrote that I expected the following to happen:
- Gable and Benjamin get a tag team championship match
I was very close on this one, and I’m giving myself three-quarters of a point. They didn’t have a tag title match this week, but they won a triple threat against Rusev & English and The New Day to earn a title match next week. They definitely are positioned more as bad guys than good guys, but they haven’t really done anything other than be extremely cocky in order to really be considered heels.
- Rusev defeats Big E
Wrong on this one. They were involved in a match against each other, but it was the aforementioned number one contendership match for the tag belts. Big E was the one who got defeated though, so at least I got that part right! No points for me, sadly.
- A tournament for the US Title is announced
Out of all of the predictions I made, this was probably the one that I least expected to happen. Bryan was the one who made the decision and Shane was actually against it but reluctantly accepted it, which has become the normal resting pace for the two men. My bracket was pretty close, too. I got Corbin, Roode, Ryder, Rawley and Dillinger right. My picks of Rusev, Sin Cara and Kanellis are replaced instead with Aiden English, Jinder Mahal and Xavier Woods. Not bad on my part, I must say.
- Six-Way women’s match, loser is out of the Rumble
I guess this one was actually more of a longshot than the tournament, because why would I think WWE would actually create a storyline for the Women’s Rumble? I’m silly for thinking they would put thought into it instead of just resting on it being “historic” and just doing a bunch of inconsequential nonsense until January 28th.
- Shane McMahon tries to find a way to keep Zayn and Owens out of the Rumble match
It’s still too far away from the show to start actually… booking it, I guess? It’s now only a month away, and WWE is continuing to just spin its wheels instead of doing something interesting. The lack of focus is incredibly irritating to watch. The show is fine, technically, but at this point, the major story is building up to a possible Shane vs. Bryan match at WrestleMania, and that’s over 3 months away. Build some stories for the darn Royal Rumble!
Overall, I went 1.75 out of 5. I guess it’s too much to ask for them to start building something interesting for one of the biggest PPV events of the year. Let’s just move on to what I think could happen next week.
#5 Mojo beats Ryder and Woods beats English
This is probably pretty obvious even without looking at the bracket, but it’s fully what I expect to see. The first two opening round matches happened this week and the next will be happening next week.
I assume they will do both semi-finals matches the following show, which still lives two episodes of SmackDown Live until the Rumble event. It looks like, according to the graphic, they are going to do the final at the PPV, but what will they do until then?
Stretch it out and do the semi-final matches in separate weeks to only leave a one week gap? I guess that works fine. It’s going to be a boring Jinder Mahal vs. Bobby Roode match in the final anyway.