The biggest winners and losers of last night's SmackDown (January 8)
In contrast to Raw, SmackDown was at a torrid pace through its entire show, once again putting the red brand to shame. The blue brand is WWE's most consistent program at the moment. It's almost safe for us to rely on it to deliver a good showing. We'll just have to hope that pattern holds heading into the Royal Rumble.
There was almost nothing bad about last night's show. Almost. Let's take a look at who got the most and least out of it with the Royal Rumble quickly approaching.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
"Weak! Change it!"
"Submissive! Change it!"
"Impotent! Change it!"
Is anyone performing their role on the main roster better than the NEW Daniel Bryan is at the moment? The WWE Champion opened the show with a unique promo. Instead of standing in the ring, Daniel Bryan was backstage, harassing fans, and then walked into the arena, pulling a Ciampa, taking a sign from a fan in praise of his rival, and ripping it up.
Bryan would then go on to defeat R-Truth in a quick match, only to then be ambushed by AJ Styles, who's far more incensed than he was during November and December.
Rematch though it may be, WWE is doing a good job in making the Royal Rumble encounter between Styles and Bryan interesting. It doesn't feel like it's going through the motions. AJ Styles is partially responsible, but Daniel Bryan is the linchpin on which this rests.
In two months, Daniel Bryan has made the WWE Championship more meaningful than it's been in the last two years. Let's not even compare SmackDown's top title picture with Raw's. This was superior to the Brock Lesnar/Braun Strowman segment from Monday in every conceivable way.
Raw, it's time to step up your game.