Daniel Bryan announces he will be second guest referee at Clash of Champions. Is this a secret weapon for Owens and Zayn?
As Daniel Bryan runs Smackdown Live solo this week the “YEP!” Movement takes over!
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn came to Cincinnati, Ohio with a cause: Occupy Smackdown Live 12/13/2017.
Owens and Zayn have now hijacked a gimmick, a television show and potentially the favor of their general manager. Daniel Bryan’s motives are called into question due to a spur of the moment decision. While Smackdown Live gears up for the last WWE pay per view of the year are we witnessing the beginnings of a Daniel Bryan heel turn?
A Fashion Bludgeoning
I mentioned last week that the Bludgeon Brothers are in need of a foil to fully realize their potential.
They may have met their perfect match in Breezango who challenged them to a match at Clash of Champions. Although this will no doubt be a one sided affair we can expect some good storytelling opportunities either during or after the match. I predict a dramatic pummeling at the hands of the Bludgeon Brothers while Breezango nobly sacrifice themselves to protect each other.
The key to this angle is obviously the fan favorites showing bravery in the face of a one sided squash match. This installment of the Fashion Files will not be pretty.
Fatal Four Way All Day
Rusev and Aiden English look more like a threat this week as they pinned the Usos in a tag team match. Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin cut a great promo using catch phrases from the rest of the teams involved in the fatal four way tag match at Clash of Champions.
New Day are great on commentary. Their play by play hearkens back to the days of Jim Ross and Vince McMahon. They also threw pancakes at Byron Saxton which is just amazing.
All four teams contributed something to this segment and garnered investment from fans. The booking brought relevance to Rusev and English.
Tonight was a win for all involved and I am looking forward to see how this match unfolds.
Just Say YEP!
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn continue to be great together.
With the “Yep!” Movement the two are further reinforcing the anti-establishment revolt by using the same branding as Daniel Bryan prior to Wrestlemania 30. This also serves to highlight the fact that Owens and Zayn are buttering up to an increasingly sympathetic Bryan. Armed with their voices and anti-Shane McMahon propaganda they failed to gained any support from any WWE staff or talent on Smackdown Live.
That is except Daniel Bryan.
Although Bryan denounced the pretense of the seemingly short-lived gimmick, he pledged that he would ensure Owens and Zayn would have a fair match against Randy Orton and Shinske Nakamura at Clash of Champions. Bryan announced he would be the second guest referee alongside Shane McMahon.
Bryan elaborated on his decision during commentary while Owens and Nakamura competed in the main event of the evening. Bryan defended his actions despite the quick decision and remained confident in his ability to work together with Shane McMahon. It is important to note that Corey Graves took the side of Bryan during this segment.
During the match Owens accidentally knocked the referee out which forced Bryan from the commentary table and into a striped shirt. Bryan ended up counting a pinfall victory in favor of Owens after a distraction by Sami Zayn who had been at ringside along with Randy Orton.
The Title Picture
AJ Styles kicked off the show after last week’s absence and outlined his intent to retain the WWE Championship. The Signh brothers promptly interrupted and attempted to make peace with Styles after interfering in his matches with Jinder Mahal. Mahal’s “former” henchmen were caught lying via a social media post that showed Mahal and the pair posing for photos during a recent overseas WWE tour. Styles quickly dispensed of the duo while Mahal who appeared towards the end of the segment.
The Singh brothers, although bland, add a decent angle to an otherwise lackluster feud between Styles and Mahal. I had orignally enjoyed the freshness of a Mahal championship reign. Heel tactics along with the perpetual interference from the Singh brothers gained a fair amount of heat.
It is amazing to see how far Mahal has come in his latest WWE run. After all, we live in a world where Jinder Mahal has successfully defeated Shinske Nakamura on more than one occasion. However, without the prestige of the WWE Championship Mahal is far from a credible threat especially standing across the ring from arguably the best performer in WWE.
This is clearly a fill-in feud and I am ready for the next challenger to Styles’ WWE Championship.
Styles was later attacked by the group in a backstage segment.
Riott Squad Squandered
The battle lines were drawn once again this week as the Riott Squad ended scrapping with members of the Smackdown Live women’s locker room. This followed the debut of Ruby Riott against Charlotte Flair which ended when Natalya interjected herself into the match. Afterwards he Riott Squad retreated to the back while Naomi and company looked strong in this segment.
This is the wrong move for the Riott Squad.
The faction should be be put in a position of dominance by any means necessary. It is possible to put the newer faction over without making current stars look week. Cheat or use the numbers game. We need to believe that the Riott Squad are a legitimate threat. This segment fell short of achieving that.
Glorious Commentary, Weak Segment
Dolph Ziggler took on Baron Corbin as Bobby Roode made his commentary debut in a recycled angle from last week.
Roode interfered in the match, delivering two Glorious DDT’s and causing a disqualification.
Roode’s commentary failed to add depth to his character. Perhaps those of us who followed his career in NXT are a little jaded but his character naturally lends itself to being an arrogant heel. Once more we know he can go in the ring.
At this point I feel that Dolph Ziggler has a valid point in saying that Roode is an entrance.
Be on the look out for major twists at Clash of Champions, particularly involving Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon.
The stage is now set for a conflict between the two referees as their differing styles of management will certainly cause issues during the match. Bryan may be forced to align with the less than savory Owens and Zayn. McMahon may get physical with Bryan, turning heel. Owens and Zayn could potentially manipulate Bryan and win the match.
Older wrestling fans remember the days where complex and intertwining story lines were commonplace. The foreshadowing of a Bryan vs McMahon conflict is a much welcomed departure from start and stop booking.
Normally I would cringe at a double special guest referee stipulation but there are some truly intriguing possibilities here.
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