Posted December 17th, 2017 by 1Wrestling News Team


By Don “The Predictor” Murphy

Happy Holidays to the entire 1wrestling.com audience and it’s been my pleasure bringing these preview articles to you throughout the year. I look forward to continuing doing so in 2018, and we prepare for the WWE’s final pay-per-view of the year with the Clash of Champions, emanating from the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, I am reminded of all of the great moments that have come from that historic city. This card is really built around one match, which should have implications for brand direction moving forward, but there’s enough here in terms of championship matches to intrigue the WWE faithful. Let’s run down the card!

WWE Championship Match: AJ Styles defends the WWE Championship against Jinder Mahal

Topline Thoughts: Aside from the obligatory rematch, there’s really nothing compelling here, aside from the fact that the winner will give us a sense of the direction the brand may be going in as we head toward WrestleMania. For me, I don’t think they’re giving up on the Jinder Mahal experiment just yet and I can see a plan that has him defending the title at WrestleMania. Should they decide to go with the typical finish that sees the Singh Brothers help Jinder win, I’m not sure how the fans will react, but I’ll be interested to see if the creative team makes any changes to Jinder’s character during his second title reign.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Jinder Mahal wins the WWE Championship

Triple Threat Match for the WWE United States Championship: Baron Corbin defends the WWE United States Championship against Dolph Ziggler and Bobby Roode

Topline Thoughts: This will be a fine match, though the build hasn’t been very compelling. We’re still waiting for Corbin to have that breakout performance. Roode is a crowd favorite, but falls flat once the entrance music stops. Ziggler will always be a good in-ring hand, but has been so damaged as a character, he just doesn’t add to this match. Corbin will find a way to hold on to the title, and hopefully move on to a singles program, likely with Roode.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Baron Corbin retains the WWE United States Championship

Lumberjack Match for the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship: Charlotte defends the WWE Smackdown Championship against Natalya

Topline Thoughts: Typically, a lumberjack match is booked when in past matches, it’s been established that one or both competitors can’t stay in the ring. This wasn’t the case here, so it’s a curious stipulation, serving to get all of the women on the show. In terms of the actual match, it’s a shame because Charlotte and Natalya have had great matches in the past. It’s certainly possible here, but I think the focus will be more on the action outside of the ring, particularly as it relates to Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan, a faction they are working to build. There, of course, is the possibility that in all the confusion, Carmella takes advantage and cashes in the Money in the Bank contract.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Charlotte retains the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship

Tag Team Fatal Four-Way for the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship: The Usos defend the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship against the New Day, Chad Gable/Shelton Benjamin and Rusev/Aiden English

Topline Thoughts: This is classic lazy booking in an attempt to get the entire division on the show. Alone, each team has potential and could deliver a great program if booked properly. Together, it’s been a hot mess of comedy skits without any clear direction. The in-ring effort will be there, but I don’t see a logical scenario that supports a title change.

“The Predictor” Predicts: The Usos retain the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship

Tag Team Match: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn meet Shinsuke Nakamura and Randy Orton

*Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan will serve as special guest referees*

*If Owens and Zayn lose, they will be fired from WWE*

Topline Thoughts: This is the most intriguing match on the show, as it will likely have implications for the major storylines on Smackdown moving forward. It’s highly unlikely that Owens and Zayn will lose here and there’s a good possibility we’ll see a heel turn – the question is who? I think Daniel Bryan is too obvious and I’m not all that intrigued by another heel McMahon authority figure. I suppose they could turn Nakamura, but it wouldn’t really make much sense, other than give him another direction, which would be welcome considering he’s currently spinning his wheels. The logical choice would be Orton, as he’s familiar to the role, although he’s flip-flopped so many times, a heel turn wouldn’t really have a ton of impact.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn defeat Shinsuke Nakamura and Randy Orton

Tag Team Match: The Bludgeon Brothers meet Breezango

Topline Thoughts: I was thrilled to learn that Harper and Rowan were being repackaged and returning to Smackdown. And I’ve loved the approach that the creative team has taken, but giving them dominant, old-school squash match wins. Breezango is the next logical stop as they move up the card and enter the title picture. Part of me fears that they’ll get integrated into comedic “Fashion Files” skits, but tomorrow night should tell us the story about whether they’ll be built as a dominant force or a comedy side show.

“The Predictor” Predicts: The Bludgeon Brothers defeat Breezango

Pre-Show: Mojo Rawley meets Zack Ryder

Topline Thoughts: They have the foundation for a good heel run with Rawley. He’s spun his wheels with the Hype Brothers, but he has a good look and I’ve been impressed with his early heel mic work. Any limitations that he brings to his in-ring work will be helped by working with a seasoned performer in Ryder. My hope is that they move on from this program quickly to see how Rawley fares as a higher-profile heel performer

“The Predictor” Predicts: Mojo Rawley defeats Zack Ryder

Follow me on Twitter: @don424

Category: Wrestling.

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