Welcome to the Smackdown Review for January 16 2017. For both this and Raw, I will go over what the big talking points were, pick the match of the night, and look ahead to the next show. And since the Mixed Match Challenge has started, I will review who won this weeks match up.
Woods vs. The Maharajah
Xavier Woods looked to be completely outmatched in his US Tile semi final match against Jinder Mahl. Everytime he started to get going, Mahl would shut him down with brute strength. This is the Mahl who should have been holding the title, a snarling monster who loved the pain he was inflecting. The Singh Brothers and the New Day were at ringside, but they played no part in the outcome. Woods tried everything he could, but he eventually fell to Mahl. Going forward, WWE would be wise to tone down the Anti American gimmick and ramp up the Indian Tiger.
Booby Roode and Mojo Rawley were the next up to determine who would face Mahl in the finale. Rawley looks like he belongs in the middle of the push he has been given. His strong match with Zack Ryder last week, and his match this week showed that he can work different styles of matches. No big moves, just a brawling attitude that Roode had to find ways to counter. In the end, experience won over youth as Roode was able to advance with the Glorious DDT. Roode would then challenge Mahl to their match tonight, a request that was granted by Danial Bryan.
Start a Riott
The Riott squad needed a win to remain relevant in the Smackdown Women’s division and they did make a statement. Liv Tyler played up a more psychotic character, taunting her fallen foes with a devilish smile. Sarah Logan brought back the country style of fighting, and you would be hard pressed to find a woman who can match her for power. Ruby Riott is now the general, barking orders and striking when the time is right. A strong showing in the Royal Rumble will put the Riott Squad back on the rising star level they had when they first arrived.
Match of the Night
Bobby Roode vs. Jinder Mahl (US Title Championship Match) (Roode wins by pinfall to become the new US Champion)
After two excellent matches, it was understandable to think that Roode and Mahl had little to nothing left in their final match. The truth was that both men played to their strengths, resulting in a great championship match. Roode sold his injured ribs from earlier, while Mahl had to contend with a much more powerful foe. It was Roode’s night, as he pinned Mahl to receive his first WWE Championship. Will Mahl ask for a rematch at the Rumble? Or will someone else step up to be the first challenger?
Mixed Match Challenge Week 1
Finn Balor & Sasha Banks vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Natalya (Balor and Banks win by submission)
If this first match was any indication, then the next few weeks of the Mixed Match Challenge are going to be a lot of fun. The crowd seemed split, as both teams got their far amount of cheers. Finn Balor and Shinsuke Nakamura had the crowd roaring with reversals and taunts to each other. Natalya and Sasha Banks put the real work in, hitting moves and taking falls that looked really hard. At the end, it was a Banks statement that sealed the deal. The chemistry between Natalya and Nakamura is spot on, and they might have my vote for a second chance in a later week.
The Ascension will have to find a way to stop Rusev Day next week. The Usos got jumped by Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin. Next week, is the go home show before the Road to Wresltmania begins at the Royal Rumble.