WWE SMACKDOWN PRIMER 12/26: What’s next for Dolph Ziggler and the U.S. Title? Who challenges Styles next? Will Bryan and Shane land on same page?

By Joey Galazia, PWTorch Specialist

Dolph Ziggler (photo credit Scott Lunn - @ScottLunn © PWTorch)


DECEMBER 26, 2017
By Joey Galizia (@RamJam89), PWTORCH SPECIALIST


  • Will anyone step up to challenge WWE Champion A.J. Styles?
  • Are Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon on the same page as the head of Smackdown?
  • What will happen to the United States Championship?
  • Still plenty of spots left in the Royal Rumble to be claimed, including the historic first ever Women’s Royal Rumble.


The WWE success story of A.J. Styles continues to grow. Since his first world title reign ended nearly a year ago in a MOTY contender with John Cena, Styles has danced around the mid-card scene and even captured the United States Championship on a couple of occasions. Now, after besting the Maharaja Jinder Mahal, the Phenomenal One looks to make his second reign at the top last a bit longer. He’s already proven he can stand toe-to-toe with “The Beast” Brock Lesnar, but who on team Blue will be the next challenger to A.J.’s throne?

That is a question that may not be answered immediately. With the Royal Rumble only five weeks away, A.J. may be safe from defending the gold at least for a little bit. However, if there were a challenger on the horizon, it will most likely be one of the individuals that competed in last week’s six-man tag. (Jinder aside.) That includes Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, and his partners Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura. Will more magic occur in Chi-town for the holidays? As always, you’ll have to tune in to find out.

Speaking of holding patterns, Women’s hampion Charlotte Flair is in a similar boat. Since her most recent title triumph over Natalya, the Nature Girl has been butting-heads with the Riott Squad. In numbers they may pose a threat, but individually the champ has the newbies number, and it doesn’t seem anyone poses a major threat for young Flair currently. That’s probably because in five weeks history will be made once again for the gorgeous ladies of wrestling (still streaming on Netflix BTW) as they compete in their very own Royal Rumble match. That may bode well for Carmella, who still holds a guaranteed title shot in her MITB briefcase.


-If shock value were merchandise, then Dolph Ziggler would be rolling in the Benjamins. Throughout his career he has had some of the most surprising and memorable moments in the WWE’s history for the last 10 years. (Not all of them necessarily good things.) Last episode he added another layer to that repertoire by walking out on the wrestle-verse and leaving his newly acquired United States Championship in the ring. Will Baron Corbin or Bobby Roode attempt to pick up where Dolph left off?

-Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin may not be holding the tag team belts, but they do seem to have the current champions reeling. Alpha 2.0 defeated Jimmy & Jey again last week almost assuring that they’ll be clashing with the superkicking Samoans once again.

-Happy Rusev Day. Then, now, and forever.

-Mojo Rawley was absent from television after he squashed former Hype Brother Zack Ryder on the Clash of Champions pre-show. Will the newly resurged Andre the Giant Battle Royal winner be looking to regain his momentum?

-Eventually the Tag Team Division will have to acknowledge the presence of the Bludgeon Brothers. They may not be winning any fans on the microphone, but they are certainly leaving talent with broken bodies and scarred psyches.

-In another tale of abuse of authoritative power, commissioner Shane McMahon and General Manager Daniel Bryan seem to be at a very passive aggressive crossroad. They aired their grievances with one another after the debacle that was the Clash of Champions tag match that had K.O. and Sami Zayn’s jobs on the line. DB believes Shane is slowly transforming into his father while Shane’O’Mac is convinced that Bryan is getting played by the Canadians. Neither is wrong, but one will most likely suffer.

NOW REVIEW WHAT HAPPENED LAST WEEK: KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 12/19: Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon fallout from Clash of Champions, Shinsuke & Orton & Styles vs. Sami & KO & Jinder

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