WWE Clash of Champions 2017 Preview and Predictions - Triple Threat POV | Smark Out Moment

WWE Clash of Champions 2017 Preview and Predictions - Triple Threat POV

Posted by Robert DeFelice Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Welcome to another edition of Triple Threat from Smark Out Moment, where three of us get together to discuss three questions based on one big topic going down in the week of professional wrestling.

This week, Robert DeFelice, Callum Wiggins, and Wes Keefer will be giving their thoughts on all the happenings of this Sunday's WWE Clash of Champions 2017!

It’s the last WWE pay-per-view of the year, SmackDown Live’s Clash of Champions! Who will start the Road to WrestleMania as the incumbent WWE Champion? How will Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn get out of this one? Let’s discuss…

Question 1: Of the three undercard title matches, which is most appealing to you and why?

DeFELICE: Hands down for me, it is the United States Championship match. All three men involved are huge favorites of mine and that is really a deciding factor for me going into certain matches on less than stellar cards. I could write 20 pages about why I feel Bobby Roode is the most well-rounded performer on the roster right now, and how he’s been ready for WWE for almost a decade. I could write an additional 20 pages about why I love Baron Corbin, and why I believe he’s one of the most unique pieces of the puzzle right now and why he needs to continue on this incline to the main event picture. However, at my core, I am Dolph Ziggler trash. I don’t care I will fly the flag for that man until his time in the sun burns him out and myself and said flag with him.

As much as I want to see Bobby as champion, and as much as I want to see Corbin hold it for as long as humanly possible, I’ve got to root for Ziggy. Any chance at all that he can possibly still be a thing in WWE and I jump all over it and wanted to come to fruition so bad. I hope things work out for him on Sunday.

WIGGINS: The Smackdown Tag Team Championship match has the greatest potential to be a show stealer, simply due to the immense talent involved. The Usos have been hands down the best tag team in WWE this year, with New Day not far behind. While Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin are cold as ice in terms of charisma, bell-to-bell they usually impress. And the pairing of Rusev and Aiden English has been a surprising revelation for two midcarders that deserve regular television time. No matter who wins, there is real potential.

Compare that to the other two undercard matches. The United States Championship match includes the distinctly average Baron Corbin, a lukewarm Bobby Roode and the seemingly incurable cancer on SmackDown Live: Dolph Ziggler. Seriously? Ziggler's won just 18 matches in all of 2017 and he gets a title shot? Why not Tye Dillinger, Mike Kanellis, or whichever member of the New Day isn't wrestling in the tag match?

As for the Women's Championship, it has two strikes against it: First, it is a match we've seen far too often recently that has not been very exciting, and secondly, it’s another instance of throwing every woman possible onto the card in one match rather than building several different storylines. Whoever is writing for the women's divisions on both Raw and SmackDown should be fired.

KEEFER: The SmackDown Women's Championship is probably the most predictable, with the Riot Squad most likely causing the match to end early. Dolph Ziggler adds more suspense to the United States match, but he is still Dolph Ziggler and it does more harm than good for the match. The SmackDown Tag Team Championship match is the most exciting of the three.

The New Day and The Usos rarely fail in chemistry and ring work together. Shelton and Gable add even more high flying moments to this match. The addition of Rusev and English is quite a wildcard, with the unlikely duo possibly being a dark horse favorite to win. All of the other three teams know each other well over their multiple matches, but Rusev and English are still fresh.

Question 2: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn are having a lot of fun now that they’re on the same side of the page. What do you see the outcome of this tag team match being? Just for fun, where do you see Kevin and Sami being on the WrestleMania card at this point in time??

WIGGINS: I think the stipulation makes it abundantly clear that Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn will win (either that or risk a seriously negative reaction from the crowd). The interesting question is how that will happen. I've really not enjoyed the omnipresence of Shane McMahon on SmackDown for the last few months - building to Hell in a Cell was fine, but it's been overkill since then. Now, as the guest referee and with the power to decide the fate of Owens and Zayn, it is impossible for me to consider him the babyface in this scenario.

My guess is that Daniel Bryan will somehow get involved to prevent Owens and Zayn from losing, hopefully in an ambiguous way. That way, it is still unclear if he is aligned with this pairing, or is simply trying to do what's right against McMahon's increasing tyranny. As for WrestleMania, while I hope for more, I expect they'll be pigeon-holed in the SmackDown Tag Team Championship picture.

KEEFER: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn seemed to be lost in the mix when they allied up together. However, their pairing has had the opposite effect. There is quite the chemistry and connection between these two men. They have taken control of their fate by fighting back against those who are out to end their pushes and momentum. They have been apart of SmackDown’s main event programming for several weeks and have been part of pay-per-view cards. Their storyline could end lead to a potential Daniel Bryan return to the ring. It would not be wise for Orton and Shinsuke to be victorious at Clash of Champions and have the heels shipped away to Raw. They are now valuable pieces to the roster.

As for Wrestlemania, they aren’t going to be a part of the card in the way they want to be. The Andre the Giant battle royal seems like a likely place. At Royal Rumble, Shane McMahon or Daniel Bryan or Orton could cost them the main event. With SmackDown’s tag team division being stale, they could end up in a tag title match as well. There is also the possibility of a break-up and Owens vs Zayn, but it feels too soon.

DeFELICE: There’s always a certain magic when real life friends get to interact in WWE. Kevin and Sami have proven to have magical chemistry as opponents and are now getting the opportunity to prove just how awesome it is to have them as partners on screen. The only real downside for me about this pairing, Sami Zayn will not fulfill my vision for him as the modern day Ricky Steamboat/Rob Van Dam, because neither of those men was ever a full-fledged heel. Career threatening matches are always to be taken with the grain of salt in this industry. I’m sure many people feel like it’s a foregone conclusion of what the outcome will be with there being some kind of chicanery between Bryan and Shane, but I’m not entirely sold that Kevin and Sami will win here. It’s December and I’m sure we need some type of interesting story to pull us through the next two weeks as we cram the car, and slowly plod down The Road to WrestleMania. I think we do get the chicanery, but the best friends lose and Bryan has to fight for their jobs reluctantly over the next few weeks because he stands for what is right and not an abuse of power.

As for WrestleMania, Kevin is my current pick to win the Royal Rumble. Raw has the Elimination Chamber, and since I don’t see Brock Lesnar competing in one of those, that match will likely go to deciding Brock’s WrestleMania opponent, leaving a SmackDown superstar to win the Royal Rumble once again. I predict Bryan gets them their jobs back and Kevin is placed in a position like Randy Orton in 2009 where he will win the Royal Rumble and challenge the incumbent champion, AJ, much to the chagrin of authority. I’ll even go a step further, Shane will mandate that Kevin is number one in the battle royale and Kevin will go the distance, with the help of his guardian angel of course. As for Sami, he’s probably headed down sidekick road for this season, but maybe he’ll get a United States Championship match or even be inserted into the WWE title match with Kevin. This is all speculation if they end up winning the tag titles, I’m perfectly fine with that too. They’re having a good time and I’m having a good time watching them.

Question 3: It has been a banner year for Jinder Mahal. Love him or hate him, he was the star villain on the blue brand this year. Do you think that he wins the title back here or will this be the swan song for the Modern Day Maharajah in the main event scene?

KEEFER: Very few people would have placed money on Jinder Mahal winning the WWE Champion and defending it for as long as he did. Nonetheless, Jinder has been escalated to main event status and he isn’t great but he isn’t awful. He has had ample opportunities to try to capture back his gold, but it is getting stale. It is starting to feel like the Randy Orton/Christian feud for the title over three years ago. There are plenty of new stars to step up to AJ Styles who are just simply better suited for the main event picture.

People hate to see it, but here is the truth: WWE used Jinder Mahal to steal the market in India and widen their markets. Big surprise, it worked. The tour of India is closing and so is Jinder’s relevance. He has tossed aside his henchman, who helped carry him during his reign. Will he go back to being a jobber? Anything is possible in WWE honestly. However, he will end up in the mid-card range and could still win another title.

DeFELICE: Wow! What a difference a year makes! If you would’ve asked me as recently as January, if I would’ve believed that Jinder Mahal was going to be the top villain on any show in 2017, I would’ve laughed in your face. However, 2017 was, in fact, the year of The Maharajah. I often compare him to JBL in 2004, nobody thought that he was ever going to be anything major, but for my generation, JBL was a pretty big staple. I don’t think Mahal gets the championship back here, but I do think he has firmly cemented himself as a top superstar for the WWE and even if he never makes it back there, he will always have 2017. Nobody can take that away from him, and for whatever it’s worth, I don’t think this is the last of him as a main event player. He has proven that he has a work ethic that is unmatched and because of this, he may even find himself in a high-caliber match at WrestleMania 34.

WIGGINS: It's interesting that Robert compared Jinder Mahal to JBL, as I would also make the same comparison. In the same way that JBL was a jobber that nobody believed could be WWE Champion when he won the belt, and then held it for far too long in a hopeless bid to change people's opinions (or troll the fans). JBL's reign marked the end of SmackDown's superiority over Raw after the brand extension - Jinder's was an extension of the downhill trend started by Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton's reigns.

Has Jinder Mahal improved? Yes, and I do give him credit for carrying himself as a champion for all of those months. If he had been built up with this character since moving to SmackDown, at this point I could picture him as a potential championship contender. In reality, his run as WWE Champion was a failed experiment that is hopefully ended once and for all by AJ Styles at Clash of Champions. It's time for the dawn of the Midcard Maharajah.

Those are our thoughts on the issue, but where do you stand?
Let us know your answers to these questions in the comments below!

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THIS POST WRITTEN BY: ROBERT DEFELICE

Robert DeFelice is a journalist and marketing student. You can follow him on Twitter, Instagram as well as his apparel website Time Killer Apparel and his pro wrestling blog PandemoniuMania.

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