WWE SmackDown Results: Biggest Winners, Losers and Moments from December 5
The road to WWE Clash of Champions on December 17 rolled through San Diego Tuesday night as SmackDown Live presented it latest episode. The broadcast featured the evolution of a relatively new tag team and the continued descent into dissension between a general manager and his commissioner.
Daniel Bryan has appeared dissatisfied with the recent decisions by Shane McMahon in regards to Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.
Perhaps it is the similar backgrounds or the fact that neither Zayn nor Owens should have made it in WWE based on their appearances, but Bryan has become almost sympathetic to the heel tandem and expressed as much with a single facial expression on Tuesday night.
The popular and beloved former WWE champion is not the only Superstar to generate a warm reaction from fans Tuesday night, as Rusev and Aiden English continued to win the WWE Universe over with their comedic timing and musical ways.
The tandem not only wowed the San Diego faithful with The 12 Days of Rusev, they proceeded to pick up a big win over New Day and earn themselves a tag title opportunity come the December 17 pay-per-view.
Not quite as lucky was Tamina, whose booking left a lot to be desired and almost single-handedly unraveled all the good that was done this past summer.
Winners: Rusev and Aiden English
It was once again Rusev Day Tuesday night as the former United States champion and sinister songster Aiden English united to battle The New Day in tag team action. This came after English treated the WWE Universe to a stirring rendition of The 12 Days of Rusev, which popped the fans in San Diego.
Once the bell rang, Rusev and English demonstrated a tag team chemistry that continues to blossom with every passing week and worked a hot, energetic match with the established former champions.
Better yet, they actually won the match relatively cleanly, capitalizing on a distraction from English that allowed Rusev to deliver a big superkick to the back of Kofi Kingston's head for the pin.
The devious duo would later be added to the SmackDown Tag Team Championship match at Clash of Champions, making it a Fatal 4-Way match.
Perhaps the biggest victory of Rusev and English's night came in the form of the reaction they were greeted with by the WWE Universe. The fans in San Diego ate their act up, cheering loudly and approvingly for the comedic ways of the team.
While they make strong heels, do not be surprised to see Rusev and English go the way of Breezango or The Ascension at some point in the near future, adopting babyface personas and becoming one of the most popular tandems in the tag team division.
This past summer, Tamina Snuka underwent a career rejuvenation of sorts. The second-generation performer was booked as the unstoppable force in several multi-woman matches during which she laid waste to the likes of Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Natalya.
She was strong, fearsome and furious as she established herself as a legitimate player in the women's division. An alliance with Lana should have taken her to the top of the division and led to a series of championship bouts.
Instead, she fell into the background, left to wallow in obscurity and mediocrity as the focus shifted to the aforementioned women.
When she popped up in a backstage segment with Daniel Bryan, then in a singles match with Charlotte, it looked for a moment like she may be re-emphasized by WWE Creative.
Then she lost in decisive and definitive fashion, the victim of a big boot and the Figure Eight.
Tapping out killed any hint of a push or rededication to her cause. She was, simply, an afterthought used to set up a massive cluster post-match between herself, Lana, Carmella and The Riott Squad.
Some will argue she regained heat thanks to an intense pull-apart brawl with Sarah Logan, but until she picks up a win or two, her status as the tail end of the women's division remains intact. That is a shame given everything she accomplished earlier this year.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
The look on SmackDown general manager Daniel Bryan's face as the show went off the air Tuesday night was that of a man experiencing deja vu.
Shane McMahon had just stacked the odds against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn and, furthermore, announced that if the duo lost their match against Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura at Clash of Champions, they would be fired from WWE.
For Bryan, it was a bit too eerily familiar to the obstacles he once had to overcome at the hands of the megalomaniacal McMahon family.
From a similar background to Zayn and Owens, Bryan knows what it is like to have to deal with authority figures hellbent on holding him down, something he expressed in that one look he shot Shane-O-Mac to close out the show.
There was almost a disdain in his eyes as he glared at his superior, angered and frustrated that the supposedly "good" McMahon was exhibiting the same trademarks of his evil family members, whom Bryan had to go through hell at the hands of just a few short years ago.
The dissension between Bryan and McMahon has been teased for weeks now, and the idea that the former may split from his fellow authority figure and become aligned with Owens and Zayn is not a crazy one.
The question, though, is whether WWE Creative can realistically expect fans to boo Bryan.