WWE SmackDown Live Not Doing Enough to Advance Mojo Rawley vs. Zack Ryder Feud

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterDecember 13, 2017

Credit: WWE.com

Mojo Rawley violently broke away from Zack Ryder to clear a path to the mountaintop. Now the former Hype Bros have their swords at each other's throats. But you wouldn't know that from watching WWE SmackDown Live in recent weeks.

The bulk of their feud so far has been off camera.

Rawley and Ryder's story has been relegated to video clips not shown on SmackDown and bickering on social media. The rivals aren't getting a slice of the airtime pie they need to make this narrative work.

The former tag team partners are set to battle each other at the Clash of Champions pay-per-view on Sunday, but there has been little build-up for that bout.


JUST ANNOUNCED: Former tag team partners will become OPPONENTS when @MojoRawleyWWE goes one-on-one with @ZackRyder this Sunday on the #WWEClash #Kickoff! #SDLive https://t.co/OSr1FwnaKB

A week after Rawley blindsided his partner, he had a brief promo to explain himself. The following week offered nothing new despite it being the final show before the PPV.

There was no verbal showdown, no sneak attack from the freshly turned heel, no scouting of one's foe, no rebuttal from Ryder. When doling out space on the SmackDown stage, WWE didn't find room for this tale. The company instead compiled a video package that only aired on YouTube and WWE.com.

About 130,000 people saw the YouTube clip to this point as opposed to the two million or so that watch the blue brand each Tuesday.

The fact the video got pushed that far to the background and SmackDown spent such little time showcasing Rawley and Ryder's bad blood ahead of the PPV signals its lack of importance. The same goes for their match airing on the Clash of Champions pre-show.

None of this should come as a surprise.

Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley make their way to the ring during happier times.
Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley make their way to the ring during happier times.Credit: WWE.com

SmackDown often neglected this narrative leading up to Rawley's betrayal of his friend. The Hype Bros would go weeks without competing on TV. Per CageMatch.net, the tag team wrestled on SmackDown only once in August and didn't get in the ring for five straight weeks in October and November.

And so it was harder to show off their growing tension.

That's happening again in the aftermath of Rawley's back-stabbing. SmackDown's limited airtime has claimed him and Ryder as victims early on, something Breezango can relate to of late. 

This rivalry could easily be a catalyst for Rawley as he pushes his way up the ladder. It has the potential to spark something in Ryder. It's a classic friends-turned-foe angle that could be a sleeper hit.

But this can't reach its full potential without more spotlight on it.

This has the makings of becoming the next Goldust vs. Stardust, a feud WWE never let the fans sink their teeth into. That story wasn't made a priority. It ended too soon, leaving fans little to remember about it.

It would be a missed opportunity to do the same with Rawley vs. Ryder.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.