The reported reason why the US title tournament was pushed forward to a Smackdown Live broadcast.
As reported by Cageside Seats, the United States Championship tournament was moved forward to an episode of SmackDown Live instead of the Royal Rumble pay-per-view to avoid timing issues.
Dolph Ziggler won the US Championship defeating Baron Corbin and Bobby Roode at the Clash of Champions pay-per-view. However, Ziggler would seemingly relinquish the title on the next episode of SmackDown Live and walk out of the WWE, saying that fans don’t deserve him, which prompted Daniel Bryan to announce a tournament for the vacant title.
A few weeks back, Daniel Bryan announced a tournament for the vacant US title. This week, Bobby Roode defeated Mojo Rawley while Jinder Mahal defeated Xavier Woods in the semi-finals to qualify for tournament final which was originally scheduled for Royal Rumble.
However, the Singh Brothers attacked Bobby Roode after his match with Rawley; Roode cleared the house and asked Jinder to have their match on the same night. SmackDown Live GM Daniel Bryan made the impromptu match official and Roode beat Jinder in the main event of the night to become the new US champion.
This year, there are going to be two Royal Rumble matches – 30 men’s Royal Rumble match and the newly added history-making 30 women’s Royal Rumble match, which would contribute to the aforementioned timing issues of the pay-per-view.
This year’s Royal Rumble will be held at Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 28 January. While Roode hasn’t officially declared himself in the men’s Rumble match as of writing, it is expected the new US Champion will participate.
I think the decision to hold the tournament finals on SmackDown Live gave an element of surprise to a lackluster SmackDown Live episode. Bobby Roode as a US Champion is indeed glorious and I am certainly interested in the potential matches with the likes of Sami Zayn and Rusev to name a few.
I think the time originally allotted for the finals on the pay-per-view would be better utilized for the women’s Royal Rumble match. With that being said, I can’t wait for the Royal Rumble.