Wrestling fans didn’t have to wait until the Royal Rumble to see who the new United States Champion would be.
SmackDown Live aired from the Laredo Energy Arena in Laredo, Texas.
General Manager Daniel Bryan announced that the finals of the United States Championship Tournament would take place that night, with Bobby Roode taking on Jinder Mahal. But before getting into the match, let’s see how each man got there.
The night started off with Mahal taking on Xavier Woods in a second-round matchup. It was a back and forth affair, with Woods showing that he could hold his own against the former WWE Champion. At one point the Singh Brothers tried to interfere, but Kofi Kingston and Big E chased them off.
Woods tried to hit his signature diving elbow, but Mahal got out of harm’s way. The Modern Day Maharaja then threw Woods head first into the bottom rope, knocking him out. He then followed it up with the Khallas to advance to the finals.
In the final second-round bout, Roode faced Mojo Rawley. The former Hype Bro used his new-found aggressiveness to give him the advantage early on. It looked as though he was actually going to pull off the upset victory.
However, his attitude got the better of him and didn’t remember how resilient the Glorious One really was. Roode found the opening he needed and hit the Glorious DDT to move on and face Mahal. But the Singh Brothers blindsided him after the match and got a couple of cheap shots in before running away.
In the main event contest, it was obvious that Roode was not at 100%. Mahal took full advantage, targeting his ribs repeatedly throughout the match. But Roode battled back time and time again, no matter how much pain he was in.
Mahal looked to finally put his opponent away with another Khallas, but Roode countered and hit a Glorious DDT to capture his first US title.
In other action, the war continued to wage in the women’s division. The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan) took on SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch and Naomi.
With the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble only a few weeks away, each team wanted to gain whatever momentum they could be heading into the historic event. The match was a hard-hitting affair, with each team trading blows.
After a hot tag, Naomi came into the match taking out anything that moved. A fight then broke out between Charlotte, Lynch, and Logan at ringside. With the referee distracted by the scrum, Riott kicked the former SmackDown Women’s Champion from the apron.
This allowed Morgan to hit her finisher, earning the Riott Squad yet another sneaky victory.