It looks like we may have cursed SmackDown's fortunes by declaring the glory days had returned last week, because this show was a dumpster fire.
The ongoing Zayn and Owens vs. the world storyline dominated proceedings once more, and there were further developments in the Daniel Bryan/Shane McMahon saga, but WWE's delivery was remarkably inconsistent. Both narratives served up delight and anguish in equal measure, with the big show-closing angle particularly worrying.
Champions Bobby Roode and Charlotte Flair engaged in non-title bouts, Rusev and Aiden English faced off with The New Day, and The Bludgeon Brothers' squash match streak continued. All three divisions are extremely crowded at the moment. WWE's insistence on cramming their storylines with as many people as possible remains a bugbear, and while it's working for the tag teams, the same can't be said for the United States and Women's Title scenes.
WWE have a longstanding habit of mailing it in and playing things safe throughout December, so this slump shouldn't come as a surprise. Regardless, this episode was immensely disappointing. It came on the back of four straight weeks of quality television, and with Clash of Champions less than a fortnight away, SD is coasting on inertia...