Daniel Bryan opened up 2017's final edition of SmackDown Live! by booking an eight-man United States Championship tournament following Dolph Ziggler's apparent surrender of the title during last week's show.
The tournament began in earnest later that night, with Bobby Roode defeating former Champion Baron Corbin and Jinder Mahal squeezing by Tye Dillinger to advance. No brackets were unveiled but further confirmation on WWE.com following the broadcast suggested that the remaining first round matches would take place in the coming weeks.
With the Royal Rumble still a month away, the company may elect to conduct the entire tournament on television, particularly if it leads to a shocking return for 'The Show Off'. Augmenting Ziggler's walk-off last week, Bryan noted how he'd been unsuccessful in getting hold of him since, leaving him no choice but to address the vacancy.
Furthering Bryan's own dissension with Shane McMahon later in the show, the tournament became the latest subject of polite disagreement between the SmackDown Live! authority figures after their Clash Of Champions dual refereeing snafu. As the man robbed of a one-on-one rematch by the tournament, Baron Corbin's first round exit is likely to expedite additional conflict between the troubled twosome.
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