The WWE Royal Rumble 2018 pay-per-view has plenty of championship matches on the card, but one of the originally scheduled matches has been moved off the show. Fortunately for fans, it isn’t the 2-on-1 handicap match featuring AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, or the Triple Threat Universal Title match. However, it will be one of the championships that is exclusive to the SmackDown Live brand and that is currently up for grabs.
A report from Wrestling Inc on Tuesday indicates that the United States Championship tournament finals will take place next week on the January 23 episode of SmackDown Live. The original belief was this match was happening at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view. The speculation is that former United States Champion Dolph Ziggler will take on whoever wins the championship tournament at the Royal Rumble 2018 pay-per-view. If true, that could also reveal that the winner of the tournament will be a face as Ziggler has played the heel role for weeks now.
On Tuesday, the two semifinal matches will take place for the U.S. title tournament. In one part of the tournament bracket, the New Day’s Xavier Woods will face former WWE Champion Jinder Mahal. In another match, “Glorious” Bobby Roode will take on Mojo Rawley. The winners will advance to the final match on next Tuesday’s SmackDown Live. Early predictions seem to indicate a showdown involving Roode vs. Mahal for the title.
Rumors have suggested that Bobby Roode will end up winning the tournament to claim the championship belt for the first time in his career. Roode is a former NXT Champion who has yet to win any titles on the main roster. The “Glorious” superstar previously competed for the championship in a triple threat match involving Ziggler and former champion Baron Corbin, with Ziggler winning the title there. After Dolph’s win, he gave up the title, creating the need for the tournament that is now going on.
In addition to competing in the tournament, Roode will also be part of the WWE’s new Mixed Match Challenge tournament. He’ll partner with Charlotte Flair in the tournament where male and female superstars team up as tag teams to compete in a tournament. Each team will be competing for a different charity as well.
Roode and Flair will compete for Girl Up, a foundation to help build up and inspire young females as “leaders and change makers.” The Mixed Match Challenge matches begin Tuesday night at 1o p.m. Eastern Time after SmackDown Live, although Roode and Flair aren’t scheduled to compete in tonight’s first match.
Fans can watch the finals of the United States Championship tournament on Tuesday, January 23 episode of SmackDown Live at 8 p.m. Eastern Time. The Royal Rumble 2018 pay-per-view is set for Sunday, January 28 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Correction: The U.S. Title was decided on the Tuesday, January 16th episode of SmackDown Live. Bobby Roode defeated Jinder Mahal to win the United States Championship in the finals.