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Figure Four Weekly 12/18/2017: Recapping WWE's last PPV of the year

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After a show that went about as well as it reasonably could have gone, SmackDown came out of Sunday's Clash of Champions pay-per-view with some renewed optimism heading into WWE's few biggest months of the year.

AJ Styles defeated Jinder Mahal in the PPV's main event. And with Mahal tapping out clean in the middle to Styles' Calf Crusher, WWE's seven-month experiment with Mahal as a main eventer appears to at least momentarily be on hold.

If that is the case, Mahal's time at the top was unremarkable. He never was as bad as his harshest critics feared he would be, but his championship reign produced lackluster television and underwhelming main-event level matches. His positive qualities of carrying himself well as champion never could mask his deficiencies in the ring. Combined with some of the low moments that come with playing the evil foreign heel gimmick in WWE (like the promos where he was scripted to make fun of Shinsuke Nakamura's race), the last several months haven't been the best time for SmackDown.

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