Well we survived the Greatest Royal Rumble, but Backlash is right around the corner. Smackdown Live is heavily featured in this Sunday’s event with title matches, cross brand matches, and everything in between so let’s see what happened on the go home episode of Smackdown Live for this week’s hits and misses.
HIT: Samoa Joe Makes His Intentions Known
Samoa Joe may have Roman Reigns at Backlash this Sunday, but Joe wants something more. Joe interrupted AJ Styles tonight when he was in the ring calling out Shinsuke Nakamura and let it be known whoever leaves Backlash the WWE Champion is on notice. With Joe off the part time champion/Roman Reigns show on Monday nights and on Smackdown Live, he definitely is an odds on favorite to get a WWE Championship run at some point in the near future. The only thing that could delay a Joe run is if Nakamura gets the green light at Backlash. Nakamura’s heel work is top notch and as much as I love Styles, Nakamura (another one of my favorites) has to secure the biggest prize in WWE at Backlash. With Paige making Styles vs Nakamura a no disqualification match, it all but plays into Nakamura’s hand. If WWE played this right, they could have Joe screw Styles over and have those two feud for the summer. I’m sure very few would complain about a Samoa Joe and AJ Styles feud. You could also keep them both involved in the WWE Championship picture while Nakamura runs wild with the title. Then again, WWE could let Styles leave Backlash still the champ and Joe feuds with him. Either or, the Smackdown Live WWE Championship picture this year is in better hands than it was last year when we had Jinder Mahal and Randy Orton feuding for it.
MISS: Daniel Bryan Absent
Some reason Bryan was left off the go home show for Backlash because his chest was absolutely brutalized during the Greatest Royal Rumble match. Kind of strange he couldn’t have at least made an appearance to confront Big Cass, but what’s done is done. Instead we had Cass cutting a promo and using a little person dressed as Daniel Bryan to generate heat when Cass wasted him at the end of the segment. Hopefully the match at Backlash delivers, because the build has been off and on.
HIT: Six Women Tag Match Was Good
Usually when I see six women tag matches on Smackdown I cringed, however some new blood and rivalries were added and I’m on board. The main event featured ABC (Asuka, Becky, Charlotte) against Carmella, Peyton Royce, and Billie Kay. Lots of action and all six of them delivered. Charlotte definitely is ready for Carmella at Backlash while Asuka made Peyton tap out to the Asuka Lock to make it known she still is the Empress of Tomorrow. Imagine how intense things will get once Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville get unleashed in this division, which next week we get Mandy vs Becky. Don’t forget Naomi is still in this division as well.
MISS: Rusev Day to Become a Solo Act?
Rusev and Aiden English have been a fantastic pair the past few months. However things got interesting backstage when Lana planted the seed into Rusev’s head that Aiden is holding him back since Rusev has suffered defeats in major matches as of late. I feel bad for Aiden English if this goes down because he’ll probably end up off television. Rusev however might get a boost, especially if WWE pairs Lana back up with him. Let’s face it, the Smackdown Live women’s division is strong enough now that it doesn’t need Lana as an in ring competitor. Let her accompany Rusev to the ring should he turn on Aiden English. Still not sure if this is a good idea though taking Aiden away….. Guess we’ll see what happens.
HIT: Miz Tries to Stir the Pot Between Jeff Hardy and Randy Orton
Smackdown started off with Miz TV and his guest Jeff Hardy. Miz of course promotes himself and talks about beating Seth Rollins for the Intercontinental Championship at Backlash. Miz asks Hardy if Miz is a better champion than Rollins, Hardy of course disagrees. This sets the Miz off and then he goes on about Hardy disrespecting Orton. Orton though says him and Hardy are cool. Shelton Benjamin who has been involved with Hardy and Orton thinks he should be getting the title shot and not Orton at Backlash and the ring turns into chaos. Sure enough a tag team match is made and it got plenty of time to showcase the superstars. Orton and Hardy got the win, but after the match Orton RKO’ed Hardy. Looks like the United States title picture is getting interesting. More than likely Rollins will retain against Miz so does Miz become a player for the United States Championship after Backlash? Guess we’ll see….
MISS: What Are New Day and the Bar Fighting Over?
The Bar were brought over to Smackdown Live and are here to stay since they failed at capturing the Raw Tag Team Championship at Greatest Royal Rumble against the Deletor of Worlds. Instead of going for the Smackdown Live Tag Team Championship though the Bar is more interested in confronting New Day backstage and throwing their pancakes around. Sure we had a okay match between Xavier Woods and Sheamus tonight, but what’s the end result here? New Day in my opinion is at the point where there isn’t much more they can accomplish in tag team competition. Cesaro and Sheamus are also at the point where they’d probably be better off as singles competitors again. The Bludgeon Brothers and Usos were left off the show tonight so no clue what’s next for the Smackdown Live Tag Team Championship. Definitely lots of questions regarding a once hot tag team division.
With that, that concludes this week’s hits and misses. Let me know your thoughts and follow me on Twitter @chairmanpodcast and thanks for reading.