Fresh off of The Greatest Royal Rumble, AJ Styles deals with not one but two Superstars gunning for his title. The Miz reboots Miz TV which ends in chaos. Which Smackdown Live superstars will gain momentum heading into Backlash this Sunday?
Smackdown Live competitors brace for Backlash following a hectic tour schedule. AJ Styles and the rest of the roster still have scores to settle. Shinsuke Nakamura has one more chance to claim the WWE Championship from Styles at Backlash. Meanwhile Charlotte gets a shot at revenge against Carmella in the form of a tag team main event.
Smackdown Live comes to us from Montreal, QC this May 1st, 2018.
Miz TV Reboot
Miz TV officially returns to television, this time on a Tuesday evening. The Miz declares he is coming for his Intercontinental title currently held by Seth Rollins. After some brief trash talking he invites Jeff hardy to the ring as his first guest.
Immediately, The Miz addresses the recent entrance stealing that has gone on between Hardy and Randy Orton. Orton suggests he harbors no hard feeling towards Hardy even though Miz continues to instigate heat between them. Ultimately Orton is set to face Hardy for the United States Championship at Backlash. The Viper warns he is coming to take back his title regardless of how he feels about Hardy.
Shelton Benjamin makes an impromptu appearance, claiming he is the number one contender after defeating Orton in a previous match. Things quickly break down as all four superstars brawl and inevitably find themselves in a tag team match.
Hardy and Orton defeat The Miz and Benjamin in a decent yet uneventful match.
Sub-titles (Get It?)
Smackdown is drawing a similar dynamic between Hardy and Orton as Seth Rollins and Finn Balor on Raw. The two faces share a friendly yet competitive rivalry. Things would be more interesting if Orton were to channel some of his psychotic heel persona. After the tag team match Orton delivers an RKO to Hardy which achieves some level of animosity before their match at Backlash. Unfortunately the United States Championship seems irrelevant in this equation.
As for The Miz, he is constantly proving through his promos and his ring acumen that he is deserving of the “greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time” designation. He is the best heel in WWE. His passion for the championship itself draws attention to a former prestige once held by the title. Although Rollins is certainly the caliber of performer deserving of the title, he does not want it more than Miz. A better story would emerge from The Miz once again recapturing the title and holding it for awhile.
If the Miz does his job while the WWE bring in the right face, a title change would mean much more. The title change should also occur in a singles match vs a multi-competitor match to preserve the competitive integrity this title used to represent.
Big Cass, Little Man
Due to an unexpected absence on the part of Daniel Bryan, Big Cass did not have much to do this evening. He made due to trotting out a small actor portraying Bryan. He proceeded to destroy the miniature Bryan to send a message to his upcoming opponent at Backlash.
This was an obvious time filler.
Joe Warns Styles
Renee Young interviews AJ Styles to determine where the WWE Champion’s head is after the Greatest Royal Rumble. Although Styles continues to defend his championship successfully, he still harbors intense disgust for Shinsuke Nakamura.
Nakamura continues to low blow Styles randomly and has deprived the WWE Universe of his motivations.
During the interview Samoa Joe makes an appearance to face down Styles. Joe advises that once he is finished with Roman Reigns at Backlash he will turn his attention to obtaining the WWE Championship.
Joe and Styles have a history and WWE should utilize this to their advantage. Whereas Nakamura’s heel turn is still a great success, his current rivalry with Styles is starting to run stale. This could be due to continuous, identical matches which only makes Joe vs Styles more attractive at this point.
During the stand off Nakamura made a surprise appearance to once again low blow AJ Styles as Joe made a slick exit. I crazed looking Nakamura followed up with his signature knee strike to finish off Styles.
Woods Goes To The Bar
As The Bar settle into the Smackdown Live roster, they have drawn the ire of The New Day. After a backstage spat, Sheamus will face Xavier Woods in singles competition.
Woods has some issues combating the size advantage of Sheamus early in the match. Both competitors utilize their surroundings to tell a great in ring story centered around Woods overcoming the odds. Ceasaro and the rest of The New Day get involved at ringside. Both Sheamus and Woods have to deal with distractions that draw them outside of the ring. This enables Woods to roll up Sheamus as he tries to re-enter the ring. Woods successfully pins Sheamus.
The bigger potential in the Smackdown Live tag team division is a prospective match up between the Bludgeon Brothers against The Bar. One can only imagine the sheer brutality and physicality of a match with these two teams. The experience of wrestling The Bar can also develop the depth of character the Bludgeon Brothers lack at this point. If the Brothers struggle a little against opponents who are more evenly matched physically, they can demonstrate how the overcome adversity together.
Main Event Tag Team Match
Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Asuka take on the Iconics with Carmella in a six woman tag match. It is great to once agian see women in the main event. There is surprisingly a lot going on here for a larger tag team match.
Mainly, Becky Lynch blames herself for costing Asuka a recent match and is trying to turn her luck around. WWE are utilizing Lynch’s recent lack of momentum in story line. Ironically calling this out is great for Lynch who otherwise has nothing going on. It would be great to see Lynch crack under the pressure and maybe turn on her new friends, including Charlotte.
Meanwhile Carmella and the Iconics continue to brag about being superior to Asuka and Charlotte.
Lynch has difficulties during the first part of the match which allows the heels to gain the advantage. With Lynch incapacitated on the outside, Charlotte and Asuka are able to mount a difficult come back. Eventually Asuka would make Peyton Royce tap out.
This match was definitely a feel good ending to an international show. The Iconics and Carmella continue to do an amazing job of playing total cowards and cheats. Asuka and Charlotte look even stronger after their Wrestlemania clash.
WWE should continue to focus on Becky Lynch as an outlier, someone who is not attaining the success enjoyed by her friends. She should brood and become jealous, leading to an eventual heel turn. Lynch would be amazing as a suplex machine and no nonsense heel. As Charlotte continues her program with Carmella, The Iconics would be perfect to bring out the bad in Lynch. This can be done by the Peyton Royce and Billie Kay gaining repeated upsets over Lynch which finally causes the Lass Kicker to snap.
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