Five days, everyone.

Five days is all we have left until WrestleMania. It’s the most wonderful time of year to be a wrestling fan, and 2018 has been too sweet so far.

411Mania
Had to do it.

Next weekend, we’ll get to watch Daniel Bryan return to a WWE ring. We’ll get Ronda Rousey’s WWE debut. AJ Styles will battle Shinsuke Nakamura for the first time since WrestleKingdom 10. It truly is one of the best cards that World Wrestling Entertainment has put together in years.

However, that’s next weekend, and this is now. We have one episode left of Smackdown Live in the wrestling calendar before the Show of Shows, and it airs tonight from Nashville, Tennessee. You watching?

Last Week’s Smackdown:


After months of rumours, it’s finally confirmed – Daniel Bryan will be returning to a WWE ring at WrestleMania. He announced last week that he – along with Smackdown Live commissioner Shane McMahon – will take on the recently-fired team of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. If the management team wins, their employees stay fired. However, should the best friends win, they regain their jobs and open up a whole new level of tension between the commissioner and the GM.

While I had my complaints about this storyline as little as a couple of months ago, it’s truly turned into the hottest storyline in WWE. Owens and Zayn – or is that Steen and El Generico? – have played their parts to perfection; as fired employees, they’ve done a fantastic job of showing their resentment to their “former” employers, showing up at house shows and changing their names across social media.

According to WWE’s official preview, Shane is scheduled to return to Smackdown tonight to address the WWE Universe. Will he confirm his availability? Will he announce a surrogate wrestler? You’ll just have to tune in!

A Quick Recap:

  • The show opens with a video recap of the events of the 20th; Daniel Bryan’s return and his subsequent beating by Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.
  • Jinder Mahal and Rusev(!!!) def. Bobby Roode and Randy Orton after Rusev pins Orton(!!!!!!!!!)
  • Mahal and Rusev meet in a backstage segment, where Rusev declares that he’ll request to be added to the United States Championship Match at RusevMania.
  • Becky Lynch def. Ruby Riott and fends off the Riott Squad post-match.
  • Daniel Bryan, the wrestler, promises to kick Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn‘s collective asses when he partners with Shane McMahon to take them on at WrestleMania!
  • The New Day cut a promo about how they’ll defeat the Bludgeon Brothers. During their match, the Usos attack the Brothers of Bludgeon from behind ending the match in a disqualification. The three teams argue and brawl through the rest of the segment, with Harper and Rowan standing tall to end it.
  • Video package for Charlotte Flair vs Asuka
  • Dolph Ziggler def. Tyler Breeze after some confusion with Fandango
  • Shinsuke Nakamura def. Shelton Benjamin with AJ Styles ringside. Post-match, Nakamura tell Styles that he didn’t need his help; he only wanted Styles to see how he’d defeat him at WrestleMania.

State of the Belts:

Charlotte Flair is interrupted by Asuka at WWE Fastlane after successfully retaining her championship against Ruby Riott

AJ Styles will face Shinsuke Nakamura on a WWE stage for the very first time. There really hasn’t been much to the build thus far; however, unlike the still-rumoured John Cena/Undertaker match, this one really hasn’t needed much. It’s truly a dream match for WWE; while the two faced off at WrestleKingdom 10, the two have never crossed paths in Vince McMahon’s company. After last week’s attack on “The Artist” from Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin – with Styles in his corner, no less – Nakamura played more mind games with his rival, feigning a Kinshasa and offering a reminder that Styles can expect to receive a knee to the face at WrestleMania. Tonight, however, Nakamura and the Phenomenal One will take on Gable & Benjamin in the main event just five days away from WrestleMania. Will one try and gain an advantage on their opponent heading into the Show of Shows?

While much of the attention has been placed on the men, Charlotte Flair and Asuka have quietly built towards a dream match of their own since Fastlane. Charlotte recently said it herself, but this marks the first time that the two have faced off at all in a WWE ring, even including tag-team action or battle royals. It’s a rare occurrence when two individuals this talented haven’t stood across from each other, and eve more rare that two stars of this level cross paths in the prime of their careers. I don’t say this lightly, but this has the potential to be the greatest women’s match in WWE history. However, prior to WrestleMania, Flair will attempt to gain revenge on Natalya for her loss two weeks ago, looking to regain some momentum heading into the Show of Shows. Will we see Asuka appear on the blue brand tonight?

It was made official yesterday that the Usos will finally appear on the main card of WrestleMania as part of the Smackdown Tag Team Championship match involving the New Day and the Bludgeon Brothers. Thank you, WWE, for doing the right thing. There’s nothing official scheduled for tonight from any of the three teams – at least, according to WWE.com’s official preview for tonight – but expect a video package at the very least on the go-home show.

Last week was perhaps the happiest Rusev Day ever, as the Bulgarian Brute pinned Randall Orton in tag-team action and staked his claim to a spot in the United States Championship match at WrestleMania. One week ago, I was writing singular sentences about the U.S. Championship picture; to me, there wasn’t a less interesting match on the card than the previously scheduled triple threat. While the three men are all fine workers, it was a plodding storyline based off of a list that hasn’t been seen in weeks. Now, WWE has added a major bit of intrigue to the match; will they pull the trigger on a WrestleMania moment for Rusev? Or, has he simply been added to the match to appease the Internet Wrestling Community? Expect to gain some clarity tonight, as Rusev battles his former tag-team partner Jinder Mahal in singles action.

Three Things to Watch For:

  • We’re less than a week away from WrestleMania; however, the fields for both of their announced Battle Royal’s are slim at best; I’m sure we’ll get another influx of wrestlers declaring for both matches tonight.
  • Is tension beginning to arise between Tyler Breeze and Fandango? The Breezango teammates seemed to be in a state of flux last week, with Deputy ‘Dango causing multiple distractions during Breeze’s match with Dolph Ziggler, directly leading to a loss for Prince Pretty. Do we see any more development from that tonight? Can their best friends, the Ascension, help with the stress? I certainly hope so – Breezango are treasures.
  • Don’t forget – you can find our full WrestleMania Preview and Predictions this Saturday, along with more WrestleMania exclusive content on wincolumnsports.ca – don’t forget to subscribe!

It’s the final Rusev Day before ‘Mania – make it your happiest one yet! As always, let us know your thoughts on tonight’s show in the comments section, or by tweeting us at @WCSportsCA!

WWE Last 5:
Smackdown Live Preview: April 3
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Spencer Love

Once stood in front of Cedric Alexander in line at a hotel. Slightly big deal.

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