Happy Rusev Day, friends!

A brand new edition of Smackdown Live airs tonight from Ontario, California, and there’s a whole new level of optimism around the blue brand. The product has been solid lately, sure, but with Rusev now established as the #1 contender to the WWE Championship, there’s absolutely nothing that can bring me down other than a potential devastating breakup from a beloved duo who’ve provided at least a third of my WWE merchandise. That won’t happen though, right?

As always, I’m Spencer Love with your Smackdown Live preview!

A Quick Recap:

  • Carmella opens the show with a promo telling everyone to give up. Great start.
  • James Ellsworth enters the ring to Asuka’s music and dressed as the Empress of Tomorrow. Excellent continuation.
  • Asuka rushes the ring and attacks Ellsworth, but Carmella is able to reciprocate
  • Becky Lynch def. Billie Kay via Dis-arm-her
  • Jeff Hardy cuts a promo explaining in great detail how he was hurt by Shinsuke Nakamura. He also had the face paint on, which was cool as shit.
  • Daniel Bryan cuts a backstage promo, and slams the Miz.
  • SAniTy vs the Usos doesn’t start, as the faction beats down the Usos. For what it’s worth, SAniTy wasn’t joined by Nikki Cross.
  • Backstage promo from Nakamura. Nothing special, but insinuates his next feud will be with Jeff Hardy
  • The Bludgeon Brothers def. Gallows & Anderson to retain the Smackdown Tag Team Championships
  • RUSEV!!!!!!! The Bulgarian Brute def. Daniel Bryan, Big E, Samoa Joe and The Miz to become the #1 contender for the WWE Championship
    • Bryan eliminates Big E
    • Bryan eliminates Samoa Joe by countout
    • The Miz eliminates Bryan after the Bludgeon Brothers interfere
    • Rusev eliminates the Miz

State of the Belts:

Last week saw Rusev earn the biggest victory of his career, defeating four other Superstars in a gauntlet match to determine the #1 contender to AJ Styles championship. There’s many happy Rusev Day’s to come, hopefully, but first the Bulgarian Brute has to defeat Xavier Woods in singles action tonight after the two went back and forth with each other on Twitter. Rusev is a gem and 100% deserving of his own holiday.

The Miz will host an episode of MizTV with his guests, The Bludgeon Brothers. I’m interested in hearing why they attacked Daniel Bryan during last week’s gauntlet match; it can’t be as simple as interrupting their exit, right? Expect things to go smoothly and without conflict.

Jeff Hardy and Shinsuke Nakamura look set to feud after the two battled on the go-home episode of Smackdown prior to Money in the Bank. In that match, Nakamura got himself disqualified with (yet another) low-blow, this time to the United States Champion. Last week, Hardy cut a promo in his classic face paint, bringing back his original look for the first time since returning at WrestleMania 33. They’re set to face off tonight for the United States Championship, and while I can’t see there being a decisive finish tonight, expect them to set up a match at Extreme Rules

Carmella has James Ellsworth back for her expected second matchup with Asuka, and he’s already paying dividends. I mean, the guy’s out here on the independent circuit doing picture-perfect impressions of the Empress of Tomorrow. We don’t deserve you, Jimmy Dream.

Three Things to Watch For:

  • The only note I took from last week’s Smackdown other than it being great was how upset I was at the lack of Andrade “Cien” Almas. I’m sure he’ll make an appearance tonight, but I’d almost have to assume that it’ll come at SAnitY’s expense – apparently, we’re not allowed to have the two appear on the same episode.
  • Tonight, the women of the hit Netflix series GLOW will be on site to confront Naomi. I’m always excited for celebrity guests; there’s really no middle ground for their appearances. You’re either going to receive something surprisingly entertaining or an absolute train wreck – looking at you, Jeremy PivenHow will tonight’s guest appearances go?
  • Becky Lynch will take on Peyton Royce after defeating Billie Kay last week. Can she go two-for-two? Or, will the P.W.A alumni be able to squeak out a win?

On a bit of a side note, Big Cass was released prior to last week’s Smackdown Live, but wasn’t able to make it to the preview. Check out our story HERE.

It should be a good one tonight, wrestling fans – you watching? Let us know your thoughts at @WCSportsCA or in the comments below!

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Smackdown Live Preview: June 26
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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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