Another Tuesday night, another Smackdown Live! Tonight’s episode takes place live in North Carolina. Really? No, Raleigh!

As always, I’m Spencer Love with terrible jokes and your Smackdown Live preview on Win Column Sports!

A Quick Recap:

  • The show opens with a segment of MizTV with The New Day as guests. The Miz questions them on which one will be competing at Money in the Bank, tension brews, and at the end of it all a match is made between Big E and Miz.
  • The Miz def. Big E after The Bar interferes in the match and distracts Big E, allowing Miz to hit the Skull Crushing Finale.
  • Lana def. Billie Kay in a Money in the Bank qualifying match.
  • Zelina Vega cuts a promo with Andrade “Cien” Almas by her side.
  • Andrade “Cien” Almas def. Kevin Bennett (local talent). You can find Kevin on Twitter!
  • Carmella promo; she claims that because Charlotte Flair defeated Asuka and she defeated Charlotte – twice – she’s twice as good as the Empress of Tomorrow.
  • Shinsuka Nakamura and AJ Styles cut duelling promos in an in-ring segment, prior to Nakamura announcing that their match at Money in the Bank will be a Last Man Standing match.
  • The Club def. The Usos to become the #1 contenders to the Smackdown Tag Team Championships.
  • Naomi def. Sonya DeVille in a qualifying match for Money in the Bank
  • Daniel Bryan def Jeff Hardy to move on to face Samoa Joe in a Money in the Bank qualifying match next week. Post-match, Joe and Bryan square up in the middle of the ring.

One Big Thought:

It’s hard not to get too excited about tonight’s main event.

For the first time ever, Samoa Joe and Daniel Bryan will face off in a WWE ring. For long-time wrestling fans, the thought of these two men in a WWE ring together is almost unimaginable. While Bryan was an active wrestler when Samoa Joe made his debut in 2015, it looked as though the two would never cross paths after the leader of the Yes! movement was forced to retire in February of 2016. At that point, Joe had yet to make his WWE main roster debut, and with Bryan looking as though he’d never wrestle again, it seemed destined that the two would never face off again.

However, we’re now over two months into the return of Bryan Danielson, and WWE is certainly making up for lost time. After Bryan faced United States Champion Jeff Hardy last week, he’ll square up with Joe for the first time in over ten years for the right to enter the Money in the Bank ladder match next month. If you haven’t watched Joe and Bryan’s previous matches, I’d highly suggest watching the match above from their battle at Midnight Express Reunion from 2004; it’s an absolute classic, and while I’m sure we won’t get the same quality of match on a throwaway episode of Smackdown, it’s a taste of what we can expect tonight. I don’t mean it as hyperbole when I say this is a can’t-miss match, folks; buckle up!

State of the Belts:

Last week, Shinsuke Nakamura announced that his championship match with AJ Styles next month would be a Last Man Standing match. Since their good-but-not-great battle at WrestleMania in April, Styles and Nakamura’s matches have grown steadily better to the point that I do feel as though their match at Money in the Bank could match up to their Wrestle Kingdom 10 classic. However, while Money in the Bank is still over three weeks away, Smackdown general manager Paige announced on Twitter yesterday that the King of Strong Style would face Tye Dillinger tonight. The smart money is on Nakamura, but is there any chance of AJ Styles interfering to give Dillinger the win?

While they’ve laid dormant for weeks, the Bludgeon Brothers finally have challengers for their Smackdown Tag Team Championships. On last week’s Smackdown, the Good Brothers defeated The Usos to become the #1 contenders for the tag team titles; will Harper and Rowan make an appearance tonight to confront their Money in the Bank opponents? Or, will we continue to get creepy vignettes for the next few weeks? Here’s to hoping for the former, but expecting the latter.

Is Carmella ready for Asuka? That’s the question WWE.com is asking heading into tonight’s Smackdown, and my answer is a firm “yes”. ‘Mella and the Empress of Tomorrow are set to face off at Money in the Bank, and personally, I think it would be the wrong decision for the title to come off of Carmella so soon after winning it from Charlotte. The women’s division lacks credible heels at the moment, and while the IIconics look to be the de facto top heels sooner rather than later, the spot is currently filled by the Princess of Staten Island and she’s done a fantastic job since winning the championship. She’s improved dramatically in-ring since debuting and her character work is on top of it’s game lately. She’s a deserving champion, and should hold on to the title at least past MITB. As for tonight? Who knows what’s going to happen!

Jeff Hardy is the man; however, that’s all that can really be said about both Brother Nero and the United States Championship right now. After tapping out to Daniel Bryan last week, Hardy is directionless – expect a new challenger to emerge tonight.

Three Things to Watch For:

  • We talk a lot about Rusev on this blog, but it needs to be said that Aiden English is an absolute treasure as well. Since joining forces with the Bulgarian Brute, English has been a highlight of Smackdown Live and is just as essential to the success of Rusev Day as Rusev himself. Never change, Aiden – we love you.
  • The Bar will team with The Miz tonight to take on The New Day after Cesaro & Sheamus interfered in the former Smackdown Tag Team Champions’ match last week.
  • It slid in a bit under the radar, but Randy Orton recently underwent surgery and should return in around two months. All the best in your recovery, Randall!

That’s it, that’s all! You watching tonight? If you are, let us know your thoughts on tonight’s episode by tweeting us at @WCSportsCA, or heading to the comments section below!

WWE Last 5:
Smackdown Live Preview: May 29
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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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