Smackdown Live Preview: May 8

Baltimore, Maryland is the location for tonight’s post-Backlash edition of Smackdown Live; after Sunday’s event, the blue brand is firmly focused on next month’s Money in the Bank. The road begins tonight –  you watching?

Last Week:

Somehow, someway, WWE was able to make us forget about the atrocity of Backlash 2017 by unbelievably putting on a worse event.

The 2018 edition of Backlash was atrocious, full stop.

A Quick (Backlash) Recap:

  • Seth Rollins def. the Miz to retain the Intercontinental Championship
  • Jeff Hardy def. Randall Keith Orton to retain the United States Championship
  • Daniel Bryan def. Big Cass via submission, Colin does not take it well to put it nicely.
  • Roman Reigns def. Samoa Joe
  • AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura ends in a no contest after a double kick in the nuts.

Perhaps not the best showing from WWE, they rebounded somewhat promisingly with a decent episode of RAW. Here’s to hoping that SmackDown continues the upward trend!

The Big Thing:

With Backlash over, Smackdown begins the build to next month’s Money in the Bank tonight. The road to the annual ladder match begins tonight, with three qualifying matches for the two (announced) MITB ladder matches taking place. The mens matches will see Jeff Hardy take on The Miz, and Rusev vs Daniel Bryan. Representing the women, we’ll see Charlotte Flair vs Peyton Royce. Smackdown already is telling tangible, realistic storylines: Will we see the Miz move into the world title picture, or the US Championship picture? Just how much do the brass of WWE believe in the IIconics? A win over Charlotte here would be huge for Royce at this point. Is Big Cass happy enough to see Daniel Bryan potentially win here, or will he cost DB the match and ensure a happy Rusev day?

Here’s to hoping! 

The announced matches are great, but there are rumours circling about a third ladder match. Multiple sources are saying that there will be a tag team briefcase in play at the PPV. What are your thoughts on this? I know WinColumn’s own Hayden Love would love to see the Authors of Pain holding the briefcase/briefcases!

State of the Belts:

AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura ended in a double count out after both men simultaneously kicked each other in the balls. Yes, you did read that right. After three matches, two count outs and many disappointments, it feels as though this feud has run it’s course. Both men are ready to move onto new things; however, this writer finds it more likely than not that we’ll see the fourth matchup between the two Superstars at Money in the Bank. 

The Bludgeon Brothers continue to bludgeon, and I still love it. However, with the Usos likely out of the title picture after their loss at the Greatest Royal Rumble, Harper and Rowan are looking for new challengers. Who’s going to step up? Will WWE continue to run the Usos vs 2? Maybe the Good Brothers Gallows and Anderson decide to take a crack? Perhaps they tie in storylines and we see New Day vs The Bar for the #1 contender status? Do we finally see SAniTy debut, and set their sights on Smackdown’s top tag team prize? Here’s to hoping!

SMACKDOWN
Unless the Headbangers return again.

Carmella remains firmly entrenched as the Smackdown Women’s Champion. After defeating Charlotte Flair at Sunday’s event – and clean as a whistle, to boot – the Princess of Staten Island is left without a challenger for her title. Could we see someone new step up tonight? Becky Lynch seems like a viable candidate, but the Empress of Tomorrow is likely looking to remove the memory of her loss to Flair at WrestleMania – and claiming her first gold on the main roster would be a perfect way to do so.

While he may be involved in a Money in the Bank qualifying match, Jeff Hardy is still the United States Champion. A strong win over the Randy Orton at Backlash kept the belt around his waist – but Randall has been displaying a different attitude as of late. Maybe his 4 month quest for the U.S Championship isn’t over yet. Maybe, he turns back into that dastardly villain Randy Orton again! Maybe grasping at straws here, but ALL of us at Win Column are hoping for a change in attitude for Randy. However, Jeffrey is scheduled to face The Miz tonight in a MITB qualifier – could we see the start of a Miz vs Hardy feud? I wouldn’t mind seeing Michael Mizanin win or lose this match, but i’m predicting a Miz win here to put him in the main event scene of Smackdown.

Damn, this roster is awesome.

Three Things to Watch For:

  • Xavier Woods scored a surprising victory over Sheamus last week; will we see the Bar look for revenge on the New Day’s star trombone player? I’d certainly hope so – the two weeks of this feud so far have been fun, and I’m looking forward to more.
  • Big Cass is probably a little down following his Backlash loss. Has anyone checked in on him lately?
  • GUEST PREDICTION! Friend of the column Brendan Love is predicting a Rusev victory – and on Rusev Day, nonetheless!

WWE Last 5:

Smackdown Live Preview: May 8
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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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