WWE Smackdown LIVE: Who's Ready For Backlash?

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WWE Smackdown LIVE: Ready For Backlash?

- The opening segment with Daniel Bryan and the Smackdown women's roster making a claim for the new championship was okay. Certainly felt rushed though Bryan trying to squeeze in a Total Bellas plug (to boos!) and most of the women not even getting entrances. They just kinda showed up in the ring one after another. Definitely took away from the importance of a Smackdown Womens Title being introduced this weekend. Becky Lynch was the star here, but that is no surprise given she had the most television time and focus.

- Hey, there is The Miz interacting with Daniel Bryan on TV! So much for that report about them being separated, huh? Seems like they will still loosely play up the tension. With Bryan never returning to the ring for WWE, they can only do so much. It was wise to pull back on their story line after the memorable Talking Smack promo. No use in teasing something that can't happen...

- Big fan of Apollo Crews vs. The Miz with Dolph Ziggler on commentary. Enjoyed the entire presentation before the IC Title bout at Backlash. It often times does not get said, but Maryse has been wonderful since coming back and is the perfect piece to the Miz puzzle right now. Also, I know he is new to the main roster and has plenty of time, but Crews is super athletic in the squared circle. He needs to find a direction; the fans will cheer him. Massive potential. Sorry Ziggler, but I see another loss coming on Sunday.

- Bray Wyatt delivered a promo to Randy Orton. The latter returned the favor later in the show. This feud has not had much action between the two in the ring. That is fine; I assume that means this is a long-term thing that will last for awhile. We can stick with promos for now backstage. No problem. My guess is Orton win at Backlash to build him up for the Brock Lesnar rematch (even though it is not going to be televised), and then Wyatt gets one over on him leading to their next matchup. That's how I see it going.

- Alexa Bliss, Carmella, and Natalya defeated Nikki Bella, Becky Lynch, and Naomi in a six woman tag team match. A little teaser for Sunday's six pack challenge elimination title match. A little shocked by Carmella making Nikki tap out here. That caught me off guard. WWE has been playing up the fact that Nikki may not be 100% healed, so her neck may play into the finish at Backlash as well. As strong as the heels look here, I don't see any of them winning the belt on Sunday. Nikki or Becky, right?

- You know, I loved the 30 second match between American Alpha and The Usos. For everybody complaining that we robbed of an excellent 20 minute back and forth battle, as Nattie would say, settle your tea kettle. These two will have plenty of chances to wow the crowd and deliver a proper tag bout. I see MANY clashes coming from these two this Fall, especially now with the Usos being a heel team. Love it. Instantly made American Alpha look like the beasts that they are. Two thumbs up!

- That being said, I was NOT a fan of the Backlash tag team title tournament change. American Alpha are out due to the Usos post-match attack. Now we will get The Usos vs. The Hype Bros with the winning team facing Heath Slater and Rhyno in the finals for the Smackdown Tag Team Titles. Ugh! if The Usos win, that is a little 'been there, done that' for the division (even with them as heels now). On the flip side, if Heath Slater and Rhyno win, that is comedy stuff. Yeah, Slater gets his contract, but it is a joke...the Smackdown tag division loses credibility right off the bat. The Hype Bros? Please no. Just terrible.

- American Alpha should have steam rolled this tournament, winning the tag belts, and THEN The Usos should have attacked them starting a three month long Fall story line. It was that easy. I know WWE wants to protect American Alpha from taking a loss, but the injury stuff...ugh. Heath Slater and Rhyno can keep doing their own thing WITHOUT involving the tag belts. Good for Heath gaining fan support and all that, but this is not what I envisioned for the new Smackdown Tag Team Titles. Maybe Backlash will prove me wrong, and this will all be amazing? Maybe...

- Fandango gets beat up by Kane after dancing with somebody. I wish there was more, but that was all.

- Already discussed the Heath Slater/Rhyno pairing above. Somebody backstage has to know that this is NOT what fans for the new tag straps. With The Usos now heel, the entire building on Sunday will be rooting for Heath Slater (the one man brand!) to earn his contract. Goodness gracious, I can already envision the post-match celebration. This is what it has come to...

- Fine closing segment with WWE World Champion Dean Ambrose and AJ Styles. Wait, Ambrose is still the champ, right? Okay, I forget at times. What a dud of a reign this has been. My hope is WWE pulls the trigger at Backlash and gives Styles a run with the gold. Who would have thought THAT would happen? EVER? Well, here we are. AJ needs to beat Ambrose, keep his momentum going, and roll into Smackdown as the new face that runs the place. Ambrose? Whatever. If he doesn't care, then why should I? He can go play with a house plant again for all I care. As Stone Cold said, he needs to find some fire and passion again to be the top of the card. AJ Styles has found that fire and passion and should be the next WWE World Champion at Backlash.

Phenomenal indeed.

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