THE MIZ DEBUTS

The Miz returns to SmackDown Live to open the show, and he calls out Daniel Bryan.  The Miz claims that, when his daughter was born, he let go of all of his anger towards Daniel Bryan.  He welcomes Bryan to come out and #punchhisface if he’s still upset. Its Big Cass, however, that answers Miz’s call, and he joins MizTV to complain about being overshadowed by Daniel Bryan.

After this segment is over, Daniel Bryan is found injured in the backstage area, ostensibly at the hands of Big Cass. Later in the show, this is confirmed as Daniel Bryan exits the trainer’s room and challenges Big Cass to a one-on-one match at BackLash.

IICONICS VS BECKY LYNCH AND ASUKA

The IIconics make fun of Becky Lynch and Asuka for a little while until they’re cut off by Becky’s music.  This is Asuka’s debut match on Smackdown, and she looks every bit as dominant as she was on RAW.  She shouldn’t be too adversely affected by the end of her streak.  The possibility of her losing on occasion has made her character much more interesting.  While she wasn’t the one to take the pin in this one, her team still lost when Peyton Royce used the ropes for leverage to pin Becky Lynch.

IIconics def Becky Lynch and Asuka via pinfall

JIMMY USO VS ROWAN

Before the match, Naomi finds her husband in the locker room and warns him that, much like Obi-Wan Kenobi, she has a bad feeling about this.  Jimmy assures her that he knows what he’s doing and that it’ll be fine. He requests that she stay backstage during the match.

Once the match starts, Rowan dominates Jimmy. It begins to look as though Jimmy might not even make it to Saudi Arabia until Naomi’s music hits and Jimmy can roll Rowan up for the win. This could be setting the stage for an absolute beatdown by the Bludgeon Brothers on Friday, as they likely won’t be too happy about the way this match ended.

Jimmy Uso def Rowan via pinfall

WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP CONTRACT SIGNING

Smackdown Women’s Champion Carmella goes face-to-face with Charlotte to make their title match at BackLash official. Carmella comes out first and, before Renee can introduce Charlotte, she snatches the microphone and plays her highlight tape again… twice.  Mercifully, Charlotte interrupts the second showing and calmly walks to the ring as Carmella loudly mocks her.  Charlotte signs the contract and then, as Carmella goes to sign it, slams Carmella’s head into the table and then flips the table on top of her.  Barring some shenanigans, Charlotte should crush Carmella at BackLash.  Everyone will remember Carmella’s brief time with the title as nothing more than a short interruption of the Queen’s long reign.

SHELTON BENJAMIN VS RANDY ORTON

Advertised as an opportunity for Shelton Benjamin to avenge his loss to Jeff Hardy last week, this is a great matchup.  However, Randy Orton interrupts Hardy’s entrance in a reversal of last week’s events. Either way, Benjamin has a look in his eye going into the match, and he unloads on Orton early. Orton gets his offense in, but he gets distracted by a masked Sunil Singh which gives Shelton Benjamin a chance to hit him with Paydirt and collect the pinfall victory. This looks like the beginning of a heel turn for Benjamin, which should give his character some sense of purpose going forward.

Shelton Benjamin def Randy Orton via pinfall

AJ STYLES AND THE CLUB VS SHINSUKE NAKAMURA AND RUSEV DAY

Another reunion headlines this show as AJ Styles teams up with Gallows and Anderson to take on Shinsuke Nakamura, Rusev, and Aiden English.  The Club display their outstanding teamwork at the beginning of the match, tagging in and out rapidly during a beatdown on Aiden English.  Rusev and Aiden English do most of the heavy lifting for their team until Nakamura is tagged in, surprising Luke Gallows.  Nakamura hits Gallows with the Kinshasa to end the match, and then is attacked by AJ Styles after the bell. Nakamura hits Styles with yet another low blow, then takes out Karl Anderson with a pair of Kinshasas.  Heel Shinsuke is brutal and is about 100 times more exciting than face Shinsuke, and I am onboard with this.  I’m excited to finally see him live up to all the hype he had when he debuted.

Shinsuke and Rusev Day def The Club via pinfall

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Austin Pagel

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