The drama between Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan has dominated the Smackdown Storyline over the past few months. It’s largely been based on both men’s questionable booking of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.

Once again, McMahon and Bryan opened the show. They were discussing their differences on the main event: Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn. McMahon isn’t happy that either man has a chance to advance and face AJ Styles in yet another championship match, but he has to stick by his General Manager’s decision. Styles came out to tell both men to stop interfering in his matches and claimed it didn’t matter who won because he would defeat him at FastLane.

Riott Squad vs. Charlotte Part 1

After getting attacked by the Riott Squad last week, Charlotte faced Liv Morgan in what should be a set of three singles matches against each member of the stable. Riott and Logan aided Morgan and got ejected. The problem with this is that if there is going to be two more matches, are they going to resort to that every time? I expected a clean pin and some interference next week, but maybe something exciting is in store.

Charlotte def. Liv Morgan via submission

Bludgeon Brothers and Usos Cross Paths

The Bludgeon Brothers squashed a pair of local jobbers and were rudely rushed out of the ring by the Usos for another promo. Angering the two giants might not be in Jimmy and Jey’s best interest, as they’ve crushed every one of their opponents. Coming out early likely did anger Harper and Rowan, but no official contact has been made. The Usos did deliver another quality promo, but at what cost? It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Usos get attacked by the Bludgeon Brothers in the near future.

Bludgeon Brothers def. unnamed locals via pinfall

Why is there a Top 10 List?

Daniel Bryan has introduced a top-ten list for SmackDown Live voted on by the superstars. Bryan and Shane McMahon are not allowed to vote, so that’s supposed to have some effect on the credibility of the list. This list has no official purpose, but it figures to work into a future angle.

Here are the official Smackdown Top 10:

10. Tye Dillinger

9. Randy Orton

8. Becky Lynch

7. The Usos

6. The New Day

5. Bobby Roode

4. Naomi

3. Shinsuke Nakamura

2. Charlotte Flair

1. AJ Styles

How you could rate tag teams, women, and men in the same rankings is beyond me, but the WWE has provided us with a nice neat list of all the babyfaces they want us to like. AJ Styles and Charlotte are both champions so placing them at the top makes sense, but then you have the New Day above the Usos, and suddenly championships don’t matter. These rankings should lead to something soon, but this segment felt odd and out of place.

Bobby Roode vs. Rusev for the United States Championship

Most of the time championship matches are enough to get the crowd engaged, but tossing two fan-favorites like Roode and Rusev in the match is sure to make the fans go nuts. Chants of “Rusev Day” echoed all night, so when Rusev came out the crowd erupted. Bobby Roode’s theme song is a great sing along, so the fans were fired up and ready for the match to get started.

Rusev and Roode fed off this energy and a great near fall by Rusev made the fans believe they had a new champion. The two looked natural in the ring and a good reversal of the Accolade into a Glorious DDT by Roode was an exciting finish. After a great match, Randy Orton came out and gave both men an RKO. That was a bit confusing, but exciting nonetheless. I’ll take a Roode vs. Rusev vs. Orton triple threat at FastLane any day.

Bobby Roode def. Rusev via pinfall

Gable and Benjamin Beat Up The Ascension

Gable and Benjamin squashed the Ascension after beating up Breezango a week ago. After beating both teams, they are left with no worthy opponents. The WWE will come up with a way for this program to continue, but Gable and Benjamin should face someone else. The New Day wouldn’t be a bad option, but they just hinted at a Kofi solo run. Big E and Xavier Woods would put on great matches with Gable and Benjamin, so let’s hope the WWE goes in that direction rather than continue these squash matches.

Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin def. Breezango

AJ Styles Gets in His Way

Styles sat at the announcer table as Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn battled to determine who would face him at FastLane. Owens and Zayn have had their share of great matches in the past, typically ending in Owens’ favor. Zayn seemed determined to flip the script, and the match got more intense as it continued. Each kickout was more devastating than the last. As the match moved outside the ring, Owens and Zayn clawed at each other in desperation. Zayn got caught up with Styles and provoked the champion to attack him.

Ironically, Styles was the interference that ruined the match after he begged McMahon and Bryan to stay away for the same reason. Speaking of Daniel Bryan, he came out after the match and declared that because of the interference there would be a triple threat match for the WWE Championship at FastLane. This will be the first time Zayn gets an opportunity to win the title by himself, so it’s a bit different than the 2-on-1 match they previously had.

No Contest

 

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David Rosenberg

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