As Backlash looms, the go – home show of SmackDown Live featured a dream match, but not during the episode itself. Going into the show, it was revealed that Daniel Bryan was not cleared to compete this week, due to the lacerations and bruises he endured during the Greatest Royal Rumble last week.
While the fans were left disappointed at not being able to see Bryan during the show, they were treated to a dream match after SmackDown Live went off the air. Daniel Bryan faced Shinsuke Nakamura, which alleviated the fears of the WWE Universe regarding Bryan’s status.
AJ Styles retained the WWE title, while Jeff Hardy held on to the United States Championship last week. Samoa Joe is scheduled to face Roman Reigns this Sunday, and the Samoan Submission Machine was present on SmackDown Live, to send a message to Roman Reigns.
So what happened on this week’s show?
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Let us take a closer look.
The Miz tries to create tension between Jeff Hardy and Randy Orton, but it backfires
The former Intercontinental Champion kicked things off this week with the MizTV segment, and The Miz talked about facing – and winning back the Intercontinental title this Sunday against Seth Rollins. Miz dropped the title to the Architect at WrestleMania, and with Rollins retaining the title against Balor on RAW, he will face the A – Lister come Sunday. Once The Miz was done talking about Rollins, he turned his attention to his guest on the show, Jeff Hardy.
Miz then tried to create tension between Hardy and Orton, and alleged that Hardy did not show his compatriot any respect. While Jeff played down the occasion, Miz called Orton to the ring, and asked The Viper how he could let Hardy make light of his status on the brand. Miz brought up how Orton was ranked number nine on the top ten list, while Orton fired back, saying he would’ve done what Jeff did when he won the title.
Orton then told Jeff that he would win the United States title back at Backlash, to which Hardy responded by telling Orton he could try. Shelton Benjamin then interrupted the proceedings, and asked why Orton should get the title shot when he beat him last week. Orton then went for the draping DDT on Benjamin, but Miz blindsided him. Jeff came to Orton’s rescue, as Orton and Hardy were left standing tall.
The melee resulted in a tag team match, with the team of Benjamin and Miz taking on Orton and Jeff Hardy. After some decent back and forth action, Orton and Hardy picked up the win, but post match, Orton dropped Hardy with an RKO, and stood over the champion to end the segment.
Big Cass mocks Daniel Bryan, lays out the imposter on SmackDown Live
At Backlash, Big Cass will face Daniel Bryan in a singles match, with Cass taking an exception to Daniel since his move to SmackDown Live. After attacking the Superstar for the past few weeks, the seven footer decided to come down to the ring, and challenge Bryan for a confrontation on the show.
With Daniel not being cleared to compete this week, the fans in attendance wanted to see Bryan respond, but were left puzzled when a short imposter made his way out instead, with a long wig and a fake beard. Cass made a few short jokes, and finally asked the imposter to take a bow for his performance.
Cass however decked him with a big boot, and left him out cold on the mat.
Shinsuke Nakamura continues his low – blow tour
AJ Styles made his way out for a sit – down interview with Renee Young in the ring. After Young asked AJ if he should apologize for attacking Nakamura, Styles went on a long diatribe, calling Nakamura a con artist and a cheap – shot artist, and said if Nakamura wanted an apology, he can talk to him face to face.
Instead, Samoa Joe interrupted Styles, and warned the champion that after he takes care of Reigns at Backlash, he was gunning for the WWE Championship. Nakamura’s music then hit the speakers, as the Japanese Superstar blindsided Styles with a low – blow! Nakamura then put Styles to sleep with the Kinshasa knee strike, and taunted the champion to end the segment.
Xavier Woods faced Sheamus in a singles match, with their teammates in their corner. Woods picked up the upset victory with an inside cradle.
Charlotte Flair left standing tall ahead of Backlash
In the main event, Charlotte Flair teamed up with Becky Lynch and Asuka, to face the trio of Carmella, Peyton Royce and Billie Kay in a huge six – woman tag team match.
The heels took over the control of the match in the early going, but as the match progressed, the faces fought back. Towards the end, it was Asuka that picked up the win for her team with the Asuka lock. The faces celebrated their win, while Carmella escaped with her SmackDown Women’s title, ahead of her clash with Charlotte Flair this Sunday.