With WWE Fastlane right around the corner, it was interesting to see WWE give away a major main event on free television. This Sunday, six Superstars will battle to win the coveted WWE Championship, and on SmackDown Live this week, five of those six men were involved in a match.
WWE’s decision – making process has certainly been interesting off late. SmackDown Live is currently devoid of interesting storylines and compelling angles, which doesn’t bode well for the blue brand, considered we’re perilously close to WrestleMania. While Fastlane boasts of some solid match – ups, this week’s edition of SmackDown Live was yet another let down.
There were a few interesting things to note, however. Jinder Mahal, who has been playing the third wheel in the rivalry between Randy Orton and Bobby Roode, faced The Viper on this week’s show. Furthermore, Becky Lynch and Carmella were also in action.
So what went down in the land of opportunities this week? Let us take a closer look.
Ruby Riott explains the origins of The Riott Squad, vows to win the title at Fastlane
This week’s show kicked off with Dasha Fuentes interviewing Ruby Riott, but Ruby was also joined by the SmackDown Women’s Champion, Charlotte Flair. Ruby then cut a promo, explaining why she decided to form the Riott Squad in the first place. Riott elaborated about how she sat and watched Charlotte becoming a myth, winning titles on RAW and SmackDown Live. Ruby then claimed that she wanted to end the myth, and thus formed the stable.
Flair then talked about the misconception people have, about her getting things handed to her. Charlotte said she earned whatever she received in the company, before Ruby told her that she would be just another bleach – blonde failure when she beats her this Sunday for the title. Things got intense, with Sarah and Liv lurking at ringside, but Bobby Roode’s music played, pouring water on the volatile situation.
Jinder Mahal beats Randy Orton
Mahal and Orton’s history is well engrained in the minds of the fans. When Jinder defeated Randy to win the WWE Championship, it turned the wrestling world upside down, and changed the landscape of SmackDown Live. With Orton set to take on Roode at Fastlane for the United States Champion, Mahal had a point to prove this week.
Jinder faced Orton on SmackDown Live, with Roode on the commentary table. Orton controlled the match in the beginning, only for Mahal to turn the tables on The Viper. After some back and forth action, Roode distracted Orton, leading to Jinder dropping the former WWE Champion with Khallas to pick up the win!
Carmella faced Becky Lynch, after Lynch challenged her to a match backstage. Ms. Money In The Bank surprised many fans by enforcing her will on Becky, but the Lass Kicker turned the tables and locked Carmella in the Dis – Arm – Her, forcing her to tap.
Natalya then challenged Naomi to a match at Fastlane, which Naomi accepted.
AJ Styles downplays Cena’s chances at Fastlane
The WWE Champion will defend his title in a match where the odds will be stacked against him. AJ will be involved in a Six Pack Challenge, which would mean that the champion needn’t be involved in a pinning – or submission predicament to lose his title this Sunday. However, the WWE Champion remained defiant, and made his way down to the ring for his match with Ziggler.
AJ then talked about Cena’s promo on RAW, where John vowed to win the WWE Championship at Fastlane. AJ put himself over, and said that he would retain his title. Dolph however interrupted AJ, and vented about the fans turning their backs on him. Ziggler warned AJ that the fans would leave him high and dry soon, before both men got ready for their match.
The Show – Off worked on AJ early in the match, and both the Superstars went back and forth, which involved both the Superstars going for each other’s finisher! However, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn interrupted the proceedings, and viciously attacked the two Superstars.
This led to Shane McMahon announcing a Fatal Five Way, which also involved Baron Corbin!
Sami Zayn turns on Kevin Owens
All five Superstars put on a preview of things to come this Sunday, with John Cena being the only absentee from their upcoming title match. Owens and Zayn worked in tandem, taking out the other Superstars. As the match reached its crescendo, Styles was thrown out of the ring by Owens and Zayn, and Sami shocked the world by dropping Kevin Owens with the Helluva Kick!
Zayn picked up the victory, as AJ watched from ringside, with the reality dawning on the WWE Champion that he could just as easily lose the title at Fastlane! Post match, Zayn cut a promo saying that he was the most underrated Superstar on SmackDown, and that he would win the WWE title this Sunday.