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WWE SmackDown Live preview (Aug. 30, 2016): The most engaging cowardice

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After working on Monday like the old days, the lads & lasses of the blue brand head to Dallas.

The Headliner(s)

There’s very little chance WWE will let Daniel Bryan wrestle again. Even reports claiming they’re still considering are probably designed to get fans riled up and nothing more.

But... that the SmackDown Live General Manager has yet to address the blistering verbal takedown his old rival The Miz administered to him last Tueday on Talking Smack, the WWE Network’s Tuesday night after party, makes it seem like something is up. Especially since the former World champ’s only released comments since Aug. 23 involved him talking about wanting to wrestle Brock Lesnar and the new style he was working on when he received the test results which pushed him into retirement.

We’ll finally hear from DB tonight. Why he called Miz a coward, why he’s not one and what’s up with his silence since walking off the set last Tuesday.

Presumably the Intercontinental champ and his lovely (and vicious) wife will be there, as well. He doesn’t seem to have any challengers at the moment, anyway. Maybe a pissed off boss could round somebody up, though.

The Title Scene

WWE World champion Dean Ambrose knows who his next challenger is, and it’s a good one. AJ Styles beat John Cena at SummerSlam to earn the shot, and then took care of Dolph Ziggler to ensure it’s a one-on-one match. Hopefully the Phenomenal One is enough of a threat to keep the Lunatic Fringe serious for a while.

No one has held the new Women’s title yet, but everyone is jockeying for position in the Sixpack challenge match which will take place at Backlash to crown the first champ.

Meanwhile, there’s been progress toward determining the first Tag Team champs, thanks to the tournament which started last week. American Alpha & The Usos have already advanced, while Breezango and the Ascension are out.

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- The big news in amongst the ladies last week was Carmella’s turn toward villainy, and Nikki Bella officially becoming a babyface. The Princess of Staten Island jumped the former Divas champ before their scheduled match and after SmackDown went off the air - something the Total Divas star won’t take lightly.

- In the tag ranks, Heath Slater’s latest plea for a contract forced Bryan and Commissioner Shane McMahon to change their plans. Forcing the hottest free agent in sports entertainment to find a partner (turned out to be fellow above-ground pool enthusiast Rhyno), the bosses added a team (reportedly the Headbangers) and a stipulation. If Slater doesn’t end up raising tag gold (or silver, in this case), he doesn’t work on the blue brand.

- The Viper’s dance card is filling up. He’s got a non-televised rematch with Brock Lesnar coming up, and a budding feud with Bray Wyatt. The Eater of Worlds appeared, said words and disappeared before Randy Orton last week.

- Also in WWE’s big cross-brand feud, Shane’s not happy with how his sister, Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon, is handling Brock’s action from SummerSlam. How will he react now that Steph accepted $500 and an apology from Paul Heyman?

- Where in the world is John Cena?

- Curt Hawkins is still coming, along with his knockoff Chuck Norris meme.

Two weeks until Backlash!

What will you be looking for on SmackDown Live tonight?

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