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WWE SmackDown Live preview (Sept. 20, 2016): Crystal blue persuasion

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The war between Raw and SmackDown Live is heating up! What to expect when the blue brand fires their latest volley from Birmingham, Alabama.

The Headliner(s)

As you can see here, SmackDown Live is bringing it tonight. Not content to just coast to next month’s pay-per-view, the blue brand has booked a title match featuring one of thier hottest and longest running angles AND a main event caliber showdown between two-thirds of the World title picture.

Dean Ambrose and John Cena, who will challenge AJ Styles for the WWE World championship at No Mercy in a few weeks, were also part of an intriguing promo duel which set up the pay-per-view (PPV) Triple Threat. When he’s not doing wacky comedy, the Lunatic Fringe is cutting out a nice niche for himself as a tweener who speaks the truth. In this instance, he did so by pointing out Cena’s part-timer status.

The Face that (used) to Run the Place gave as good as he got with his usual brand of superiority, siding with Stone Cold Steve Austin in questioning Dean’s cahones. Ball talk aside, their issues were compounded when Ambrose hit Cena with his finisher after their tag match against Miz & Styles. It’s all a good set-up for a match, and there’s no time like the present.

Speaking of the Intercontinental champ, he’s spent much of the last week locked in ugly and public contract negotiations with General Manager Daniel Bryan. On Monday afternoon, it was announced they’d reached an agreement. But when a few hours later, word came out that Miz would have to defend his title against his old rival Dolph Ziggler, who just came up short in a championship opportunity at Backlash... a rematch the champ specifically objected to last week.

Expect the Awesome One to have his lawyers look over the deal again before signing.

The Title Scene

New Women’s champ Becky Lynch is still enjoying her first WWE title reign, but she didn’t get much time until she got a new challenger on whom to focus. Alexa Bliss surprised a lot of people by pulling out a victory in the division’s latest multi-person match, and is the new #1 contender to the Lasskicker’s crown.

Perhaps Alexa will be more of a threat than the new tag titleholders first opponents. Heath Slater & Rhyno had barely finished watching the ink dry on Slater’s new contract when The Ascension stepped up for a championship match. Luckily for Heath, that big old refrigerator of an angel was able to put Konnor & Viktor down with a Gore, Gore, Gore. They now await their next challengers.

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- There’s a pretty good chance those challengers will be the recently heel turned Usos. Jimmy & Jey made pretty quick work of Hype Bros (again) last Tuesday. As long as Chad Gable’s injury keeps American Alpha on the shelf, they should get another shot at the trailer park heroes soon enough.

- Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton’s war remains mostly of words, but the Viper appears to be cleared from his Brock Lesnar-inflicted medical issues (as evidenced by his taking strikes from Erick Rowan and then RKO-ing the Wyatt Family member last week). So maybe we’re getting closer to a real match between the two?

- In the women’s battle after Backlash, Carmella continued to be a thorn in Nikki Bella’s side. Expect a singles match between these two soon as well.

- Now that he’s delivered some Hawkins facts in person, we should soon be able to find out if Curt is more Rhyno, or Jinder Mahal.

- Or Jack Swagger, who is a new breed, having jumped ship from being a jobber on Monday nights to being ??? on Tuesdays.

- Oh yeah, Baron Corbin might beat up Apollo Crews some more. That’s what he was doing when Swags cut in last week, anyway. And at Backlash. And...

Three weeks until No Mercy!

What will you be looking for on SmackDown Live tonight?

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