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WWE SmackDown Live preview (Feb. 28, 2017): Making an A-List

Another loaded show from the blue brand - this one in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The Headliners

With WrestleMania a month away and a Royal Rumble winner claiming he won’t use his title shot as long as you’re holding gold, it’s a good time to be WWE World champion Bray Wyatt. But that doesn’t mean the Eater of Worlds can just chill in his rocking chair until Payback.

That’s because, for the second week in a row, SmackDown mangement will try and determine a #1 contender to challenge Wyatt at Mania.

Their first attempt - a ten man battle royal - succeeded in advancing pretty much every angle on the show that involved the men’s singles division, but it failed to produce a winner. Luke Harper & AJ Styles were deemed to have hit the floor simultaneously, so General Manager Daniel Bryan declared tonight’s one-on-one match between the pair.

Harper, anxious to get his hands on Bray, the man he followed for years, didn’t wait to land his next blow on the Phenomenal One, turning him inside out with a show closing clothesline last Tuesday. AJ, for his part, just can’t believe Bryan is making him jump through another hoop to get back the belt he held for much of the last six months.

We’ll find out tonight if this match will produce a challenger for Wyatt, or how it’ll advance Mania storylines even if it doesn’t do that.

The Title Scene

Bray isn’t the only champ without an opponent for the Showcase of the Immortals. Alexa Bliss regained the Women’s title (with the help of a handful of tights) by beating Becky Lynch after Naomi was forced to relinquish the strap due to an injury. The Lasskicker may once again pose a threat to Little Miss Bliss, but first she’ll look to settle things with another rival when she faces Mickie James in a two-out-of-three falls match tonight.

Tag champs American Alpha keep dispatching the more gimmick-y SmackDown teams with relative ease (sorry Breezango), but eventually they’re going to have to deal with the Usos. Jimmy & Jey always seem to be there to taunt Chad Gable & Jason Jordan after every win...

One of the programs advanced by last week’s battle royal involved Intercontinental champion Dean Ambrose. The Lunatic Fringe again eliminated Baron Corbin, but was again beaten to within an inch of his life by the Lone Wolf in return.

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- There are no titles on the line, but four big stars in two A-List couples are colliding thanks to John Cena & The Miz costing each other a title shot last week and Maryse costing Nikki Bella her feud with Natalya after one too many backstage accidents. That long-rumored Mania mixed tag takes center stage when Cena guests on Miz TV this week.

- At Elimination Chamber and last week, Dolph Ziggler has utilized steel chairs to prove to Apollo Crews that his heel turn is for real. Tonight, Apollo will get another chance to beat the villainy out of the Show-Off when they face off in a chairs match.

- Carmella and James “Big Hog” Ellsworth weren’t on television last week. Whatever could those two have been up to?

Five weeks until WrestleMania 33!

What will you be looking for on SmackDown Live tonight?

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