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WWE SmackDown Live preview (May 2, 2017): Hello and goodbye

Last stop before jumping on a plane to Europe... the blue brand’s in Fresno!

The Headliners

When Chris Jericho shocked the WWE Universe by beating Kevin Owens to become the United States champion at Payback on Sunday night, most figured there was more to come. Y2J is leaving to tour with Fozzy for most of May, and AJ Styles was already installed as #1 contender for the red, white and blue belt... and started beefing with Owens over it.

Turns out, the man who is still calling himself “The New Face of America” is exercising his rematch clause tonight...

... so worrying about how WWE would book around the Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rolla’s absence may have been premature.

Was Jericho’s win a brief detour on the road to Owens/Styles, or does WWE have more tricks up its sleeve?

All I know is, if we don’t get at a Y2AJ reunion in at least one backstage scene, I’ll be a little bummed.

The Title Scene

Not only was World champ Randy Orton defeated by Bray Wyatt on Sunday night in their “House of Horrors” encounter, but it was because of the man who stole his title... and who the Viper will have to face at Backlash. How will Orton respond, and can Jinder Mahal - along with his lackeys, the Singh Brothers - continue to convince Randy and the fans he’s a real threat?

Last week, Charlotte Flair was trying to beat Naomi for her Women’s title. After that match was broken up by Natalya’s new alliance with Carmella, Tamina and James Ellsworth, the champ and challenger will join forces to strike back at “the welcoming committee”... or at least half of them in Natty & Carm.

Breezango were surprise winners of last week’s Beat the Clock challenge to determine the #1 contenders for Jimmy & Jey Uso’s tag team championship. Tyler Breeze and Fandango liked winning so much, they want to keep doing it... but the Samoan Dynasty may not be in the mood for “showboating and peacocking”.

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- WWE’s announced Shinsuke Nakamura’s first main roster match will happen on the blue brand’s May 20 pay-per-view (PPV), and all signs point to it being against Dolph Ziggler after The Show Off’s trash talk almost got him a Kinshasa last Tuesday.

- After losing to Styles, Baron Corbin tried to get some retribution alongside KO, but Owens’ old nemesis Sami Zayn had to run in and ruin his fun. Look for these old NXT rivals to try to get on a win streak at the other’s expense.

- He’s technically on the injured reserve, but that didn’t stop new SmackDown Superstar Rusev from demanding a title shot at the June PPV, Money in the Bank. What’s more, the Bulgarian Brute says if commissioner Shane McMahon and General Manager Daniel Bryan don’t give it to him, he’ll pack his bags and go home.

- Meanwhile, his wife Lana just keeps on dancing.

Three weeks until Backlash!

What will you be looking for on SmackDown Live tonight?

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