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WWE SmackDown Live preview (Sept. 5, 2017): Make a plan

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

The Headliners

The last two challengers for Jinder Mahal’s WWE championship will duke it out for another shot at the Modern Day Maharajah. Not only that, but this will be the first time Shinsuke Nakamura and Randy Orton have faced off!

Which isn’t to say they don’t have any experience with one another. Last Tuesday, they teamed up for a big win over Mahal and Rusev, after which The Viper did what Apex Predators so often do - he saw and opening and struck. In Orton’s case, those strikes take the form of RKOs out of nowhere. And while Shinsuke may not have seen it coming, he sure did sell the heck out of it.

So Randy landed the first strike. But who will land the last one? Can the Singh Brothers resist getting involved even when Jinder isn’t in the match? When will the match between the champ and the winner take place?

Next week, Naomi gets her rematch against Women’s champ Natalya. But before that happens, Natty goes one-on-one against Ms. Money in the Bank, Carmella. Carm had plans to cash in after a tag match with the champ, but her friend James Ellsworth spilled the beans. Will Big Hog keep his mouth shut this time? And will the Princess of Staten Island have a better scheme in mind than when she beat Naomi when she was champ, and didn’t do anything with her briefcase and contract?

The Title Scene

His long feud with Kevin Owens seemingly behind him, United States titleholder AJ Styles re-instituted the open challenge for the red, white and blue belt. A game Tye Dillinger answered the call, but the man The Perfect Ten beat to the ring - Baron Corbin - may be AJ’s longer term rival. Bad blood from The Lone Wolf’s days as special referee flared up when they squared off last week.

With a win over the former champs The New Day, tag team champions The Usos won the right to pick the stipulation in their next battle. What will it be?

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- KO and commissioner Shane McMahon continue to have problems, and last week poor Sami Zayn got caught in the crossfire. To make matters worse, Aiden English doesn’t even get credit for his win after Shane overturned the match due to Owens’ poor officiating (and his pop-up powerbombing The Likeable One).

- Bobby Roode is here, and so was Mike Kanellis. The Glorious One won, though.

- Shelton Benjamin’s latest stint with WWE got off to a great start as he and new tag partner Chad Gable took care of The Ascension in short order.

- She’s planning on making Tamina “ravishing” and a champion, but that will probably happen after she gets from Bulgaria with Rusev.

- “Fashion Files” started its second season, but Fandango’s idea that Aiden English is behind the crimes seems a little far-fetched.

- Dolph Ziggler might be in action while working multiple gimmicks, but he’ll probably keep on trolling us with Eva Marie’s old one.

Five weeks until Hell in a Cell!

What will you be looking for on SmackDown Live tonight?

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