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WWE SmackDown Live preview (Sept. 25, 2018): Achromatic

WWE’s double-header in Denver continues.

The Headliners

The break-up we’ve all be bracing ourselves for since before SummerSlam finally happened last Tuesday. After what was either a motivational tactic gone wrong or a sneaky way to ensure his partner didn’t win a championship without him, Aiden English beatdown Rusev. After a non-verbal microphone attack, English left an incapacitated Bulgarian Brute and his distraught wife in the ring, backing up the ramp to stunned/mixed response from the fans.

Online and at house shows, Rusev and Lana have been threatening the man helped him sell a lot of merchandise and officially turn babyface.’s official preview says he’ll be looking for answers from Aiden on tonight’s episode of SmackDown. So what happens next?

Despite hardcore fans love of the Rusev Day gimmick, there’s not enough interest in the mid-card tag team to completely replicate the Becky Lynch phenomenon. But as my colleague Brent Brookhouse laid out in his excellent piece on the blue brand from last week, there’s enough story behind the group to present their break-up without making English a moustache-twirling villain.

Not that he wouldn’t make an excellent moustache-twirling villain. But I digress...

There’s going to be a feud, and the Artiste is going to lose it. It’s the right call, as while WWE may not see Rusev as the main eventer many of us think he could be, they almost certainly see more upside in muscular, athletic guy than they do in his pale partner with the thinning hair.

But it will be a lot more interesting if we can continue to feel some affinity toward both men. We can disagree with how Aiden decided to deal with constantly having his attempts to help the team second-guessed and his contibutions overlooked while still agreeing that Rusev and Lana have been taking him for granted.

Wrestling needs heels and faces, but that doesn’t mean every hero is perfect and their every opponent is vile.

Or maybe I’m just a big softie who wants this to a have a happy (Rusev Day) ending with the whole team back together.

The Title Scene

Oct. 6’s stadium show in Australia will finally give us the no-disqualification, no-countout, there must be a winner match between WWE champ AJ Styles and Samoa Joe their feud’s needed since August. And General Manager Paige will have the two rivals sign a contract for that match tonight. Surely everything will go smoothly.

Just like it did at Women’s champion Becky Lynch’s celebration last Tuesday. When Charlotte Flair showed up and things got heated there, the Queen ended up catching a beating of her own. With another round of this fight coming up at Super Show-Down, Flair definitely won’t be leaving things as they currently stand with her former best friend - regardless of how many fans are in the Badlass’ corner.

Fresh off of playing an extra in Jeff Hardy and Randy Orton’s feud, U.S. titleholder Shinsuke Nakamura was one in the Rusev Day break-up angle. At least he keeps winning. This “United States of Nakamerica” gimmick wouldn’t really make sense otherwise.

After Cesaro beat Kofi Kingston, picking up a win for The Bar ahead of their tag team title match with champs The New Day in Melbourne next weekend, Big E fired some shots at Sheamus online. That lead Paige to book a match between E and the Celtic Warrior tonight.

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- While everybody is talking about Daniel Bryan’s wife injuring people, Miz used a fake injury to his better half as a way to try and get the drop on his rival last week. There’s a WWE championship opportunity on the line the next time DB faces the A-Lister, so there will likely be more tricks, attacks and answers as each man looks to get the upper-hand heading into Super Show-Down.

- Naomi and Asuka’s partnership continues to work out well for them, as they’re not only on television, but picking up wins over The IIconics.

- Win or lose, whatever it takes, WWE needs to keep finding ways to get Andrade “Cien” Almas on our screens.

- Orton is promising to do much worse than messing with the ear holes of his next target.

Two weeks until Super Show-Down!

What will you be looking for on SmackDown Live tonight?

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