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WWE SmackDown Live preview (May 21, 2019): A second chance


WWE SmackDown Live returns tonight (May 21) from the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. It is the fallout show from Money in the Bank.

The Headliner

When Bayley delivered her first promo after winning the SmackDown Women’s title, she rattled off a lot of accomplishments and it sounded quite impressive.

“Female Superstar of the Year in 2015, NXT women’s champion, Raw women’s champion, the first ever WWE women’s tag team champion, 2019 Women’s Money in the Bank contract winner, and now I am your WWE SmackDown women’s champion.”

But her run on the main roster doesn’t feel that impressive at all. In fact it felt like she was mainly floundering on the main roster. Now some of those accomplishments were NXT accomplishments and there’s a good list of people who were more successful in NXT than Raw or SmackDown.

The Raw Women’s title, though. That’s impressive, right?

Well, kind of. She needed Sasha to help her beat Charlotte to win it and ended up losing it in unceremonious fashion to Alexa Bliss in a kendo stick match. (She did retain the title in a fatal 4-way at WrestleMania, so it’s not nothing.) And between that loss to Bliss and winning the Women’s tag tag titles earlier this year, there was a lot of floundering.

She was subject to plenty of start/stop booking where it’d look like one idea would get started and then dropped, leaving her to look the worse from it. Let’s not forget that time it looked like she was going to have a fire feud with Sasha Banks and they ended up on Dr Shelby’s couch the next week.

Because of all that, despite her rather impressive resume, Bayley’s main roster run could hardly be called a rousing success. Now she has a chance to turn that around.

The Superstar Shake-up provided her with a change of scenery. Raw wasn’t doing her any favors but perhaps a step away from the brightest lights of WWE alongside a new creative team on Tuesdays would help.

And it sure helped last Sunday when she won the Money in the Bank briefcase and then defeated Charlotte for the SmackDown Women’s championship. Tonight, her second journey as champion starts again. With challengers such as Mandy Rose, Ember Moon, her bff Carmella, and Charlotte waiting in the wings, it’s a chance to finally have a consistently good run on the main roster.

The Title Scene

Kofi Kingston successfully defended his WWE championship against Kevin Owens at Money in the Bank. It was a very clean victory. There was no member of the New Day to tip the scales. Kofi beat Kevin on his own in the middle of the ring. They surely could stretch this feud out, but that felt like an end for now. There are guys like Randy Orton out there who can be bigger challenges for Kofi to prove himself against.

Finn Balor is done with the Money in the Bank ladder match, where he got his body beaten only to watch Brock Lesnar waltz down and take the briefcase. That means he can return to an Intercontinental title program. He’s got a date with Andrade in Saudi Arabia in a few weeks as the Demon. They’ll probably be hyping that up on TV soon.

Daniel Bryan and Rowan lost a non-title kickoff match to the Usos, which awarded the brothers a title shot for the SmackDown tag team titles. It doesn’t matter that they’re a Raw team. None of that matters any more.

The IIconics are still Women’s tag team champions, but took yet another loss last night, this time in a 3 on 3 match. They lose a lot.

Other things to keep an eye on:

- Roman Reigns squashed Elias at Money in the Bank but will have to face him again tonight. And he’s still feuding with Shane McMahon as they’ll fight at the Super ShowDown.

- Brock Lesnar holds the Money in the Bank contract, but Kofi shouldn’t have to worry about that tonight given Brock never shows up on SmackDown.

- Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose showed us the true meaning of friendship at Money in the Bank when Sonya literally put Mandy on her back and carried her up the ladder. It didn’t end with the briefcase, but their friendship is still aces. This is probably for the better as there aren’t many women’s tag teams.

- Big E is back! And only two years ahead of schedule!

- Did you know Buddy Murphy is technically on SmackDown? That’s OK. Neither does WWE.

We’ll see if we can divine WWE’s upcoming plans when SmackDown hits Rhode Island tonight.

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