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WWE SmackDown Live preview (May 28, 2019): A believable challenger?

WWE SmackDown Live returns to us tonight (May 28) from the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma as they build to the Super ShowDown and the women build to Stomping Grounds I guess.

The Headliner

Kofi Kingston is going to defend his WWE championship against Dolph Ziggler at the in a week and a half in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Yes, Dolph Ziggler.

Dolph Ziggler is a talented wrestler and is guaranteed to deliver us a very good match with Kofi in Jeddah. He’s a rather accomplished wrestler who’s been around a long time. But do we really believe him as a potential champion at this point?

It’s not his fault that there are fans who have a tough time believing him as a credible challenger to one of the top titles in the company. But after years and years of losing feuds and being booked to basically help elevate others has worn down most, if not all, believability as a world champion. We’re not going to just accept that a man who loses all the time is going to also be the man who wins the WWE championship.

The way they booked him on SmackDown last week (and then ran a very similar angle on Raw last night), it seems like creative knows this and have done a couple things to try to invest fans.

The prolonged beating that Dolph delivered to Kofi last week helped. It needed to be long and unrelenting. They need to heat up this feud quickly and get Ziggler enough heat to invest the crowd. If he just hit Kingston from behind and laid in a couple of boots, that wouldn’t be enough for us not to scoff at the idea at Dolph challenging for the title. But his beating was big enough and bad enough that Kofi was initially stretchered out (before getting up and walking out on his own). It was bad enough to make us want to see Kofi get his revenge.

The other thing that helped offset the years of losing was Dolph’s reasoning. He sees Kofi as a man like himself who had toiled for years and years and never climbed all the way up. And in his twisted mind, he believes he deserves what Kofi has. It’s a story that takes into account the reason we don’t believe him as a challenger. The fact that like Kofi, he’s toiled for a long time but unlike Kofi, never made it to the top. (Of course, Kofi has been part of the New Day and has seen much success there, which makes him way more believable as champ.)

It’s enough to get the crowd to buy in for the next couple weeks. Of course, when he loses at Super ShowDown, and he likely will, it’ll make it that much harder to make him believable the next time.

The Title Scene

Speaking of Kofi, he’ll face his former challenger for the WWE title in Kevin Owens tonight, but expect a Dolph run-in again. Perhaps it’ll lead to KO and Dolph vs. Xavier Woods and Kofi.

Bayley is SmackDown Women’s champion. Given the tag team match last week where she teamed with Raw Women’s champion Becky Lynch against Lacey Evans and Charlotte, it looks like Bayley will be defending against the Queen sooner than later.

Andrade will face the Demon Finn Bálor for the Intercontinental title at Super ShowDown. However, he also took a loss to Ali last week. Does that put Ali in the Intercontinental title picture after they come back from Saudi Arabia?

The Planet’s tag team champions of Daniel Bryan and Rowan weren’t on SmackDown Live last week. They will still have to defend these titles against the Raw team of the Usos since they lost to them at the Kickoff show at Money in the Bank. Not that there are really any teams on Tuesdays ready to step up yet.

Peyton Royce and Billie Kay are the Women’s tag team champions. They likely have a date with the Kabuki Warriors, though that program hasn’t really picked up yet. They lost again on Raw last night, which is kinda their thing.

Other Stuff to Keep an Eye on:

- Roman Reigns is technically a SmackDown superstar, though you wouldn’t know by watching Raw. He faces Shane McMahon at Super ShowDown.

- The Wild Card Rule is still happening, taking time from some of the lower card acts and giving it to top Raw talents. Who will we see this week?

- The first hour of Raw was pretty much all SmackDown stories. Will Raw get some stories on SmackDown?

SmackDown rolls into the BOK Center tonight. Can we bank on WWE delivering us a solid show tonight? Tune in to find out.

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