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WWE SmackDown preview (Apr. 10, 2020): Validation

SmackDown returns tonight (Apr. 10) from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. It is the WrestleMania fallout show.

The Headliner

Braun Strowman won the Universal title at WrestleMania last Saturday.

That’s every wrestler’s dream. Not just winning the top title for the first time, but beating a legend in the sport at the company’s biggest event of the year. And that’s how it will go down in the history books. But it’s not how it will be remembered.

In fact, this is probably the most underwhelming WrestleMania title win in the history of WWE.

The fact of the matter is this wasn’t the plan. The plan was Roman Reigns vs. Goldberg. That was advertised all the way up to the day before the match took place. It didn’t happen because Roman didn’t feel comfortable wrestling the match due to his increase health risks given the coronavirus pandemic.

To make matters worse, they didn’t even bother giving us a reason. They didn’t film a segment to set up the match. They just announced it. Unique indeed, Paul.

And of course there’s the fact the match happened in front of no crowd, which in general lessened the pomp surrounding WrestleMania. They may have called it the biggest show of the year and had the matches they were building towards (though again, this was not one of them), but it honestly didn’t feel too much different than a Raw or SmackDown given it’s taped in the same building in front of zero fans.

All of that leaves an asterisk next to this title win. A last minute replacement with no given reason wins in front of an empty crowd.

Because no work was done prior to get here, that means they have to work double time to earn it retroactively. It’s not that Braun isn’t a good choice for champion. They probably should have put a top belt on him when he was scorching hot two years ago. Being a big man, he’s always a threat to win it. It’s probably why they chose him and not someone like Jeff Hardy, which was rumored.

But winning a title from a legend at WrestleMania is something that needs to be earned. This win doesn’t feel that way so they need to do so after the fact tonight.

The title scene:

Bayley is still your SmackDown Women’s champion, and she had help from her bff Sasha Banks to put Lacey Evans away in the last elimination of the fatal 5-way on Sunday. But eventually, Banks is going to realize that Bayley is getting way more out of this relationship than she is. Then what?

Daniel Bryan was unable to wrest the Intercontinental championship from Sami Zayn at WrestleMania. With Shinsuke Nakamura & Cesaro in his corner, it’s not going to be easy for anyone to take that title. Maybe Jeff Hardy would like to give it a try?

Miz & Morrison (Hey! Hey! Ho! Ho!) also retained their gold at WrestleMania, meaning we will need new challengers from SmackDown tag team championships. Miz didn’t wrestle at WrestleMania. Word as he was feeling sick so he may not be there tonight.

Rematch! The new Women’s tag team champions Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross will defend their titles against the Kabuki Warriors in a WrestleMania rematch.

Other things to keep an eye on:

- Is John Cena dead or what? Last we checked, he was pinned by the Fiend in the Firefly Fun House.

- We learned that Dolph Ziggler and Sonya Deville were in cahoots to make sure Mandy Rose didn’t get together with Otis. That’s all been revealed and now Mandy doesn’t have a tag team partner but may have a new boyfriend?

- Speaking of, who was the person who revealed all this information via surveillance tech? Was it the same person who ran GTV in the Attitude Era? So tired of them bringing back legends to pop a rating.

It’s the WrestleMania fallout show! What will you be looking for when SmackDown airs at 8 PM ET on Fox?

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