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WWE SmackDown preview (Feb. 19, 2021): Mega-EST Powers

Live from ThunderDome!

The Headliner

Last Friday, riding high on viral fame, WWE Women’s Tag Team champions Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler, strolled to the ring to take a piece of the spotlight away from Royal Rumble winner Bianca Belair and her likely WrestleMania 37 target, SmackDown Women’s champ Sasha Banks.

At the time, Raw’s Naomi & Lana had already earned a shot at Baszler & Jax’s belts. Two days later, NXT’s Raquel González & Dakota Kai would win the Dusty Cup and with it a title match which we now know will happen on Mar. 3. They’re not lacking for challengers. But WWE’s clearly teasing the idea The Boss & The EST could be a third.

It’s a bit of a conundrum for those of us who’ve been critical of how the company’s booked the titles first won by Banks & Bayley at Elimination Chamber 2019. They’re not tied to anyone brand, so seeing them appear on all three shows is great. Most of the wrestlers holding or chasing the straps are either dedicated tag teams or might not be doing anything otherwise, which is also great.

Throwing Sasha and her singles championship program into the mix is the potential issue. All titles are props and only matter insomuch as performers and booking makes them matter, yes. But WWE has a particular habit of using their tag titles as props in the story of their singles titles. There was a program brewing between Banks & Belair before the Rumble, Bianca’s made it better. They don’t need to be in tag picture.

We can make an exception here though, methinks. For one thing, the probably ‘Mania opponents are both babyfaces. They’re both braggadocios, so there’s enough tension for a rivalry already. But why not turn up the heat for the biggest show of the year. Paul Heyman already helped tease a return of a more ruthless Boss on last week’s Talking Smack. A failed attempt to claim the tag titles, or even a short reign with them, could be the vehicle to bring out bad b Sasha.

Whoever the tag champs are, the Raw and NXT teams still get their matches, so making Banks a champ-champ again wouldn’t keep Kai & González and Lana & Naomi from having a moment. They’re not even really taking much away from the blue brand’s pairs division; The Riott Squad are getting television time already via their angle with Billie Kay and feud with Bayley.

The card for this year’s Elimination Chamber - which is just two days away mind you - could use some punching up. We could all do a lot worse than Belair & Banks vs. Baszler & Jax.

The title scene

Six men will do battle in the Elimination Chamber on Sunday (Feb. 21) for a match with Roman Reigns for his Universal title later that same night. But first, they’ll break into teams of three and fight trios style! As we learned Kevin Owens stunned everyone to close last week’s episode, it’ll be every man for himself at the PPV, so KO, Daniel Bryan & Cesaro and King Corbin, Sami Zayn & Jey Uso better watch their backs - whether they’re in the ring, or their own corner.

Apollo Crews is going to keep messing with Intercontinental champ Big E until he gets another shot at the belt. And considering how E keeps disrespecting him, I can’t even blame Crews. I can blame him for the strategy of interfering in other people’s title matches, though. That’s only gonna keep getting you more Triple Threats, Apollo.

Back to the topic of matches that should be added to Elimination Chamber’s card, Street Profits returned to action and picked up a win over Alpha Academy a week ago. Probably time for Sonya Deville to book their rematch against Robert Roode & Dolph Ziggler for the SmackDown Tag Team championship.

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- After revealing he would not be changing his ways, we’re still waiting to see where SmackDown Savior Seth Rollins fits on the Island of Relevancy his former Shield brother presides over.

- It’s one step forward and one step backwards for the Mysterios in their war with Corbin. We’re just happy Dominik’s okay after this...

- Not sure what Carmella & Reginald are up to, but the apology glass of bubbly the sommelier offered Sasha last week was the sign of something.

It’s the Elimination Chamber go home show!

What will you be looking for on SmackDown tonight?

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