SmackDown airs tonight (May 21) live from the ThunderDome in the Yuengling Center in Tampa, Florida. This is the fallout episode following the WrestleMania Backlash event that took place on May 16.
Cesaro’s turn is already over
After years of waiting, it was finally Cesaro’s turn to receive the main event spotlight at WrestleMania Backlash.
One common complaint about Roman Reigns’ current run on top is that it has involved far too much interference in pay-per-view matches from Jey Uso. That was not the case at WrestleMania Backlash - Reigns and Cesaro went to war for almost thirty minutes, and Reigns proved to be the better man.
Cesaro was choked out clean by Roman, leaving little reason to book a rematch. If it wasn’t clear that Cesaro’s time in the main event story was done, Seth Rollins assaulted Cesaro after the match was over.
Hell in a Cell is coming up on June 20 and it looks like WWE is revisiting the feud between Cesaro and Rollins for that event. That’s not a bad spot for Cesaro to be in, but it does make him one of the few one-and-done challengers for Roman Reigns in recent months.
The title scene
With Cesaro vanquished, Roman Reigns needs a new challenger for the Universal championship at Hell in a Cell. Jimmy Uso stands out as the obvious candidate, especially when you consider what went down between Reigns and the Usos at last year’s Hell in a Cell card.
The big match advertised for tonight is a Fatal 4-Way match for the Intercontinental championship. Apollo Crews must defend the gold against Big E, Kevin Owens, and Sami Zayn. Sami should win simply for having the best face in the match graphic. The more realistic scenario is that the match will be decided by interference from Commander Azeez. There are no disqualifications in this match type; any wrestler who doesn’t bring a friend to the fight is putting himself at a disadvantage.
The Women’s tag team championship scene on SmackDown should see some big changes now that Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax can’t cross over from Raw. That means some other team on the blue brand will have to step up to confront the new champs, Tamina and Natalya. Or perhaps WWE is so averse to giving television time to a team like the Riott Squad that the women’s tag division won’t even be booked on tonight’s show.
Bianca Belair defeated Bayley to retain the SmackDown women’s championship at WrestleMania Backlash. If Bianca’s feud with Bayley continues from here, it could mean we’re getting an added gimmick like a Hair vs. Hair match. If we’re about to instead see the return of Sasha Banks, then there is an obvious Hell in a Cell match looming.
At WrestleMania Backlash, Rey & Dominik Mysterio became the first ever father-son pair to win tag team gold in WWE. They have dominated Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode for weeks, but it wouldn’t be surprising if the Dirty Dawgs receive a rematch for the SmackDown tag team titles before the new champs move on to another story.
Other stuff to keep an eye on
- King Nakamura’s swagger is infectious, but there’s no doubt that Baron Corbin will come looking for his stolen crown.
- Aleister Black likes taking up your time with vignettes. With three chapters out of the way, how many more are planned until he finally appears back inside a WWE ring?
- Is this the week that Mia Yim (and SLAPJACK?) finally debuts on SmackDown?
What will you be looking for on SmackDown tonight?