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WWE SmackDown preview (May 28, 2021): The Riott Squad must turn heel to get back on television

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SmackDown airs tonight (May 28) live from the ThunderDome in the Yuengling Center in Tampa, Florida. This is the second SmackDown episode during the five week build towards the upcoming Hell in a Cell event on June 20.

The women’s tag division needs a heel team

The Riott Squad have only wrestled one match over the last three months, and that was the tag team turmoil match at WrestleMania 37 where they were pinned by Tamina & Natalya.

Speaking of the new Women’s tag team champions, their push began three months ago in February when they beat up on the Riott Squad. In some ways, the rise of Tamina & Natalya has coincided with the fall of Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott.

With Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax no longer able to cross brands from Raw to SmackDown, I suggested last week that maybe the Riott Squad would finally return to SmackDown television. Instead of pursuing that option, WWE decided to violate the brand split rules by bringing Shayna and Nia back to Friday night for an additional week. You know, because of an extremely convenient brand-to-brand invitation, I guess.

The rules don’t matter in WWE, so I suppose they can keep bringing Nia and Shayna over to the blue brand as much as they want. But it does feel like their feud with Tamina & Natalya has finally reached its end. It’s time for another team on SmackDown to step up to the tag team champions. That team should be the Riott Squad.

One problem is that Tamina & Natalya started out as heels in February, but have since become babyfaces. The Riott Squad are also babyfaces, so it’s not a great match-up in terms of heel/babyface alignment. The obvious way to fix that issue is to turn Morgan and Riott heel; they have plenty of reasons to resent the success of Tamina and Natalya.

Does SmackDown even have a single heel team on the women’s roster right now? I can’t think of one. If the Riott Squad doesn’t turn heel, what other feud could there possibly be on SmackDown for Tamina & Natalya?

The title scene

The Usos are teaming up tonight for the first time in a year to take on the Street Profits. Jimmy Uso requested this match unbeknownst to Jey, but it doesn’t have the blessing of the Tribal Chief. Roman Reigns whispered something into Jey’s ear last week after hearing about this match. It appears to be another loyalty test for Jey, which could directly lead to a Universal championship match between Roman and Jimmy at Hell in a Cell.

Bayley was victorious in a six woman tag team match last week with Bianca Belair on the opposite side of the ring. Based on that result, it’s reasonable to assume Belair will have to defend the SmackDown women’s championship at least one more time against the role model. Any potential rematch between these two should come with higher stakes, such as a Hair vs. Hair stipulation.

Apollo Crews survived a Fatal 4-Way last week and retained his Intercontinental championship. That’s probably the end of the road for Big E’s pursuit of this title. But Kevin Owens is still around, and even though he’d prefer to never hold the Intercontinental title ever again, someone’s got to challenge Apollo next.

Rey & Dominik Mysterio have been beating up on Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode for weeks. The SmackDown tag team titles will be safely secured around the waists of the Mysterios as long as they keep their focus on these two jabronis.

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- King Nakamura and Rick Boogs are an electrifying duo who ooze charisma and are cooler than Baron Corbin in every possible way. There’s no need to 50/50 this feud.

- Seth Rollins was a very evil man last week when he sent Cesaro out on a stretcher. This feud must be leading to a Hell in a Cell match, but Cesaro should miss at least one episode of television following such a vicious attack. He didn’t fall onto cardboard, after all.

- Aleister Black returned last week and knocked out Big E with Black Mass. How will Big E respond to Aleister’s unprovoked aggression?

What will you be looking for on SmackDown tonight?