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WWE SmackDown preview (May 7, 2021): This is a very bad time for 50/50 booking

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A special “Throwback” edition of SmackDown airs tonight (May 7) live from the ThunderDome in the Yuengling Center in Tampa, Florida. This is the fourth SmackDown episode during the five week build towards the upcoming WrestleMania Backlash event on May 16.

This is no time for 50/50 booking

Now that Daniel Bryan is banished from SmackDown and his WWE contract is expired, the path is clear for Cesaro to ascend into the top babyface role on Friday nights. Another win in tonight’s WrestleMania rematch against Seth Rollins is a necessary ingredient for making that happen.

But Seth Rollins is no placeholder opponent. What if he actually wins this match, perhaps with some assistance from Jey Uso? Is it out of the question that WWE might be setting up a three way match for the Universal championship at Backlash between Roman Reigns, Cesaro, and Rollins?

It’s not a good idea to pursue that option right now. Cesaro needs as much credibility as possible considering he’s never been pushed into a main event level spot before. That’s why this is no time for 50/50 booking. Cesaro should take out Rollins once again and head straight into a singles match against Reigns at Backlash.

The title scene

Last week’s Intercontinental title match between Apollo Crews and Big E ended in a disqualification due to blatant interference from Commander Azeez. Afterwards, the ongoing feud between Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn spilled over into Apollo’s story. Zayn was put down with the Nigerian Nail, making it clear that Crews doesn’t need or want any allies besides Azeez. This could very well be leading to a four way title match at Backlash.

Bayley will be challenging for Bianca Belair’s SmackDown women’s championship at Backlash. Belair landed the first blow last week when she was on the winning side of a six man tag match, along with the Street Profits, against Bayley and the Dirty Dawgs. That means Bayley will probably get one over on the champ very soon, before their pay-per-view match.

That victory for Belair and the Street Profits could also mean that Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins are right back in the mix for a shot at the SmackDown Tag Team titles, which are currently held by Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler. Rey and Dominik Mysterio might have something to say about that, however, given their recent success.

Tamina and Natalya continue to prove each week why they deserve another match for the Women’s tag team titles. They straight up beat Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler in a non-title match last week, and there isn’t much reason to think that the champs will straighten out their issues anytime soon.

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- Tonight’s episode will be presented as a special “Throwback” edition of SmackDown. It’s not clear what that means, exactly, but there is good potential for this concept to add some light-hearted fun and nostalgia to the show. And if that means we’re really getting the return of the SmackDown Fist tonight, it better be the real deal, and not some digital reproduction.

- Aleister Black has told us two chapters of his story so far, which include some life lessons he learned from his father. The main theme seems to be that most common people are weak, ignorant, and living a lie. I have no idea what any of this has to do with eventually getting in a wrestling ring in his underwear and grappling with other dudes. Maybe chapter three will explain the underwear grappling aspect of his motivations.

- Shinsuke Nakamura recently mentioned that he’ll be coming for Roman Reigns. It’s awfully hard to do that if he can’t regularly make it onto television, so this would be a good night for Nakamura to begin re-establishing himself as a championship level threat.

- Things aren’t going so well between Sonya Deville and Adam Pearce right now. Pearce appears to be underestimating just how quickly Deville is gaining power and influence in her role as an authority figure. I don’t think this is going to end well for him.

Nine days until WrestleMania Backlash!

What will you be looking for on SmackDown tonight?