WWE filled SmackDown after WrestleMania Backlash with exciting developments. It includes two title matches.
This episode improved from recent weeks as the stories continued to flow. The road to Hell in a Cell isn’t quite underway, but things will pick up soon. WWE has set the stage for a lot of excitement.
Butch, Raquel Rodriguez, and Riddle had a great night on SmackDown, furthering their respective stocks on SmackDown. So, with that being said, let’s look at five things WWE SmackDown got right on this week’s show:
#5. Sami Zayn as The Bloodline’s gatekeeper
SmackDown began with RK-Bro challenging The Usos to the Tag Team Title Unification Match previously advertised for WrestleMania Backlash. However, Sami Zayn came out in a Bloodline shirt and turned down the challenge “on their behalf.”
He then got himself into a match with Riddle, with The King of Bros picking up the win. This solid match served as a bridge to the main event segment.
Zayn has been excellent recently, with his loose alliance with The Bloodline being no different. It’ll be interesting to see where his relationship with Roman Reigns and The Usos goes in the coming weeks.
#4. Sasha Banks and Naomi retain the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship
Sasha Banks and Naomi maintained their dominance over WWE’s female tag team division. They defeated Natalya and Shayna Baszler in a standard outing to retain their Women’s Tag Team Championship, which was the right outcome.
WWE could do better in building teams up to face the Boss & Glow Connection, especially with their desire to improve the state of the division. So far, Banks and Naomi have enjoyed a solid reign since winning the belts at WrestleMania 38.
#3. Butch continues his rise
Over the past couple of weeks, Butch has steadily risen in popularity. Part of it can be attributed to how over he was during WWE’s recent tour of Europe. Either way, SmackDown presented another step in the right direction for the former NXT UK Champion.
Butch defeated Kofi Kingston before going into the crowd, as he has been doing recently, much to the annoyance of Sheamus and Ridge Holland. He returned to the stage to pose with them, but could time be running out on his involvement in Fight Night?
The transition from Pete Dunne to Butch may have seemed jarring, but it feels like he has a better chance of success with his current character. He could be a hugely popular star in the upper midcard scene on SmackDown.
#2. Riddle rattles Roman Reigns ahead of the WWE Tag Team Title Unification Match
— WWE (@WWE) May 14, 2022
The final segment of SmackDown saw the confirmation of RK-Bro vs. The Usos for next week’s episode. The two Tag Team Champions finally look set to unify their titles. While there’s considerable doubt on whether there’ll be a proper finish, the route to confirming the match was great.
Randy Orton and Riddle interrupted Roman Reigns and The Usos, with The Viper cutting a fiery promo on The Bloodline. The segment ultimately ended with The King of Bros hitting a step-up knee on The Tribal Chief, completely rattling him.
It was a moment of triumph for Riddle, making him look like a real threat. Both he and Orton will be excellent challengers for Reigns in the coming months. But for now, RK-Bro’s focus will be on unifying the RAW and SmackDown Tag Team titles and becoming the Undisputed Tag Team Champions.
#1. Ronda Rousey’s SmackDown Women’s Title open challenge
— WWE (@WWE) May 14, 2022
Ronda Rousey’s WWE return may not have initially benefitted the SmackDown women’s division, but credit where it’s due. Her involvement in this week’s episode lifted a host of competitors and the division.
On the surface, it seemed like Raquel Rodriguez had improved her stock. She accepted Rousey’s open challenge for her newly-won SmackDown Women’s Championship. While the former NXT star lost, her showing was hugely impressive and warranted a handshake from The Baddest Woman on the Planet.
Meanwhile, a backstage segment involving Shotzi and Aliyah did a lot to accentuate the importance of the Women’s title. Both stars complained that they were sabotaged on their way to the ring to answer Ronda Rousey’s challenge, which adds two more potential challengers in the coming weeks.
When everyone wants a shot at the belt, the product is better and more competitive for it.