THE action never stops in WWE.
This Sunday sees Raw pay-per-view Payback – including matches with SmackDown LIVE superstars – while the blue brand is looking towards its own PPV Backlash, on May 21.
With both shows on the horizon, SmackDown needed to put on a good show last night.
Keep up to date with ALL the latest WWE news, gossip and rumours.
Here are seven things we learnt.
Ziggler versus Nakamura is off to a bad start
True to heelish form, Dolph Ziggler gatecrashed the opening interview segment with Shinsuke Nakamura.
But Ziggler cut a weird, off-colour promo on the King of Strong Style.
Ziggler first “translated” for Nakamura – even though he was speaking English – and suggested that Nakamura was in fact Michael Jackson in disguise.
He then said the claimed the English meaning for Nakmura’s name was “petty, pathetic, overrated freak”.
Nakamura sent Dolph packing after going for the Kinshasa knee strike.
It could just be an off-week for the SmackDown writers but that all sounds worryingly like Vince McMahon’s view of Nakamura coming straight out of Dolph’s mouth.
AJ Styles just turned babyface (we think)
AJ Styles defeated Baron Corbin again last night.
US Champion Kevin Owens then joined Corbin for a two-on-one beat down on Styles – prompting Sami Zayn to run in and make the save.
But Owens took control again and laid out Styles with a pop-up powerbomb.
No doubt we’ll see Styles and Zayn team against KO and Bazza next week.
Is this Styles’ official babyface turn?
Or did it happen some time in the last few weeks and we just never noticed?
It doesn’t matter – fans have been cheering him during his entire heel run anyway.
And the Styles versus Owens feud should be dynamite.
Breezango are the tag title number one contenders
It’s been another bad week for American Alpha.
They defeated The Colons in the first match of a number one contender’s beat the clock challenge – only for Breezango to defeat The Ascension in a quicker time later on the show.
Breezango are underused talents, but they’ve been playing comedy jobbers for months.
A two-minute match doesn’t suddenly make you a number one contender.
SmackDown LIVE might be the “land of opportunity” but it’s getting ridiculously easy to nab a title shot on the blue brand these days.
Just ask Jinder Mahal.
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End of an era
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Hit for six
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X-rated pic LEAK
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ROMAN TO REIGN
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Rusev wants a title match
The Bulgarian Brute was sent to SmackDown while off TV with an injury.
Last night he appeared in a video clip, sending a direct message to Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan.
He’ll only agree to come to SmackDown if he gets a WWE Championship match at Money in the Bank on June 18.
He said: “Otherwise I’ll just pack my bags and go right back home to Bulgaria.”
It would be the perfect way to re-establish Rusev as a dominant threat, after repeated beatings by Roman Reigns had relegated him comedy heel status.
And it doesn’t sound like too much to ask.
With the rate that jobbers are being handed number contender spots of SmackDown, he should be a shoe-in for a shot at the gold.
The House of Horrors will be an actual house…?
Since Bray Wyatt challenged Randy Orton to a House of Horrors match at Payback, the big question has been: what the hell is a House of a Horrors match?
So far WWE has given us no clue – probably because WWE had no clue itself.
But in a promo video last night, Bray claimed “every room you enter will be an endless nightmare’.
Does this mean it’s an actual house, rather than an elaborate cage match like most fans were expecting?
Will Randy have to traipse through a fun house full of hokey special effects, like the Hardys’ “Final Deletion” in TNA?
Either way, it’ll be a relief once WWE is finished with this supernatural nonsense.
Jinder Mahal has the WWE Championship
Don’t panic, that doesn’t mean Jinder is the actual WWE Champion.
But he did steal the title belt from Randy Orton, a move straight out the playbook of rubbish heel tactics.
Jinder also resorted to cheap foreign heel heat.
Coming out to confront Randy after his No DQ victory over Erick Rowan, native Canadian Jinder said fans didn’t like him because of how he looked.
He then finished his promo in Punjabi.
It’s weak, very dodgy material for 2017.
After a run-in from Jinder’s pals (and fellow Canadians) The Bollywood Boyz, Jinder hit Randy with his camel clutch slam and nicked the championship.
The Queen’s next reign will have to wait
Charlotte Flair defeated SmackDown Women’s Champion Naomi in a non-title match last week, earning a shot at the gold last night.
It was an also an opportunity to become the first superstar to hold both Raw and SmackDown Women’s Championships
But the match was interrupted by Natalya, Tamina, and Carmella, who are apparently jealous of Charlotte’s quick success on the blue brand.
It could be the start of a new women’s faction.
Let’s hope it’s just a way to postpone Charlotte’s title win until Backlash and not an attempt to turn Charlotte babyface.
She’s way too good playing the villain.