SmackDown Live preview, May 16, 2017: Orton & Corbin Face-Off
Just five days before defending his WWE Championship against Jinder Mahal at WWE Backlash, Randy Orton will face Baron Corbin on SmackDown LIVE. Will The Viper tame The Lone Wolf, or will Corbin derail Orton before his big match?
No. 1 contenders square off ahead of title matches:
Both AJ Styles and Jinder Mahal are challenging for championships this Sunday at WWE Backlash, but they’ll be facing off against each other tonight on SmackDown LIVE.
The Phenomenal One is on a crusade to confirm that the blue brand truly is the house he built. That quest continues Sunday, when Styles challenges Kevin Owens for the United States Championship. Before that, Styles will square off with one of Team Blue’s fastest-rising Superstars.
Mahal has skyrocketed to the upper echelons of WWE after winning a grueling Six-Pack Challenge to earn his WWE Championship opportunity against Randy Orton in Chicago and went on to pin The Viper in six-man tag team action last week. Can he continue his momentum with a victory over a former WWE Champion?
Will Rusev get the WWE Title match he’s demanding?
The Bulgarian Brute has refused to compete on SmackDown LIVE since being sent to Team Blue in the Superstar Shake-up. Rusev has made it clear that the only way he will step into the ring is if he receives a WWE Championship Match at Money in the Bank on June 18.
The bruiser has yet to receive an answer to his demands and declared that he is coming to SmackDown LIVE to get one from Commissioner Shane McMahon. Will Rusev get the answer he’s looking for? Or will he be packing his bags to return to Bulgaria?
Six-Woman Tag Team Match participants make it official:
Tensions have been escalating in the SmackDown LIVE Women’s Division since the arrival of Charlotte Flair, who immediately established herself as the top contender to SmackDown Women’s Champion Naomi. Angered by The Queen seemingly jumping them in line, the “welcoming committee” of Natalya, Carmella & Tamina joined forces to make Charlotte’s life, along with anyone who sided with her, a living hell.
The Queen has found allies in Naomi and Becky Lynch, though their partnership got off to a rocky start last week when Charlotte and the champion caused a distraction that cost The Irish Lass-Kicker her match against Natalya.
In the aftermath of the chaos, Shane McMahon put the two trios against each other at WWE Backlash in a Six-Woman Tag Team Match. Before this Sunday, however, all six Superstars will be in the ring on SmackDown LIVE to make the match official during the first-ever contract signing of its kind. Will they be able to put their names on the dotted line without coming to blows?
The Highlight Reel, hosted by … Kevin Owens?
Though Kevin Owens put a brutal cap on his rivalry with Chris Jericho two weeks ago, viscously slamming his former best friend into the ring post with a steel chair around his neck, the United States Champion does not yet seem to be done tormenting The Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rolla.
WWE.com has learned that The Highlight Reel, Jericho’s trademark talk show, will return to SmackDown LIVE tonight with a new host. The New Face of America will be taking over the reins from Jericho, leading many to wonder what other changes are in store for one of WWE’s most colorful talk shows.
The Viper takes on The Lone Wolf before WWE Backlash:
Randy Orton is just five days away from defending his WWE Championship against Jinder Mahal on WWE Backlash, but The Viper’s path to Chicago runs straight through Baron Corbin on SmackDown LIVE.
Corbin has been out to show that he can punish anyone who dares to step in his path. What better opportunity to prove himself than against the reigning WWE Champion? Will Corbin stand tall, or can The Viper tame The Lone Wolf?
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