SmackDown LIVE starts off with SmackDown LIVE General Manager Paige addressing the fans from her office. Paige says that, after being tossed through the announce table by Braun Strowman at The Greatest Royal Rumble this past Friday, SmackDown LIVE Commissioner Shane McMahon is not here tonight. The GM then says that AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura’s rematch for the WWE Championship at The Greatest Royal Rumble ended inconclusively, pointing out that, during the match, Nakamura used a low blow behind the back of the referee. Paige continues, saying that AJ Styles viciously attacked Nakamura during that same match, saying that both Styles and Nakamura acted “beyond the bounds of good sportsmanship” before announcing that the rematch between AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura for the WWE Championship this Sunday will now have no disqualifications!
Before he gets his rematch for the Intercontinental Championship against champion Seth Rollins this Sunday at Backlash, The Miz is in the ring to host Miz TV. After welcoming everyone to Miz TV, “The A-Lister” says that, since Daniel Bryan no-showed Miz TV last week, Daniel is “banned” from appearing on Miz TV. Miz then has a message for Seth Rollins, saying that he and Rollins will go one-on-one at Backlash for the title that he made “prestigious” before vowing that he will regain the Intercontinental Title this Sunday. The Miz then introduces his guest on Miz TV as, before he defends the United States Title against Randy Orton at Backlash, United States Champion Jeff Hardy makes his way to the ring. The Miz asks Jeff if Jeff thinks that The Miz is a better Intercontinental Champion than Seth Rollins as the United States Champion said that, if The Miz was better, then he would have won at The Greatest Royal Rumble like Jeff did. The Miz responds by calling Jeff “arrogant”, saying that Jeff “disrespected” Randy Orton in his return to SmackDown LIVE a couple of weeks ago.
The Miz then has a surprise second guest, starting to introduce Jeff Hardy’s Backlash opponent Randy Orton, but “The Viper” comes out before The Miz could finish his introduction. Despite The Miz’s efforts to try and stir the pot, Orton would say that he’s not mad at Jeff Hardy for what he did a couple of weeks ago, saying that he did the same thing to Jeff last week, saying that he and Jeff are “cool”. The Miz says that Randy Orton doesn’t “play well with others”, bringing up the SmackDown LIVE Top 10 List with Orton responding by saying that no one cares about that list. The Miz continues, saying that Jeff cost Orton his match against Shelton Benjamin last week with Jeff correcting The Miz by saying that it was Sunil Singh who cost Orton the match. However, The Miz argues that Sunil’s interference was on behalf of Jinder Mahal, who had a rematch against Jeff at The Greatest Royal Rumble.
The Miz then says that there should be an RKO with Jeff’s name on it with Orton firing back, saying that he strikes when he wants to before vowing to take the United States Title back this Sunday. Jeff responds by saying that Randy Orton can “try” before The Miz again tries to rile Orton up. Shelton Benjamin then interrupts, saying that Randy Orton doesn’t “deserve a damn thing”, saying that he beat “The Viper” last week so, if anyone deserves a title opportunity, it’s him. Benjamin then starts to get in the ring, only to get swiftly kicked by Randy Orton, which gets The Miz involved. Jeff Hardy then joins the fray, hitting “The A-Lister” with the Whisper in the Wind, leaving Jeff and Orton standing tall in the ring.
This would pave the way for a tag team match as United States Champion Jeff Hardy would team with his Backlash opponent Randy Orton to face The Miz and Shelton Benjamin in the opening match of the night. In the end, it was Randy Orton hitting Shelton Benjamin with the RKO before tagging in Jeff Hardy, who connects with the Swanton Bomb, pinning Benjamin to pick up the win for his team. However, as soon as the match is over, Randy Orton would strike, taking out the United States Champion ahead of their title match this Sunday, sending a clear message to “The Charismatic Enigma”.
With a match against Daniel Bryan set for Backlash this Sunday, Big Cass would make an appearance on SmackDown LIVE. Big Cass says that a “real WWE Superstar” is seven-feet tall, saying that “might makes right” before saying that Daniel Bryan is “small and weak”. Cass then says that he doesn’t even need time to prepare before saying that they shouldn’t wait until this Sunday, calling Daniel Bryan out to fight him right now. This brings out a little person dressed as Daniel Bryan before Big Cass makes jokes about Daniel’s “short temper” and calling the little person “short-sighted”. Big Cass continues his ridicule before asking the crowd to give it up for Montreal’s own Pierre Leflore for his portrayal of Daniel Bryan. The seven-footer then implores Pierre to soak in the support of his hometown fans before blasting the little person with a big boot. Cass then blasts Pierre with right hands before standing over Pierre as referees rush out to break it up.
Renee Young would then conduct an in-ring interview with WWE Champion AJ Styles five nights before Styles defends the WWE Title against Shinsuke Nakamura in a No Disqualification Match at Backlash. Renee first asks AJ Styles about the No Disqualification stipulation with the WWE Champion saying that Shinsuke Nakamura has been focused on the “wrong jewels” before AJ says that he should have left Nakamura “sucking sand” in Saudi Arabia. AJ then says that Shinsuke Nakamura is a “coward” before saying that he can break the rules too, saying that, when he’s done with Nakamura, Nakamura will have a look of “torture” permanently etched on his face.
The WWE Champion then calls out Shinsuke Nakamura, but instead, AJ gets a former rival in the form of Samoa Joe. Joe says that the match that AJ Styles should be focused on is his match against Roman Reigns, saying that Roman is a “failure”. Joe then says that, when he’s done with Roman Reigns, he’s coming to beat down whoever is the WWE Champion and take the WWE Championship, telling AJ to “believe that”. Shinsuke Nakamura’s music then plays and, while Samoa Joe readies himself for a fight against “The Artist” on the stage, Nakamura attacks AJ Styles from behind, again hitting the WWE Champion below the belt. Nakamura then taunts his Backlash opponent before feigning like he’s going to deliver the Kinshasa to the back of AJ’s head only to run to the other corner of the ring and deliver the Kinshasa to the face of AJ Styles. Nakamura then has a few more choice words for the WWE Champion before “The Artist” stands over AJ Styles holding the WWE Title high.
Following a backstage confrontation between The New Day and Cesaro & Sheamus earlier in the night, The New Day’s Xavier Woods, with Big E & Kofi Kingston in his corner, would go one-on-one with “The Celtic Warrior” Sheamus, with Cesaro in his corner. During the match, Cesaro would get on the ring apron, sparking a brief battle between Cesaro and Big E & Kofi Kingston at ringside. Xavier then dives to the outside to take out Cesaro and Sheamus tries to take advantage, sending Xavier into the barricade before rolling Woods back into the ring. Sheamus is then briefly distracted by Big E & Kofi and it would give Xavier the time he needed to catch Sheamus off-guard, rolling “The Celtic Warrior” up to pick up the win.
Then it was time for the main event as, before she challenges Carmella for the SmackDown Women’s Title at Backlash this Sunday, Charlotte Flair would team with Becky Lynch and Asuka to face SmackDown Women’s Champion Carmella and The IIconics, Billie Kay & Peyton Royce, in a 6-Woman Tag match. In the end, it was Charlotte Flair using a moonsault to the outside to take out Carmella and Billie Kay, allowing Asuka to lock in the Asuka Lock on Peyton Royce, making Peyton tap out to pick up the win for her team. After the match, Charlotte Flair stares down Carmella, letting the champion know that she’s coming for her title this Sunday.
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