WWE makes their last stop prior to WrestleMania tonight (April 2) when SmackDown Live rolls in to the Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, Maryland.
This is actually the opposite of the headliner. But the state of the women’s division on SmackDown prior to WrestleMania should be addressed.
Basically, they got screwed last week.
Asuka was forced to defend her SmackDown Womens championship against Charlotte with absolutely no build nor advertisement. And she lost it. To reiterate, the SmackDown Women’s champion lost her title in a marquee match with zero advertisement and zero build.
Fans are rightfully upset for Asuka. This loss put the now former champion in the Women’s battle royal, which is likely a Kickoff match. There were four women (Naomi, Mandy Rose, Sonya Deville, and Carmella) who were set for a Fatal 4-way to find out who’d face Asuka at WrestleMania. This was a match that actually had been advertised prior. That’s a WrestleMania title match for at least one of those woman that’s gone. They’re all in the battle royal too.
It could be argued that Charlotte and Becky are both SmackDown stars and are representing this division in the main event of WrestleMania. But the truth is, that was always a Raw story. It has been about a Raw title until yesterday. And it plays out on Raw with some supplemental (read: skippable) stuff on SmackDown. Last night, they announced the triple threat match is now a “Winner Take All” match, which is better than if the title weren’t on the line, but that doesn’t ease the blow for the women who were planning for a WrestleMania match.
It’s really crappy all around. This being WWE, they could turn this into a story. Perhaps Asuka decides to just raise hell after all of this (though her happily watching the New Day gauntlet alongside Kofi likely throws that out of the window). Members of the SmackDown roster, such as Naomi, have been vocal about it on Twitter, so perhaps they can use this to tell a story about how their Women’s division got screwed. If they do that, they can at least get something out of it.
But more likely, this will get as much follow up as that time SmackDown was swept at Survivor Series, which is zero.
The Title Scene:
Kofi Kingston is hoping this WWE Championship contract signing goes better this time around. Last time, when it was for a title match at Fastlane, Vince McMahon removed him from it and replaced him with Kevin Owens. And until Kof puts pen to paper, it can still be taken away or altered (such as by adding more people). Hopefully, it’s none of that jazz and just a strong promo segment from champion and challenger to put the cherry on top of the hype that is Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston.
The Usos are still without a match at WrestleMania, but haven’t been announced for the Andre Battle Royal so maybe there’s still a chance the SmackDown tag team championships get a brief moment in New Jersey this Sunday.
Before challenging for the United States championship against Samoa Joe at WrestleMania, Rey Mysterio will battle his foe Andrade once again. Could this be the match that gives Rey that definitive win against the upstart or does Joe interfere?
The IIconics were on Raw building their role in the Women’s tag team championship match at WrestleMania. With Peyton and Billie the only SmackDown representation (the other three team are Raw teams), there’s a good chance that last night was the end of the build to that match.
Other Stuff to Keep an Eye on:
– AJ Styles and Randy Orton will sit down with Kevin Owens for the KO Show ahead of their WrestleMania match. Last promo these guys had together was very good. Some more verbal sparring before their match on Sunday should be enjoyable.
– The Miz and Shane McMahon will meet in a Falls Count Anywhere match at MetLife Stadium. This is likely the other non-title match that will get a little time tonight. Last we checked, Shane needed some weak sauce security to protect himself from Miz.
– There are two battle royals to prep for. That usually means at least one segment with all the participants brawling and trying to toss each other over the top rope. Just because we got one last night doesn’t mean we don’t get one tonight as well.
Last SmackDown prior to WrestleMania!
The WrestleMania build is coming down to the wire. What will you be watching for in Baltimore tonight?