Who’s ready for SmackDown LIVE from Wilkes-Barre, PA?
After an injury scare in White Plains, New York at last night’s house show, it sounds like Women’s champion Asuka is. The Empress of Tomorrow landed on her head during what apparently a miscommunication with Mandy Rose (PWInsider says Rose was transitioning to a face buster out of a wheel barrow while Asuka went for a roll-up) and their match was stopped. The champ walked to the back under her own power and later tweeted that she was okay:
I’m sorry for worrying you.
Hit my back but That’s fine
— ASUKA / 明日華 (@WWEAsuka) March 5, 2019
Rose and Asuka are supposed to wrestle for the belt this Sunday at Fastlane, in a match Sonya Deville’s tag partner earned by rolling up the Japanese Superstar in her only televised match since Royal Rumble, that was announced off-air last week. They are not mentioned in the official preview for tonight’s show on WWE.com. It’s possible this could just be a precaution while they do a more complete work up on Asuka’s head/neck/back.
But would you be surprised if WWE just rolled into Cleveland, put their match on third and moved on? Especially since the all-but-confirmation of the plans for a Raw Women’s title Triple Threat decreases the odds of a marquee match-up for Asuka at WrestleMania 35 in April (there a ton of interesting stories leading to cool matches to choose from – I’m pulling for Nikki Cross, myself – but nothing that will generate the buzz a rematch with Charlotte Flair would have)?
Forgive me. I’m really glad Asuka is healthy, and STILL really grumpy about the way Team Blue’s treated their women’s division since the ‘Mania build started in earnest last month.
The Title Scene
Last Tuesday’s shocking announcement by Vince McMahon shook up the men’s scene, too. But, even though Kevin Owens will now challenge for Daniel Bryan’s WWE championship at this weekend’s pay-per-view (PPV), it still seems reasonable to expect KofiMania in MetLife Stadium on April 7. KO and Kofi Kingston managed to co-exist as they picked up a win over Bryan and his intellectual peer Rowan a week ago. What twists might this story take tonight?
Since winning the Men’s Tag Team belts, The Usos haven’t fared much better than Asuka. They’ll be on-screen tonight building to their rematch with Shane McMahon & The Miz when Jey wrestles the Awesome One. It might be as supporting players to wherever Miz and Shane are headed for ‘Mania, but it’s something.
After weeks missing, R-Truth and his United States title returned in a big way last week. The always entertaining 47 year old (black don’t crack) tweaked his gimmick again to reveal himself as a John Cena superfan. That meant bringing back the open challenge series and winning a banging Triple Threat over Andrade & Rey Mysterio. Truth will be taking on whoever answers the call again this week.
While they could conceivably show up, Women’s Tag champs Sasha Banks & Bayley’s are getting ready to face Nia Jax & Tamina on Sunday, and still reeling from Tamina’s pinfall win over The Boss last night, so…
Other stuff to keep an eye on:
– When WWE seemingly rewrote last Tuesday’s episode on the fly, a planned singles match for Cesaro turned into the return of the Hardy Boyz. And after beating The Bar, WWE is already hyping Matt & Jeff up as title contenders.
– The NXT team which did wrestle on the Feb. 26 SmackDown – Aleister Black & Ricochet – now seem like they’re fighting for Raw’s tag team belts. So who knows where that leaves the men they beat on the blue brand, Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura.
– Randy Orton has some questions about AJ Styles’ house-building claims.
It’s the Fastlane ‘go home’ show!
What will you be looking for on SmackDown Live tonight?