Tonight begins a new year for SmackDown Live as it is the first show after WrestleMania, taking place at the Amway Center in Orlando.
Sunday night’s WrestleMania provided so many memorable moments for the blue brand.
Randy Orton said he was going to take Bray Wyatt’s WWE championship at WrestleMania and he did just that, becoming a 14-time WWE champion. AJ Styles defeated commissioner Shane McMahon in what was perhaps the best match on the show. John Cena and Nikki Bella beat The Miz and Maryse. Then after the match, Cena proposed to Bella, who said yes.
The SmackDown Live after WrestleMania is now going to try to top the Raw after WrestleMania.
There is a lot of uncertainty heading into this evening’s SmackDown Live. Here are the four burning questions going into the first show after WrestleMania:
1. What is next for Randy Orton? That seems to be the million dollar question. But, with the way Orton soundly beat Wyatt, what is the point of going back to it when the result is already known? Styles said in a video after WrestleMania that he was going after the winner of the title match. Styles and Orton have only squared off one time on an edition of SmackDown Live last month with ‘The Viper” winning to go on to WrestleMania and face Wyatt. A program between the two would be amazing. Styles is the best wrestler in the world and Orton when motivated is still an amazing performer.
2. Where does AJ Styles go from here? Like we stated above, a program with Orton seems like the most logical step to take. WWE though could choose to have Orton finish off his program with Wyatt as usually the talent who loses the title at WrestleMania gets a rematch at the following pay-per-view. If that scenario plays out, with Cena taking time off, and just finishing a program with Dean Ambrose at the end of last year and Cena taking more time off to film a movie, Miz is really the only top level guy who would make sense to keep Styles busy until he gets back into the title picture.
3. Do we see John Cena? The 16-time world champion is scheduled to be shooting a movie shortly. It’s been made to appear that he won’t be on the show. Acknowledging the fans and doing an injury angle to setup his next program would be the logical way to go. Maybe go with a guy like Baron Corbin who appears to be on the fast track to a big 2017 and what a way to continue on that track than be involved with the star of the company.
4. Who will make surprise appearances? Year after year, this is the show where we see old stars return and new talent debuts from either another organization or NXT. On Raw, we saw the return of Finn Balor and the debut of two-time NXT tag team champions, The Revival. Shinsuke Nakamura, Tye Dillinger and Andrade “Cien” Almas have all had rumored call-ups. SmackDown seems lik a natural fit for all of them--especially Nakamura, who could be the draw to replace Cena on the brand.