Tuesday night’s edition of Smackdown Live was the first edition of the show since Wrestlemania 33. The show took place at the Amway Center in Orlando.
Highlights from show included the debuts of two-time NXT champion Shinsuke Nakamura, fan favorite Tye Dillinger and a respectful confrontation between commissioner Shane McMahon and AJ Styles.
There were plenty of questions heading into the first Smackdown Live since Wrestlemania 33. Let’s see if they were answered.
1) What is next for Randy Orton? That was answered pretty quickly as the new WWE champion opened the show. Orton told Wyatt he is the master and Wyatt will never forget his name. The former WWE champ went on to challenge Orton to a House of Horrors match which Orton accepted. The main event of the show had Orton and Luke Harper against Wyatt and a returning Erick Rowan. Orton and Harper won the match after “The Viper” hit an RKO on Rowan. Watching this program, something just seems off. After Orton burned the Wyatt compound, everything else has been flat, culminated by a below average match at Wrestlemania. Hopefully, this match happens pretty quickly and Orton and Wyatt can move on.
2) Where does AJ Styles go from here? Shane McMahon was promoting the “Superstar Shakeup” on Raw and explaining how this is the show to be on as they are the land of opportunity. Styles interrupted, came down to the ring and made his case to stay on Smackdown Live. He said he made the show into what it is and this where he always wants to be. “The Phenomenal One” shook hands with McMahon and left the ring. The one guy who shouldn’t be switching brands at this time is Styles. He’s helped Smackdown become a better show to watch than Raw. He still has feuds on the horizon with Orton, Wyatt, Nakamura and The Miz. On Raw, he could get lost due to guys like Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar, Braun Strowman, Finn Balor and Seth Rollins. Styles is the best wrestler in the world and deserves to be in the title conversation.
3) Do we see John Cena? At the beginning of the show, WWE teased Cena and Nikki Bella were going to get called out by The Miz and Maryse. To begin the second hour of the show, Cena’s music hit and it turned out to be Miz and Maryse. The duo mocked the marriage proposal between Cena and Bella and claimed it was all act. They went on to say they are leaving for awhile and tried to leave until Nakamura came out. The segment was well done and appeared to put a bow on the program. It was the best thing WWE did on the road to Wrestlemania and it paid off in the end considering all the mainstream attention the proposal received.
4) Who will make surprise appearances? Dillinger came out when Curt Hawkins made an open challenge. The NXT star looked good in victory. The crowd was behind him. The “Perfect 10” gimmick is a catchy thing and for Dillinger’s sake, hopefully the gimmick continues to get over. Nakamura came out at the end of The Miz segment when the violinist started playing the song. The Orlando crowd erupted when the music started and Nakamura walked to the ring. He did his routine and the crowd was going insane. He appeared to be very humble when the crowd kept chanting his name. Many WWE fans want a different guy on top. As Bray Wyatt used to say, "Anyone but you, Roman. Anyone but you." The question was always, who could the WWE go with that could get a big enough reaction to justify such a move? After seeing the reception that Nakamura got, maybe it could be the "King of Strong Style." It's been a number of years since a talent got an ovation like that. He’s 37 which many times the WWE frowns upon but you can’t deny a special talent when you see one.