Smackdown Live recap: AJ Styles has a ball

Following Monday Night Raw last night was certainly going to be tough for Smackdown Live, but it put in motion some big matches for Backlash, which is just one week away from Sunday. Tonight’s episode was good for what it was as we saw the groundwork being laid out for the pay-per-view in less than two weeks.

The show opened with last week’s Talking Smack that saw Intercontinental Champion The Miz ranting over General Manager Daniel Bryan. The latter was told by Commissioner Shane McMahon that he must apologize and shouldn’t get involved with superstars any more, to that which Bryan replied that McMahon has beef with Raw’s Brock Lesnar.

Miz quickly made his way down to the ring and sold his persona and the rant last week well to the Dallas crowd. This brought out Dolph Ziggler and it seemed a match between the two will be in the works in the very near future.

The Smackdown Tag Team Championship tournament continued as The Hype Bros faced off against The Vaudevillains for a spot in the semifinals. It was Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley getting the big win and moving one step closer to the tag team titles.

No. 1 contender for the WWE World Championship AJ Styles made his way out to the ring after confronting Apollo Crews in the backstage area. He bragged about being the “Fact that Runs the Place” and how he was the future champion before Crews came out and interrupted him.

Crews, who is trying to prove himself on Smackdown Live, said that he had been granted a match against Styles. The two waged war in the best match of the night, but it was Styles that pulled off the win.

Last week, Bray Wyatt interrupted Randy Orton as he was addressing the crowd on the brutal beatdown at the hands of Brock Lesnar. The Eater of Worlds made his way down to the ring to hold a “Sermon to the Serpent,” but it was Orton’s turn to interrupt.

The Viper claimed that he is just as damaged as Wyatt and that he wanted to face off against him. Wyatt accepted the match for Backlash and Orton hit the ring before the former played more mind games and disappeared into the darkness.

The Tag Team tournament continued as former champions The Headbangers, who were popular during the Attitude Era, made their return to face off against Rhyno and Heath Slater. However, it was the Red Dragon and the Man Beast who were successful and moved on to the semifinals.

It was time for the main event as WWE World Champion Dean Ambrose came down to take on The Lone Wolf Baron Corbin. Styles was at ringside, so it wasn’t long before he got involved.

Styles attempted to distract Ambrose and got knocked off the apron. He got back up again and went to kick Ambrose, but hit Corbin, causing a disqualification.

The two Backlash opponents weren’t done, however, as Ambrose and Styles began brawling all over ringside. It ended with Ambrose crotching Styles on the top rope and leaving him in a painful position to end the show.

With just one show left before Backlash, how will these feuds be furthered next week?

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  • Caleb BaileyCAMPUSSPORTS Writer
    Caleb is a young veteran of the sports journalism world that has a passion for college football, mostly the SEC, but namely the LSU Tigers. He also has an affinity for the Georgia Southern Eagles, because who doesn't love Erk Russell and national championships, right? He has experience working in print and online media as well as broadcasting, working with his high school alma mater football team and the Savannah Bananas.
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