SmackDown Live's booking has been a little all over the place as of late. Even the WWE Championship scene which seems to be hogging most of the creative team's time and attention has become convoluted and confusing. What the blue brand needs to start doing is not only building to WrestleMania but making sure their last stop on the way there is a meaningful one. Raw did it successfully on Monday night as they head towards Elimination Chamber, let's hope SmackDown Live have begun to add intrigue to Fastlane which is now a little less than four weeks away.
Last week, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens' match ending in a draw led Daniel Bryan to book a triple threat between the two of them and AJ Styles for the WWE Championship at Fastlane. Shane McMahon not wanting to be outdone took to social media the next day and booked a match between Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler with the winner earning their way into the triple threat title match. That bout was due to open SmackDown Live this week, but it never wound up taking place. The Lone Wolf didn't make it to the ring since he was being beaten down by KO and Zayn backstage, and then Ziggler suffered the same fate once the two Canadians made their way to the ring. Owens and Zayn will do all that they can to keep that championship match a three-way affair.
Last week, Charlotte Flair picked up a win over Riott Squad member Liv Morgan. After the match, she made it clear that she wasn't done with the troublesome trio yet, signifying that she wants to take down all three of them. This past Tuesday night, it was the turn of Sarah Logan to step into the ring with the SmackDown Women's Champion and fair play to her, there were points where she dominated the match. It was inevitable that The Queen would eventually win out though, especially with Becky Lynch and Naomi at ringside ensuring that the rest of The Riott Squad didn't get involved in the match. A hard-hitting Natural Selection kept Logan down for a three count and Flair then declared that she just has one member of the squad left to beat, their leader Ruby Riott.
Shane McMahon wasn't going to wait around when it came to making Owens and Zayn pay for how they started the night on SmackDown Live. The commissioner informed Daniel Bryan that Corbin and Ziggler would still be having matches that night, the former against KO and the latter against Zayn. If they won then they get a place in the Fastlane WWE Title match. What's more, if either Zayn or Owens interfered in the other's match, then the intruding party would be removed from the title match. The Lone Wolf was the first to get his chance and he managed to pick up a win against The Prizefighter. Despite being hurt from the attack earlier in the evening, Corbin hit KO with an End of Days and got the three count.
Last week Daniel Bryan revealed SmackDown Live's first ever top ten list. The ten best Superstars on the brand as voted for by the wrestlers themselves. Its assumed that the order of those in the top ten will cause some controversy, and that controversy began this past Tuesday. Randy Orton answered Bobby Roode's US Title open-challenge and just as the match was about to get underway Jinder Mahal made his presence known. The Modern Day Maharajah pointed out that despite Orton's tenure in WWE, his peers only ranked him nineth while The Glorious One wound up in fifth. Eventually, the three-way conversation reached a breaking point and it was Mahal who was left standing tall, delivering a Khallas to the US Champ and then one to The Viper too.
Kevin Owens failure to defeat Baron Corbin earlier in the night meant that the WWE Championship match at Fastlane had already become a fatal four way. Owens pleaded with Zayn before his match in the night's main event not to make the same mistake that he had. The Underdog went one on one with Dolph Ziggler and if he lost the aforementioned title match would become a five-man affair, stacking the odds against either him or Owens becoming WWE Champion even further. There were plenty of moments in this match that could have seen either man win. From superkicks to helluva kicks, and everything in between. It was worthy of closing out the evening and eventually it was a super kick that won Ziggler the match. Five men will compete for the WWE Title at Fastlane, but only one will head to WrestleMania as champion.
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