After receiving another low blow from Shinsuke Nakamura during their WWE Title Match at the Greatest Royal Rumble event, WWE Champion AJ Styles finally snapped, unleashing an assault on WWE’s Rockstar that continued long after the match ended in a double count-out. Back stateside for Team Blue, Styles was now being asked to “publicly apologize” by The King of Strong Style.
After the flurry of activity that occurred on “Miz TV,” SmackDown LIVE General Manager Paige declared that Randy Orton would team up with Jeff Hardy to square off against The Miz & Shelton Benjamin right then and there.
Despite the slight bit of uneasiness between the two earlier in the night, Orton & Hardy gelled well, working in unison to overcome the offensive onslaught that Miz and Benjamin brought their way. In the match’s pivotal moment, Randy Orton went on an absolute tear, hitting both Shelton and Miz with everything in his arsenal (including a ring-rattling RKO to Shelton), leading to Jeff Hardy defeating Shelton with the Swanton Bomb.
Last week, Asuka & Becky Lynch teamed up to take on The IIconics in Asuka’s SmackDown LIVE debut. However, the mood was quickly soured when Lynch lost for the unit, making Asuka’s first match on SmackDown LIVE an inauspicious one. However, this week, Asuka & Lynch would have reinforcements, as they joined up with Charlotte Flair to face The IIconics and Charlotte’s opponent at WWE Backlash, SmackDown Women’s Champion Carmella.
The Princess of Staten Island seemed content to keep her distance from The Queen just five days before their title rematch, but Flair finally got her hands on Princess Mella and certainly gave her a taste of what she can expect this Sunday at WWE Backlash. However, thanks to The IIconics being by her side, Carmella got the upper-hand on Charlotte, allowing the space for her, Billie Kay and Peyton Royce to corner Flair.
It seemed Carmella and The IIconics were going to be able to successfully isolate The Queen, but things certainly went awry when The Empress of Tomorrow found her way into the contest, absolutely running rampant on her opposition. Becky and Charlotte took out Carmella and Billie Kay, with The Queen absolutely dazzling the WWE Universe with an incredible moonsault onto Princess Mella and Billie onto the floor. From there, Asuka had a reeling Royce alone to herself in the ring, and she applied the ever-painful Asuka Lock to get the submission victory for her and her squad.
Before AJ Styles could call Shinsuke Nakamura to the ring, The Phenomenal One was interrupted by Samoa Joe, who made it clear that everyone was focusing on the wrong match at WWE Backlash. The Samoan Submission Machine took the opportunity to once again run Roman Reigns’ name through the mud, letting the WWE Universe know that he still believed The Big Dog to be a complete failure ahead of their match on Sunday. Joe brought everything full circle though, letting Styles know that after he took care of Reigns on Sunday, he would be coming for the WWE Championship.
Styles, none too thrilled with Joe’s claims, got done dirty yet again when Nakamura came out of nowhere and struck AJ with yet another low blow. Nakamura then taunted the downed Styles, seemingly enjoying every moment of the champion’s pain, swatting him in the back of the head several times before nailing him with a jaw-jacking Kinshasa, putting Styles down and making a vivid statement heading into WWE Backlash.
In other action … Big Cass went to new lows to make a mockery of Daniel Bryan ... and Xavier Woods def. Sheamus.