WWE SmackDown Live Preview (5/16/17): 5 Reasons To Watch

[caption id="attachment_41610" align="alignnone" width="777"]WWE SmackDown Live Photo: WWE / Top Rope Press[/caption]

Less than a week away from WWE Backlash, it’s a “go-home” edition of SmackDown Live. With only five matches currently booked for Sunday’s pay per view, I’d expect a few more to be made between then and now. This is also the last chance to get us excited about Randy Orton vs. Jinder Mahal, Kevin Owens vs. AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Dolph Ziggler, Usos vs Breezango and the women’s trios match.

Two matches have already been announced for Tuesday, plus there’s going to be a major return. Let’s take a look at five reasons to watch SmackDown Live.

1. Rusev Returns

I shouldn’t have to tell you that SmackDown Live should benefit immensely from a returning Rusev. It’s not just that the guy is supremely talented, but this brand is somewhat weak on the heel side. Really it’s Owens, Corbin, Jinder … and no one else.

So the storyline here is that Rusev is demanding a WWE Title shot at Money In The Bank (which takes place on June 18th). If he doesn’t get it, he’s going to back to Bulgaria. Spoiler alert: he’s probably getting the title shot.

I REALLY like the idea of WWE establishing future contenders even when there’s another title program on-going. Shane McMahon will likely be involved in this (Daniel Bryan understandably still taking time off), and though the end-point is fairly obvious, I’m interested to see how they get there.

2. AJ vs. Jinder

It’s the best worker in the company (and world?) vs. the most divisive main event player in recent memory. Both will be challengers for titles Sunday, but before AJ Styles takes on Kevin Owens and Jinder Mahal faces Randy Orton, they face each other.

Mahal was not great in a match two weeks ago against Sami Zayn, so consider this a litmus test. If he can’t have a good match with Styles, well, the future may not be bright. I’m on the record as being behind the Mahal push seeing as there were limited options on the heel side. Owens is the United States Champion while they don’t want to beat Corbin. But simply put, Mahal needs to look good here.

As for AJ, well, it really doesn’t matter what happens here. He’s going to have a really good match on Sunday most likely.

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