Shinsuke Nakamura v. Baron Corbin
This will be an excellent opportunity to see two superstars that will be at the top of the card in a short amount of time. Nakamura is only biding his time before challenging for the top prize, and Corbin is Mr. MITB, which gives him an instantaneous boost to the top. Seeing the two clash will give everyone a blast into the future of Smackdown Live.
Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura
The build to this match has been excellent, as the two stars have growing animosity towards each other. Since Corbin has the MITB briefcase, he needs this win less so than Nakamura. Allowing the Japanese star continue his hot streak will only help the brand and continue to build support for The King or Strong Style.
John Cena v. Rusev
John Cena has returned…and it just doesn’t feel that special. Previous returns had a feeling of excitement for his potential feuds and bringing new life to the brand. But with each passing return, Cena becomes more of a nuisance. Not that he is unwelcomed by any means. But bringing him back to face a returning Rusev in a Flag Match seems unnecessary. Rusev could use a chance to move up the ladder, but this match does not have that feel to it.
Prediction: John Cena
As if having Cena as your opponent wasn’t enough, now WWE has set Rusev up as facing the entirety of the USA. While there are certainly times in WWE’s storied past where anti-American gimmicks get a solid win or two, it is usually to build them up for an eventually defeat at the hands of their current foe (i.e. Rusev-Cena at WrestleMania 31). This feud seems like it will be short and will likely give Cena a boost for a high-profile match at SummerSlam.
Charlotte v. Becky Lynch v. Tamina v. Natalya v. Lana
(#1 Contender Fatal 5-Way Elimination Match)
The women’s division in Smackdown continues to use the entire division as often as possible. While that can be seen as a positive, it has left little room for growing individual rivalries, especially around the champion Naomi. There are certainly a few interesting stories in this match, with Lana and Tamina teaming up, as well as the friendship between Charlotte and Becky Lynch. Honestly, any woman could walk out of this one and still be seen as a legitimate contender.
Smackdown has been holding off on crowning Charlotte as the star of the women’s division. Now seems like the perfect time to set that up, with SummerSlam right around the corner. Though the face vs. face dynamic will be strange at first, Naomi and Charlotte can definitely put on a show to wonderfully represent the blue brand. Maybe even include a cash-in from Carmella to put a nice bow on everything.