Welcome to this week’s edition of things WWE subtly told us on SmackDown. It was undoubtedly an improved episode from the last two weeks as we saw some good storyline progression on the blue brand.
No Roman Reigns meant that WWE had to go all guns blazing in the other feuds, and as RAW has proven, a world champion isn’t necessary to have a great show. Either way, we can only hope that the penultimate episode of SmackDown is a sign of improvement to come.
Here are a few things WWE subtly told us on the blue brand this week:
#5. The inevitability of the Ricochet-Gunther feud on SmackDown
This week on SmackDown, Ricochet teamed up with Drew Gulak to face Ludwig Kaiser and Gunther. Ricochet came to the aid of Gulak last week, and it wasn’t surprising that Kaiser and Gunther decimated their opponents.
It was Kaiser who picked up the win this week, while Gunther attacked the Intercontinental Champion post-match. It seems as if a title feud is going to happen real soon, and we could see the inevitable Intercontinental title win of the newly-debuting star Gunther.
#4. Shinsuke Nakamura and Riddle’s alliance on SmackDown and the potential fallout
This week, The Usos opened the show on SmackDown but were confronted by Shinsuke Nakamura, who has recently stated his intention to get back at The Bloodline. He has a reason after his tag team partner Rick Boogs suffered an injury at WrestleMania 38.
Another superstar who recently lost his partner to an injury is Riddle. And that’s exactly who came out when Nakamura said that he had someone to help even the odds against The Usos.
It’s clear that the alliance is to set up Randy Orton’s return, and the overall 20-time champion could be set to return to feud with Roman Reigns soon.
#3. What’s going on with Sami Zayn on SmackDown?
Sami Zayn continues to have one of the most interesting roles on SmackDown. This week, he was a guest on the KO Show as it was (falsely) advertised that he would interview a member of The Bloodline.
Instead, he would be interviewing an associate of The Bloodline and the self-proclaimed locker room leader of SmackDown – Sami Zayn. It was a tense segment that led to the two falling out again, and Owens made Zayn question his relationship with The Bloodline.
Sami Zayn was named an honorary member of The Bloodline, seeing as though he couldn’t join due to him not being related to them by blood. This could lead to a use-and-throw situation where The Bloodline uses The Conspiracy Theorist as much as they can before disposing of him – potentially leading to a face turn after five years.
#2. Is Drew McIntyre’s alliance with The New Day a storyline or a one-off?
‘The Scottish Warrior’ Drew McIntyre returned to SmackDown for the first time since WrestleMania Backlash. With Roman Reigns not defending his title at Hell in a Cell, WWE has to drag it on until September at the UK show where they are expected to clash.
This week, he was the surprise partner in the main event as The New Day would defeat The Brawling Brutes, with Xavier Woods getting the pinfall on Ridge Holland. There was nothing to indicate that this is a longer storyline, and we may just see them align together once or twice more at most.
#1. Ronda Rousey’s new alliance and next opponent tease
One good bit of news is that the blue brand’s women’s division is moving along, and the early stages of Ronda Rousey’s title reign already feel more exciting than almost the entirety of Charlotte Flair’s last run as champion.
Shotzi spent some time riling the women backstage up, trying to get them to go against Rousey and Raquel Rodriguez. She successfully did so to Natalya and Shayna Baszler, only to get locked out herself by Aliyah to tease a non-title feud.
On the other hand, Natalya and Baszler interrupted the championship contender match between Rousey and Rodriguez, leading to a tag team match where the two babyfaces won.
There was a tease of a feud between Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler, which could end up being the SmackDown Women’s Champion’s next title defense.