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LA Knight vs. AJ Styles – Number One Contenders match to face Cody Rhodes at Backlash

I guess mind games are always something someone could use if done right, but in this case, I don’t care about that tactic. LA Knight points out how unfavorable AJ Styles has become since returning as the Lone Wolf, more aggressive and dark than before.

I say, whatever helps him win this match is necessary, so do it. Clearly I wasn’t the only one who thought Styles needed this more than LA Knight. Wade Barrett reckons AJ will have a breakdown if he doesn’t secure this.

Knight puts on the breaks just as AJ was about to deliver a drop kick. The Megastar follows that up with a boot to the face plus a clothesline. He’s rolling with those headbutts against the announcement desk that AJ might forget where he is.

Styles seems to not be able to get much of a handle in this match until that collision in the middle of ring stops them both. Heavy blow exchanges play out. I’m not the only one who thinks that AJ’s focus is wavering? I ask that question because of that superplex he endured at the hands of LA Knight. He was nearly pinned.

Styles does amaze me with that Moonsault DDT that almost put Knight away. He tries again with an attempt at the Styles Clash, but LA Knight bulldozes him into the corner. A roll up by Styles was thwarted.

Knight knew he has AJ dead-to-rights, but Styles manages to avoid disaster by taking advantage of the fact that the referee was momentarily blinded by LA Knight’s swinging arm to poke him in the eye.

Styles leaps in with a winning Phenomenal Forearm as he meets Rhodes at Backlash.

Winner: AJ Styles 

In the parking lot, Solo Sikoa makes his entrance looking dapper for the first since arriving on SmackDown. He meets with Paul Heyman. Tama Tonga isn’t far behind, literally behind the Wise Man. Sikoa introduces Tonga as the newest member of The Bloodline. If they weren’t strong before… Ha! They passed that now.

I think because of last week, Solo orders Heyman to take him to Kevin Owens. The Wise Man was hesitant at first until he’s asked again with firmness.

Back inside the ring, Nick Aldis welcomes Triple H, the Chief Content Officer and Hall of Famer. Um.. I thought I was indeed losing my mind when I saw the screen glitching showing me a QR code, some kind of symbol and a crow. What does that mean? It does remind me of The Calling on Major League Wrestling.

Anyway, Triple H instructs Aldis to bring out “our Champions”. I didn’t know who he was talking until I heard Austin Theory’s music playing as he and Grayson Waller walk out holding their new SmackDown Tag Team Championships. They’re getting new ones, I suppose, just like The Awesome Truth on Monday.

Waller and Theory are one of the most arrogant people I’ve seen thus far that Grayson has the gull to tell Triple H and Aldis that they have the “honor” to bestow their newly remodeled titles being the real Champions at WrestleMania.

I’m guessing that Levesque was just as done with these two that he ignores what they said and presents them with their golden titles. Triple H goes in to shake Waller’s hand, who swerves and grabs hold of Theory’s. They found that funny while Aldis did not. He places the notion that if they disrespect Triple H again, he’ll make “A-Clown Down Under” disappear. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

Nick adds more salt to their wounds by sanctioning a Fatal 4-Way match for the Tag Team titles starting right now.

The Street Profits vs. AoP vs. Legado del Fantasma vs. New Catch Republic – Fatal 4-Way Number One Contenders match

Montez Ford and Tyler Bate start this match off against each other in the center of the ring. Although, it’s their unique offensive fighting styles, I can’t help but say it looks like a bunch of silliness. Ha! Be honest with yourself. It’s somewhat silly.

Humberto tags himself in then smacks Bate across the face before entering the ring. Damn, son. Legado del Fantasma play a double team against Ford. That running knee knocked his ass out. Luckily, Montez was able to tag Angelo Dawkins, who delivers a flying back elbow to Angel.

Ha! The moment AoP comes in, the rest of the teams scatter except for Ford and Dunne, who get the Akam and Rezar treatment. Waller and Theory mention that these are the guys they don’t want to face. Karma would beg to differ.

AoP have completely taken over this match. Ford tags Dunne, who goes after Akam then helps Bate double team on Rezar and Legado del Fantasma. New Catch Republic and the Profits were ganging up on Rezar, it was funny.

Humberto and Angel nearly obtained the victory with that splendid double team they performed on everyone, but Dunne breaks things up. However, AoP crash New Catch Republic to their bones. Close pins. At some point, all three teams momentarily team up to take out AoP.

Everyone gets whiplashed into oblivion, especially Humberto who flies across the ring after getting ramped by Angelo as payback. The Profits almost, closely, nearly pinned Humberto with that elevated blockbuster, but Pete, once again, plays spoiler. Snapping Dawkins’ fingers.

Ford bulldozes through AoP, while Dunne and Bate take out Legado del Fantasma. Suddenly, Angel and Humberto gain the upper hand with the FTY against Bate.

The Profits make a comeback by ending the match in their favor with a Revelation to Angel and the new Tag Team Champions. That’s how you do it!!

Winners: The Street Profits 

This past Monday, Rhea Ripley recounts the attack Liv Morgan initiated against her a few weeks ago on her Revenge Tour. Now, our Women’s World Champion will be put on the bench for a couple months, meaning she’ll have to vacant her title. But she warns that when she returns, she’s coming for blood. I believe her.

On The Bloodline side of things, Heyman was unable to locate Kevin Owens, so naturally, that pisses Solo off. He does keep it contained, though. The Wise Man informs Sikoa that he’s making decisions that aren’t his to make… right now. However, Solo doesn’t seem that much affected as he asks “Are you done yet?”

This is the darkest I’ve seen Solo, and I can’t say I hate it. It serves him well. He is, as Roman called him, the Tribal heir. Despite how loyal Solo was to Roman, I believe he was waiting for the moment he gets knocked off, so he could rightfully take his seat.

When he narrates that last week, he had to lose a brother, the fans boo him the way they would boo Dominik Mysterio. Just… not as loudly. Sikoa did that, so he could find a brother in Tama Tonga. As if on time, Kevin Owens is seen bleeding from his head as he’s being slugged around the ramp. Tonga’s handywork.

I was surprised to see a couple of Ones in the air regardless of what we just witnessed. KO, as we know him to be so resilient, attempts to fight Tama. He delivers a few hits before Solo grabs ahold of him. Tonga is the definition of unhinged rabidness as he continues to assault KO, headbutting him multiple times inside the ring.

Blood was everywhere. The audience were calling for Jey again. Tama wasn’t done as he grabs a chair, luckily, Aldis got in between him and his target. Solo also called him off… as much as one could do. Heyman is speechless… Jesus.

The eruption still isn’t over as Nick Aldis shows Heyman the remains of a crash site in the parking lot involving Tama Tonga’s car ramped into KO’s. Given the upcoming WWE Draft, Aldis will not tolerate this kind of savagery. He demands that the Wise Man makes The Bloodline understand because “the repercussions are going to be equally savage,” if he doesn’t comply.

Carlito vs. Santos Escobar 

While the LWO are still pointing the finger at Legado del Fantasma for the attack on Dragon Lee, Santos reminds everyone once again that they weren’t responsible.

He doesn’t mind proving that he’s been right this entire time, and I can’t wait to see the look on people’s faces when he does. I haven’t changed my previous statement about Andrade being the perpetrator.

Carlito powerbombs Santos on the mat then delivers a drop kick that sends his opponent crashing on the main floor in front of the announcement table.

Santos makes a comeback by trapping Lito in the corner with a double knee strike to his challenger’s chest. He follows that momentum with a massive Huricarana. Since he wasn’t able to pin Lito after that, Santos begins to torture the opposition.

Given Zelina’s encouragement, Lito continues to fight back, almost pinning Santos. Because of this, Elektra ventures to distract the official long enough for Santos to get back on his feet. Vega tries to stop her, but she collides with the barricade.

Escobar uses that leverage to hit Lito in the crotch then shoves him into the post followed by a victorious Phantom Driver.

Winner: Santos Escobar 

After the match, Kayla Braxton is interviewing some very special guests in the VIP box, Damage Control. Dakota Kai mentions that they’re simply here to watch two people they despise tear each other apart while Iyo Sky will get her title back when she’s good and ready.

Since they’re here, it’s only fitting that Bianca Belair and Jade Cargill make an appearance as well. You know, to keep things civilized. Ha!

Next week, the official contract signing between Cody Rhodes and AJ Styles will be scheduled. Also, Night One of the WWE Draft starts followed by Night Two on Monday.

Naomi vs. Bayley (c) – WWE Women’s Championship match

Naomi looks to steal a win early as she temporarily pins Bayley for a one count. She does that on two occasions during this match. Bayley switches things up with a deep arm drag on the challenger.

I can see that Naomi surprised Bayley with that sudden spilt as she avoided the champ’s body leaping over her. She said “Whoa!” I did, too. A double collision in the middle leaves both competitors slumped.

Naomi continues with her offence by drop kicking the champ and delivering a unique Bulldog maneuver. She nearly gets Bayley with the Rearview. The champ sees that. Later on, Naomi drives Bayley face first into the turnbuckle.

Bayley turns the tied with a belly-to-back suplex. She stacks Naomi up and that could have ended things because the referee was close to the three count. Too close.

At the top of the ring, Bayley leaps in hopes of delivering the elbow, but Naomi had her knees up in time. That flared Bayley’s right arm. That amazing face buster from Naomi etched her close, but not enough to the gold.

Bayley also gets her knees up countering Naomi’s spilt-legged Moonsault. That may have busted her knee again. She climbs to the top and successfully delivers the elbow to which she didn’t expect Naomi to kick out of.

Naomi may have not been able to pin Bayley coming out of the corner, but she beautifully transitions into a submission that prevents the champ from reaching the ropes. So, she uses Naomi’s momentum to squirm out of it.

A slugfest takes place in the center really demonstrating the capability of both women this deep into a match. Naomi rocks the champ with a kick to the side of her face followed a knee sending Bayley outside then a flying crossbody.

Bayley retaliates with a belly-to-belly suplex onto the announcement desk. That raptured her ass a little bit. Things were going great in my opinion, but Tiffany Stratton couldn’t have that, so she attacks both Bayley and Naomi resulting in a disqualification. Bayley still holds her title.

This girl…

While Belair and Cargill were fuming, Damage Control were snickering their asses off.

Winner: No one


TOP PHOTO: The Bloodline. Courtesy of WWE