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March 04, 2016

WWE SmackDown rundown: Who will challenge Charlotte at WrestleMania?

Wrestling WWE
030416_charlotte_WWE WWE/Twitter

Charlotte thought she was off the hook in defending her title at WrestleMania, but she got some bad news backstage on Thursday night.

SmackDown on Thursday night emanated from the Philips Arena in Atlanta and all eyes were focused on WWE Roadblock next Saturday night live from Toronto on the WWE Network. More matches have been added to the card and it’s shaping up to be a pretty good card on paper.

Each week, SmackDown is becoming more and more of a must-watch television program just because some things progress from Monday Night Raw and it’s not a carbon copy of it anymore. We now know who will challenge Charlotte at WrestleMania for the Divas Championship, AJ Styles continues to impress and The New Day as must-watch as it gets in today’s professional wrestling.

Here are the main stories coming out of SmackDown:

Ambrose and Owens renew their rivalry

Dean Ambrose opened the show and lamented as to whether he would face Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania as WWE World Heavyweight Champion, defend the championship against his brother, Roman Reigns at WrestleMania, face Triple H in a rematch or face all three of them in a cage together. You see, Ambrose is wondering this because he’s set to face Triple H for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship next Saturday night at WWE Roadblock, live from Toronto on the WWE Network.

Ambrose challenged Triple H this past Monday on Raw, and the champion answered with second straight beating of a former member of The Shield, just one week after [sort of] bloodying Reigns and breaking his nose and putting him on the shelf with nose surgery, which is likely all just a storyline. So, with Ambrose having his chance at becoming champion, there’s some intrigue in how WrestleMania will set up after March 12th, if there are any changes.

The Intercontinental Champion, Kevin Owens, was feeling a little ornery and decided to interrupt Ambrose, saying he’s what’s wrong with WWE and tried attacking him while the Lunatic Fringe sat inside the ring on a steel chair. Ambrose, thanks to the $5 billion [OK, I’m exaggerating, but I’m sure it’s still expensive] TitanTron, saw it coming and moved out of the way and nailed Owens with the steel chair. This would set up the night’s main event.

The two had a great main event and the story was that underdog comeback from Ambrose on Owens. Ambrose, who’s still selling the effects of being beaten and battered by the Beast Incarnate, Brock Lesnar, was put over heavily after his win against Owens via Dirty Deeds by head SmackDown announcer Mauro Ranallo that you’d think he’d beaten Triple H for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

It’ll be interesting to see how the main event at Roadblock goes, given that WWE also has to protect Ambrose and make him look strong heading into his WrestleMania match against Lesnar. Of course, if that’s still the plan. You never know with Vince McMahon – Ambrose could walk into AT&T Stadium on April 3rd as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. I wouldn’t bet on it, though.

More matches for WWE Roadblock were announced throughout the night, but we’ll get to them later.

Divas Championship match set for WrestleMania

Thursday night marked the second attempt to determine a No. 1 Contender for Charlotte’s Divas Championship at WrestleMania as Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch wrestled each other for the second time this week. The match was fantastic, but didn’t have a clear finish because Charlotte attacked both combatants outside of the ring while Ric Flair was distracting them.

It was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Renee Young got a scoop and told Charlotte backstage that she would be facing both Sasha and Becky in a Triple Threat Match at WrestleMania for the Divas Championship. Charlotte and Ric were speechless as they walked away.

I’m surprised they saved this angle for SmackDown, but I’m not complaining. SmackDown’s becoming a program to watch more and more and if someone missed the show, they’ll be pleasantly surprised come Monday night. Unless they, you know, read it on the internet.

Styles, Kingston square off in a preview of Monday Night Raw

The New Day will defend their Tag Team Championships on Raw this Monday against AJ Styles and Chris Jericho, but on Thursday night, Kofi Kingston took on AJ Styles in one-on-one competition. In a great wrestling bout, Styles got the win with a springboard elbow after both Xavier Woods and Big E were sent to the back by the ref. Styles didn’t waste any time, and with Kingston distracted, notched another win under his WWE belt.

And this is why New Day rocks. A parody of the League of Nations? Yes, please. It looks like these two factions are headed on a collision course at WrestleMania.

Goldust rejects R-Truth’s offer to become a tag team

After weeks of chasing him to be his tag team partner, Goldust was taken aback on Thursday night by R-Truth saying he’d like to officially become a tag team with him as the Golden Truth. Goldust was none too pleased by this, thinking that R-Truth was just messing with him, so he decided to throw some food on his face.

These two will have to eventually team up, right? I find their segments highly entertaining, and it leaves me wanting a little bit more.

Bray Wyatt and the Beast face off at WWE Roadblock

Wyatt and the Beast will go one-on-one at WWE Roadblock next Saturday night. In what was rumored to be a possible WrestleMania match, those plans were dropped when Ambrose was put in that position to go head-to-head with Lesnar at the biggest event of the year. Rumors then surfaced that Lesnar would face Wyatt in the summer at SummerSlam. I don’t know if that’s still on the table, but it doesn’t seem likely since the two will go at it one-on-one in just over a week.

Here’s the card that’s been announced for WWE Roadblock next Saturday night:

WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Triple H (c) vs. Dean Ambrose
Brock Lesnar vs. Bray Wyatt
NXT Tag Team Championship: The Revival [Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson] (c) vs. Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady

Match rundown

     • Sheamus and Rusev d.The Usos by pinfall after Sheamus nailed the Brogue Kick on Jimmy Uso. The Dudley Boyz attacked the Usos after the match.

     • Dolph Ziggler d. The Miz by pinfall via a backslide.

     • No. 1 Contender’s Match for the Divas Championship: Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch ended in a disqualification after Charlotte attacked both contenders outside of the ring.

     • AJ Styles d. Kofi Kingston by pinfall via a springboard elbow. Xavier Woods and Big E were sent to the back right before the finish.

     • Non-Title: Dean Ambrose d. Kevin Owens by pinfall via Dirty Deeds.

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