SmackDown Live has picked the pace up ever so slightly this week. Storylines have moved on towards Fastlane but this is largely to include John Cena who is without a “road to WrestleMania”. Excluding the fact he’s the biggest name within the company and can handpick any opponent he so chooses. Welcome to the most must-see Vulture Hound weekly review in history; welcome to… The SmackDown Review.

The aforementioned Johnathan Cena opened the show by demanding he be included into the WWE Championship match at Fastlane. Shane McMahon entered and, forgetting who he was talking to, said it isn’t that easy. Daniel Bryan then entered and said if Cena can win a main event non-title match against AJ Styles tonight, he’ll be added to the Fastlane title match, making it a 6 Pack Challenge.

The first match of the night saw Baron Corbin take on Sami Zayn whilst Kevin Owens sat in on commentary. During the match, there was backstage segments featuring the growing tensions between Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan, with the latter ending the conversation by asking for time off to see his fanily. Weird segment in all honesty. Back to the match, and Corbin picked up the win when Dolph Ziggler appeared and superkicked Owens. This distracted Zayn which allowed Corbin to hit the End of Days for the win. After the match, Ziggler hit Corbin with the Zig Zag.

The in-between:

– Ruby Riott defeated Naomi. Riott is now 2-0 against the team of Naomi, Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair. There is only slightly morendirection in this feud than in your parents marriage. Only slightly.

— The New Day were in the ring and said they would win the tag titles at Fastlane and go on to WrestleMania. The Usos interrupted and said they’re tired of getting passed over at WrestleMania, and this year is their time. Before they could come to blows, they were interrupted by the Bludgeon Brothers, who didn’t say anything, but their presence was enough to make the Usos and the New Day leave the ring.

– Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Aiden English. Nakamura hit a good ol’ Kinshasa on English for the win. The main talking point about this match was all the “Rusev Day” chants for the Bulgarian who was at ringside.

Big Match John does the business:

Another classic between AJ Styles and John Cena saw the pair bring out moves they’ve rarely used on WWE before; Styles pulled out a spin-out powerbomb and a lionsault; Cena landed a fireman’s carry neckbreaker. Annoyingly, the SmackDown producers chose to cut to an ad break when there were two nearfalls from a Styles Clash and an Attitude Adjustment. Eventually, Cena pinned Styles after hitting a final another AA. Before Cena could show his respect towards Styles, Kevin Owens, Baron Corbin and Sami Zayn beat down Cena and Styles. Ziggler then came out to make the save before also attacking Styles. Cena came out on top when he hit Ziggler with a final AA to close the show.

The main event for Fastlane is now a Six Pack Challenge for the WWE Championship.

By Bradley Tiernan

"Wrestling is better than the things you like" - John Oliver