Carmella was a bit of a surprise when she was drafted to Smackdown. In NXT, she was known mainly as Enzo and Cass’ friend from Staten Island and had limited in-ring experience even at the time of her call-up. But Mella has made it and she’s done so at the expense of the Nikki Bella. Since her violent attack on the longest reigning Divas champion of all time, Carmella has consistently held the upper hand. She’s got a ton of momentum heading into Backlash on Sunday. Could she be the first ever Smackdown Women’s Champion?
After a surprising win over Enzo and Cass at SummerSlam, Chris Jericho’s tag team partner Kevin Owens won the WWE Universal Championship. This looked like the end of JeriKO. But while he lost a partner, Jericho gained a best friend. Jericho has inserted himself in the thick of things at the top of the card, defending his best friend whenever necessary. Win or lose, the Lionheart is on fire.
Change of attitude, change of latitude. The Usos showed us a new vicious side on Smackdown and their stock is on the rise. Their beatdown of Chad Gable wasn’t just a statement, it was a plan and it worked. Gable is out of Sunday’s Backlash, so the Usos are back in the title picture with a match against the Hype Bros. The winner goes on to battle Heath Slater and Rhyno later in the night for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships. Slater and Rhyno are a cinderella story, but it’s going to be hard to stop The Usos if they bring the viciousness they displayed on Smackdown.
Nia Jax has been on a tear since arriving on Raw. While her opponents have been limited to local wrestlers thus far, it’s not hard to imagine how her total physical dominance will translate in future matches. After a backstage spat with Alicia Fox, Jax may soon be turning her focus towards the women of Raw. If Nia starts picking up wins over WWE main roster talent, it’s only a matter of time before she enters the Raw Women’s Championship title picture. Charlotte, Sasha and Bayley better watch their back.
The Samoan superstar has had a whirlwind year. He began 2016 as WWE Champion before losing the title to Triple H in the Royal Rumble. He spent much of the Road to Wrestlemania in shadows as Dean Ambrose feuded with their boss. He got back to the top of the mountain at Mania and followed that up with a memorable AJ Styles feud. But since the return of Seth Rollins, Reigns has been free falling. He lost the title, served a suspension and failed to make it to the Universal Championship finals. Still, the Roman Empire marches on. As his Bulgarian rival enjoys his honeymoon, Reigns has once again set his sights on the top prize. Monday is going to be huge for Roman.
Last week, Baron Corbin was in the main event of Smackdown vs the WWE Champion. This week? Nowhere to be found. Sunday at Backlash? Not on the card. Despite winning the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal upon his debut, Corbin’s Smackdown career is beginning to look a lot like his NXT career: all bark, no bite. His last pinball victory was way back on July 18th 2016. Corbin is free falling.
After exiting the tag team tournament, Tyler Breeze took a vacation. This left his tag partner, Fandango, with nothing better to do than dance awkwardly with a woman from the crowd and end up on the receiving end of a Demon Kane beat down. Fandango has all the talent in the world. His partnership with Breeze is promising. But he can’t get out of his own way. If the him and Breeze could focus on their competitors instead of fashion, dancing or selfie sticks, they’d be a force to be reckoned with. Until then, they’re just sitting ducks.
Everyone hates Dana. After multiple losses to Bayley, Charlotte’s patience seemed to be wearing thin with her protege. This week, Charlotte planned to show Dana how it was done but things went south. Brooke inadvertently distracted the Raw Women’s champ and opened the door for a Bayley win. Later that night, she took Sasha’s faux retirement bait and ended up in a Bank Statement. If Dana can’t prove her worth soon, she might find herself without a mentor.
The list of Stephanie McMahon’s known allies is dwindling. Her working relationship with her husband is in question after The Game’s actions last week. Her and Seth Rollins had quite the falling out during Raw’s opening segment. To top it all off, General Manager Mick Foley seized back his power and undercut Steph’s decision to suspend Rollins by giving the Architect a Universal title rematch at Clash of Champions. The Billion Dollar Princess usually has a master plan but it seems her deathgrip on the red brand is loosening.
Down 3-0 in the best of 7 series, Cesaro will need to pull out 4 consecutive wins against Sheamus. Their next match happens tonight at a Raw Live Event in London. Remember, the winner of the series will get a championship opportunity. So every match from here on forth is literally all or nothing for the Swiss Superman. Beyond the best of 7, Cesaro’s future is clouded in mystery. There are some reports that his contract may be coming to an end sooner rather than later. Is this the end for Cesaro? We hope not.
This week’s 5 Up, 5 Down is based on the September 5th and September 6th editions of Raw and Smackdown respectively. Next week’s 5U5D will be results of Raw, Smackdown and Smackdown’s Backlash! Stop back on Wednesday to see how is on the rise and how is free falling!