A travel-weary roster will look to shake off jet lag on Tuesday's WWE SmackDown. After recent trips to South Africa and Saudi Arabia, Team Blue heads to Montreal for the last show before the Backlash pay-per-view on Sunday.
Last week's Greatest Royal Rumble didn't settle much of anything.
AJ Styles is still out for vengeance. Daniel Bryan has more reason to dislike Big Cass. The Miz didn't complete his Intercontinental Championship quest. It's time now to push those stories forward leading into Backlash.
Styles would be wise to wear a cup. He's set to meet Shinsuke Nakamura ahead of their WWE Championship match on Sunday, and The King of Strong Style has made a habit of hitting the champ where it hurts.
This will mark WWE's second straight night in Montreal.
The crowd was on fire for Raw. It's a safe bet the fans will be buzzing for SmackDown, too.
What's set to unfold on the go-home show? News updates, storyline projections and the SmackDown preview on WWE.com help us take an early look before it airs at 8 p.m. ET on USA Network.
No need to worry about Aiden English. Rusev's personal crooner looked to be in bad shape after his collision with Undertaker at the Greatest Royal Rumble, but that appears to be just part of the script.
PWInsider's Mike Johnson and Paul Jordan reported: "Aiden English was OK after taking a tombstone from Undertaker that appeared to spike his head into the mat. We were told that when he was removed from the casket, his selling was so good that fans watching actually thought he was legitimately injured."
According to Wrestling Observer Radio (h/t Randall Ortman of Cageside Seats), WWE may add Ronda Rousey vs. Mickie James to the Backlash lineup.
If that ends up happening, there will be less room for a SmackDown women's match other than the title bout. Asuka, The IIconics and others may have to wait until Money in the Bank or later to get their own PPV spotlight.
Retired sumo wrestler Hiroki Sumi was one of the 50 men who competed in the Greatest Royal Rumble in Saudi Arabia despite him being off just about every fan's radar.
Surprisingly, WWE teased a possible SmackDown appearance for him. WWE.com asked: "Was Sumi's appearance a one-time only thing? Or will we see him in the corner of Nakamura on SmackDown Live someday? Either way, the re-emergence of Sumi will be hard to miss."
Nakamura has a new streak in the making.
He and Styles fought to a double count-out at the Greatest Royal Rumble. That gives The King of Strong Style two matches in a row without a loss.
That could be the start of another hot run. Ahead of WrestleMania, Nakamura was in the midst of an eight-bout winning streak that began in January, per CageMatch.net. He is 10-2-1 in 2018, and it looks like he's closing in on his first WWE Championship win.
Tye Dillinger is on a much different part of the SmackDown food chain.
The Perfect 10 has lost four TV or PPV matches in a row overall and is 1-9 in his last 10 SmackDown contests, per CageMatch.net. The blue brand hasn't showcased him much at all. WWE doesn't seem to believe him to be anything more than a stepping stone for other folks.
Last Leg of Backlash Build
The United States titleholder is set to have some face time with the man challenging for the Intercontinental Championship at Backlash. The Miz will welcome Jeff Hardy to Miz TV on Tuesday.
Hardy fended off Jinder Mahal to remain champ at the Greatest Royal Rumble. He doesn't have a dance partner at the PPV yet, but it's likely a challenger will emerge during this segment.
As for The Miz, he has his eyes set on dethroning Raw's Seth Rollins. There was no crossover between brands with that feud on Monday. We'll soon see if WWE takes a different approach on Tuesday.
Charlotte Flair and Carmella will prep for their SmackDown Women's Championship with a six-woman tag match. Flair will partner with Becky Lynch and Asuka, while Carmella will fight alongside The IIconics.
The Princess of Staten Island should enter this battle seething. The last time she and the No. 1 contender crossed paths, Flair smashed Carmella's face into a table.
Bryan will be in revenge mode, as well. He looked ready to close in on a victory in the 50-man Battle Royal in Saudi Arabia when Big Cass struck. Cass added some choice words after the elimination to top things off:
There is sure to be some fallout from that moment as the two rivals' collision nears.
Nakamura and Styles promise to have some tense face-to-face, too. The King of Strong Style has nailed the champ with low blow after low blow of late. Yet Nakamura is the one set to demand an apology.
His heel turn at WrestleMania has energized Nakamura. Tuesday's show will give him another chance to display his new persona.
His and Styles' matchup is SmackDown's top contribution to Backlash, so it's bound to get plenty of attention.
Raw's go-home show underwhelmed in many spots. It's now SmackDown's turn to have a go at charging toward Backlash with some real momentum.