Big E Returns, Daniel Bryan Stuck in Tag Division and More WWE SmackDown Fallout
Less than a week removed from WWE Super ShowDown, the June 11 edition of SmackDown Live was all about continuing to establish the dominant forces on the blue brand.
Kofi Kingston walked out with his WWE Championship, and he was joined on Tuesday by Big E, who was making his return to action. While the comedic heavyweight has not been gone too long, his return did help establish how much dominance The New Day holds over SmackDown.
Another man lording it over the brand right now is Shane McMahon. "The Best in the World" has made it his mission to dominate screen time on Raw and SmackDown every week until everyone gets sick of him. Most already have.
Somehow, in the middle of all this, Daniel Bryan has been completely left out of the spotlight. The former WWE champion has been struggling to even find time to perform in his crusade with Rowan to save the SmackDown tag team division.
Luckily, R-Truth and Carmella have not been suffering for time to shine, as the two have utilized their opportunities presented by the 24/7 Championship liberally. It was all about The Princess of Staten Island this week with Truth trapped in a crate.
All these stars are doing their best to make the most of their time and have come to define the blue brand in a pronounced manner.
Big E's Return Makes New Day Feel Even More Unstoppable
Big E officially returned from injury in the main event of this week's SmackDown, teaming with Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods for the first time in months. And The New Day didn't seem to have lost a step with the WWE champion putting away Sami Zayn with Trouble in Paradise.
Alongside Zayn, Kevin Owens and Dolph Ziggler do not feel all that threatening as challengers to the WWE titleholder. No one does, especially with the return of New Day's heavy. With Kingston on the greatest run of his career, E just adds more power to a dominant stable.
It's great to see the fun-loving babyface back in action, but it's hard to say how WWE will be able to manage the imbalance right now at the top. Some heel needs to be able to step up to Kingston and pose a serious threat.
Unless WWE wants to commit to the host of underused heels on the blue brand, the best option will likely be Randy Orton. He has history with the champion and can pose a dangerous threat on his own.
Another less likely option would be to pit The New Day against each other. It would be a mistake at this point, but most great stables are eventually undone from within.
The worst options available may be WWE's pick. Given his recent track record, Shane McMahon may be perfectly poised for this step forward.
Shane McMahon's Run as WWE's Top Heel Is a Maddening Affair
Shane McMahon forced The Miz to host him on Miz TV with Drew McIntyre and Elias, and it did not take long for the taunting to grow aggressive.
Shane-O-Mac offered The A-Lister a chance to face him one-on-one but only if he defeated The Living Truth and The Scottish Psychopath back-to-back.
While Miz defeated Elias, he was worn down too much to also defeat McIntyre, falling to a Claymore. Afterward, McMahon booked himself in a match with The A-Lister and made his rival tap out to a triangle choke.
Boy Wonder has grown into an overwhelming and unbearable force on both brands, dominating the focus and screen time. While he is fine in his role, no one could make this amount of exposure work.
As Erik Beaston noted in the Raw recap for B/R, McMahon is holding down the product as well as the talent around him. McIntyre is obviously losing his mystique. Elias has gone from an entertaining solo act to a forgettable warm-up routine. Reigns and Miz don't feel relevant working off any of them.
The biggest problem right now is that no one else even comes close to the level of attention Shane-O-Mac receives on a weekly basis. How could any heel compete with a quarter of the time to succeed? Try as they might, everyone is lesser to McMahon right now.
The real solution may be to just take him off television entirely sooner rather than later. After The A-Lister and The Big Dog get their revenge, he should disappear for a few months so others can step up in his place.
Daniel Bryan Deserves Better Than Tag Team Division's Current Treatment
Daniel Bryan and Rowan promised a title defense against the local Yolo County tag team champions, but Heavy Machinery took the match as an insult.
The champions stood aside to let Otis and Tucker fight the local competitors. The heavyweights won easily.
Heavy Machinery have done well with a limited spotlight, but they are working every other week at best right now. The whole tag team division in fact has been treated as a secondary focus while some great wrestlers barely see TV time anymore.
No one has been hurt by this more than Bryan, though. He was on one of the biggest roles of his career going into 2019, but he can barely get screen time now. He was supposed to be the man to add legitimacy to the SmackDown tag team division.
That's a difficult prospect when the champions cannot even get 10 minutes in a given week. He's certainly not suffering the worst of anyone in the division, but his mistreatment is telling for how WWE sees tag team wrestling.
It could be worse, though. At least he gets some television time unlike Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura since the Wild Card Rule was implemented.
Carmella Continues to Put on Best Work of Her Career
Before her match with Sonya Deville, Carmella accidentally locked R-Truth in a crate to protect him from potential challengers.
Mandy Rose helped Deville defeat The Princess of Staten Island with a step-up knee strike, and Carmella returned to try to find Truth, who was being shipped to Los Angeles.
While Truth has continued to be the vital comedic element that sells the 24/7 Championship, Carmella's role has been just as important. She has been the voice of reason and focus that has kept him from making a key mistake.
After an underwhelming women's title run, The Princess of Staten Island has impressed consistently as a babyface. She is as entertaining as ever while putting on strong showings in the ring. She did the best work she could to help elevate Deville throughout their bout.
At some point, Carmella should win a championship again. While she will certainly get another chance with the SmackDown Women's Championship, she should also get a 24/7 Championship or three out of this story.