The biggest winners and losers of last night's SmackDown (May 22)
- Things slowly picked up steam last night on SmackDown as the build to Backlash began.
- Among other notable developments, AJ Styles returned to the blue brand!
This week's SmackDown was a relatively big occasion, with Charlotte Flair taking on Bayley, and the ongoing Intercontinental Championship tournament which saw a massive surprise entrant.
Elsewhere, Mr. Money in the Bank, Otis, continued to be embroiled in the fallout between Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville, perhaps to his own detriment. With Backlash slowly building up, who got the most and least out of last night's show?
Winner: AJ Styles
Out of the blue, we got word that AJ Styles had, in fact, returned to "the house AJ Styles built" -- SmackDown. Always his home, it was fitting to see him come back after a year away. Who he was traded for remains to be seen, though it will be a selling point on next week's RAW.
However, the sudden manner in which it happened suggests that WWE is weakening its brand extension again, as it was doing this time last year with the much-maligned wild card rule. So far, things haven't been that chaotic this year, but it is a sign of the lengths WWE will go to in tough times.
Anyway, we saw a WrestleMania 34 rematch between AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura on this show. Thankfully, this one wasn't plagued with low blows as their entire 2018 rivalry was. What we got instead was a straight-up wrestling match that exceeded most of their contests that year and which Styles won.
He has to be considered one of the favorites already and is probably on a collision course with Daniel Bryan at Backlash. True, we've seen that match often, but if WWE leaves them to their own devices, there should be nothing stopping it from being the best match at Backlash. We'll just have to see what happens over the next few weeks.