WrestleMania 33 cheat sheet: SmackDown women's championship
WrestleMania 33 is finally here. Over weeks and months of action on Monday Night Raw, SmackDown Live, 205 Live and a variety of pay-per-views, we've reached the pinnacle of the year in the world of professional wrestling.
For those casual viewers who need to get caught up ahead of diving back into the WWE ahead of WrestleMania, or those just seeking a refresher because of the sheer volume of programming it took to get here, we have everything you need to know leading into some of the biggest matches on the card. We'll be dropping them throughout the week, and our coverage continues with Alexa Bliss' arduous challenge in defending the SmackDown women's championship against "all available women on the SmackDown roster."
For a look at the full WrestleMania card, click here.
Depending on how you look at it, there has been months' worth of build or not much at all. Since Alexa Bliss first won the SmackDown women's championship in early December, she has enraged nearly everyone on the roster with her ego and her shady in-ring tactics. In other words, she's arguably been one of the best and most effective heels in the WWE. But outside of Becky Lynch and more recently former associate Mickie James, Bliss hasn't really established a bona fide beef with any of the other competitors. That makes this free-for-all -- especially with an unknown amount of women in play, because of the way it has been set up -- a weird dynamic.
Since announcing two weeks ago that Bliss will put her title on the line against every available talent, SmackDown has tried to create altercations between, well, pretty much every available superstar. At this point, we can be pretty certain that Lynch, James, Natalya and Carmella and the recently returned Naomi will be involved, but without a defined vision, at least on the surface, the ensuing melees have generated more anarchy than story-building.
It's safe to say we won't be betting our house on the outcome of this match -- especially when we don't know all the participants for certain, nor even the type of match it will be. But the best prediction we can render is a surprise winner. Perhaps Eva Marie? Summer Rae? More than anyone, Naomi deserves an extended run after she inexplicably forfeited her title with an apparent injury just days after winning it at Elimination Chamber in February. Her return Tuesday night certain laid the groundwork for that. Or maybe we'll see the return of Tamina Snuka? Perhaps a comeback for a retired former champion, like Kelly Kelly? All this, of course, is predicated on whether some of these women actually participate. Hedge your bets, people.
Whatever the outcome, here's hoping the addition of surprise entrants and roster members will become a staple on SmackDown Live, giving an already hearty women's roster even greater depth. The permutations are vast, with Bliss, win or lose at WrestleMania, continuing to be in the championship mix, and rightfully so. No one on either roster is more talented in the art of mouthing off than she is. Assuming she is cleared, Naomi, who has been on the roster since 2012, could prove that WWE decision-makers made a mistake by not giving her a chance to be the champ (or at least in the mix) a few years ago, pre-women's revolution.
Like Lynch, Naomi can wake up an audience just by making her way to the ring. As for the aforementioned "Irish Lass Kicker," Lynch has seemingly reached her apex on Smackdown, and there's little room for her to grow. Lynch would benefit from a trade or draft that would send her to Raw. Maybe straight up for Sasha Banks? It feels like Lynch resolving some unfinished business with Charlotte Flair could be well worth the effort for both women.