You didn’t think we would forget the “Thoughts” section for SmackDown right? It’s a little late, but it’s here! This week’s SmackDown is the last show before Fastlane and the last opportunity for the women of the Blue brand to make their mark. It’s also their chance to make sure that they aren’t overshadowed by the star power taking over on RAW, so what did we have in store this week?

First up, Dasha Fuentes invited SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair to have a face-off with her opponent at Fastlane, Ruby Riott. Riott takes to the microphone and targets Flair’s ‘myth of success’ in WWE, claiming that she’s become a WWE Grand Slam Champion because she’s been placed on a pedestal. When it seems that things will turn physical, Riott calls Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan into the ring. Before any fists start flying, ‘GLORIOUS’ hits the speakers and Flair’s Mixed Match Challenge tag team partner Bobby Roode makes his way to the ring. The Riott Squad retreat as Charlotte awkwardly stands at smiles at Roode.

Next up, we see Becky Lynch face off against Carmella, following their dispute on WWE.com after last week’s SmackDown. Much like Lynch’s prediction last week, Carmella ends up tapping out to Lynch’s Dis-Arm-Her, despite dominating most of the match. In a fun nod to Candice Michelle and Kelly Kelly, Carmella does a hanging figure four neck lock in this match, it also seems she has Kelly’s hair stylist with her excessive extensions, but I digress. Post-match, Lynch celebrates as Carmella strops in the middle of the ring.

Watching the match backstage is Naomi, who is approached by Natalya. Natalya claims that anyone who becomes friends with Becky gets ‘burned’. Naomi defends her friend and decides to make a challenge, challenging Natalya and Carmella to have a tag match with herself and Becky Lynch at Fastlane.

On WWE.com, Becky Lynch celebrates her victory over Carmella and also accepts to take part in Naomi’s challenge to Carmella and Natalya at Fastlane.

Thoughts:

First off, let me be real and say the booking for the Women’s Division on SmackDown has been abysmal. They had a nice angle with Charlotte and Ruby going 2 for 2 with each others’ allies, but they have completely undermined it all with Riott cutting a promo about something we’ve heard time and time again. Didn’t Paige, Nikki Bella and Alexa Bliss all call out Charlotte for her ‘familial influences’? Instead of the commentators talking about the background, one of the women should have highlighted it. A simple ‘I’ve beaten 2 of your friends… and will finish off with you’ would have been such clean booking to at least give this feud some fire.

Either way, the segment was ruined even more by Roode walking out and Charlotte standing there and smiling like she was 8 years old and Barney the Dinosaur was walking down. All this segment did was remind us all how Riott is pretty damn good on the microphone… but it really didn’t too much for their match at Fastlane. The Riott Squad are about as credible as Extreme Expose at this point, it’s a shame because Ruby has so much talent, but much like Absolution on RAW, these guys have to work their way up the ladder I guess.

The match was alright… I’m a Carmella fan and I know she’s the best, but she has picked up some really bad traits. I don’t know if she was getting tips from Kelly Kelly at the Royal Rumble, but the screaming, the dodging from selling and the hilarious overload of hair extensions are very distracting. We all low-key want her to cash in at WrestleMania, but she is going to need to do a lot more for us to take her seriously if she was to ever win a Championship.

Lynch/Naomi VS Natalya/Carmella will probably be a good match, but it has filler written all over it. Again, I appreciate all of these women, but knowing that this match has been developed after 2 minor backstage segments makes it obvious that they’ve just been chucked onto the end of the card. Sure, it will probably be a fun match, but it’s not going to blow us away… although I really hope it does pull a surprise shocker!

At this point, I’m not enthusiastic about Fastlane since it’s so predictable – all the faces are definitely winning. I’d be surprised if there were any other results since I don’t see any of the current heels going to WrestleMania (unless Carmella cashes in). I’m more excited for the final prep to WrestleMania to begin because everyone wants to know who Charlotte will be facing. Hopefully, the ladies can impress us at Fastlane, I am dying for Ruby to show us what she is capable of doing, but knowing that she’s probably going to do the job is a major buzzkill.

Are you looking forward to Fastlane? Do you think there will be any pleasant surprises? Who do you think is going to challenge Charlotte at WrestleMania? Comment away below!