Ahead of his WWE Championship defense against Jinder Mahal at Backlash, Randy Orton defeated Baron Corbin on Tuesday night’s episode of SmackDown Live.
Orton delivered an RKO for the victory, but he went from the frying pan into the fire as Jinder Mahal and the Singh Brothers attacked the champion. Mahal made a major statement before Backlash, hitting Orton with his cobra clutch slam, courtesy of WWE’s official Twitter account:
What a STATEMENT as @JinderMahal lays out @RandyOrton with the #Khallas to send the ultimate message before #WWEBacklash! https://t.co/u15jvLBrpG
5/17/2017, 2:00:41 AM
The Viper has been a big-time target over the past few weeks and months, and that was once again the case Tuesday, as Corbin looked to use him as a stepping stone.
Orton beat Bray Wyatt for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania, but that didn’t end his rivalry with The Eater of Worlds.
It carried over to Payback in a House of Horrors match, which saw Wyatt pick up the victory due to interference from Mahal and the Singh Brothers.
Prior to Payback, Mahal won a Six-Pack Challenge on SmackDown to establish himself as the No. 1 contender for Orton’s WWE title.
Days before Payback, Mahal and the Singhs jumped Orton and absconded with the WWE Championship.
SmackDown commissioner Shane McMahon took it back and presented it to the rightful owner, but it didn’t stop Mahal from insisting that he deserved to be champion.
Orton faces a major—if unexpected—challenge from Mahal at Backlash, but he couldn’t afford to look past a Superstar of Corbin’s caliber.
The Lone Wolf has been on WWE’s main roster for just over one year, and it hasn’t taken him long to prove that he is a top heel in the making.
Corbin debuted at WrestleMania 32 by winning the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, and he has been near the top of the card on SmackDown ever since.
He has yet to capture his first title in WWE, but he entered Tuesday’s match knowing that a win over The Apex Predator could potentially put him in the WWE Championship picture moving forward.
Corbin fell in favor of giving Orton momentum entering Backlash, but the Lone Wolf performed well and showed why most expect him to reach the main event scene in the near future.
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