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While Jeff Hardy may have defended his United States Championship from Jinder Mahal during The Greatest Royal Rumble last week, “The Charismatic Enigma” has a new challenger to contend with this Sunday at Backlash: Randy Orton.
The rumblings of a feud started a few weeks ago on SmackDown Live, when Hardy interrupted Orton while he was walking to the ring and took his spot in a match against Shelton Benjamin. The next week, Orton returned the favor by interrupting Hardy’s entrance.
During the “MizTV” segment of this week’s SmackDown, The Miz tried to goad Hardy and Orton into a conflict by confronting them about their respective behavior. Surprisingly, both Orton and Hardy insisted there was no bad blood between the two, despite Miz’s constant badgering.
Later in the night, Hardy and Orton teamed up to take on Miz and Benjamin in a tag-team match. For most of the match, Hardy and Orton worked in sync, and it appeared that their statements on “MizTV” were legitimate.
However, Hardy learned the hard way that you can’t trust “The Viper.” Right after Hardy pinned Benjamin for the win, Orton shocked the crowd by nailing Hardy with his patented RKO “out of nowhere.”
Will Hardy be able to protect his title for the second time in as many weeks, or did Orton’s tricks give him the mental advantage? We’ll find out on Sunday.
Backlash airs live from the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ on the WWE Network on Sunday, May 6.