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WWE SmackDown Live preview (Nov. 1, 2016): Beg your pardon

The blue brand heads to Newark in a land Raw and NXT’s Corey Graves tells us is full of felons and known for its poor public education. How will SmackDown overcome those handicaps?

The Headliner(s)

There’s no guarantee Dean Ambrose would have defeated AJ Styles last week to become #1 contender for the Phenomenal One’s WWE World championship even if James Ellsworth hadn’t snapped and Superkicked Styles. But because Ellsworth did just that, giving referee Mike Chioda no choice but to disqualify the Lunatic Fringe, Dean definitely doesn’t have a title shot anywhere on the horizon.

Ellsworth expressed nothing but remorse on Talking Smack, but there’s been no sign Ambrose cares. And why should he? The underdog sensation is expected back tonight, but Dean is surely more focused on figuring out how he can regain the top prize on Tuesday nights than he is on easing the conscience of the Chinless Wonder, right?

Or maybe both guys will be focused on helping Team Blue stand tall at Survivor Series on Nov. 20? Mick Foley announced almost all of his squad for the five-on-five elimination match that will take place in Toronto. Tonight, General Manager Daniel Bryan unveils the team he and Shane McMahon will send to battle Raw. And he’s doing on his old rival talk show segment, Miz TV.

You can be sure the Awesome One will be lobbying for a chance at pay-per-view (PPV) glory, and wherever Miz goes, Intercontinental titleholder Dolph Ziggler probably isn’t far behind. Will Bryan trust his show’s chances on a thorn in his side like Styles or the A-Lister, or go with someone he trusts? Or will the Beard put the best talent on the team, regardless of chemistry?

We’ll get answers one way or the other on USA Network tonight.

The Title Scene

Women’s champion Becky Lynch might end up Nikki Bella’s Survivor Series women’s team, but she has a match against Alexa Bliss to deal with first. Seven days ago, Bliss humiliated the champ on her first show back from injury. How will the Lasskicker retort with their showdown just another seven days away?

Bryan put the tag team titleholders, Heath Slater & Rhyno, right in the middle of the five team, ten man tag elimination. Hype Brose won a qualifying match to join them. Who will the other three teams be, and will one of them emerge as a threat to Beauty & the Man-Beast’s belts?

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- Randy Orton has definitely taken to screwing over Kane, and he may just have thrown in with the Wyatt Family. Is the man who hears voices in his head just playing mind games with Bray? If he really has joined the Eater of Worlds and his partner Luke Harper, will we finally get a great Wyatt story... or is it too late to even hope for that?

- Nikki knows one person who won’t be on her squad on Nov. 20, since the win she earned against Natalya to become the captain meant Natalya can’t even be on the team. But Carmella is still an option... if she’ll stop attacking the Fearless One for a second.

- Curt Hawkins was all set to finally debut last week, until Apollo Crews ruined the mood. Will the man with all the facts actually wrestle this week?

- After a week off, where will Baron Corbin fit into Bryan’s plans for the blue brand’s future?

Three weeks until Survivor Series!

What will you be looking for on SmackDown Live tonight?

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