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WWE SmackDown Live preview (Nov. 15, 2016): Nongenti

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It’s a big night in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, with the blue brand celebrating 900 episodes and building to not only this Sunday’s pay-per-view (PPV), but also December’s TLC and possibly WrestleMania 33, too!

The Headliners

We haven’t seen the Dead Man (trips to the coffee shop in Austin or to loiter around Cleveland locker rooms aside) since WrestleMania 32, where he defeated Shane McMahon in a Hell in a Cell match which meant Vince McMahon disowned his son and... you know what? Better not to think about all that.

Despite the fact Shane O’Mac will be featured in the other big return segment on tonight’s 900th episode of SmackDown, where the Commissioner will be the Rated R-Superstar’s special guest on “The Cutting Edge”, it’s probably safe to assume WWE doesn’t want McMahon interacting with the Dead Man and reminding us about that storyline. So what will Taker be doing?

Definitely reminding us he debuted at Survivor Series. Possibly firing up Team Blue as they head into a series of elimination tag matches against Raw on Sunday. And maybe, if rumors are correct, setting up his next feud for Mania in Orlando next Spring.

Edge isn’t as closely associated with the blue brand as Taker, but he did spend a couple of his formative years on Thursday nights. So while he may not be tasked with motivating the men’s Survivor Series team, he will have to keep them from killing each other. That’s because Shane won’t be his only guest tonight - he’ll also have the whole SmackDown five-man crew on “The Cutting Edge” - including WWE World champ AJ Styles, the man he’ll face at TLC for that title, Dean Ambrose, family members(?) Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton and even team mascot James Ellsworth!

Luckily, talk show segments are like contract signings in pro wrestling, so I’m sure everything will go smoothly and peaceably.

The Title Scene

The Intercontinental title could be heading to a new home on Sunday, but who will carry it into Toronto to determine its fate? Dolph Ziggler is the fighting champ who dared Raw to come get his belt, but first he has to beat old rival The Miz one more time. This match will start tonight’s historic episode, but if it’s as good as their No Mercy bout... WWE may once again be wishing they’d let the Show-Off and the A-Lister main event.

After a controversial win last week, Women’s champ Becky Lynch has the night off. She should probably use it to figure out how she’s going to co-exist with Alexa Bliss, who’s almost took her belt and who’s still fuming over the referee not seeing her foot while counting the pin in Scotland last Tuesday.

Beauty & the Man-Beast, aka Heath Slater & Rhyno, aka the tag team titleholders, will be trying to lead their troops to victory in the ten-man Survivor Series match on Nov. 20. Keeping Breezango, American Alpha, Hype Bros and the Usos on the same page may prove even harder than winning a Michigan state House seat in Dearborn, however.

It’s still a Raw belt for now, but Kalisto will be trying to defeat Brian Kendrick on Sunday and make the cruiserweight championship - and the whole division - a fixture of Tuesday nights.

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- Coach Natalya of the women’s elimination tag has her work cut out for her. Not only does she have to keep the Lasskicker and Ms. Bliss from one another’s throats, but she’ll be watching teammates Nikki Bella & Carmella fight their latest battle tonight.

- If his main roster run to date is any indication, it probably won’t get much play tonight, but Apollo Crews needs a win on SmackDown. Even the walking rib, Curt Hawkins, has beaten him on Tuesday night.

- Baron Corbin isn’t really injured, but I bet he’s pissed that he kayfabe slipped on the apron and got replaced by Shane.

It’s the Survivor Series ‘go home’ show!

What will you be looking for on SmackDown Live tonight?