WWE SmackDown returns tonight (Sept. 18) from the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. They are building towards Clash of (the) Champions, which is on Sunday, Aug. 27.
Lately I’ve found myself looking forward to SmackDown. It’s no longer the “Wrestling is on, I should/need to watch it” that Fridays had prior but now more of a “Oh, sweet, SmackDown is on tonight.”
And it hasn’t just been a good episode here or there followed by their normal lull that will often happen after a strong show. Since they’ve moved to to the ThunderDome, WWE’s Friday programming has been consistently enjoyable.
Since we already mentioned it, the ThunderDome setting has to play a role in that. The tight space that the WWE Performance Center supplied made the show look worse. Now that they’re back in a larger arena with virtual fans, it feels like the show is important again. But that isn’t the only reason. I’m not looking forward to Raw like I am Smackdown. The fact it’s a three hour show compared to SmackDown’s tighter two will always play a role, but the main factor is that WWE is doing a lot of interesting things on Fridays.
The main one is Roman Reigns’ alignment with Paul Heyman and his heel turn. Roman quickly won the Universal championship after returning and now will have to face his own cousin Jey Uso at Clash of Champions in a title match. This will put Roman’s loyalty to Heyman against his former loyalty to his own blood. I expect this to lead to Reigns beating the holy hell out of his cousin, but they’re taking a slower route getting there, which is appreciated.
Then there’s the fact that WWE finally went ahead with the Bayley/Sasha Banks feud they’ve been teasing for years now. And they’ve done it perfectly thus far. Bayley’s vicious actions towards Banks were almost required to pull this off. Sasha had been just as bad as Bayley up to this point. She needed to pay for her sins in a way that gives her a reason to be a believable babyface. The brutal beatdown did that. We’ll hear from the Boss tonight.
Those are the big stories, but there are others. Such as the Intercontinental title scene, with Sami Zayn finally returning to claim he’s the champion while Jeff Hardy is actually the champ. That is likely going to set up a superstar triple threat between him, Jeff, and AJ Styles. And it’s still early, but Alexa Bliss’ change due to the influence of the Fiend is really intriguing.
Hopefully, my writing this doesn’t jinx us and the give us three weeks of duds. But there are enough very interesting stories happening on this show that I have faith it’ll continue going strong.
The Title Scene:
This week, Universal Champion Roman Reigns and Jey Uso will team up against Sheamus and King Corbin in a Samoan Street fight. Last week, Roman was content to stay in the back and let Jey do all the work until the end. Because of that, apparently Reigns has to be the first man in the ring tonight. (I thought a street fight was all four guys fighting at once, but it looks like Samoan ones have odd rules.) We’ll see how he gets out of doing most of the work.
While Bayley waits to hear from Sasha Banks, she also has to prepare for yet another match against Nikki Cross, who will be challenging her for the SmackDown Women’s championship again at Clash. I like Nikki a lot, but don’t see the reason they went with her when they’ve run this match plenty already. Especially since Naomi actually pinned the champion in the Beat the Clock challenge prior to SummerSlam and wasn’t even part of the fatal 4-way last week.
Sami Zayn will face AJ Styles. If AJ wins, would Sami hand over his fake Intercontinental championship? Also, more Joseph Park please.
SmackDown Tag Team Champions Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura lost to the Street Profits on Raw in a fight that they picked. Was that a one and done? Are they going to invite the Profits to come to their turf? Is WWE looking to unify the tag titles? If it was a one and done, the Lucha House Party pinned the champs last week so that could be the match at Clash.
Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax are the Women’s tag team champions, but there aren’t any teams on SmackDown for them to come and face.
Other things to keep an eye on:
- Nikki Cross will be a guest on a Moment of Bliss this week, which is a bit of a downgrade since she used to co-host it. Bliss delivered a Sister Abigail to Cross last week and in general, Cross as been concerned with Alexa’s Fiend like behavior.
- It’s been a couple weeks since Big E has been put in the hospital by Sheamus. Maybe he’ll return during that Samoan Street Fight.
- Otis is probably livid that the Miz got Mandy Rose traded to Raw. So I guess he’s going to have to beat Miz or Morrison again?
What will you be looking for when SmackDown returns tonight at 8 PM ET on Fox?