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WWE SmackDown Live preview (Oct. 31, 2017): Trick or treat

The build toward Survivor Series continues in Norfolk, Virginia, right before Team Blue hops on a plane and heads to Dublin.

The Headliners

Two stories should dominate an episode which has the tough task of going head-to-head with Game 6 of a wild baseball World Series... and Dolph Ziggler and Bobby Roode will also be here.

Commissioner Shane McMahon brought his “Land of Opportunity” approach to determining who will officially represent SmackDown on their men’s Survivor Series team - and to deal with his issues with once-and-future best buds, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.

KO and Sami didn’t participate in Shane’s raid on Raw last week, but they were willing to join the cause. McMahon wasn’t willing to let two men who nearly cost him his life at Hell in a Cell take the reins, however. So he gave them opportunities (get it!?!?) to earn spots on the team.

Zayn came up short against Randy Orton last Tuesday. Tonight, Owens gets his chance to crash the party when he faces Shinsuke Nakamura.

Meanwhile, Shane O’Mac will still be running things, as Daniel Bryan was stretchered to a medical facility after his old tag team partner Kane chokeslammed him - probably to hell, but that’s unconfirmed at this time - during DB’s attempt at brokering a peace with his Raw counterpart, Kurt Angle. McMahon may also have something to say about his own General Manager going rogue.

And, yes, the physical embodiment of 50/50 booking, Dolph Ziggler, will end his program with former NXT champion Bobby Roode when they square off in a best two-out-of-three falls affair. Hopefully, what started out as a pretty clever way to incorporate The Glorious One’s entrance into a feud won’t end up with The Show-Off disappearing from our screens again while Roode goes from Wednesday night star to Tuesday night mid-guard gatekeeper. But...

The Title Scene

He’s probably focused on surviving his non-title Survivor Series showdown with Universal champ Brock Lesnar, but WWE champion Jinder Mahal does need to keep his mind in the present. AJ Styles battles another of his acolytes tonight when he faces Samir Singh, but The Phenomenal One clearly wants what The Maharajah has - and the sooner he gets it, the better. Jinder’s efforts to help Samil Singh defeat Styles last week came up short, which may not be a good sign.

When he’s not trading phone promos with his Team Red rival, Intercontinental titleholder The Miz, United States champ Baron Corbin has been tussling with Sin Cara. The luchador actually holds two straight wins over The Lone Wolf, but last week’s came via disqualification and a brutal beatdown from Corbin. The former Lucha Dragon has demanded a rematch tonight, according to’s official preview.

There hasn’t been much build at all toward the battle of Tag champs at the next pay-per-view (PPV). Probably because Raw’s Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins are getting beat-up by Kane, and SmackDown’s Jimmy and Jey Uso are keeping their eyes on #1 contenders Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin, who last week picked up an impressive win against former champs of both brands, The New Day.

With the rest of the division trying to figure out how to get along on Becky Lynch’s Survivor Series team, Natalya can probably focus on her Women’s title non-title showdown with Alexa Bliss. While keeping one-eye on Ms. Money in the Bank Carmella, of course.

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- Tyler Breeze have explored the supernatural before, but this is Halloween, and they’re going for a parody of Netflix’s mix of 80s Steves (King and Spielberg) when they visit The Upside-Down on “Stranger-er Things” tonight. I honestly don’t even remember what the mystery is supposed to be at this point, but expect waffles jokes in this one.

- Seeing as it is Halloween, expect some kind of themed match. Maybe as a way to remind us of where Hype Bros stand as a team, or what Tye Dillinger or (gasp) Mike Kanellis are up to these days?

- Hopefully, Rusev will be elated and not released.

- Harper. Rowan. Bludgeon. Brothers. If that’s not a gimmick made for an All Hallows’ Eve show, I don’t know what it.

Three weeks until Survivor Series!

What will you be looking for on SmackDown Live tonight?

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