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SmackDown 1000 preview (Oct. 16, 2018): Line in the sand’s official preview for the 1000th episode of SmackDown is pretty low-key. I guess they have other things on their mind as they head to Washington, D.C. on Oct. 16...

The Headliners

It was only eight days ago that Triple H donned a leather jacket to re-form his Attitude Era, anti-establishment partnership with Shawn Michaels as D-Generation X. They’re set to face Undertaker & Kane at Crown Jewel, a show which is happening... WWE isn’t really saying where right now... on Nov. 2.

Taker will be on tonight’s anniversary episode, which makes sense. The Dead Man was a staple of the blue brand during the first brand split. The same can’t be said for the Ruthless Aggression Era band Trips is getting back together tonight. Evolution is undeniably a big deal in WWE history. The 49 WWE World title reigns between its four members prove that. But they were always a Monday night act.

Which isn’t to say there isn’t a ton of history between the Dead Man and the men who will stand by the Game’s side tonight. Ric Flair, Randy Orton and Batista have all been in memorable feuds and matches with the Phenom. Which is probably where the focus should be when the two acts trade words. Triple H can trot out a line-up of men who prove Taker can be bloodied and beaten (not on the Grandest Stage of Them All, but he & HBK aren’t facing the Brothers of Destruction at WrestleMania). He can respond by saying he’s survived those wars and stood the test of time in a way Hunter’s factions never have. Maybe that sows seeds of discontent between Evolution, leaving the door open for matches between the Game, the Animal and the Viper should Dave Bautista’s movie schedule allow time for them.

Crown Jewel’s host city isn’t the only thing WWE will want to steer clear of in building to DX vs. Kane & Taker. They probably don’t have time to explain Haitch’s character progression from “Suck It” to “Best For Business”, even though Evolution is a key bridge to that. Just trot him out there is suit tonight and put him back in denim & neon green next Monday. We’ll go with it.

Likewise, any issues of whether he & Shawn are faces or the Brothers heels can be glossed over. This is definitely a root-for-whoever-you-like-better legends feud already, and with Orton playing a full-blown villain again these days and Batista and Flair assured return pops, they’ll be best served just going with however the crowd reacts instead of trying to cultivate a specific response.

But they should definitely interact. It’ll probably be a little weird, but it would also be weird not to. And really, what else is Evolution going to do anyway?

The Title Scene

It doesn’t have anything to do with the belt he carries, but United States champion Shinsuke Nakamura gets top billing in this section for the first time. That’s because he gets the first crack at a legend who isn’t just returning for the anniversary. Rey Mysterio is back on a full-time contract, and he’ll kick off his latest run against Nakamura. The winner gets to join the field for the World Cup To Determine The Best In The World™.

They won’t be in the eight-man World Cup field, but Crown Jewel’s WWE title fight will be between two guys who believe they’re the best in the world - AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan. They kept things respectful last week, but they may have just been because they were both in agreement they’re both better than Miz.

Another non-conclusive finish and a brutal post-match scene set the stage for General Manager Paige to announce a Last Woman Standing match for Women’s champ Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair at Evolution. Look for Charlotte to interact with her old man at some point tonight, and for the Badlass to have something to say after Flair speared her through an LED board last Tuesday then went dancing on Mixed Match Challenge.

What’s up with five time tag team champions The New Day? Who knows? No, seriously. Who? Who? Who? The beat The Bar down under. Now they need something to do.

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- He called winner of the Styles/Bryan program. Now The Miz turns his attention to winning the World Cup To Determine The Best In The World™. He’s in qualifying action against Rusev tonight.

- And that’s a match Aiden English, who was embarrassed when Lana’s hacking revealed the sad truth of his Milwaukee footage and chased off by Rusev, definitely won’t factor in to.

- Jeff Hardy displayed some newfound savagery when he targeted Samoa Joe’s injured knee to win his qualifier last week. Will we learn any more about the dirty tricks the Charismatic Enigma picked up after his brutal Hell in a Cell match with Orton? Is Joe off our screens for a while, or will he back to make Jeff pay?

- Despite the Saudi Arabian controversy muting the hype for this celebratory episode, expect guest stars galore on tonight’s broadcast. It’s a party, after all. Plus it’s...

Two weeks to Evolution / three until Crown Jewel!

What will you be looking for on SmackDown 1000?

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