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WWE SmackDown preview (July 10, 2020): Back it up

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Another show from the Performance Center in Orlando. This one was taped last week.

The Headliner

A couple days ago, a new set of rumors went around about how much Vince McMahon loves Otis. Which got me thinking... where’s Otis?

Skimming back through the live blogs, we’re coming up on a month since we’ve last seen the charming slab of beef from Minnesota. He was on the winning side of six-man on June 12. The included some small tension with teammate and Universal champ Braun Strowman - you might recall Otis holds this year’s Money in the Bank briefcase. Mostly, though, his appearance served to continue a storyline with King Corbin, with Dozer being unhappy that King Corbin was macking on Mandy Rose... and worried that Rose might be receptive to Corbin’s advances.

Yeah, sounds like a Vince McMahon storyline.

Since then, he hasn’t been around. Which would be odd for a guy the boss is high on, but is doubly so since he’s carrying around a contract that allows him to call his own shot at the brand’s top belt.

Now, given the strange times we’re living in and WWE’s top secret way of approaching everything, it’s possible Otis is sidelined for reasons other than “creative has nothing for you”. He could be out for a COVID-related reason, or otherwise injured. But’s let’s hope all is well with the former Mr. Dozovic.

Corbin’s moved on to Matt Riddle. Strowman is still entangled with Bray Wyatt (and their program is so treading water that we’re getting a replay of Braun’s win over Wyatt at Money in the Bank on tonight’s show). What to do with Otis?

Bring back Heavy Machinery, that’s what.

Tucker’s available - he worked with Otis & Strowman in that June 12 match. He plays a great straight man to his partner’s over-the-top antics, and can be counted on to do the expository work in their scenes to advance the plot. He’s good in the ring. And the blue brand tag division isn’t particularly deep these days.

In fact, we’ve got a SmackDown tag team championship match tonight, and it seems like it might be time for New Day to drop those belts for the sixth time. Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura have continued to be an entertaining act even without Sami Zayn as their hype man, and it’s probably now or never for them as a team.

If we get heel champs, we’ll need babyface challengers.

The title scene:

It’s not for The Role Models’ WWE Women’s Tag championship, but when Sasha Banks & Bayley continue their rivalry with Bliss, Cross, Applesauce tonight, their non-title match will advance the feud for Bayley Dos Straps’ other belt - the SmackDown Women’s championship. In addition to getting us ready for Nikki Cross vs. Bayley at Extreme Rules, we should also watch for signs of cracks in either or both of these teams.

After successfully defending his Intercontinental title against Drew Gulak last week, AJ Styles surely thinks he’s ready to move on from Daniel Bryan & his training partner. He still needs to avenge that loss to Riddle.

Other things to keep an eye on:

- Seemed pretty clear to me, but Miz is going to ask Jeff Hardy for his thoughts on Sheamus hiring a bartender to try to get him to throw away his sobriety. While they’re at it, maybe they can figure out something for John Morrison to do. Not that he didn’t look great making Riddle look great last week, but maybe he could feud with Jeff in a program that doesn’t involve a lot of liquids?

- Sonya Deville’s been gone for almost as long as Otis. That sucks.

- Maybe they could follow up on that great Chad Gable promo from a few weeks ago?

Two weeks until Extreme Rules!

What will you be looking for on SmackDown tonight?

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