clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

WWE SmackDown preview (July 31, 2020): Who’s the hero?

WWE SmackDown returns tonight (July 31) from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. They are building towards SummerSlam, which may also be in the WWE PC or a boat or on Fake Fight Island, which is on Aug. 23.

The Headliner

The Two Woman Power Trip is legit.

After Sasha Banks defeated Asuka, via count out, to win the Raw Women’s championship, she and Bayley officially have a stranglehold over the entire WWE women’s division. They also hold the Women’s tag team championships together while Bayley has been the SmackDown Women’s champion for a long time now.

Like my colleague Sean, I am a fan of the angle. It was actually something I was hoping they’d do before the WWE draft last October. I’ve always been a fan of a real big bad and Sasha and Bayley are that.

However the allure of the angle is the task it takes to eventually dethrone them. The Two Man Power Trip of the early 2000s had a strong foe in the Brothers of Destruction. In fact the moment when Undertaker and Kane stepped up to take them on is a favorite of mine because of how bad Triple H and Steve Austin were.

Right now, Sasha and Bayley don’t have that. But they will need to sooner than later. So we’re going to speculate on who can take the various titles off the Power Trip that results in their ultimate demise and probably feud.

The Women’s Tag Team titles

- The IIconics

While the easiest guess would likely be Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss as they’re the only tag team really featured, I’m betting on a break up between them. That could happen as early as tonight if Nikki fails to beat Bayley for the title again and snaps on her partner/Bliss screws her. So that’s why I’m going with the IIconics, the team that ended the Golden Role Models first reign. They’d have to slot into a babyface role, but Peyton Royce & Billie Kay are so charismatic that it shouldn’t be a difficult task.

- Liv Morgan & Ruby Riott

This story has been on hold since Liv’s been absent, but friends turned enemies reconciling back to friends often ends in a title reign. It wouldn’t be any time too soon given Liv needs to first return before they could even get past their issues.

- The Divas of Doom

It’s a bit of a stretch here, but I’ve felt that Natalya and Beth Phoenix deserve to hold the gold at least once, even if very briefly. Beth could make this a marquee match for a PPV. But that is if she’s comfortable wrestling right now.

The Raw Women’s championship

- Asuka

The Empress tomorrow is a clear favorite to win back the red belt and maybe very soon. She wasn’t pinned nor submitted for the belt. She lost via a count out rule that was actually put into place to keep Sasha honest. Given the Golden Role Models used her friend Kairi against her, she’ll be out for revenge and could be winning this back as early as SummerSlam.

- Charlotte

The Queen is likely going to be out past SummerSlam, but always a threat to win gold whenever she returns. Personally, I don’t love the idea because that’d require her to play the babyface, something she isn’t really that good at. And I’d rather see someone else benefit from defeating the Power Trip.

- Shayna Baszler

Shayna would have to shift over to a chaotic neutral position from the villain she normally plays, but maybe her feud with Nia Jax would accomplish that. The Queen of Spades is still a threat and Sasha would do well to stay out of her crosshairs.

The SmackDown Women’s championship

- Alexa Bliss

This is the toughest one because Bayley has run through the division. But Bliss is always a threat to win gold and has a long history with Bayley. However, it’s more likely that she’s going to be clashing with current, and maybe soon to be former, partner.

- Sasha Banks

If the goal is to get to Sasha vs. Bayley, perhaps they keep the gold on Bayley to add stakes. It really wouldn’t need it though. Plus it will take a long time to get Sasha into the babyface role given she’s full on bad gal right now. She’d need to be betrayed by Bayley, possibly with a brutal attack after a loss, to get her there. The match is one that could happen at Wrestlemania, but if they wait that long, it shouldn’t be for the gold.

- Naomi

I’m skeptical that the groundswell behind Naomi right now is going to lead to a championship reign, especially with no crowds in attendance to show her that appreciation. But on this roster, she’s one of the most qualified for the spot, and there’s a story to be told about her being held down while Bayley is allowed to run wild.

Let us know below who else you think could start chipping away at the Golden Role Models’ gold.

The Championship Scene:

Universal Champion Braun Strowman may still be out in the swamps somewhere. That may be the least of his problem because when he gets back, he’s likely going to have to contend with the Fiend.

Nikki Cross will face Bayley for the SmackDown Women’s championship tonight. But as mentioned above, I don’t think she’s going to win.

AJ Styles will defend his Intercontinental title against Gran Metalik, who won the opportunity in a fatal 4-way last week. Even though he doesn’t want to be, Styles looks like he’ll be a fighting champion. That means more Styles matches. That’s a good thing.

The Artists (Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura) are the SmackDown tag team champions, but there aren’t many teams around to fight them. Kofi Kingston is out for a bit nursing an injury from their tables match, so the New Day is out. Maybe Heavy Machinery will be back soon?

Other things to keep an eye on:

- Otis will be on TV tonight, but it’s to show how his relationship with Mandy Rose is going. Meaning he may not actually be in the arena.

- Naomi has a message for Lacey Evans tonight.

- Last week, Jeff Hardy defeated Sheamus in a bar fight. He looked to be defeated but then suddenly had face paint and contacts in, which led to his comeback. This feels like a version of Jeff we saw in the Broken Universe. Not Willow or Itchweeed though.

- A Big E singles run is happening!

What will you be looking for when SmackDown returns tonight at 8 ET on Fox?

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats