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WWE SmackDown preview (Oct. 29, 2021): Charlotte Flair is the bad guy

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SmackDown airs tonight (Oct. 29) live from Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. This is the second SmackDown episode during the five week build towards Survivor Series on November 21. The show will air tonight on FS1 rather than FOX.

Charlotte Flair is the bad guy

Last week’s episode of SmackDown ended with Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch exchanging title belts, which makes Flair the new SmackDown women’s champion.

The big story coming out of that ill-conceived segment is the heated real life backstage incident between Lynch and Flair that transpired after the show went off the air. The main idea is that Charlotte Flair wasn’t happy with the planned segment so she went into business for herself, and Becky Lynch wasn’t happy at all about it.

From my perspective, it’s not obvious that Charlotte went off script and deserves all this criticism. One report says that Flair playing “cat and mouse” with the belt was part of the script, and it did appear to me that the title dropping to the ground could very well have been an accident.

Regardless of the uncertainty in my mind about what truly happened here, the bottom line is that Lynch, Sonya Deville, and seemingly all of Flair’s peers believe she intentionally tried to make Becky look bad. Flair’s reputation has taken such a hit (and this is something that has mounted throughout 2021) that people are considering “what if” scenarios involving WWE outright releasing her.

Will WWE now respond to all of this heat on Flair by incorporating it into kayfabe? Becky Lynch said she will be waiting at Survivor Series to fight the SmackDown women’s champion, and right now that woman is Flair. The storyline practically writes itself if that’s the match we’re getting.

If WWE would rather not go down that route, Sasha Banks has made it known that she’s coming after Flair’s gold in the very near future. It could be time for Sasha Banks to once again become the focal point of the women’s division on Friday nights if Flair’s massive heat results in a temporary halt on her push. Banks’ pursuit of Flair will be the story that plays out tonight on SmackDown, and we should find out when The Boss is getting her shot at the title.

The rest of the title scene

Brock Lesnar was suspended last week when he went on a rampage and attacked WWE officials. That means Roman Reigns either needs to find a new challenger for the Universal championship, such as Drew McIntyre, or WWE will need to start building up a non-title program against WWE champion Big E for Survivor Series.

The Usos are the SmackDown tag team champions and also need some fresh new challengers after spending last week being thrown around by The Beast. It’s probably too early for Hit Row to step up to the champs, so what about New Day or the Viking Raiders?

Happy Corbin defeated Intercontinental champion Shinsuke Nakamura in a non-title match last week. Corbin isn’t Shotzi or Nox, so he’s probably getting a title shot soon enough after that win. On the one hand, it makes sense for Corbin to go after Nakamura given the fact that Shinsuke is the one who took his crown and sent him into a downward spiral earlier this year. On the other hand, we watched these guys wrestle each other nearly every single week on SmackDown television in May, June, and into July. The matches never stand out, and I don’t think too many folks are clamoring for more.

Rhea Ripley and Nikki A.S.H. are the only women’s team left in WWE following the draft. The Women’s tag team champions are left wasting away because WWE doesn’t care one bit for building a women’s tag division. Ripley and A.S.H. are a makeshift team who were enemies as recently as August. At this point they’d be better off returning to singles competition.

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- Sonya Deville is feeling pretty good about herself after teaming up with Shayna Baszler to beat the crap out of Naomi two weeks ago. Last week she told Naomi to get the hell out of her face, and Naomi strangely followed those orders without pushing back. I can’t imagine this is where their story ends, so hopefully Naomi is secretly plotting out a path for revenge.

- Hit Row debuted last week with a win in a tag team jobber squash match. We can probably expect more of the same tonight as they continue to establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with on the main roster.

- Mansoor beat Mustafa Ali twice last week. Is there actually a push coming his way?

- Last week’s show featured a 40 minute angle to write Brock Lesnar off television, which meant that many new arrivals to the SmackDown roster only received a very small amount of pre-taped promo time. There should be more time this week to feature some of these wrestlers, such as Sheamus, Ridge Holland, Aliyah, and Angel Garza & Humberto Carrillo.

- Halloween is coming up this weekend, so WWE will likely book an appropriately themed street fight or tag match of some kind tonight with comedy elements in the mix. It could be the perfect setting to humiliate Sami Zayn.

What will you be looking for on SmackDown tonight?