SmackDown airs tonight (Nov. 19) live from the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut. This is the final SmackDown episode during the five week build towards Survivor Series on November 21.
Get ready for another screwjob at Survivor Series
SmackDown women’s champion Charlotte Flair will wrestle against Raw women’s champion Becky Lynch at Survivor Series, and it’s by far the most interesting match on a lackluster card.
The intrigue stems from a heated backstage incident that occurred after they exchanged their titles on SmackDown a few weeks ago. Many folks believe Flair went into business for herself because she didn’t like the script. As a result, Lynch no longer trusts her. Naturally, there are rumors and fan speculation about whether a shoot fight is going to break out during their scripted match in Brooklyn this Sunday.
This raises the obvious question - how is WWE going to book a finish to their match at Survivor Series? Will either wrestler be okay with losing this fight?
In some ways, WWE has laid the foundation for a Brooklyn Screwjob to take place. One of the very first things WWE did to promote this Survivor Series card following Crown Jewel was to remind fans about the infamous Montreal Screwjob in Bret Hart’s match with Shawn Michaels at Survivor Series 1997. That may have been by design, to prepare fans for what’s to come on Sunday. Keep in mind that WWE had plenty of time to book a women’s title change in order to avoid doing the Lynch vs. Flair match at Survivor Series, but it’s clear this is the match WWE has always wanted for Sunday’s show. WWE is embracing the “shoot or work?” aspect of the story here.
A worked screwjob finish is one way to end the Lynch/Flair match without having one wrestler lose cleanly to the other, while also doing something more interesting than a disqualification ending. It would also heavily play into the “Is this a shoot or a work?” angle that’s been simmering ever since they swapped titles a few weeks ago. If WWE is having any second thoughts about Becky’s current heel alignment, a screwjob finish might be one way to get her going back to the babyface side of the ledger. The fans in Brooklyn will certainly treat her like a beloved hero, that’s for sure.
So, how does a screwjob make sense for their story? That’s where tonight’s episode of SmackDown comes into play. Keep your eyes open for some kind of hint or sign that authority figures Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville are becoming more interested in the outcome of the Lynch/Flair fight. Pearce and Deville have become increasingly abusive in recent weeks, and would seemingly need to play a key role in a screwjob finish at Survivor Series.
Lynch and Flair have not shared the same ring since the awkward title exchange segment last month, and that probably won’t change tonight. Flair will be in the building, so unless Becky is appearing via satellite, Charlotte should get the last word in their feud on the Survivor Series go home show.
The rest of the title scene
Universal champion Roman Reigns lost a match against King Woods by disqualification last week. It was a rare loss for the Tribal Chief, but he was more concerned with hurting and humiliating Woods. Roman wore the king’s crown, and then sent The Usos over to Raw to attack WWE champion Big E. Will Big E invade SmackDown tonight to launch his own premeditated strike ahead of their non-title match at Survivor Series?
The Usos are the SmackDown tag team champions and will represent the blue brand at Survivor Series against Raw tag team champions RK-Bro. Jimmy and Jey crashed Raw earlier this week to send a message to a few folks, including
Matt Riddle and Randy Orton. Things didn’t go according to plan, though, as their night ended with an RKO and a Big Ending. It’s doubtful that RK-Bro will show up tonight, so Jimmy and Jey will likely stick to fending off the New Day alongside Roman tonight.
Intercontinental champion Shinsuke Nakamura will be facing United States champion Damian Priest at Survivor Series. There’s been just about zero build for the match, and Priest hasn’t even been on Raw for the last few weeks. Nakamura and his hype man Rick Boogs have their hands full on Friday nights with Los Lotharios anyway, so there’s no need for Shinsuke to lose sleep over a non-title match with no consequences at Survivor Series.
Rhea Ripley and Nikki A.S.H. are the Women’s tag team champions but there are zero women’s teams on the new SmackDown roster for them to face. Ripley will represent Team Raw at Survivor Series, and could theoretically show up tonight to beat up a few members of Team SmackDown.
Other stuff to keep an eye on
- Sasha Banks is scheduled to go one-on-one against Shotzi tonight. They will be teammates on Sunday at Survivor Series, but that won’t stop them from kicking each other’s ass right now. Sasha still owes Shotzi a receipt after Shotzi turned on her a few weeks ago.
- Ridge Holland told Cesaro that Sheamus is returning to WWE tonight.
- Drew McIntyre loves issuing open challenges on SmackDown. But as the team leader for the blue brand at Survivor Series, Drew might have to spend less time focusing on himself tonight, and more time trying to get his team all on the same page.
- Speaking of the men’s team, there is still one open spot now that Sami Zayn is booted off the team. Which mystery person will join up with McIntyre, Happy Corbin, Jeff Hardy, and King Woods?
- The SmackDown women’s team for Survivor Series is complete now that Toni Storm has replaced Aliyah. Will Toni Storm try to confront Charlotte Flair again tonight, or will her focus be entirely placed on the battle for brand supremacy?
- Mustafa Ali has taken interest in Ricochet once again, but The One and Only isn’t remotely interested in Ali’s talking points, and is now openly mocking him.
- It looked like Jinder Mahal and Shanky were set for a match with Hit Row after last week’s backstage rap, but Hit Row was suddenly fired by WWE last night. What a strange company.
What will you be looking for on SmackDown tonight?