SmackDown airs tonight (June 18) live from the ThunderDome in the Yuengling Center in Tampa, Florida. This is the go-home episode for the Hell in a Cell event coming on Sunday night (June 20).
Rey Mysterio doesn’t stand a chance against Roman Reigns
Last night, WWE made the surprising decision to move the Hell in a Cell Universal championship match between Roman Reigns and Rey Mysterio off of this Sunday’s Hell in a Cell card and onto tonight’s episode of SmackDown. WWE’s lifeblood is the massive revenue that they generate on their television contracts, and this decision is a reminder that scoring high television ratings is still a top priority for WWE. Given that there is a giant cage set up in the Yuengling Center for Sunday night, WWE might as well use it to increase ratings on Friday night.
As far as the actual match goes, Rey Mysterio is really no different than Jey Uso, Kevin Owens, or Cesaro. None of those men ever had a chance to take the Universal title off of Roman, and neither does Rey. The main unknown about tonight is whether or not WWE will actually deliver this match as advertised, or if it will turn into an angle that still keeps Reigns vs. Mysterio intact for Sunday.
If the match takes place as advertised tonight, perhaps the finish will set up a situation where The Usos can take advantage of Rey’s beaten carcass to put themselves in a great position to win the SmackDown tag team titles. It’s also possible that Roman might get booked into a match against Jimmy Uso or Dominik at Hell in a Cell after he obliterates Rey tonight.
The title scene
Intercontinental champion Apollo Crews will team up with his Commander Azeez to take on the duo of Kevin Owens and Big E. The hook here is that this is Azeez’ in-ring debut, so it’s wise to expect that he’ll get the Omos treatment. That’s bad news for the babyfaces, at least one of whom will likely receive the Nigerian Nail tonight.
Things didn’t go as planned last week with Bayley’s talk show, and it resulted in her set being trashed by Cesaro. Bianca Belair came out afterwards and laughed at Bayley’s misfortune. The entire SmackDown women’s championship feud between Bayey and Belair is based on laughing at your enemy, so we’ll see which wrestler gets the last laugh before their title fight at Hell in a Cell.
Natalya and Tamina are still the only women’s tag team left on Friday nights. The women’s tag team champions don’t really have any reason to show up to SmackDown tonight, unless WWE is going to have Bayley and Belair reluctantly team up for a tag team match.
Other stuff to keep an eye on
- King Nakamura is scheduled to wrestle Baron Corbin tonight for the fifth time spanning the last eight episodes of SmackDown. This time there are actual stakes to the fight - the winner gets to keep the king’s crown.
- Cesaro returned to SmackDown last week and beat the pants off Seth Rollins. These two stars don’t have a match officially penciled in for Hell in a Cell yet, but now that Roman vs. Rey is bumped off that card, it opens the door for Cesaro and Seth to get booked into a Hell in a Cell gimmick match on Sunday.
- Otis injured Montez Ford last week with some help from Chad Gable’s lack of honor. Angelo Dawkins will be looking for revenge tonight when he takes on Otis in a singles match.
- Liv Morgan and Carmella have each scored a win against each other over the last two weeks. Will there be time on tonight’s card to book another rematch?
What will you be looking for on SmackDown tonight?