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WWE SmackDown preview (July 2, 2021): Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens got a raw deal

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SmackDown airs tonight (July 2) live from the ThunderDome in the Yuengling Center in Tampa, Florida. This is the second SmackDown episode during the four week build towards the upcoming Money in the Bank 2021 event on July 18.

Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens got a raw deal

Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens will continue fighting forever when they do battle in a Last Man Standing match tonight. The winner of the match qualifies for the men’s Money in the Bank ladder match.

With Sonya Deville granting Carmella automatic entry into the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match, and most of the other ladder match spots determined through basic singles or tag team matches, it’s not clear why Owens and Zayn have been given the most difficult path towards winning the Money in the Bank contract. A match of this intense physical nature could have lasting effects that puts the winner at a severe disadvantage compared to the rest of the field on July 18.

This is one time where Zayn’s complaints about his unfair treatment are especially justified. He just defeated Owens at Hell in a Cell, but that victory apparently meant nothing. This is the match that counts, so Sami will have to do it all over again if he hopes to eventually win the Money in the Bank contract.

The title scene

Just as Roman Reigns was going to make an announcement about the Universal championship last week, he was interrupted by Edge’s latest surprise return. Edge now has a championship match against Roman at Money in the Bank. Reigns is expected to respond to Edge’s attack tonight. With Daniel Bryan no longer involved in Edge’s championship quest, it will be interesting to see if Edge moves more towards the babyface side, or if he remains in the unhinged tweener role. And keep an eye on Seth Rollins, who is pissed off about Edge cutting in line in front of him.

SmackDown women’s champion Bianca Belair was pinned by Bayley in a tag team match last week. They are clearly headed to a third championship match against each other, it’s just a matter of whether that match will take place at Money in the Bank or on SmackDown television.

With Commander Azeez booted from ringside, Intercontinental champion Apollo Crews lost against Big E in a Money in the Bank qualifying match. It’s not clear what’s next for Crews and Azeez, but WWE sure does like booking Big E and Crews against each other.

Rey and Dominik Mysterio are the SmackDown tag team champions, but they missed last week’s show after the beatings they received at the hands of the Tribal Chief. Alpha Academy has stepped up their game in recent weeks, including a new look and mean streak for Otis. Whenever the Mysterios return, Otis and Gable will likely be waiting for them.

Natalya and Tamina are still the only women’s tag team left on Friday nights. The women’s tag team champions could potentially show up tonight to compete in Money in the Bank qualifying matches. There aren’t a lot of women on the roster, though, so Sonya Deville may just grant more automatic entries into the women’s ladder match.

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- There’s some confusion over Liv Morgan’s status for the Money in the Bank ladder match. She defeated Carmella last week in a match to prove that she belongs in the women’s ladder match, but her entry is not yet confirmed. Sonya Deville and Adam Pearce will have to clear up this situation tonight.

- The men’s Money in the Bank ladder match still needs more participants from SmackDown besides Owens or Zayn. Cesaro and Seth Rollins stand out as two obvious guys who should be gunning for those spots.

- Baron Corbin is no longer a king, and it also sounds like he’s broke after losing hundreds of thousands of dollars on bad investments. Which babyface is going to rub salt in the wound tonight?

- Jimmy Uso defeated Dolph Ziggler last week in an attempt to prove he can fill in as the right hand man for the Tribal Chief while Jey Uso is missing. Will Paul Heyman raise the stakes with a more difficult task for Jimmy to deal with tonight?

What will you be looking for on SmackDown tonight?