SmackDown airs tonight (Aug. 27) live from the Simmons Bank Arena in North Little Rock, Arkansas. This is the first SmackDown episode during the five week build towards Extreme Rules 2021 on September 26.
Brock Lesnar’s return is the worst case scenario for Finn Bálor
Things were looking pretty good for Finn Bálor last month when he returned to WWE’s main roster. He made it clear that he was pursuing championship gold, and was cleverly inserted into the main event story between Roman Reigns and John Cena.
But things quickly fell apart from there, with Cena stealing Bálor’s Universal championship match away from him in a very silly angle. Finn tapping out to Roman’s guillotine choke was the cherry on top. Bálor was conveniently cast aside and forgotten about so that the final weeks of the true main event story between Cena and Reigns could go on without him. Now that SummerSlam is over with and the Cena story is finished, Finn should return to SmackDown tonight, where he’ll presumably get his hands on Reigns and/or the Usos.
Some fans who defended Finn’s booking suggested he would get involved in the finish of the Reigns/Cena match at SummerSlam, leading to a championship match at Extreme Rules. Instead, Bálor was completely irrelevant on the pay-per-view event itself. Even worse for him, babyface Brock Lesnar is the man who showed up at the end of the night, making it clear that he is coming for the Tribal Chief very soon. We’ll hopefully hear from Brock tonight, with a lot of the focus being on whose side Paul Heyman will choose between The Beast and The Tribal Chief.
Lesnar’s presence immediately puts Bálor in a lame duck position. If Lesnar’s match with Reigns goes down in Saudi Arabia in October, Finn will likely get the title shot against Roman at Extreme Rules in September. But with Lesnar waiting in the wings, it will be difficult to take Bálor seriously as a threat to Reigns on that card. On the other hand, if Lesnar gets the title shot at Extreme Rules, then Bálor might never even get his Universal championship match on pay-per-view with the Head of the Table.
Either way, there is a decent chance that Bálor is going to become the filler television feud for Roman on the weeks when Brock isn’t around. And John Cena’s sudden departure from WWE indicates that Finn won’t even get a measure of revenge on the face that used to run the place.
Full-time wrestlers often take a backseat to the part-timers in WWE, and Finn Bálor’s return to main roster WWE is quickly being swallowed up by that problem.
The rest of the title scene
Becky Lynch returned to WWE at SummerSlam and defeated Bianca Belair with one move to win the SmackDown women’s championship. Reports and rumors suggest that Lynch is now a heel. Lynch will likely have a mic in her hands at some point tonight, so her first promo as champ should clue us in as to the future direction of The Man.
Shinsuke Nakamura is such a cool Intercontinental champion that he was given time at SummerSlam to do his entrance and go crazy with Rick Boogs and Pat McAfee, even without a match booked on the card. Nakamura has gotten the better of Apollo Crews in recent weeks, and tonight’s episode should reveal if their story will continue, or if the one true king of WWE is ready to move on to bigger and better things.
The Mysterios failed to beat Jimmy and Jey Uso for the SmackDown tag team titles at SummerSlam. The failures and frustrations are quickly piling up for Rey and Dominik. Could this story be leading to a split between father and son in the near future?
Shotzi & Nox have defeated the Women’s tag team champions (Natalya & Tamina) in three separate tag team matches since the start of July, yet for some reason they still aren’t the tag champs. Don’t try to make sense of it.
Other stuff to keep an eye on
- After falsely advertising Sasha Banks for at least a week ahead of SummerSlam, WWE never bothered to explain why she missed the event. That means we’re left to wonder how long it will be until her “unforeseen circumstances” are resolved.
- Edge and Seth Rollins had by far the best match of the night at SummerSlam, and their feud continues to reek of awesomeness. Will we get a gimmick match of some kind between these two men at Extreme Rules, or will part-timer Edge disappear for a bit?
- The Street Profits are very good at beating that jabroni Chad Gable, but they still can’t figure out how to topple Otis.
- Now that SummerSlam is behind us, will some of the SmackDown wrestlers who have quietly disappeared from television resurface in time for fresh new stories at Extreme Rules?
What will you be looking for on SmackDown tonight?