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WWE SmackDown preview (Sept. 17, 2021): The women’s roster is stuck backstage

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SmackDown airs tonight (Sept. 17) live from the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tennessee. This is the fourth SmackDown episode during the five week build towards Extreme Rules 2021 on September 26. Following last week’s great show from Madison Square Garden, nothing is advertised for tonight’s card.

The women’s roster is stuck backstage, for some reason

One of the current storylines on SmackDown involves Naomi being a newcomer to the brand but already getting on the bad side of authority figure Sonya Deville. As a result, Deville is ignoring Naomi’s requests for a match, leaving her frustrated and stuck backstage in limbo and/or catering.

It turns out that Naomi isn’t the only woman struggling to stand out on SmackDown. Anybody who is not named Becky Lynch or Bianca Belair is having a tough time getting the television spotlight right now. Last week’s episode of SmackDown had zero women’s matches. The week before that also had zero women’s matches.

Shotzi & Nox are relegated to driving a tank backstage. Toni Storm is hanging out backstage rooting for Rick Boogs. Zelina Vega is getting bumped from a show about 9/11 despite her history with that tragic day. Liv Morgan has wrestled in just one match on SmackDown television over the last two months, and most recently was just staring at Carmella backstage. Sasha Banks was rumored to be backstage at the last couple SmackDown episodes, but isn’t being used on television.

I don’t really know why so many women on the SmackDown roster are stuck backstage, but hopefully the upcoming WWE Draft will do something to address this situation. There’s only so much that a roster reshuffle can do though when the booker remains the same.

The title scene

Roman Reigns is set to defend the Universal championship against The Demon form of Finn Balor at Extreme Rules. If Reigns walks out of that event as the champ, he can look forward to putting the gold on the line against Brock Lesnar next month in Saudi Arabia. If Roman gets by The Demon and The Beast without losing the title, perhaps The Rock will return at Survivor Series and confront the Tribal Chief. As far as tonight goes, Lesnar probably isn’t in the building, which means Reigns can solely focus on dealing with Balor.

Bianca Belair is the hometown hero tonight in Knoxville, as she looks forward to challenging Becky Lynch for the SmackDown women’s championship at Extreme Rules. There has been a whole lot of ducking and dodging from The Man thus far since she returned to WWE television last month. Given WWE’s reputation for booking hometown heroes to get their asses kicked, perhaps Big Time Becks will finally get physical tonight and put a heelish beatdown on the EST of WWE.

The Street Profits and the Usos have wrestled each other on the last two episodes of SmackDown, with both tag team matches ending in disqualification. Maybe tonight they’ll branch off into singles matches against each other? Regardless, the SmackDown tag team titles will be on the line in another rematch between these two teams at Extreme Rules.

Natalya & Tamina are the Women’s tag team champions but they lose all the time. The losses continued to pile up on this week’s Raw, with both women losing in separate singles matches. They’ve also lost to Shotzi & Nox three times on SmackDown, which makes one wonder why Shotzi & Nox aren’t holding championship belts around their waists right now.

Shinsuke Nakamura is a very wise king who has enacted the best strategy for keeping the Intercontinental championship. That strategy is to only wrestle in tag team matches, and it’s working out great so far for Kingsuke. Nakamura’s reign as champ should hold steady at this rate, as long as he keeps his distance from Otis.

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- Seth Rollins went to a very dark place last week to eradicate Edge, and it looks like The Architect is having a tough time trying to come back from it.

- Dominik Mysterio isn’t very good in singles matches at this early point in his career. Which rookie mistake will cost him a victory tonight?

- Happy Corbin is a giant douche, and now he’s allies with that turd sandwich Logan Paul. Please save us from this madness, Kevin Owens.

What will you be looking for on SmackDown tonight?