SmackDown airs tonight (Nov. 11) with a live show from Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. This is the first SmackDown episode during the three week build towards Survivor Series, which takes place on Nov. 26.
The New Day will be the ones to stop the Usos
The Usos are on the cusp of becoming the longest reigning WWE tag team champions in history. The only team standing in their way is the New Day, who happen to hold the current record. Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods will try to defend that record in tonight’s main event when they challenge Jimmy and Jey for the straps.
Unlike a Roman Reigns title match, the finish of this one is actually up in the air. Some folks assume Jimmy and Jey will win simply because it’s never wise to bet against The Bloodline. Others think the Usos will win because the team of Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens is the one that needs to dethrone them down the line.
From where I’m sitting, New Day actually has a good shot to win this match. One reason is that WWE needs to set up a men’s War Games match ASAP, and nothing on that front was announced on Monday. Perhaps that’s because The Bloodline will be the focal point of War Games, but they are so dominant that they don’t have a good reason to go to war. Losing these tag titles would provide that impetus for The Bloodline to go to war against the New Day and any babyfaces who play a role in taking the titles away from The Usos.
Speaking of which, The Bloodline broke Sheamus’ arm a few weeks, so perhaps he’ll return tonight and pay them back.
Then there’s the Sami Zayn factor. Zayn is the most entertaining guy in WWE right now, and he’s at his best when he has tension with Jey Uso. If Zayn’s involvement in this match backfires, it provides another opportunity to play off that tension going forward.
Does Jey Uso need some time off? You wouldn’t know it from his recent performances, but Michael Cole suggested last week that Jey has a broken wrist.
Finally, I’d like to point out this line that Kofi Kingston dropped at the end of his promo on this week’s Raw when discussing what the record means to him:
“It represents a time, that may very well be the last time, that the New Day was whole.”
Is this foreshadowing that Big E might have a surprise cameo tonight and play some kind of role in the finish of the match?
There are plenty of reasons to think New Day can stop the Usos from breaking their record. Maybe I’m just looking for something that’s not actually there, but that’s part of the fun of anticipating a high stakes pro wrestling match.
The rest of the title scene
SmackDown Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey is hanging out with Shayna Baszler, and they have already put Natalya on the surgeon’s table. Tonight’s episode includes a six-pack challenge where the winner receives a future shot at Rousey’s belt. The women vying for that spot include Xia Li, Raquel Rodriguez, Liv Morgan, Shotzi, Lacey Evans, and Sonya Deville. This could be the way that WWE resumes Raquel’s singles push.
The SmackDown World Cup is on the horizon. The winner of this eight man tournament earns a future title shot against Intercontinental Champion GUNTHER. The tourney is inspired by the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament and should have an international flair. The full bracket will hopefully be revealed tonight.
IYO SKY and Dakota Kai are once again the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions after defeating Asuka and Alexa Bliss at Crown Jewel. That feud will continue in a War Games match at Survivor Series, but their story might not spill over into SmackDown tonight.
WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns is listed on the events page of WWE’s web site for tonight’s card. He doesn’t have an obvious opponent lined up after beating Logan Paul at Crown Jewel, so maybe the Tribal Chief is here to be part of an angle setting up the men’s War Games match. The simpler explanation is that he’s here to celebrate with his cousins after they beat the New Day, or even help them win said match.
Other stuff to keep an eye on
- Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Santos Escobar is booked for tonight. Legado del Fantasma is looking for revenge on Shinsuke after he helped Hit Row embarrass them in the ring a couple weeks ago.
- Bray Wyatt is trying to rewrite the ending to his story and prove he doesn’t need to be a monster who wears a mask in search of that untouchable high. Uncle Howdy has other ideas and says Wyatt is a liar who will give in to those urges and go too far. Will we receive any more clues as to where this story is heading tonight?
- Braun Strowman was dominated by Omos at Crown Jewel but landed one lucky running powerslam to win the match. Is Strowman satisfied with that showing, or does he want a more convincing victory against the big man?
- After escaping a steel cage quicker than Karrion Kross did at Crown Jewel, Drew McIntyre says their feud is over and he’s ready to move on to bigger prizes. Could that include War Games or the SmackDown World Cup? What if Karrion isn’t ready to let him move on?
- Emma was happy with her recent effort in a match against Ronda Rousey, but Xia Li said the only thing it proved is that Emma is weak. Emma responded with a forearm to Xia’s face, so a match between these two is the natural progression here.
- LA Knight say he’s a once in a generation megastar. He talked trash to Ring Announcer Samantha Irvin last week before cheating to beat Ricochet in a match. I’m pretty sure Ricochet will be looking for another shot at this jerk.
What will you be looking for on SmackDown?