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WWE SmackDown preview (Nov. 18, 2022): It’s just not the same without Kevin Owens

SmackDown airs tonight (Nov. 18) with a live show from XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut. This is the second SmackDown episode during the three week build towards Survivor Series, which takes place on Nov. 26.

It’s just not the same without Kevin Owens

Last week’s SmackDown ended with an angle that appeared to set up a War Games match pitting Drew McIntyre & The Brawling Brutes against The Bloodline at Survivor Series. That event is only eight days away, so the match will very likely be announced tonight.

The babyface team of Drew McIntyre, Sheamus, Ridge Holland, and Butch needs one more member to fill out a five man squad, and Kevin Owens stood out as the best man for the job.

KO has yet to receive a big spotlight since Triple H took over WWE creative. For some reason he disappeared from television after September ended, but this looked like a good time to bring him back in a top level storyline. The most recent rumors and reports indicated that he was indeed planned to be the fifth man on McIntyre’s team at WarGames.

Unfortunately, Kevin was injured at a house show last weekend and could be out of the mix for War Games. It looks like WWE will need to call an audible and find a suitable replacement.

Given the dominance of WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns and WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos, the replacement should be a main event level star. With that in mind, the biggest splash that WWE could make is adding Bray Wyatt to the team and making this his first official match back. However, this War Games match doesn’t seem like a good fit for Bray’s current story that is developing with Uncle Howdy.

So who will KO’s replacement be? Seth Rollins? Kofi Kingston? Matt Riddle?

We’ll have to tune in tonight to see WWE’s solution to this problem. WarGames just won’t be the same without Owens in the match, so a lot of wrestling fans will be keeping their fingers crossed hoping there’s a way he can still compete in the match next weekend.

The rest of the title scene

Shotzi pinned Lacey Evans in a multi-woman match last week to earn a title match at Survivor Series against SmackDown Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey. Before the night was over, Rousey and Shayna Baszler confronted Shotzi and choked her out. Shotzi is looking for payback and to make a statement in a singles match against Baszler tonight.

The first round of the SmackDown World Cup wraps up tonight. The winner of this eight man tournament earns a future title shot against Intercontinental Champion GUNTHER. Santos Escobar and Braun Strowman have already advanced. Tonight’s tournament matches include Butch vs. Sami Zayn and Ricochet vs. Mustafa Ali. The focus of the Butch/Zayn match could end up being more about War Games than this tournament.

WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Dakota Kai and IYO SKY have their hands full on Raw preparing for a War Games match at Survivor Series, so it seems doubtful that they will appear on SmackDown.

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- After one month of all talk and no violence, Bray Wyatt dropped LA Knight with a headbutt last week. That’s because Knight is a loud-mouth narcissist who made the mistake of mocking him. Is this the start of a feud, or will LA learn from his mistake and leave Wyatt alone?

- Emma seems to have a crush on Madcap Moss. That’s good news for Madcap, who isn’t being pushed right now.

- The Viking Raiders (with Sarah Logan) returned to WWE television last week by beating the shit out of Hit Row and Legado del Fantasma in an unprovoked attack. Hit Row isn’t going to stand idly by and let the Raiders get away with this ambush, right?

- What’s next for Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodriguez after they came up short in last week’s six-pack challenge?

- Karrion Kross could use a new direction after losing a steel cage match against Drew McIntyre earlier this month in Saudi Arabia.

What will you be looking for on SmackDown?

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