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WWE SmackDown preview (Dec. 2, 2022): Addressing the Ronda Rousey situation

SmackDown airs tonight (Dec. 2) with a live show from KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York. This is the first SmackDown episode during the nine week build towards Royal Rumble, which takes place on Jan. 28.

WWE needs to address the Ronda Rousey situation

SmackDown Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey retained the title with a victory over Shotzi at Survivor Series. It was such a poorly received match that #FireRondaRousey was actually trending on Twitter during this week’s Raw.

WWE could choose to ignore the fan backlash and continue along a standard path of Rousey and Shayna Baszler bullying the rest of the SmackDown women’s division. But we are embarking on a two month period here between PPVs, and things can slow down to a crawl while WWE is trying to get through the holidays and plot everything out for the road to WrestleMania.

To that end, wouldn’t it be far more interesting if Rousey dialed up her ire towards the fans in an acknowledgment of their frustrations with her current run in WWE? Blurring the lines of kayfabe and reality can be a tricky thing to pull off, but playing it safe with Ronda isn’t exactly setting the world on fire right now. If WWE really wants Ronda to turn things around for the road to WrestleMania, this is the right time to experiment a little bit to see if they can find a new way to push the fans’ buttons.

Rousey and Baszler put Raquel Rodriguez on the injured list last week, setting up a potential feud when she returns next month. In the meantime, the rest of the SmackDown roster doesn’t pose any threat to Rousey.

Considering the lack of competition, will the champ even be on the show tonight?

The rest of the title scene

The final match of the SmackDown World Cup takes place tonight, with Ricochet going one-on-one against Santos Escobar. Well, it’s supposed to be a one-on-one match, but the rest of Legado del Fantasma will likely get involved on Escobar’s behalf. The winner of this match earns a title match against Intercontinental Champion GUNTHER.

Kevin Owens looms as a potential next challenger for WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns because he had him beat inside War Games prior to Sami Zayn’s betrayal. Owens and Zayn say they want nothing to do with each other going forward, but that seems like an impossible path for both men. Reigns isn’t advertised for the show tonight and there are two months to kill before the next PPV, so Owens might have to deal with the rest of The Bloodline for a while before getting his hands on the Tribal Chief.

WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos will defend the titles next week on Raw against Elias & Matt Riddle. Will either of the babyfaces show up tonight to send a message to the champs before next Monday’s title fight?

IYO SKY and Dakota Kai are the defending WWE women’s tag team champions, but they could probably use a break for a few more days following the brutality they endured inside the double cage at Survivor Series.

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- Bray Wyatt denies having anything to do with the mysterious backstage attacks on LA Knight. It’s hard to believe Wyatt is innocent, but maybe he really thinks he’s telling the truth.

- Will Drew McIntyre and The Brawling Brutes go their separate ways after failing to defeat The Bloodline at War Games?

- Imperium screwed over Braun Strowman last week in his match against a flippy-flipper, so the Monster is almost certainly going to try squashing Giovanni Vinci and Ludwig Kaiser ASAP.

- The Viking Raiders and Valhalla are making quick work of Hit Row. Is there any other team on SmackDown that has the guts to stand up to them?

- Liv Morgan was left on the sidelines at Survivor Series. What does she plan to do to make sure that doesn’t happen again?

- Karrion Kross also doesn’t have much going on at the moment and could use a new rivalry to sink his teeth into.

- Don’t forget that tonight’s episode airs on FS1 instead of FOX!

What will you be looking for on SmackDown?

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