SmackDown airs tonight (June 24) with a live show from Moody Center in Austin, Texas. This is the third SmackDown episode during the four week build towards Money in the Bank, which takes place on July 2.
This feud will never end
The big story coming out of last week’s SmackDown is that Brock Lesnar is back in and he’s challenging Roman Reigns for the WWE Universal championship in a Last Man Standing match at SummerSlam.
This may not have been the original plan, as recent reports indicate Randy Orton was penciled in as Roman’s opponent at SummerSlam before he got hurt. If that’s case, then the question I wonder about is what was the original plan for Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam?
There are legitimate concerns about WWE’s struggle to find credible challengers for Roman Reigns, but the problem is actually worse when it comes to Lesnar. Roman is a dominant champ, of course, but he still goes out there and has that exciting back-and-forth match with
Matt Riddle where the challenger is presented close to his level during the fight. That doesn’t happen with Lesnar, at least not recently. Just look earlier this year at Day 1, Royal Rumble, and Elimination Chamber, where Lesnar completely trounced stars like Big E, Seth Rollins, Riddle, and Kevin Owens. Those men have all had exciting and competitive matches against the Tribal Chief, but they never stood a chance in the same ring with Lesnar this year. Bob Lashley and Drew McIntyre might be the only guys on the roster (besides Roman) who aren’t a pushover for the Beast Incarnate.
WWE doesn’t have many stars left to face Reigns, but they have even fewer around who can go one-on-one with Lesnar given his booking this year. The end result is another iteration of this exhausting feud that never ends between Roman and Brock. It would be one thing if these guys consistently tore the house down together, but the match itself hasn’t approached greatness in many years. It’s often just a bunch of uninspired finisher spamming.
The Lesnar/Reigns story had some terrific high points over the last year, but it was time to move on and try something new after WrestleMania 38. WWE is instead hoping their fans will continue to be hooked by reruns. Roman Reigns is listed in SmackDown’s advertising for tonight (and Brock is not listed), so it will be up to the Tribal Chief and Paul Heyman to grab a mic and sell us on one more match with Brock.
The rest of the title scene
Gunther defeated Ricochet to win the Intercontinental title two weeks ago. The championship rematch is tonight, and it should be a dandy.
SmackDown Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey didn’t make an appearance on last week’s show. Natalya took credit for Rousey’s absence after torturing the champ in the sharpshooter the prior week. Ronda is back tonight, looking for payback on her Money in the Bank challenger.
The Street Profits are coming after the WWE tag team titles at Money in the Bank. Jimmy Uso defeated Montez Ford in singles action last week, while Angelo Dawkins beat Jey Uso earlier this week on Raw. Will the Street Profits show up tonight looking to make a bigger statement at the Usos’ expense?
Vacant’s run as the WWE women’s tag team champions has no end in sight.
Other stuff to keep an eye on
- Tonight’s card features two Money in the Bank qualifying matches; Aliyah vs. Shotzi is the women’s match, and Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura is the men’s match. This will be Nakamura’s return to television following the kayfabe injury he suffered when teaming up with
Matt Riddle against the Usos a few weeks ago.
- Max Dupri was supposed to reveal the first client of Maximum Male Models by now, but he keeps finding shoddy excuses to delay it. I’m starting to think WWE still hasn’t figured out who his first client will be, and that’s why they keep pushing it back.
- Happy Corbin lost a Last Laugh match last week. Afterwards, he took out his frustrations by chastising Pat McAfee on the mic. McAfee responded by leading the audience in laughing Bum Ass out of the building. I think we have a SummerSlam match brewing here, folks.
- Madcap Moss is the guy who got the last laugh on Corbin last week. Is there enough time left for him to try qualifying for Money in the Bank?
- Drew McIntyre and Sheamus were both awarded entry into the men’s Money in the Bank ladder match despite neither man winning their qualifying match. Sheamus will probably try to orchestrate an ambush on Drew tonight after suffering a Claymore last week.
- The Viking Raiders are returning to SmackDown soon. There’s no word yet on whether or not a push is returning with them.
- Skyscrapin’ Shanky busted out his dance moves in the middle of a tag team match last week when Xavier Woods began to play the trombone. The end result is that Jinder Mahal was pinned and took the loss. Can Jinder find a way to harness Shanky’s ass-shaking to the team’s benefit, or are they on their way to splitting up?
- Vince McMahon has been making brief appearances on WWE television over the last week. Live audiences are giving him big ovations, despite the hush money allegations that he’s currently being investigated over. Will he get in the ring to deliver another quick message tonight?
What will you be looking for on SmackDown tonight?