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WWE SmackDown preview (July 15, 2022): Sports entertainment is running wild

SmackDown airs tonight (July 15) with a live show from Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. This is the second SmackDown episode during the four week build towards SummerSlam, coming up on July 30.

WWE is taking things way too far with their sports entertainment

WWE SmackDown is a pro wrestling show that somehow forgot to book any wrestling matches worth watching last week.

There were five total matches on last week’s broadcast. Here is how much TV time was allocated for each one, not counting any commercial breaks:

  • 2m 40s: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Ludwig Kaiser
  • 2m 16s: Ronda Rousey vs. Natalya
  • 2m 07s: The Usos vs. Los Lotharios
  • 1m 29s: Drew McIntyre vs. Butch
  • 1m 12s: Viking Raiders vs. Shanky & Jinder Mahal

It’s worth noting that Nakamura’s match probably went about three minutes longer in the live venue than the listed time above when you account for the mid-match commercial break. The Usos’ match seemed to begin during a commercial break.

As far as the television broadcast goes, fans who tuned into SmackDown last week received a whopping total of 9m 44s of matches to sink their teeth into. This is a pathetic result that is unacceptable for a two hour wrestling show.

WWE likes to market their content as sports entertainment rather than pro wrestling. They can call this result whatever they want with their empty verbiage, the bottom line is that it made for a very underwhelming television show.

Yes, it’s important to use television time to book angles and promos that develop characters and build interest in upcoming premium live pay-per-view event matches, but this extreme result is taking things too far away from the core experience of a wrestling show in a prime time TV slot. There simply needs to be more interesting action in the ring than this.

Is it possible that SmackDown’s roster is so flawed that it’s difficult to book even just one or two interesting wrestling matches on a two hour broadcast? Hopefully this is a fluky outlier and WWE will find a better balance between the talking and the wrestling tonight.

The title scene

SmackDown Women’s Champion Liv Morgan will have an uphill battle at SummerSlam when she puts her belt on the line against former champ Ronda Rousey. The Baddest Mom on the Planet tuned up for the championship rematch by defeating Natalya in a singles match last week. Morgan gets to do the same tonight when she goes one-on-one with Nattie in a non-title Championship Contender’s Match. I guess it’s possible that Natalya can win tonight and potentially turn the SummerSlam match into a triple threat. For what it’s worth, Rousey is not listed on the event’s advertising for tonight.

Intercontinental Champion Gunther could be headed to a SummerSlam title defense against Shinsuke Nakamura. The King of Strong Style confronted the champ last week and beat his lackey Ludwig Kaiser in a singles match. Gunther punished Kaiser after the match with several vicious chops. I don’t think this is the last time Kaiser will fail and feel Gunther’s wrath.

The Usos and the Street Profits will have a rematch for the WWE tag team titles at SummerSlam. This time there will be a special referee, which adds an interesting twist to the whole thing. Who could it be?

WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns will defend the gold against Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam in a Last Man Standing Match. Neither man is advertised for the card tonight, because that’s what can happen when a main event feud is centered around two part-time performers. Hopefully Paul Heyman or Sami Zayn will be around to pick up the slack.

Vacant still has an ironclad grip on the WWE women’s tag team titles.

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- Theory is all over WWE programming right now, and Madcap Moss is tired of it. They are wrestling in a singles match tonight. Moss said he wants to shove the Money in the Bank briefcase into Theory’s mouth. That would be quite a sight, no?

- WWE delivered a dud main event last week where Sheamus cowardly bailed on a match with Drew McIntyre that was supposed to determine the number one contender for the WWE Universal championship at Clash at the Castle in September. Sheamus said he needed a COVID test, so Drew instead wrestled Butch and quickly beat his ass in a nothing match. WWE likes to drag these things out, so Sheamus will probably have a new excuse tonight for ducking Drew.

- Lacey Evans turned heel last week and told the fans to go to hell for not giving her the respect she deserves. This is Lacey’s natural role as a performer and she nailed it on the mic in an effective take-down of the fans. She then knocked out Aliyah with a punch to the face. Maybe they’ll have a match tonight as a result of Lacey’s actions.

- Max Dupri’s Maximum Male Models once again titillated the juices of your guilty pleasures last week, this time by showing off their tennis wear collection. How much longer will it be until ma.çé and mån.sôör are interrupted by some babyfaces and have to use their fashion acumen to win some wrestling matches?

- Pat McAfee is scheduled to face Happy Corbin at SummerSlam. McAfee missed last week’s episode after he was ambushed by Corbin at Money in the Bank. Corbin decided to take Pat’s place at the commentary table for a bit and mocked his enthusiasm for Shinsuke Nakamura’s entrance. What a jerk. Let’s see if McAfee gets his hands on Bum Ass tonight.

- The New Vicious Viking Raiders made quick work of Shanky and Jinder Mahal last week. New Day tried to beat up Erik & Ivar after the match, but it didn’t end well for the babyfaces. That makes it three weeks in a row that the Vikings have left Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods laying in the ring. It might be time for New Day to come up with a new strategy for dealing with these guys.

- Does WWE have anything planned for Raquel Rodriguez or Ricochet at SummerSlam?

What will you be looking for on SmackDown tonight?

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