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WWE SmackDown preview (Jan. 13, 2023): The most important match of Sami Zayn’s career

SmackDown airs tonight (Jan. 13) with a live show from Resch Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin. This is the seventh SmackDown episode during the nine week build towards Royal Rumble, which takes place on Jan. 28.

This is the most important match of Sami Zayn’s career

Sami Zayn goes one-on-one with Kevin Owens tonight. Despite all of their fights in the past, WWE commentators claim that this one is the most important match of Zayn’s career.

Why is that? It’s because Zayn’s spot in The Bloodline may very well hang in the balance. Sami was pinned by KO two weeks ago in a tag team match that technically put a loss on the record of WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns. That didn’t sit well at all with the Tribal Chief, who snapped at the Honorary Uce last week and put 100% of the blame for the loss on Sami’s shoulders. Later in the show, Roman used a bullshit apology to manipulate Sami into getting in the ring with Owens tonight.

Reigns has to defend the title against Owens later this month at Royal Rumble, so he’s hoping that useful idiot Zayn will do his dirty work ahead of time and take out KO. But if Sami fails once again, he becomes a lot less useful to Roman, and that’s when he’s in danger of being whacked.

The rest of the title scene

Intercontinental Champion GUNTHER puts his gold on the line tonight against Braun Strowman in a clash of titans. This is GUNTHER’s biggest test to date, so he might want to make sure his Imperium underlings have a solid plan in place for interfering on his behalf.

SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair is a babyface fighting champ for now. Ronda Rousey wasn’t in the building last week, so Flair spent her time defeating Sonya Deville in an open challenge. I would bet that Rousey is back tonight, perhaps setting up a title rematch for Royal Rumble.

The Usos have to defend the WWE tag team titles against The Judgment Day at a date to be determined. Will Dominik Mysterio and the rest of his crew crash the blue brand looking to strike first?

Bayley and WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions IYO SKY and Dakota Kai are preoccupied with Becky Lynch on Raw of late and haven’t been showing up on SmackDown.

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- After failing to beat The Usos last week, Drew McIntyre and Sheamus were ambushed by the Viking Raiders. Creative didn’t have much for Erik & Ivar prior to this angle, so now they get to put over two of the top babyfaces on Friday nights.

- Bray Wyatt and LA Knight will settle their issues in a Pitch Black match (courtesy of Mountain Dew) at Royal Rumble. Wyatt wasn’t around last week and we learned nothing about what a Pitch Black match entails. Maybe LA will force the issue to get some answers tonight.

- Lacey Evans was supposed to return to TV two weeks ago, but instead we’re back to getting more hype videos for her new gimmick. This seems like a never ending cycle with her.

- With Madcap Moss out of his hair after last week’s mixed tag team match, Karrion Kross is now prepared to move on and do very bad things to Rey Mysterio.

- Given that Braun Strowman is preoccupied tonight, does that mean Ricochet will have no backup if Hit Row tries to take him out?

- Xia Li and Tegan Nox are struggling to receive the TV time needed to support a feud.

- After losing against Santos Escobar last week, will Kofi Kingston look for payback against a different member of Legado del Fantasma tonight?

- Liv Morgan was smart enough to realize that WWE doesn’t have enough TV time to run 60 different Royal Rumble qualifying matches, so she simply declared her entry into the match. Several more superstars should follow her lead by the end of tonight’s broadcast. Go ahead and call your shot, mån.sôör.

What will you be looking for on SmackDown?

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