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WWE SmackDown preview (Jan. 6, 2023): WWE really wants you to root for Charlotte Flair

SmackDown airs tonight (Jan. 6) with a live show from FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. This is the sixth SmackDown episode during the nine week build towards Royal Rumble, which takes place on Jan. 28.

WWE really wants you to root for Charlotte Flair

Charlotte Flair made her surprising return to WWE last week and she immediately pinned Ronda Rousey to become the new SmackDown women’s champion.

The Queen’s dominance of the women’s division and constant championship wins since 2015 have grown exhausting for some fans to deal with over the years. The idea that Flair could just step right back into WWE after seven months away and be crowned with championship gold in a matter of minutes is the exact thing that frustrates many folks with her very favorable booking. This is why Flair is already on the cusp of breaking her father’s record for most world championship reigns of all-time.

However, Ronda Rousey’s current run in WWE has been really disappointing, and that made Flair’s quick championship win more palatable for non fans of her work. The SmackDown women’s division was sorely lacking in star power at the top for most of 2022, and Flair’s presence obviously helps fill that void to start the new year.

Flair has since cut a babyface promo and is positioned as the one WWE wants you to root for when it comes to choosing between the lesser of these two evils. I would imagine that Flair and Rousey will wrestle each other one more time at SummerSlam Royal Rumble before going their separate ways on the road to WrestleMania 39.

Flair is scheduled for an appearance on tonight’s broadcast. If Rousey isn’t in the building, will her sidekick Shayna Baszler confront the new champ and take a beating on Rousey’s behalf?

The rest of the title scene

The Usos will defend the undisputed WWE tag team titles tonight against Drew McIntyre and Sheamus. Will the recent alliance of McIntyre and the Brawling Brutes fall apart if they once again fail against The Bloodline?

WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns was on the losing side of a tag team match against John Cena and Kevin Owens last week. Sami Zayn is the obvious fall guy for the Tribal Chief’s rare loss, but we might have to wait an extra week to see that develop because Roman is a part-timer who isn’t advertised for tonight’s show.

Intercontinental Champion GUNTHER defends his belt against Braun Strowman on next week’s broadcast. GUNTHER can probably use the extra week to recover after Ricochet accidentally cracked his head last week.

Bayley and WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions IYO SKY and Dakota Kai have free reign to appear on whatever show they want, but they don’t have any feuds brewing on Friday nights.

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- Top Dolla didn’t appreciate the SmackDown babyface locker room mocking his botched jump over the top rope, and it led to some shoving between him and Ricochet. They’ll settle their issues tonight in a singles match where the winner gains entry into the men’s Royal Rumble. Top’s inability to make it over the top rope might actually help him survive longer in the Rumble match if he can qualify for it tonight.

- Bray Wyatt and LA Knight will do battle in a Pitch Black match at Royal Rumble. Nobody knows what the heck that even means. As far as tonight is concerned, how will Wyatt respond to Uncle Howdy’s attack from last week?

- Lacey Evans was scheduled to return to TV last week but it never happened. Was she bumped for time, or was she pulled due to the dumb and bad shit she recently posted on social media? Her presence (or lack thereof) on tonight’s show might give us the answer.

- Karrion Kross wants to end the career of Rey Mysterio. Does this mean he’ll be hunting Rey down in the men’s Royal Rumble match?

- Emma made the mistake of slapping Scarlett in the face a couple weeks ago. Will Emma or Madcap Riddick Moss pay the price for that bold action tonight?

- Xia Li stuck her nose in the business of Tegan Nox a few weeks ago. Is this going anywhere, or have they both already moved on?

- Does creative have anything yet for Legado del Fantasma or the Viking Raiders?

- The women’s Royal Rumble match needs some official participants. Will Liv Morgan or Raquel Rodriguez declare their spot tonight?

What will you be looking for on SmackDown?

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