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WWE SmackDown preview (Dec. 1, 2023): Damage CTRL needs to make a big change after losing at War Games

SmackDown airs tonight (Dec. 1) with a live show emanating from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. This is the first episode of SmackDown during the nine week build towards Royal Rumble 2024, which takes place on January 27.

Damage CTRL needs to make a big change after losing at War Games

It was just a couple weeks ago when Damage CTRL appeared to be stronger than ever, with both Asuka and Kairi Sane joining the group. However, that position of dominance quickly crumbled when they lost at War Games against the team of Bianca Belair, Becky Lynch, Shotzi, and Charlotte Flair.

Bayley worked her ass off in that fight, helping her teammates avoid several near falls until she was finally put through a table at the end of the match and pinned. Despite Bayley’s best efforts, the fact that she was pinned now opens the door for the rest of the group to blame her for the loss and potentially kick her out of Damage CTRL.

Bayley hasn’t exactly fit in well since Asuka and Kairi joined Damage CTRL, so a breakup feels inevitable; it’s just a matter of which week WWE pulls the trigger on it. It could very well happen tonight in Brooklyn even though Bayley still has no idea it’s coming.

Meanwhile, WWE Women’s Champion IYO SKY will need a new challenger for her belt after retaining the gold in recent matches against Flair and Belair. If WWE splits up Damage CTRL sooner rather than later, there will be plenty of time left to book SKY vs. Bayley for Royal Rumble 2024.

The rest of the title scene

United States Champion Logan Paul returns to SmackDown tonight looking for a worthy challenger for his very first title defense, which will presumably take place at Royal Rumble. Two babyfaces that jump right to the top of that list include Kevin Owens and LA Knight, who teamed up last week to beat up those goofballs Grayson Waller and Austin Theory. KO and Paul briefly crossed paths during the build to Crown Jewel, which may have been a sign that Owens will be the first in line for a match with this YouTube douchebag.

WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns is a part-timer who still isn’t advertised for SmackDown tonight. That means if Randy Orton is trying to hunt down The Bloodline tonight, he’ll have to settle for getting a piece of Paul Heyman, Jim Uso, or Solo Sikoa. Does it matter that Sikoa wasn’t even called up to the main roster at the time when Orton was injured by Roman’s family?

WWE Tag Team Champions Damian Priest and Finn Balor retained their belts against the Street Profits last week. Will Pretty Deadly be the next team from the blue brand that gets a shot at the title?

WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Chelsea Green and Piper Niven are still on top after beating Tegan Nox and Natalya on Raw. Is the path now clear for Isla Dawn and Alba Fyre to make their move on the champs?

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- LA Knight had The Bloodline on his mind two weeks ago, but he didn’t say a word about the group last week. Has WWE quietly ended his feud with Roman’s family?

- Santos Escobar issued a warning to Randy Orton earlier this week, which might have been his way of signing up to eat an RKO tonight.

- Will Carlito, Joaquin Wilde, or Cruz Del Toro be healthy enough to confront Santos, or will it be up to Dragon Lee to deal with him again? Does Escobar have new henchmen waiting in the wings to bail him out of a potential sticky situation tonight?

- Ridge Holland is an asshole who walked out on BUTCH last week. Where is Sheamus when you really need him to keep the Brawling Brutes from completely imploding?

- Randy Orton isn’t the only WWE star who was injured by The Bloodline and now looking for revenge. AJ Styles was put on the shelf by Solo Sikoa and Jim Uso in September, and should be back any week now to make them pay for it.

- Bob Lashley was very upset when the Street Profits lost last week. What will the consequences be for their latest failure, and how exactly does B-Fab fit into all of this?

- After winning at War Games, will Bianca Belair, Shotzi, or Charlotte Flair officially declare for the Royal Rumble match?

- Where the f*** is Karrion Kross?

What will you be looking for on SmackDown?

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