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WWE SmackDown preview (Apr. 7, 2023): Triple H tries to stop Vince McMahon from ruining everything

SmackDown airs tonight (Apr. 7) with a live show from Moda Center in Portland, Oregon. This is the first SmackDown episode during the five week build towards Backlash, which takes place on May 6 in Puerto Rico.

Triple H tries to stop Vince McMahon from ruining WWE

After Monday’s news that Endeavor acquired WWE, Triple H kicked off the Raw after WrestleMania to reassure fans that WWE isn’t going anywhere. The action and drama that you come to expect from WWE programming will still be there every single week, as always.

That episode of Raw then turned out to be a big mess, with reports indicating Vince McMahon was back in charge of the show. Since then, the rumor mill has been filled with stories of low morale backstage due to Vince’s return to power, last minute script changes for Raw, wrestlers thinking about asking for their release from WWE, and so forth. WWE seemingly went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows in a matter of hours because Vince McMahon ruins everything.

That leads us to tonight’s episode of SmackDown, where Triple H will once again address the WWE fans. The WWE wrestlers and many of the fans could definitely use some reassurance that what happened on Monday was an aberration, and Vince McMahon won’t be bringing down the quality of WWE programming from here on out. There’s no way Triple H can directly say something like that on television, so maybe his speech tonight will be a simple rehash of what he already said on Monday.

Even if that’s the case and Triple H’s words don’t amount to much, the booking of tonight’s show will be the strongest message about what to expect from WWE creative going forward. Will Triple H be in charge of the show and quietly letting us know that his vision for creative that has been well received since last summer is still intact? Or will we have another mess on our hands thanks to Vince and his super creepy mustache, just like Monday night?

The title scene

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn defeated The Usos at WrestleMania to become the new WWE tag team champions. The feud isn’t over, because Zayn and Jey Uso are scheduled for a singles match tonight. Roman Reigns wouldn’t directly deal with The Usos on Raw, and instead had Paul Heyman send Jimmy and Jey Uso home early. Is Roman using his special counsel to punish The Usos for failing The Bloodline at WrestleMania?

Speaking of Reigns, the part-time WWE Universal champion isn’t advertised for tonight’s show, nor is Cody Rhodes expected to be there after being destroyed by Brock Lesnar.

Intercontinental Champion GUNTHER won a triple threat match at WrestleMania against Sheamus and Drew McIntyre. GUNTHER and Sheamus have been going at it since last year’s Clash at the Castle in September, and that will continue tonight when Imperium battles the Brawling Brutes in a six-man tag team match. Will this match lead us any closer to BUTCH turning back into Pete Dunne? Will Drew McIntyre be hanging around the periphery looking for another shot at GUNTHER?

Rhea Ripley is the new SmackDown women’s champion after defeating Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania. Ripley will “claim her throne” tonight on SmackDown, which shouldn’t be hard to do given a recent report that The Queen is taking some time off from WWE.

The WWE women’s tag team titles haven’t been relevant to SmackDown in along while, given Becky Lynch, Lita, and Damage CTRL sticking to Monday nights in recent months. However, SmackDown stars Raquel Rodriguez and Liv Morgan are getting a shot at the belts next week on Raw, so at the very least there should be a promo tonight hyping up the fight.

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- Rey Mysterio teams up with Santos Escobar tonight for a tag match against Damian Priest and that little shithead Dominik. Escobar looks like the fall guy here after The Judgment Day laid out Bad Bunny on Raw and cost Rey a match against Austin Theory.

- Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler won a fatal 4-way match at WrestleMania. Rousey barely did anything in the match because she fractured her elbow at the end of February. How much longer will it be until Ronda can get back to doing a full match without limitations?

- Will Shinsuke Nakamura return to SmackDown tonight after being off TV for just about all of 2023 up to this point?

- Will the Viking Raiders continue to go at it with Ricochet and Braun Strowman after both teams came up short in the men’s fatal 4-way match at WrestleMania?

- Karrion Kross is a jabroni who was just one of dozens of losers in last week’s Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Will he and Scarlett begin to climb back up the ladder now that WrestleMania is behind us?

- The biggest dark cloud hanging over WrestleMania is that the show didn’t feature an LA Knight moment. Will the megastar be on hand tonight to tell us all about it?

- Xavier Woods will have to fend for himself for a while with both Kofi Kingston and Big E sidelined with injuries.

- Bray Wyatt has been missing from WWE for over five weeks. Is there any update on his status?

What will you be looking for on SmackDown?

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