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WWE SmackDown preview (June 16, 2023): Yes, it really is this easy for Charlotte Flair

SmackDown airs tonight (June 16) with a live show from Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. This is the third episode of SmackDown during the five week build towards Money in the Bank, which takes place on July 1.

Yes, it really is this easy for Charlotte Flair

WWE presented Asuka with the new WWE Women’s Championship last week. But before she could really bask in the glory of her new gold, Charlotte Flair made a surprising return to WWE television and took the spotlight away from The Empress.

WWE Official Adam Pearce knew what was coming and tried to stop it from happening, but his half-assed attempt failed; The Queen immediately jumped to the front of the line and now has herself a title match against Asuka later this month. This is the sort of power move I would expect from a legend like John Cena or a part-time star like Brock Lesnar, waltzing back in to WWE out of nowhere to immediately get a world title match. I guess when you’re Charlotte Flair, it’s just that easy to get a championship match whenever you want one.

The most interesting aspect of this angle was Bianca Belair’s reaction to it. The former champion had an agreement with Pearce to not interrupt Asuka’s new championship presentation because The EST is in line for a rematch with Asuka. The fact that Flair walked back into WWE and cut right in front of her for that title match didn’t sit well with Bianca, understandably.

There have been rumors that Belair will turn heel, and this storyline could certainly be the start of going down that path. Bianca is totally in the right at this moment, because she played ball with Pearce, kept her word, and doesn’t deserve to be second in line behind Flair. But now that Flair pulled out her Hulk Hogan card and jumped in front of The EST for a title match, all bets are off. Bianca might need to look out for herself more and not give a shit what anybody else thinks about her actions.

Flair is back on SmackDown tonight as a guest on The Grayson Waller Effect. I expect both Asuka and Belair will crash the party and create a very explosive scene. Is this where Bianca makes her move on Flair, or will The EST wait for Flair’s actual title match to let her know who the top star on SmackDown is?

The rest of the title scene

WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns is back on SmackDown tonight after skipping last week’s episode. Roman wants Jey Uso to make a decision on his future with The Bloodline. Is Jey sticking by his brother Jimmy’s side, or will he fall in line behind Roman given Paul Heyman’s decree that Jey is the next Tribal Chief? Jimmy accidentally superkicked Jey in the face last week and cost him a match against United States Champion Austin Theory, adding even more uncertainty to Jey’s decision.

There will be a tag team gauntlet match tonight featuring the LWO, Brawling Brutes, Street Profits, The O.C, and Pretty Deadly. The winning team becomes the number one contender for a title match against WWE Tag Team Champions Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. If Sheamus is looking for a way to make it onto the Money in the Bank card in London, winning this match is his best bet to make that happen.

WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler will battle NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions Alba Fyre & Isla Dawn in a title unification match next week. The NXT champs are probably getting wiped out when that match happens, so maybe WWE will book them to look strong tonight to create some kind of glimmer of hope for them.

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- Scarlett and Karrion Kross ambushed AJ Styles last week with some red smoke and the Krossjacket. Styles now has a chance to beat this jabroni one more time when he teams up with Michin to take on Kross and Scarlett in a mixed tag match tonight.

- IYO SKY, Zelina Vega, and Bayley are currently representing the SmackDown roster in the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match. Once the MITB participants are qualified, WWE typically books them to fight each other in the weeks leading up to the PPV. With that in Mind, Vega vs. SKY is scheduled for tonight. What role will Bayley play in the finish?

- LA Knight, Santos Escobar, and BUTCH are representing the SmackDown roster in the men’s Money in the Bank ladder match. No match has been announced between any of these men for tonight’s card, but I imagine that will change by the time SmackDown airs.

- Bobby Lashley hasn’t been around since before Night of Champions. However, WWE’s web site does include him on the list of wrestlers who are scheduled to be at tonight’s show, so maybe his return is just hours away.

- Cameron Grimes laid out Baron Corbin backstage last week. When will these guys have a rematch? And does Grimes even need to waste his time on a rematch with this losing loser who loses?

- Is WWE planning to book Hit Row on the card tonight just so Michael Cole can bury them on commentary?

What will you be looking for on SmackDown?

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