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WWE SmackDown preview (June 30, 2023): Another title reign is in jeopardy thanks to Charlotte Flair

SmackDown airs tonight (June 30) with a show from The O2 Arena in London, England. This is the final episode of SmackDown during the five week build towards Money in the Bank, which takes place tomorrow (July 1).

Charlotte Flair tries to move one step closer to making history

WWE Women’s Champion Asuka has her first televised title defense tonight against Charlotte Flair. Flair earned this title match by returning to WWE and immediately cutting the line in front of former champ Bianca Belair.

Flair’s bold move and Adam Pearce’s general incompetence as a WWE official haven’t sat well with Belair, so now she plans to take matters into her own hands. It might be tough to do that tonight, though, because Pearce has banned her from ringside for this championship fight.

Flair is extremely confident about her chances in this match, going as far as to state that she has Asuka’s number. And while it’s true that Flair has defeated Asuka twice for singles gold and ended her undefeated streak at WrestleMania 34 in 2018, The Queen isn’t exactly right about her dominance over The Empress of Tomorrow.

Per the data at CageMatch, Asuka and Flair have competed against each other in televised singles matches 11 times, and Flair has a slight edge at 6 wins to 5 for Asuka. This is nothing close to the automatic win that Flair assumes it is, especially given that Asuka is willing to use underhanded means to win with her mist, while Belair could still be lurking in the background.

If we step out of kayfabe for a moment, though, it’s easy to think that WWE wants to push Flair closer to the all-time championship record. Flair has returned and immediately won championship gold before, and it will happen again if the primary goal is to eventually break the record.

We’ll have to tune in tonight to see if this match is more about Belair’s potential heel turn, or about Flair taking one more step towards making history.

The rest of the title scene

WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns is back on TV tonight for the first time since his right hand man Jey Uso superkicked him in the face. There is a Bloodline civil war going on right now, with the Usos scheduled to face Reigns and Solo Sikoa at Money in the Bank. What will Roman have to say about Jey’s decision, and which team will get the last laugh heading into the PPV?

WWE Tag Team Champions Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn put the belts on the line tonight against Pretty Deadly. The challengers have won all of their televised matches since being called up to the main roster last month, so there is potential for a title change here. However, Zayn and Owens are incredibly valuable to WWE as wrestlers who can swing back and forth between Raw and SmackDown TV every week, and holding the tag titles allows them to do that. Then again, the brand split died almost as soon as it began, so KO and Sami can probably keep appearing on both shows even if they lose the belts here.

WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler will defend their belts against Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodriguez at Money in the Bank. Tonight is the last chance to shoot an angle to add some intrigue to the fight beyond Liv Morgan’s early return from injury. And the fight could use some more intrigue after Rousey defeated Rodriguez very quickly on this week’s Raw.

United States Champion Austin Theory hasn’t wrestled on TV since defending the gold against Jey Uso on June 9. He’s a non-factor right now heading into WWE’s shows this weekend in London.

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- YouTube star Logan Paul is back in WWE and taking part in the men’s Money in the Bank ladder match. He is tonight’s guest on Grayson Waller’s talk show, where he will almost certainly be interrupted by other competitors in the MITB ladder match. Will they all join forces for a 6-on-1 beatdown on this douchebag?

- I guess Bayley’s spot in the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match is safe after her scheduled match last week with Shotzi was canceled without notice. Will IYO SKY find another way to piss off her stablemate before they butt heads in the MITB ladder match?

- Sheamus is looking to make an impact on WWE’s London shows this weekend, but he’ll have to force the issue since nothing is currently booked for him tonight or at Money in the Bank.

- Cameron Grimes and Baron Corbin were supposed to wrestle against each other last week, but it sounds like their match got Vinced.

- The Street Profits have lost all of their matches this month and could certainly use a win (or a heel turn) to get back on track.

- Where is Bob Lashley? He’s been wrestling on house shows against Baron Corbin and Karrion Kross the last couple of weekends, but has vanished from WWE television.

- I assume it’s all hands on deck tonight with the WWE roster in London for tomorrow’s Money in the Bank event, so there could be a few Raw stars popping up on SmackDown tonight.

What will you be looking for on SmackDown?

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