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WWE SmackDown preview (July 14, 2023): Stop screwing around with LA Knight

SmackDown airs tonight (July 14) with a live show from PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. This is the second episode of SmackDown during the five week build towards SummerSlam, which takes place early next month.

WWE needs to stop screwing around with LA Knight

LA Knight’s push hit a speedbump when he failed to win the Money in the Bank contract earlier this month. But that was no big deal, right? After all, Roman Reigns isn’t losing his championship for another year or three, so it makes sense to put the MITB contract on Raw to keep it away from the Tribal Chief.

It’s also no big deal that LA Knight didn’t win the Money in the Bank contract because he’s clearly lined up for a Megastar vs. Megastar battle against YouTuber Logan Paul at SummerSlam. YEAH.

These are a couple of the arguments I heard in the aftermath of Money in the Bank to defend WWE’s booking of Knight in that match. Perhaps there is some merit to the former point, but the latter point was rendered moot ASAP when Logan Paul was quickly paired up with Ricochet for SummerSlam.

Where does that leave LA Knight coming out of Money in the Bank? It left him completely off television last week and in a dark segment with Hit Row at Madison Square Garden. That’s how WWE followed up on Knight’s recent surge in popularity among live audiences.

I don’t know what WWE is doing with LA Knight, but they need to stop screwing around and start making him a bigger priority. The fans go crazy for this guy and want to see him on TV each week. It shouldn’t be that hard to give the people what they want here.

Now, perhaps last week was an outlier. After all, the Tribal Court Bloodline segment went very long, and justifiably so as a big ratings mover. That won’t be the case tonight, so this is the time for WWE to figure out a plan and capitalize on Knight being so over right now.

The SummerSlam card is filling up fast, and there might not be many spots remaining for new matches. But United States Champion Austin Theory still has an open spot on his schedule that night. How about the megastar being the guy to end Theory’s very mediocre run with the gold?

That’s just one example of something WWE can do with LA Knight right now. So let’s see how creative plays its cards with Knight tonight, as SummerSlam approaches.

The rest of the title scene

WWE Women’s Champion Asuka defends the gold tonight against former champion Bianca Belair. This one is almost sure to end in shenanigans, with both Charlotte Flair and Money in the Bank contract holder IYO SKY lurking in the background and motivated to interfere.

Jey Uso closed out last week’s SmackDown by issuing a challenge to WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns. Even though Jey already pinned Roman once at Money in the Bank, he knows that he’ll have to do it again with the belt on the line in order to end Roman’s run as the Tribal Chief of WWE. Roman is a part-timer who isn’t advertised for the show tonight, so that might leave it up to the wise man Paul Heyman to accept or decline Jey’s challenge on behalf of Reigns.

WWE Tag Team Champions Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn still need a SummerSlam match, assuming there is an available spot on the show for them. If Pretty Deadly is in their rearview mirror, does that give an opening for the Street Profits, the O.C., or the LWO to jump to the front of the line?

WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodriguez are busy these days dealing with Chelsea Green, Sonya Deville, and Rhea Ripley, all of whom can be found on Raw.

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- Edge returned to WWE last week and turned Grayson Waller into a loser for his debut match on the main roster. It would be surprising if WWE creative doesn’t find something for Edge to do at SummerSlam. Could it be a rematch with Waller, or will a different heel confront the Rated R Superstar soon?

- AJ Styles defeated Karrion Kross last week in a very rushed match. Is this feud now over, or will Kross come back for one more fight?

- Is there any update on Shotzi after Damage CTRL ambushed her backstage and cut her hair a couple weeks ago?

- Bob Lashley is listed in WWE’s advertising for tonight’s show, but he hasn’t been on TV in two months. Will his absence extend all the way through SummerSlam?

- Cameron Grimes was in the middle of a feud with Baron Corbin, but it looks like Corbin has moved over to NXT. Where does that leave Grimes on the main roster?

- The Brawling Brutes could be looking at more matches against Pretty Deadly after the heels helped Austin Theory beat Sheamus last week.

- Carlito didn’t return to WWE TV last week at MSG, as rumored. How about tonight in Raleigh?

What will you be looking for on SmackDown?

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