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WWE SmackDown preview (July 7, 2023): Roman Reigns’ time as the Tribal Chief might be coming to an end

SmackDown airs tonight (July 7) with a live show from Madison Square Garden in New York City. This is the first episode of SmackDown during the five week build towards SummerSlam, which takes place early next month.

Roman Reigns’ time as the Tribal Chief might be coming to an end

After being pinned by Jey Uso at Money in the Bank, WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns heads to Tribal Court tonight for the “Trial of the Tribal Chief.”

Last week, The Usos were very confident they would be the ones to finally pin Roman after more than three years of his pure dominance at the head of the table. Jimmy and Jey said when they won the Bloodline civil war and pinned Roman, that would mean he’s no longer the Tribal Chief. All of those conditions did come to pass, so it’s going to be pretty tough for Roman to defend his status as the Tribal Chief during tonight’s trial.

The one sticking point could be that the Usos want Solo Sikoa to become the next Tribal Chief, but thus far he hasn’t budged from his subservient position by Roman’s side.

The other glaring issue is that Roman is still the top champion in all of WWE. If The Usos truly want to end his run as the Tribal Chief, they will probably have to pin him again, only this time with the title on the line. All of this is adding up to a one-on-one championship match between Reigns and Jey Uso at SummerSlam. That match could be booked by the time tonight’s trial is over.

Stepping outside of kayfabe a bit, it’s very smart for WWE to promote these kinds of specially themed Bloodline segments like the Tribal Court or Jey Uso’s decision last month, because it’s going to do bonkers numbers in the ratings due to how hot the Bloodline angle is. Tonight’s show takes place at Madison Square Garden in New York City, which also adds a layer of importance to everything going on here.

The rest of the title scene

United States Champion Austin Theory defends the gold tonight against Sheamus. Theory already retained the belt against Sheamus in May, and he beat Sheamus’ buddy Ridge Holland last week. It looks like Pretty Deadly will be in the champ’s corner for this match, while Holland and BUTCH are ringside for Sheamus. What will the leader of the Brawling Brutes do to ensure there is a different outcome this time?

WWE Women’s Champion Asuka survived Charlotte Flair’s challenge last week after former champ Bianca Belair got involved in the fight. The most obvious way to resolve this problem is with a triple threat title match at SummerSlam, so I expect some promos tonight to officially set up that match.

WWE Tag Team Champions Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn are probably looking for some new challengers after defeating Pretty Deadly last week. There are plenty of tag teams on the SmackDown roster who should take this chance to step up to the champs, including the LWO, The O.C., and the Street Profits. It definitely won’t be those jobbers in Hit Row, though.

Raquel Rodriguez and Liv Morgan are the new WWE women’s tag team champions after Shayna Baszler turned on Ronda Rousey at Money in the Bank. Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn are one of the only women’s tag teams on the SmackDown roster, so it shouldn’t be too hard for them to earn a title match, assuming they can get some TV time.

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- Edge is back on SmackDown tonight as a guest on Grayson Waller’s talk show. The Rated R Superstar hasn’t been around since losing in the World Heavyweight Championship tournament nearly two months ago, so he will need to find a new story to sink his teeth into. WWE will be doing a bunch of shows in Canada following SummerSlam, so part-timer Edge is back at the perfect time.

- AJ Styles vs. Karrion Kross is booked for tonight. Styles won their first singles match back in May, only for Karrion and Scarlett to defeat AJ and Michin in a mixed tag in June. Will this feud continue all the way into SummerSlam with some kind of gimmick match, or are they wrapping it up tonight?

- IYO SKY won the women’s Money in the Bank contract and could make her presence known in whatever segment Asuka is involved in tonight. In addition to that, though, there may be some lingering tension between IYO and her Damage CTRL stablemate Bayley after the way the ladder match ended, with IYO climbing over Bayley to grab the briefcase.

- Speaking of Damage CTRL, how is Shotzi doing after the group attacked her backstage last week and cut her hair?

- Will Bob Lashley return to TV in time for a match at SummerSlam?

- LA Knight is a megastar who is massively over with WWE live audiences. However, he didn’t win the Money in the Bank contract, and he doesn’t appear to have a SummerSlam match lined up with fellow megastar Logan Paul. Where does this leave LA with the biggest party of the summer just around the corner?

- Cameron Grimes and Baron Corbin were in the middle of a feud, but it might be nixed if Baron is staying in NXT for a while.

- Carlito is rumored to return to WWE tonight at MSG. Now that’s cool.

What will you be looking for on SmackDown?

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