SmackDown airs tonight (Jan. 12) with a live show emanating from Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska. This is the seventh episode of SmackDown during the nine week build towards Royal Rumble 2024, which takes place on January 27.
There’s one guy on SmackDown who Roman Reigns can’t beat
WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns thought he had it all figured out last week when The Bloodline stormed the ring during a main event triple threat match that was supposed to determine his challenger at Royal Rumble. Thanks to Roman’s plan, we never found out who the best man was between Randy Orton, LA Knight, and AJ Styles. But this strategy quickly backfired on Roman when he was thwarted by the one guy on SmackDown who he can’t beat:
Jinder Mahal General Manager Nick Aldis.
Aldis made it clear to Roman last month when they met that he is the law on Friday nights, and he reminded Roman of his power last week by booking him in a Fatal 4-way match at the Rumble against Orton, Knight, and Styles. Thanks to the GM’s power play, Roman’s ridiculously long title reign can actually end without the champ even being involved in the winning fall.
The Tribal Chief is a part-timer who isn’t advertised for tonight’s show, so it will be up to Paul Heyman to confront Aldis about this decision and attempt to change his mind. But if the Wise Man foolishly plays his cards, he may piss off Aldis even more and inadvertently get Solo Sikoa and Jim Uso booked in some unfavorable matches tonight against Orton, Knight, and Styles.
The rest of the title scene
United States Champion Logan Paul talked trash at Kevin Owens last week and paid for it. Paul isn’t advertised for tonight’s show, so his buddies Austin Theory and Grayson Waller are essentially standing in for him. Will Owens show up to punch these doofuses in the face when WWE dusts off Cameron Grimes for a one-on-one match with Waller tonight?
WWE Women’s Champion IYO SKY is being targeted by Bianca Belair, who plans to get her next title shot by winning the Royal Rumble match. The rest of Damage CTRL think Bianca is Bayley’s problem to solve, because Bayley is the official leader of the group. Therefore, it will be Bayley vs. Belair tonight. How will Damage CTRL react to their leader if she loses once again to the EST of WWE?
Bayley made it clear last week that the Kabuki Warriors are gunning for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship, so it might be in the best interests of Katana Chance and Kayden Carter to keep away from SmackDown as long as possible.
Other stuff to keep an eye on
- Cruz Del Toro & Joaquin Wilde vs. Angel Garza & Humberto Carrillo is booked for tonight. Will Carlito or Rey Mysterio be ringside to neutralize any interference from Santos Escobar?
- AOP and Paul Ellering officially joined Karrion Kross’ shitty new stable last week by ambushing Bobby Lashley and the Street Profits. What will Karrion’s crew do for an encore tonight?
- Speaking of Lashley, there’s a rumor that WWE plans to name his group “The Pride.” Bob and the Profits better hope this rumor is incorrect or outdated, because that’s a rather underwhelming name.
- BUTCH brought in Tyler Bate last week to finally get a tag team win over Pretty Deadly. Will the heels complain to Nick Aldis about Bate’s unexpected arrival on SmackDown?
- Dragon Lee is no longer the NXT North American Champion, so he can now completely focus on thriving in main roster WWE.
- Will there be any qualifying bouts for the men and women’s Royal Rumble matches, or will most of the roster keep forgetting to declare for it?
- Where the f*** is Omos?
What will you be looking for on SmackDown?