Coming off of two PPVs in two weeks, there is an expectation of some kind of shake-up coming to the WWE rosters. While that hasn’t happened yet, new life would only help the SmackDown roster, which already got a boost with the return of Roman Reigns who has aligned himself as the newest Paul Heyman guy. With Reigns instantly returning and winning the title, let’s take a look at the title pictures for SmackDown with its current roster.
The Universal Championship
On tonight’s episode of SmackDown, we are going to see a Fatal 4-way number 1 contenders match between Big E, Matt Riddle, King Corbin, and Sheamus. Big E has been red hot since his New Day brethren have gone down to injury. It is time to give the big man a push and I fully expect him to be in the title picture against Reigns by the end of tonight.
Something to note about this match however, is that Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman are noticeably absent. I don’t think Wyatt is going to just slink away from the title picture this quickly and I am hoping that Strowman isn’t just going to feud with Wyatt without a title being involved, because we have just seen it so much recently.
I’d like to see what Matt Riddle can do in the title picture as well, but I don’t want his first title picture storyline to end with him just getting squashed by Roman. If they aren’t going to push Big E, then push Sheamus or King Corbin into the Number 1 contender spot for Reigns’ first title defense as a heel, and then have Big E or Matt Riddle chipping away behind the scenes and letting their presence be felt from getting snubbed. Then, once Reigns wins at Clash of Champions, throw Big E or Riddle at him for Survivor Series.
SmackDown Women's Championship
While Bayley and Sasha are getting a rematch at the tag team titles tonight against Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax, I’m more interested in what the title picture around Bayley’s title might look like. There has been some unrest in the Golden Role Models ever since Sasha lost her title to Asuka, and if Bayley is the reason they lose again tonight, I could see Banks turning on Bayley. This would be beautiful long-term story telling and I think everyone would want to see them duke it out.
But, let’s say that all of the subtle hints toward a Banks turn don’t come to fruition. It is time to give Naomi the spotlight. She was a great past champion and since she is back from injury and is presumably healthy, it’s time to get her in the title picture. We have seen Nikki Cross challenge Bayley often, and Alexa Bliss is hopefully going to be wrapped up in a Wyatt storyline, so it is the perfect time for Naomi to make an impact and get that title back around her waist. Plus, she beat Bayley on the SmackDown before SummerSlam so she could use that momentum.
I was so happy to see Jeff Hardy get a surprising win over AJ Styles to become Intercontinental champ. This title reign may be one of his last in the WWE so I expect them to throw everything and the kitchen sink at Jeff starting out. I think his title is also the most likely to be taken over by a debuting superstar from NXT or from a wrestler jumping over from Raw.
Based on the events of last week's Smackdown, it looks like we are going to see Sami Zayn feud with Hardy and that could be gold. There's not really a reason to not pull the trigger on this idea, so hopefully this is what they give us.
On the off chance they don't go with Zayn and Hardy, I would love if Strowman and Wyatt stayed away from this title for the time being. I think Jeff needs a few good defenses before passing the torch to a young up and comer. For me, I would most like to see him feud with John Morrison. I think they both move around the ring well enough that it could be more great exposure for Morrison, can give him something to do not centered around the Miz, and could help a number of ways for both Hardy and Morrison.
SmackDown Tag Team Championships
I like the idea of Nakamura and Cesaro as a tag team, I just don’t think anyone cares about this division. It is similar to both the tag titles on Raw as well as the Women’s tag titles in that there is the champions, and then either due to Covid, injuries, or a seemingly random stipulation to break up a team, there aren’t many teams behind them.
The team that most needs to be in this spotlight is Heavy Machinery. Nobody is taking Otis seriously as the MITB briefcase holder, but there is some intrigue behind the idea that he could use the opportunity for a tag match for him and Tucker. I’d like to see that angle happen, but before it could, Tucker and Otis need to compete in more tag matches and challenge the champs. At the very least, with the Mandy and Sonya feud ending, Otis will hopefully get his eyes on some prize that the briefcase could help him achieve.
If they don’t go this way, it is about time for the Forgotten Sons to do something. They are very aptly named at the moment as I don’t know if anyone remembers they are a part of SmackDown. There are rumblings that they were removed from TV due to some political comments that created unrest backstage, but at this point, they could breathe some fresh air into this division so let’s get them back in the action.
Tonight’s episode of SmackDown doesn’t have a lot revealed for it, but should still be exciting. Who do you hope pops up into the various title pictures tonight as we make our way towards Clash of Champions?
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