Previewing SmackDown: For The First Time Ever? (www.cagesideseats.com)

Kyle Decker

WWE SmackDown returns tonight (Oct. 6) from the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. They are building their way to the Survivor Series pay-per-view (PPV) which is on Sunday, Nov. 22.

The Headliner

Tonight, Sasha Banks can get the monkey that’s been plaguing her for years off her back.

While she’s a seven time singles champion in WWE, she’s never successfully defended that title. Ever. She’s 0-6 in those defenses. Tonight, she has a chance to finally put a mark in the win column.

Banks won the SmackDown Women’s title less than two weeks ago at Hell in a Cell, but last week, Bayley issued the challenge for the rematch tonight. It seems like a rush to get to here so soon, meaning there’s definitely the possibility that there isn’t a winner or loser at all tonight to push this feud longer.

It’s a rare time where they won’t be waiting for the upcoming PPV because the SmackDown Women’s champion will face the Raw Women’s champion at Survivor Series. So unless they are planning to delay the rematch until December’s TLC show, we’re either getting a winner tonight or on a future episode of SmackDown.

If it is tonight, it’s a bit of a shame they didn’t take a little longer to remind folks that Sasha Banks has never successfully defended a singles title in main roster WWE. Most fans in the weeds who read sites like this already know it so that story is there for them. But there is likely a sizable group who watches on TV who doesn’t remember details like these. Plus it’s a good story to tease out in order to add more drama to the rematch.

With a few weeks to go prior to Survivor Series, I’d bet on this not being the end of this all. That we’re more likely to see a non-finish that gives them a couple more weeks, allowing them to explore Sasha’s past failures a bit more.

Either way, these two have excellent chemistry and the question of if Sasha finally picking up that elusive successful defense will make for intriguing television tonight.

The Title Scene:

Last week, Jey Uso finally bent the knee to Universal Champion Roman Reigns. He showed his loyalty by beating the living tar out of Daniel Bryan to the point Bryan needed to be stretchered out. (The stretcher portion happened after WWE went off the air.) This will likely set up Bryan vs. Reigns down the line, a match that will be very good, but Daniel will probably be off TV for a little bit to sell those injuries.

Sami Zayn and Bobby Lashley have been firing verbal shots across the bow ahead of their Intercontinental title vs. United States title exhibition at Survivor Series. It doesn’t seem like Zayn will have any SmackDown challengers for the IC belt prior to then.

Last week, Montez Ford survived getting launched into the crowd of video fans to help Angelo Dawkins defeat Cesaro & Nakamura in a non-title match. Now the SmackDown tag champs turn their focus to the New Day, who they will meet in their brand vs. brand Survivor Series match. Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston are around to help sell that angle, but there is a member of New Day who is a member of the blue brand’s roster.

As per usual, I wouldn’t expect the Women’s tag team champions on SmackDown unless it’s to lead a Raw attack, which thankfully hasn’t been a thing this year thus far.

Other things to keep an eye on:

– Bianca Belair won a triple threat to earn a spot on the women’s Survivor Series team. Given the fact there aren’t that many women left on the SmackDown roster, I assume everyone else will get the rest of the spots.

– Speaking of the SmackDown women, Carmella should finally be returning to show off her new character.

– On the men’s side, Kevin Owens and Jey Uso qualified for the Survivor Series team. Three spots to go.

– Murphy and Aalyah are officially an item now. The wedding should be cheaper since it probably won’t be open bar given she’s 19. That’s good new, Rey!


What will you be looking for when SmackDown returns tonight at 8 PM ET on Fox?