5 Things WWE Subtly told us on SmackDown: Paul Heyman makes a huge mistake without Roman Reigns, 7-Time Champion quietly turns face?

Welcome to this week’s edition of things WWE subtly told us on SmackDown. Another episode, and there seems to be a complete lack of build-up towards Survivor Series 2021.

There were no champion vs. champion matches official, though a few things did happen. Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss beat Rick Boogz and Shinsuke Nakamura, furthering his feud with Intercontinental Champion.

However, it was only due to Angel Garza and Humberto Carrillo, the newest members of SmackDown, that it happened. Garza and Carrillo disguised themselves before announcing their arrival.

Apart from that, quite a few storylines progressed forward on SmackDown. Here’s what WWE subtly hinted at on SmackDown this week:

#5 Paul Heyman momentarily forgets that he isn’t Brock Lesnar’s manager anymore on SmackDown

The Crown Jewel finish saw Paul Heyman throw the Universal title into the ring. Although Roman Reigns got his hands on it, there was serious doubt whether Paul Heyman meant to give it to Brock Lesnar.

This has already caused a great deal of tension on SmackDown between Paul Heyman and Roman Reigns, and we can only imagine that it’s amplified after the interview this week.

Adam Pearce, who indefinitely suspended Brock Lesnar last week before getting assaulted, said that The Beast Incarnate would be fined $1 million. Paul Heyman got a shock from Kayla Braxton, who sneaked behind him to get the interview.

During the interaction, Paul Heyman seemed to forget that he wasn’t Brock Lesnar’s advocate anymore and started speaking about him as if he was hyping up The Beast Incarnate during a promo.

He caught himself mid-way and stopped to prevent any further damage. Roman Reigns wasn’t on SmackDown this week, so we didn’t get to see his reaction. But we imagine it would have been quite different had he heard it, and Paul Heyman would have to face the consequences.

This makes it evident that the Roman Reigns-Brock Lesnar storyline on SmackDown is set to continue until WrestleMania 38, at the very least. What this did was set up the fact that Paul Heyman is truly divided on who he should choose.

It will be interesting to see how things play out once Brock Lesnar returns. Don’t expect Roman Reigns’ alliance with Paul Heyman to go beyond mid-2022.

#4 Was there a quiet double turn on SmackDown?

SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair opened the show this week, ready for an open challenge. While Sasha Banks also responded, Shotzi Blackhart was the one who got the opportunity, as Charlotte didn’t want to face The Boss.

What the fans got was an incredible match and effort by Shotzi. Despite teaming up with Tegan Nox, the former NXT Superstar didn’t get too much screen time on SmackDown. WWE has already established Shotzi as a future Title Contender with this effort alone.

The crowd quickly got behind her as she failed to get pinfall after pinfall on Charlotte Flair. Eventually, it was an unintentional mistake and distraction by Sasha Banks that allowed Charlotte Flair to hit the Natural Selection and pick up the victory.

After the match, a furious Shotzi assaulted Sasha Banks. Although the heel aspect of Banks’ character has cooled down in the last few weeks, this seems to have been her official babyface turn, while Shotzi became a heel.

It’s not often that we see double turns, let alone quiet ones like this. It will be interesting to see how Shotzi fits into the SmackDown Women’s division.

#3 The Usos and The New Day set to run it back on SmackDown?

One of the all-time great modern tag team feuds was the SmackDown Tag Team title rivalry between The Usos and The New Day in 2017. The two teams faced off in numerous stipulation matches, concluding it with an incredible Hell in a Cell bout.

The two have faced off numerous times since then, but none have had the same impact that their feud did four years ago. This week on SmackDown, King Xavier came out to declare Kofi Kingston as “Sir Kofi” – his most-trusted confidante.

The Usos interrupted the two, and after a small verbal battle, King Xavier challenged The Usos to Trial By Combat. Roman Reigns wasn’t present on SmackDown this week, so the classic rivalry between the two teams main evented the show.

It was The New Day who won, with King Xavier getting the pin. WWE has subtly indicated since his King of the Ring victory that Xavier Woods might be the main man of The New Day going forward.

While Big E will have the most long-term singles success, King Xavier could start being portrayed as the leader of the tag team aspect of The New Day on SmackDown going forward.

#2 Drew McIntyre gets his SmackDown start, while Mustafa Ali pulls a bizarre excuse out of his bag

Drew McIntyre made his in-ring return to SmackDown, starting things with an Open Challenge. It’s good for WWE to take things slow with McIntyre on the blue brand, especially since he’s only coming off his WWE Title loss to Big E at Crown Jewel.

Rather than quickly pushing him to be just another Roman Reigns Universal title contender who will fall, it’s smarter to take the long-term approach, especially since a rivalry between the two men for the Universal Championship feels inevitable.

McIntyre got his start on SmackDown, which might indicate how WWE plans to handle him for the first month or two – which seems to be the best route to go.

The Scotsman’s Open Challenge was answered by Mustafa Ali. The result was obvious, with Ali once again losing.

The former RETRIBUTION leader has been on a bad skid before he came to SmackDown, and it continued on the blue brand tonight.

He proclaimed post-match that people don’t like him because his name is Mustafa Ali, which isn’t exactly true. But it’s a shame that WWE had to resort to that direction for his character – something he very likely wouldn’t want on a personal level.

#1 The Naomi-Sonya Deville feud on SmackDown intensifies with Shayna Baszler’s involvement

It seems as though Shayna Baszler has become Sonya Deville’s muscle following her move to SmackDown. This week, Naomi took on Shayna Baszler. Things went wrong when Naomi was scheduled for her match against Deville, as it turned out to be a handicap match.

Sonya Deville doesn’t like the former Women’s Champion and she has made no secret about it whatsoever. The bias against her has continued to play out on SmackDown, and it got worse this week.

Naomi was scheduled for a match against Baszler, but the referee, according to Sonya Deville, was injured from Brock Lesnar’s assault last week.

The only person available to referee the match was Deville herself. She asked at ringside if they had a t-shirt, and they conveniently did. While we thought that Michael Cole mocking her was a joke in the storyline, that was the actual way it played out.

Sonya Deville seemingly planned it all, and the conspiracy against Naomi on SmackDown continues. Deville made sure Baszler won via a fast count before distracting Naomi and allowing the Queen Of Spades to lock her in the Kirafuda clutch.


Musical megastar Cher reached out to a former WWE Superstar. Any guesses why? Find out here.

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