Jinder Mahal will do everything in his power to extend the era of The Maharaja as he faces AJ Styles on WWE SmackDown in Manchester, England.
Styles was originally going to be battling for a spot on the blue brand’s Survivor Series team against Rusev. Plans have since changed. He’s now one victory away from reclaiming the WWE Championship.
Mahal vs. Styles will headline the latest leg of the road to the Nov. 19 Survivor Series pay-per-view.
TOMORROW NIGHT, @AJStylesOrg challenges @JinderMahal for the @WWE Championship in Manchester on #SDLive at 8/7c on @USA_Network! https://t.co/dl2Zd2MKgJ
Will The Maharaja survive another tough test? Will WWE finally end the Mahal-as-champion experiment?
Those questions will swirl as WWE continues its tour of Europe.
Elsewhere on the show, Becky Lynch will collide with an unexpected opponent, the SmackDown Tag Team Championship will be up for grabs, and a British bruiser could return.
Read on for an early look at Tuesday’s show, complete with backstage news, info from the SmackDown preview on WWE.com and storyline projections. The latest SmackDown will go live in the United Kingdom in the early afternoon then air on tape delay in the U.S. at 8 p.m. ET on USA Network.
Sin Cara may be out of action on SmackDown. The luchador reportedly hurt his knee at a live event.
On Monday, Joseph Currier noted for Figure Four Online, “Sin Cara didn’t end up wrestling at SmackDown’s house show in Lisbon, Portugal, today after suffering a knee injury in a match against Baron Corbin and Sami Zayn in Spain on Sunday. He had been scheduled to be evaluated before the show.”
If Sin Cara has to miss significant time, WWE will have to put his and Corbin’s feud on hold for the moment.
Could Paige finally be back in the ring? After recovering from a neck injury, she has spent the past few weeks training at the WWE Performance Center.
With the blue brand traveling to her home country, the timing is right for The Anti Diva to storm back onto the scene.
Despite being drafted by Raw last year, SmackDown could end up being her home. Mike Johnson of PWInsider wrote, “The consensus among those we had spoken to in recent weeks was that she would be returning as part of the Smackdown brand, but everything can change until it actually happens on TV.”
Styles will head into his match with Mahal with a decent amount of momentum.
The Phenomenal One has knocked off each of The Singh Brothers in dominant fashion. He has now won three in a row and is 8-2 in last 10 SmackDown bouts, per CageMatch.net.
Fans who haven’t been impressed with Mahal will be hoping this all sets up a Styles world title win.
Tamina hasn’t moved toward title contention. Despite aligning herself with Lana, the powerhouse has remained in an unenviable position in the SmackDown food chain.
She has three consecutive losses, per CageMatch.net. She hasn’t won two bouts in a row since coming out on top in a tag team match on June 6.
Becky Lynch wanted to crack Carmella in the mouth, but she’ll have to settle for The Princess of Staten Island’s lackey, James Ellsworth.
Building on a Twitter exchange, WWE has booked Lynch vs. Ellsworth in the first WWE intergender match in recent memory.
EXCLUSIVE: Following a heated @Twitter exchange, @BeckyLynchWWE will go one-on-one with @realellsworth tomorrow night on #SDLive! https://t.co/DhZLGLEjYR
This is likely to get played for laughs, especially with how Ellsworth has recently been portrayed as Carmella’s loyal, collar-wearing pet.
Manchester fans will also see a SmackDown Tag Team Championship bout. Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin earned the right to challenge The Usos weeks ago. The surging team will now get that title match.
There will be additional stakes beyond the gold here as the winner will go on to represent SmackDown at Survivor Series.
Cesaro and Sheamus dethroned Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose on Monday’s Raw to shove their way into the PPV lineup. Gable and Benjamin will look to follow suit.
It was quite clearly The New Day’s fault that Rollins and Ambrose lost the titles. The SmackDown trio distracted the champs by invading their territory. Now, one can bet on Rollins and Ambrose (and Roman Reigns?) to issue some payback soon.
#UnderSiege PART TWO?! #TheNewDay is HERE on #RAW!
@WWEBigE @TrueKofi @XavierWoodsPhD https://t.co/QnePpB2HZb
The WWE.com preview for Tuesday’s show hinted at the red brand as a whole retaliating: “Will Raw be out for retribution when SmackDown comes to Manchester?”
SmackDown will top all that off with a WWE Championship match that would greatly reshape the Survivor Series card. Brand commissioner Shane McMahon booked the clash after Mahal laid waste to Styles last week.
Shane McMahon @shanemcmahon
Due to @JinderMahal vicious attack on @AJStylesOrg, he will defend the #WWEChampionship against AJ this Tues. in Manchester, UK on #SDLive.
Styles is Mahal’s final obstacle before a PPV showdown with universal champ Brock Lesnar. The amount of time WWE has spent hyping Mahal vs. Lesnar with video packages makes it seem unlikely the company would insert Styles into that match instead.
The Singh Brothers, Mahal’s cheating ways and perhaps Team Raw threaten to crush The Phenomenal One’s championship dreams.