5 Things WWE Subtly told us on SmackDown: Austin Theory's WrestleMania 39 opponent teased; "Underrated" superstar to get a major push in the future?
Welcome to this week's edition of things WWE subtly told us on SmackDown. The episode may be crucial depending on how the company structures next week.
SmackDown being a day before any premium live event makes it a little challenging to work out logistically, but we are interested in seeing what happens next week on the go-home show one day before Extreme Rules 2022.
No match was made official for the event, but it was solid with many hints and easter eggs. Here is what WWE subtly told us this week on SmackDown:
#5. Austin Theory's WrestleMania 39 opponent teased on SmackDown
Austin Theory had a major role to play on SmackDown this week. He was a part of the main event, but he also happened to have a backup with him in the form of the Alpha Academy.
Before you wonder - no, Drew McIntyre was not teased as his WrestleMania 39 opponent on SmackDown. But do you know who it was? None other than one of the greatest of all time John Cena.
Michael Cole played a crucial role with a few subtle messages here and there on SmackDown. One of them included his praise of Theory as being one of the best competitors WWE has seen in years while also acknowledging that he needs a little "attitude adjustment."
This was a clear-cut tease of a potential match against John Cena at WrestleMania 39.
#4. WWE acknowledges Chad Gable as an underrated star, but what does it mean?
Chad Gable was one of the six men involved in the main event as The Alpha Academy teamed up with Austin Theory to face the trio of Drew McIntyre, Johnny Gargano, and Kevin Owens.
While the main event wasn't exactly a memorable one, Michael Cole acknowledged Chad Gable as a highly underrated competitor - making it one of the first times that WWE has openly addressed this.
Gable has been dubbed an underrated star for years, and this could be a subtle hint that WWE is finally intent on giving him a significant push in the future.
#3. LA Knight is back
Max Dupri had tension brewing within the Maximum Male Models. He hasn't been happy with the outcome he saw in the ring, so he was on the verge of snapping.
That self-control didn't last too long as he attacked Mån.sôör, officially ending his run with the Maximum Male Models. He would even let out a little "Yeah!" at the end, subtly hinting at the return of his LA Knight character from NXT.
#2. The less is more approach with Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens haven't been regularly interacting on-screen. While Zayn has been busy being the best part of SmackDown and an honorary Uce, Kevin Owens has been occupied with his new alliance alongside Johnny Gargano.
We have to give a shoutout to the new style of backstage segments where superstars' stories seemingly blend in together effortlessly. The transitions were great, and although we felt WWE was a bit too reliant on backstage segments this week, we would be lying if we said there weren't any cool interactions.
Owens came across Sami Zayn and told him he needed a new t-shirt. The less is more approach is being taken by WWE to hint at the future storyline between them while not giving out too much. We love this approach to storytelling.
#1. The big White Rabbit tease
How can we have an edition of things WWE subtly told us on SmackDown without mentioning The White Rabbit? After a Karrion Kross promo, a QR code was shown with the URL on WWE.com having 1911 on it. So what's so significant about this date? There are two things.
For one, 19/11 is 19th November - a week before Survivor Series 2022. While that's only one thing, a fan on Twitter pointed out that Wyatt had the 19/11 date for a past cameo appearance.
The White Rabbit video showed provocative images of the three pigs and the big bad wolf (and a sinister one at that). You can read more about it here. A seemingly planted "fan sign" also used the words "Revel in what you are" - another major indication teasing Bray Wyatt's return to WWE.
Did you enjoy SmackDown this week? Voice your thoughts in the comments below.