WWE surprisingly announced on July 18 that the one-hour Smackville event will air on the WWE Network on July 27.
The SmackDown-exclusive show, which takes place in Nashville, Tennessee, will feature Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Samoa Joe in a WWE Championship match, as well as an Extreme Rules-rematch between Shinsuke Nakamura and Finn Balor for the Intercontinental Championship.
The SmackDown Women’s Championship will also be defended, with Bayley taking on Alexa Bliss and Charlotte Flair, while SmackDown Tag Team Champions Big E & Xavier Woods will be in action against as-yet-unnamed opponents.
Although lots of WWE Network special events have been held in the past -- most recently The Shield’s Final Chapter -- fans were taken by surprise that WWE announced Smackville just nine days before the show.
Sean Ross Sapp reported on Fightful Select that WWE decided to go ahead with the event for various reasons, including “to see how things run on somewhat short notice”.
Another source told Sapp that the company wants to gauge how well they can counter-program with little time to prepare – something they were accused of doing on July 13 when Evolve’s 10th-anniversary show streamed on the WWE Network at the same time as AEW’s Fight for the Fallen.
Once the RAW Reunion episode of Monday Night RAW is over, the focus will switch to Tuesday’s episode of SmackDown Live, which is almost certain to feature plenty of promotion for the upcoming Smackville event.