5 Things WWE subtly told us on SmackDown: 40-year-old star to get a huge push despite losing at Royal Rumble, backstage executives unimpressed with potential Roman Reigns opponent? (January 27, 2023)

Brock Lesnar (left); Uncle Howdy (right)
Brock Lesnar (left); Uncle Howdy (right)

Welcome to this week's edition of things WWE subtly told us on SmackDown. It was the go-home show, just one day before the 2023 Royal Rumble. Do you know what that means? This means that the road to WrestleMania begins tomorrow.

It was a good episode, although we must admit that the main event between Kevin Owens and Solo Sikoa was disappointing. We're not sure if WWE has a bigger plan in mind for Solo Sikoa because if they don't, it makes little sense that he hasn't been pinned yet.

The no-contest finish to the main event of SmackDown was disappointing, but there was still a lot that WWE subtly told us in the process:

#5. The fate of LA Knight

Pipe down, @RealLAKnight is talking. πŸ—£οΈ#SmackDown #WWE

LA Knight has been the unexpected breakout star of the feud against Bray Wyatt. While Wyatt might exceed him in popularity and creative control, fans have been raving about LA Knight in the feud on SmackDown.

LA Knight got the crowd to boo him after dressing like Wyatt's cult-leader persona that we saw before 2018. He was interrupted by Wyatt, who then revealed that Uncle Howdy was watching over them.

While we do not doubt that Bray Wyatt will win the Mountain Dewβ„’ Pitch Black match at the Royal Rumble tomorrow, we also have no doubt that LA Knight will get a massive push in 2023. Trust Triple H in making him look good, even in defeat.

#4. What was Karrion Kross' loss on SmackDown indicative of?

Something tells us things are far from over between @realKILLERkross & @reymysterio.#SmackDown #WWE

Karrion Kross, when he returned to SmackDown months ago, was deemed a potential challenger for Roman Reigns. Unfortunately, he has fallen short of expectations, and fans don't seem to care about him that much.

He lost to Rey Mysterio, which was great since the WWE legend has been used like an enhancement talent lately, so it was nice to see him winning for a change.

However, it was also a subtle hint that Karrion Kross has dropped down the card. Don't be surprised if rumors emerge of backstage executives being unimpressed with him.

#3. The possible plan for Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble

HERE COMES THE PAIN! ⚑And just like that, @BrockLesnar has changed the entire landscape of the #RoyalRumble.β€―β€―β€―#SmackDown #WWE

The segment where Brock Lesnar appeared on SmackDown was chaotic. It began with Austin Theory taking a jab at John Cena (hinting at a WrestleMania match) before being interrupted by The New Day and The Miz.

Bobby Lashley made his presence known, making an extremely rare SmackDown appearance to wreak havoc after losing his match to Theory on RAW this week. Brock Lesnar appeared again and took Lashley out, declaring his entry into the Men's Royal Rumble match.

It seems clear that Lashley and Lesnar will eliminate each other at the Rumble, with their third one-on-one match at WrestleMania 39.

#2. The Lacey Evans story and where it's going

Lacey Evans finally had her first singles match in months as she defeated an enhancement talent. While the Woman's Right would usually be her finisher, she has adopted the Cobra Clutch - claiming that nobody can escape it.

From the look of things, the cobra clutch will be the female version of The Hurt Lock, and we wouldn't be surprised to see this being a direct tease of a Sgt. Slaughter returning to WWE TV.

#1. Is the SmackDown Tag Team Title tournament just filler for The Usos?

The SmackDown Tag Team Tournament saw the semi-final matches happening this week. Drew McIntyre and Sheamus were taken out by the Viking Raiders (who they eliminated last week) and were replaced by the rival-turned-friends duo of Ricochet and Braun Strowman.

They defeated Hit Row to advance to the finals, while Imperium defeated Legado Del Fantasma. It seems clear that whoever wins will end up being filler opponents for The Usos until WrestleMania.

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Edited by Angana Roy
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