There's only one word to describe tonight's supersized Friday Night SmackDown - stacked!
WWE is going all out for the Crown Jewel go-home episode of the Blue Brand, and a big-time show calls for "Big Time Becks." That's exactly what fans will get when Becky Lynch takes on her long-time rival Sasha Banks one-on-one. There will also be a semi-finals match-up in both the King of the Ring and Queen's Crown Tournaments, and let's not forget the long-awaited in-ring return of Sonya Deville.
The WWE official will once again lace up her boots to take on Naomi, her first match since losing to Mandy Rose at last year's SummerSlam. There's a myriad of reasons to be excited about SmackDown tonight, and the most combustible element will be Brock Lesnar returning to confront Roman Reigns one final time before their showdown in Saudi Arabia.
It's a show so big that WWE decided to add an extra half an hour, which the company says will be commercial-free. However, there is stiff competition tonight. That includes from the very event that bumped WWE from FOX to FS1, the MLB American League Championship Series. Both SmackDown and Game 1 between the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros get underway at 8 p.m. ET.
Roman Reigns' special counsel, Paul Heyman, took some time to chat with Sportskeeda Wrestling this week and said it doesn't matter what else is on television tonight. There's only one show to watch and one reason to watch it.
"First of all, let's settle this now. There's no reason to watch the baseball playoffs. Baseball is predetermined," Paul Heyman exclaimed in character before putting over why fans should watch SmackDown over anything else. "My goodness. Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman, all in the same place at the same time. You know that's a combustible situation. You know history's going to be made. You know it's going to play out right before your very eyes. This is going to be, not just must-see, but can't-miss television. Baseball, schmaseball. Come on!"
He was pressed further about the competitive landscape of professional wrestling specifically, but the wise man lived up to his title and didn't take the bait.
When asked whether he had noticed a positive or negative change in the WWE locker room in recent months, Paul Heyman once again took the opportunity to put over The Head of the Table.
"Yes, I've noticed that everyone is envious and jealous of The Tribal Chief Roman Reigns. The number one or number two, depending on your perspective, biggest star in Hollywood right now, John Cena, returned to WWE just to rub some of that Roman Reigns stardom all over himself. Even though he knew... John Cena knew in his heart that he didn't stand a chance against Roman Reigns," Paul Heyman said before turning his attention to Roman's Crown Jewel opponent. "Brock Lesnar, up in Canada, in Saskatchewan. In the wilderness, eating what he kills. Feeding his family with his prey, comes back to WWE. Why? Why didn't he go to UFC? Why did he come back to WWE? Why did he come back to SmackDown? Because he was specifically looking for Roman Reigns. Roman Reigns is the single biggest star in sports and sports entertainment. And that's what I noticed now about the locker room, is that everyone is jealous and envious of Roman Reigns."
The wrestling industry has not been this hot in years, due in large part to the ascension of other promotions. But to Paul Heyman's point, the evolution of Roman Reigns from The Big Dog to the Tribal Chief has a lot to do with it as well.
Competition creates two paths forward. Fold or step up your game. With shows like tonight's SmackDown, WWE is choosing the latter. Over the last year-plus, Roman Reigns has done the same thing and the fans have responded. Or maybe the better way to put it would be to say they have acknowledged him as the guy in WWE.
Paul Heyman says it's been the highlight of his career to be the Special Counsel to Roman Reigns
Paul Heyman has been there since the beginning. He aligned himself with The Head of the Table almost immediately upon his return to WWE last summer. It's been quite the ride since.
With Heyman by his side, Reigns captured the Universal Championship at Payback when he defeated Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman in a triple threat match. 410 days later, and the Tribal Chief is still the reigning, defending, and undisputed WWE Universal Champion.
Paul Heyman told Sportskeeda Wrestling that the last year-plus with Roman Reigns has been a challenge but also incredibly rewarding.
"A career highlight. A life highlight. A life affirming position every single day of my life, because I view every day as simply an audition to be brought back the next day as Special Counsel to The Tribal Chief." Paul Heyman continued, "He accepts nothing but a hundred percent. He accepts nothing but absolute success. He puts in the time. He puts in the work. He puts in the effort. There's no slacking in Roman Reigns' vocabulary. I find it to be a most challenging and rewarding effort every single solitary moment of every single day."
You can catch Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar, and Paul Heyman on tonight's special two-and-a-half-hour Supersized SmackDown episode. The show airs on FS1, starting at 8 p.m. ET.