WWE SmackDown Live preview (Oct. 9, 2018)

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No rest for the weary, as Team Blue gets ready for next week’s anniversary and two upcoming pay-per-view (PPV) events on Oct. 9 in Indianapolis.

The Headliners

Guess who’s not mentioned in the official preview for tonight’s show on WWE.com?

The absence of United States champion Shinsuke Nakamura is particularly weird because he’s been showing up every couple weeks like clockwork. But since that’s usually just to start or advance someone else’s feuds and Randy Orton isn’t done with Tye Dillinger yet, I guess they still don’t need him back.

Even as a fan of the man WWE calls the Artist, I can understand why they wouldn’t have him on TV week-in and week-out. Years of strong style bumps in his native Japan have led to a tendency to coast in non-spotlight matches. His mastery of English isn’t such that he’s able to carry the 5-10 minute promo segments the company likes to do, and the quirky short interviews they do with Nakamura instead would probably lose their effectiveness if done every week.

But the timing of his “disappearance” is still odd, coming right off a WrestleMania heel turn which seemed to get over well with all segments of the live audience. Shinsuke doesn’t seem to be any more banged up than normal. He hasn’t worked every night on the road lately, but he’s wrestling consistently on house shows.

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