In just two months, WWE will return to a familiar venue in the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois for the 12/16 edition of SmackDown.
The Allstate Arena has hosted a plethora of WWE shows, including pay-per-views, over the past 20 years. This includes Backlash 2021, WrestleMania 22, Money in the Bank 2011 and 2018, Survivor Series 2019.
The Dec. 16 SmackDown event in Rosemont will take place just two weeks before the Day 1 pay-per-view, which is currently scheduled for Jan. 1, 2023 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.
Survivor Series WarGames (Nov. 26 in Boston, Massachusetts), is the final scheduled pay-per-view for WWE’s main roster stars this year. So the 12/16 SmackDown show will likely center around buildup for the Day 1 event.
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What Can We Expect For The 12/16 SmackDown Event?
For what it’s worth, Drew McIntyre, SmackDown Women’s Champion Liv Morgan, The Street Profits and The Usos (Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions) are all featured on the advertisement for SmackDown on the Allstate Arena’s official website.
But it’s tough to know where things will stand on SmackDown two months from now. WWE is still focusing on the buildup for Crown Jewel 2022, which is still a month away (Nov. 5 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia).
The last three WWE Drafts have taken place in the month of October, but WWE has yet to announce a date for this year’s draft. Assuming it happens before December, the SmackDown roster could look a lot different.
There’s one sure bet: Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns will continue to work on SmackDown. He has been the main star on the show for over two years now, and it’s hard to envision WWE removing The Tribal Chief from the brand.
Even if Reigns were drafted to Raw, he’d surely continue to appear on SmackDown since he’s the holder of the two world championships. If Reigns is on the card for Day 1, WWE will likely continue building up his match for the pay-per-view.
Reigns was initially scheduled to defend the Universal Championship against Brock Lesnar at Day 1 2022, but he had to be removed from the show after testing positive for COVID-19. Lesnar was added to the WWE Championship match, which he went on to win.
Reigns’ Bloodline allies, The Usos, also continue to work on both brands as dual champions. There’s no indication that Jimmy and Jey will lose their championship belts any time soon, so it’s not too early to believe that they’ll be featured on the Dec. 16 SmackDown show as well.
Morgan will defend her SmackDown Women’s Championship against Ronda Rousey at Saturday’s Extreme Rules pay-per-view. Rousey lost to Morgan at Money in the Bank and SummerSlam, but The Baddest Woman on the Planet is a -220 favorite to win this Saturday at BetOnline.
With WWE seemingly trying to build Day 1 as a marquee pay-per-view long-term, it’d be a surprise if the SmackDown Women’s Championship wasn’t featured on the card for the New Year’s Day event.
Major championship belts in WWE don’t change hands all that often these days. The winner of Morgan vs. Rousey at Extreme Rules will likely carry the title into December. If that’s the case, we will presumably see more buildup for a title match at Day 1.
A lot can change between now and mid-December. WWE creative can always change long-term booking plans, and the roster could look considerably different following the draft.
As such, the main safe assumption for the Dec. 16 SmackDown show is that there will be a large focus around the buildup for the Day 1 pay-per-view. But we’ll likely have to wait until after Survivor Series to get a strong idea as to what the Day 1 card could look like.