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October 18, 2021 Observer Newsletter: WWE SmackDown, AEW Rampage set to go head-to-head

There is a wrestling war on tap on 10/15.

With Smackdown being moved to FS 1 that night with the first game of the American League Championship Series on FOX, WWE and FS 1 decided to compete against AEW and TNT directly extending the show to 10:30 p.m., meaning they would be going against the first half hour of Rampage.

FS 1 also announced that there would be no commercials during that half hour.

Smackdown announced a loaded show with the key things being Brock Lesnar coming to confront Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman and a Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks match. Also announced are tournament semifinals with Finn Balor vs. Sami Zayn for men and Carmella vs. Zelina Vega for women and Sonya Deville’s first match since losing a retirement match to Mandy Rose at the 2020 SummerSlam, facing Naomi.

This led to two more key events that followed up. AEW announced a live YouTube preshow at 9 p.m. with a Bryan Danielson vs. Minoru Suzuki dream match. WWE countered by airing a replay of Smackdown from 10:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. That airing makes sense with people beating creatures of habit and the replay show airing during the 8-10 p.m. Pacific time zone period when West Coast viewers are mostly conditioned to watch Smackdown. However, in the past it was starting at 11 p.m. Eastern, or 8 p.m. Pacific, the normal Smackdown start time on the West Coast. By that time Rampage would be over, so it was moved up 30 minutes from normal this week.

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