Smackdown World Cup updates

Nov 12, 2022 - by Marc Middleton

The WWE SmackDown World Cup Tournament kicked off during tonight’s SmackDown on FOX episode.

The eight-man tournament opened with Santos Escobar representing Mexico, Shinsuke Nakamura representing Japan, Braun Strowman representing the United States, Jinder Mahal representing India, Butch representing England, Sami Zayn representing Canada, Mustafa Ali representing Pakistan, and Ricochet representing the United States. It was reported earlier today that Rey Mysterio was a planned World Cup entrant, as of 12pm ET, but plans apparently changed as he was replaced by Ali. There’s no word yet on why WWE made the change.

Tonight’s SmackDown from Indianapolis saw Escobar defeat Nakamura to advance to the semi-finals, while Strowman defeated Mahal to advance to the semis. Next week’s SmackDown from Hartford will feature Zayn vs. Butch and Ali vs. Ricochet to wrap up the first round. WWE has not revealed the World Cup brackets as of this writing, so it wasn’t clear who Strowman and Escobar will face in the semi-finals, whether it’s Zayn, Butch, Ali or Ricochet.

Michael Cole noted on commentary that the SmackDown World Cup Tournament will take place over three weeks, including this week. It looks like the finals may take place on the November 25 SmackDown from the Amica Mutual Pavilion in Providence, RI, which is the go-home show for Survivor Series. This would likely put the winner vs. WWE Intercontinental Champion GUNTHER on the Survivor Series card. The winner of the tournament will receive the World Cup trophy, as seen below, plus the future title shot from GUNTHER. The leader of Imperium confronted Ricochet during a backstage segment on tonight’s SmackDown, seen below.

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