Backstage News On When WWE SmackDown Creative Plans Were Finalized Last Week

This week's "WWE SmackDown" included several memorable moments, including the return of Top Dolla, Ashante "Thee" Adonis, and B-Fab of Hit Row Records, as well as a hard-hitting Intercontinental Championship match between Gunther and Shinsuke Nakamura. For fans curious about when creative plans were finalized for the show, a new report from FIghtful provides some insight, noting that most of the outline for the episode was finished by Thursday afternoon. This makes it appear that things are running in somewhat more orderly fashion under the new leadership of Stephanie McMahon, Nick Khan, and Paul "Triple H" Levesque — a far cry from the countless reports that came out when Vince McMahon was still CEO and head of creative, and was "ripping up" scripts the day of showtime.

Fightful also noted that the return of the aforementioned Hit Row stable wasn't labeled on the rundown for the show in an attempt to "protect" the big reveal. Of course, reports had surfaced over the days leading up to the show that WWE was looking to bring back Adonis and Top Dolla, though B-Fab was not speculated to return alongside them at the time. The efforts by WWE and Levesque to label the surprise as "TBD," as the report states, kept at least one piece of the surprise a secret until the show aired.

Meanwhile, next week's episode of "SmackDown" is already starting to take shape, with one match and one segment announced as of this writing. It's been advertised that the fourth match in the opening round of the tournament to crown new WWE Women's Tag Team Champions will take place, pitting "NXT" ppstarts Nikkita Lyons and Zoey Stark against Sonya Deville and Natalya. Additionally, The Viking Raiders are conducting a "funeral" for their longtime rivals, Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston.