As the chairman and CEO of WWE, Vince McMahon still has the last word when it comes to most creative decisions. As such, he's been the mastermind of many an individual episode of Monday Night Raw or SmackDown Live through the years. That included Tuesday night's episode of the latter show, which, per multiple sources, McMahon rewrote at the 11th hour.
On Tuesday afternoon, Pro Wrestling Sheet editor Ryan Satin was the first to report on the rewrites, as he took to Twitter to note that McMahon gathered the SmackDown Live creative team to "totally rewrite the show" just hours before it went on air. This was followed up by a report from WrestlingNews.co, which reportedly confirmed that "most (or all)" of Tuesday night's SmackDown Live got a same-day overhaul.
Detailing one of the specific changes, WrestlingNews.co's Paul Davis wrote that WWE had originally booked a standard tag team match featuring Drew McIntyre and Elias facing off against Big E and Xavier Woods of current SmackDown Tag Team Champions The New Day. This match was reportedly changed to a six-man tag team match pitting all three New Day members (Big E, Woods, and WWE Champion Kofi Kingston) against The OC – the recently-reformed stable featuring United States Champion AJ Styles and Raw Tag Team Champions Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson.
Talking about the possible reason why Vince McMahon made so many last-minute changes to this week's SmackDown Live, Davis cited his sources, who claimed that WWE is concerned about its ratings going up against CNN's broadcast of the Democratic presidential debate. As his report was published shortly before SmackDown went on air, Davis also noted that more changes were likely forthcoming.It's not clear whether McMahon made such a change after WrestlingNews.co's report went online, but Cageside Seats' recap of Tuesday night's SmackDown Live shows that the six-man tag match between The New Day and The OC did not take place. In its place was a champion vs. champion singles match where Kofi Kingston emerged victorious over AJ Styles.
This isn't the first time in recent weeks that McMahon has reportedly taken charge and made same-day updates to the SmackDown Live card. According to WrestlingNews.co, the WWE boss did something similar last week, appearing backstage at around 4 p.m. to "make some last-minute changes" to SmackDown Live. The publication pointed out that it isn't unusual for McMahon to slightly tweak a show right before airtime, but "less common" for him to rewrite a full show with such short notice.
This week's edition of SmackDown Live also included appearances from Hall of Famers Jerry Lawler and Trish Stratus, as the latter accepted Charlotte Flair's challenge for a match at next month's SummerSlam pay-per-view. The show notably ended with a segment where a scaffold was tipped over backstage, narrowly missing Roman Reigns as he prepared to confirm his SummerSlam opponent in an interview.