Last night's WWE SmackDown was a Roman Reigns free zone for the first time in a long time.
The dominating Universal Champion didn't even appear in a backstage segment or promo on the show - in fact, he was only mentioned in passing by Paul Heyman during a promo skit with Kayla Braxton. That'll come as a disappointment to anybody who (rightly) believes that Reigns is the most interesting thing about Friday nights.
Ye olde 'Tribal Chief' has been on a tear since turning heel in the summer of 2020, and SmackDown is definitely a weaker program when he's not around. That's rare. Roman has either opened or closed the blue brand offering for well over a year now.
His absence didn't help the show.
WWE aired SmackDown on FS1 this week, not FOX. That might explain why Roman wasn't involved. He's also about to indulge in some brand vs. brand action opposite Raw's Big E, so perhaps creative thought they had some breathing room.
Basically, if they were going to leave Reigns off SmackDown even once, then Friday was the best bet. Again though, it didn't do much for the broadcast.