As we mentioned earlier, James Ellsworth was at SmackDown 1000 yesterday (Tues. October 16, 2018) but did not appear on the show as expected. Ellsworth instead was interviewed by Mike Rome for WWE’s YouTube channel and complained about the company leaving a “SmackDown legend” off the show.
Per a report from WrestlingNewsCo, Ellsworth was apparently left off the show due to the Evolution segment with WWE Hall Of Famer Ric Flair, Batista, Triple H, and Randy Orton running long. The report suggests “at least one” segment was nixed due to the angle running long. Also, Rey Mysterio and Shinsuke Nakamura’s main event, a WWE World Cup Qualifier which Mysterio won, was cut short as a result.
This was in order to allow The Undertaker to close out the show with enough time to cut his promo on D-Generation X, in which he warned Triple H and Shawn Michaels ahead of Crown Jewel. As for why WWE didn’t extend the show to three hours, WWE was obligated to provide Facebook with a live WWE Mixed Match Challenge show. Therefore, WWE couldn’t pre-tape the MMC and air it later.