A look at what to expect on the January 24 edition of SmackDown Live after the events that unfolded this week.
Another week of strong programming continued on SmackDown Live. The blue brand would kick off with a major announcement from Shane McMahon. Despite opening with an authority figure’s announcement, the show felt anything but Raw-like. Shane would announce that in four weeks WWE title would be defended inside the elimination chamber. The announcement would follow-up with verbal jabs from AJ Styles, John Cena and The Miz.
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The show would then kick-off the in-ring portion with a match between the Miz and Styles. Later during the match, Styles would throw Miz onto Cena who was coincidentally a guest commentator. The new aggressive Cena would then proceed to shove the Miz on to the guard rails, drawing disqualification win for former IC champion.
Elsewhere on the show, Dean Ambrose battled Randy Orton in a non-title match. The match would act as a plot tool to further the issues between Orton and Harper. Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler would make his return to SmackDown as well. He would host his talk show, the King’s court with Dolph Ziggler. King would eventually get super kicked by Ziggler to close out the segment.
Finally, SmackDown would close off the show with a great steel cage match for the Women’s championship. As expected, La Luchadora would make an interference and save Bliss once more. However, the post-match brawl revealed the masked competitor to be none other than the returning Mickie James. Strong segments and opportune storytelling would once again create a compelling episode of SmackDown. Based on the events the played out in front of us, what could we expect from the show next week?
The tag division in its entirety was absent from Tuesday’s show. The champions, American Alpha would not make any appearance following their deciding win over the Wyatt Family. No other teams would appear to make their case for a shot at the title this week either. That would open up the doors for the tag division to do something meaningful next week.
Moreover, SmackDown would need to build more feuds and title matches to load the card for their next PPV. American Alpha vs The Usos is a money match based on talent alone. Throw in the history between these teams and one would have a solid tag title match. I would expect the Usos to make their case a shot at the title as soon as next week possibly.
We could probably witness a number one contenders match in creative proves to be merciful with the other tag teams. However, all the tag teams have zero momentum at the moment. With Zack Ryder out, the Hype Bros are temporarily out of action. Breezango is entertaining but still needs credibility. Ascension is well, Ascension. That leaves us with Usos vs Slater and Rhyno one last time with the heels going over.
The King would make his return to SmackDown this week as he hosted an edition of his own talk show – the King’s court. Dolph Ziggler would take up the role of his first guest. The segment would not end well for the King as he took a superkick from Ziggler. This would come after Lawler pointing out to Ziggler that nothing has changed as far as his win-loss records go.
Expect Ziggler to recruit someone to avenge Ziggler next week. I would predict that person to be Apollo Crews. The highly energetic NXT call up just needs one breakout feud to evolve into a star. Having a celebrated veteran like Jerry Lawler would help Crews to garner some reaction from the crowd. Moreover, Ziggler already has some history with Crews after the past couple of week ended with those two crossing paths.
One could also point out Kalisto in the same role. However, he is already an established name and is not in need of getting some rub from a legend. Crews, on the other hand, has struggled to find his character and place on the blue brand. He is loaded with talent but needs a touch of personality to make it past the glass ceiling he is facing at the moment. Being paired with the King in angle with Ziggler could possibly do just that.
The former IC champion would announce his entry back into the main event picture this past week. He would let the world know he has his sights set on the WWE title. The Miz would then have a match with Styles to start off the in-ring action this Tuesday. The match would end controversially when Styles tried to throw the Miz on to Cena.
Cena would catch the Miz and then shove him onto the barricade before proceeding to attack Styles. This would eventually draw the disqualification finish and hand the win to Miz. An irate Miz would, however, try to have a go at Cena from behind only to get hit with an AA. Expect WWE to follow the same recipe next week as well.
If one were to predict ahead one more step, I would say Styles would be on commentary during the match. As it is the norm now, expect the match to end with a brawl. Having Miz back in the WWE title picture would be great. It is sort of rewarding for the Hollywood A-lister after he did so much to elevate the IC title. Mixing it up with the likes of Styles and Cena could only do wonders for his time in the blue brand.
1. SmackDown Continues to Build Towards Elimination Chamber
As Shane McMahon would announce during the start of the show, Elimination Chamber would come crashing on us in four weeks. This would essentially mean that the blue brand now has to do double duty in a way. It would have to build towards Royal Rumble which is merely two weeks away now. Having such a big event just two weeks after that could mean that a Raw superstar would win the Royal Rumble this year.
However, Daniel Bryan or Shane could easily do something creative here. Perhaps they could give the last spot in the elimination chamber match to the last person being eliminated from SmackDown roster in the rumble. Apart from that, though, expect the blue brand to build towards filling the card for elimination chamber in a hurry.
As of now, Dean Ambrose is yet to find out who would be his next challenger. Dolph Ziggler could well be on course towards that. However, he might have to stop and deal with Jerry “The King” Lawler and possibly Apollo Crews at SmackDown’s next PPV. Becky Lynch would eventually look for retribution against Mickie James. Moreover, a lot of these feuds might play their own roles in the Royal Rumble match as well. If Crews is in the Rumble, I wouldn’t be surprised if he eliminates Ziggler with the help of Jerry Lawler.
American Alpha could possibly find out who their next challenger is eventually. With so much set to happen in a mere 3 weeks, one could expect another strong and eventful edition of the blue brand’s show on January 24.