Del Rio! Show! Ziggler! Jericho! The Rest of Those Guys! World Heavyweight Championship!
Although the primary players are slowly shifting around, we remain at the same crossroad we've been at for the past nine months.
Nine months ago Sheamus was battling Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship. The angle was boring, the matches mediocre, and it was a decidedly one-sided affair with "The Great White" besting "The Mexican Aristocrat" 158 times to zero.
Admittedly, my memory is a bit fuzzy during that period, but it certainly felt that way.
Now, Del Rio is taking on The Big Show for the same title. Del Rio has only two championship victories over the giant, but the feud is starting to feel a little skewed in one direction.
If Del Rio keeps defeating Show, and WWE keeps throwing the pair together, it's going to start feeling like déjà vu all over again.
Nine months ago, Dolph Ziggler won the SmackDown Money in the Bank Match at the pay-per-view (PPV) of the same name. We all wondered when he would get his push to the top, when he would cash in and become the big guy of "The Blue Brand."
Then he kept jobbing to the stars, and he seems to have lost every feud he has been attached to.
Now Ziggler still holds the Money in the Bank contract, waiting to cash in at any moment. Yet that moment never seems to come. He has picked up AJ Lee and Big E Langston to establish an entourage, but they haven't really done anything of value, outside of the original formation. Ziggler always seems to be on the cusp of great things.
That it was merely a matter of when he would get there, seemed to be a safe assumption. Now though, I have to seriously consider changing the question to, "if" he'll ever get there.
Are things better now than they were nine months ago? Absolutely, without question. Del Rio is a far better baby face champion than Sheamus ever was. Show is a much better heel than Del Rio was, and actually has a sense of legitimacy around him. The top of the card is just plain more fun now than it was during the summer and fall of 2012.
The Elimination Chamber on Sun. (Feb. 17) will be filled with the likes of Daniel Bryan, Kane, Randy Orton, Jericho, Mark Henry, and Jack Swagger. That is an amazing collection of talent, which shows just how much the upper-card has grown.
I have faith that WWE will keep things interesting at the top of the card. Even if Del Rio retains at Elimination Chamber, the angle has been strong enough that it could run until WrestleMania 29, if needed. Plus, at any moments notice, there are at least half a dozen guys who could step in to be legitimate contenders. Things are looking up lately for SmackDown.
Unless your name is Dolph Ziggler. Then things have been exactly the same.
In! Tonight's! Action! Bullet! Points! Mini! Spoilers!
Note: all matches are based on reports from last night's (Feb. 12) taping. The endings will not be given away, but there may be slight spoilers. The card is always subject to change.
- Chris Jericho will be hosting a special Wednesday night edition of The Highlight Reel. His guest was supposed to be The Miz, but after the beating "The Awesome One" took at the hands of Antonio Cesaro on Monday Night Raw(Feb. 11) it looks like plans have changed. Jericho's new guest will in no way be spoiled by my next bullet point.
- In the sole match of the evening, World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio will take on "Mr. Money in the Bank" Dolph Ziggler, in what should be a great fight.
- Finally, Matt Striker will interview Paul Heyman about The Rock vs. CM Punk for the WWE Championship taking place at Elimination Chamber
Hopefully, this has prepared you for the night's festivities. Leave a comment below about what you are looking forward to, and please join the entire CSS Wednesday night gang in the live blog TONIGHT!