Preview for the May 24, 2013 episode of WWE Smackdown: Rising and Falling Titles

Watch your neck, Jericho - via WWEFanNation on YouTube

What's next for the new champs in The Shield? The old champs Hell No and Kofi Kingston? How about new Paul Heyman guy Curtis Axel? We'll let you know what we're looking forward to and dreading on the Friday night WWE staple in our weekly preview.

Previously on SmackDown

We got a lot of Miz and Teddy Long. When I sung Theodore's praises in last week's preview, I didn't expect him to go all Hulk Hogan us.

Miz TV started by featuring Big Show and Randy Orton, before expanding to include Sheamus, Mark Henry, Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger. Mr. "tag team match, playa" then hit the scene to do what he do.

The faces won that six-man main event as prelude to a clean sweep of their singles matches at Extreme Rules.

It was tag-o-rama last Friday night - mostly with actual established pairs instead of thrown together ones. The duo that would win the straps on Sunday, Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins, defeated the Usos, a team with whom they might soon be feuding. Tons of Funk (Brodus Clay and Tensai) took down the Primetime Players (Titus O'Neil and Darren Young), as WWE may be trying to set-up multiple babyfaces teams for their heel champs to knock down.

Antonio Cesaro continued his run of strong matches against a variety of opponents when he battled Chris Jericho. And also of losing. That run continued, too.

Cody Rhodes stole the show demanding respect for his friend Damien Sandow during our savior's match with the Miz. It didn't work for Sandow on Friday night, and it didn't work for Cody on the pay-per-view (PPV) pre-show.

And Divas champion Kaitlyn pulled off the impressive feat of making Aksana look good in the ring. But by comparison rather than by carrying her. Her secret admirer still loves her anyway.


(NOTE: This show was taped on Tuesday for broadcast tonight. Previews are spoiler free, but results are available here)

The United States championship gets a chance to shine, as the new holder of the belt, Dean Ambrose, will rematch with the man he beat for it, Kofi Kingston, in the premier match being advertised for the May 24th show.

Expect more aftermath of Extreme Rules, as plenty of questions remain after the fallout edition of Raw.

What's next for World Heavyweight Champion (WHC) Dolph Ziggler and the former champ, and new number one contender, Alberto Del Rio? Ziggler's muscle, Big E Langston, defeated ADR on Monday night, but we still haven't seen the recently concussed champ.

Daniel Bryan wasn't the weak link in a six man against The Shield when his Team Hell No partner Kane ate the pin. How are the pair getting along now that they don't have the bronze eagles to bind them together?

Curtis Axel was announced as the newest Paul Heyman guy, but his most amazing feat of the night was making himself disappear during the main event. Will the future of the 3rd generation guy be addressed on Smackdown?

It's been a long time since Orton, Sheamus and Show dealt with anyone except each other. What's next for the three superstars? Is frequent dance partner Mark Henry healthy?

And speaking of dance, Fandango has a few loses beside his name to go along with his historic WrestleMania debut win. Will he hoof his way back to the main event any time soon?

Expect to pop for:

Damien Sandow. You know what there's nothing wrong with? Getting on television for the largest wrestling company in the world. Do it every week for 52 weeks or so and you've probably got yourself a career for the next twenty or so years off of independent bookings, if nothing else.

Sandow's been entertaining for more than a year in his current guise as magniloquent precisian, but this isn't his first stint in Vince McMahon's employ. Back in 2006, Idol Stevens debuted as an associate of Michelle McCool, who was then working a sexy teacher gimmick. He and partner KC James managed to hang around for a couple of months and even netted a tag title shot on PPV. But the future Mrs. Taker was the only part of the teacher's pet team that stuck around.


Photo courtesy of

We may bemoan Sandow's current fate as a mid-card enhancement talent. But he's carved out a niche for himself by making 'smart' fans laugh and pissing off everyone else. The rebirth of Michael McGillicutty could serve as an inspiration to the lord of literacy to take what we in the internet wrestling community (IWC) see as WWE's bullshit because it may turn into a main event opportunity down the line. But Damien himself is an example of not throwing in the towel because your first character didn't make it. For all it's challenges, the business does tend to reward those with a desire to entertain.

The heat is on:

Wade Barrett. On the flip side of that coin, the bare knuckled brawler is on his second iteration, yet he seems to accept whatever WWE's ironically named creative department offers him. I'm not sure how someone with Barrett's size, physique and confident, baritone delivery can't get over...but to answer that you only have to look at Wade's career. Sure, the original Nexus was fed to John Cena in a way that most of us will never forgive Cena for, even if it wasn't entirely his fault. But if the Brit had shown an ounce of the charisma that any member of The Shield now display, wouldn't they have had to book it at least a little differently?

Unfortunately, the company isn't content to let Chris Jericho's mentee from the inaugural season of NXT drift down to Superstars alone. Nope - they're letting him take something with him...

The Intercontinental Championship. Forget the glory days of Bret Hart, Shawn Michael, Razor Ramon, HHH and The Rock battling for the white strapped title. Can we just go back a year to when Christian and Cody were dueling for the gold that spans continents? Thanks to the run Cesaro had with it and given the prospect of a strong run for Ambrose, the US title looks to have eclipsed the IC belt on the hierarchy of WWE championships. With Sin Cara hanging out with a shot at the belt and Miz still holding a rematch in his pocket, the future doesn't look great, either.

A belt with its history deserves a big personality around whose waist it can shine. Maybe a certain terpsichorean with variegated jodpurs (sorry, haven't put the thesaurus away from the Sandow section) who seems to have regained some steam since WWE stopped trying to shove him down our throats...

WWE started the week strong with a great six man on Raw, and Main Event looked to be getting its mojo back. Can Smackdown close out the week as well?

Here at Cageside, we'll be live blogging and chatting it up. So stick around for that, and come back on the weekend for some reactions and the rest of our usual weekend shenanigans.

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