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Preview for the December 13, 2013 episode of WWE Smackdown: It's funky enough

Daniel Bryan and Erick Rowan headline a show that will try to build on the momentum for Sunday's pay-per-view that was started with Monday's Raw. Find out if we think they can keep it up, and read some praise for the rare mid-card feud, in this preview.

What you need to know

Daniel Bryan had a big night in his home state of Washington on Monday. The Beard defeated Fandango, picked up a couple of Slammys, damn near hijacked the main event with his smile and then contributed to the continual smile-loss of one of his mentors. He is still being pursued by The Wyatt Family, who he faces three-on-one this Sunday at TLC, with family patriarch Bray promising to reveal Daniel's inner-monster and make him a member of their cult.

Damien Sandow has earned an Intercontinental title shot at the upcoming pay-per-view (PPV) by virtue of defeating Dolph Ziggler (who has at least made the card this month, scheduled to appear on the pre-show). He'll take aim at reigning champ Big E Langston, a man who punked him right out of the ring on Raw.

A whole mess of teams are circling tag champs The Rhodes Brothers. The Real Americans, the newly formed Rybaxel...even friendlies like The Legends that Creative Has Nothing For, er, I mean, The Big Show and Rey Mysterio. The groups went at it four-on-four style Monday night. We shall see if one team emerges as #1 contender for the biggest prize not currently on the card for Houston.

AJ Lee has a bit of a losing streak going - both in the ring and at the Slammy Awards. With her title on the line against Natalya this Sunday, she'll need to turn the tide. Dean Ambrose United States title is seemingly never on the line, but his allegiance with his fellow Shield-mates might be. A one-on-one warm-up with CM Punk showed that Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins may be getting a little fed-up with Ambrose's brand of insane self-confidence.

Most prominently, John Cena rescued the end-of-show segment from the pack of rabid Goat-lovers on Monday night, allowing us to get a taste of Punk vs. HHH with hints of big screw-up Randy Orton maybe not having the support of Hunter's Authority after all. Was his bump of Stephanie McMahon and The Game's pursuant Pedigree all just heat of the moment, or is The Viper's status as face of the WWE in jeopardy?

What to look out for

The blue brand was in Portlandia for this on Tuesday. Previews are spoiler-free, but you can get them here, if that's your thing.

The company is pimping Erick Rowan vs. Daniel Bryan, with all of the usual intrigue about whether or not Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper will make a move. Likewise, there are questions about how The Best in the World will respond to being speared by Reigns, and how Ambrose will respond to his colleagues stepping in to his handle his business.

Ryback versus Show is the other confirmed match on tonight's line-up. It will probably be more of a horror show, but could it lead to something between the two monster's tag teams. And would that mean Antonio Cesaro and Jack Swagger are next in line for a shot at the bronze eagles currently held by Cody and Goldy?

The Divas champ is on a kayfabe war path following her night of losses at the Slammys. What can she do to get the upper hand before her match with Natty on Sunday?

All that, and some continued build toward the title unification match at TLC. Whether that comes in the form of an Orton promo or just video packages...your guess is as good as mine.

What they should do

While I'm not a huge fan of any of the participants - were I to rank them, the former Albert would probably be at the top - I'd be remiss to not give a shout out to Creative for the nascent Xavier Woods/Brodus Clay program. I burn through a whole lot of words on this site complaining about the lack of stories in the mid-card. So now that we have owed and given.

It's actually fairly nuanced, with some unreality thrown in - whether that's intended or not. Despite being extremely limited in the ring, Clay is someone in whom the company clearly sees value. I wouldn't be surprised if they thought of him as a Kane-type who can be presented as scary or endearing, in the ring or in a straight-to-DVD movie.

Woods strikes me as someone who got called up from NXT because he's talented, but also because they don't have any illusions of him ever competing for the WWE title (or whatever it's known as after Sunday). He's here now to have reliably solid matches, and to fill the role that Clay has played over the last couple of years: Kiddie-pleasing fun guy.

It would be interesting to bring that sub-text to the front a little bit. It would make their program more interesting to a wider base of fans, and could be read from a smark perspective of guys taking other guys jobs or appeal to more adolescent emotions of worrying that the new kid is somehow cooler than you are. The point being, anything that makes this undercard feud into something that more people want to pay attention to will make it more likely that we'll have more of its type in the future.

And that's best for business.

What we're afraid they will do

I honestly can't think of too much I'm concerned about - specific to tonight's show, anyway. Raw did a really good job of building the big matches for TLC. Hopefully, they don't mess with what they did there rather than force in some swerve teases to complicate matters.

Can Smackdown build on what Raw started, or is the best we can hope for that the show stays out of TLC's way?

Chime in below if you have a burning desire, or be sure to find out with all your friends in the Open Thread tonight!

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