Previously on SmackDown
Two of this fan's all-time favorites opened the show with a hot match that featured lots of psychology and reversals. In the end, Christian became the latest former world champ to put over Daniel Bryan.
That was just one of several solid contests on last week's show. Seth Rollins pinned Jey Uso, Chris Jericho beat Intercontinental champion Curtis Axel via count out and Sheamus and Randy Orton worked hard in a bout that ended without a result due to Bryan's proving to them both - again - that he's not the weak link.
Teddy Long tried to keep Dolph Ziggler out of action, but he may or may not have dressed up like Sin Cara to assault World Heavyweight Champion (WHC) Alberto Del Rio. It appears I was in the minority of liking that feud, but even I only liked it between the ropes. Both men's work building to the matches backed up what their critics say about them.
In his continuing quest to be despised by smarks everywhere, the Celtic Warrior creepily hit on Renee Young backstage. Let's hope that that isn't the way they try to work the beautiful and talented Ms. Young (it's not creepy when I hit on her through the internet) into storylines.
And a bunch of other stuff happened that has already been rendered moot by Sunday's pay-per-view (PPV). As the saying goes, Money (in the Bank) changes everything...
(NOTE: This show was taped on Tuesday for broadcast tonight. Previews are spoiler free, but results are available here)
From the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, RI!
WWE.com is promising a riveting edition of MizTV, where Paul Heyman will further develop his position vis-à-vis current client Brock Lesnar and former one, CM Punk. What will he have to say after the Beast Incarnate demolished the Best in the World on Monday?
Speaking of the WHC, I would expect some progression on Dolph Ziggler having been attacked by Big E Langston following his break-up with Divas champion AJ Lee. And speaking of break-ups, I hope that Team Rhodes Scholars gets to speak on their rift tonight.
Speaking of those two crazy kids...
Expect to pop for:
Cody Rhodes. Son and half-brother of legends (Dusty and Goldust, respectively), this Son of The Son of a Plumber was literally born in the business. He was refereeing in his dad's training ground promotion in Georgia while still in high school. More importantly for how polished he appears as a WWE Superstar, he also has some acting training.
He's been Intercontinental champ twice in his career, and a tag team champ four times. He's been allied with likely future hall of famer Randy Orton and feuded with recent inductee Booker T.
What's always been most impressive to me is that he can create or adapt to character and gimmick tweaks seamlessly. He stood up to Orton (in his Legend Killer guise) on behalf of his dad and feuded/partnered with Hardcore Holly as an eager rookie. He turned on Holly to form Legacy with Orton and Ted DiBiase, Jr. He debuted a vanity gimmick and helped take us all from "disgusting" to "Dashing". Then, he turned a legit broken nose into a Phantom of the Opera riff and a máscara contra máscara feud with Rey Mysterio.
There's so much good stuff in his relatively brief career that I almost forgot about "Big Show's Embarrassing WrestleMania Moments", and the fact that he once mentored another second generation Superstar with a chant-able name who would go on to become famous due to some legendary character transformation of his own.
And DAT STACHE.
He's only really been a babyface once, and that was during his WWE debut. The reaction he got last Sunday, and again during his run-in Monday night, proves that he should be able to get a good reaction as a técnico...he's a good worker with some flashy moves, he's good looking, and his history (both in bloodline and his own résumé) should earn him the benefit of the doubt with long-time fans.
Plus, he has a great foil...
The heat is on:
Damien Sandow. Wait, he's the new holder of the blue briefcase containing a contract for a WHC shot at a time of his choosing and I just gave him this great lead-in describing him as the perfect Dr. Doom to Cody's Mr. Fantastic...and he's still in the heat section?
As our own Hulkster pointed out earlier this week, the Duke of Decency is not off to a phenomenal start to his tenure as Mr. Money in the Bank. And then there's the matter of how previous Smackdown stars have faired with the Friday night show's case - both before and after cash-in.
Sandow's gimmick lends itself to strong interview segments followed by his inevitable comeuppance (cuz in 'Murica, we don't trust 'em dat use fancy words). And he's GREAT at it. But will creative help him evolve it into something that wins in the ring, or is he in this role to get his Team Rhodes Scholars' partner over and then hand him the briefcase?
Maybe tonight we'll get a killer promo about how he outsmarted the Essence of Mustachioed Magnificence at Money in the Bank that will kick off a run where a character ideally suited to winning by underhanded means gets to do so. He doesn't need to look unstoppable, but he needs to look smart.
Their first couple of shows this week were pretty darn good, can Smackdown close out the week just as strong?
Tell us where your head is going into Smackdown, check out tonight's open thread, and hang around CSS as Friday night fallout turns into Monday night preview!