What you need to know
What a difference a week makes. Or a couple of hours, even.
Though long averse to tournaments, WWE announced one to determine a #1 contender to Big E's Intercontinental championship. That meant a series of pretty good matches without a lot of heat to them, such as Rob Van Dam defeating Alberto Del Rio, Cesaro besting Mark Henry, Sheamus taking down Jack Swagger and Bad News Barrett over Dolph Ziggler. And a bracket that looks like this. But you don't need to worry too much about that for tonight...the semi-finals resume Monday night on Raw. Maybe they'll use the fallout from some of the brackets to start mid-card feuds, though.
Hey. I can dream.
Daniel Bryan was not in Birmingham, since he was probably off learning how to make his own cheese or something on his honeymoon. That gave The Authority a chance to huddle with Randy Orton and Batista to strategize. His former Evolution mates weren't buying what Triple H was selling...until The Shield attacked them during a match against tag team champions The Usos.
Stephanie McMahon, meanwhile, was working on plan B - yelling at Kane with a mask conveniently placed nearby in an effort to get him to disavow all of Dr. Shelby's teachings.
Everyone's new favorite Diva, Alicia Fox, worked a really good match with the new champion of the division, Paige. Foxy couldn't keep her momentum going onto Main Event, where Tamina won a battle royal for the right to face the champ at Extreme Rules. Carrying the banner for her departed employer, I guess.
Layla was also in that battle royal. She didn't win, but she does smell like breakfast cereal. And she helped her man, Fandango, get a win over Santino Marella in his never-ending program against The Milan Miracle.
Damien Sandow cut a heel promo, and Big Show punched him in the face. John Cena cut a heel promo, and the IWC wished that Bray Wyatt would have followed The Giant's lead. But, alas, he just out-talked him. Time will tell what else he's able to do in their program.
The Authority's evil plan ended up being to put Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns in an 11-on-3 handicap match. But it was never really a match, but a ploy to soften them up for the re-formed Evolution, who finished the beatdown and then co-opted The Hounds of Justice's catchphrase.
What to look out for
Previews are spoiler-free, but if you want to know what was taped in Nashville, Tennessee, we've got you covered right here.
Batista versus Sheamus is our advertised main event, we can tell you that much. If he's booked for the show, Paul Heyman will probably tell us that his client, Brock Lesnar, broke The Streak at WrestleMania 30.
Put me firmly on team YES for this showdown. Not sure if it's because I have fond memories of Hornswoggle feuding with animal characters, or his striped chaps.
What they should do
As long as they keep running pictures of Divas dressed in costumes meant to honor old wrestlers, that's probably gonna lead the Smackdown preview. And, come on, if last week belonged to Daniel Bryan, this week was all Alicia Fox.
The Foxy Facebuster needs to make a comeback.
- After a successful feud against .5MB, El Torito will need a new opponent. Now that Jack Swagger is a solo act, he could probably use some back-up. Winged back-up, if you know what I mean.
- Since all coordinates seem to be set on putting Cesaro and the Intercontinental title together in an attempt to elevate both, Big E will be needing something to do. Am I the only person who thinks that he and Fandango would make a fantastic team along the lines of Hell No or Book-dust? Reacting and interacting with the hilariously out there dancing Superstar could be just the thing to bring out the aspects of E's personality that so many of us are fans of on social media. It doesn't even matter that they're not the same alignment. 'Dango could swing to the middle very easily - crowds already love him.
- Establishing Paige is great and all, but if you really want to impress me, write a second women's storyline to run at the same time. Maybe something with a leggy African-American veteran...
What we're afraid they will do
Give us Raw part II? Seriously, this can't be any worse than Monday, can it? Oh no, they're giving us a Batista solo match. It totally could...
Still no Daniel Bryan, and that means it's time for Smackdown to really bring...itself...to liven up a lackluster week in WWE.
Join all your pals in tonight's open thread for a little Friday night delight!