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WWE Smackdown preview (September 26, 2014): Last minute changes

What you need to know

Vince McMahon allegedly rewrote Raw an hour or so before it started - and it kind of showed.  A promised main event between Randy Orton and Dean Ambrose didn't happen.  But that didn't mean the two didn't share the stage.

The theme of the night was that Ambrose and John Cena both thought that they should be granted a singles shot against Seth Rollins: Dean for his still broken heart, and wounded head, John for being deprived of a 16th turn with the WWE title.  Before Triple H can tell them both that it ain't happening, the unlikely pair charged at The Authority.  That's what he gets for standing with Rollins.

Dolph Ziggler got a chance to win back his Intercontinental title from The Miz, and despite the true Awesome-ness of the Awesome one's stunt double (who had a stunt title), The Show-Off is again the champ.  The two men upped their game considerably from Night of Champions, but that's probably small consolation for Miz, who now has two 24 hour runs with the IC strap on his résumé.

All the positivity in the world doesn't change the fact that Bo Dallas is on a losing streak.  After tapping to Jack Swagger on Raw, he was pinned by Kofi Kingston on Main Event.  All told, he's probably doing better than Mark Henry, who has been submitted and left unconcious in his battle against Russian extremism, and its Bulgarian proponent, Rusev.  Bo's definitely not doing as well as The Exotic Express' bunny.  Whoever that rabbit is, he's got serious hops - and seriously has Slater Gator's number.

Sheamus and Cesaro continue to beat each other so viciously that you almost get sore just watching them, but we're still waiting to see if that feud will continue or if that United States champion Fella will be doing something else soon.  Former tag champs the Usos picked up a win with the Celtic Warrior over the King of Wrestling and his partners, tag champs the Dust Brothers - and wiil probably keep feuding with them, because no other tag team is positioned to right now.

Divas champion AJ Lee again put down a challenge from a Bella - apparently because Vince doesn't want anyone from the show they star in on Sunday nights to hold wrestling gold.  Paige is still feeling betrayed by her former frenemy, but did pick up a win over Naomi on Tuesday.  And she dropped the lesbian obsession schtick too.  Which is nice.

Ambrose's opportunity to get one over on The Authority was cut-off when his former Shield-mate interrupted his match with Kane.  Despite some tension between the McMahon-Helmsley team about Seth's actions from Sunday night, they agreed that locking Dean in a broom closet was a great idea.  Didn't turn out so well (shocking, I know) when he slipped out the back door of said closet, hid in Kane & Rollin's secret cinder block box and helped Cena fight off a curb stomp like the one he got after his match against the Viper ended in a disqualification victory.

The pair stood tall as Ambrose's music played us out.  Neither WWE World Heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar or his advocate Paul Heyman could be reached for comment.

What to look out for

WWE rolled into Little Rock, Arkansas (see what I did there?) earlier this week.  And while they were there, they taped themselves a Smackdown.  That being the case, spoilers are out there (in fact, they're right here), but we try to keep these previews aimed at folks who will be experiencing whatever magic they cook up on SyFy tonight with fresh eyes.

It must be tag team title rematch week in the writer's room.  First, NXT did it, and tonight, the main roster gets in on the fun.  Will the Dust Brothers join Miz in the short reign club?  The Usos will try to give them that membership tonight.

Given WWE's alleged plans to make him the 1A babyface behind John Cena, it would seem prudent to have Dean Ambrose's ascent helped along by the best mid-card heel in their employee.  Since their Main Event interaction didn't include an actual match, and a win over a former WWE champion is never a bad thing, look for the Lunatic Fringe and the owner of the Moneymaker to lock-up tonight.

Whatever we get tonight, at least we'll know the rewrites took place several days ago...when the show was filmed.

(Note: I know some folks have come looking for a more definitive match listing. We still don't want to risk spoiling anything, but as releases more information on anything that's officially going to take place on tonight's show, I'll update it here)

What they should do

If it's really true that the company's major narratives are often plotted out moments before the cameras start rolling, I'm not sure what can be done.  Writers and wrestlers (or other on-screen performers) should probably have in internal understanding of characters so that they can adapt to whatever dictates come down about story direction.  But performers who I think have done that - Dolph Ziggler comes to mind - often seem to be punished, or at least not rewarded for it, so I can't really offer that as a suggestion.

But if I was a WWE Creative team or roster member, Smackdown would be the show where I'd try to get away with it.  While the micro-managers are getting ready for Raw or the next pay-per-view (PPV), use Tuesday/Friday night to play around with scenarios and get a handle on character's motivations.

That more than anything, even including being allowed to cut promos without a script, might be the single best thing anyone could do to improve the WWE product.

What we're afraid they will do

Keep rolling with the punches, delivering a B-show that's just as scatterbrained and punch drunk from having the script rearranged and rewritten on Monday night as the three hours of Raw is itself most weeks.

Is it to much to ask for a pro wrestling show to be consistent and logical with its plots and characters?

We'll keep trying to find out tonight when we watch Smackdown on SyFy at 8PM Eastern.  Join us and we'll try to figure it out together.

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