What you need to know
We were given the impression that WWE would sleepwalk through another holiday week, popping the crowd with the reek of awesomeness and waiting for January to begin the road to WrestleMania in earnest.
In large part, we were worked.
Edge & Christian did reunite to do their Attitude Ear schtick, but just when many were rolling their eyes and saying "here we go again, beating something we used to love into the ground by overdoing it", Brock Lesnar arrived to beat the duo into the ground. Before that could happen, though, the WWE World Heavyweight Champ's opponent at Royal Rumble showed up to run
his mouth interference and save the retired Legends from a F5.
Champion (U.S. division) vs. Champion (Intercontinental bracket) - because we haven't had one of those in a while. Rusev and Dolph Ziggler gave us just enough to want to see more, but then we got one of Raw's patented non-finishes and The Show Off almost being shown out the door with a rope-assisted Accolade. Luckily, Ryback used the power of attraction to run off the Bulgarian Brute, and draw the adoration of unironic babyface loving fans everywhere.
What would a wrestling show be without a teaser for a "reality" show? Monday night, we got one for Total Divas when Brie distracted Natalya by messing with Tyson Kidd allowing Divas champ Nikki to roll her up...ugh. Thank goodness Naomi has moved on from that foolishness, and her backstage drama with Miz is of the strictly old-school kayfabe variety. She threw the Hollywood wannabe off his game by thanking him for something he didn't mean to do, and that allowed her husband and his twin to reclaim the tag team titles they'd held for most of 2014.
Several really interesting match-ups were burned off in the lead into a newsworthy ending to Monday night's show. Cesaro got a moment to speak to the WWE Universe before resuming his losing streak to the returning Bad News Barrett. Luke Harper and Jack Swagger hossed it up with one another, and after a bit of a slow start delivered a fun match that the former Wyatt follower won. And what had seemed like a huge feud prior to his emergency hernia surgery went to a DQ finish when Roman Reigns match against Seth Rollins ended with his leg trapped under the announce table due to a Big Show attack.
Edge and John Cena made up after years of animosity in a touching scene backstage, some little bearded guy announced he'll be in the Royal Rumble match and The Ascension debuted by beating up Damien Mizdow.
Then, what seemed like an innocent in-show talk show segment turned horribly wrong when Mr. Money in the Bank turned the Cutting Edge Peep Show into a hostage situation. The threat of a curb stomp to the Rated-R Superstar's fragile neck brought out Cena, and got him to rescind the ban on Rollin's benefactors, The Authority. When Edge almost caught a boot to the head anyway, the Face who runs the Place made the save, but ended up laid out for the return of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon - and a furthering of their alliance with Paul Heyman and the WWE champ.
What to look out for
Old traitorface's heinous plan may have worked, but in the meantime it resulted in a MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR LAWSUIT against WWE! While Edge & Christian's lawyers work out a deal for their retirement fund, it also meant that they got to run Main Event and Smackdown for the rest of the week (and since both shows were filmed together Tuesday night in Norfolk, Virginia, you can find out what happened on the show that will air tonight by clicking right here).
What kind of shenanigans will E & C get up to with the book? On Tuesday night, they used it to make fun of Adam Rose a lot, so perhaps the pair will try to do for the Party Animal what fellow Canadian Chris Jericho has tried to do for Fandango?
It will also be very interesting to see how Creative handles all of the different babyfaces they suddenly have on their hands. A few weeks back, it didn't seem like an issue, and the pushes for Ambrose, Ziggler, Ryback and even Erick Rowan were seen as moves of neccessity. Now all of sudden, Reigns and Daniel Bryan are back, and it'll be interesting to see where they all fit.
Tonight's show should be clear of Cena, Bryan, Lesnar and Rollins, and an excellent time to start to find out where everyone else will settle into the rest of the card.
(Note: I know some folks have come looking for a more definitive match listing - that will be posted behind spoiler text in the comments. If WWE.com releases more information on anything that's officially going to take place on tonight's show, that'll be updated here)
It's the pentultimate Friday Night Smackdown - will anything other than that status make it memorable?
Find out along with your fellow Cagesiders in our live blog!