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WWE Smackdown preview (January 22, 2015): Let's get ready to Rumble!

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What you need to know

The champ was here.  No, not that one...the actual Champ.

Brock Lesnar brought his belt to Dallas, and called out Seth Rollins for curb stomping him last week.  Instead of Mr. Money in the Bank, his handlers appeared to try and smooth things over with Paul Heyman.  Just when it looked like Triple H might have defused the situation, Seth appeared on the 'Tron to taunt the Beast about their WWE title match this upcoming Sunday at Royal Rumble.

Not wanting to be any more forgotten than he already is in that match, John Cena came out to promise victory in the Triple Threat - and to bring back his Survivor Series teammates from the unemployment line where The Authority sent them.  Stephanie McMahon called his promises empty, and Trips gives the Ce-Nation an option...they can put their hero in a match where he wins and gets Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan and Ryback their jobs back while if he losses he gets taken out of the championship match in Philadelphia, or they can admit he's full of it and leave things as they stand.

Their paths may have gone in different directions since their feud wrapped up at last year's January pay-per-view (PPV), but Bray Wyatt and Daniel Bryan can still put on a heck of a match.  The outcome ended up the same as their Rumble '14 encounter, due to interference from The Beard's everpresent foil, Kane.  The Corporate Monster kept up the assault even after Bray and his Sister Abigail left, looking to keep an upperhand for their Smackdown showdown tonight.

It was old home week on the Monday night show, which lead to some good stuff, some bad stuff and some weird stuff.  The Kliq got the band back together backstage, which was funny and served to remind us how awesome Mizdow (and Miz) are ahead of their latest tag title shot against The Usos.  Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels & Ric Flair did the thing where they talked up the PPV main event, and it was as awkward as the last time they tried it, but at least it gave Naitch a chance to flex and moved the Big Show vs. Roman Reigns program along.  And the Wolfpac and the New Age Outlaws served as set-up for JBL to break out the dad jeans, call for Ron Simmons and Clothesline The Ascension to Hell.  Which naturally leads to Road Dogg & Billy Gunn vs. Konnor & Viktor on Sunday.

Bad News Barrett continues to lose, because that's what Intercontinental champs do.  On Monday, it was to Dean Ambrose.  The losses being racked up by The Masters of the WWE Universe are a bit more vexing.  I guess they lose to The New Day because that's what happens to people who align themselves with Adam Rose.  They'll get a chance to settle that issue on YouTube this weekend.

Total Divas action saw Paige & Natalya pick up a tag team win over Summer Rae & Alicia Fox, which was set-up for the Bellas to run them down from commentary in order to build the pair bout that will compete with their E! reality show this Sunday.

Rusev made quick work of R-Truth, which was set-up for WWE to book a black guy with a stereotypical gimmick for a lose on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.  Since it was also R-Truth's birthday, they have some plausible deniability.

The last live show before the Rumble deserved a big finish, and, wow, did we get it.  Almost too much happened in the main event.  Lesnar foreshadowed things a bit by making Rollins quake in his boots backstage, and reminding us again that he was here to whoop ass.  Cena's shot to get his friends' jobs back looked to be on thing ice due to the dreaded NUMBERS GAME being run on him by Kane, Show and the Architect, but the equally dreaded VIGILANTE STING showed up in a sweet-ass duster to taunt The Game and give John an opening to win the match.

Then the thing that Brock foreshadowed happened, as he cleared the rings with F5s for everyone...except for Seth, who managed to slip out after only eating some ground and pound.

What to look out for

Down I-35 they rolled, as WWE took its show to the capital of the great state of Texas on Tuesday.  You can read the results of the show they taped in Austin right here, but we'll keep this post spoiler-free.

Tonight's featured attraction was set-up last week, as The Authority is far from done with Daniel Bryan.  The man who wants to be the face of Thursday night's is the centerpiece again, and with the same dance partner!  His latest match with Kane has a big stipulation, however.  Win and he's still in the Rumble, with a chance to win and headline WrestleMania against whoever emerges from Sunday's title match with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.  Lose, and he's out.

Ziggler, Ryback and Rowan should all be back tonight.  Will John Cena be happy to see them?  Will they thank Sting?  You can be sure that Triple H and his wife will not be thrilled...expect some more mountains for the three to climb on their way to probable spots in the 30-man battle royal.

And after Monday was all about Lesnar, Cena, Rollins, and even a match we won't see until 'Mania in Hunter vs. Sting, expect tonight to be all about this month's PPV's signature match.  That means a show-ending breakdown where all of the announced entrants - of which we should get several more tonight - hit the screen for a big brawl.

(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 releases more information on anything that's officially going to take place on tonight's show, that'll be updated here)

Let's get ready to Rumble!

Spend Thursday night with the live blog crew tonight, and stay with us all weekend long as we get you ready for a highlight of the WWE calendar!

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