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WWE Smackdown preview (February 12, 2015): What giving up looks like

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What you need to know

Things got testy early between Fastlane rivals Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns.  The Beard wanted to thank Roman for his help against Seth Rollins and The Authority last week, but also make it clear that he's the better wrestler - and that he'd end up facing WWE World Heavyweight Champ Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania.  Reigns doesn't, obviously, BELIEVE THAT.

Looking to stir the pot between the two babyfaces (at least they started the week as 'faces), The Authority appeared to try and paint Big Show and Kane as victims of Bryan/Big Dog bullying...and to make them team up to face the Corporate Giants.  Whatever Daniel & Roman's alignment at this point, the Big Red Show are definitely heels and couldn't help themselves from being disqualified.  Which led to Triple H & Stephanie McMahon booking our heroes in a handicap tag match for the main event.

Before heading into that contest, and in a more innocent world where half the WWE Universe wasn't speculating on his fidelity, Rollins did battle with Ryback.  That also ended indecisively due to the work of J & J Security as a pattern emerged.  Not everything went The Authority's way in the early going, however, since Sting returned to late 90s form to scare the crap out of The Game and accept his invitation for a pow-wow at the pay-per-view (PPV).

Paige continues to leave a bunch of broken Bellas in her wake as she heads toward a showdown with Nikki for the Divas' belt.  In other 'champs lose non-title matches as a way to build championship programs' news, Tyson Kidd & Cesaro followed up ruining a double date for Natalya with an actual win in a wrestling match against The Usos.

Feuds for the men's secondary singles' straps are being built via the old 'keep 'em apart' method.  Lana and U.S. champ Rusev ran down John Cena verbally and on videotape, leading to a pull apart brawl which provided a kayfabe cover for the Cenation leader's real life injured eye.  And Dean Ambrose keeps beating up Curtis Axel while Intercontinental champ Bad News Barrett taunts him with new wrinkle on his gimmick.  Because if there's one thing the mid-card was missing, it was Kardashians references.

More prestigious than any of the belts is the prize of facing Undertaker at WrestleMania - a prize that Bray Wyatt is very close to officially reaching.  He continues to win hot matches against Dolph Ziggler and cut not-that-cryptic promos about facing the Dead Man on the only stage he regularly appears on these days.

The Hall of Fame gets the stink face, as Jimmy & Jey will do it for Rikishi in San Jose next month when they induct their old man.  And Lesnar got another big payday while Paul Heyman ran down his potential Mania opponents while taking shots at Brian Williams, because there's always someone below you to kick, even for a PR nightmare like the 2015 WWE.

Star "Don't Call Me Cody" Dust left his brother in the lurch again, pushing us closer to a intervention from daddy Dusty - and a loss to The New Day.  The Miz and Damien Mizdow break up has made as little sense but been a good deal funnier, if for nothing else than the Awesome One telling his personal assistant not to use the move he made famous (the Figure Four) and costing Mizdow a match against Sin Cara.

All that lead to the final match of the night, and Bryan & Reigns vs. Kane, Show, Rollins, Noble & Mercury.  Joey & Jaime did their job, a.k.a. THE job, and the pin was claimed by the Rumble winner with a blind tag and a Spear.  D-Bry didn't care for that, and his aggressive complaining got him a Spear of his own.  While we wonder who to root for at the show a week from Sunday, The Authority's kayfabe plan is coming together.  Is their 'real' scheme working as well?

What to look out for

WWE stayed in America's Heartland on Tuesday to film tonight's show in Dayton, Ohio.  We didn't peek (promise), but if you want to know what went down, you can see what's in the picnic basket by clicking right here.

The hype heading in to tonight is for a "face-to-face" between Bryan and Reigns to address the actions that closed Raw.  Based on what we saw Monday from The Authority and the fact that the spirit of Teddy Long will always be with us on SyFy, look for more tag action from the pair - hopefully not but almost certainly against the ruling factions forty-something hosses.

Also already confirmed for tonight are a bevy of bouts that sound more like an episode of Main Event (before Sky sent that show to Hulu-only purgatory for most of the world):

  • Bray Wyatt vs. R-Truth, or, another fly on the windshield of the 18 wheeler The Eater of Worlds is driving at The Phenom
  • Paige vs. Summer Rae, or, a once proud NXT feud over which Michael Cole will talk about Total Divas while Jerry Lawler quotes limericks and giggles
  • Adam Rose vs. Fandango, or, who knew we'd really miss the Bunny?

(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)

Did WWE just give up trying to follow TakeOver?

Debate that topic and make your jokes here, then head on over to the live blog to laugh through the pain all night long.

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