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WWE Smackdown preview (February 19, 2015): Blood, brawls and betrayals

What you need to know

Brawls and betrayals were the name of the game on the last live show before the Fastlane pay-per-view (PPV).  The Champ wasn't there (and he isn't booked for Sunday either), but the face that runs the place was, and he was his hybrid jokey/intense self in calling out United States champ Rusev to start Raw.  John Cena swore to reclaim the first belt he won in WWE, but Lana and the current titleholder don't think so.  The Russian may never have been pinned or submitted, but on Monday night he got punched in the face a lot when he called Cena's bluff.

The other men's singles title that isn't the WWE World Heavyweight Championship will also be defended on February 23rd.  Dean Ambrose warmed up by beating another former Intercontinental champ in Luke Harper, and then rushed the ring after the current champ's victory over Damien Mizdow to force Bad News Barrett's hand (literally) to sign a contract for bout at Fastlane.  I can't be the only one hoping BNB hires David Otunga to address the legality of said agreement, can I?

Miz was supposed to help Barrett in exchange for putting his personal assistant in his place, but I guess it's no surprise The Awesome One was no help in the clutch.  The tag team collapse  of those former champs is nothing compared to the meltdown being experienced by the Rhodes Family, where Dusty's intervention only ended up making things worse, as an unhinged Cody/Stardust laid out Goldust and disowned his father.  At least the Primetime Players got back together!  Darren Young & Titus O'Neil were the latest team to humble the big bad Ascension.

Current tag champs The Usos are headed for a showdown with Cesaro & Tyson Kidd on PPV for their straps.  There's a decent chance that Natalya might get involved in that one, as Kidd's estranged wife really can't have liked his blaming her for their mixed-tag loss to Naomi & Jimmy on Raw.  Another title tilt that will be fought at Fastlane moved forward with pixie-garbed Paige defeating Summer Rae after the Bellas latest bullying involved stealing the Anti-Divas ring gear.

No good response should go unresponded to, according to the rules of The Game.  Triple H staked his claim to the role of defender of the realm, and will do anything and go through anybody to make sure that Mr. WCW, the vigilante Sting, never darkens the McMahon's door again.  Undertaker should take a page out of his old WrestleMania nemesis' playbook, because that Bray Wyatt has been running his mouth about the Dead Man again...

Money in the Bank-holder Seth Rollins is biding his time while the main event scene sorts itself out, keeping busy feuding with Dolph Ziggler and his fired friends Ryback & Erick Rowan with the help of fellow Authority-affiliated villains like Big Show, Kane and J& J Security.  The Show-Off won via DQ on Raw when - surprise! - Jaime Noble & Joey Mercury interfered.

And it's even harder to tell Big Show's alignment than it is Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan.  At least the two men who will battle for a shot at Lesnar have consistently been babyfaces who act kind of heel-ishly.  Show is making fun of Kane and disagreeing with Stephanie McMahon one minute and trying to kill D-Bry the next.  The other difference between the burdgeoning Show/Kane feud and The Big Dog vs. The Beard one is that people are actually looking forward to the latter - especially after the hellacious pull apart brawl the pair had to bring down the curtain on Monday night.

What to look out for

Happy to avoid the snow-blanketed Northeast, WWE is sticking to the Sunshine state and hit the beach in Fort Lauderdale to tape on Tuesday.  We've got SPF45 spoiler block on for the Preview, but if you want to know what went down before it airs, read this right here.

Ziggler gets another shot at Rollins tonight, in an angle that just screams for the Teddy Long treatment.  But will the tag match (playa) get made for later on tonight, or for Sunday at Fastlane?

Much of the build to Reigns vs. Bryan, and probably Cena v. Rusev, is probably in the books.  But there's plenty to be fleshed out on the rest of the card.  Presuming we get Rollins, Kane & Show vs. Team Fired, will there be time for Gold vs. Stardust...or will the Rhodes boys actually get a spot on the 'Mania card next month?

Is the extent of the IC program's build going to be that Dean's ca-razy and Wade is kind of a dick?  How is it that the women's title match, which features three members of the Total Divas cast, is actually less Total Divas-y than the tag title feud...and the undercard match I'm most looking forward to?

(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)

What finishing touches will WWE put on their free February Fastlane show before Friday (say that five time fast)?

Find out along with your fellow Cagesiders tonight in the live blog, and stay with us all weekend long for PPV coverage!

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