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WWE SmackDown preview (July 9, 2015): Champions recognize champions

Gators. Champions.
Gators. Champions.
Titus O'Neil on Instagram

What you need to know

No selling jet lag like it was an attack from The New Day, Brock Lesnar opened Raw, jogging in place behind his advocate. Paul Heyman promised that his client would get retribution on WWE champ Seth Rollins and his lackeys for their assault of Lesnar prior to Beast in the East, that it would be done without respect, and that it wouldn't wait until Battleground.

That prompted The Authority to stop showing us photoshopped travel photos of Kane in Hawaii and Jaime Noble & Joey Mercury roadtripping in their Cadillac in order to formulate a plan to deal with the Beast Incarnate. With some counsel from Triple H, Rollins decided to call out Brock. Arming themselves with axe handles, J & J flanked their champ in the ring, but they left their ride unguarded. When the dust cleared, the Caddy was smasheda fan in the upper deck had a souvenierJoey had a busted arm, Jaime needed stitches and Seth was running like a scolded dog.

Our second straight week of the Intercontinental title three-way dance between champ Ryback, The Miz and Big Show gave the World's Largest Athlete a disqualification win, while the Big Guy stood tall after the post-match Mexican stand-off. We've lost count of how many weeks the Team Bella vs. Paige drama has been unfolding, but despite rumors that got fans excited, nothing new developed on Raw as Brie pinned the Brit and Alicia Fox and Divas champ Nikki finished her after the bell.

Rematches continued as Sheamus and Roman Reigns mixed it up for the second Monday in a row. Their brawl was interrupted by a fake Bray Wyatt while the real one reminding us from the TitanTron that he still wants anyone but Roman. They both cost The Big Dog a countout loss. Randy Orton returned...OUT OF remind us that he and Mr. Money in the Bank have beef.

Still hobbled by a broken foot (or so he'd like you to think), but getting over his broken heart, Rusev showed off his new lady love, Summer Rae, and ran down his old girlfriend Lana's new man, Dolph Ziggler. When the Show-Off came out to, well, show off what he and the Ravishing Russian get up to these days, the Bulgarian snapped, revealing that his foot is healed, and proceeding to beat Dolph within an inch of his kayfabe life.

The New Day bounced back from a disappointing trip across the Pacific, defeating Lucha Dragons in tag action. Their brother in positivity didn't fare as well against movie star Dean Ambrose, however, o matter how hard he BO-lieved. At least King Barrett returned to the States and the win column thanks to a Bullhammer on fellow monarch, R-Truth.

With twenty minutes or so left on the show and Brock already out the door, it looked like John Cena's United States championship open challenge would close the show. But no one could have predicted the epic match that ensued after Kevin Owens tried to fast-forward his shot at the red, white and blue belt, only to be out-manueuvered by Cesaro.

Arguing that he almost got Mr. Never Give Up to tap before the former NXT champ broke up his Sharpshooter on Cena the week before, the Swiss Superman got another chance, and made very close to the most of it. While he fell to an AA - as did KO when he tried to cheap shot the champ during the overrun - he put his name on fan's lips, even got a shout out from the Face That Runs The Place.

What to look out for

What do you do after Chicago? Head to Milwaukee, of course. WWE was in Wisconsin on Tuesday, and they filmed a show for you to watch tonight. If you want to know what happened before it comes on SyFy at 8PM, click here.

If you want to educated guess along with us, let's start with what we know. Rollins vs. Ryback, in what has to be one of the unlikeliest champion vs. champion matches in history. We know that the #1 contender for Seth's title won't be in town, and since Creative is probably not willing to put over either guy clean, I'd expect Big Show to reconnect to The Authority, Miz to establish ties, or the WWE champ some healthly muscle and protecting Big Hungry in what I presume will be a loss (but who knows with how they book The Architect).

Cena will likely get a well-deserved night off, but they strike while the iron is hot and give Cesaro something meaningful to do? The internet would have exploded had Charlotte or Sasha Banks debuted, so if we get anything out of the Divas program, it'll likely be more of the same.

Do the tag champs have a meaningful feud working right now? Would assume that that's still Big E, Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods' role - and that Monday's win was designed to give them some credibility for a prolonged rivalry. Would be nice if we were reminded of their issues tonight, via matches, promos or both.

(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)

Whether or not they deal with it tonight, what do you think is the best championship program WWE has working right now? Which is most lacking?

Kick that around in the comments, and be sure to come back tonight to watch and pick apart the show with your friends here at cSs!

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