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WWE SmackDown preview (Jan. 10, 2020): Bolstered tag division

WWE SmackDown returns tonight (Jan. 10) from the Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana. We’re only a little over two weeks away from the Royal Rumble.

The Headliner

The SmackDown tag division was thin recently. Sure there was the New Day who serve as as an anchor as the SmackDown tag team championships (though with Xavier Woods out with an achilles injury, even they are thinner than normal). And there’s the Revival who can guarantee a good match and play strong heels. But there’s only so many two teams can face each other before wearing the program out.

After that, we were looking at Heavy Machinery and makeshift teams such as Mustafa Ali & Shorty G or Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura filling out the field.

That changed last week.

The show went off the air with the Usos returning to save their cousin Roman Reigns from another dog food attack at the hands of Baron Corbin & Dolph Ziggler. They’re already back in action tonight facing Corbin & Ziggler, though likely that will transition into a feud with former tag champs Ziggler & Robert Roode, who should just be coming off his wellness suspension.

That means reigniting rivalries with the New Day or the Revival aren’t in our immediate future. But Jimmy and Jey raises the stock of the tag division just by being back.

The other return last week that could impact the division was John Morrison.

It was a subtle return. He emerged from Miz’s locker room to tell Cathy Kelley that the A-Lister wasn’t taking any questions after his loss to Kofi Kingston and subsequent attack afterwards. So JoMo is back and back as a buddy of Miz again. Of course we’re going to speculate about a Miz & Morrison tag return.

The hosts of the Dirt Sheet were a great unit together when they teamed over a decade ago. They held titles and won Slammys. The team eventually broke apart and turned into a big feud over who was the “Marty Jannetty of the team.” In fact, it was a Miz attack that wrote Morrison off from the promotion.

But it looks like they’ve put that behind them. Don’t expect them to team right away, but we should expect some answers tonight. Miz will have John Morrison as his guest on MizTV. That should give us a good idea of what their future holds.

In one week, two very decorated teams have return to SmackDown to bolster a thin division. WWE should still keep Ali and Shorty G as a team if they don’t have singles plans for the men. And Cesaro & Nakamura are still a viable team to keep the division deep.

The tag team scene just got exciting on SmackDown.

The Title Scene:

There will only be one major men’s title match at the Royal Rumble given Brock Lesnar isn’t defending his WWE title. That title match is the Fiend Bray Wyatt defending the Universal championship against Daniel Bryan. Bryan has yet to get the better of the Fiend. Last week, Bray left him laying. Can Daniel come up with a plan for how to defeat this monster in the next two weeks?

Lacey Evans has a match with Sasha Banks tonight, which likely ties into the Sassy Southern Belle eventually challenging Bayley for the SmackDown Women’s championship. The probably with being the friend of the champ is you’re usually defeated by their eventual challengers. Banks has avoided that for the most part, but is tonight when that role comes back to bite her?

Looks like Shinsuke Nakamura is going to have to defend his Intercontinental title against Braun Strowman eventually. Maybe at the Royal Rumble. Can the King of Strong Style use his buds Sami Zayn and Cesaro to help best the big man?

Other things to keep an eye on:

- Sheamus returned just like we figured he would - by Brogue Kicking some poor bastard. This time, the role of poor bastard was played by Shorty G. Does Sheamus have an issue with Shorty or is he going to target different victims who represent, at least in the Irishman’s mind, what’s wrong with SmackDown?

- Before Chad Gable ate boot, he defeated Dash Wilder after the Revival hit him with some short jokes. Is Scott Dawson going to try his hand next?

- The budding romance between Mandy Rose and Otis hit a speed bump after Otis watched the clip of Dolph Ziggler destroy Mama Otis’ fruitcake.

Will tonight’s SmackDown be more like a Mustang or a Pinto? Tune in at 8 PM ET on Fox to find out.

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