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WWE SmackDown Live preview (Jan. 31, 2017): Quick turnaround

The blue brand has a quick turnaround to their next pay-per-view (PPV). We’ll find out how they manage the transition starting tonight in Corpus Christi!

The Headliners

The champ is once again here.

John Cena claimed a WWE World title for the 16th time in his illustrious career, and that’s cause for celebration - regardless of how you view his employer’s claim that he’s tied Ric Flair’s record for more championships.

But the Face that Runs the Place doesn’t have whole lot of time to reflect on his accomplisment. In less than two weeks, he has to step foot inside the unforgiving structure that gives the show, Elimination Chamber, its name. The belt will be on the line against five other men, as they’re let out of pods one at a time to compete in an elimination match.

One of those men will be the former champ, a guy who just took Cena to the limit at Royal Rumble... AJ Styles.

What will the Phenomenal One do to get his belt back, and who else will be in their match? We should get a lot of those answers tonight.

The Title Scene

Outside of the Cena/Styles match, most of the SmackDown action from this past Sunday’s show was in the Rumble itself. Intercontinental champion Dean Ambrose’s last title defense also served as a preview of that contest, when the lumberjacks who were tasked with keeping him and The Miz in the ring rushed it. Just like in the Rumble, Baron Corbin played a big factor in that melee - it’ll be interesting to see how those three jockey for position tonight.

Tag champs American Alpha are kind of lost. Admit it, you forgot they’re holding those belts. They did serve as lumberjacks in last week’s main event, but couldn’t find their way onto the Rumble card.

The ladies of the blue brand were almost all in the opening match of the night in San Antonio. While three different feuds moved forward, the biggest angle saw Naomi once again get the upper-hand on Women’s titleholder Alexa Bliss. The recently returned former-Funkadactly has a strong claim to a championship match.

UPDATE:’s official preview came out, and we’re getting a Bliss/James vs. Lynch/Naomi tag match tonight.

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- While they didn’t have a ton of matches on the card, SmackDown left the Rumble with the big prize when Randy Orton won the main event. The Viper has a date with his old pal Cena, or whoever leaves the Chamber with the World title, at WrestleMania 33 in Orlando.

- Things are still going well with the Apex Predator and his buddy, the Eater of Worlds, Bray Wyatt, too. The Family is having some issues with former(?) brother Luke Harper, however. Luke sure did want to hit Bray with his own finisher in the Rumble, and the Texas crowd wanted to see him do it, too.

- That six woman Kickoff match mentioned above also advanced the feuds between Mickie James and Becky Lynch, where the Lasskicker is still pissed the returning veteran cost her the title in the steel cage match a few weeks back, and Nikki Bella vs. Natalya, where the Queen of Harts is jealous of Bella’s push.

- But don’t forget Carmella, who doesn’t have a beef with anyone, unless you count her feud with James Ellsworth’s fashion sense. Although, considering Mella wore Jimmy Dream leggings when she accompanied her boy to his quick showing in the Rumble, maybe she shouldn’t talk.

- Since his heel turn, Dolph Ziggler has been feuding with (in no particular order) Kalisto, Jerry Lawler, Apollo Crews, JBL and his voice.

It’s the Royal Rumble fallout show!

What will you be looking for on SmackDown Live tonight?