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WWE SmackDown preview (Jan. 31, 2020): Turn the page

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WWE SmackDown returns tonight (Jan. 31) from the Bok Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It is the fallout show from Sunday’s Royal Rumble. They are billing tonight’s episode as a “Super SmackDown.”

The Headliner

WWE has been stretching out feuds lately, taking their time with them before moving over to the next one.

This isn’t a bad thing. In fact, some programs need the time to explore the story. It’s not the best for feuds fans are tired of (looking at you King Corbin vs. Roman Reigns), but it prevents from burning through stories and allows the story to be fully told.

This is very evident on SmackDown for many of their top stories. But now that Royal Rumble is over, it’s finally time to move on from those programs into something new. Let’s take a look at what that may be.

- The Universal title feud between the Fiend Bray Wyatt and Daniel Bryan started prior to Survivor Series. Wyatt won, but in the process changed Bryan for the better, setting up the second bout last Sunday, which the Fiend once again won.

Rumors and speculation has Wyatt moving on to feud with Roman Reigns, coming off a long feud himself. However, outside those reports, rumors, and speculations, nothing on-air has hinted at that. Meaning they have to start planting those seeds. With the Fiend, it’s never too hard. He’s done with Daniel Bryan, and he will start attacking his next target. It could be as simple as that. But with two shows prior to WrestleMania, we may have to wait to see the Big Dog earn his title match, perhaps in the Elimination Chamber.

That also leaves Daniel Bryan open, and his next stop is more of a mystery. Perhaps he meets up with an old foe who doesn’t like men of lesser size in Sheamus. They sure have some WrestleMania history.

- The SmackDown Women’s championship feud had been brewing since before TLC. But with Lacey Evans taking a loss to Bayley at Royal Rumble, this feud seems to have run its course. Yes, the champ had a handful of tights and they could use that to extend it. They probably won’t nor should they.

That leaves Bayley in search for another challenger. Charlotte Flair won the Royal Rumble and she could always challenge Bayley. The rumors don’t point that way however. If that’s the case, perhaps Alexa Bliss would slot into that spot. She and Bayley have history, but usually the roles are reversed where Bliss is the villain and Bayley the hero. Revisiting this with a new dynamic could be interesting.

We also don’t know what the story with Sasha Banks is. The Boss wasn’t in the Royal Rumble, perhaps because of an injury. Bayley vs. Sasha is a program they can always go to, but with both entrenched in a heel role, it would take a bit of work to get them there.

Other options for Bayley would be the returning Naomi, who surely would be on SmackDown since her hubby Jimmy Uso is, or Carmella, who had been picking up a few wins as of late.

- The last feud we already briefly touched on, and that’s Roman Reigns vs. Baron Corbin. They’ve been feuding since SmackDown moved to Fox in October. It should finally, finally be over after Roman took their Falls Count Anywhere match at Minute Maid Park. Right?

Wrong.

At least for one more night, they are running a rematch of the six man tag from last week: Roman and the Usos vs. Corbin, Dolph Ziggler, & Robert Roode. But I cannot imagine they stretch this to another pay-per-view event. Then again, I thought this was over after Sunday.

Let’s say WWE shows mercy on us and this program is over after tonight. We already have a good idea of where Roman is going, but what about the King? There’s no doubt he’ll be in a featured program since they’re very high on him. Maybe he is the one who enters a program with Daniel Bryan. I feel he’d be a great candidate to hold a midcard title, but the Intercontinental belt is still in the middle of a different program.

Tonight should start to give us hints of where the participants in these stories go next.

The title scene:

As just alluded to, the Intercontinental title program is one between the champ, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Braun Strowman. After defeating Nakamura in non-title action, Braun gets his title match tonight. Because it’s a Super SmackDown.

Another feud that’s still on going is the Miz & John Morrison against the New Day. Surely this will be a SmackDown tag team championship program sooner or later. Perhaps a title loss would push Big E and Kofi Kingston closer to a turn towards villainy, which has been hinted at as of late. Miz & Morrison will take one step closer to those titles if they can win the fatal 4-way tag match against Heavy Machinery, Lucha House Party, & the Revival.

With Asuka finishing her program with Becky Lynch and Kairi Sane cleared to compete, maybe it’s time we see the Women’s tag team titles on SmackDown.

Other things to keep an eye on:

- Naomi is back! Hopefully we’ll feel the glow in Tulsa as the former champ gets back to it in the SmackDown women’s division.

- Sheamus and Shorty G will have a rematch after their Kickoff bout on Sunday, which the Irishman won. This means both kickoff matches will have run rematches.

- Keep an eye on the budding romance between Mandy Rose and Otis, and how that affects Mandy’s friendship with Sonya Deville.


Will SmackDown’s Rumble fallout show be OK? Tune in tonight at 8 PM ET on Fox to find out.