SmackDown Five-Point Preview: Feb. 22, 2013

SmackDown Five-Point Preview: Feb. 22, 2013

How will Del Rio respond to Swagger and Colter’s incendiary verbal assault?

Jack Swagger's "State of the Union Address": Raw, Feb. 18, 2013

Jack Swagger & Zeb Colter share "The Real American's" plans for his World Championship Match at WrestleMania 29.

After Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter’s controversial “State of the Union” address on Monday’s Raw, World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio Touted that he will have a rebuttal to his No. 1 contender’s strong words tonight. ( WATCH) What might “The Essence of Excellence” have to say in response to the “Real American” he will face at WrestleMania 29?

The proud Mexican champion — who is in the midst of an incredibly successful title reign after toppling Big Show at Elimination Chamber — could have more planned than simply exercising his First Amendment right to free speech against the vision of “Jack Swagger’s America.” But no matter what Del Rio has in store for Swagger, the rivalry between the two Superstars is sure to grow more intense on The Road to WrestleMania.

Who will thunder back into the spotlight after losing at Elimination Chamber?

Big Show says he will decimate the WWE locker room: WWE Main Event, February 20, 2013

Big Show takes on a plethora of opponents.

With several of SmackDown’s biggest Superstars — including Randy Orton, Mark Henry, Big Show and Sheamus — coming up short in their respective matches at Sunday’s Elimination Chamber, will the blue brand feel aftershocks from WWE’s final pay-per-view before WrestleMania 29?

The World’s Strongest Man, The Celtic Warrior and The World’s Largest Athlete all picked up much-needed wins on Monday’s Raw — with the giant doing much more on WWE Main Event Wednesday. ( FULL STORY) But losing a priceless title match or a golden opportunity to main event WrestleMania is not only an extremely difficult disappointment but it also puts a competitor’s back against the wall. So tonight, it is very possible that the WWE Universe will witness several major Superstar offensives, as WrestleMania hopefuls clamor for the spotlight just six weeks before The Showcase of the Immortals.

Who will emerge as Diva Champion Kaitlyn’s top challenger?

Kaitlyn discusses her big win over Tamina: Exclusive, Feb. 17, 2013

Kaitlyn talks about successfully defending her Divas Title on her first try.

Speaking of Superstars smarting from the Elimination Chamber, Tamina Snuka felt the full strength of Divas Champion Kaitlyn, who vanquished her leonine challenger with a rib-rattling spear at Sunday’s pay-per-view. ( PHOTOS) With her first successful title defense under her belt, where might The Hybrid Diva find her next fight?

The beautiful fan favorite could be challenged by any number of Divas on the roster, from the always dangerous “Queen of Harts,” Natalya, to the extremely athletic and promising Funkadactyls, Naomi and Cameron. And don’t write off Tamina, who despite Sunday’s loss is still possibly the most intimidating and physically dominant Diva on the WWE roster. Will this come into play when the explosive titleholder teams with Layla against Tamina & Aksana? Regardless of who rises to the top to challenge the reigning titleholder, they will have their hands full with the super-talented Divas Champion.

Why should the locker room fear Rhodes and Sandow?

WWE Elimination Chamber Pre-Show

Brodus Clay & Tensai battle Team Rhodes Scholars on the WWE Elimination Chamber Pre-Show.

The “much-anticipated” reunion of Team Rhodes Scholars that “WWE fans were clamoring for,” according to the duo, didn’t work out exactly as Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes had planned. Falling to the fresh and funky tag team of Brodus Clay & Tensai during Sunday’s Elimination Chamber Pre-Show, the intellectually inclined best of friends reinforced the notion that they belong in singles competition. But that may not be good news for the opposition.

Sandow definitely put the locker room on notice, coming out aggressive on Monday’s Raw and attacking Kofi Kingston before their match — nearly injuring him before R-Truth emerged to save the highflier. It will be interesting to see whether he will be able to capitalize on this aggression when he takes on Sheamus tonight? Likewise, Rhodes also has plenty to prove and will certainly be looking to be equally vicious against The Miz?

Will Miz’s Figure-Four prove to be the most effective submission on SmackDown?

The Miz vs. Antonio Cesaro - No Disqualification Match: Raw, Feb. 18, 2013

The Miz tries to get some retribution from United States Champion Antonio Cesaro in a No Disqualification Match.

Speaking of The Miz, The Awesome One redeemed his controversial loss by disqualification to United States Champion Antonio Cesaro at the Elimination Chamber on Sunday, making The Swiss Superman tap out in a non-title Raw rematch. The maneuver Miz used to get the job done? The venerable Figure-Four Leglock.

Having beaten numerous Superstars with the potent submission, the question emerges: Could The Miz currently have WWE’s best submission? Despite The Awesome One’s grappling success with the move, other Superstars on the blue brand might think otherwise, possessing submission greatness in their own respective arsenals.

Alberto Del Rio’s Cross Armbreaker and Jack Swagger’s Patriot Lock have long been known as brutal and potentially career-ending finishers. Other Superstars who also journey to SmackDown — such as Chris Jericho, Daniel Bryan and CM Punk have rightful claims to WWE’s best submission. So as The Road to WrestleMania heats up, will the signature maneuver of WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair surpass them all at the hands of The Miz? Tune in to SmackDown tonight at 8/7 CT on Syfy to find out!

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