SmackDown Five-Point Preview: Jan. 15, 2015

Bryan and SmackDown are ready to make history!

Stephanie McMahon questions Daniel Bryan's decision to return to the ring: Raw, January 12, 2015

Stephanie McMahon interrupts Daniel Bryan, who soon finds himself in a vicious brawl with longtime nemesis Kane.

Tonight marks a historical SmackDown for several reasons. First, it is the day that the second longest-running episodic show in TV history makes its monumental return to Thursday nights. Second, WWE Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler will join the SmackDown announce team. And perhaps the biggest news of all, former WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan will return to action after an eight-month injury!

Watch: Superstars and Divas go to therapy  Watch SmackDown Replays

The Beard’s opponent? None other than his one-time Team Hell No ally and The Authority’s current WWE Director of Operations Corporate Kane — the man responsible for putting Bryan on the shelf in the first place. Last Monday on Raw, Bryan and the demonic adversary engaged in an intense brawl. What will happen when they collide in an official altercation, 10 days before the Royal Rumble? Will The Authority have anything to say on the subject? Find out tonight at 8/7 CT on Syfy! Plus, before you tune into SmackDown tonight, chat live on Twitter with Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett by using the hashtag #SMACKDOWN starting at 7 p.m. ET!

A new name, a new Intercontinental Champion?

Sin Cara vs. Bad News Barrett: SmackDown, January 9, 2015

The high-flying Sin Cara uses his fast paced offense against Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett.

Tonight’s Thursday Night SmackDown will also bare witness as Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett puts his title on the line against Sin Cara, the very same high-flying Superstar who upset the champion last Friday on SmackDown.

Royal Rumble match preview

Put aside, for a moment, the brutal post-match assault that the English Superstar carried out moments after his surprise defeat, and one fact stands out: If Sin Cara can overcome Barrett once, he can certainly do it again. Putting Barrett’s vicious nature aside is next to impossible, however. So it’s safe to say that if Barrett gives his No. 1 contender a taste of the Bull Hammer Elbow, Sin Cara could quickly see his title hopes grounded. Before Bad News Barrett defends his Intercontinental Title against Sin Cara, chat live with the British brawler on Twitter by using the hashtag #SMACKDOWN starting at 7 p.m. ET!

A Beast infuriated

Royal Rumble WWE World Heavyweight Championship Contract Signing: Raw, January 12, 2015

John Cena, Seth Rollins and WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar meet to sign the contract for their anticipated Triple Threat Match at Royal Rumble.

Three days after his client WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar was Curb Stomped by Seth Rollins during the Royal Rumble World Title Contract Signing on Raw, Paul Heyman is scheduled to address the WWE Universe tonight on Thursday Night SmackDown.

In addition to his own ability, Mr. Money in the Bank clearly has the full support and power of The Authority behind him. But one has to wonder whether his bold move against the Superstar who has conquered The Undertaker, John Cena and Triple H could ultimately blow up in The Architect’s face. That makes what Heyman has to say tonight all the more interesting.

Mixing it up with “Total Divas”

Jey Uso vs. The Miz: Raw, January 12, 2015

Jey Uso gets his hands on the bearer of "The Moneymaker" in this intensely personal showdown.

In what is sure to be a fast-paced thrill ride, WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos & Naomi will go to war tonight against The Miz, Damien Mizdow & Alicia Fox in a Mixed Tag Team Match! It will be interesting to see how the drama of “Total Divas,” past and present, will infuse an already heated tag team rivalry. 

Who else is ready to Rumble?

As the Royal Rumble Match draws closer, more and more Superstars continue to throw their hat into the ring, ready to battle and risk it all for a chance to headline WrestleMania in the epic free-for-all. Find out tonight who the next grappler will be to join the quest for glory. 

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