SmackDown Five-Point Preview: Jan. 7, 2016
John Cena kicks off SmackDown on USA Network
It’s a new year and SmackDown is coming to the WWE Universe from its new home on USA Network! Celebrated announcer Mauro Ranallo will join Jerry “The King” Lawler and Byron Saxton to become the new voice of SmackDown. What could make things bigger? How about a homecoming from a 15-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion? That’s right, ready or not, John Cena is returning to the second longest-running episodic television show in history!
But what will the Cenation leader have to say when he kicks off the show that first brought him to prominence? Will he break out a classic rap to commemorate SmackDown’s new move? Will he declare himself a participant in the 2016 Royal Rumble Match, which now carries with it the weight of being a WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match? Or could someone step up to the celebrated Superstar and attempt the stop his monumental big blue return in its tracks? Find out tonight at 8/7 C on USA.
Title showdown on the fringe
In the midst of a huge brawl between Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose the brash former titleholder Kevin Owens this past Monday night, The Lunatic Fringe shouted that if his adversary wants an opportunity at the WWE gold, he knew where to find him. Well, as it turns out, the place to find him will be USA Network. Tonight, as announced on Raw, the two competitors will clashes for the Intercontinental Title!
Ambrose has already proven to be a fighting champion and will never back down from anyone. But could his need to rush in full-throttle actually work against him? Though Owens is sometimes criticized for leaving a battle early and for only competing when it benefits him and for finding calculating moments to deliver cheap shots to his opponents, his cautious nature could be perceived as an advantage against the unstable Lunatic Fringe.
Big Dog walking
On Raw, Mr. McMahon made the monumental announcement that WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns must defend the squared circle’s most sought-after title in the Royal Rumble Match! In a WWE.com exclusive later that night, Reigns pledged to walk out of the Rumble with the title, despite the McMahons insistence on “burning him down.”
The Royal Rumble Match title defense against 29 other Superstars is indeed unprecedented and could make for the greatest Royal Rumble pay-per-view of all time. Though that surely is historic, it also shouldn’t be ignored that Reigns may not even get to the Rumble in one piece. By putting the title in play, the McMahons have painted a bull’s-eye on The Big Dog’s back and it will be interesting to see who will look to disable him in the coming weeks to ensure he will walk into the Rumble Match as wounded prey.
Becky defies nature
Perhaps it was only a matter of time. After Becky Lynch scored a huge victory over Divas Champion Charlotte on Raw, the titleholder viciously attacked her friend — with a little help from her WWE Hall of Fame father Ric Flair. Oh well, it’s lonely at the top. Wooooo!
But on the first USA Network edition of SmackDown, The Lass Kicker will be back and will no doubt be ready to overcome Natural Selection in a Divas Title Match. Charlotte will clearly do anything to keep the butterfly-emblazoned title. But Becky is out to prove the has what it takes to rise above the flair.
Who will be ready to Rumble?
With the unprecedented Royal Rumble WWE World Heavyweight Title Match now established, the sharks will be out in abundance. What does that mean? Perhaps The Miz can tell us. The Awesome One will host a special “Miz TV” Royal Rumble Special tonight at 8/7 C on USA Network. Perhaps the always controversial show will serve as a staging ground for new entries into the Rumble Match? Perhaps those already in the free-for-all will emerge to press their advantage. Find out what happens when SmackDown moves to USA tonight at 8/7 C.