WWE SmackDown: 5 Things to Watch for During This Week's Show
Hell in a Cell has come and gone and with only three weeks until Survivor Series, the WWE must quickly build toward the November classic. There isn't much time when it comes to developing new feuds ahead of the next pay-per-view, so much of this week's SmackDown figures to focus on rivalries that have already been ignited.
The centerpiece of the show will undoubtedly be the World Heavyweight Championship feud between Big Show and Sheamus. The seven-foot giant defeated The Great White by way of two KO Punches at Hell in a Cell and is now a two-time world titleholder. Sheamus has a rematch clause, however, and is itching to exercise it.
In addition to that, there is plenty worth monitoring on SmackDown. Since 10 guys are already wrapped up in the traditional, five-on-five Survivor Series match, an undercard has to be crafted for the event. There are plenty of wayward superstars on the roster right now, so hopefully some of them get direction beginning this week.
Here are the top five things to keep an eye on while watching this week's edition of SmackDown.
When Will Big Show and Sheamus Lock Horns Again?
Much to the surprise of most WWE fans, Big Show defeated Sheamus at Hell in a Cell to win the World Heavyweight Championship in a rough-and-tumble affair. Sheamus' title reign had been a dominant one since beating Daniel Bryan in 18 seconds at WrestleMania, but Big Show was able to snuff out the red-hot Irishman. Since Sheamus is entitled to a rematch, though, this feud is obviously a very long way from being over.
Sheamus struck the first blow since Hell in a Cell as he hit Big Show with White Noise during a segment on RAW. That would seem to indicate that a rematch is very much on the horizon. The most likely scenario is that they will do battle at Survivor Series since neither of them is involved in the 10-man elimination match. At the same time, though, there is always the possibility that they'll have the match before that book things a bit differently.
With that said, I have to believe that Survivor Series will be the venue for the rematch. There are so many upper-tier stars tied up in the 10-man match that there have to be a few contests of note on the undercard. I'm still not overly excited for the build toward the rematch, but the bout Big Show and Sheamus had at Hell in a Cell was excellent, so hopefully they turn in a comparable encore performance.
Is the Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio Feud Destined to Continue?
Both Randy Orton and Alberto Del Rio limped into Hell in a Cell as their feud failed to register a blip on the radar, but they impressed me as they opened the show with a really solid match. Orton predictably came out on top thanks to an RKO, but they told a good story throughout the contest. Del Rio targeted the arm in order to administer the Cross Armbreaker, but Orton was able to slither out of it and pick up the victory.
That match notwithstanding, there is nothing to get excited about when it comes to the Orton vs. Del Rio rivalry. There is no title involved and it's essentially two guys fighting each other because they have nothing better to do. Del Rio is just coming off a lengthy feud with Sheamus over the World Heavyweight Championship, while Orton hasn't been in the world title scene for a year due to a combination of staleness and a wellness policy violation.
It isn't ideal, but I have little doubt that Orton and Del Rio will continue their angle until Survivor Series at the very least. They are both part of the 10-man elimination match and they faced each other in a six-man tag match on Main Event, so they're fairly entrenched. I'm not sure what can be done to freshen things up, but hopefully the writers figure something out.
Will Wade Barrett Do Something of Note?
Wade Barrett has been back from a devastating elbow injury for a couple months, but the WWE can't seem to figure out what to do with him. Barrett has been the definition of a floating upper midcarder as has had numerous matches with both Sheamus and Randy Orton as of late, but nothing had led to a substantial program. Barrett's talent is undeniable, but he'll never ascend to his rightful spot if he isn't used more effectively.
The WWE made a terrible decision by bringing him back unceremoniously on an episode to SmackDown to squash Yoshi Tatsu. Having him return at a pay-per-view or on RAW by attacking then-world champion Sheamus would have been much more impactful and it would have been easy to buy him as a main-eventer right away. Instead, he's in flux right now.
I had hoped that Sheamus would retain at Hell in a Cell so that he and Barrett could begin an angle, but that obviously didn't happen. I honestly have no clue what the WWE should or will do with Barrett because the only top face outside the world title picture right now is Orton, and he's tied up with Alberto Del Rio. Hopefully Barrett is at least made to look strong for the next few weeks so he can do something once Survivor Series comes and goes.
What Is Next for Antonio Cesaro?
Antonio Cesaro has been the United States Champion since he defeated Santino Marella at SummerSlam, but I don't feel like he has gotten over as an up-and-coming heel. Ditching Aksana was a good idea as his character development is starting to come around, and his in-ring work continues to be very impressive, but he literally hasn't had a single feud in two months as the titleholder, and that is a major problem.
I realize that the midcard scene is weak at the moment, especially when it comes to faces, but the handling of Cesaro thus far is inexcusable. He has scored victories over the likes of Zack Ryder, Brodus Clay, Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel, but with no storyline driving him, very few people care. If the creative team doesn't put him in a meaningful feud soon, then the WWE runs the risk of both Cesaro and the United States Championship floundering.
If Monday's events are any indication of things to come, Cesaro may be ready to engage R-Truth. Cesaro faced Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston on RAW, but it turned into a two-on-one beatdown as The Miz got involved. R-Truth saved his old tag team partner as the heels retreated. With Kofi and Miz in the 10-man elimination match at Survivor Series, I expect Cesaro and Truth to heat up in the coming weeks and have a match at the pay-per-view.
Will the Dissension Between Kaitlyn and Layla Continue?
Ever since Kaitlyn was taken out by a mystery attacker at Night of Champions, Eve has been suspected of orchestrating the incident. Eve was the beneficiary of the attack as she replaced Kaitlyn in the Divas Championship match and defeated Layla. Several tidbits of information have come to light since then, such as the attacker being a blond and Eve allegedly emailing Aksana and telling her to wear a blond wig.
The storyline has been fairly convoluted thus far, but Kaitlyn and Layla have been united against Eve. During the triple-threat match for the Divas Championship at Hell in a Cell, though, Kaitlyn and Layla had some disagreements. They attempted to work together in order to take out Eve, but their competitiveness got the best of them as they were unable to remain a cohesive unit. This led to Eve retaining her title.
It is unclear whether this dissension was a one-time deal that took place in the heat of the moment, or if it is something that might become part of the angle. I get the feeling that Kaitlyn and Layla will become divided and it will lead to Eve escaping suspicion for the time being. Her conniving ways will be revealed eventually, but I doubt it will happen anytime soon.