WWE SmackDown: 5 Things to Watch for During This Week's Show
Photo courtesy of WWE.com
With just one WWE program remaining prior to Survivor Series, this week's edition of SmackDown should be an incredibly important one.
Most of the matches on the card have been sufficiently set up, but I would imagine that this week's show will tie up any loose ends with regards to the World heavyweight championship match and the traditional Survivor Series match.
World champion Big Show and Sheamus have traded blows over the past few weeks, and one of them is likely to gain momentum heading into Sunday. The five-on-five elimination match will also be a big part of the pay-per-view. With so many participants, the odds are that they'll get into it on SmackDown prior to Survivor Series.
Also, one participant in the aforementioned elimination match suffered an injury this week, and it is unclear whether he will be cleared to compete. On top of that, there still appears to be some room for more matches on Sunday's card, so perhaps we'll see one or two more added on SmackDown.
Here are the top five things you should keep an eye on while watching the blue brand this week.
Will The Miz's Face Turn Continue?
The Miz has been a heel for his entire WWE tenure, but it seems as though that may soon come to an end.
Not only did Miz walk out on what was originally CM Punk's Survivor Series team, but he lobbied to be added to Mick Foley's squad, and ultimately was. Miz appears to slowly be transitioning toward a face character and it will be interesting to see how that progresses on SmackDown.
Miz got a really favorable crowd reaction when he teamed with Kane to defeat Team Rhodes Scholars on Raw, and he played the face role well when he cut a promo on Dolph Ziggler on Main Event.
Because of Miz's slimy reputation, it's certainly possible that he could be pulling the wool over everyone's eyes, but I firmly believe that this face turn is the real deal.
Outside of John Cena, Sheamus, Randy Orton and maybe Ryback, the WWE is short on main-event-caliber faces right now. The time is right for Miz to turn.
He's a natural heel, but also very charismatic and good in terms of promoting the WWE in other forms of media. He's starring in two upcoming movies and is gaining some traction in the mainstream scene as well, so I expect the WWE to capitalize on that.
Miz's Survivor Series teammates probably don't trust him yet, but perhaps he will take a step toward earning their trust on SmackDown and ultimately complete his transformation at Survivor Series.
Will Sheamus or Big Show Get the Last Laugh Before Survivor Series?
Although I wouldn't say that the World heavyweight championship feud between Big Show and Sheamus has been a masterpiece by any means, it hasn't been anywhere near the disaster I expected it to be.
Everyone has grown a bit tired of Big Show, but he is always at his best when playing the monster heel character, so I've had a much easier time tolerating him over the past couple of months.
I don't love him as World champion, but I realize that he's probably a transitional titleholder more than anything.
I like Sheamus and feel like he has the potential to be one of the faces of the company, but his title run had become stale, so the change was a welcome one.
With that said, Big Show and Sheamus will be doing battle once again at Survivor Series. If their next match is half as good as their Hell in a Cell encounter, we should be in for a great one.
While Big Show has generally felt like the more dominant competitor throughout this feud, especially since he won the title, the writers have done a pretty good job of keeping them on fairly equal footing and have traded the upper hand several times.
Both men looked strong on Raw, with Big Show squashing William Regal and Sheamus doing the same to David Otunga. However, I would imagine that one of them will stand a bit taller on SmackDown. Since I expect Big Show to retain the title, it would make sense to give Sheamus the momentum heading into the pay-per-view so that he looks like a viable threat.
Whatever the case, Sheamus is likely to temporarily move away from the title picture after Survivor Series.
What Is Cody Rhodes' Status for Survivor Series?
While it appeared as though the five-on-five elimination match was all set for Survivor Series when The Miz joined Team Foley on Raw, the plans may have been thrown for a loop once again.
While teaming with partner Damien Sandow in a tag title match on Main Event against team Hell No, Cody Rhodes suffered an injury, and his Survivor Series status is now in question.
According to WWE.com, Rhodes suffered a concussion and a strained shoulder after falling awkwardly on a back body drop from Kane. Rhodes had to regroup himself outside the ring and certainly appeared to be seeing stars. The match was concluded without having Rhodes tag back in, as Team Hell No retained the titles.
Medical personnel examined Rhodes and appeared to take the necessary precautions to protect him.
Rhodes was supposed to be a key member of Team Ziggler, along with Dolph Ziggler himself, Sandow, Alberto Del Rio and Wade Barrett, but I wouldn't count on him being able to compete.
Concussions are taken much more seriously in wrestling and in sports in general these days, so it's a lot to ask for Rhodes to be cleared over the course of a few days.
I doubt Rhodes would have figured into the final decision, but his possible absence could create a bit of a quandary, as there aren't many quality heels available to take his spot.
Either way, hopefully we'll learn more about Cody's status on SmackDown.
While I and pretty much every other fan would love to see him in the ring on Sunday, he and the doctors have to worry about his long-term health more than anything.
Will Any Matches Be Added to the Survivor Series Card?
With Survivor Series just a few days away, there are currently five matches announced for the card.
The WWE, World heavyweight, United States and Divas championships will all be contested, with the five-on-five elimination match also being featured prominently.
While that card isn't anything to sneeze at, I have a hard time believing that the WWE could possibly fill a three-hour pay-per-view without adding at least one or two more matches to the mix.
The Triple Threat match between CM Punk, John Cena and Ryback is likely to last half an hour or so, as will the traditional Survivor Series match, but none of the other three scheduled bouts are time eaters. If those three matches add up to an hour, you're left with an hour of programming that needs to be filled.
That can partially be taken care of with entrances, highlight packages and recaps, but one more match is needed at the very least.
I was hoping that we would get another big traditional Survivor Series match for the undercard, but the WWE kind of gave one away on Raw.
Rey Mysterio, Sin Cara, Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel defeated The Prime Time Players, Primo and Epico on Monday, and while it was only a one-fall contest, I feel like the WWE should have saved it for Survivor Series.
With that said, the match was so entertaining that I wouldn't mind seeing a reprisal of it in Survivor Series form. It would be a highly-entertaining match to open the show and it would really showcase the new-found depth of the tag division.
Mysterio and Sin Cara beat The Prime Time Players at Hell in a Cell, so Darren Young and Titus O'Neil could be the survivors in this match.
Whatever the case, hopefully a match is added on SmackDown.
What Is Next in the Booker T vs. Teddy Long Power Struggle?
Although it may not be apparent to everyone, it seems to me like the WWE is setting up a potential power struggle between Booker T and Teddy Long on SmackDown.
Booker is the current GM. Teddy previously held the position, but is now Booker's consultant. Their relationship has been a contentious one, as Booker seems to think that Teddy is trying to undercut his authority.
This stems mostly from the Eve situation.
Eve initially seemed like a good assistant to Booker T, but it quickly became apparent that it was just an act. Teddy figured that out before anyone else, but Eve used Teddy's accusations to make him look like the bad guy.
When Booker caught Teddy telling Eve what he'd do if he were general manager, it got Booker a little upset.
Various other things have happened since, such as Booker scolding Teddy for not being truthful with him last week. It turns out that Booker was joking, but it has to be leading to something.
Teddy also had matchmaking power on Raw this week, so I feel like that might rub Booker the wrong way.
I'm not sure if this is leading to Booker or Teddy turning heel or something entirely different, but eventually they're bound to have a falling out. Tiny seeds have been planted for the past several weeks and everything will come to a head at some point.
I doubt it will happen this week, but perhaps their subtle rivalry will take yet another step.