Just four days removed from an announcement that John Cena will meet Randy Orton in the main event of the TLC pay-per-view—a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match in which both the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships will be on the line—a special Thanksgiving episode of SmackDown emanates from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.
While World Champion John Cena has the night off, WWE champion Randy Orton will be in the building for Friday's show.
Also on this week's show will be CM Punk, who watched his tag team partner Daniel Bryan get abducted Monday night by the Wyatt Family, then fell victim to an unprovoked attack by The Shield.
With this week's broadcast being a holiday special, do not expect many storylines to be furthered. Instead, prepare yourself for a lighthearted affair that plays up the Thanksgiving theme and delivers, from the looks of it, a fantastic main event.
Without further ado, here is a look (courtesy of WrestlingInc.com) at everything that will go down this Friday night on SmackDown.
Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.
Michael Cole and John Bradshaw Layfield
- Renee Young will interview Randy Orton, who walks out on the interview following a question about his impending match with John Cena at TLC.
- Mark Henry (with Intercontinental champion Big E. Langston) defeats Curtis Axel (with Ryback)
- Throughout the night, skits will air of a Thanksgiving-food eating contest. Titus O'Neil will win said contest.
- Los Matadores (with El Torito) defeats The Plymouth Rockers (3MB)
- Tensai and Brodus Clay defeats R-Truth and Xavier Woods
- Bray Wyatt cuts a promo about Daniel Bryan's whereabouts and finishes by claiming that Bryan "entered a man and will leave a monster."
- Renee Young will interview CM Punk, who will discuss what happened to Bryan Monday night, then imply that The Shield attacked him because they were doing what The Authority said.
- Antonio Cesaro will defeat Titus O'Neil by disqualification when Darren Young interferes. Hijinks will ensue and, after eating as much as he did earlier in the show, O'Neil will vomit in JBL's hat and on Zeb Colter.
- CM Punk, Rey Mysterio, Cody Rhodes, Goldust and the Usos will defeat The Shield and the Wyatt Family in a 12-man tag team match that started as a basic tag match and evolved into a six-man tag before finally settling as the above bout.
Tag Team Extravaganza
WWE has found a formula that works, and it has no problem going back to it every week.
The tag team matches involving Cody Rhodes, Goldust, The Shield and the Usos over the last three months have typically been outstanding bouts that pop and feature strong work from all involved.
Factor in the consistent improvement from Luke Harper and Eric Rowan and two of the most respected in-ring workers in the world in CM Punk and Rey Mysterio, and Friday night's main event has all the makings of a special match.
Punk is clearly the centerpiece of the match, as he is the biggest star on the show and has ongoing conflicts with both the Wyatt Family and The Shield. His performance, especially the hot tag he is almost guaranteed to get late in the bout, will go a long way in determining the overall effectiveness of the match.
The quality is not in doubt, however, as 11 of the 12 men involved have been the MVPs of WWE programming throughout the fall. The remaining Superstar is a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame the moment he hangs up his mask.
Thanksgiving Fun...or Not
Traditionally, the holiday-themed episodes of Raw and SmackDown tend to fall into one of two categories. They are either lighthearted fun or they are embarrassingly bad.
One look at the spoilers indicates this Friday's Thanksgiving festivities will be labeled the latter.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with backstage vignettes focused on an eating contest. After all, it is Thanksgiving and people across the country celebrate by stuffing their faces. What is wrong—and embarrassing—is what will play out after Titus O'Neil wins the contest and has to wrestle later in the evening.
WWE has always been fascinated, for some reason, with jokes involving bodily fluids. Whether it was DX dropping feces on the McMahons and the Spirit Squad or Chris Jericho urinating in William Regal's tea, the company seemingly finds great humor in the subject. It should come as no surprise that Titus O'Neil, one of the more entertaining big men, would be sent to the ring to wrestle Antonio Cesaro, then proceed to puke all over the ringside area.
If the creative team put as much effort into pushing some of the incredible talent they have on the roster as they did coming up with this gem, the quality of the product would be much better.
Brodus is Feeling Not-so-Funky
On Monday night, Xavier Woods made his entrance to the squared circle with Brodus Clay's theme song blaring in the background and the lovely Funkadactyls by his side. R-Truth, Woods' partner, claimed he got Brodus' permission but, as we see Friday night, the big man does not seem at all pleased with the lack of respect shown to him by the former NXT star.
After a backstage confrontation, Brodus proceeds to squash Woods in a tag match also involving Tensai and the aforementioned R-Truth.
Could this be the beginning of a heel turn for Brodus, who many have long believed would be better-suited as a dominant, monstrous villain?
It remains to be seen, but the fact that the seeds are being planted on SmackDown during a Thanksgiving show that will likely suffer from a larger ratings drop-off, has this writer nervous.
Los Matadores: They're Still a Thing?
After disappearing from television for a few weeks, Los Matadores returned in a backstage skit this past Sunday at Survivor Series and will make their in-ring return on this Friday night's show, defeating 3MB for the one-millionth time.
More interesting than the terrible Matadores gimmick is 3MB who, despite being jobbers to the stars, are easily one of the most entertaining acts on WWE programming. They are so good at what they do and, at this point, do not seem to mind being the butt of the joke.
Case in point: This Friday, they will be referred to as "the Plymouth Rockers" and will probably adorn ridiculous pilgrim outfits. They will probably continue to be the same awesome trio of undercard performers they have been all year.
Despite the rush to anoint every Superstar that comes through the curtain as "the next big thing" and demand that they need to be pushed to the moon, the company needs to have legitimate jobbers, midcard guys and main event stars.
3MB are a valuable part of World Wrestling Entertainment, and they do what they do better than anyone else.
Daniel Bryan: Monster?
Bray Wyatt's prophecy that Daniel Bryan will emerge as a monster is incredibly intriguing.
Will he return to television with a new appearance and persona? Will he have a meaner streak than he has displayed in recent months?
What is for certain is the unfolding story should make for very good television in the coming weeks and months.
World's Strongest Team
Big E. Langston and Mark Henry are strong. Really strong, and Michael Cole and JBL will not miss an opportunity to remind you of that as Henry tosses Curtis Axel around the ring on Friday night before finishing him off with the World's Strongest Slam.
The pairing of Henry and Langston comes at a weird time as Langston just won his first singles title and the attention should be put on him defending that title and building a connection with the audience.
Instead, he is playing Robin to Henry's Batman.
Whether the pairing stunts Langston's growth and singles push should bare watching.
Paranoia is setting in for Randy Orton, and, despite the negativity surrounding the top angle in the company, the recent signs of the WWE champion mentally wearing down have been intriguing at the very least.
Orton has every reason to be paranoid. He was fed promises and had his ego boosted for three months as he battled Daniel Bryan. With Bryan out of the picture, with much help from The Authority and his friends, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon are beginning to question whether they made the right decision in choosing Orton to be the face of the company.
With the top star in the company—a star who has truly been the face of WWE for the better part of eight years—Orton now finds himself questioning who he can and cannot trust, and it is beginning to usher the maniacal edge that Orton once had to the forefront.
On Friday night, he will walk out on an interview with Renee Young when the question of Cena and the upcoming pay-per-view match is presented.
It is an understated move that probably will not be brought up again outside of Friday's broadcast, but it is another hint that The Viper may not be of 100 percent sound mind.
In an angle that has had more faults than successes, the recent developments with the Orton character could very well produce some strong television leading into the December 15 pay-per-view.
You can catch all of the action and drama of World Wrestling Entertainment SmackDown this Friday night on SyFy beginning at 8.