The search for momentum powers the Dec. 6 edition of WWE SmackDown.
CM Punk takes on a member of The Shield, trying to gain confidence before his handicap match at TLC. Big E Langston preps for his upcoming Intercontinental Championship match, Natalya seeks a pre-title bout victory and Randy Orton is pitted against a familiar foe before TLC.
Tag team wrestling continues to be a highlight of the show with the Tag champs in action, as well as a new squad. Cody Rhodes and Goldust are among the Superstars that make Friday night look like it will be brimming with entertainment.
With the results left unspoiled, here are the matches scheduled for Friday's episode of SmackDown.
Dean Ambrose vs. CM Punk
Punk is set to face all three members of The Shield at TLC. His challenge at SmackDown is 66 percent easier.
The United States champ will look to dropkick and DDT his way to an upset victory. An Ambrose win without Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins' help will make Punk's chances at TLC look mighty unfavorable.
For Punk, he should be just be looking to come out of this battle injury-free.
His upcoming handicap match will be an impossible challenge, even at full strength. On SmackDown, he has to defend against Ambrose's unique in-ring style as well as Reigns and Rollins, who will probably try to turn this singles bout into chaos.
Big E Langston vs. Fandango
Now that Langston knows who will challenge him at TLC for the Intercontinental Championship, it's time for him to build momentum.
Can Fandango derail this speeding train, or is the ballroom dancer destined to experience the Big Ending? In a battle of two of WWE's newer stars, power collides with grace, size with speed.
Langston and Fandango have been partners in the past, but seeing them as enemies is new for fans. The fresh matchup is one of the more enticing ones on the show.
Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan
A match fans have seen several times over in the last few months happens one more time.
The animosity should still be high between these two even though Bryan has moved on to a feud with The Wyatt Family and Orton is now seeking to become the unified champion against John Cena at TLC.
Orton is going to have look out for the Yes! Lock while Bryan will not only have to avoid the RKO and punt but a potential ambush from Bray Wyatt and his bearded clan.
We know these two foes have excellent in-ring chemistry, but the question will be how much time will they get to go at each other. With other stories to build, how long will WWE spend focusing on the rivalry that dominated the autumn?
Kofi Kingston vs. Alberto Del Rio
SmackDown hosts another familiar showdown as former world champ Del Rio takes on former U.S. champ Kingston.
As impressive as Kingston as looked in their previous meetings, he's the clear underdog here. He's one Trouble in Paradise away from pulling the upset, though.
Both he and Del Rio are without a match at TLC for the moment, so fans will be looking to see if WWE has any hints as to who these men will face at the pay-per-view. Kingston has had issues with The Miz recently, and Del Rio still has to be stinging after losing to Sin Cara on Monday's Raw.
Do any of those foes use SmackDown as an opportunity to escalate their rivalries with Del Rio or Kingston?
Goldust and Cody Rhodes vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel
Despite not winning often as a team, Ryback and Axel get a chance to tangle with the Tag Team champions.
Goldust and Ryback met on Wednesday's Main Event. Axel saved his partner from what appeared to be a sure three-count. Do Rhodes and Goldust get the decisive win this time, or does the duo of former "Heyman guys" carve their name on the list of title contenders?
Aside from a few sloppy moments, Goldust and Ryback had good chemistry.
Adding two skilled wrestlers like Rhodes and Axel to the mix should only elevate the results. Win or lose, Ryback and Axel have a shot to grab our attention with a compelling performance.
Natalya vs. Tamina Snuka
Before Natalya gets a crack at AJ Lee and the Divas title at TLC, she has to go through AJ's bodyguard first.
These are two of the most talented female wrestlers on the roster, and if they are given a decent amount of time, fans should expect excellence here. AJ will either be skipping around the ring, talking to her championship or else looking for a way to leave Natalya hurting.
Natalya has proven she has no issues clamping the Sharpshooter on Tamina in spite for her long legs. Should she get that submission hold locked in again, don't expect AJ to stand passively on the outside of the ring and just let that happen.
This match is a great opportunity to push the Natalya and AJ story forward, increasing their animosity before their title showdown.
The Real Americans vs. Big Show and Rey Mysterio
Mysterio and Big Show are the PG-Era version of Yokozuna and Owen Hart—a hefty big man aligned with an athletic dynamo.
They face a team that has evolved from being a punchline and a showcase for the Cesaro Swing to a couple of formidable opponents. Just ask Darren Young, who had his head knocked back with one of Antonio Cesaro's spectacular uppercuts on Monday's Raw.
The Real Americans can launch themselves back into the Tag title picture with a win here, especially if it's Big Show whom they pin or force to submit.
SmackDown's lineup gives it the potential to be better than Monday's Raw. Several intriguing pairings accompany some matchups we've seen plenty of before.
With TLC quickly approaching, victories mean more, serving as a means to thrust Superstars forward before that pay-per-view kicks off.
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