WWE SmackDown: Spoiler-Free Preview for Jan. 17

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterJanuary 16, 2014


The Jan. 17 edition of WWE SmackDown will be a showcase of champions.

The Divas champ faces a rising rival. The tag team titleholders battle a pair of vets who held the belts together five times. Friday's SmackDown also offers up a non-title version of the Intercontinental Championship match from the last Raw of 2013.

Fans who attended the tapings in Worchester, Mass. already know how that all played out. The rest of us will look to avoid spoilers and wait until the weekend to savor the in-ring action.

With the results omitted, here is a preview of the matches set for Friday's SmackDown.

Naomi vs. Tamina Snuka

Naomi is in position to snag the No. 1 contender's spot for the Divas Championship. Tamina serves as a major obstacle to that goal, though.

On Monday's Raw, The Funkadactlys lost a tag match to AJ Lee and Tamina, but the story afterward was how Naomi cleared the ring of both her foes once the bell rang. She kicked Tamina in the head and hit Rear View on the Divas champ.

A win over AJ's bodyguard will likely earn Naomi a title shot against AJ at the Royal Rumble.

With Natalya having failed against the champion a few times in a row and Kaitlyn no longer with the company, the road to the top of the Divas division is one that Naomi can traverse rather quickly. 

For Tamina, this match is a chance for revenge. She was embarrassed on Monday night and will look to tear apart the Funkadactyl in this one-on-one encounter.

Cody Rhodes and Goldust vs. The New Age Outlaws

Betrayal leads to opportunity it seems. On Monday's Raw, Billy Gunn and Road Dogg abandoned CM Punk mid-match.

The New Age Outlaws now get a crack at the duo atop the tag team division. 

Were Rhodes not involved, one might stumble onto this matchup and wonder if a rerun from the Attitude Era was on. Veterans collide here in a bout that could decide the next challengers for the tag team titles.

Will Punk get back at the Outlaws by costing them a victory here? Will Gunn and Road Dogg give any indication as to why they left Punk to fend for himself on Raw?

Those questions alone are reason enough to tune in, but the experience and skill combined in the ring provides incentive to watch as well.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Rey Mysterio

In the midst of his trash-talking with Batista, Del Rio has gone on a run against WWE luchadores. After besting Sin Cara on Jan. 6, he forced Mysterio to submit on the following episode of Raw.

Can Mysterio force Del Rio to pay attention to him rather than the returning Batista? He'll have to avoid the cross armbreaker and Del Rio's stiff kicks.

Alberto Del Rio applies his most dangerous weapon.
Alberto Del Rio applies his most dangerous weapon.WWE.com

Their match on Monday was underwhelming, but the second round has potential to be better. Del Rio works well with Superstars who employ the Lucha Libre style dating back to his time in the Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre promotion in Mexico.

Momentum heading to the Royal Rumble is up for grabs for both men, each of whom will be looking for their second Rumble win.

Big E Langston vs. Fandango

Fandango failed to capture the Intercontinental Championship from Langston when these two collided on Dec. 30.

The ballroom dancer managed to keep Langston grounded at times and avoid his running splash by kicking at his legs. He'll have to do all that and more if he hopes to get a win this time around.

Fandango takes Big E Langston off his feet.
Fandango takes Big E Langston off his feet.WWE.com

Both men are confirmed for the Royal Rumble match and Friday's SmackDown offers an opportunity to claim a momentum-improving victory.

Can Fandango stop Langston's run of dominance? Summer Rae at ringside certainly ups his chances of doing that.

The Usos vs. The Real Americans

The story of the end of Monday's Raw was certainly about Daniel Bryan breaking free from The Wyatt Family, but before that moment The Usos scored a major victory.

Just being in the main event against Bryan and Wyatt was big for The Usos. They handled their business in the steel cage, making it two wins in one night against their bearded opponents.

Are Jimmy and Jey set to go on a run or was that just a momentary triumph soon to be forgotten?

Fans will find out in part when The Usos take on Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro. The Real Americans are sometimes asked to take on a role as comic fodder and are at other times booked as a hard-hitting, title-contending tag team. 

Expect the latter version of the duo on Friday's SmackDown. In what is a potential match of the night, two of the most talented teams in the division face off, looking to have their names tossed into the discussion for who gets a title shot next.


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