With the road to WrestleMania underway and the top of the card shaping up nicely, World Wrestling Entertainment rolled into Milwaukee for Tuesday night's SmackDown tapings.
Monday night, Batista and Randy Orton exchanged words ahead of their WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Orton and commentator Michael Cole both made mention of the crowd's disdain for the recently returned Superstar.
Now, The Animal returns to SmackDown and will address the WWE Universe and their reaction toward him over the last month.
After a wild and chaotic conclusion to the Roman Reigns-Bray Wyatt match on Raw, what will The Shield and the Wyatt Family have in store for one another on this week's SmackDown?
Tension was high among The Real Americans on Monday night as Jack Swagger cost partner Cesaro the opportunity for a victory over Intercontinental champion Big E Langston. Friday night, they meet the titleholder in tag team competition. Would they be able to coexist and score a big victory or would the dissension between them prove to be insurmountable?
With Daniel Bryan, Kane, Divas champion AJ Lee, Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio slated for competition, this week's show promises to be an action-packed one.
Thanks to our friends at WrestlingInc.com, here is a look at everything that goes down on this Friday night's broadcast.
BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisc.
Michael Cole and John Bradshaw Layfield
- Batista cuts a promo to open the show, promising to beat everyone. Dolph Ziggler interrupts, issues a challenge and delivers a dropkick to an overconfident Batista.
- The Real Americans defeat Big E and Mark Henry when Cesaro pins Henry following the Neutralizer
- A backstage segment involving Vickie Guerrero, Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus leads to the booking of a match between the former rivals for later in the night
- Alexander Rusev and Lana cut a live promo in front of the crowd
- Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio never gets started as Christian jumps Sheamus and a two-on-one ensues.
- Batista defeats Dolph Ziggler, playing the heel role for the majority of the bout
- A Wyatt Family promo is interrupted by The Shield and Triple H books an Elimination Chamber rematch for the following Monday's Raw.
- Divas champion AJ Lee defeats Cameron
- Daniel Bryan and the Usos defeat Kane and the New Age Outlaws when Bryan pins Kane
Bryan beats Kane again
After Monday's Raw, it appears as though Daniel Bryan is well on his way to taking on Triple H in what would be one of the biggest matches of his career on April 6 at WrestleMania XXX. The Usos, on the other hand, are closer to the tag team titles than they have been in their young careers and to getting those championships.
This week on SmackDown, Bryan and the Usos continue to gain momentum on the road to what could very well be a defining pay-per-view for all three Superstars.
The teaming of Kane and the Outlaws makes perfect sense, outside of the fact that they happen to be feuding with the three men across the ring from them. Kane is the current Director of Operations under the Authority while the Outlaws are friends and former teammates with Triple H.
They also happen to be three of the biggest stars of the Attitude Era.
For three of today's brightest young stars to score a win over the respected veterans on television is a big accomplishment.
Whether those Superstars' path to immortality on WrestleMania ends happily remains to be seen.
Rather than trying to go against the audience, WWE began planting seeds for a Batista heel turn this past Monday night when Michael Cole subtly brought up the negative crowd reactions that have greeted The Animal in arenas across the country as of late.
This week on SmackDown, he cuts a promo on the audience, then finds himself challenged by former World Heavyweight champion Dolph Ziggler.
That Ziggler is so thoroughly demolished and squashed by Batista is disappointing given the sheer talent and passion he has for the sport, but his bumping guarantees that Batista's offense looks spectacular.
According to the spoilers report, Batista plays up the heel act much stronger on SmackDown than he did on Raw, leaving the company with a very interesting situation on their hands. After all, does it really want to put a lackluster title bout between two heels out in front of more than 60,000 fans inside the Superdome and expect audiences to react?
Real American redemption
Despite the tension that has been hinted at over the last few weeks, spilling over into Friday's broadcast, The Real Americans, Jack Swagger and Cesaro score a big win over former World champion Mark Henry and current Intercontinental champion Big E.
The win ends the Intercontinental champion's winning streak over the partners as he and Henry go down in defeat.
Cesaro scores the win for his team and keeps the momentum in his favor, doing so in impressive fashion by planting Henry with the Neutralizer.
The spoilers report, attributed to WrestlingInc.com above, states that there is still a lot of noticeable tension between Cesaro and Swagger. A potential midcard feud between the two heading into WrestleMania, not to mention a subsequent match, could spice the bottom half of the card up and deliver a hard-hitting, physical match between two outstanding young workers.
Add in Big E for a little Triple Threat title match action and the company could easily have a breakout bout candidate for the Showcase of the Immortals.
No Irish luck for Sheamus
The Celtic Warrior is scheduled to do battle with Alberto Del Rio on Friday night but finds himself on the receiving end of a two-on-one beatdown at the hands of Christian and Alberto Del Rio.
Could Del Rio and Christian form an unlikely duo as they attempt to break out of slumps that have bogged down their careers as of late?
Based on what goes down Friday night, it appears the pairing might very well have found the secret to success: working together instead of with one another.
Unfortunately for Sheamus, he appears to be the first victim of the pairing.
The Shield and the Wyatt Family bring the awesome...again
At this point, Bray Wyatt could read the dictionary and keep the attention of the WWE Universe, thanks to his incredible delivery and believability as a character. He, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan turned in star-making performances Sunday night against The Shield and now are facing a potential rematch.
As Bray addresses the WWE Universe, The Shield interrupts and the two teams trade insults before Triple H announces a mega main event rematch between the two stars, just in time for this Monday's Raw.
Whether the competitors are capable of once again displaying the intensity and raw emotion that made the original match as good as it was expected to be remains to be seen.