The echoes of Extreme Rules travel to WWE SmackDown on May 9. The fallout from that pay-per-view colors the upcoming episode as WWE builds toward Payback.
Each member of The Shield is in singles action against a former world champion. Two Europeans team up, Fandango takes on a familiar opponent and a six-man tag entices.
The First Niagara Center in Buffalo, N.Y. already hosted the taped show, which is set to air on Friday night on Syfy at 8 p.m. ET. Should one want to simply read what happened, the Internet is sated with spoilers.
For those who wish to wait to see the matches and moments on TV, the following is a preview of the matches, courtesy of PWInsider, with the results omitted.
Batista vs. Seth Rollins
In a rematch of sorts from Extreme Rules, the exciting Rollins takes on a far bigger, more powerful opponent.
Rollins has motivation in spades going into this battle. Batista, Triple H and Randy Orton administered another beatdown to The Shield on Monday's Raw.
Revenge will be on Rollins' mind, but he may not get it just yet. WWE has to build toward Payback in just a matter of weeks. Expect only a sampling of the animosity that event will showcase between these two and their teammates.
Cesaro and Bad News Barrett vs. Rob Van Dam and Big E
Van Dam and Big E team up in the search for payback.
Cesaro pinned Van Dam at Extreme Rules and then ended their bout on Monday's Raw by pounding the fan favorite until the referee called for the bell. For Big E, he has to lock up once more with the man who took his title from him.
Barrett then followed that win with another on Monday's Raw.
Can the powerhouse do better this time out, now that Mr. Monday Night is at his side?
The one certainty going into this clash is that it will feature some hard hits. Van Dam's kicks, Cesaro's uppercuts and Big E's crashing into his foe are all among the most thunderous moves one will see in a WWE ring today.
Rusev vs. Kofi Kingston
Kingston had Rusev reeling briefly on Monday's Raw, but he ended the match as so many men have done before him—his back bent in The Accolade. He has a shot to outdo that performance and hand The Bulgarian Brute his first loss.
Rusev has tossed aside his competition since joining WWE.
Even R-Truth and Xavier Woods as a duo couldn't stop him at Extreme Rules. Rusev throttled Woods, leaving R-Truth alone, forcing him to tap out after a few minutes.
Another dominant performance is expected here. Rusev's strong booking has made the more established Kingston the underdog.
Layla and Fandango vs. Emma and Santino Marella
Fans who have seen much Raw or SmackDown over the past few months have seen this battle before.
These foes have collided several times over now. The feud hasn't had much of a story, but it's had plenty of silliness. Emma recently paid homage to her partner, but using a snake sock puppet to finish Layla off.
When WWE's resident court jester and ballroom dancer meet again, will they top that? How Emma and Santino's relationship develops is the other thing to watch here. They may be heading into something more romantic or just remain partners in goofiness.
Los Matadores and El Torito vs. 3MB and Hornswoggle
Extreme Rules didn't end the tension between these groups. El Torito defeated Hornswoggle in the first-ever WeeLC match.
The bout resulted in all of these men crashing through various WWE furniture.
This go-round promises to be far tamer. Count on short jokes from the announce team, some impressive maneuvers from El Torito and silliness that will rival Santino and Emma's battle.
Dean Ambrose vs. Sheamus (United States Championship)
Sheamus has little time to celebrate his U.S. title win. He has to defend it against the man he took it from on May 5.
Ambrose survived until the very end of the a 20-man Battle Royal for his championship. He couldn't get past Sheamus, though.
Fans will be tuned in to see how WWE portrays Sheamus. He's facing a babyface character, perhaps a sign of him turning to the dark side. After all, F4WOnline, via Wrestle Zone, reports that "WWE has plans in place for turning Sheamus heel."
Does that begin on Friday's SmackDown in earnest or does he only show glimpses of a shift in attitude?
Roman Reigns vs. Mark Henry
It's not often that The World's Strongest Man enters a bout as the underdog. That is the case here, as Henry has lost to Reigns before in matches that weren't close.
Henry will look to use his size and power advantage more effectively this time around.
The powerhouse hasn't made much of an impact lately. He's been left out of the marquee feuds and didn't make it onto the Extreme Rules card. A win against the red-hot prospect shoots him into the headlines.
Reigns has to deal with a frustrated Henry and the potential distraction of Evolution waiting in the shadows. The Shield hasn't fallen as hard as they have when Evolution ambushes them.
The Usos and John Cena vs. The Wyatt Family
The most intriguing matchup of the night highlights one of WWE's biggest feuds at the moment and allows two talented tag teams to go to work.
Cena and Bray Wyatt's strange journey has taken them to cage matches and choir performances. They get another opportunity to bash each other's faces, this time with more even numbers.
The tag team champs haven't had much momentum thanks to lacking a rival. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan would make for appealing contenders should WWE go that route.
Fans may be getting a preview of that rivalry in this six-man bout.
It's the centerpiece of a SmackDown flush with appealing matches along with comedy bouts that demand a DVR-assisted viewing of the show.
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