WWE SmackDown: Spoiler-Free Preview for May 16

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WWE SmackDown: Spoiler-Free Preview for May 16
Credit: WWE.com

Brawls between bruisers and a David vs. Goliath matchup with a larger-than-normal size difference highlight the May 16 edition of WWE SmackDown.

Two weeks away from Payback, the need to build toward the matches on that card isn't urgent, but the show promises to address some of those battles. In addition, the lineup suggests a number of Superstars not on the card yet may be warming up for their eventual foes on the pay-per-view.

Fans in Greensboro, North Carolina, already got to see John Cena, Batista, Cesaro and Sheamus in action. 

Everyone else can choose between perusing spoiler reports or waiting until Friday night to tune in to SyFy. For those who choose the later route, the following is a spoiler-free look at the matches scheduled for Friday's SmackDown.

 

Batista vs. Dolph Ziggler

Just like last week, Batista faces a smaller, more athletic opponent. On May 9, The Animal sent Seth Rollins crashing into the announce desk, leaving him unable to get back in the ring.

Ziggler will look to avoid the same outcome.

At stake for him is the biggest win of the year. The Show-Off has had scattered victories throughout 2014, but not against anyone of Batista's caliber.

Batista, meanwhile, preps for his part in the Evolution vs. The Shield rematch at Payback. Destroying a former world champion would make him look more dangerous heading into that bout. 

 

Cesaro vs. R-Truth

After colliding with Sheamus in a fantastic match on Tuesday's Main Event, Cesaro moves down the WWE food chain for his next battle. R-Truth hasn't been much more than an easy victim lately, especially when it comes to Rusev.

What happens here could be a hint about what to expect from The King of Swing at Payback.

Should the announcers focus on his battle with Sheamus or should The Celtic Warrior get involved in this contest, it's a sure sign that those two will meet at the upcoming pay-per-view. 

 

The Usos vs. Cody Rhodes and Goldust

It looks as if the Rhodes brothers are united once more and ready to start competing for the Tag titles again.

After some splintering between the two, Rhodes and Goldust have traded pushing for hugging. They now set their sights on a non-title win against the champs. A win here puts them in instant contention.

Credit: WWE.com
The Rhodes and The Usos in a previous battle.

A loss likely implies that WWE has other plans for who challenges The Usos. That is, of course, unless this turns more contentious than a standard match. 

 

Nikki Bella vs. Natalya

Thanks to sore feelings surrounding an ugly painting Natalya did for Nikki, these two already butted heads on Monday's Raw.

It was an odd, awkward match where other Divas started judging the performances of Natalya and Nikki. Little explanation was to be had about what was going on with that.

WWE may be starting a feud between these two or just filling airtime with two of the women from Total Divas. Natalya flashed a bit of heel-like aggression the last time out. Whether or not she continues to slide further toward the dark side is something to watch here.

 

El Torito vs. Heath Slater

El Torito knocked off Hornswoggle at Extreme Rules. He was then the one to pin Slater in their tag match on May 9.

Oddly enough, the small man in the bull costume feels like the favorite here. Slater has been WWE's punching bag for a good while now, and it won't be surprising to see him lose here as a cheap way to make the kids in the crowd happy.

Another possible route is to get some actual heat on Slater by having him pummel El Torito.

As uncomfortable a sight as that would be, the tamer environment of the PG Era suggests that's not the scenario to bet on.

 

Sheamus vs. Titus O'Neil

Hard-hitting action is promised here even if there is little question about who the favorite is.

Sheamus doesn't lose often. O'Neil hasn't strung together many wins since splitting from Darren Young.

Still, it's a chance for a struggling midcarder to make an impression against a man who just helped Ryback to one of his best matches in recent memory.

What kind of shenanigans happen before or after this contest and whose name announcers bring up besides O'Neil and Sheamus could provide some insight about who WWE is thinking of sending after The Celtic Warrior for his next defense.

 

Santino Marella vs. Damien Sandow

Sandow ambushed the pre-show panel on Monday's Raw. He spoke his mind as he disrupted Booker T and company.

This match will be a big clue as to how much that action is part of a larger angle or just a forgettable one-off occurrence. What he says before the match and how vicious he is against Santino are both things to watch closely.

Win or lose, a normal match with little on Sandow is a sign that he's just going to keep sliding into obscurity.

 

John Cena vs. Erick Rowan

Cena will have to wait until Payback to bring down Bray Wyatt. For now, he gets a crack at his bruiser of a brother.

Rowan's two best singles efforts have been against Daniel Bryan and Cena. He has a chance to make an impression yet again but could be interrupted by Luke Harper and Wyatt's involvement here.

WWE has a marquee match to sell. That means this will be primarily about setting that bout up, adding a highlight or two to the promo video for Payback.

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