When Big Show cost Roman Reigns a shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship during Monday's Raw, it became apparent that the World's Largest Athlete would be the next opposition for Reigns.
Thursday night's episode of SmackDown, taped Tuesday evening from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, supports that as Reigns partners with Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler to battle Big Show, Bad News Barrett and Sheamus.
The intercontinental championship has been the centerpiece of the blue brand for the last two months and that will continue this week. The addition of Reigns and Big Show to the mix inject the main event with star power while allowing Bryan, Ziggler, Sheamus and Barrett to shine.
Other feuds gaining attention when SmackDown hits SyFy network this Thursday night is the increasingly personal one between The Miz and Damen Mizdow, The New Day continues to embrace their heel ways and Neville makes his debut on show.
Who will emerge victorious from the night's biggest matches and which stories will be advanced this week?
Take a look, courtesy of our friends at WrestlingInc.com.
American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas
Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton and Jerry "the King" Lawler
- Daniel Bryan kicked off the broadcast, discussing what happened last week. Sheamus and Bad News Barrett interrupted, followed by Dolph Ziggler, who made the save. Big Show attacked and Roman Reigns made the save, setting up the Six-Man Tag Team main event.
- WWE Tag Team champions Tyson Kidd and Cesaro defeated The New Day in a non-title match.
- Neville defeated Curtis Axel.
- Natalya defeated Alicia Fox with Cameron as guest referee. After the match, Cameron laid both women out to hype the Battle Royal on Raw.
- Bray Wyatt pinned Erick Rowan.
- The Miz came out for Miz TV with Summer Rae. Damien Mizdow interrupted, knocked his former employer out of the ring, then grabbed hold of Summer and planted a kiss on her to a huge pop.
- Reigns, Bryan and Ziggler defeated Barrett, Sheamus and Big Show when Reigns pinned Barrett.
The way that WWE Creative has managed to devote SmackDown to the intercontinental championship has breathed life both into the program and heightened the legitimacy of the title itself.
Bryan, Ziggler, Sheamus and Barrett have formed a nice nucleus for the title picture and will figure prominently in Thursday's broadcast. Their appearances in the opening promo, as well as the night's main event, only helps bring credibility to a title that, for the longest time, was treated as an afterthought.
The introduction of Reigns and Big Show does threaten to take the spotlight away from that rivalry, especially considering the fact that Reigns pins No. 1 contender Barrett to win the main event. Still, it is likely a one-week occurrence that can be fixed with a strong win for the Brit sometime before Extreme Rules.
The rest of the show lacks star power but features some quality characters and stories, particularly the ongoing heel turn involving the New Day.
Bray Wyatt vs. Erick Rowan is an intriguing match because of their history together in the Wyatt Family, but is somewhat disappointing in that it should mean more than it does. A throwaway match on SmackDown is not necessarily what fans would have had in mind for the two once they went their separate ways.
Consistent entertainment through quality wrestling matches and the focus on the intercontinental title help make SmackDown the opposite of Raw, which is typically bloated with too much meaningless programming.