WWE world heavyweight champion Roman Reigns was forced into a handicap match on Tuesday night at the SmackDown tapings just days before the biggest and most important title defense of his young career at Royal Rumble.
His opponent in Dayton, Ohio? The League of Nations' Sheamus, Rusev, King Barrett and United States champion Alberto Del Rio.
Hardly a stranger to the foreign fanatics, would the juggernaut of WWE be able to escape unscathed as he prepares to try to preserve his title reign on Sunday night in the Royal Rumble match? Would the news that he will start that 30-man extravaganza from the No. 1 position preoccupy him, opening him up to a savage beatdown by his rivals?
Reigns would not be the only former Shield member highlighted during the USA Network broadcast tapings.
Intercontinental champion Dean Ambrose and hated enemy Kevin Owens would come face to face in a special edition of "Miz TV" just days before what is sure to be a brutal Last Man Standing match.
Would the Superstars be able to maintain their cool or would fans get a taste of the chaos that is certain to exist when they battle this weekend on pay-per-view?
Fans in Dayton already know the answers to their questions. Now you can too, courtesy of our friends at Wrestling Inc.
- Chris Jericho kicked off the show but was interrupted by The New Day, which still blamed Y2J for breaking its trombone. This led to a six-man tag team match pitting Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods against The Usos and Dolph Ziggler.
- The Usos and Ziggler defeated The New Day.
- Becky Lynch defeated Alicia Fox.
- "Miz TV" with Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens was next. The two competitors in Sunday's IC title bout discussed the match before The Lunatic Fringe delivered Dirty Deeds to The Miz. Not wanting to be one-upped, Owens responded with a Pop-Up Powerbomb to the host.
- Bray Wyatt defeated Ryback.
- Titus O'Neil defeated Stardust.
- WWE world heavyweight champion Roman Reigns defeated The League of Nations by disqualification in a handicap match. After the bell, The Usos hit the ring to even the odds, but The Wyatt Family attacked to end the show.
Two main stories from Monday's Raw again headlined SmackDown, those being the plight of Roman Reigns and the resurgence of The Wyatt Family.
Reigns has the odds against him, which is the result of opposing The Authority and CEO Vince McMahon. It is a natural storyline development for him to have to face the obstacle that is The League of Nations on SmackDown just days before he is to defend his title in the Royal Rumble.
The Usos coming to Reigns' aid makes sense given the established relationship between them, but it feels like a step back given everything that has happened since The Usos and Reigns were both feuding with Sheamus and crew back in December.
The Wyatt Family again establishing itself as a threat by attacking the champion is a wise booking decision given the lack of legitimate stars and the need to develop credible threats to Reigns' run atop the WWE mountain.
"Miz TV" looks like a giant waste of time on paper, but it should be interesting to see what Ambrose and Owens bring to the table in terms of promo work as they prepare for one of the marquee matches on Sunday's show.
How Chris Jericho's vendetta with The New Day somehow segues to a match involving Dolph Ziggler, who really has no previous history with the faction, is a question only WWE Creative can possibly answer. It was another example of illogical booking in relation to the Jericho character this week.
Overall, the show appears to be much more focused and organized than the mess that was last week's broadcast. That bodes well for a company coming off a pitiful go-home episode of Raw.