WWE SmackDown: Rey Mysterio vs. Daniel Bryan Next Big Feud and Top Takeaways

Kevin Berge@TheBerge_Featured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2019

WWE SmackDown: Rey Mysterio vs. Daniel Bryan Next Big Feud and Top Takeaways

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    Credit: WWE.com

    SmackDown Live has not slacked lately, and Tuesday's episode might turn out to be one of the best in 2019.

    The show was loaded with star power and action from start to finish. In just two hours, the wrestling, the promos and the backstage drama all stood out in building to the Royal Rumble on Sunday.

    The main event between Rey Mysterio and Andrade was always going to be the focus of the night, with the two men once again stealing the show. It was so good that it established firmly the potential of Mysterio challenging Daniel Bryan soon.

    Another star who stood out again was Mustafa Ali, who brought the best out of Samoa Joe. The two are great together, and they should get more chances to shine as rivals if SmackDown wants to capitalize on their massive potential.

    The rivalry between Mandy Rose and Naomi raged on, with Sonya Deville helping her friend defeat her biggest rival as the two women prepare to contend for tag team gold at Elimination Chamber on February 17.

    SmackDown's current tag team gold continues to be elevated by the work of Sheamus and Cesaro, who are finally bringing some excitement to the alliance of Shane McMahon and The Miz.

    This show had everything including numerous major takeaways from the Rumble and beyond. The blue brand simply cannot be stopped right now.

Rey Mysterio Should Be Daniel Bryan's Challenger

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    Rey Mysterio and Andrade pushed each other to their limit once again in an enthralling Two-out-of-Three Falls match.

    The two went all out with spots most other wrestlers could never dream up, with each taking a fall before Samoa Joe interrupted the finish and caused a disqualification.

    It was not a surprise that this main event was as good as last week's version, even better at times. While its finish and a late botch likely take away from it standing above the previous contest, both men deserve praise for the work they have put together in back-to-back weeks.

    While everyone knows how good they are, it has been particularly impressive to watch future Hall of Famer Mysterio working at a rate equal to his prime. In some ways, he's looked better in this match than at any other time in his career.

    While El Idolo and The Master of the 619 should be in the title scene this year, Mysterio has earned the first crack at gold and would be the perfect filler challenger for Bryan before WrestleMania. The two would tear the roof off any arena.

    It is hard to say who will step up as the WrestleMania rival for the WWE champion. Perhaps that would be the spot for Mysterio, but it may be better to just let them go off without expectations.

Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville Have Been Positioned as SmackDown's Best Tag Team

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    Naomi finally got her hands on Mandy Rose in this match and came out aggressive and focused. The Golden Goddess had no answer for the motivated former women's champion, yet she could not put this away before a distraction by Sonya Deville allowed her friend to steal the win.

    With the approaching arrival of the WWE Women's Tag Team Championships, most of the women are getting a second chance to stand out as units, and no team on SmackDown has benefited more than Rose and Deville.

    While the feud between Rose and Naomi has been disappointing, the recognition The Golden Goddess has gotten from that spotlight has been a big deal, pushing her and Deville to the forefront especially with so few other blue-brand teams standing out.

    It is more likely a Raw tag team wins the gold at Elimination Chamber, but these two heels have clearly set themselves up for success down the line.

The Bar Has Done a Fantastic Job Selling The Miz and Shane McMahon as Underdogs

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    Credit: WWE.com

    The Miz challenged Cesaro in a match that went back and forth until Sheamus managed to wipe out Shane McMahon and get involved with a knee to the face to set up a Neutralizer.

    Afterward, the heels double powerbombed Boy Wonder through The A-Lister and the announce table.

    While the team of McMahon and Miz has been hit and miss, the overall effect has been successful. The A-Lister has gone from the ultimate heel to a babyface underdog taking on the persona of his tag team partner, and serious credit has to go to all the talent involved.

    Sheamus and Cesaro have played the villains to such a point that it is hard not to root for Miz. He is trying so hard yet is so wildly outmatched. It wasn't a matter of one moment turning the tide but rather each segment with The Bar building upon the last.

    It is unlikely The Bar will get a great match out of their new rivals, but they have done their job well to establish this as more than just a makeshift team.

    All this work, though, is building to the unfortunate moment where the underdogs rise above and take the titles off the superior team just to add some mainstream appeal to the SmackDown tag team division.

Mustafa Ali Is the Perfect Opponent for Samoa Joe

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Mustafa Ali got his chance at revenge against Samoa Joe in a brutal rematch from the bout that never started last week, but The Heart of 205 Live clearly hadn't fully recovered. He was beat down by the veteran and was unable to recover before getting locked in the Coquina Clutch.

    The Samoan Submission Specialist came to WWE at the tail end of his career, which has meant most fans have not gotten to see exactly what he can do in the ring. In a few rare cases, though, he has shown up in a big way.

    He did just that with Ali, as the young talent proved once again he is a star. The 32-year-old pushed Joe to be his best in this match, and the two told a great story in the ring together.

    The clean victory could be the end of this rivalry, but it shouldn't be. Few men have made Joe, 39, look like his best self, and those pairings should be highly valued. This is a rivalry that can make a major impact in the coming months.

    Let Ali be the one to cost Joe his chance in the Royal Rumble, pushing this rivalry to a new level, and then let them go 15 minutes at Elimination Chamber in February. They will make everything work.


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