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Smackdown Live preview (Tulsa), January 31, 2020: The road to Wrestlemania 36 begins

Smackdown Live preview Tulsa
Photo Credit: WWE

The Royal Rumble is in the books and we are officially in WrestleMania season. The Royal Rumble left some serious questions as to the direction the blue brand is headed into WrestleMania 36.

What does WWE have in store for the SmackDown roster following the Royal Rumble? Tune in to WWE Friday Night SmackDown live from Tulsa, Oklahoma on FOX this Friday at 8pm EST/7pm CST to find out what is next for stars of the SmackDown brand.

Who is The Fiend’s next victim?

Daniel Bryan and The Fiend had a brutal and very compelling match at the Royal Rumble. The feud seems to have ended at the Royal Rumble and there is no shortage of matches for The Universal Champion Bray Wyatt heading into WrestleMania 36.

  • Next Man Up: It appears Kane will be the next opponent for The Fiend. These monsters are rumored to clash at the next Saudi Arabia show February 27, 2020. While Kane will be a fun opponent for SmackDown’s resident mad man at Super ShowDown, this isn’t the match that we will see at WrestleMania 36.
  • Hatfields v McCoys: The Fiend will soon take on one the WWE’s most legendary stars at the showcase of the immortals. The Undertaker is the best option for Wyatt’s WrestleMania 36 opponent. The mind games and compelling storylines these competitors will bring out will make this a legendary feud you will not want to miss.
  • Left Hangin’: What now for Daniel Bryan? I don’t see any potential storylines for the leader of The Yes Movement headed into WrestleMania 36. There is a very good chance he will be left off this year’s card and brought back when they have a solid plan for his future direction on SmackDown.

Lacey Evans was the right choice

The scene was set to add some intrigue to the SmackDown women’s division with Lacey Evans as the SmackDown Women’s Champion. For some reason the WWE opted to go the other direction and have Evans lose cleanly to Bayley at the Royal Rumble. Does the classy southern belle get another crack at the champ? 

  • Leaves: Bayley is boring, drab, and overall a dreadful champion. Nothing has worked to get her over as a heel champion and there is nothing she brings to the table to make her a compelling champion.
  • Diamond: Evans is a work in progress, yet has serious potential to be a major player in the women’s division for many years. With proper booking she can be a great face champion headed into WrestleMania 36 and add some flavor to a bland SmackDown women’s division. 
  • Rumors In The Air: Could we see Banks vs Bayley at WrestleMania 36? Rumor is Banks is dealing with an injury that will keep her off television for an undisclosed time frame. If Banks returns in time from her injury to develop a feud with Bayley this could be a viable option for Bayley’s next feud. Personally, I could care less to see Bank’s and Bayley in any match or feud. That ship sailed away years ago!
  • Not Good: The SmackDown women’s division is dreadful and not looking bright any time soon. It’s almost as bad as All Elite Wrestling’s women’s division. And yes, I’m 100% serious as it’s that bad!!!

The New Day is coming to an end soon

Another floundering division in the WWE is the SmackDown tag team division. The tag team talent underneath the SmackDown umbrella is ready, willing, and able to steal the show any given day.

SmackDown has talented teams like The New Day, Uso’s, Heavy Machinery, The Revival, and The Miz and John Morrison ripe for the picking. So why was there no exposure to the SmackDown tag team division at the Royal Rumble?

  • C’mon: The only people to blame for the tag team mess is the SmackDown creative team. There is zero excuse for the lack of storylines and development with the tag team divisions in the WWE. The SmackDown tag team talent deserves way more than what WWE is giving them.
  • Tag In: Smart money is on The Miz and John Morrison continuing their feud with The New Day and claiming tag team gold soon. The New Day was been defeated week after week by “The A List Superstar” and John Morrison. The New Day needs to go in a new direction soon as singles wrestlers and the first step is taking the belts off their waists soon.
  • Wanted: Kofi Kingston vs Big E. is a matchup that has been discussed amongst fans for a long time. A heel Big E. will be a huge success and it will make him a main event star for years to come. Make this happen soon WWE!!!!

Braun Strowman will be the Intercontinental Champion soon

The powerful Strowman has beaten the WWE Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura on multiple occasions and deserves a shot to win the Intercontinental Championship. The “Monster Among Men” needs to taste singles gold soon and have a meaningful WrestleMania 36 match to get another shot at The Universal Championship this year.

Will he get his opportunity this week on SmackDown to win his first singles title?

  • About Face: Nakamura needs to go back to NXT in the Superstar Shakeup after WrestleMania 36. Returning to NXT worked great for Finn Balor and will do the same for “The King Of Strong Style”.
  • Ain’t That A Shame: The Intercontinental Championship was once a belt that held prestige and meant something. It’s a shame to see how it has been relegated to being a prop that carries little value. Solid booking, storylines, and dedication can make the Intercontinental Championship mean something once again. Strowman is a great person to make it relevant again and there is no shortage of great feuds for him as champion.

Who will Roman Reigns feud with next?

With a dominant win over his longtime rival King Corbin at the Royal Rumble what is in store for Roman Reigns next? Thankfully, WWE didn’t book Reigns to win the Royal Rumble match and made the smart choice with Drew McIntyre winning the Royal Rumble match. No matter his placement on the SmackDown card, Reigns will always be a big player in the WWE whether you love him or hate him.

  • Hear Me Now: The next feud for Roman Reigns has nothing to do with The Fiend. The SmackDown fans will flip out if Roman Reigns vs The Fiend is booked for WrestleMania 36. Listen to my advice WWE management and please don’t go down this path anytime soon!!!
  • Switched: Reigns needs new opponents and should be showcased properly as the star that he is. The way to do this is by taking a chance and booking him as a monster heel. Reigns will dominate the SmackDown roster if given the chance to morph into a heel. Taking a chance on switching Reigns is worth any risk that WWE management might see from this character change.  Not making this switch will mean the recycling of old feuds for “Big Dog” and this does zero for his long term sustainability as a a top draw in the WWE.
  • Simple The Best: What is next for King Corbin? Corbin is loathed by fans and his defeat to Reigns at the Royal Rumble didn’t hurt his stock in any way. Baron Corbin is a star and the best heel character in professional wrestling. The master of the “End Of Days” is destined for a big 2020 and will win a singles championship this year guaranteed.  

After this year’s Royal Rumble there are many more questions than answers for the direction of the Smackdown roster headed into WrestleMania 36 in Tampa, Florida on April 5. This will make for some very great storylines for the blue brand in the weeks to come. Don’t miss out on all the action kicking off WrestleMania season for the SmackDown superstars this Friday at 8pm EST/7pm CST on Fox.