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Friday Night 'Live' Smackdown
Friday 9th January 2009 - Preview!
Live from the Gwinnett Center
2009 started with high drama last week with the blame falling at the door of the Executive Vice-President, Stephanie McMahon. She's received nothing but criticism from CM Punk, however last week John Cena joined in telling her that she's acted inappropriately on more than one occasion. Stephanie didn't react favourably to their concerns, and having heard & had enough of her, Punk stunned everyone by walking out on Smackdown, vowing he won't return until the Royal Rumble in just over a week when he & Cena meet for the vacant World Heavyweight Championship. That was just moments after he inadvertently hit Tazz with a roundhouse kick that was meant for Cena. It was serious enough that Tazz was told to rest up, prompting Stephanie to take charge for the rest of the night, not that Tazz had a choice in the matter.
One of the decisions she did make though has resulted in a huge tag team title match this Friday night that will see The Empire defend their titles for the first time since defeating Paul Burchill and Harry Smith's stand-in, TJ Wilson at Night of Champions last month. Wade Barrett & Drew McIntyre were defeated by London & Kendrick two weeks ago in a non-title match, but last week Burchill & Wilson were after a rematch. Stephanie then made her presence felt by stating that there was another team who worthy of a rematch, reminding everyone that the rematch clause applies to Burchill & Smith, not Burchill & Wilson. She was happy enough to give them the chance to get a shot at a rematch if they could defeat the team that beat the champions the week before, London & Kendrick.
Those two teams met with the champions watching on from ringside, and a distraction from The Empire gave London & Kendrick the chance to take advantage and claim the title shot this week. Smith, Burchill, TJ & Natalya Nedihart were furious at The Empire once again getting the upper hand on them, but they'll have to take a back seat for a week at least when London & Kendrick look to continue their impressive resurgence by becoming WWE Tag Team Champions once again. Can they do just that by defeating the team they beat only two weeks ago? It certainly won't be an easy task for the champions in their first defence and it's a match you have to see.
Someone else who's on quite the roll is Bryan Danielson, and he'll look to keep that roll going this week when he meets the only man who's been able to beat him, 'The Rated-R Superstar' Edge. They were two of the men battling it out for the right to face CM Punk at Night of Champions for the world title, and it was only seconds after Danielson eliminated Dolph Ziggler in the fatal four-way match that Edge caught him off guard with a spear to eliminate Danielson. That's the only blip on his record to date and Danielson will be looking to keep it that way when he locks horns with Edge this week, but it will be a difficult prospect against the ultimate opportunist in Edge. It's going to be an exciting match that Edge better not take for granted.
After Smackdown went off the air last week we learnt that Stephanie had arranged for Matt Sydal to defend his United States title at the Royal Rumble against the man who's beaten him twice recently in non-title matches. Dolph Ziggler has vowed to get a third match, only with the title on the line, and now he has his wish. Sydal will have a challenge on his hands when he meets Ziggler, but he will also be in action this week when he takes on Chavo Guerrero. The 2008 King of the Ring & Breakout Star of the Year has shown how resilient he is and Ziggler can't think for a second he has the title in the bag. He would be wise to watch Sydal against the dangerous Mexican live this week, as would you.
For all this & more make sure you tune into Smackdown this week, live from the Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Georgia.
>Confirmed for this week on Smackdown!<
WWE Tag Team Championship
Paul London & Brian Kendrick vs. The Empire (c)
Matt Sydal vs. Chavo Guerrero
Bryan Danielson vs. Edge