The final episode of Smackdown leading into the Royal Rumble had some ups and downs, but remained solid throughout. We saw a beat down, the makings of a candidate for match of the year, and an unexpected return.

Much like Raw, the show as a whole wasn’t outstanding, but wasn’t very bad either. Unlike the show on Mondays, however, Smackdown (in my opinion) should have more expected from it, from a week to week basis. I say this because more often than not, the blue brand puts on the better weekly program (at least in the eyes of this writer).

Let’s take a look at five takeaways from this week’s Smackdown!

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5. R-Truth And Carmella Are Still Gold

The duo of R-Truth and Carmella are absolutely fantastic in their current roles. While Carmella has begun to get a bit more focused (as she should) on the women’s Royal Rumble match, Truth remains great as comedic relief.

After saying he wants to face either AJ Styles or Daniel Bryan after winning the Royal Rumble, he scoffs at the idea of challenging Brock Lesnar, replying “why would I want to go to Sioux Falls City?”. Him calling Buddy Murphy “Bobby Murphy” was a great line as well.

Neither of the two have a legitimate shot at winning their respective Rumble matches, and that’s okay. As long the pair are kept in their current roles, they will remain relevant and have their place on the program.

4. Shane McMahon and The Miz Show Unity Leading Up To Their Title Match

I wrote last week about how much I’m interested in this team. This was before they showed any real sense of teamwork and selflessness toward one another.

The Miz squared off against Cesaro in singles competition (always welcome on my television screen), in a match which saw plenty of nice spots, including Shane McMahon going off of the apron into the barricade. McMahon sold that like he was trying to be Dolph Ziggler.

After Cesaro picked up the win, a brawl ensued. The Miz saw his partner being double teamed, and put his body over McMahon’s, to try to protect him. The Bar reacted by slamming Shane THROUGH The Miz, THROUGH the announce table!

3. Becky Lynch Gets The Last Laugh On Asuka

One of the most exciting bouts on a Royal Rumble card stacked full of awesome matches, Lynch vs Asuka may steal the show on Sunday. Both wrestlers are at the top of their game, and have plenty of momentum (obviously the challenger has much more).

Becky opened the show pointing out the fact that Asuka never actually pinned her to win the Women’s title. Both Asuka and Charlotte Flair came out, and following a distraction from Flair, the champion got a sneak attack in on her rival. Unfortunately for the Empress of Tomorrow, Lynch eventually got the upper hand, and is the one standing tall, heading into their big matchup.

2. Andrade vs Mysterio Was Incredible (Despite A Dusty Finish)

Following their incredible showdown last week, Andrade Cien Almas and Rey Mysterio went out to outdo themselves in the main event of Smackdown. Going at it in a two out of three falls match, neither man was holding back, as we saw some insane spots.

Andrade won the first fall, following an epic super powerbomb. The fact that this was so unlike Andrade made it stand out even more. Eventually, Mysterio hit what has become a signature move of his lately, the Canadian Destroyer to tie it up.

In the final moments of the match, Mysterio hit the 6-1-9, and went for the victory before one man interfered…

1. Chaos Ends The Show; Orton Stands Tall

Out of nowhere, Samoa Joe came in and destroyed both men. He locked the masked superstar in the Coquina Clutch, and declared that he’s making a statement. Joe said be will dominate the Royal Rumble on Sunday.

Speaking of “out of nowhere”, the big man was then hit with the RKO “from outta nowhere”, signaling the return of The Viper, himself.

This was a fun way to close the show. I am really excited about the possibilities of the thirty person matches this Sunday. The craziness that occurred here only makes the event even more intriguing.

Those are my takeaways from Smackdown! What did you guys think? Was this main event looking to be better than last week’s match? How surprised were you to see Randy Orton return? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Stay tuned, as I will be posting my Royal Rumble predictions later this week! As always, please share this article, thanks for reading, and have a great day!

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