For the first time in a decade, SmackDown was back on Thursday nights and, before he returns to action later in the night against Kane, the show kicks off with Daniel Bryan. Bryan joins Byron Saxton in the ring, saying that he is not out there wearing jeans and flannel, he is in his gear because he is ready to fight. Byron then shows footage of Kane’s vicious attack on Daniel Bryan last April before saying that Bryan has to be taking things more “seriously”. Bryan says that he knows what Kane is capable of more than anyone, saying that Kane stabbed him in the back and he stabbed the fans in the back when he traded in his mask for a suit. Bryan continues, saying that, despite what several doctors have told him, he is “ready”. The former champion then admits that he is worried about his neck because they do not know how his neck will hold up until he competes. Bryan then says that he is going to “prove” that he is going to win tonight, he is going to win at the Royal Rumble, and he is going to win at WrestleMania 31. Bryan says that some people believe his aspirations are a “pipe dream”, but he and the fans believe that “yes”, he can do it!
The opening match of the night would see the in-ring return of Daniel Bryan as, for the first time in nearly a year, the former World Champion would compete on SmackDown as Daniel Bryan would go one-on-one with Kane. However, Kane would not be alone as the corporate demon would be accompanied by WWE COO Triple H, “Mr. Money-in-the-Bank” Seth Rollins, J&J Security, and Big Show. Kane would dominate most of the match against Daniel Bryan, but the resilient Bryan would stay in it and would manage to lock in the Yes Lock on the big man. However, J&J Security would immediately jump in and attack Bryan, ending the match by disqualification, but The Authority’s plan to beat Bryan down ultimately fails as Bryan takes out J&J Security, knocks Big Show off of the ring apron, and dodges a shot from Seth Rollins. Bryan would escape to the stage, but The Authority would close in on Bryan until Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns come out from the back to stand beside Bryan! WWE COO Triple H then speaks up, saying that, if Ambrose & Reigns want to get involved, then they are going to end this little “uprising” here tonight. With that, Triple H announces a big 6-Man Tag match for later in the night as Daniel Bryan will team with Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns to face the team of Seth Rollins, Kane, & Big Show!
The WWE Tag Team Champions were in action on SmackDown as The Usos would team with Naomi to face The Miz, Damien Mizdow, & Alicia Fox in a 6-Person Mixed Tag Match. In the end, it was The Miz shoving Damien Mizdow in the way of a super kick from Jimmy Uso before Miz hits the Skull Crushing Finale, pinning Jimmy to pick up the win for his team.
After Seth Rollins delivered a Curb Stomp to both John Cena and his client, WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman makes an appearance on SmackDown. Heyman says that Brock Lesnar does what he wants because he can, saying that Lesnar ended The Undertaker’s streak because he “felt like it” and Brock took the title away from John Cena because he wanted it. Heyman continues, saying that Lesnar is “pissed off” and, now, Lesnar has a “purpose” and that purpose is to get his hands on Seth Rollins and F-5 the “future” into the “past”. Heyman is then interrupted by the arrival of “Mr. Money-in-the-Bank” Seth Rollins, with J&J Security in tow, who confronts Paul Heyman in the ring. Rollins says that he is sick and tired of everyone having to walk on “egg shells” to avoid angering Brock Lesnar and he is tired of people accusing him of “hiding behind” The Authority and J&J Security. Rollins then tells Heyman that he is “not afraid” of Brock Lesnar, saying that he is so “sick of it” that he is cashing in his Money-in-the-Bank contract tonight, proposing that he challenge Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship right now! However, that plan is quickly derailed once Paul Heyman informs Rollins that Brock Lesnar is not there tonight. Rollins then says that, if he can’t Curb Stomp Brock Lesnar, then he is going to Curb Stomp Heyman!
Backed into a corner, Paul Heyman says that everyone says that they are going to beat him up, asking if Seth Rollins thinks that will prove that he is “tough”. However, Seth Rollins says that it isn’t about being “tough”, it’s about being “smart” because, if he takes Heyman out, he’s taking out Brock Lesnar’s “biggest asset”. Rollins continues, saying that, without Heyman, Lesnar will be left with “all brawn and no brains” and he will “run circles” around Lesnar. Rollins then says that John Cena is not a threat to him before saying that he is going to Curb Stomp Lesnar for a third time at the Royal Rumble and become the new champion, telling Heyman to give him a good reason not to Curb Stomp him. Heyman says that The Authority has been removed from power before and they can be removed from power again, saying that ever since he returned to WWE, he has been “gaining power”. Heyman explains that, when Brock Lesnar ended The Undertaker’s streak at WrestleMania, he gained power and, when Lesnar took the title away from John Cena, he gained power. Heyman continues, saying that Brock Lesnar has a “death grip” on the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and he can “control” the championship for as long as he wants or he can “protect” the new champion when Heyman decides that the “future is now”. With that proposition, Paul Heyman exits the ring, leaving Seth Rollins with something to think about.
With Paige in her corner, Natalya would face Divas Champion Nikki Bella, with Brie Bella in her corner, in a non-title match. During the match, Brie Bella would get on the ring apron, distracting Natalya, but the distraction would backfire as, with the referee’s attention also on Brie, Paige would deliver a slap across the face to Nikki Bella. This would allow Natalya to take advantage, locking in the Sharpshooter, making Nikki tap out to pick up the win over the Divas Champion.
Following an upset victory over the Intercontinental Champion on last week’s SmackDown, Sin Cara would get the chance to surprise the world again as the masked high-flyer would challenge Bad News Barrett for the Intercontinental Championship. Sin Cara would more than hold his own against Bad News Barrett, twice avoiding the Bull Hammer Elbow, but when Sin Cara takes to the air, Barrett catches the high-flyer in mid-air with the Bull Hammer Elbow, pinning Sin Cara for the win to successfully retain the Intercontinental Title.
Then it was time for the main event as, ten nights before he joins John Cena and champion Brock Lesnar in a Triple Threat Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at the Royal Rumble, “Mr. Money-in-the-Bank” Seth Rollins, with J&J Security in his corner, would team up with the two newest entrants into the 30-Man Royal Rumble Match, Kane and Big Show, to face the team of three other Rumble Match participants, Daniel Bryan, Dean Ambrose, & Roman Reigns, in a 6-Man Tag Match. During the chaotic match, the hatred between Roman Reigns and Big Show would boil over as Roman tackles Big Show over the announce table while Dean Ambrose comes off of the top rope, taking Seth Rollins and J&J Security out on the outside. With only Daniel Bryan and Kane left on their feet, Bryan would charge at Kane, connecting with the running knee to the face of Kane, pinning Kane to pick up the win for his team. After the match, Triple H comes out to the stage, saying that he thinks that Kane deserves a rematch on next week’s SmackDown, adding that, if Bryan loses next week, he will lose his spot in the Royal Rumble Match! This announcement leaves Daniel Bryan with a look of determination on his face while Kane smiles from ear-to-ear with the thought of possibly crushing Daniel Bryan’s dreams.
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