Friday's WWE SmackDown offers one last flash of the spotlight before Survivor Series 2013.
Atlanta, Ga., hosts the go-home show before that event, one that will allow teammates to gel and enemies to get some early swipes at each other. "The Big Guy" gets another massive opponent while the main event features both a familiar face and a new, unsettling one.
What hints will WWE toss out to the audience about the upcoming pay-per-view? What will the company do with its last opportunity to sell fans on ordering that event?
The following is a look at the matches set for Friday's show with the results omitted.
Cody Rhodes and Goldust vs. The Real Americans
Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro get a shot at the tag team titles. Rhodes and Goldust won't have to defend those belts at Survivor Series, so a win here means we may see the brothers stay champions until at least TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs 2013.
The Real Americans have quickly gone from a joke team, tangling with Tons of Funk and other comic-relief duos, to championship contenders.
Win or lose, the challengers meet Rhodes and Goldust at Survivor Series in an elimination bout that looks to be of the show-stealing variety.
Great Khali vs. Ryback
After lifting up, but ultimately losing to Big Show on Monday's Raw, Ryback is asked to battle another giant.
Ryback has beaten Khali before, but rumors are swirling around that "The Big Guy" is in the company doghouse, per F4WOnline (h/t WrestlingInc.com), have folks wondering if he's set to start a losing streak or get involved in a sustained storyline of some sort.
Khali defeated both Hunico and Camacho on last week's SmackDown. Even with fewer foes, Ryback's power will make it a difficult night for "The Punjabi Playboy," regardless of the outcome.
Big E. Langston and Dolph Ziggler vs. Damien Sandow and Curtis Axel
Langston will walk into the arena a few pounds heavier thanks to winning the Intercontinental Championship from Axel. Those two go at it again at Survivor Series, but will first do battle in a tag team match.
Ziggler and Sandow have had their issues as of late as well. Their last meeting ended with Sandow stuffed into a drum like something out of a Bugs Bunny cartoon.
Sandow will be glad to not have to deal with musical instruments, just Ziggler and Langston, two men who hated each other not too long ago. Face turns ease wounds, though, apparently.
3MB vs. The Prime Time Players
No longer are the trio known as 3MB just WWE's jobbers. They scored a rare victory on last week's Main Event, beating the very team they face on Friday's SmackDown.
Will Drew McIntyre and company pin another loss on the once-hot Prime Time Players? After dressing up as "The Union Jacks" and "The Rhinestone Cowboys," will 3MB be up for another costume change?
This element of their gimmick makes them a lot more interesting, as does getting the occasional win.
Rey Mysterio and The Usos vs. The Shield
To prep for their elimination bout at Survivor Series, The Usos will team with Mysterio against a team with the best chemistry in the company.
Mysterio made a surprise return on Monday's Raw and now join The Usos against Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins.
The Shield and The Usos have had some exciting matches together. Adding Mysterio to the mix could lead to added excellence.
The Funkadactyls vs. AJ Lee
AJ has to face two opponents: Naomi and Cameron. Were she facing them one at a time, the Divas champ would certainly be the favorite. In a handicap match, even with Tamina Snuka in her corner, she stands a real chance of losing and possibly getting banged up before Survivor Series.
AJ claimed to have an injured ankle on Wednesday's Main Event. Will that be healed or revealed to be a bit of trickery on her part?
Either way, animosity is set to pick up before the 14-Diva elimination bout scheduled for Sunday's pay-per-view.
Luke Harper vs. Daniel Bryan
Half of the men involved in the marquee tag match at Survivor Series go to work on Friday.
Will Punk get involved to help even the odds against Erick Rowan and Bray Wyatt, who are sure to be circling the ring like hyenas? Bryan will have enough trouble with just Harper.
The big man will tower over him, looking to overpower the speedy submission specialist. Harper has put on a number of impressive showings, and Bryan is famous for getting a guy's best match out of him.
That spells potential for a great match to end the episode, building toward the tag match set for Sunday.
There are opportunities aplenty for WWE to boost interest in its latest pay-per-view, from this main event down to Langston's tag match against Axel and Sandow. Rising stars are certainly getting to feel the heat of the spotlight. Harper, Langston and Cesaro will look to pounce on that chance on Friday and at Survivor Series.
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