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Photo Credit: fandom.logos.com | wwe.com

SmackDown Sampler-Previewing 10 January Episode

Hello AW Universe,

Tonight, the first Friday Night SmackDown 2020 emanates from the Ford Center Evansville from… well, Evansville, Indiana. A couple matches have already been announced, and the return of a fantastic talent.

Lacey Evans and Sasha Banks (and SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley) have been going at each other on the mic and through promos for weeks, and tonight they’ll finally square off in the ring. It’s good to see Evans finally getting a shot, and a push as just a legitimate competitor who’s backstory that she’s both a mother and former marine, meaning that it might be time to drop the 80s-era “Sassy Southern Belle” pin-up girl gimmick, and just push her as a fierce wrestler.

The Usos also return to action for the first time since their unsuccessful attempt to claim the Raw Tag Team Championship from The Revival at Extreme Rules in July. The two haven’t been seen on television since Jimmy Uso’s DUI arrest on 25 July, so it’s positive is that he’s cleaned up enough to get his career back on track. They returned last week to make the save on Roman Reigns, so they’ll face off against King Corbin & Dolph Ziggler, immediately shooting them back into a main event spotlight.

But the biggest moment of the night will be the long-awaited return of John Morrison, aka Johnny Impact, aka Johnny Nitro, aka Johnny Mundo, aka Johnny… anyway, he’ll be a guest on Miz TV, likely explaining what his role will be both back in WWE and with The Miz. The two were tag team partners nearly thirteen years ago, co-host the very popular streaming shoe The Dirt Sheet, and capturing the WWE Tag Team Championship from Matt Hardy & MVP in November 2007– dropping them to Curt Hawkins & Zack Ryder at The Great American Bash in July 2008– and also defeated CM Punk & Kofi Kingston for the World Tag Team Championship at a WWE live event on 13 December 2008. They were eventually broken up at the WWE Draft in April 2009, where The Miz was drafted to Raw while Morrison remained on Smackdown!, at which point The Miz attacked him.

During his initial WWE run, Morrison had one ECW World Championship reign, three Intercontinental Championship reigns, and another three WWE Tag Team Championship reigns with Joey Mercury. After his departure from WWE in late 2011, he had top title runs in both Impact Wrestling and Lucha Underground, becoming the second Triple Crown champion in the latter promotion.

There’s a feeling that the Morrison’s return was botched by announcing it on WWE Backstage rather than having the surprise return pop, but fact that he’s back nonetheless is great. Is his return a signal that The Miz is turning heel again, and that The Dirt Sheet might be making a return? We’ll find out tonight on Friday Night SmackDown, live on FOX at 8pm EST.