The Thursday return of Smackdown was being billed as a pretty big episode. Right off the bat, we have a new intro video and a new logo. Byron Saxon introduces Daniel Bryan, who is making his in ring return tonight. Seeing Bryan in wrestling gear again is a beautiful thing because I honestly didn't know if I'd ever see it again. Bryan pumps up the crowd until the Authority interrupts. So it looks like the show will open with Bryan vs. Kane .I smell shenanigans. Kane is a good choice for Bryan's return opponent as he's a safe worker and they have good chemistry, but I couldn't help but cringe every single time Bryan would land on his neck. It goes for about thirteen minutes and was solid, but hen Bryan attempts the Yes Lock, the Authority break it up, resulting in the disqualification. Bryan fights them off and escapes but is cornered atop the ramp until Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns step out with him. It wouldn't be Smackdown without a tag team main event PLAYA, so Triple H makes a six man tag main event for tonight. Bryan, Reigns and Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins, Big Show and Kane. Fun start.
After Macho Man's Hall of Fame video, we move to another six person tag. The Usos and Naomi took on The Miz, Damien Mizdow and Alicia Fox. Literally, the only reason Alicia is involved is because she is on Total Divas and Naomi isn't anymore. Blah. We are also told that we'll see Usos vs. Miz and Mizdow for the 400th time at the Royal Rumble with the titles on the line. It's super annoying that Michael Cole hates on Miz now when he used to have a constant boner for him. The Skull Crushing Finale leads to a win for Miz. Renee Young interviews Roman Reigns and it's not that bad actually. Next, Paul Heyman appears, which is rare for Smackdown. He actually says that he's kind of scared because Brock Lesnar wants to hurt Seth Rollins and that may mess with his mindset. Seth Rollins comes out and steals the show by claiming that he's not afraid of Brock. He wants to cash in tonight, but of course, Brock isn't there. He threatens to Curb Stomp Heyman to take out Brock's greatest asset. Heyman tries to convince Seth to not kill him by telling him that the Authority could end up gone again and he has some power. Seth contemplates it and exits. Intense stuff and Seth Rollins continues to grow on the microphone every single week.
After a Total Divas promo, we go to a Divas match. Nikki Bella and her stupid sister Brie come out for a match. It will be Nikki vs. Natalya, who has Paige at ringside with her. This is interesting since Paige lost to Brie on Raw and blamed it on Tyson Kidd before slapping him. I guess Nattie is cool with this. The match was kept rather short and a well placed slap from Paige allowed Nattie to lock on the Sharpshooter and force Nikki to tap out. I didn't mind this but I have no clue where this is all going and I don't think the writers do either. It's like their only goal is to get the Total Divas cast on television. Can we just put the belt back on Paige? Backstage, Renee Young interviewed Big Show about the Royal Rumble. Show claims that he will win because no man can throw him over the top rope. Seriously Show? Did Cesaro not totally carry your big ass over the top rope like you were a cruiserweight at WrestleMania?
Wade Barrett defended his Intercontinental Title against Sin Cara next. If you recall, last week Sin Cara of all people beat Barrett cleanly just days after he won his fifth IC Title. Bad News Barrett would right that ship tonight, retaining his gold in about three minutes. Sin Cara springboarded into the Bull Hammer and I really hope this is over. Barrett needs a good face to feud so we can have a fun IC Title feud. Barrett/Swagger would be cool and different. As we move into the main event, part of me nearly shed a tear seeing Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins in a six man tag main event. As much as I love solo heel Seth, I do miss the Shield. All six of these guys know what they're doing and this was a damn good main event. It was given nearly twenty minutes and was pretty much non-stop fun. It ended in the best possibly way too as Bryan hit the big running knee on Kane and got the three. After the match, Triple H was obviously not happy and announced that next week on Smackdown, Kane will face Bryan again and Bryan's spot in the Royal Rumble is on the line.
So it looks like the WWE wanted to make sure that the first Thursday Smackdown in over a decade would be a good one and they did well in that aspect. Granted this wasn't must see television or anything, but we had a big main event, the return of Daniel Bryan and an excellent Seth Rollins promo. Hopefully, Smackdown stays relevant. 7.5/10.