Monday, December 5, 2016

The Smackdown Top 10

It has been far too long since The Wrestling Weekday last ran down the top ten stars of any promotion. But with WWE split into three distinctive brands, it seems apt to focus on the Smackdown Live brand in the aftermath of Sunday's TLC pay-per-view. So let's take a look at the ten big winners for the brand coming out of the show.

Just a reminder about the numbers at the end of each entry. The first number is the wrestler's rank from the last list. The second is the number of months they have been ranked on the list.

Image credit: 
  1. American Alpha: Jason Jordan and Chad Gable have become the kings of the pre-show for WWE in recent months, but on television, they continue to score some great looking wins. Probably the crispest team on the roster, both men are great all arounders with huge futures as a team or in singles competition. They've clearly been kept away from the tag titles for the last several months, but one should strongly suspect a huge push for the team heading into Wrestlemania season. (6/4)
  2. Baron Corbin: Corbin needs better quality of foes if he is ever going to hope to succeed on WWE's main roster. But he faces a major dilemma in Smackdown's complete lack of depth on the midcard level. His feud with Kalisto now done (hopefully), he can perhaps move on to the former tag champions, as Heath Slater and his old foe Rhyno both seem like great foes for him in the months ahead. (U/1)
  3. Dean Ambrose: I'm not sure if anyone came out of TLC looking as bad as Ambrose. He put up a valiant effort, almost got the win, but still came up short against AJ, this time because of the betrayal of a man that he helped bring into the company. A feud with Ellsworth seems nonsensical, but he might be able to do something interesting if someone like Dolph Ziggler would align with Ellsworth against him. (2/11)
  4. Dolph Ziggler: Sure, he didn't regain the Intercontinental title. But Dolph looks strongly poised to move into a higher position yet on the card. He could easily be the next opponent for AJ Styles or he could continue his short feud with Ambrose from earlier in the year. But it seems clear he's a key player in the future of Smackdown Live. (10/2)
  5. WWE Super Card: The promotions for the game were integrated right into the programming. The game often seemed ignored in the push of the 2k series of games, but the free mobile game is literally one of the most addictive things ever and a blast to play. Good for WWE and company for making the game feel like a true part of the WWE Universe. (U/1)
  6. James Ellsworth: I am still not sure how a chinless jobber has become pivotal to Smackdown storylines yet here we are. He's played a huge role on TV in recent weeks and his apparent heel turn at TLC poises him to be a huge part of Dean Ambrose's continuing saga. (U/1)
  7. Alexa Bliss: If there's one talent that has came into her own best on the main roster since their recent NXT days, it is Alexa Bliss. While never dominant in the NXT women's division, she has been a spitfire in her quest for the Smackdown Women's Title. She picked up the title in a tables match, a convenient stipulation often used for heels to steal a title from a face. Her feud with Becky seems to be far from over, but whether she can maintain the title will show where she stands in the future firmament of Smackdown Live. (10/2)
  8. The Wyatt Family: I have absolutely no idea where WWE is going with Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton as a unit, but having the evil influence of Wyatt finally sway a foe does amazing things to cement his importance to the brand. Randy Orton continues to put on some of the best matches of his career while also having a unique direction of his own right now. And while Luke Harper didn't get to be a part of the tag champions, he still is the hossiest hoss in WWE. (U/1)
  9. The Miz: He put on a hell of a match with Dolph Ziggler, but it might be his continued battle with Daniel Bryan on Talking Smack that might make him one of the true icons in the future of wrestling. Much like Corbin, he's left with little competition with Ziggler out of the way, but he seems poised to have a big Wrestlemania moment as a match between him and Daniel Bryan looks incredibly likely. (U/1)
  10. AJ Styles: Eleven months ago, he was in the semi-main event at the Tokyo Dome in New Japan. Now he seems like the most dominant star in WWE today. "The Champ That Runs the Camp" seems almost unbeatable on the WWE roster. So unbeatable that he seems destined for a huge match at Royal Rumble or Wrestlemania. Sure, John Cena could return to feud with him before either event, but with both Undertaker and Shawn Michaels looming in the rumors, AJ Styles could be on his way to his biggest match ever. (U/1)
Image credit: NJPW.
Agree with my list? Disagree? Let me know who your choices would be in the comments section below or on social media. 

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