WWE’s annual Winter holiday show in New York City is just around the corner, as the SmackDown Live crew will hit historic Madison Square Garden on Dec. 26, 2016. The blue brand gets the nod (1) because it’s a Monday, so Raw will be broadcasting from Chicago the day after Christmas and (2) so they can advertise John Cena as headlining in Manhattan.
This will be the first time we’ll be able to see Cena (pun semi-intended) for a while, as he’s been off filming season two of American Grit for Fox. As you card listed below illustrates, he’ll be picking up right where he left off... feuding with AJ Styles and Dean Ambrose in the World title scene.
- AJ Styles vs. John Cena vs. Dean Ambrose for the WWE World championship
- The Wyatts (Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton & Luke Harper) vs. American Alpha & Kane
- Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz in a steel cage match for the Intercontinental title
- Rhyno & Heath Slater vs. The Usos vs. Breezango for the SmackDown tag titles
- Becky Lynch vs. Carmella vs. Naomi vs. Nikki Bella vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Natalya for the SmackDown Women’s championship
- Kalisto vs. Baron Corbin
- Apollo Crews & Jack Swagger & The Hype Bros vs. The Ascension & The Vaudevillains
House shows aren’t a blueprint for what we’ll be seeing on television Tuesday nights after this weekend’s TLC pay-per-view (PPV), but especially during this time of year when audiences’ attention is focused on the holidays and Creative is already looking to Royal Rumble & the start of the road to WrestleMania, what we see on USA Network probably won’t stray too far from the storylines we can guess at here.
WrestlingInc points out WWE title matches between Styles and Ambrose remain a staple of SmackDown house shows throughout December, and the MSG Triple Threat is repeated on cards in January. The Intercontinental championship picture likewise looks like it will remain pretty much the same two-man tale it’s been for a while.
The women’s match is standard house show fare, and probably doesn’t tell us much. But it’s interesting how TLC’s tag challengers aren’t in the title match on this card... perhaps Chad Gable & Jason Jordan get involved at the PPV to continue their issues with the Wyatts away from the belts? Perhaps because Orton is said to be off house shows for most of the month of December (again, per WrestlingInc)?
And pairing Crews & Swagger is a heck of an idea.
“Card subject to change” always applies, of course, but the MSG line-up allows us to make slightly-more-educated-than-normal guesses about SmackDown’s future plans.
What jumps out at you, Cagesiders?