clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

WWE SmackDown Live preview (Dec. 27, 2016): The Nice List

How do you have Finals to something that didn’t have preliminaries or rounds? Who cares when a show is this loaded!

SmackDown fills the time between TLC and Royal Rumble with a pay-per-view (PPV) worthy show in Chicago - it’s the Wild Card Finals!

Tempted to just link y’all to my boss’ “slow news day” preview from last Friday, but I wouldn’t do that to you... even if nothing new’s been announced since then.

The Headliners

Sure, all but one of the blue brand’s belts will be on the line, but we haven’t seen John Cena in a while (he’s been off filming American Grit, among other things). And more importantly, as you can tell from that promo video, WWE has actually done a really good job of making us miss him.

That’s largely because they’ve created some intrigue about what he’s back to accomplish. After he left his wristband in the ring at SummerSlam, he was pinned again by AJ Styles at No Mercy, and then...

The white whale for many wrestling fans, a Cena heel turn, probably isn’t in the cards. But for the first time in forever, I wouldn’t 100% rule it out. He’s probably coming for Styles’ belt - provided he survives his Triple Threat against Dolph Ziggler and Baron Corbin tonight - but is that all?

Cena’s exchanged heated worked-shoot promos with Dean Ambrose via Talking Smack. And even if we haven’t seen him since, Undertaker did say he was back. Could a showdown between the Doctor of Thuganomics and the Dean Man be in the cards for WrestleMania 33?

We probably won’t get all the answers in Chicago, but we’ll likely have a better idea of what questions to ask after tonight’s show.

Most importantly, we’re actually curious.

The Title Scene

Corbin & Ziggler were facing off in the main event last week to decide who would be the official #1 contender to AJ’s WWE World title, but after both men kicked out of the other’s finisher, the champ who runs the camp got involved and things devolved. General Manager Daniel Bryan put both guys in the championship match, which leaves Styles without an advantage. But he’s on a roll after destroying James Ellsworth last week, so at least momentum’s on his side, right?

It looked like SmackDown had their next pairs challengers in place, but news of Zack Ryder’s knee injury threw those plans - and Hype Bros hopes - out the window. After a couple ideas were floated and scrapped, tag team champions The Wyatts will defend in a Four Corners Elimination match against old rivals American Alpha, previous titleholders (and bickering partners) Heath Slater & Rhyno and the Usos!

Becky Lynch has been going to extremes to get her hands on Women’s titleholder Alexa Bliss - including donning a full body suit and luchador’s mask last Tuesday. Tonight, she gets her chance to reclaim the belt she lost without being pinned or submitted. The Wicked Witch of SmackDown will have to do more than just put the Lasskicker through a table this time, but don’t expect Little Miss Bliss to give up her precious without a fight.

The Intercontinental title is not being contested tonight (that we know of), but even with a successful defense against Apollo Crews in the books, Miz didn’t escape last week unscathed. That’s because his verbal low blow to Renee Young not only got him a slap in the face, it made him even more of a target for Young’s beau, the unhinged Dean Ambrose.

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- Natalya is tired of taking a backseat to her Total Divas co-stars, and that’s why she attacked Nikki Bella at Survivor Series. The Queen of Harts is also pissed at Carmella for ratting her out.

- They may not be the focus of feuds right now, but Carm and Ellsworth might be teaming up to cause trouble. Once the Chinless Wonder heals up, of course.

- Dean’s no doubt gunning for Miz, but he also may still have issues with Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton and especially Luke Harper, seeing as how the group rekindled an old rivalry and laid him out after he beat Luke on the 20th.

- Another X-factor for the IC title scene, Maryse isn’t thrilled Renee laid hands on her man.

- His partner may be on the shelf, but Mojo is trying to keep the hype train rolling. He started last week with a win over another former Ryder tag partner Curt Hawkins.

Five weeks until Royal Rumble!

What will you be looking for on SmackDown Live tonight?

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats