This week on SmackDown (12/27/2016), there are 3 championship matches in addition to the return of John Cena! Check out our thoughts inside.

John Cena

John Cena returns with a huge Royal Rumble challenge: SmackDown LIVE Wild Card Finals, Dec. 27, 2016

John Cena is one of those guys that you don’t really miss until he is gone. Joh has been off of TV for the last few months and finally made his return on SmackDown. He seemed to have a chip on his shoulder talking about how everyone says he has one foot out the door to Hollywood. He also cleared up recent rumours that he was angry with WWE saying that he loves where he works and who he works for. It was basically what you’d expect from John. He was up front and honest. John even mentioned o Talking Smack that even if he does take 3 months off here and there to do a movie or something, he’s always coming back. 

The other focus of John’s return was to challenge the winner of the WWE Championship match that evening to a match at the Royal Rumble for the title. Cena is one win away from tying Ric Flair’s record for World Championships and I fully expect him to tie and pass him in 2017. WWE loves to break records, even the “unbreakable” ones. I’m really looking forward to seeing Cena back, his matches with AJ Styles were classics and their match at the Rumble will almost certainly be one as well.

For all the bad things you can say about John, he brings some instant star power to a brand craving main event stars. This will be a really good thing for the SmackDown brand coming into Wrestlemania season.

American Alpha

Four Corners Elimination SmackDown Tag Team Title Match: SmackDown LIVE Wild Card Finals, Dec. 27

The surprise of the night goes to American Alpha as the talented duo won the SmackDown Tag Team Championships over The Wyatt Family. It came down to both these two teams when American Alpha hit Grand Amplitude out of seemingly nowhere to capture the titles. It was a crazy, unexpected moment that the Chicago crowd really ate up.

I’m really happy that they finally decided to put the titles on Jordan and Gable. These two guys have been and continue to be far and away the best tag team on SmackDown and it was a huge statement for them to defeat The Wyatts who were considered to be a dominant team coming in. I’ve followed these guys since they first started teaming and they’ve only gotten better with time, they deserve a good long run with the titles.

It looks like there could be some dissension there with Orton and Harper being at odds after the match. Regardless of that, American Alpha are the new SmackDown Tag Team Champions!

Alexa Bliss

Alexa Bliss vs. Becky Lynch - Women's Title Match: SmackDown LIVE Wild Card Finals, Dec. 27, 2016

Alexa Bliss came into this rematch for the SmackDown Women’s Championship with very little momentum after losing to Becky Lynch under a luchador mask last week. In true heel fashion, Alexa had a few tricks up her sleeve. The first trick was using the fact that she’s double-jointed to make it look like Becky had severely injured her arm. The second trick was to have someone else under the La Luchadora character come out to blast Becky while Alexa was faking the arm injury. The whole sequence of events was incredibly underhanded. Alexa would retain the title with a DDT.

I love that with Alexa, she has the skill to win much like Charlotte, but she’ll retain her title by any means necessary. That begs the question, who is La Luchadora now? I’m zeroing in on two possible people: Tamina or Mickie James. It would make more sense for it to be Tamina, but Mickie could thrive in that role too. Mickie signed a new contract and has been rumoured to start on SmackDown in January. The timeline matches up. I’d put my money on Tamina, but we’ll see.

The Miz/Dean Ambrose

Dean Ambrose executes a sneak attacks on The Miz: SmackDown LIVE Wild Card Finals, Dec. 27, 2016

The Miz and Dean Ambrose furthered their feud backstage with Miz claiming he wouldn’t take an interview from anyone but the unprofessional Renee Young (who slapped him last week). Renee did end up coming to interview him shortly before Dean Ambrose attacked wearing a security shirt. After taking out Miz’s entire security team, he gave the all clear over their walkie talkies in a comical moment.

I feel like this can be a great Intercontinental Championship feud. These two will face off next week for the title and I can definitely see it lasting at least another month or two. Both men couldn’t be more different and I think that’s something that makes a feud compelling.

AJ Styles

Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin vs. AJ Styles- WWE Title Triple Threat Match: SmackDown LIVE, Dec. 27

In what wasn’t much of a surprise, AJ Styles retained his WWE Championship against Dolph Ziggler and Baron Corbin. Corbin hit Ziggler with End of Days, Styles hit Corbin with a Phenomenal Forear, and then he pinned Ziggler to retain. Styles and Cena then faced off at the end of the show. Thos two will battle for the the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble.

What a year for AJ! I remember watching AJ in TNA for so many years and wishing that he would get a chance in WWE. I remember hearing how WWE had no interest every time his contract came up or TNA would give him what he wanted and he’d resign. I knew he’d be an instant star in WWE and that’s exactly what happened. Talent and personality supersedes everything and AJ has all of that covered. He’s at a level he’s never been before and he’s thriving. I truly think he is the top guy in WWE right now, he can work with anyone and make it great.

I am concerned that AJ is going to lose that title at the Rumble. Cena has a history of losing the first few matches only to win the last match (or two) in the feud. I just feel like everything AJ has accomplished will be diminished if John rolls in and beats AJ after a 3 month layoff. 

Quick Notes

Why Carmella finds James Ellsworth so appealing: SmackDown LIVE Wild Card Finals, Dec. 27, 2016

Carmella walked off with James Ellsworth after calling him attractive. This can’t end well. She could do so much more than this random…whatever this is going to be.


This was a fantastic SmackDown. I know I praise SD and bury Raw every week, but that’s really just how it goes these days. 3 championship matches and a huge return definitely had me glued to the TV for the full two hours. Raw…not so much. The B-show is starting to become the A-show.



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