Sunday, October 9, 2016
I appreciated the finish to their match on Smackdown. It got Jack Swagger a win, but allowed Baron Corbin to stay strong. I don't think the company has big plans for Swagger, so I get the sense Corbin wins here. It is strange that they seem to like Corbin but continually stick him on the pre-show.
Winner: Baron Corbin
One could argue that the talent of the Raw women's division is superior to the Smackdown brand. However, Smackdown has handled their women way better. They all feel relatively important and pretty equal. The Carmella/Nikki Bella feud has saved Carmella. Without Enzo and Cass, she was flopping as a babyface. Nikki returning to a positive response allowed for the double switch. The feud has mostly been Carmella attacking Nikki and always staying one step ahead. She's beat her up constantly and pinned her a few times. It's about time for Nikki to get one over on Carmella.
Winner: Nikki Bella
It's just so hard to get into Bray Wyatt feuds. He just beats mid-carders and loses to top stars. Hell, going back to Backlash, he lost to Kane of all people. I give the creative team props because they've made the rivalry somewhat original and interesting. The backstage segments have been different and strange. Bryan's note about Bray Wyatt vanishing and being a magician on Talking Smack was excellent. Bray Wyatt absolutely needs a big win but I don't see it happening. I get the feeling that there's nothing set for him going forward. Meanwhile, I could totally see Randy Orton heading towards a WWE Title program.
Winner: Randy Orton
Heath Slater and Rhyno have been way better than I ever could have imagined. Beauty and the Man-Beast is one of those oddball pairings that just works even though it shouldn't. Heath got the feel good moment at Backlash when they won the titles, he got a Smackdown contract and he was able to move into a double wide. However, that's over. With his contract firmly in place, it's time for Smackdown to move into the real money tag team feud. The Usos vs. American Alpha. They have a built-in angle from the attack by the Usos already. Their new heel work has been really good and the change they needed. Put the titles on the Usos here and have American Alpha beat them down the line.
Winners: The Usos
Again, I have to commend the Smackdown women's division. Within two months, Alexa Bliss has been built up as a credible contender. Nobody on Raw has since Sasha was already one and Bayley has just been in the picture on name value alone. Anyway, this has been another fun program. They've done such a good job of keeping Becky as the underdog despite being champion. Alexa has attacked her, pinned her and ran her down as not being someone fit to be a champion. Like the Carmella/Nikki rivalry, the babyface is in line to finally get one over on the heel. This isn't about Alexa winning the title. It's about Alexa putting on a strong performance in the biggest match of her career. I think she will deliver and Becky will retain.
Winner: Becky Lynch
We've sat through feuds and matches between these two before, but none have even come close to this one. They nearly stole the show at Backlash with their best match ever and had another great one on Smackdown a few weeks later. The added stipulation of Dolph Ziggler's career being on the line is awesome. It makes the Intercontinental Title feel important. The Miz has been fantastic for a long time, but this is truly his best work. Dolph Ziggler was pretty terrible from 2015 until the draft. Even his SummerSlam match with Dean Ambrose severely lacked. This feud has reignited him. I feel that this will be a similar case to Jeff Hardy's final WWE stand. He went out on a high note after a great rivalry with CM Punk. Dolph will do the same. He can go produce for the company and do his stand up or something. The Miz shouldn't lose the title until at least WrestleMania 33.
Winner: The Miz
From a kayfabe standpoint, there is no reason John Cena should be in this match. He lost twice to AJ Styles and then lost to Dean Ambrose. The build for this has been really good. Dean and Cena shooting on each other on Talking Smack were both great and the promo on the go-home Smackdown between the three of them delivered in a big way. AJ and Dean just going off on Cena without letting him speak was perfect. I expect an awesome match. Styles can do no wrong, Ambrose had two great ones with AJ and Cena is one of the best big match performers in wrestling history. Smackdown's booking mostly makes sense so I'm gonna predict the best possible outcome. Styles retains and moves into a feud with Randy Orton, while Cena and Ambrose go into their own rivalry because I just want to see more of their promos together.
Winner: AJ Styles
2016 Prediction Record: 52-28
2015 Prediction Record: 60-35