Superstars will reach for higher rungs on the Dec. 20 episode of WWE SmackDown.
Rising stars look to keep rising. Those without direction seek a path to start running down. Challengers look to prove themselves worthy of championship consideration.
The Divas, tag teams and a midcard champ will all be in action. The typically slow holiday season will have fans' expectations for big surprises and major stories at a minimum.
Still, with all the varied talent involved in this episode, fans can count on some quality wrestling on Friday night.
Without spoiling the results, here is the lineup for the upcoming SmackDown.
Fandango vs. Kofi Kingston
Can Kingston focus on this opponent when he's likely still so fixated on The Miz?
Two speedy athletes clash here in what should be a well-worked match with relatively little significance. Fandango could use a win to push himself into the Intercontinental Championship picture. Kingston needs direction and a fully developed rivalry, neither of which he's likely to get here.
At the very least, Kingston's leaping ability and Summer Rae's legs will make this enjoyable.
Damien Sandow vs. The Miz
Before Sandow plays Bad Santa on next Monday's Raw, he battles The Miz.
It's unclear where WWE is going with Sandow, especially after he failed to win the Intercontinental Championship from Big E Langston at TLC. How he fares against The Miz will be a sign of what's next for him.
Should he dominate the former WWE champ, his career trajectory will be pointed slightly upward. Should he lose to the now perpetual midcarder, it only adds to his list of failures in 2013.
Brodus Clay vs. Tensai
Tons of Funk is no more.
Clay crushed his former partner on Raw, shattering their partnership. A team formed through a feud is now evolving into a feud once again.
Two big men will look to outmuscle each other. Look for how their gimmicks shift throughout this story.
Are both Clay and Tensai going to be leaving behind the dancing life? Will they trade in their ring gear for less tacky tights?
WWE is surely trying to push Clay into a darker role as it posted a video playlist of his most villainous moments.
Sin Cara vs. Drew McIntyre
One third of 3MB gets an opportunity for a solo performance.
Sin Cara defeated Alberto Del Rio on two consecutive episodes of Raw. Since Hunico has taken over the role, he's been booked as a more formidable foe.
Does that continue here or does he slip against Drew McIntyre?
In terms of athletic ability, this has the potential to be one of the very best bouts of the night. Fans won't be expecting that, though, with how uneventful 3MB matches generally are.
Tamina Snuka vs. Brie Bella
Nikki Bella ended Monday's Raw bleeding into a towel thanks to a superkick from Tamina.
Her sister gets a chance for revenge on Friday's SmackDown. AJ Lee and Nikki should be nearby, ready to take a cheap shot in the case of the former and to prevent said cheap shot in the case of the latter.
The Divas division has produced some quality matches as of late. With Brie's recent improvement in the ring and Tamina thriving in her current Diesel-like gimmick, there's a good chance that trend continues.
Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes and Goldust vs. The Wyatt Family
Are we looking at a partial preview of a tag team championship match? Do Luke Harper and Erick Rowan even care about carrying WWE gold?
Rhodes and Goldust will have to rely on their speed and agility advantage to escape the hammer-like strikes these two men will dish out.
Fans will see if the The Wyatt Family are still pursuing Bryan. If he continues to refuse them, the bearded clan may be taking out their frustration on both him and the tag champs.
Regardless, Bray Wyatt and company will enjoy leaving Bryan and the Rhodes brothers bruised and unmoving in the center of the ring.
Big E Langston vs. Jack Swagger
The powerful IC champ teamed with Mark Henry on Monday's Raw to beat The Real Americans. He now gets a chance to show what he can do without Henry at his side.
Swagger is not normally at a disadvantage in the strength department, but is against Langston.
He'll have to rely on his mat wrestling ability to ground him. That's not a sight WWE fans have seen yet though.
Langston has been barreling through his opposition as of late. He looks to keep that going against a former world champ.
John Cena and CM Punk vs. The Shield
With all due respect to the team of Daniel Bryan and CM Punk, this is the true contemporary version of The Mega Powers.
Two of WWE's top stars team up to face a trio that is increasingly beatable. Punk beat them by himself at TLC. The Shield got the next round when it defeated Punk and The Usos on Monday's Raw.
Does the outnumbered team win this time out or are either of these fan favorites destined to experience Roman Reigns' spear?
The talent is present in this bout to have an incredible match. The Shield's history of chaos may get in the way of that though.
As the year nears its end, momentum for 2014 is ready for the taking. Which of the Superstars on SmackDown will be charging forward the hardest?
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