The final WWE SmackDown Live of 2016 was a fantastic show featuring a pay-per-view-quality headliner for the WWE Championship and the announcement of a huge Royal Rumble main event.
There were numerous winners and a loser or two, but above all, there were moments that will help shape the immediate future of the blue brand.
Which of your favorite Superstars ended up on which side of the argument? Who had career nights, and who stumbled as 2017 approaches?
|More Winners and Losers from Dec. 27 SmackDown|
|Superstar||Winner or Loser||Why?|
|Alexa Bliss||Winner||The sickening, graphic visual of Bliss' arm, bent backward before being popped back in place by the SmackDown women's champion, was both lasting and legitimizing.|
|American Alpha||Winner||The former NXT duo realized its potential by knocking off The Wyatt Family's Randy Orton and Luke Harper to win the SmackDown Tag Team Championships.|
|The Miz||Winner||At his egotistical best, The Miz forced his way into an interview with Renee Young and condescendingly spoke down to her before taking a brief but entertaining beatdown from Dean Ambrose.|
Biggest Winner: Baron Corbin
AJ Styles and Dolph Ziggler are among the best wrestlers in WWE, so there was no question they would bring everything they had to ensure the final main event of 2016 was an extraordinary, dramatic affair that kept the fans in Chicago on the edges of their seats.
The wild card was the third wheel, Baron Corbin.
How would he perform in the biggest match of his career?
He answered that question in spectacular fashion, bumping around the squared circle for both Ziggler and Styles while filling the role of unstoppable force. Corbin was booked so well that it took the two babyfaces together to neutralize him, and even then, he landed an End of Days that flattened The Showoff and allowed Styles to secure the victory.
On a night when plenty of questions surrounded The Lone Wolf's ability to perform up to the level of his opponents, he exceeded all expectations and created a buzz for himself as 2017 arrives and WWE Creative begins contemplating the matches that will have the greatest significance at WrestleMania 33.
Biggest Loser: Heath Slater
Three months ago, Heath Slater was the biggest breakout star on SmackDown Live—a Superstar whose underrated ability to entertain had finally paid off in the biggest push of his career. He was a central figure of the blue brand and one of the biggest revelations of the brand extension.
A tag team title reign should have brought him increased exposure, but instead, his team with Rhyno languished in the midcard, and the duo disappeared from television. Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt dominated and outclassed them in both the initial and follow-up matches, and the result was the complete and utter obliteration of the push.
On Tuesday night, Slater was the first man pinned in the Fatal 4-Way Elimination Tag Team Championship match. He was an afterthought among the more favorable Usos, American Alpha and The Wyatt Family.
Slater, once the biggest surprise of the brand extension, is back to playing the role of fool.