2016 was a banner year for WWE SmackDown regarding in-ring storytelling. The arrival of AJ Styles on the blue brand only added to its star power. Plus, the overarching presence of stars such as John Cena and Randy Orton made SmackDown must-see in 2016.
These stars delivered numerous classics on WWE SmackDown for fans to enjoy. The return of WWE Draft also enabled the blue brand to enjoy a competitive rivalry with Raw in 2016.
With that being said, let’s dive right into the best WWE SmackDown matches of 2016:
American Alpha vs. Heath Slater & Rhyno vs. The Usos vs. Randy Orton & Luke Harper (SmackDown Tag Team Title Fatal Four Way Tag Team Elimination — December 27)
American Alpha looked to repeat their success in NXT’s tag team division on WWE SmackDown. Chad Gable and Jason Jordan found that opportunity in this tag team elimination match.
The match was action-packed from start to finish. All four teams displayed some tremendous work inside the ring. The crowning moment finally came for American Alpha when they eliminated Harper and Orton to win the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship.
AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho (February 11)
AJ Styles made his iconic WWE debut at the 2016 Royal Rumble. The Phenomenal One quickly entered into a feud with Chris Jericho. The pair had a couple of great matches on pay-per-view events and free television.
The best match, arguably, between the two legends of the business came on WWE SmackDown in February 2016. Even though Styles lost the match, he’d come to claim the blue brand as his home a few months later.
John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio (WWE SmackDown — August 16)
John Cena and Alberto Del Rio have always had great chemistry. Del Rio is one of the few stars who’ve managed to bring out the best in Cena on multiple occasions. They have wrestled each other countless times in WWE.
One of their better outings came on the final WWE SmackDown before SummerSlam 2016. The match featured plenty of great exchanges. Cena’s SummerSlam opponent, AJ Styles, was on commentary for this match.
Cena countered a submission into a powerbomb in the closing moments of the match. He then delivered his patented Attitude Adjustment on Del Rio to claim the win, but not before a Phenomenal Forearm put him away.
Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz (Intercontinental Title Match — November 15)
The Miz and Dolph Ziggler had an excellent feud over the Intercontinental Championship in 2016. Their feud restored the prestige of the workman’s championship and resulted in one of the best matches in WWE No Mercy history.
The pair met for the title on the 900th episode of WWE SmackDown. This was another brilliant outing between two opponents who’d known each other for years. In the end, Miz picked up the win with a little assistance from his wife, Maryse.
AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler (WWE Championship Match — December 27)
AJ Styles capped off 2016 with a convincing performance. The Phenomenal One put his WWE Championship on the line in a triple-threat match. His opponents were bona fide competitors in Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler.
All three men put on an incredible match on the last WWE SmackDown of 2016. Corbin was every bit as a dominant monster, who even forced Styles and Ziggler to team up for a brief moment.
The table spot looked brilliant. The End of Day-Zig Zag combo popped a huge reaction from the crowd. In the end, the champion used his veteran instincts to turn the outcome in his favor.
Also read: Best WWE SmackDown Matches Of 2017