As promised, here are the four Smackdown Superstars I'm keeping my eye on as we move into the new year:
Flourishing in the second half of 2010 as the leader of The Nexus, it appeared a Wade Barrett title reign in 2011 was inevitable. However, mediocre in-ring work and a change of direction in creative plans, and Barrett found himself struggling to remain relevant. Barrett has once again found favor in the locker room and is on his way to being built back up in a program with Randy Orton. Will it stick?
Going over for the WWE Intercontinental Championship in August is only the beginning for the superstar that went from dashing to demented. Like the aforementioned Barrett, Rhodes seemed ready for the big time after an incredible opportunity in a main event faction, however, he drifted back down the ladder into irrelevancy. Finally Rhodes got a gimmick that clicked and seems destined to become a main event talent in 2012.
He's probably the best in-ring worker in the world yet we're still questioning whether or not WWE has confidence in Daniel Bryan as a viable World Heavyweight Champion. Did WWE strap him out of confidence or convenience? We'll find out soon enough.
Coming off the biggest push of his 15-year career, will The World's Strongest Man remain "the guy" on Smackdown or will he fall back to the mid-card and quietly retire? WWE showed him a huge vow of confidence in having him destroy Big Show and Kane, however, they killed it in one of the worst matches of the year.