Top Five Rising 'Friday Night Smackdown' Stars of 2011

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"Friday Night Smackdown" continues to improve year by year, and all of this can be attributed to its rising stars. Among established stars such as Randy Orton, Christian, Mark Henry and The Big Show are a collection of rising stars who are becoming main event performers and WWE champions. The following five rising stars will become marquee names in 2012 as they make names and headlines on "Friday Night Smackdown."

Daniel Bryan

Bryan was suspended in 2010 after choking a ring announcer, but he returned at the end of the year and made a huge comeback in 2011. He defeated The Miz for the U.S. Championship and held the title for several months in early 2011. After losing it to Sheamus, Daniel Bryan set his sights higher and won the Money in the Bank "Smackdown" match. Now he holds a guaranteed contract to wrestle for the World Heavyweight Championship at any time. Bryan will eventually win the title and increase his popularity in the WWE.

Ezekiel Jackson

Jackson had a good run at the end of the ECW brand in 2010, but was mostly out of the limelight until 2011. He started the year as a member of Wade Barrett's "The Corre" group. The tension grew between the two wrestlers and caused Jackson to turn on Barrett and go solo. He ended up with the Intercontinental Title and should have continued success once his character grows.

Sin Cara

One of the most unique stars to debut in 2011 was the masked superstar Sin Cara. Sin Cara displays a high-flying in-ring style and classic Lucha Libre wrestling skills. Sin Cara has not had the main event feuds that will make him a headlining star, but it will have to wait because an injury at the 2011 Survivor Series will keep him out of action for several months.

Ted DiBiase

DiBiase had great success on "WWE Raw" and in 2011 he was drafted to the "Friday Night Smackdown" roster. DiBiase briefly reunited with his former partner, Cody Rhodes, but the singles route is the way to go for the generational superstar. His star continues to rise along with his "DiBiase Posse," a weekly party he has with WWE fans.

Cody Rhodes

A blast to the face could have ended other WWE wrestlers' careers, but it helped propel Cody Rhodes to the top of the "Friday Night Smackdown" roster. Rhodes defeated Rey Mysterio at Wrestlemania XXVII, won the Intercontinental Championship, and has defeated wrestlers such as Randy Orton. Rhodes is becoming the best heel (bad guy) on "Friday Night Smackdown," and a future feud with Booker T. will only make him an even better star. At some point in 2012, Cody Rhodes will become a World Heavyweight Champion and a huge star in the WWE.

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