2016 ending has everyone discussing New Year’s resolutions. We are looking forward to 2017 and the big changes that will happen. The same can be said for wrestling. Instead of resolutions, fans are trying to forecast the happenings that will occur. No one would have predicted Kevin Owens, A.J. Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura closing out 2016 as the WWE World Champions this time last year. The company has changed dramatically with new stars emerging in the era of the brand split. The women’s divisions and tag team divisions have finally seeing resurgences as well, reaching new peaks this year.
Next year will see opportunity continue to open for those talented enough to seize them. A few stories ending the year will play a huge role in next year’s WWE landscape. We’ll try to take a glimpse into the future by deciphering some big events that will unfold. It will be a combination of wrestling knowledge, factors already in play and a bit of boldness to formulate these picks. Next year is bound to be huge for the future of the company with it being the first full calendar year under the brand split. We’ll find some names to re-emerge, leave, stand out or make history with fifteen bold WWE predictions for 2017.
15. Kurt Angle Returns In The Royal Rumble
Wrestling fans have been impatiently waiting on the return of Kurt Angle to the WWE. The wrestling legend left the company over a decade ago following a bitter falling out. TNA employed Angle for the majority of time since then, but he became a free agent earlier this year. Angle has been very public about his desire to end his wrestling career back where it started in the WWE.
The timing is perfect for Angle to return in the 2017 Royal Rumble match. There are very few moments that would garner a huge ovation and create headlines in the way an Angle return would. WWE needs more depth and familiar faces joining the two rosters following the brand split. Angle coming back in the Rumble as a surprise and having a big match at WrestleMania against someone like Rusev or The Miz makes too much sense not to happen.
14. Charlotte Flair Loses Title at WrestleMania and Doesn’t Win It Back All Year
Charlotte Flair has absolutely dominated the women’s division all year, going undefeated in singles matches on PPV. You are guaranteed a Charlotte win if she’s involved in a big PPV match. Sasha Banks would defeat her three times on Raw to win the Raw Women’s Championship, but Charlotte always won it back weeks later on the PPV.
Bayley will be the one to eventually end Charlotte’s PPV winning streak with WrestleMania 33 being the ideal show for the huge title change to take place. The bold prediction here is that Flair will not only drop the belt but go without the championship for the rest of the year. Raw has enough time to have two storylines going on with the women at all times. Charlotte moving away from the title picture for a while and allowing new ladies to be in that position after she loses is something that has to happen.
13. Bray Wyatt Gets Kicked Out of The Wyatt Family
The current incarnation of The Wyatt Family features Randy Orton joining Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper. It has freshened up the act, but we can all sense they’re splitting up sooner than later. Everyone is thinking Orton will be the one to get kicked out. The face character of Orton starting to follow Bray’s leadership made it too obvious that he was eventually planning to turn on them.
That would be too predictable and WWE will likely go another route. Many pundits believe Wyatt has huge face potential as a singles star. Fans dig his unique style and love the presentation that goes along with his persona. 2017 will be the year for him to move forward without the group behind him. Harper and Orton will blame Bray for the group’s shortcomings and kick him out. Wyatt will head into WrestleMania 33 as the face working against Orton and his new version of the heel stable.
12. Adam Cole Against Kyle O’Reilly Main Events an NXT TakeOver show
ROH Final Battle 2016 was main evented by the exciting match of Kyle O’Reilly defeating Adam Cole to win the Ring of Honor World Championship. Both men have been pillars of ROH since the company lost their last core of stars (Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins, and Sami Zayn) to the WWE. Cole and O’Reilly are both about to enter free agency with their value being very high. WWE desperately needs new credible talents to build NXT around with guys like Shinsuke Nakamura and Samoa Joe ready for the main roster.
O’Reilly not re-signing with the company despite being the World Champion says a lot about his uncertainty. WWE aggressively hitting the free agent market means they’ll definitely want Cole and O’Reilly. They would both instantly become among the top performers in the promotion. The writing is on the wall for Cole and O’Reilly to join the WWE. They’ll main event a TakeOver special before the year ends.
11. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn Win Tag Team Gold
The personal rivalry between Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn was arguably the best feud in WWE all year. They have tremendous chemistry together that is impossible to find with just about any two other wresters in the world. Owens and Zayn started out together as a tag team for many years in Ring of Honor and other smaller promotions before their wars started.
WWE cashed in on their prior feuds, so it would only make sense for them to find a way to get the best of their tag team work. Owens is currently the WWE Universal Champion but it’ll be hard for him to remain in the main event picture for the entirety of 2017. The same can be said for Zayn trying to move up the card. Both men will need to change things up at some point during the year and becoming a tag team seems more than realistic. If they team together, they are definitely getting those Raw Tag Titles.