The WWE has been a major disappointment so far in the year of 2016.
With SummerSlam and Survivor Series yet to take place, they're the only saving graces left if the general WWE Universe wants to call this a successful year. Besides Shane McMahon's return to the company, are there any moments that you're already looking back on and awaiting to tell your kids and grandkids in the future? We didn't think so.
But every year is a new you, a new me, and a new start for the WWE. There is so much speculation as to what could happen next year, especially at Royal Rumble and WrestleMania. We really have to hope that it tops 2016, because again, there really haven't been many things to cheer about.
I'm not sure about you folks, but I have a good feeling 2017 will be a brand new start time for the WWE. I'm not saying it'll be the end of PG programming, but there will be a lot of stuff you won't expect.
Here are 15 insanely bold predictions for WWE in 2017.
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15 Cesaro Gets a Huge Push
The name's bond, Cesaro Bond. And I'd like that WWE Championship shaken, not stirred.
All 007 jokes aside, Cesaro is already one of the most beloved wrestlers in the WWE who draws a crowd reaction that is far louder than most (sorry, Roman Reigns. I'm talking to you, sir).
Cesaro's change to the James Bond knock-off has been a huge hit so far. Fans find him more charismatic, hilarious, and overall entertaining. Right now, he's stuck at the mid-card level fighting wrestlers well below his talent level. He's also been in the business for nearly two decades, so his time has to come at some point (Batista wasn't a World Champion until 35, Cesaro's current age).
I'm not saying that Cesaro will be a World Champion in 2017, but I do think he's going to headline one or two Pay-Per-View main events...as a face. He's been patient enough in the WWE and has waited long enough for his big opportunity. 2017 will be the year of Bond...Cesaro Bond.
14 A.J. Styles Becomes WWE Champion
Seth Rollins is occupying the spot as Raw's top heel, and SmackDown needs their own Rollins if they want to draw major viewership. A.J. Styles has already shown more than enough signs of being a top-notch heel during his feud with John Cena.
John "Bradshaw" Layfield was the WWE Champion for 280 days from 2004-2005. CM Punk was a champion for 434 days. Keeping a top heel as the champion for that long helps build an enemy that the fans love to despise. Nobody on SmackDown is more suited for that role than Styles right now.
At some point in 2017, A.J. Styles will become the WWE Champion and hold it for four or five months, meaning it'll be around 150 days. This will come during a lengthy rivalry with Dean Ambrose as the two embark on one of the greatest rivalry of the New Era. Call me optimistic, but you have to think that a new dominant heel will emerge.
13 The Return of Sting
No WWE fan was happy when Sting announced he was retiring after being inducted into the Hall of Fame. That was mainly because it meant that fans would never get to witness The Icon against The Undertaker at WrestleMania 33. Sting was mistreated by Vince McMahon in WWE. It made no sense for him to lose to Triple H at WrestleMania 31--even the loss to Seth Rollins at Night of Champions was a disastrous finish to his career.
McMahon knows deep down he wasn't fair to the greatest wrestler in WCW history that nearly put him out of business a decade and a half ago. But it's time for bygones to be bygones. I'm expecting McMahon to make up for it by offering Sting an on-screen role. Maybe he's a co-GM of Raw or SmackDown, becomes part of the announce team or manages someone (Finn Baylor?) At his Hall of Fame ceremony speech, Sting said it wasn't "good bye," but "see you later." DUN DUN DUN!
Either way, Sting's WWE career can't end with an ugly loss to Rollins. Look for him to return to television with another role. It has to end well.
12 Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura Arrive
WWE needs more talent to come up quickly to build SmackDown up while also building up the mid-card level on Raw. Why not call up the two biggest talents in NXT and lead the charge? In his NXT debut, Samoa Joe made a huge impact by stopping Kevin Owens from attacking Sami Zayn. Those two guys are now among the rising stars in the WWE, and Joe's already worked with some of NXT's top stars in the past.
Even though many of you will get mad when I say this, TNA had a lot of excitement with Samoa Joe there. His work as Kurt Angle's right-hand man didn't go unnoticed, and he's bound to get a break in WWE soon. Perhaps becoming a heel and enforcer for Rollins or Styles could work?
As for Nakamura, he's yet to lose a match in NXT. That could be a great storyline to bring him into WWE and feud with one of the top babyfaces immediately (Ambrose, Cesaro, Sami Zayn, etc.)
These guys have proven themselves enough with NXT. It's time for them to get their shots and make huge impacts.
11 The End of Kane
Kane is one of the longest-tenured Superstars on the roster. It has absolutely been one hell of a ride, but he hasn't been relevant for quite some time. He's no longer the force he used to be in the ring and his character just didn't fit that well in the New Era.
He worked well in the front office (on-screen) before being fired in a match stipulation against Seth Rollins. There's no reason to believe he can't work on television again, and Kane could be a huge addition to one of the brand's authority teams. He deserves it for all of his hard work, but let's be realistic. Kane needs to retire. Fans just don't care about him that much any more. He's going to be 50 in 2017 and has nothing left to do in the ring.
Expect him to get one more match at a Pay-Per-View event against a lower-card heel, winning and going out on top.
10 The Rock Fights at WrestleMania 33
The Rock has found a way to ensure his involvement in several WrestleManias. He and John Cena put on a pair of dream matches against each other. Several years ago, he, along with Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin, also had an epic introduction together in New Orleans.
Last year, he and Ronda Rousey took down Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. This year, it was a bit of a disappointment (a six-second match against Erick Rowan) with John Cena helping him fight off The Wyatt Family. There's no reason to believe that The Rock won't appear next year. Vince McMahon knows he's a huge money maker, and Rock obviously can't resist to perform in front of the millions....AND MILLLLLLLLIONS!
It's hard to for me to predict right now who he will face, but I'm expecting The Rock to get a real match in next year. Facing A.J. Styles or The Miz definitely makes sense and could help put one of those guys over.
9 Kurt Angle Returns...Re-Ignites Brock Lesnar Beef
It's been speculated for far too long now that Kurt Angle is going to return to WWE. So it's pretty obvious to the WWE Universe that it's bound to happen at some point. Angle will be 48 by the time 2017 rolls around, so he doesn't have many good years left in the ring. McMahon will seek the opportunity to write him a fat cheque and convince him to give it one more ride in WWE.
For Angle to draw a big crowd, he'll need to come back as a face and feud with a bigger-named star. Brock Lesnar fits the bill perfectly, as these two put on a clinic of epic matches against each other; undoubtedly one of the best feuds of the Ruthless Aggression Era.
Angle will make a shocking appearance at the Royal Rumble next year. He won't win, but it'll set up a feud with Lesnar. The two will fight at WrestleMania, with Angle winning. This will set up a rivalry that continues into SummerSlam. It makes perfect sense for WWE and the two stars. It has to happen.
Or else I'm just dreaming too much.
8 Chris Jericho Becomes United States Champion
Chris Jericho isn't wrestling all that much right now. He's 45-years-old, and his age has limited his ability in the ring. Jericho will probably stay in the WWE for many years to come. However, as an in-ring performer, the clock is ticking. He's done a lot to help put guys like Dean Ambrose and A.J. Styles over, so it only makes sense that he gets one last championship run.
At any point now, I'm expecting Y2J to turn face again. Roman Reigns is currently feuding with Rusev, the United States Champion. That rivalry probably won't last long. Soon enough, Jericho will turn face once again and begin a feud with Rusev for the United States Championship. At Survivor Series, Y2J will beat Rusev and hold the title until WrestleMania.
Jericho has nothing left to prove in the WWE, but he's stuck in no-man's-land right now. It's only fair for him to be able to carry gold at least one last time while he has something left as a wrestler.
7 Hulkamania Returns...BROTHER!
Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon have that relationship that most of you had with your high school girlfriend: The first time you end things, you're positive you're not going back. Then you need each other and go back a second time. Then break up for good. Then come back. It goes on and on.
Once Hogan was fired by WWE last year after his racial comments were made public last, it seemed as though Hogan really didn't have a hope of coming back. But come on, you know He and McMahon will make up again. There have already been rumours behind the scenes that the company and Hogan are on speaking terms and that a reunion is inevitable.
With this year's WrestleMania being a huge bust, McMahon has to load up on all the big names he can. I'm expecting Hogan to have a similar return like he did at WrestleMania 21: He'll stop a heel from beating up a good guy, rip his shirt, and the crowd will go wild. Hogan will then make sporadic appearances and have one more...for real...last run in the WWE.
6 Kevin Owens Wins The Royal Rumble
I must say that Kevin Owens is my favourite wrestler on the WWE roster right now. And it's not because we're both Canadian. Well, part of it is.
This guy has the rare combination of both great microphone skills AND in-ring ability. As we all know, Roman Reigns can't talk to save his life. I know I'll get backlash on this, but I really don't think Dean Ambrose is all that special on the mic. Cesaro is a wrestler who I love, but can't take seriously on the mic.
Owens is the best out of the latest wave of WWE Superstars to be a great trash talker and actually perform in the ring. He's been a heel for his entire tenure in WWE, but draws great crowd reactions. You've probably heard the news by now that McMahon loves what he has in Owens and is planning a big push for him.
No better time for it to happen than the 2017 Royal Rumble. Owens is on the verge of a face turn and will be the 2017 Royal Rumble winner that headlines WrestleMania 33.
5 Triple H vs. Shane McMahon at WrestleMania
This too is an inevitable match.
Triple H has barely wrestled since defeating Sting at WrestleMania 31. He hasn't appeared on WWE television since losing to Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 32. Everyone knows that he's 47 and has already lost some of his in-ring abilities. As such, the time is now for him and Shane McMahon to capitalize on a dream match.
Shane O'Mac's future in the WWE is bleak; he might not even stay on much longer. Should he leave within the next few years and take many more to make another return, both he and Triple H will be in their 50s. No way they have a match in that age group.
Like I said before, Vince has to make up for this year's disappointing WrestleMania. Having his son-in-law fight his son is an epic dream match that we've all wanted to see for years. A stipulation could take in place that "loser leaves the WWE," which could set stage for Shane's departure.
Whatever the stipulation is, we want these two to fight. And it'll happen.
4 Bray Wyatt Wins WWE World Heavyweight Title at WrestleMania
Bray Wyatt is overdue for a big push with the company. As WWE continues to slowly build up his empire, 2017 will be the year that Wyatt FINALLY gets the promotion as a top-of-the-card wrestler. He and Dean Ambrose will begin a feud at WrestleMania that will culminate in Wyatt becoming the champion.
For the record, I do expect Ambrose to lose the title once before next year's WrestleMania. He'll probably win it again at the Royal Rumble. Wyatt becomes the number one contender for the title and the rest is history.
I believe The Wyatt Family will once again regroup and begin an Evolution-like storyline. Wyatt becomes the WWE Champion, his sidekicks protect him, and sabotage any other Superstar who tries to get in his way. WWE needs another mega heel stable, and The Wyatt Family have always been suited perfectly for it. You Ambrose fans don't want to hear it, but he won't be walking out of WrestleMania next year as a champion.
3 Kevin Owens Becomes WWE Universal Champion
Seth Rollins has emerged as the greatest heel in the WWE since CM Punk left. It's a sure-bet to me that he becomes the first Universal Champion and embarks on a lengthy title run that'll carry himself all the way to WrestleMania.
Now, back to Owens becoming that huge face and new mega star of the WWE. It's a perfect scenario for he and Rollins to headline Monday Night Raw. On that brand, they are the two best guys on the mic. And it's not even close. These two doing promos together would be a match made in Heaven.
These two will start their rivalry on the night after the Royal Rumble, when Owens makes it clear that he's coming after Rollins' title. These two will put on the epic main event at WrestleMania, with Owens becoming the new champion.
2 John Cena FINALLY Turns Heel
You're probably tired of hearing that John Cena will always stay a babyface because of everything he does for the company and that it would be devastating to the children audience if he turned his back on them. Hey, if Hulk Hogan could do it, and Donald Trump could win the Republican nomination, then absolutely anything is possible. Seriously--nobody thought The Hulkster would ever be bad guy. But then he became evil. And the wrestling industry only got better from there.
Cena's time as the company's top face is long gone. He's cooperating with them as a mid-card wrestler. But once he is through with A.J. Styles, who's next? He's not going to feud with Dean Ambrose...yet. He's already had feuds with The Miz.
So it's time for Cena to pull a heel-turn as big as Hogan's. It should be a similar scenario to what Hogan did: He comes out in the middle of a tag-team match to supposedly help the good guys out, only to assist the heels by beating down on the faces. Cena picks up the mic, insults Cenation and the rest is history.
1 Undertaker Finishes His Career Against John Cena at WrestleMania
If Cena is to turn heel, a major storyline has to come out of it.
It's pretty obvious by now that The Undertaker doesn't want to continue his career much longer. You've seen by now that his in-ring abilities are on their last legs. His career HAS to end at WrestleMania--no ifs, and or buts. Everyone knows he has to end his career on The Grandest Stage of Them All against a top star.
Well, he and Cena have to face off as the company's two biggest names. The Undertaker has to finish his career perfectly, and having him face off against the face of the Ruthless Aggression and PG Eras would be the right way to go. Cena's heel turn has to set the stage for The Phenom's incredible departure.
Undertaker beats John Cena at WrestleMania, the two embrace and he gets the loudest ovation ever as he rides off into the sunset.
I'm not too crazy, am I? I just can't help but hope WWE will do everything the fans dream of for once.
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