Well, wasn’t Survivor Series a confusing mess of a Pay-Per-View? Botched eliminations, over-complicated storylines and Triple H at his most Triple H, this year’s Survivor Series didn’t leave much for fans to be excited about. However, one thing that fans can be excited about is, now that Survivor Series is done, we’re well on our way to the biggest wrestling show on Earth – WrestleMania. We may be less than five months away from The Showcase of the Immortals, but there’s still a lot of work to do to put the storylines and matches in place for the big day. Whether it’s heel turns, shock returns or championship changes, anything could happen between now and April 8th 2018. Let’s take a look at some of the more likely ones, shall we?
15. Jason Jordan Turns On His Father
Poor Jason Jordan, eh?
Ever since it was revealed that Jordan was the “son” of Raw General Manager Kurt Angle, things have gone from bad to worse for JJ. The former American Alpha star is now hated by the WWE fans, as he was put into such a ridiculous storyline and pushed far too quickly. However, if current events have indicated anything, then expect Jordan’s character to experience a dramatic shift in the next few months.
The obvious plan WWE is running with currently is to have Kurt Angle face Triple H at WrestleMania. The Game Pedigreed Angle during the Survivor Series match, causing him to be eliminated, and Pedigreed his “son,” Jordan, the week before on Raw. Clearly, the WWE is building animosity between the two legends, but where does Jordan fit into this storyline? Whilst he may be in the anti-Triple H camp currently, Jordan could swerve us all and turn on his father, siding with The Cerebral Assassin and The Authority. Jordan could cite his lack of opportunities on Raw as a reason to turn on his dear old Dad, with Triple H promising Jason plenty of title shots and main events if he helps him oust his father from power. Whether this storyline will work or not is anybody’s guess, but it can’t be much worse than what they’re already doing with Jordan. Seriously, that guy is dead in the water right now.
14. Shane McMahon Turns Heel on Daniel Bryan
Looking back over the last few months, I’ve come to realise something. Shane McMahon is a real jerk.
Let me clarify; Shane McMahon’s character is a joke. Firstly, he put himself in a match with one of his own wrestlers at Hell in a Cell, which is bad management at its finest. Then, he gave himself a spot in the 5-on-5 Survivor Series main event, taking a spot away from a younger guy. Then, he led a completely unprovoked siege on Raw, which lead to the red brand retaliating with a siege on Smackdown, further endangering the wellbeing of his employees. Why is this guy in charge again? Oh yeah, his last name.
Tension has been brewing between Shane and his General Manager, Daniel Bryan, for a while now and it’s bound to blow off at some point. Shane’s erratic behaviour will continue to niggle at Bryan, until McMahon finally snaps, turning heel and causing Bryan some deal of pain in the process. This could lead to a match at WrestleMania; Shane vs a wrestler of Bryan’s choosing (obviously D-Bry himself can’t take on Shane). Who this wrestler is, I have no idea, but there’s every chance it could be an NXT call-up or a midcard star on SmackDown. Shane’s character has changed a lot from the happy-go-lucky babyface he was in the summer and this has to led to something. Saying that, this wouldn’t be the first time a Shane McMahon storyline left questions unanswered. Anyone remember that lock box?
13. Rockstar Spud Debuts on 205 Live
Let’s just hope this goes better than the other 205 Live debuts.
More rumours now, this time concerning WWE’s “they’re good because they can do flips” show, 205 Live. Hideo Itami has recently been announced as the latest debutant on 205 Live, but don’t expect the debuts to stop anytime soon. James Curtin, better known as Rockstar Spud, made a name for himself in TNA/GFW/whatever it’s called this week. After winning the first season of British Bootcamp, Spud debuted in 2012 and would go onto develop an obnoxious heel persona that got massively over with the Impact fans. Despite being one of the most consistently popular performers in some of TNA’s most dire years, Spud was released earlier this year, following issues with his work visa. Seriously, Impact, you can’t event get that right.
Spud has been rumoured to be going to the WWE ever since it was revealed he was no longer an Impact employee. His diminutive statue (Spud is only 5’4”) would endear him to the cruiserweight show and his pre-existing fame outside of WWE would bring some much-needed name value to the programme. Spud is a great performer and deserves a chance to shine in front of a larger audience. Normally, 205 Live wouldn’t be considered a larger audience, but Spud is coming from TNA, remember. He’s probably not performed to more than 300 people in about five years.
12. Ronda Rousey Debuts
Looks like Ronda might be getting a bit Rowdy.
Ronda Rousey was once UFC’s biggest star. As their Bantamweight Champion, Rousey was undefeated in six fights for the promotion, leading to many sports sites and magazines proclaiming her as one of the greatest female athletes of all time. Whilst Rousey’s star has dimmed somewhat since suffering her first loss to Holly Holm in 2015, she is still easily one of UFC’s most mainstream fighters, with only Conor McGregor matching her fame outside of the sport. And, of course, you know that when Vince hears the words “mainstream popularity,” little dollar signs appear in his eyes.
Rousey is an avid wrestling fan and, as a result, has made numerous appearances for the WWE since she became famous. She appeared at WrestleMania 31 in a segment with The Rock and The Authority and was seen more recently at tapings for the Mae Young Classic tournament alongside her “Four Horsewomen” faction from UFC, squaring off with WWE’s own Four Horsewomen. Rousey’s in-ring involvement with the WWE has long been speculated, but, with the company sowing the seeds of Horsewomen vs Horsewomen feud and with plenty of WrestleMania tickets to sell, you can bet that Vince will move heaven and earth to get Ronda in a WWE ring before April 8th.
11. Dean Ambrose Turns On The Shield
Let’s be honest – there’s no way this isn’t happening.
The Shield getting back together was an unexpected surprise for WWE fans in 2017. After Roman Reigns was attacked by The Miz and The Bar (Sheamus and Cesaro) in the build-up to TLC, he called on his old buddies, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins (who were also feuding with The Bar) for back up. This led to a reunion three years in the making; Rollins, Ambrose and Reigns finally back together as a three man unit. The Shield are back. However, like all good things, this little comeback tour is destined to come to an abrupt end soon.
According to the rumour mill, the current plan is to have Dean Ambrose turn heel on The Shield to then feud with Seth Rollins. This would culminate in a match between the two former Tag Team Champions at WrestleMania. Ambrose breaking up The Shield makes sense; it was Rollins who worked hard to mend fences between him and Ambrose, so it would be extremely bittersweet to see the man who originally broke up the group to then be betrayed. Also, the three men are all big singles stars, so it makes no sense to keep them in a group act for much longer. Roman’s gotta win that Universal Championship, remember. Ambrose and Rollins have proved in the past that they are capable of a great feud and great matches, so the Shield breaking up is something that a lot of WWE fans would have no issue with. Whether they take issue with what WWE does with Roman Reigns afterwards is another matter entirely.
10. The Revival Return
Poor Dash and Dawson.
When The Revival made their main roster debut the night after WrestleMania 33, fans went insane. Easily one of the best tag teams in NXT’s entire history, the first ever two-time NXT Tag Team Champions put on incredible matches in the yellow promotion against the likes of Enzo and Cass, American Alpha and #DIY. Wow, I just realised that all of those teams are broken up now. Maybe The Revival shouldn’t come back.
Since their jump to the main roster, however, the team has been hit with numerous injuries. First, Dash Wilder fractured his jaw, which took him out of action for eight months, then Scott Dawson ruptured a bicep, which has kept the team on the shelf since July. Dash and Dawson are incredible performers who have had some really rotten luck lately, so a return angle that would catapult them to the top of the WWE Tag Team Division would be a good way to put this talented team back on track. I would make a joke about them getting injured again, but I just can’t bring myself to think about it. I miss them, a lot.
9. Neville Returns
God, I hope so.
For so long, Neville was one of WWE’s most underrated performers. A phenomenal athlete, Neville performed high-flying moves that a young Rey Mysterio would be jealous of, and was easily one of the stand-out stars of the first few years of NXT. But, for some reason, WWE failed to recognise this and Neville was horrendously underused. Until December 2016, that was. At Roadblock: End of the Line (yes, that is its full name), Neville returned after a long absence from TV, turning heel and asserting himself as the new top dog in the Cruiserweight division. He won the Cruiserweight title at Royal Rumble, then had a fantastic reign, really elevating the belt and the entire division with incredible matches and promos. Then he lost the belt to Akira Tozawa, for no reason. Then he won it back six days later, for no reason. Then he lost the belt to Enzo Amore, for no reason. Then he was asked to job out to Enzo on an episode of Raw and walked out during the show, for… actually, there was some pretty solid reasoning behind that one.
Neville hasn’t been seen on WWE TV since early October, but numerous reports are saying that he and WWE are working towards a return for the Newcastle-born star. This would be great, as Neville is easily one of the best wrestlers WWE has. It’s just a shame that he’s been consigned to the Cruiserweight division; imagine the matches he could have against the likes of Samoa Joe, AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura? Hopefully WWE has learned from their mistakes and will make better use of Neville this time around. Then again, asking WWE to learn from its mistakes is a bit like asking a chicken to lay a golden egg; everybody wants it, but there ain’t no way in hell it’s ever going to happen.
8. Chris Jericho Returns
I know this is a list about WWE… BUT I AM SO PUMPED FOR JERICHO VS OMEGA! AHHH!
Chris Jericho was written off of WWE TV for the first time this year after being viciously assaulted by former best friend turned rival Kevin Owens. He stayed off TV until July 25th, when he made a one-off return to appear in a triple threat between Owens and AJ Styles for the United States Championship, in which he got pinned by Styles to have AJ win the belt. He hasn’t been seen since, but oh boy, has he been busy. Jericho vs Omega. Wrestle Kingdom 12. Ah.
If everything comes together (and it should), then Jericho vs Kenny Omega at Wrestle Kingdom should be one of the biggest matches of the wrestling year. This will make Jericho one of the hottest properties on the planet, so WWE would be the biggest fools to not bring him back in time for WrestleMania. Whether or not the rumour of Jericho vs Omega continuing into WWE is true, it doesn’t matter, Jericho will be back for WWE’s biggest night of the year. But who will he face? Kevin Owens again? Shinsuke Nakamura? Nah, it’s probably going to be Fandango again, isn’t it?
7. Jinder Mahal Becomes An Afterthought
This has already started to happen.
When Jinder Mahal won the WWE Championship at Backlash this year, who could have predicted just how his title reign would work out? Actually, everybody. Because everybody said it would be bad. And it was. Okay, maybe it wasn’t bad – Jinder carried himself like a champion and was a very good heel – but it certainly wasn’t a world title reign worthy of 170 days of mediocre matches, repetitive promos and the same finish to every single one of his matches. Seriously. Every one.
When Jinder lost the WWE title to AJ Styles in the build up to Survivor Series, many fans saw it as the end of Mahal’s time in the main event. Although he is scheduled to take on Styles for the title again at Clash of Champions, Mahal will likely fade from the top of the SmackDown card as fast as he arrived there. Whilst I don’t want Jinder to become a jobber again, I do think that WWE will forget all about him. The whole reason Jinder was made champion was to expand the WWE into India and promote their upcoming tour of India. Now the India tour is being scaled back and WWE seem to be focusing less on expanding into the nation, WWE has no use for Mahal now. I hate to say it, but The Modern Day Maharaja may have just seen his best days disappear.
6. More People Are Released
‘Tis the season to be releasin’.
Over the past few months, plenty of WWE talent have been released from the company. Emma, Summer Rae, Darren Young, Sawyer Fulton and the most tragic of them all… James Ellsworth. Poor Ellsworth. The WWE was never meant for one as beautiful as you.
In the lead up to WrestleMania, expect WWE to release plenty more superstars. The company has been on a cost-cutting drive for a while now and the best way to save money is to cut talent. Unless you’re the actual talent. Then it’s pretty bad. WWE have plenty of wrestlers who are doing nothing right now and its probably for the best that they get released, so they can go out and get more work on the indies. But who will it be getting the chop? I don’t want to say that I want anyone released, but, if I did, their name would probably rhyme with “Myron Maxton.”
5. Roderick Strong Wins the NXT Championship
Anyone still in shock over Andrade winning the title? I am.
Whilst most of the wrestling world is focused on the build-up to WrestleMania, let us not forget about the other major wrestling show that will be taking place that weekend. NXT TakeOver: New Orleans (I assume that’s what its called, would make sense) will take place the night before WrestleMania, as previous TakeOver specials in Dallas and Orlando have done. This is NXT’s version of WrestleMania, so they’ve got to start thinking about the matches they want to book for that show now. And one of those possible matches has got me very, very excited.
Since Andrade is a heel and Drew McIntyre is now injured (get well soon, Drew), we need a big face to take the title from Andrade and I can think of no one better than Roderick Strong. Strong has amassed such a following since his NXT debut last year and the hardcore fans have been following Roddy since his early days in Ring of Honor in the early 2000s. In my opinion, he is the prime candidate for a NXT title run. But who would he face in New Orleans? Three words… ADAM COLE BAY-BAY! Cole and Strong have been feuding pretty much since Cole arrived in NXT and the storyline has been brilliant thus far. Add a championship to the mix and you have a main event for the ages that the NXT Universe will eat up. Come on, NXT, make this happen. You know you want to.
4. Carmella Cashes In
Come on, this has got to happen, right? Right?
Carmella made history when she won the first-ever Women’s Money in the Bank ladder match in 2017. Oh, no, wait, I need to revise that. James Ellsworth made history when he won the first ever Women’s Money in the Bank ladder match in 2017. Man, that was bad.
Carmella eventually claimed the briefcase properly when she won a second ladder match on an episode of SmackDown and has carried the briefcase for over 150 days, teasing a cash-in a few times, but never pulling the trigger. The time for Carmella to cash-in the briefcase has to be soon; she’s held the briefcase for so long, it makes sense for the moment to happen over the coming months. Whether or not Carmella is successful or not, I don’t know, but believe me, she is going to have that title match soon. And when she does, it will be F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S. Does she still do that gimmick? I have no idea.
3. Asuka Wins The Raw Women’s Championship
She can’t beat up Dana Brooke forever.
Asuka was nothing short of a phenomenon during her run in NXT. Undefeated for nearly two years, Asuka’s brutal puroresu style of matches made her stand out from the rest of the women in WWE like a sore thumb. That thumb is sore because Asuka broke it, by the way. She was NXT Women’s Champion for 510 days (523 according to WWE), the longest Women’s Championship reign for over thirty years and one of the longest title reigns in WWE history, before vacating the title (still undefeated) and moving up to Raw. I would make a joke about the people she wrestles on the main roster being released after they wrestle her, but, seeing how that worked out for Lio Rush, I’m going to leave it.
Asuka was given the star treatment at Survivor Series; she was the sole survivor for her team, overcoming a 2-on-1 disadvantage to eliminate a grand total three members of Team SmackDown. This has got to lead to something big for Asuka in the near future and I doubt many members of the WWE Universe would be unhappy with that decision. She is easily one of (if not the) most over female acts on the main roster and its about time she brought that dominance that made her a legend in NXT to the red brand.
2. Roman Reigns Loses The Intercontinental Championship
Everyone who cheered Roman when he won the belt, don’t come crying to me when he gets shoved down our throats again. You brought this on yourselves.
As annoying as it is, The Shield reunion as a tool to get Roman Reigns over has been a massive success. Ever since it was teased in the build-up to TLC, fans have been so distracted by the return of one of their favourite factions that they have totally forgotten about how much they hate Reigns. The success of this experiment led to The Big Dog winning the Intercontinental Championship the night after Survivor Series, defeating The Miz to do so. Whilst most fans reacted positively to this news, I can’t help but feel that, one day, wrestling historians will look back at that moment as when it all started to go wrong.
The plan for WWE has always been to put Roman Reigns against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 34, with Reigns walking out of The Showcase of the Immortals as the Universal Champion, having slayed The Beast and overcome his all-powerful finisher, the F5. To do this, Reigns will have to lose to his Intercontinental Championship before WrestleMania. There is an argument that Reigns could keep the title and be put into a “Champion vs Champion” match (a la Hogan and Warrior at WrestleMania VI), but this doesn’t seem too likely to me. Expect Roman to lose the title (perhaps due to Brock’s interference) over the coming months and then set his sights firmly on capturing the big red belt and the hearts of the WWE Universe. Well, at least he’ll get one of those things.
1. AJ Styles Loses the WWE Championship
Please don’t let this happen. Please.
As we mentioned earlier, AJ Styles made everybody very happy when he beat Jinder Mahal for the WWE Championship on the SmackDown two weeks before Survivor Series. Styles captured his second WWE title to cap off a pretty stellar year; his match with John Cena at Royal Rumble was great, his match with Shane McMahon at WrestleMania stole the show and his performances against Kevin Owens, Baron Corbin and even Mahal have been top notch. In short, AJ is in a league of his own right now. So why on Earth would WWE want to take the title off him?
I know it makes no sense for Styles to lose the title (especially considering the awesome match he just had with Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series), but I can’t help but fear the worst for him. Firstly, it’s pretty obvious he was a last-minute choice for the belt, brought in at the last minute to inject some much-needed interest into the Survivor Series card. Secondly, WWE have positioned nobody to challenge AJ except Jinder Mahal, so where does he go after that feud? Will he be fighting Shinsuke Nakamura? Will John Cena come back? Will Jinder win the title aga- actually, I can’t even finish that sentence. Too horrible a thought. The lack of planning for AJ’s title win and the lack of framework in place for him now that he is champion is very worrying. As great as AJ defeating Jinder was, expect that to be the high-point of his second WWE title reign.
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