World Wrestling Entertainment has been around for decades now, and over that time, the company has managed to attract and cultivate a fanbase that is extremely loyal and well versed in the structure of the industry. Wrestling fans understand the concept of feuds, faces and heels, wrestlers who get pushed and those who get squashed, as well as the opposite momentum factor, and most of the time, these fans like the product that is presented to them. Even though, fans are generally pleased with what they see in the WWE, the promotion does make mistakes which displease their fans, some of which are minor and quickly forgotten about, but other times, the company makes bad moves that stick with fans to the point that some even feel personally slighted by them.
We are now in 2017, and with a new year comes the promise of new and exciting storylines, developments and matches within the WWE, many of which will be okay, and some which will be either great or painstakingly boring/bad. It is true that every decision WWE makes is to help progress and improve the product for the fans, but not all of their decisions have the desired results, in fact some of these decisions lead to backlash from fans, like what happened with CM Punk and Daniel Bryan a few years ago. The purpose of this article, is to focus on 15 specific things that will likely occur in the WWE in 2017, but which should not be allowed to happen.
15 Kevin Owens & Chris Jericho Split
In wrestling, it is somewhat common to see a pair of superstars become “friends”, but a lot of the time, these types of pairings do not really amount to anything for either superstar, except for an uninteresting feud down the line; but sometimes, these pairings can be great. No one can say that the pairing of Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens has been anything less than awesome, as the two really do seem to work well together, even when they act as though they are having a falling out; and it is because of their friendship that Jericho has once again become a sensational performer. Like all good things though, this pairing will come to an end, and based on Jericho’s latest championship win, it is coming fairly soon, perhaps even right after the Royal Rumble, which will mean no more best friends, and an end to Jericho’s list which is actually enjoyable.
14 Emma’s Gimmick Change
Thankfully, fans of the WWE are now able to watch a women’s division which finally consists of capable and talented individuals who can actually wrestle, as opposed to the previous rosters littered with former models. Tenille Averil Dashwood, is one of these talented female wrestlers, and she gained experience on the independent circuit before signing with WWE in 2011 where she started going by the in-ring name, Emma. She made her main roster debut in 2014, and began to flounder despite her skills, which is why she found herself back in NXT for a bit before being called back up, but her second stint did not last long because of an injury. For over a month now on Monday Night Raw, viewers have been teased with images of Emma in bikinis and her new persona, Emmalina, which on the surface is blatantly appealing, but it is unlikely that fans will become enamoured by an Instagram model gimmick.
13 Roman Reigns Becomes Champ Again
When Roman Reigns debuted on the main roster in 2012 as a part of The Shield, the WWE universe actually liked him, because he was the physical force of the stable, but shortly after the group separated, the cheers he received turned into boos. The reason why so many fans now dislike him is two-fold, because he rose to main event status absurdly fast and even went on to win the 2014 Royal Rumble, a win which many fans believed should have gone to Daniel Bryan, and because as a wrestler, Roman is not all that skilled, and possesses a very small move-set made up almost entirely of a spear and superman punch. Vince McMahon is trying his hardest to turn Reigns into the next John Cena, which would work if so many fans were not already sick of the Cena-model, but despite this, Roman will still become Universal Champion this year, which should not happen because he is still so toxic amongst the fans, and you cannot have that kind of heat on one of the faces of the company; especially if they are not in a heel role.
12 Bo Dallas Getting Another Push
We continue this list with Bo Dallas, who is a prime example of a wrestler who people within WWE believed had a promising future, but who ended up becoming a disappointment almost as soon as he debuted on the main roster. Prior to his debut in 2014, Bo was quite the accomplished performer down in developmental, as he even went on to become the youngest NXT Champion in the company’s history, but from the moment he came to the main roster with his Bo-lieve gimmick, it all went downhill, to the point that he was an annoyance and waste of time to many viewers; and his time with the Social Outcasts was forgettable as well. This past summer, when Bo came back, he did so with a Bo-lieve in Bo routine, which has been just as lackluster, and although he desperately needs a repackaging, the WWE should not waste time trying to push Bo in another way with all the talent they now have, but because he is Bray Wyatt’s brother, WWE will likely waste time doing so this year.
11 Paige Is Released
Whether she actually started it or not, Paige is a big reason why the WWE started to call up so many of the talented women from NXT, and although she was not a part of the Four Horsewomen, she is still a very good wrestler in her own right. Despite never really being liked that much by Vince, Paige has proved that she is capable of winning championships and that she can be popular with the fans if handled correctly; but the past couple of months have been rough for Paige because of injury and her relationship with the company becoming strained due to her personal relationship with Alberto Del Rio and her suspension for taking illegal substances. 2017 will likely see WWE release Paige, a release which would have happened already if she were not rehabbing an injury, a move which should not happen just because she is dating someone who left the company on bad terms, which is exactly what happened when AJ Lee left after CM Punk did; and it would be careless to lose another talent for such a reason.
10 Donald Trump Makes An Appearance
Whether you voted for him or not, the reality is that the world must now endure having Donald Trump as the President of the United States for at least the next 4 years, barring any unforeseen events like impeachment. The fact of the matter is, even though he is the president, Trump will always be an entertainer first and foremost, which is why he had his own successful TV show, and why he is currently a part of the celebrity wing of WWE’s Hall of Fame. Trump has had a very good relationship with both the WWE and the McMahon family, ever since he hosted WrestleMania lV and V at Trump Plaza. Since they are on such good terms, Linda McMahon will be a part of his cabinet, but that is not where their friendship will end, as it is quite possible that Trump could make another appearance in the WWE, so that the company can have a sitting president on air. It is true that this would bring in big ratings, but with so much contempt surrounding Trump, it is publicity that WWE might want to steer clear from for now.
9 Strowman Becomes Universal Champion
The WWE has had its fair share of wrestlers who give off the appearance of being big unstoppable forces of nature, and some of the time, they bring a little bit more to the table which causes them to rise up and even reach main event status. Despite first appearing on television as a part of Adam Rose’s Exotic Express, Braun Strowman is now the latest monster that the WWE has unleashed ever since they separated him from the Wyatt Family; and he is now being considered to compete for and win the Universal Championship, which he should probably win later on, just not in 2017. Strowman may be a raging tower of muscle, but that should not guarantee him a major championship reign so soon after going solo, especially considering that most of his wins consist of squash matches where he faced virtually unknown independent wrestlers. Besides, with wrestlers like Owens Rollins, Zayn, Balor, Cesaro, and even Rusev on the Raw roster, there are plenty of superstars more qualified this year of holding the belt.
8 Brock Lesnar Leaves
Despite only wrestling in a few matches a year, Brock Lesnar is still very popular amongst most of the WWE’s fans, which is a testament to just how dominant of a competitor he is, if he can be successful in both professional wrestling and the UFC. Since returning to the WWE, Lesnar has gone on to defeat Triple H, snap the Undertaker’s unbeaten streak at WrestleMania, and became WWE World Heavyweight Champion, and as we all now know, he will be feuding with Goldberg for the foreseeable future; but once that feud is done, what else could be in store for The Beast? The answer is not very much, because unless Brock is placed back into the title picture, there is not really anything for him to do, except participating in rather pointless feuds, unless WWE brings back yet another veteran fan favorite to face him; and it is doubtful that someone like Stone Cold or The Rock will want to come back to face someone as physical as Brock. Seeing as they may have little to actually offer Brock, it is possible that he will become unhappy this year and simply walk away from the company, which would not be in the WWE’s self-interest given his popularity.
7 John Cena Passes Ric Flair
There is no denying that John Cena will go down as one of the greatest wrestlers in history, even though he more or less sucks from a pure wrestling standpoint, seeing as he has a very limited moveset, chooses to never go heel, and harms other wrestlers by hardly ever losing a match. All that aside though, Cena has still managed to become a 15-time world champion, and shortly, probably even at this year’s Royal Rumble, he will make it 16, which will then tie him with Hall of Famer Ric Flair for the most all time. The Nature Boy is a legend in his own right, and many old-school fans do not want to see Cena match his record, but it will happen, because they need their top guy to be champ from a marketing and economic perspective. Tying Flair might not make many fans happy, but Cena will likely go on to pass Flair’s record this year as well, especially considering that he is now taking long stretches of time off to focus on work outside of wrestling for when he retires; and when he does retire, WWE wants him to hold the record, so it makes more sense for them to get it done sooner rather than later.
6 Bray Does Not Become Champion
We have already referenced the Wyatt Family on this list, but with this entry, we will focus solely on the family’s leader Bray Wyatt, who has been with the WWE since 2009, and who for some reason has yet to win a major title. There is a reason why Bray was made the leader of the family, and that would be because he was the most talented of the group, in terms of overall wrestling ability, and because of his outstanding acting and mic skills. The fact that Bray has not already won a major single’s title is a bit of a travesty in it of itself, and the one belt he did win in the form of SmackDown’s Tag-Team Championship, he lost in just 23 days; which prompted many fans to further question WWE’s plans for him. Now that Cena is back in the title picture, and that it appears as though the Wyatt family may be separating, Bray will continue to kept out of the title hunt for the foreseeable future, which will likely encompass all of 2017.
5 Certain Pay-Per-Views Remain
Thanks to the brand split, we now get pay-per-views that are specific to either Raw and SmackDown, as well as the 4 major events which sees both rosters appear at the same time, which means that 2017 will probably have a grand total of 17 pay-per-views. It is fairly obvious that 17 events, is a tad too many, from an oversaturation point of view, but WWE will in fact probably air that many, including certain pay-per-views which they should just put away for a while. The two events that really stand out, but which will stick around in 2017. are Hell in a Cell, and TLC, primarily because of the “New Era” and its need to cater to a PG audience, which makes TLC especially obsolete as it is supposed to function as a throwback to the Attitude Era, with the matches featured almost never living up to expectations; plus the Money in the Bank and Extreme Rules shows already offer hardcore themed matches. As for Hell in a Cell, last year’s pay-per-view made it fairly clear that despite having a women’s match in the cell, the match has lost much of its luster, especially if multiple hell in a cell matches essentially take place one after another.
4 Asuka Stays In NXT
No one can argue that the main roster’s Women’s Division has immensely improved since all of the Four Horsewomen have been called up from NXT, but as a result of them no longer being there, the division in NXT has suffered from a lack of talent. Asuka is the one exception though, as not only is she the best female wrestler currently in NXT, but also probably the best female wrestler in the entire world, which is why it is a shame that we will likely not see her on the main roster this year. Despite creative’s best efforts, NXT’s Women’s Division has struggled, and as a result, Asuka must remain there in order to help elevate the product and to help the other women there to improve, which is unfortunate for fans who want to see her take on Sasha Banks, Charlotte, or Becky, but the WWE has to think of cultivating future wrestlers to satisfy fans later on instead of now in the present.
3 The United States Title Stays Around
The United States Championship, has been around since 1975, making it the second oldest title within the WWE, and it currently serves as the secondary title for the promotion’s Raw brand, which is why it is a shame that it is now more or less a pointless belt. Aside from being held by a heel foreigner, the United States Championship no longer holds any real merit for those who possess it, as evidenced by John Cena’s last reign which included an open challenge which did very little to actually elevate the title’s relevance; and if the belt only matters when the right type of heel holds it, than what is the point of a heel ever losing it. The WWE as a promotion will soon have a total of 13 titles, which is a tad too many even with the brand split, which is why the Raw brand should just do away with the U.S. title and focus on the Universal, Women’s, Tag-Team, and Cruiserweight championships; but now that Chris Jericho has it, it does not look like the Unites States title is going anywhere.
2 Eva Marie Becomes Women's Champion
As good as the Women’s Division has become, there is still some glaring holes in the form of some competitors who at this point are just taking up roster spots, like Dana Brooke and Alicia Fox, but the worst part of the division is without a doubt Eva Marie. Yes, it is true, that Eva has improved since training with Brian Kendrick and Natalya, and that she gets great heat from the crowd, but she is still a terrible wrestler compared to the other women on the main roster. For some reason (her looks), Eva Marie has been getting pushed despite not being that good at all, and when she officially comes back from her suspension, there is a good chance she may be pushed so hard that she enters into the title picture and actually wins SmackDown’s Women’s Championship. No one wants this to happen of course because of her terrible wrestling and acting skills, but given how far Eva has already come, and how much hate she would receive for holding a belt, it is possible that WWE will give her a title reign; and perhaps even a lengthy one at that.
1 John Cena vs The Undertaker At WrestleMania
The Undertaker has had a long and storied career within the WWE, to the point that he will forever be remembered in the industry as one of the best superstars of all time; but unfortunately, all things must come to an end, and the end of Taker’s career is close at hand. Taker announced that he will be entering the Royal Rumble this year, and there is a high possibility that he may come out the winner, which will give him a title match at WrestleMania-which is where John Cena comes in. By the time WrestleMania comes around, Cena will likely be WWE Champion, and combine that with the rumors that a Cena vs Taker match has been heavily discussed, it feels almost certain that the two will meet at ‘The Grandest Stage of Them All’. Fans may want to see this match, but there is a high probability that this will be Taker’s final match, and for that to happen, he would have to lose to Cena in order to have a fighting champion emerge as the victor; and no fan wants to see Taker's final match be a loss, especially if it is a loss to Cena, but there are signs which do point to this being an undesirable reality.