2017 was a pretty odd year in WWE. It had its ups and downs, but overall I would say they did alright. I mean, yeah, there was Jinder Mahal’s WWE championship reign, the fall of Bray Wyatt, the fall of Bayley, the Jason Jordan/Kurt Angle father-son angle, the continuation of the never-ending push of Roman Reigns, the botched Money in the Bank cash-in, the botched Ms. Money in the Bank ladder match, the cruiserweight division… okay, maybe it wasn't one of the better years for the company. But on the other hand, we did get the emergence of Braun Strowman, the return of the Hardy Boyz, the reunion of The Shield, the NXT call-ups to the main roster, some unexpected face/heel turns and returns, and AJ Styles being AJ Styles. All in all, 2017 was unique in many ways but that's how things usually go every year in the WWE.
With all the things that took place in the past year, 2018 is setting up to be a pretty interesting year as new Champions are to be crowned, pieces of the rosters are to be pushed to new heights and roster changes are set to take place. With the new year now upon us, like every year, there are a specific set of things that each fan of the WWE would like to see take course that they feel would help improve the quality of the content that the company produces. Much like those fans, we have some things we would like to see within the next 12 months ourselves to help improve both the on-screen product and the fans reception of the product when watching. If nothing else just consider it as another fan putting his two cents in. Here are 15 things we need to see from WWE this year.
15 The True Arrival Of The Revival
We start our list with one of the greatest NXT tag teams (if not the greatest) to date finally making their presence known on the main roster. When The Revival had originally debuted, everyone went into a frenzy of excitement. Unfortunately it wasn't meant to be as Dash Wilder suffered an injury that would set the team back several months. When he recovered, though, boy, were we all ready for them to take over the tag team division… and then the other member of the team (Scott Dawson) suffered a similarly devastating injury which pushed The Revival back even further. You know, for a team whose gimmick is based on “No Flips, Just Fists”, they seem pretty prone to injury. Anyway, they have recently returned to the ring once more to give it another go. Let's hope that the third time's the charm and they'll be able to exact their dominance in 2018.
14 #WOKEN Tag Team Champions
Staying on the topic of tag teams, with the popularity that has followed Matt Hardy since the beginning of his "WOKEN"(originally BROKEN) gimmick from his TNA days, it has appeared to have carried over into the WWE, as fans everywhere have chanted "DELETE" with Hardy every chance they've gotten. That being the case, with Matt Hardy recently rebooting that gimmick as he enters what is set to be one of the stranger feuds in recent memory with Bray Wyatt, and the return of Matt's younger brother Jeff being on the horizon, we along with many others (we assume) can only hope that it won't be long before Brother Nero makes his official WWE debut, and the duo's popularity will raise them to championship heights once more. It is rumored that Vince McMahon isn't a fan of the gimmick, so let's keep our fingers crossed.
13 Samoa Joe Wins Championship Gold
The WWE and its creative writing teams are often criticized for booking a fan-favorite poorly or not being consistent as it pertains to balancing character development and viewer satisfaction for a given wrestler. However, they do have their moments where they continuously execute and excel. Primary example: Samoa Joe, since the time he burst onto the scene on the Raw after the Royal Rumble. While there were times where some of his matches and feuds came off a little flat, overall the creative team and Joe himself have all done a good job in establishing him as an engaging and monstrous heel on the Raw roster. Because of this, 2018 is the right time to capitalize on the momentum he has created over the past year and reward Joe with a championship victory, preferably a world championship. Even a mid-card title like the Intercontinental belt works for me, to be honest.
12 The Lunatic Fringe Goes Rogue
Dean Ambrose has quickly become one of the more important characters in the WWE. As you all probably know, this is because of him, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns having been the main faces of the new era of the WWE that we find ourselves in the midst of at the moment. The beginning of said era was marked by the implosion of The Shield in 2014. Since then, Ambrose quickly climbed the ladder and became one of the most over babyfaces in the company, which would reach its peak when he won the WWE Championship in 2016. Since that time, however, Ambrose’s character had diminished in popularity and it gave fans the feeling that something was missing. When that is the case with any wrestler (i.e. Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch) it usually signifies that a face or heel turn is in order. With rumors swirling on how Dean was supposed to turn heel and feud with Seth Rollins before he got injured, we can only hope that they will go full throttle with those plans when Ambrose returns from his injury somewhere down the line.
11 A Rejuvenated Bray Wyatt
It hasn't been said enough: Bray Wyatt has to have suffered one of the greatest falls from the little grace he has had in his career. We had the travesty of a main event-level match with Randy Orton at WrestleMania, followed by the ever-so-horrendous House of Horrors match between the two (please never do that again), the short and insignificant feud with Seth Rollins, and the feud with Finn Balor where, instead of being elevated, he was bringing Balor down with him. And it could have been even worse, had WWE gone through with the Sister Abigail vs. The Demon match they had originally booked for the TLC Pay-Per-View last year (once more, please never do that again). With all the turmoil that followed him in 2017, Bray Wyatt needs to be rejuvenated this year. He's got to at least win some feuds this year and a championship at least. He deserves much better than this.
10 The Most Must-See WWE Champion Returns
The Miz over the past few years has grown into one of the more revered competitors in the WWE, for having a large role in the reestablishment of the Intercontinental Championship and being one of the company's top heels during his tenure. He is one of the few wrestlers that check all the boxes in terms of what you want from a top guy in the company: solid, quality in-ring performance, the ability to speak on the microphone, and being well-received by the fans. The Miz is near the top of the list in each of these categories. That being the case, 2018 seems like the right time to reward the Miz for his efforts by granting him his second world championship reign. Back in his first championship run in 2011, he was a well-established heel, but his overall character was not embraced by the fans as it is now. With the work he has put in since then, the Miz deserves another run as a world champion.
9 The Next Great NXT Rivalry
Just a couple of years ago if you were to ask any WWE fan what the company's best on-screen product was, they would likely tell you without hesitation it was NXT. This is due to a few reasons: the personnel on the NXT roster and their tenure in the developmental brand, the great matches put on on a regular basis, and the stories that were told in the rivalries and matches produced. Continuing off that last point, in recent years, even with the influx of new talent joining the roster each year, the WWE developmental brand has diminished in popularity. This is due to the lack of a true rivalry being a primary focus. Years ago when we had the Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens and Bayley vs. Sasha Banks rivalries at the very top of the card, NXT was never hotter. To respark NXT's popularity and set it up for a great year there needs to be another great rivalry to capture the eyes of wrestling fans everywhere, and I have a good feeling that it'll be here sooner than later, likely in the form of former #DIY partners Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa finally getting their big feud once Ciampa returns from injury.
8 An Improved Cruiserweight Division
I want to be clear with this one: this year has to be the year that 205 Live emerges into popularity amongst WWE viewers, otherwise the show and possibly the entire division should probably be abolished. It can't possibly get any worse than it has in the past year-and-a-half. Champions that have shaky (at best) runs with the title, two top workers on the roster leaving (Austin Aries) and allegedly attempting to leave the company (Neville), and the current champion only having the title in hand because he's a familiar face: these have all been key components to what has been thus far an absolute catastrophe of a division in WWE today. That said, what WWE should do is first move 205 Live to an earlier time slot, bring back some more cruiserweight eligible veterans for the time being, and after it grows in popularity, then send some NXT talent over. Either that or be subjected to more incidents comparable to that of Aries and Neville.
7 A Faction Of Champions
In a previously posted article, I pleaded for the creation of the Balor Club. Since then the dream team had become a reality. Now for the next step. For a while now many fans, along with Finn Balor himself, have been awaiting his rematch for the Universal Championship, the title he was forced to relinquish due to injury. Since returning, there have been some hints; it has even been said that he was supposed to get his rematch at the upcoming Royal Rumble pay-per-view, but still no dice. This is setting up for a pretty good opportunity to push for a heel turn in the nearby future. Because Balor had waited for an opportunity and did not get it, he will simply take an opportunity with the whole team of the Balor Club jumping the champion (who will likely be Roman Reigns) and forcing a championship match, and later a championship victory. With the momentum gained off the heel turn and helping Finn Balor recapture the Universal title (that he technically never lost), it should kick off a push for Anderson and Gallows towards the Raw Tag Team Championships thereafter.
6 The Ms. Money In The Bank Ladder Match Done Right
They did their best to patch this blunder up and they do deserve their credit for that. However, no matter what they did after the fact doesn't change that the first ever women's Money in the Bank ladder match was won… by James Ellsworth… who is a man… surely it's something that the company would want you to forget and fast so I won't speak on it much longer. The fact is that it was something that put a damper on nearly everything that this match was supposed to signify as it pertains to the true arrival of women in WWE. That being the case, this year I, along with what I would hope is the rest of the WWE Universe, do not want any of that nonsense in the next women's Money in the Bank ladder match. It needs to be five to seven women, a bunch of ladders, a white and gold briefcase hanging up high above the ring, and a violent battle that does not end until a woman - let me repeat - a WOMAN, takes hold of the case and wins the match.
5 One More Match
Since being forced into early retirement due to injury severity, fans in the past years have dreamed, fantasized, and longed for one more WWE match for Daniel Bryan. The leader of the YES Movement has spent his days as the general manager of SmackDown Live, and while it has been something to keep him on WWE television, it doesn't exactly compare to what he'd be doing if he were an in ring competitor. With rumors swirling around that Bryan will look to wrestle elsewhere if he is not cleared to wrestle by WWE officials by the time his contract expires, this year could be the year where we say goodbye to the bearded one, as well as see him wrestle for the company one more time. In any case, even if there is no truth to said rumors, it would be nice to see DB go out in proper fashion. If it really is too great a risk then fans will survive; this is just something we are hoping to see take place.
4 Less Of Roman Reigns
I swear to you, I am not a hater. I actually like Roman Reigns, and yes, I am cognizant of the probability that he will headline WrestleMania… again, and close out WrestleMania with a world championship victory… again. I will remind you that this is a list of based on things we need to see happen, not things that will happen, and given the aforementioned facts on Roman along with the fact that he has main evented like four out of every five episodes of Monday Night Raw since 2014 and every WrestleMania since 2015, this is probably the least likely thing on our list to happen. Let me just say this: the man has been force-fed to us for no less than the past three years, and while I understand that he is the face of the future, the WWE has far too much talent to have the primary focus solely on Roman at nearly every turn. Capitalize on guys like Finn Balor, Braun Strowman, Samoa Joe, Seth Rollins, The Miz, etc. while you have them. It would not kill you to at least consider it.
3 The Universal Championship
I am going to give Brock Lesnar some credit here; he made more appearances on televised Raw episodes and defended his title more often as the Universal Champion than he ever did as the WWE Champion of few years ago. However, I do believe the Universal championship needs to be on Monday Night Raw on every possible week this year. It's good for the title, it's good for the titleholder, and it's good for the brand itself. This year presented the opportunity for the Intercontinental Championship to be elevated even higher, with the Universal Champion not being on the show very often. The Miz gave his best efforts, but it just didn't work out too well from my perspective. There wasn't any prestige added to the title, and that is mostly due to the high-caliber talents either feuding amongst each other, creating tag teams with one another, or chasing after Lesnar’s championship. That said, the time has come for the top championship and champion on Monday Night Raw to make regular appearances on a weekly basis.
2 A 17x World Champion
Say what you will, but records were meant to be broken, and I cannot think of anyone more deserving of breaking Ric Flair's record for the most world championship victories than one John Cena. The guy has been able to adapt and flourish in every new phase that the company had shifted into since he first became a part of the roster in the early 2000s. On top of that, his 16th world championship reign wasn't exactly a memorable one. After winning the WWE championship from AJ Styles in a stellar match at last year's Royal Rumble event, Cena dropped the title a mere two weeks later at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, where Bray Wyatt won the title. John is deserving of a more respectable final championship run in the WWE before he takes off for greener pastures. You can disagree all you want, but trust me, you will miss this man when he is officially gone.
1 Women Headlining A Big Four PPV
It's time. It's time. We have gotten women's Steel Cage matches, Hell in a Cell matches, Iron Woman matches, and they have even main-evented some secondary pay-per-views in past years. While there are still some other stipulation matches that have yet to be done, the time has come for them to get a chance to main event at one of the big four pay-per-views in the WWE (Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam, Survivor Series). The amount of talent in the women's division is incredibly tremendous, especially when compared to how things used to work for women in WWE. Moreover, nothing will signify how far they have come since those times than main eventing one of the bigger events in the company. The only real question is who you give the spot to? Do you make it about the Four Horsewomen (Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, and Bayley)? The undefeated Asuka? A deserving veteran? They can go plenty of ways about it really, but it is definitely time to see it finally happen. Here's hoping it all comes to fruition in 2018.