Another year has come and gone and with it another twelve months of WWE programming in the books, for better or worse ... leaning more towards the latter. For all the good that has taken place in WWE this past year (yes, there were good moments) it feels as though there has been double the bad; cringe-worthy entertainment provided from the only real wrestling game in town ... but so it goes when competition is nonexistent and the evolution is stifled, so the product remains stagnant.
The brightest star in WWE this past year has undoubtedly been Seth Rollins. Despite an injury sidelining Rollins for the final piece of 2015, the work put forth from Rollins prior to his unfortunate injury is more than enough to consider "The Architect" as Superstar of the Year (no matter what happens at the Slammy Awards). Rollins never disappointed as WWE World Heavyweight Champion and feuded with some of the biggest names in the industry including: John Cena, Brock Lesnar, and Sting.
However, it's time to look ahead and leave 2015 in the dust. Therefore, we are here to assume the role of Wrestling Nostradamus as we make a few predictions for the new year. Will the product improve or will it continue to struggle? Can it be pulled from the quicksand and made into something grand once again? Well, don't expect too much out of 2016 as in all likelihood the product will remain as is stands: mediocrity laced with a few moments of brilliance.
Nevertheless, there remains certain aspects of WWE that will continue to entertain fans next year. Meanwhile, there will be much more that infuriates the fans throughout the year as such is the reality of WWE. Either way, the only thing left to do is sit back and wait and watch and hope to find someone or something to latch onto moving forward. With twelve months ahead there is no telling exactly what will happen. However, we will take a few stabs at it in this piece.
These are the top 15 predictions for WWE in 2016:
15 WrestleMania Will Live Up to the Hype
There is always a massive buzz surrounding WrestleMania as the biggest WWE event of the year captures the eyes of millions worldwide. The die-hard fans, the casual fans, and even those not particularly attached to WWE. WrestleMania is a spectacle.
Over the years, the event has both captivated and disappointed as sometimes WrestleMania fails to live up to the hype. However, with WrestleMania taking place at AT&T Stadium next year, the event is bound to make history.
This WrestleMania is set to hold the largest live audience in its history. Therefore, WWE will definitely pull out all the stops to make it great.
14 Bad Gimmicks Will Continue
Bad gimmicks are going to happen every single year in WWE. However, in recent memory, there has been an influx of these gimmicks as the product borders on the awful scene of the early '90s.
This was a time of garbage men, plumbers, and clowns and while WWE has not reached that point again, their gimmick creating ability has been proving to feel reminiscent of this terrible time.
Expect more bad gimmicks to come along in 2016; those that will cause you to shake your head and question your life choices.
13 Tag Team Division on the Rise
The match of the night at the recent TLC event belonged to The New Day, Lucha Dragons, and The Usos who all did battle in a Triple Threat Ladder match for the WWE Tag Team Championship.
With this stellar match, a breath of new life has been exhaled into the tag team division heading into the new year as the possibility of once again having an exciting crop of tag teams competing in WWE is real.
In the new year, the tag team division could continue to rise as long as interest is not lost backstage.
12 Jeff Hardy Comeback
For some reason there are those who stand against bringing Jeff Hardy back to WWE. This is a shame. Sure, Hardy has had his problems while working with the company but what's life without redemption?
Jeff Hardy is no longer the young, rock star-like Superstar he was in the past. Hardy has settled into the aged rocker role but there is still appeal.
Jeff Hardy could provide a springboard for upstart talent and serve as a companion Superstar.
11 Kurt Angle Comeback
Kurt Angle belongs in WWE and should come to terms with the company on some sort of deal in 2016. Will he wrestle? Hopefully at least one more match and one last moment in the spotlight before calling it a career.
However, Kurt Angle has also expressed interest in working as a coach in NXT. Such a situation should have any NXT hopefuls elated. Angle is a wrestler through-and-through and could help shape these kids into better performers.
Keep and eye out for Kurt Angle as the former six-time World Champion (in WWE) can arrive at any moment next year.
10 Dire Times Again for the Divas
"The Divas Revolution" started with a bang, having wrestling fans who actually believed in giving the women a chance were excited to see the new direction in which the division was heading.
Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, and Charlotte were brought up from NXT to revitalize the division and for a while it felt as though something great was on the horizon. Then reality kicked fans in the back of the head.
The "revolution" has been far from groundbreaking. The best women's matches of 2015 happened in NXT while things have felt forced on the WWE side.
9 Bray Wyatt Will Continue to be Misused
On the recent Stone Cold Podcast with guest Shawn Michaels, "The Heartbreak Kid" called Bray Wyatt "The Undertaker of this generation." What a great compliment for one to receive.
However, Bray Wyatt has been mismanaged and misused since his arrival in WWE. Wyatt is the most captivating character on the current roster but is consistently overlooked and left out of main event pictures.
Bray Wyatt and his family will continue to roll in the new year but "The Eater of Worlds" will continue to dine at the mid-card table.
8 Kevin Owens Will Receive a Main Event Push
Kevin Owens has all the necessary components to compete at the main event level in WWE. In fact, Owens is better than everybody else currently involved with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
In 2016, Kevin Owens will likely find his way into the main event at some point. However, don't get too far ahead of yourself, as that may be all. Including Owens in the main event does not mean he will win anything along the way.
One scenario that could play out in the new year could have Kevin Owens winning the next Money in the Bank briefcase.
7 Daniel Bryan Comeback
In the hearts and minds of many WWE fans, Daniel Bryan remains a fixture. Bryan has endured some hard times over the past few years as injuries have plagued his career and have resulted in Bryan sitting at home out of action.
In the new year, there is hope for Daniel Bryan; hope that the former WWE World Heavyweight Champion will return to the ring and continue to do what he loves doing: wrestle for the people.
Upon a return, will Daniel Bryan continue to be as popular as he was before? Maybe, maybe not, but either way it will be fun to watch.
6 Roman Reigns Will Fluctuate
Much like 2015, in 2016 Roman Reigns will likely fluctuate on the card. While currently the centrepiece of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship picture, there is a possibility that Reigns will compete in the main event of WrestleMania.
However, Roman Reigns competed in the WrestleMania main event last year only to fall off, rise again, fall off, and then rise again. The fans are with Reigns sometimes and against him at other times and not in the same light as John Cena.
Roman Reigns will continue to grow in the new year but there is still a dimension missing to Reigns' character.
5 NXT: Stuck in Place
In 2015, NXT was at times the hottest topic among the WWE Universe. The product has produced some great competition over the past year as future WWE Superstars were displayed to the audience.
However, the "lighting in a bottle" effect is beginning to wear off as the NXT buzz has lessened. While the product remains solid and the performers continue to flourish, it has seemingly reached top speed.
In 2016, NXT will not get any worse but not much better. Expect the product to remain at its current pace.
4 Problems with Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar has it made in WWE, especially when comparing his contract and circumstances to those of other Superstars. However, there is a loose cannon aspect to Lesnar that appear at any time.
In the past, Brock Lesnar has made it brutally clear that WWE is a paycheck and nothing more. Lesnar doesn't care about the business, the fans, or the past. Lesnar cares about making as much money as possible.
It's been a while since Brock Lesnar and WWE Management have had issues and they're about due for a face-off as Lesnar will find a reason to be difficult.
3 Rumblings of CM Punk
CM Punk is like that stubborn little kid who you have told a million times not to touch the hot stove but he had to anyway. The UFC is Punk's hot stove and once he is burned he will come to his senses.
CM Punk is a wrestler, not a fighter and odds are Punk and WWE will once again work together. Despite all the harsh words and lawsuits, Vince McMahon always overlooks these things in order to bring back a Superstar.
CM Punk may not return in 2016 but the rumblings about a return will begin; not internet rumors, but real rumblings of a Punk return.
2 Seth Rollins Will be Better Than Before
Superstar of the Year, Seth Rollins (once again, disregard anything that happens at the Slammy Awards) brought about a certain level of cool to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship this past year.
When Seth Rollins went down and the title was vacated, an empty feeling was left in the guts of those within the WWE Universe. Rollins was done wrong by unforeseen events, having never lost the title.
Seth Rollins will return in 2016 and Rollins will pick up where he left off in 2015. In fact, expect Rollins to be better than ever before.
1 John Cena Will Match Ric Flair
As an avid Ric Flair fan, one will constantly deny how close John Cena stands to the World Championship record. Cena is one title win away from tying Flair for the most World Championships of all time.
John Cena has not been WWE World Heavyweight Champion for a while now and is certainly due for another reign. In 2016, this will likely happen as Cena will match Ric Flair with sixteen World Championships.
Think about it in WWE terms as they love corny expressions and situation. John Cena winning his sixteenth World Championship in the year 2016. Can you see the shirt?: "16 in '16."
The day is coming.