Wrestling is a sport where plans can change in an instant, whether it be because of injuries, opportunities, or accidents. It is up to a wrestling company to either change with the times, or fall by the wayside while others succeed. WWE in particular has never been a wrestling organization that has shied away from embracing the change in their company.
During the 1980s Vince McMahon changed the way that professional wrestling was structured, leaving fairgrounds behind in favor of arenas. The 1990s ushered in a change that reflected the social commentary of pop culture, utilizing an over the top attitude in their presentation and characters. Currently we are moving into a more “reality” driven change in wrestling, one where Twitter, SnapChat and other social media outlets dictate the character traits of wrestlers and WWE as a whole; but what is next?
If you look back at all those different generations of the WWE, each decade is radically different that the previous, and its successor. With Triple H seemingly taking the helm as the leader of the WWE, we can only predict that the WWE will be much different by the year 2020.
Today we will take a shot at 15 predictions of where the WWE will be in the next five years. Some of the guesses will take place within the gap of now and five years from now, but it is important to mention those things, as they will dictate the direction of the company. Along with our general predictions, we have included one bold prediction that will make a specific claim in regards to the entry it is associated with. Just as a small spoiler alert, one of these entries is extremely morbid, but it is a situation that we will eventually have to deal with as fans of the WWE.
Take all of these predictions with a grain of salt, as we are making long range hypothetical guesses about an industry that can change in the blink of an eye. As always let us know what you think of our predictions in the comments below.
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17 Shane McMahon will be back
With the recent news that WWE will be releasing a Shane McMahon DVD, speculation has risen to whether or not the Boy Wonder will return to the company that made him famous. There are two driving forces in this theory, first, McMahon stepped down as CEO for his company You On Demand in 2010. Stepping down wouldn’t be that big of a deal, if we didn’t know that Stephanie McMahon recently sold a large amount of stocks in WWE. The conspiracy theorists suggest that the buyer of Stephanie's stock was Shane, and he plans on making a full return to the WWE in the next year.
Bold Prediction: Shane will not only be back in the company, but within five years, he will have more control in the company than Triple H.
16 Cena will go to Hollywood
John Cena has given his all to the WWE for nearly 15 years, and people have noticed. Besides just working in the ring, Cena has starred in multiple WWE Films productions, which have always done fairly well in DVD sales. Cena has parlayed his WWE Films career into bit roles in 2015’s Trainwreck and Sisters; with both movies giving him rave reviews.
It is only a matter of time before Cena, who is pushing 40, capitalizes on his current stock in Hollywood, and becomes a part timer in WWE. Safe to say, Cena won’t leave the company hanging without a top star, and will most likely be a part timer in the next five years. Hogan went Hollywood, Rock Went Hollywood, Cena will go Hollywood.
Bold Prediction: Cena will obtain a regular role on a major television show that has nothing to do with wrestling, and will make a few yearly appearances on Raw.
15 The Attitude Era will be Gone
There are only a few Attitude Era stars left, with Kane, Big Show, Mark Henry, The Dudley Boyz, and a handful of part timers currently on roster. In five years, it’s hard to imagine any of the people mentioned above still wrestling in the WWE, unless it is some sort of nostalgia match. Perhaps some of these guys could be managers, but realistically the three big guys mentioned would be too large to be a traditional manager for anyone on roster. In five years, and maybe before that, the roster will only consist of new blood.
Bold Prediction: WWE will purge their talent, leaving no one on the roster who was employed before 2004 by 2020.
14 NXT will replace Smackdown as no.2 show
Way back in the early 2000s, Smackdown used to be better than Raw, but those days are long gone. Now Smackdown is barely holding on as WWE’s secondary show, with the time and channel changing every few years. To reduce the exposure of the main event level stars, WWE will most likely scrap Smackdown, and replace it with the highly successful NXT. Maybe the NXT show won’t air in its current Takeover newtwork special style, but it will be the breeding ground for future Raw Superstars.
Bold Prediction: NXT will air on Thursdays on the USA network and will beat Raw in the ratings every week.
13 Pay Per Views Will Take Place Overseas
WWE has been trying to extend their reach to an overseas market more and more over the past few years. While they have always run tours in Europe, the WWE has rarely had any major recurring pay per views take place outside of North America.
WWE took a bold step this year by live streaming their first ever WWE Network event in Tokyo, Japan, which was headlined by Brock Lesnar. Knowing the market share that they can gain from international fans, WWE will continue to put on major shows all over the world, taking advantage of massive stadiums around the globe.
Bold Prediction: WrestleMania will take place overseas by the year 2020.
11 Daniel Bryan will Retire
Daniel Bryan is gonna need one heck of a neck surgery if he ever wants to compete at a high level again. We see Bryan coming back for one more run, and being injured shortly after - effectively ending his in-ring career. With that being said, his passion for the business will most likely keep him with the WWE in a different role depending on his health. While an agent for the company would make the most sense, we see Bryan as more of an on screen personality, capitalizing on his fan support.
Bold Prediction: In 2020 Daniel Bryan will be a full time commentator for the WWE, similar to Macho Man Randy Savage in 1993.
10 The Roster Will be Dominated by NXT Alumni
Earlier we talked about how there will be no Attitude Era Alumni left in the WWE in five years, and we stand by that, but additionally most of the roster will be comprised of NXT Alumni. Right now a good bit of the roster is still pulled from the traditional feeder systems of OVW, FCW, and various other promotions all over the country. Besides a few top stars who transcend their eras, don’t expect to see much of the WWE 2k16 roster in 2020.
Bold Prediction: The WWE Roster will consist of 90% NXT Alumni by 2020.
8 Roman Reigns will leave wrestling
So many people say that the WWE is trying to make Roman Reigns into the next John Cena, which may be true, but that isn’t what is going to happen. While Reigns will emerge as a main event Superstar, he will be more akin to Batista than John Cena.
Around 2017 Reigns will be a multiple time WWE Champion, but will pursue other interests as his fame increases. Specifically Roman will get into movies and television after only spending a few years headlining the business, and will never look back.
Cena is an exception to the rule in wrestling. How many guys have really been on top of the business for over five years? As great as The Rock and Austin were, their runs on top didn't exceed five years. Hogan was one, but do you really think Reigns is another Hogan?
Bold Prediction: Reigns will headline WrestleMania 32,and 33 before leaving the company by 2019.
7 Big E Will be the First African American WWE Champion
Big E has proven himself to have more of a personality than anyone could have expected since joining his New Day teammates. The Unicorn has always had the look that WWE desires for in their main event talent, but the company could never find the right spot for the former powerlifting champion. After a successful run with The New Day, Big E will emerge on his own and dominate the upper card ranks for a few years, and will become the first ever African American WWE Champion.
Before the comments get nasty, remember that The Rock is only half black, and whenever his race is mentioned, emphasis is put on his Samoan heritage. Also WWE Champion is different from World Heavyweight Champion, so Booker T doesn’t count either.
Bold Prediction: Big E will fill the spot of Randy Orton in the main event picture over the next five years.
6 CM Punk Will Return
While it’s yet to be seen whether or not CM Punk will experience success in the UFC as a mixed martial arts fighter, the fact remains that fans want him back in the WWE. The truth is Punk doesn’t even need a long run in the WWE to gain closure to his career, but just one match; a Wrestlemania main event. Punk will return, and finally headline the only show he has ever wanted to close - Wrestlemania, against Triple H in front of a sold out crowd.
Bold Prediction: By 2020 the chants for CM Punk will no longer be around, as he will have given the WWE Universe closure.
5 WWE Will Experience Another Boom
The 5-13 year old demographic that John Cena drew into the WWE since 2006 have all gotten older, and thus the product has gotten less PG. There are still some hints of Saturday morning cartoon in every episode of Raw, but not nearly as much as in previous years. Wrestling will experience another boom as a result of the product being more adult oriented, as well as former fans reaching the most coveted age demographics in the television rating system.
The idea of 18-35 year olds spreading the word of wrestling, as well as new talent putting on great matches will certainly lead to another spike in ratings for the WWE.
Bold Prediction: By 2020 WWE’s Monday Night Raw will beat Monday Night Football in ratings for at least half of the season, NXT will be even higher.
4 Cena Will Be a 20-Time Champion
Before John Cena takes his eventual leap into Hollywood, the 15 time WWE Heavyweight Champion will shatter the record of title reigns held by Ric Flair. It would only make sense to have Cena obliterate Flair’s record of title reigns, and establish 20 as the new number to beat.
Even if John Cena goes part time like we suspect he will, WWE has already established that part timers can win the WWE Title. Additionally Cena has had short title reigns in the past, some as short as 21 days, so it is reasonable to think he has enough time to win the big one five more times.
Bold Prediction: Cena will also break a record for headlining the biggest WrestleMania crowd of all time during one of his Title Reigns.
3 Raw Will Revert to Two Hours
Everyone involved in the creative process of writing Raw has claimed that writing three hours of the show is infinitely harder than writing two hours of it. Suffice to say that with the WWE Network becoming so successful, WWE will not need sponsors in the same capacity as they have in the past.
Having less sponsorship would mean less commercials, which could lead to less hours of Raw on Monday Nights. The shortening of the show would leave main event talents less exposed, especially if Smackdown disappears as we predicted above.
Bold Prediction: Raw will go back to two hours by 2017, and will instantly raise ratings by at least 20%. This will help lead to a boom in popularity for wrestling.
2 The Shield Will Have Main Evented a Wrestlemania
Seth Rollins is a showman, Dean Ambrose is insane, and Roman Reigns can draw money; they will showcase all of these abilities in a WrestleMania Triple Threat main event.
Think about the history between these three guys, and how it could play out over the course of a few months of storylines. Chances are the former Shield members will all be in the main event picture, and it would make perfect sense to have them all fight for the WWE Heavyweight Title.
The match would probably consist of Reigns being double teamed and knocked out of the match early, followed by a great exchange by Ambrose and Rollins, and the match would finish in a Mexican standoff between the three unleashing finishers on each other repeatedly.
Bold Prediction: Dean Ambrose will win this match to become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
1 The WWE Network Will Influence All Media
Though it had some initial hiccups, the WWE Network has proven to be a great success for wrestling fans and the WWE. Never before have fans had such access to relive some of their greatest memories over the years. WWE has managed to execute an independent venture that has resulted in them being awarded multiple titles including the "Over-The-Top Content Service" award.
Other media outlets will learn from the WWE's model, and begin to offer similar services for similar prices. With consumers appetite for streamable content at an all time high, and tolerance for cable companies at an all time low, WWE will pave the way.
Bold Prediction: The WWE Network will increase their customer base by 2020, due to most brands moving to a subscription based model. Additionally all WWE content will be exclusive to the WWE Network.
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