Top 8 Things That SHOULD Happen In WWE In 2017 And 7 That Shouldn't

The term “Armchair Quarterback” denotes a fan who, from the comfort of his (or her ... but usually his) home yells at the players or coach on his favorite team after they do something wrong. Of course, the fan knows what would have been the right call. This applies to fans of all sports, not just the NFL. But with professional wrestling, it’s a little different. 

Just like fans of legitimate sports, pro wrestling fans love to criticize. But apart from the merciless ECW fans calling attention to a wrestler's mistake, or “botch”, inside the ring, most of this criticism is pointed towards management. Because of course, the outcome of a pro wrestling match is already decided. It’s just that the predetermined decision is so frustratingly frequently the wrong one!

Just like fans of legitimate sports, pro wrestling fans love to criticize. But apart from the merciless ECW fans calling attention to a wrestler's mistake, or “botch”, inside the ring, most of this criticism is pointed towards management. Because of course, the outcome of a pro wrestling match is already decided. It’s just that the predetermined decision is so frustratingly frequently the wrong one!

But with a new year comes new hopes. Maybe this will be the year that Vince McMahon and co. get it all right. To be fair, they got a lot right in 2016. But they also got a fair bit wrong. It can be tough to look ahead and figure out what fans want. And of course, it’s often worse still when you try to tell the fans what they want. And looking at where the characters are right now and how things are building, we all have an idea of some the things that might happen. So here are eight things that should happen in the WWE, and seven that should (definitely) not happen in 2017.

15 Should Happen: Goldberg Challenges for the Title

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Bill Goldberg is the newest old name to pop back into the WWE via the 2K video game path. The crowd still remembers him and he’s been delivering unusually good promos (at least when he doesn’t smash his head against a door before entering the ring). All this led the WWE to change their plans and extend Goldberg’s contract beyond one match and they booked him to squash Lesnar at Survivor Series. At 50 years old, Bill Goldberg is no spring chicken, so they can’t have too many long term plans for him. But he is still in great shape. The story of him going for one last title run would be a compelling one.

Presumably, he’s still set to face Lesnar at WrestleMania, so for that to be a Universal Title match would take some rearranging. But if not at ‘Mania, perhaps afterward. Whether or not Goldberg actually wins the title is another question. But the WWE building up to one last title match for the beloved veteran would be a great story.

14 Shouldn’t Happen: Braun Strowman vs. The Undertaker

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Speaking of non-spring chickens, The Undertaker turns 52 this year, and though still in impressive shape, has had more than his fair share of bumps and bruises. You could argue The Deadman hasn’t had a great match in almost four years. But he’s still a revered legend and savvy veteran, so if put against the right opponent, ‘Taker could surely deliver. Braun Strowman is not the right opponent, though. When ‘Taker appeared on RAW recently, the camera cut away to shot of Strowman watching his entrance in the back. Let’s all hope that was just misdirection. The last thing ‘Taker needs at his age is a return to the Giant Gonzalez and King Kong Bundy type of opponent. To be fair to Braun, he’s better than those two, and is improving. But he’s still too green to be in there with The Deadman.

13 Should Happen: Introducing a Weekly UK Show

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While it was geared to a more hardcore audience, anybody who saw the two-day special WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament surely came away satisfied. The show featured drama, strong storytelling, and good wrestling. The tournament showcased several standout wrestlers including the high-flying and tv-savvy Mark Andrews, the charismatic heel Pete Dunne, and the eventual champion, the charming 19-year old Tyler Bate. Given that Bate won a championship belt and not a trophy suggests the WWE has future plans for the division.

Triple H said that the ultimate goal was to start something of a UK territory, and seeing as how they’re always looking for new content for the WWE Network, a weekly UK show makes sense. There have been some rumblings of the Network airing Progress Wrestling and/or Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW), so just what this weekly UK show would look like remains a mystery. Let’s just hope it’s better than 205 Live. (More on that later.)

12 Shouldn’t Happen: Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler Wrestling a Match

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Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler turns 68 years old this year. He hasn’t wrestled a match in the WWE since his cardiac arrest in 2012 and the WWE has phased him off regular TV. So why would the WWE even contemplate putting him in a match? Well, maybe they’re not. But the recent angle shot between Lawler and Dolph Ziggler suggests they might be. The freshly turned heel Ziggler bragged about elbow-dropping ‘The King’ into cardiac arrest in 2012 in a recent segment with Lawler in Memphis. He then superkicked Lawler in the chest, with Lawler selling that he had chest pains before challenging Ziggler to get back into the ring.

Lawler himself probably does want to do a match (he was wearing his wrestling gear during the segment) but let’s hope the WWE thinks better of risking it. Somebody fighting on Lawler’s behalf makes more sense; perhaps Apollo Crews or even JBL who came to Lawler’s aid in Memphis (after hilariously tripping over a cable).

11 Should Happen: The New Day Separating

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The New Day can still amp up most crowds with their high-energy entrance. And they still do possess good comedic timing. But they have had a lot of awful segments over the past year. The time machine segment, the “Old Day” segment, and the recent garbage with Titus O’Neil. It’s tough because most fans still seem to like them and they definitely can be entertaining, but their gimmick is wearing thin and the writers have not been helping them. If they’re still together by the end of the year, it will probably be for the worst. The New Day don’t necessarily need to ‘break-up’ in traditional wrestling style; which is to say they need not turn on each other.

But they should focus on their own goals, particularly Big E. Big E is charismatic, funny, has the well-muscled body Vince McMahon loves, and at 30, he’s still relatively young. Big E definitely has main event potential, but the time to push him as a singles star is sooner rather than later.

10 Shouldn’t Happen: Yet Another Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens Match

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Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens have had more great matches over the years than Emmalina has had “debuting soon” promos. But it needs a rest. The two had what was meant to be their "blow-off" match last summer at Battleground. JBL even said they couldn’t be drafted to the same brand because they hate each other so much. Well, they were drafted to the same brand (RAW) and they had a throwaway match just a few weeks later. And then another one. And then maybe another one? These two wrestling each other unannounced once a month dilutes their once-great rivalry. If they ever face off again it should be years down the line and for the title, not just because RAW needs to fill 15-minutes on any given episode.

9 Should Happen: Reducing the Number of Announcers

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SmackDown now has four announcers. FOUR! To see four announcers call a match between two wrestlers in the ring is ridiculous; it looks like some kind of parody of pro wrestling. Tom Phillips seems to do absolutely nothing but say hello at the beginning of the broadcast. David Otunga has a stilted delivery that makes him sound like a pre-recorded announcer in a video game. JBL shows the odd flash of his old greatness but is generally not very good.

And Mauro Ranallo, a great play-by-play man, is so crowded he only seems to be able to get out cheesy lines about the show being “lit”. And whether it’s SmackDown or RAW, you always have Vince McMahon screaming at them what to say in their headsets. A lot of people hate Michael Cole, but if you saw the WWE UK Tournament, you know how good he can be when he’s left alone. Announcing isn’t that complicated. You get two guys for each show: a play-by-play announcer and a color commentator. Simple.

8 Shouldn’t Happen: Baron Corbin Winning the Title

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Look, male-pattern baldness sucks. It will happen to most men at some point in their lives and when it happens to younger guys in their 20s and 30s it can be very hard on them. And for most men, there's nothing they can do about it. All that said, it’s no excuse for having a gross, disgusting, stringy, greasy, skullet. Honestly, Baron Corbin seems to lose more hair every week. Just shave your head, dude! Beyond his awful hair, Corbin has other problems. He’s still developing his in-ring skills and while his segments on Talking Smack are engaging, when he’s delivering scripted lines on SmackDown he sounds unnatural and uncomfortable. Maybe in a year or two he’ll be ready, but he’d have to make remarkably quick progress to be a good WWE Champion this year.

7 Should Happen: Moving 205 Live to a Different Night

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When the Cruiserweight Classic (CWC) debuted this past summer, audiences on the WWE Network were in enraptured. It was the best portrayal of smaller wrestlers the WWE has ever provided. Not only were the cruiserweights allowed to do all their crazy, high-flying stunts, but they were also permitted to work a number of different styles, including technical wrestling and strike-based offense. The most important aspect though was that wins and losses actually mattered, something that is sorely missing from the rest of WWE. And it’s sorely missing from 205 Live. The weekly cruiserweight show features wrestlers with very little backstory competing against each other in toned-down matches with nothing at stake. Yawn.

The worst part is that it’s on right after SmackDown. Many people in the SmackDown audience leave when 205 Live starts and the scheduling of it also pushes back Talking Smack to 11 PM (ET) on Tuesdays, which has hurt its numbers. The WWE should tape 205 Live before SmackDown and air it Wednesday nights after NXT. Call it “205 Now”. Or heck, keep the name and just lie about it being live. Just do something with it.

6 Shouldn’t Happen: Another ‘Distraction Finish’. Ever.

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You’re all familiar with the "distraction finish". It is arguably the worst part of WWE today. The distraction finish occurs when Wrestler A is fighting Wrestler B. Then, all of a sudden, Wrestler C’s music hits. Wrestler A becomes transfixed by this and just stares at the entrance, presumably thinking, “My god! Somebody’s music is playing! What is happening?!” Sometimes Wrestler C comes down the aisle, sometimes he doesn’t even show up. Invariably, Wrestler B then hits Wrestler A with his finisher or a roll-up and pins him.

This makes Wrestler A look like a complete freaking idiot and also makes no sense. Why would the production team just play some other dude’s music? Pro wrestling is best when it resembles real sport. Remember the time in the UFC that Conor McGregor was fighting Eddie Alvarez and Nate Diaz’s music played and he ran down to the Octagon?...Of course you don’t! That would never happen! And it shouldn’t happen in the WWE.

5 Should Happen: Undertaker Retiring

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Okay, I know I’ll ruffle a few feathers with this one. The Undertaker is the most respected and admired active pro wrestler in the WWE. But unlike his character, Mark Calaway does age. He turns 52 years old this year and his body has been through a lot. And honestly, has The Undertaker really been special since the streak was broken at WrestleMania XXX? Sure, that brawl he had with Brock Lesnar on RAW in the summer of 2015 was great, but none of his matches with Brock have been anything special. Ditto for his matches with Bray. And the less said about Shane McMahon, the better. There are still a few matches ‘Taker could have that would be intriguing: against John Cena, AJ Styles, or Finn Balor, for example. But maybe it would be best if the WWE promoted Undertaker’s final match this year, perhaps at Survivor Series where he debuted all those many years ago, would be a befitting end to The Deadman’s career. Let us remember him at his peak, not as a broken down and limited old man.

4 Shouldn’t Happen: John Cena Breaking Ric Flair’s Title Record

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First, let’s state that, however you feel about Ric Flair and his career, his 16-time World Champion record is not sacrosanct. It’s not necessarily even true. His number of title reigns could be higher depending on how you estimate the legitimacy of some NWA title matches back in the 1980s. But in the canon of WWE, Flair’s record is 16. And John Cena has now tied him at 16. Some people are repulsed by Cena catching up to Flair. Others are excited. However you feel, most agree that the narrative should be a big deal.

So Cena, has tied it now and it was in dramatic fashion against AJ Styles at the Royal Rumble. Fine. But to break it? That would take some juggling of the title. Cena is definitely laying the groundwork for a life after wrestling, but he’s only 39. He could still be having matches years from now. So there’s no need to rush this. Cena trying to break the record at a future WrestleMania would be a great story, but to do it this year would be rushing it.

3 Should Happen: A Number of NXT Call-ups

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Ostensibly, NXT is a developmental territory. But Triple H is trying to make it into a third, touring brand of WWE. And he’s been pretty successful at it. The level of wrestling and storytelling is frequently superior to that of the main roster. But they still run smaller venues and tour less frequently. Because they want to keep NXT strong, they often keep big names down there far longer than necessary. Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura never needed to be down there in the first place and they could definitely help a main roster that’s trying to fill five hours a week of TV.

Joe seems poised to come up soon. But Triple H might be tempted keep NXT Champion Nakamura down there for the year, to help the brand. The same applies to Asuka, who has cleaned out the women’s division. And the truth is, it’s a waste. Two-time NXT Tag Champs The Revival are also ready to come up. And, assuming they’re not saving him for an NXT title reign, Tye Dillinger should be brought up while he’s still hot.

2 Shouldn’t Happen: AJ Styles vs. Shane McMahon

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AJ Styles’ first year in the WWE has been a smashing success. Fans who saw him in TNA or New Japan Pro Wrestling already knew he was a great worker. But AJ has surprised even his most ardent fans with heretofore unseen great promos. His reign as WWE Champion and his feud with John Cena have been captivating. But now Styles doesn't have the title. That’s because AJ Styles is, apparently, set to face off against 47-year-old non-wrestler, Shane McMahon at WrestleMania.

Do you remember Shane’s match against The Undertaker at WrestleMania 32? Not the crazy jump off the cell Shane was allowed to do, but the actual match? The answer is probably, “no”, you don’t remember. Because for 20 minutes fans yawned while watching Shane deliver awful punches and go 50/50 with The Undertaker. Can AJ Styles get a good match out of Shane? Probably. AJ Styles could probably get a good match out of The Iron Sheik right now. And Sheikie is 74. But AJ deserves better than to be saddled with Shane.

1 Should Happen: Roman Reigns Turning Heel

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In the 2nd century BCE, Roman Senator Cato the Elder ended every speech in the Senate with, “Carthago delenda est” (“Carthage must be destroyed”.) Cato felt the issue was so pressing that he would always bring up Carthage no matter the topic. And so too has it been with WWE fans over the past couple years, except it’s not the ancient Roman Senate with which they’re concerned, but Roman Reigns.

Apart from a few gullible children and some young women who find him attractive, pretty much everybody hates the Roman Reigns character. Except for Vince McMahon, who absolutely loves him. And the more Vince pushes Roman, the more the fans rebel. Roman’s character is so superficial, his scripted lines are so artificial, and his "comeback spots" in matches are so stilted, that fans can’t help but detest him. So why fight it? Vince has tried for two successive Manias to make Roman the top babyface and both times has failed. The fans already hate him, and you know Reigns has a great heel promo in him. So therefore, I conclude that Roman Reigns must turn heel.

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