Every wrestling fan knows that when they buy a ticket for a wrestling event the card can be “subject to change.” Well, the future plans of WWE are no different. In the past, Vince McMahon has shown his short attention span and has soured on certain superstars in the middle of a push, causing storylines to change. Additionally, injuries can derail planned feuds or superstars who become glowing red hot can set up an unexpected push, altering long-term plans as well. With storylines constantly in motion, fans anxiously wonder which direction WWE will pull them next. Because of this anxiety, many fans look for any information on where the company may be going. While these are only rumors, some of the information WWE fans have uncovered is not encouraging.
With 2019 on the horizon, and WrestleMania season approaching, reports have circulated the internet, from character changes, to major programming changes, to main event pushes, to retirement speculation, to WWE returns and debuts. While WWE definitely has room for improvement, many of the reports surrounding WWE are met with even more reprehension. Fans are weary of unwanted pushes for undesired superstars, title changes involving their favorite superstars or potential WrestleMania match-ups that no one wants to see.
However, the reports are not all negative. Future prospective pushes of Seth Rollins, Becky Lynch and Drew McIntyre are met with praise. Wrestling fans are just hoping that the positive changes aren’t overshadowed by the negatives reported to come along with them. Here are just 20 reports that we hope aren’t true for 2019.
20 Shane McMahon’s Character Change
There have been many reports surrounding Shane McMahon, and the role he’s going to play moving forward as SmackDown Commissioner and as a competitor. He’s almost guaranteed to have a match at WrestleMania, and stories have circulated that a major character change may be coming for Shane-O-Mac.
But is a change to Shane really necessary? There were reports of a heel turn and a match with Daniel Bryan, playing off the WWE “World Cup” victory for Shane, but with Bryan suddenly turning heel, Shane may remain a babyface. There’s still a chance Shane could turn and face Kurt Angle, but why is WWE so focused on Shane anyway? There are plenty of prevalent superstars that need a change and some development more than the “Boy Wonder.”
19 Charlotte Inserted Into A Ronda Rousey/Becky Lynch Match
There could be an argument made that Becky Lynch is the most over superstar in WWE, male or female. Becky got over with the crowd naturally, and, despite being booked as a heel, Becky is getting immense crowd support. Gasoline was poured on Becky’s red hot momentum when Nia Jax broke Becky’s nose and forced a cancellation of the hyped Becky Lynch/Ronda Rousey match scheduled for Survivor Series.
It’s a forgone conclusion that Becky Lynch will face Nia Jax and Ronda Rousey down the line. Unfortunately, reports have hinted at Charlotte being possibly inserted into a potential Lynch/Rousey match at WrestleMania 35. The reports were met with groans by fans who feel that inserting Charlotte is completely unnecessary and will only take the spotlight off “The Man.”
18 Becky Dropping The Title
With plans for the Women’s Division still mostly up in the air, there’s a lot of speculation to WrestleMania involving both the Raw and SmackDown Women’s Titles. This includes plans for who will win the second ever Women’s Royal Rumble match. Becky is the front runner for a big WrestleMania women’s match, but it has been reported that Becky may not be the champ heading into that match.
Becky just won the SmackDown Women’s Title and for her to just drop it back to Charlotte (presumably) just doesn’t sit well with Becky’s supporters. There could be a silver lining, with Becky winning the Women’s Royal Rumble and then challenging Ronda Rousey (or Nia) for the Raw Women’s Title. However, Becky dropping her title feels like a step backwards after scratching and clawing to win it in the first place.
17 Horsewomen Versus Horsewomen Feud
Reports of a Four Horsewomen of the WWE (Charlotte, Becky, Sasha and Bayley) versus The Four Horsewomen of the UFC (Ronda Rousey, Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir) died down a bit. However, Twitter interactions between Becky, Charlotte, Rousey and Baszler have reignited the discussion.
In addition to her tweets, Charlotte’s match, beatdown and continued promos on Rousey all indicate that the Charlotte/Ronda Rousey feud is far from over. However, Becky is still owed a match with the “Baddest Women on the Planet.” With Charlotte and Becky on the same page against Ronda at least, this may set up a Horsewomen vs Horsewomen feud. However, no one is really clamoring for this feud. This is Becky’s time, and her momentum doesn’t need to be hindered with a stable war that will only put over Ronda Rousey.
16 Charlotte’s Revitalized Push
After Charlotte’s beatdown of Ronda Rousey after their match at Survivor Series, WWE officials are looking to return Charlotte back to prominence. Charlotte has been knocked off her throne lately thanks to Becky, but officials seem intent on making Charlotte look strong once again. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, but how many opportunities can Charlotte continue to receive while the rest of the division remains static?
“The Queen” has been the center of every brand she’s been on. She’s a seven-time Women’s Champion, ended Asuka undefeated streak, and is still the focal point of current and future feuds. Charlotte should be a big part of WWE, but how about having some big plans for Asuka, Sasha Banks or Bayley for a change? For Charlotte, there are always future plans, but for everyone else, creative has nothing for them.
15 The Miz Versus Daniel Bryan At WrestleMania 35
For much of 2018, a Daniel Bryan versus The Miz match at WrestleMania was virtually set in stone. This match really isn’t anything new as both have worked with each other multiple times in the past. Although Miz and Bryan work well together and have good chemistry, a WrestleMania match between them isn’t “must see” television. This doesn't even cover the recent events that have certainly complicated this proposed match even further.
This match could have involved the WWE Title and been a huge match for both Bryan and Miz. However, with Bryan turning heel, a heel Miz versus a heel Bryan makes no sense. WWE could turn Miz babyface, but that would be as as wrong for The Miz as it was the first time. Hopefully, Miz gets a WWE Title run, but this match, at this time, isn’t the way to do it.
14 Roman Reigns’ Condition Used In Storylines
WWE fans finally heard some good news. WrestleMania plans have recently penciled in Brock Lesnar versus Seth Rollins for the Universal Title. No Raw superstar deserves it more than Rollins, and if the “Kingslayer” can slay “The Beast”, that would only bolster Rollins’ credibility even further.
There is a downside to this potential WrestleMania match-up, however. While Shield member Rollins is battling “The Beast,” reports have it that Rollins’ Shield brother, Roman Reigns, and his battle with leukemia, will be inserted into the storyline. To exploit “The Big Dog’s” real battle with a serious illness is pretty low at best.
13 Braun Strowman Versus Brock Lesnar (Again)
With Roman Reigns fighting leukemia, and Rollins planned to fight “The Beast”, is there any reason at all for this match? Despite Strowman’s elbow surgery, “he's still slated to face Lesnar at the Royal Rumble, but no outcome to that match will be beneficial to Strowman.
Strowman is already damaged goods, after WWE failed to pull the trigger on Braun earlier in the year. Even if Strowman wins the title against Brock (he won’t), beating Lesnar once out of their three meetings still doesn’t look very good any way you slice it. Both previous Lesnar versus Strowman matches were boring, and WWE will be hard pressed to find anyone interested in seeing that match again, especially since it’ll most likely result in yet another Strowman loss.
12 Chris Jericho Staying Away From WWE
Chris Jericho is one of the hottest free agents on the market right now. He crushed his last run in WWE, and now he’s lighting the indies on fire. Y2J is looking to continue his Jericho Cruise and make future appearances with New Japan, but unfortunately, a full-time Jericho return to WWE seems highly unlikely at this point.
WWE fans would love to see Jericho return, especially with his newfound persona, but speculation of a Y2J return to WWE on a regular basis was recently shot down, much to the chagrin of Jerichoholics everywhere. With multiple offers from ROH, NJPW and even Impact, and the success of his cruise, Jericho working a regular schedule with WWE simply isn’t possible at the moment.
11 The Elite Debuting In WWE
Like Jericho, it’s arguable that Cody Rhodes is a bigger star after leaving WWE than he was when he was there. Rhodes, Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks, collectively known as The Elite, are some of the hottest free-agents-to-be in all of pro-wrestling. They’ve created a “renaissance” on the indies and have definitely caught the eye of WWE. However, The Elite debuting in WWE wouldn’t be “best for business” for professional wrestling as a whole.
Though WWE would throw massive amounts of money their way, it’s likely The Elite would be watered down just like WWE’s NXT call-ups. With The Elite dishing out their best work and even considering starting their own wrestling promotion, wrestling could be heading to a new era, but all that would be crushed if The Elite signs with McMahonland.
10 Tommaso Ciampa’s Call-up
Speaking of NXT call-ups, reports have it that Lars Sullivan is on the verge of making his way to the main roster. While Sullivan’s rise to Raw or SmackDown might actually suit him, one call-up WWE fans are leery of is Tommaso Ciampa.
Ciampa is considered one of the better heels in the entire WWE company. Unfortunately, WWE has an absolutely laughable record for protecting their NXT call-ups. Bobby Roode, Shinsuke Nakamura, Asuka, Bayley, Ember Moon, Samoa Joe, etc, all these former NXT Champions have been wasted since their arrival to the main rosters. If this track record is any indication, Tommaso Ciampa is in big trouble. Hopefully, he stays in NXT because retaining his credibility and brilliant heel work is going to be a tall order on a crowded Raw or Smackdown roster.
9 Styles Working A Lighter Schedule
While this is purely for selfish reasons, fans are definitely hoping AJ Styles isn’t going to be working a reduced schedule in the near future. The Phenomenal One is hoping to work less WWE dates to spend more time with his family, and it’s hard to say he doesn’t deserve it. He has carried SmackDown on his back for over two years and has consistently performed at a high level. It’s because AJ is so good that fans might be a little upset that they could be seeing less of him.
A lighter workload by no means indicates that he’ll be working a Brock Lesnar-type schedule and it may even help his longevity with the company. Fans definitely don’t want to see a “part-time” Styles, nor would they like a lighter schedule affecting Styles’ championship opportunities. Hopefully, AJ’s new contract gives Styles a softer schedule while retaining continued prominence in WWE to keep his fans happy.
8 In-Ring Futures In Doubt
With Paige’s career ending injury still fresh on everyone’s mind, at the moment there is a string of current superstars whose careers are in question either due to illness or injury. Roman Reigns is out due to illness, and fans hope to see Reigns beat this disease and return. Meanwhile, Jason Jordan has remained on the shelf following a neck injury that has been discovered to be more serious than originally believed. Now, his career as an in-ring performer is up in the air as well.
With Alexa Bliss and Matt Hardy hurt, reports spread that their careers could be over. Bliss sustained multiple concussions in a short time, while Matt Hardy is still dealing with several injuries which includes his pelvis being fused to his spine. Bliss and Hardy have dispelled those reports on social media to fans’ relief. However, until they actually return to the ring, their status still remains unknown in the eyes of WWE fans.
7 Push For Apollo Crews
While no one can deny Apollo Crews is one of the most talented wrestlers in WWE, fans are split on whether he deserves another push. Breaking away from Titus Worldwide will probably do him wonders, but talent in the ring will only get Crews so far with an audience. Sadly, as of right now, there’s just no reason to reward Apollo with another attempted push.
Simply put, Crews isn’t over. He’s got all the tools, but he’s not connecting with the crowd. He has no engaging storylines going for him, no catchphrases of his own and no big captivating feuds. The only time he was remotely interesting was during a possible angle with Dana Brooke which was dropped. Maybe Crews should go back to NXT, but if nothing else, give the guy something that can help him connect to the audience or else his push will crash and burn just like last time.
6 Conor McGregor Signing with WWE
After his loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229, Conor McGregor may be taking a hiatus from UFC and could be eyeing WWE. WWE is certainly eyeing him and this comes after McGregor’s negative comments towards the company, and its roster. Still, a deal between McGregor and WWE continues to be a hot topic, especially with Becky Lynch and Paul Heyman fanning the flames.
Becky Lynch has been lighting Twitter on fire, and a recent tweet proposed an alliance with McGregor. Heyman has even commented on McGregor, offering to “advocate” for him. While McGregor can rile UFC and wrestling fans alike, WWE really doesn’t need another superstar with no pro-wrestling experience taking the spotlight off more developed wrestlers. McGregor in WWE would generate a buzz, but it would also likely be a colossal mistake as well.
5 Hulk Hogan & An nWo Return
Hulk Hogan has been hinting at a return to WWE for months, and WWE quietly reinstated his Hall of Fame status. During their Crown Jewel event, WWE pulled the trigger on Hogan’s return, and the “Immortal One” stepped foot in a WWE ring for the first time since 2015.
Prior to Hogan hosting Crown Jewel, Hogan teased an nWo return and even had a Q&A session with his nWo brothers, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. Hogan furthered speculation of an nWo return and alluded to a feud with The Shield. While that feud is definitely not happening, fan reaction to an nWo return has been quite mixed. Despite the nostalgia behind an nWo return, most fans feel Hogan, Hall and Nash are just too old to have a place in the current product. WWE needs fresh ideas, not a rehashing of storylines twenty years old.
4 Undertaker Versus John Cena (Again)
While you can’t see him now, John Cena may be returning to WWE sooner than later. Cena is set to return for WWE house shows during the holidays, possibly setting up a televised return for WrestleMania season. Cena returning is definitely not a bad thing, but rumors have hinted at Cena continuing his feud from last WrestleMania with The Undertaker.
The Undertaker refuses to rest in peace and has made returns to Crown Jewel, Super Showdown as well as WrestleMania this year. While Undertaker and John Cena should have feuded years ago, with Cena full-time and the streak intact, there is no desire to see this match today. Their “match” at WrestleMania 34 was a joke and to think anyone wants more of this feud is completely out of touch. This dream scenario has come and gone and should stay buried following last year’s debacle.
3 Secondary Women’s Belt
The Women’s Evolution is still in full swing, and continues to set “firsts” for the Women’s Division, including the first ever WWE all women’s pay per view known as Evolution. After the success of Evolution, many fans are wondering what’s next for the Women’s Division. Apparently, the answer is more titles.
WWE is spreading feelers for WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles, but fans were sold on Women’s Tag Team Titles long ago. However, with Women’s Championships on Raw, SmackDown and NXT (two if you count the NXT UK Women’s Championship), are more singles titles really needed for the Women’s Division? If WWE wasn’t so adamant about having only one or two superstars constantly on top, i.e. Ronda and Charlotte, there’d be no need for secondary women’s titles in the first place. WWE needs to create more stars, not more belts.
2 Cross-Promotion FOX’s Sports Programming Block
WWE recently signed a lucrative deal with FOX that will keep WWE even wealthier while also bringing some big changes to their SmackDown programming. Some of these proposed changes are potentially good ones which will apparently include more focus on sports and less on cheesy comedy skits.
However, not all of these changes look promising. With this new contract with FOX, WWE will be encouraged, if not forced, to promote FOX’s sports programming block on WWE programming. This could mean idiotic guest hosts featuring sports personalities or pointless angles involving former or current athletes to help promote FOX’s others sports shows. Fans are pretty skeptical when it comes to celebrity involvement, especially considering segments with Shaquille O’Neal, Floyd Mayweather or Ben Roethlisberger haven’t exactly been the best received.
1 Ending Roster Split For FOX
With WWE’s huge deal with FOX Sports, reports circulated that the brand split would come to an end sometime in 2019. The report made sense considering FOX has a wider audience than the USA Network, and WWE could promote more of their high profile superstars to FOX’s wider audience. Although, “plans could change,” FOX is apparently against the idea of ending the split.
FOX definitely doesn’t want superstars promoted on FOX appearing on their rival network, USA, for RAW, so it makes sense that FOX would be against ending the brand split. That’s good news for fans who want to see the split continue and see more variety across all WWE programming. Let’s just hope Vince McMahon agrees.