It has become an annual tradition here at TJRWrestling.com as we produce a staff preview column at the start of every year. The premise is simple: our writers offer up some ideas of some wrestling related things that we think may happen in the coming year.
Next Monday January 6th we'll post a 2014 version of this column. For now, though, with just a couple of days left in 2013 I thought it would be a good idea to look back at what we posted back on January 3rd and see how we did.
As you'll see below, some predictions turned out pretty well. Others not so much. It's the wrestling business. You just never know what the powers that be may be thinking.
In 2012 I didn't do very well, so heading into 2013 I went with some predictions that were a little more obvious. You know me from the Raw Deal, Wednesday News Update, PPV Previews & Review, TJR Radio, the Johnny Awards and the "J" in the name of this website.
1. There will be at least four WWE Title changes in 2013
I got that right because there were five. It went from CM Punk to The Rock to John Cena to Daniel Bryan to Randy Orton to Daniel Bryan and back to Randy Orton, who has unified it along with the World Title to create the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. I figured it was likely since there were no WWE title changes in 2012.
2. CM Punk will turn babyface again
In my writeup, I thought that Punk would be revealed as the leader of The Shield and then turn babyface later in the year. Instead, he just turned face after taking some time off after WrestleMania and returning at Payback in Chicago where he was cheered. I was right about that one too.
3. The current NXT performer that will make the biggest impact in 2013 will be Bray Wyatt
I got this one right too. Wyatt was doing a great job at the NXT level that I figured it was only a matter of time until he got called up the main roster. A major feud with Kane followed by his current feud with Daniel Bryan has shown that Wyatt has made a huge impact this year.
4. Raw will continue to be a three hour show
After Raw changed to three hours in the summer of 2012, there were always rumors that it could go back to two hours at some point in 2013. Obviously that didn't happen since it's still a three hour show.
5. John Cena will win the Royal Rumble and the WWE Title at WrestleMania 29
I was right on those predictions too. I know I wasn't going out on too much of a limb there.
I ended up 5 for 5. In 2014 I'll try to make predictions that are a bit less obvious.
Lonestar is our resident NXT reviewer.
1. CM Punk will retire
That didn't happen since Punk is still going strong on WWE television every week. I don't see him as a guy going into his 40s and he's 35 years old now, so he likely has a couple of years left. I'm not sure if his deal that he signed in 2011 was for three years or whether it's longer. Considering he's been arguably the best WWE performer of the last five years I hope he keeps going as long as he can.
2. Adam Cole will either become Ring of Honor World Champion or get signed by the WWE
He won the ROH World Title in September, so he got this prediction right. Is WWE in his future? Probably. He's not there yet, though.
3. Dolph Ziggler’s boyhood dream will come true
Here's what Lonestar wrote: "And by that I mean Ziggler will ride a superkick finisher all the way to a good guy, big deal title run and not necessarily that he’ll slowly lose his hair or develop a massive, crippling drug addiction."
Ziggler didn't win with a superkick, but he did win the World Title and became a babyface in doing so. I say we give him credit for getting it right.
4. Mass releases will come again
It didn't really happen. It's weird that WWE continues to employ so many people that they barely use (JTG, Yoshi Tatsu, Rosa Mendes to name a few), but they're at a point where they can afford to keep people aboard that barely have a role. Most of them work house shows, so it's not like they sit at home doing nothing. Sorry Lonestar, but you got this wrong.
5. The Big Show and Kane won’t retire, if only just to spite me
He got this right because neither man retired. Kane has definitely turned into a part timer because he's in that new Director of Operations role. Show took some time off in the summer and came back as a babyface, but he's still active too.
Lonestar got 3 out of 5 correct.
Steve is our resident banner maker that you see on most TJRWrestling columns.
1. The Miz face turn will fail and he will turn heel again
He got this one right. Miz appears to be back in his heel role although it's not like he's getting a lot of TV time to deliver scathing promos like a heel would. I would consider him a heel, though, so Steve nailed it.
2. Dolph Ziggler will become a top babyface
At the time he was a heel. After he won the World Title he turned face. Is he a top babyface right now? Not really. I'll give it to Steve, though.
3. Brock Lesnar will sign a contract extension for at least another year
Correct. He apparently signed a two years extension in 2013, so he'll be with WWE until at least WrestleMania 32 unless he changes his mind as he's been known to do.
4. Daniel Bryan will once again be a World Champion
He didn’t win the World Title again, but he won the WWE Title. Should we give it to Steve? I'm not sure. This is what Steve wrote: "I think that like Ziggler, Daniel Bryan will capture the World Title again by the end of the year." I'll give him 0.5 of these imaginary points.
5. Natalya will become the top heel in the divas division
He got that one wrong because she's remained a babyface throughout the year and AJ Lee is the top heel diva in the company.
Steve gets 3.5 out of 5.
Jacob doesn't write for us anymore, but he did contribute to this last year so we'll go over his predictions.
1. 2013 will feature a lot of trial and error
It's pretty vague. This is what he said: "I think there will be a lot of new/returning stars showing up, and a lot of other people being given opportunities." I'll give him 0.5 of the imaginary points for that one.
2. Brock Lesnar will stick around for a little while
As previously mentioned, Lesnar signed a contract extension so I'll give this one to him.
3. Tensai and Brodus Clay have a Loser Leaves Town match
That didn't happen. They did have a match on Smackdown recently, though. I feel like the loser for watching it. Was not good.
4. Ric Flair comes out of retirement for ONE MORE MATCH
He did not. That's a good thing for him, but bad for Jacob's prediction.
5. No one will have a life-threatening medical emergency on live television
This one was correct. No medical emergencies on live television like there was in 2012 when Jerry Lawler had a heart attack. I think we can all agree that's a good thing too.
It's a score of 2.5 out of 5 for Jacob.
Mike doesn't write for TJRWrestling anymore, but he does host a TJRSports radio show currently.
1) Dolph Ziggler will win and defend the World Heavyweight Championship
He's right about this one. He didn't defend it that long, but he won it.
2) Kassius Ohno, Paige, Charlotte, Ricky Steamboat, and Bray Wyatt Debut
He named five people and only Bray Wyatt proved to be correct, so I can't give this to him as a correct prediction. Ohno got released and Richie Steamboat is still there despite reports of him being released. Paige and Charlotte are still in NXT although I would expect them to be called up to the main roster in 2014.
3) Chris Jericho & Ric Flair will once again return and put over some young talent
Jericho returned and he put over Fandango at WrestleMania among others, so that part of it is right. Flair returned only briefly as a mentor to Miz. I can't give him credit for that.
4) Rey Mysterio and Big Show (somewhat) retire
Rey was off for most of the year, but he's back now. Big Show has been around for most of the year. This one is incorrect.
5) A former wrestler or current wrestler (let’s hope this doesn’t happen) will die at a young age
I don't think I can give him credit for this one, which is certainly fine with me. Obviously some people in wrestling have passed away. There's nobody that was a prominent name within WWE except Paul Bearer although I wouldn't count that.
Mike Ayers gets 1.5 out of 5.
Brandon is a friend of the site that is the editor of the sports site With Leather (part of the Uproxx network) and writes an outstanding "Best and Worst of Raw" column every week among other things. I asked him to join us, so let's see what he predicted.
1. Sheamus will have a "shocking" heel turn
It didn't happen for him. Perhaps it was in the plans towards the end of the year, but due to his shoulder injury we haven't seen Sheamus on WWE TV for the past four months or so. Perhaps when he returns in 2014 we could see him back as a heel, but in 2013 it didn't happen.
2. Paige will make the main roster/be an Internet darling
Here's another one that didn't happen even though I think it should have. If you're a regular NXT viewer like Brandon or myself you know that she is definitely ready for the big time. I think it's only a matter of time until she's on the main roster. If it's not in the first half of 2014 I'd be very surprised.
3. Honey Boo Boo will emasculate somebody at WrestleMania
Thankfully this is not true. This is my favorite thing ever in terms of being happy about it not being true.
4. John Cena will be Exactly the Goddamn Same through December 2013
True. He got this one right. Cena hasn't changed much in the last year as far as his persona and character are concerned. I'm not sure how many t-shirts he went through this year (five maybe?), but he's still the same John Cena we've come to know in WWE.
5. Evan Bourne will be released at some point in 2013 and start charging local promoters way, way too much for indy dates
Bourne survived another year with WWE despite being on the sidelines with ongoing injuries. I'm actually surprised he's still there, but I would expect back in the ring at some point in the near future. He can't be done forever.
Brandon only got 1 out of 5 predictions correct. Hopefully he doesn't hate us for that!
Andrew writes the Smacking of Smackdown and is part of our PPV preview team. As I said when I posted this earlier in the year, he likes sarcasm, so it wasn't the most serious edition of predictions by him.
1. Since WWE has already shamelessly offended and humiliated women, dwarfs, African Americans, Mexicans, homosexuals, and the mentally handicapped, they will set their sights on degrading another group of people; most likely overweight teenagers or kids with a parent in jail, because that's something assholes in middle school think is funny.
This didn't end up being true. I think that might be a good thing.
2. Mick Foley will be inducted into the Hall Of Fame, but I'll miss it because I'll be too busy trying to track down Bray Wyatt at Axxess for a mark photo
Foley made it to the HOF, so he gets this one right. Hopefully Andrew got his photo too.
3. Teddy Long will leave WWE to return to his home planet, but will die on the way. Vince McMahon will then sign a contract promising that he'll never EVER return.
Long left, but he didn't die. He's still hollering at playas and whatnot. It's just not on WWE TV anymore. We'll give Andrew half of a point for this one.
4. Sheamus will win the Royal Rumble again, because of course he will.
He did not. John Cena did. It's amazing that that Cena guy could overcome his "worst year ever" in 2012 and win the Rumble in 2013. It's like his time is now or something.
5. John Cena and the Rock will put aside their differences and join forces to combat a mutual threat, The Shield, who at this point will rename themselves the Fire Nation because it sounds much cooler. The Rock will train Cena how to harness the fire within, adding to his already impressive repertoire over the inner elements, and together they will destroy the threat of the Fire Nation and restore peace to the WWE.
Andrew got 1.5 out of 5 predictions right.
Matt covered Total Divas for the site and actually survived season one without causing physical harm to himself, so that's a positive. He also has joined TJR Radio as a co-host with The Ace and myself. He'll return to writing about Ring of Honor in the future.
1. AJ will turn Face, then Heel, then Face again, then will be the new color commentator
She stayed heel for the whole year, so Matt gets this one wrong. He did make a good point about how she got so much screen time, though. It didn't really stop in 2013 either.
2. Kassius Ohno will debut to much success
Incorrect. He got released. I don't like that it happened, but it did.
3. The WWE/World Championship game of hot potato will return
This prediction meant that there would be a lot of title changes between the WWE Title and World Title in 2013. Since there were five title changes for both the WWE and World Titles ending with Randy Orton unifying them at TLC I'll give Matt credit for getting this one right.
4. The Undertaker will face CM Punk at Wrestlemania in his last match
Undertaker wrestled Punk at WrestleMania, but was it his last match? No. Undertaker wrestled at a Smackdown taping against Dean Ambrose following WrestleMania and he's expected to be a big part of WrestleMania 30 as well, so that part of the prediction is wrong. I'll give Matt half a point for it.
5. WWE will scoop up more Ring of Honor talents
This is what Matt wrote: "I think WWE will start looking toward signing new talent from ROH. Adam Cole seems like a lock. Mike Bennett seems like a solid bet to go as well. The Briscoes are a dark horse as apparently they’ve been close to signing before, but they don’t have the WWE look. Same goes for Kevin Steen, who’s above average in the ring and especially on the mic. Steen also isn’t exactly PG. But Cole and Bennett might be in WWE Developmental by the end of the year."
None of those people he mentioned were signed by WWE. I can't give him this one. I think a lot of them have the potential to be signed in the future and I know some like Bennett received tryouts, but as of right now this prediction is incorrect.
Matt gets 1.5 out of 5 for his predictions.
MATTY J. DOUGLAS
Matty writes a weekly column on the site that gets posted usually on Fridays.
1. The Divas division will undergo a complete overhaul
By complete overhaul he meant new talent: "Look for NXT Divas, primarily Paige, Sasha Banks, Audrey Marie, and Charlotte (Ric Flair’s daughter) to make a splash in the Divas Division in 2013." None of them were called up even though they probably should have been. Sorry Matty, but you were wrong on this one.
2. Full time Tag Teams will take the reigns and keep the tag team division afloat for the majority of 2013
We have a winner here. The tag division has been a strength of WWE in 2013 and I think it's one of the best things about the company heading into 2014 as well. Good call on this one.
3. The New Age Outlaws have another run in them
They did work some house shows, but did not have a run on television as a team aside from a few appearances together. This one is incorrect.
4. Kassius Ohno will debut on the main roster and will team with Antonio Cesaro for a Kings of Wrestling reunion at some point in 2013
It makes me sad that Ohno was released, but that's what happened. Sadly this one didn't happen.
5. Three Hour Raws will not last through to 2014
They did and are not going away any time soon with WWE expected to sign a new TV deal in February or March. Whether we like it or not, three hour Raw is going to be a fixture for WWE TV for a long time going forward.
Matty got 1 out of 5 in his predictions.
MARC "FOZZIE" B.
Fozzie writes about TNA Impact Wrestling for us.
1. Ryback will win the World Heavyweight Championship, probably at WrestleMania
A year ago he was a top contender as a babyface. Then he turned heel. Now he's a tag wrestler.mThe closest he came happened after WrestleMania when he challenged John Cena for the WWE Title at two PPVs in 2013.
2. The Shield will win titles, either as a group or individually
Correct! Reigns & Rollins won the tag titles, which they dropped to Cody Rhodes & Goldust. Dean Ambrose also won the US Title. He barely defends it, but he still has it.
3. Jack Swagger returns to dethrone Antonio Cesaro
This is what Fozzie put: "This is setting up perfect. Cesaro claims that no American can beat him, so why not have someone billed as "The All-American" return to shut him up?"
It was a nice thought. Instead, Swagger returned as a heel with Zeb Colter as his manager and Antonio Cesaro became his tag partner. I give Fozzie credit for pairing up these two in a storyline, but he didn't nail this prediction.
4. Punk beats Rock at the Royal Rumble
That didn't happen. Rock won the WWE Title there.
5. Undertaker wrestles his last match ever at WM
This one is incorrect because he wrestled Dean Ambrose shortly after WM and is likely taking part in WrestleMania 30 as well. No idea when he'll stop. It's probably going to be soon, though.
Fozzie got 1 out of 5 in his predictions.
Christian writes a weekly column on Sundays and is also part of our pay-per-view preview team.
1. CM Punk will carry the WWE Championship into WrestleMania
That didn't happen since he lost the WWE Title to The Rock at the Royal Rumble. It's a nice thought, though.
2. Alberto Del Rio win will the 2013 Royal Rumble
I remember reading this and thinking it wasn't very likely. At the time, Del Rio had just turned face and they wanted to push him. Christian figured a Rumble win would help his push. It's a nice idea, but instead they had him beat Big Show for the World Title during a match on Smackdown.
3. Dean Ambrose will win a World Title in 2013
He won the US Title, but that doesn't count. Sorry Christian.
4. John Cena will go another year without holding a World Title
Incorrect. He won the WWE Title and the World Title in 2013.
5. WWE will redraft their rosters
The brand extension (or as I called it "the roster split") is dead and buried my friend. Not happening.
Christian went 0 for 5 in his picks. He definitely tried to reach for some of them and it didn't happen.
Thomas hosts the Sharpshooter Cast podcast with his brother Aaron and also writes Thursday Headlines every week.
1. Raw will revert to two hours
That didn't happen. Even though many of us may want it, WWE is making money by going three hours and that's unlikely to change going forward with a new TV contract coming in early 2014.
2. Stone Cold Steve Austin will make his return
Quote from Thomas: "I made this prediction last year and was totally wrong." Make it two years in a row, buddy. I would have loved to see Austin on WWE TV again this year, but it didn't happen. No idea if we'll see him on WWE programming in 2014. His podcast is pretty awesome, though, so check it out on Podcast One if you want some good stuff to listen to.
3. The Shield will break up, and Roman Reigns will be the first to receive a major push
The break up didn't happen. Reigns was pushed pretty hard at Survivor Series and could get that major push in 2014, but as of right now it didn't happen. I can't give any points to Thomas for it, but I give him credit for pointing out Reigns a year ago.
4. John Cena will turn heel
Quote from Thomas: "Again, this is a prediction repeat of last year." Poor Thomas sticking to his guns again. It didn't happen buddy. I don't know if it ever will.
5. Hulk Hogan will win the TNA World Heavyweight Title
It's a no for this one. I thought it was a possibility that he would win it. Hogan didn't win it and he left the company when his contract ran out.
Thomas went 0 for 5 with his predictions. At least he wasn't the only one to get zero. Plus, I'm sure he's pretty happy today because his San Diego Chargers made the NFL playoffs this year.
That's a wrap. The winner of this whole thing was me since I went 5 out of 5. What do I win? Praise from some and likely silent hate from others. I'm going to try for some less obvious predictions when we do the predictions for 2014.
That 2014 predictions column will be posted right here on TJRWrestling.com on the first Monday of the new year on January 6th.
Thanks for reading our work throughout the year. We had a lot of fun. We look forward to continuing to provide you with free wrestling content each and every day because as Mark Henry would say, that's what we do.
Have a safe and Happy New Year, my friends.
TJR Wrestling Editor-in-Chief