Welcome to the first TJR staff column of 2012. Instead of doing staff PPV previews, we'll be doing staff columns once in a while. How often we do them is based on when we get ideas and of course, the feedback. The basic premise of this staff column is simple: Offer up five predictions for the wrestling world in 2012. It can be about WWE, TNA, ROH or anything you'd like as long as it relates to the wrestling business. Everybody's been given a world limit to prevent this from being super long, but we assure you that you'll get plenty of different opinions in this column.In the year two thousaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand...twelve. That's a Conan O'Brien reference. Enjoy.<!--more-->JOHN CANTON1) The Rock will win the WWE Title.I know that seems farfetched, but I also know that Vince McMahon has loved doing many title switches in a year. I'm also well aware that McMahon is a big fan of doing things that are going to generate a large amount of publicity for him. Vince cares about a show like Entertainment Tonight having a "news" story about The Rock holding the WWE Title one more time because he thinks that is going to be good for business. It doesn't matter that he's a part timer. All that matters to Vince is the attention it will get. Word of mouth travels fast in 2012. It would get people's attention for sure. I'm not saying *I* would do it. I'm saying I think Vince McMahon will do it. Whether it's at WrestleMania or another event, I believe The Rock will be WWE Champion one more time.2) The Miz will be a top babyface.If you look at what wrestlers in WWE made the most media appearances 2011, The Miz might be at the top of the list even ahead of John Cena. Due to his past on the Real World and his ability to articulate himself very well, he's been a go to guy for WWE in terms of promoting the company. While his heel act is good, it's not great. I think he has a bright future as a babyface especially in the promo department. He's already got the "Awesome" line that the fans say along with him and the "really?" act could get over huge as a babyface if they use it to annoy a heel. In terms of in-ring work, his style can translate to a babyface role rather easily. It's not like he's a physically dominant heel. With the right storyline in place, possibly leading to a natural feud with a heel Chris Jericho, The Miz could thrive in the babyface role.3) The feud of the year will be CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan.It appears as though Daniel Bryan is turning heel. There are small signs everywhere. I think at WrestleMania 28 he'll be the heel World Champion defending the title against Randy Orton. With CM Punk being a top babyface, I think it's only natural that the two have a feud at some point in the year. If WWE truly gets behind it, plays off their past as friends and lets them show of their skills in the ring than it can work. Maybe this prediction is more of a dream feud, but I'm familiar with Bryan's heel work in ROH. I know he can pull it off. It's just a matter of will WWE push him as a heel in a strong manner? I hope the answer is yes.4) Samoa Joe will make the jump to WWE.I don't know what his contractual situation is, but I doubt that the Samoan Submission Machine is very happy in TNA. Can you blame him? He went from being a top guy a few years ago to barely being used during the last two years and now being a tag team wrestler despite the fact that he's one of the few champions that have actually been a draw in TNA. Joe has a lot of ties in WWE, having trained with John Cena over a decade ago and being very good friends with CM Punk & Daniel Bryan among others. I'm not sure if WWE has interest in him, but they should. Whether he leaves after a release or as a free agent, I think Samoa Joe to WWE is going to happen in 2012.5) Brock Lesnar's first opponent upon his WWE return will be Batista.The return of Brock Lesnar to WWE is not an if to me, but a when. I don't think it will be WrestleMania 28 and I think it will be before WrestleMania 29, so let's say it happens at Summerslam or Survivor Series. His opponent? I'm going with Batista. I think for all of Batista's bitching about the PG rating hurting WWE, the real reason he likely left was a lack of opponents that he felt were at his level. With the likely return of Lesnar in place, I think they'd have a natural rivalry as two guys of similar size and main event level ability. Yes, there are other money feuds for Lesnar against Cena, Rock, Punk & others, but I think his first feud will be with Batista. Call it a hunch on my part.I tried to think outside the box a bit. I don't want to predict a midcarder is going to be a champion because those are safe picks. I went the creative route although I resisted the "the WWE ice cream bars will return" one because that's not major enough. I think it will happen though! Let's see what the others have in mind, shall we?ANDREW JOHNSON1) Smackdown will move to Tuesday's because I just got comfortable writing the reviews on Friday night/ Saturday morning and that would be fucking typical.2) Matt Hardy will never be more clear minded and focused in his entire life for the 900th time.3) Arn Anderson will be inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame and only me + 30 other people will really give a shit.4) The Big Show will turn heel, then turn face, then heel, then back to face, then he'll be on a boat, then heel again, then you'll look at his hands and there will be two tickets to that thing you love turned to diamonds, back to face, and then he'll be on a horse. Then heel again.5) The Rock will lose to John Cena at WrestleMania, and stop his seemingly eternal campaign to discredit him. Cena will then be challenged by Brock Lesnar and lose to him at SummerSlam because money is awesome and WWE has a lot of it. Cena will want a rematch, but he'll feel like he needs trained to go up against the F5 machine, so he'll turn to his old nemesis/new best friend The Rock for training. Rock's training regiment will involve Cena swimming laps and jogging on the beach before they erotically frolic in the ocean. Cena will win in convincing fashion at the next PPV, cementing his legacy. Before the end of 2012 Cena and Rock will have one more match in a run-down gym in front of no one, and right after they lock up there will be a freeze frame and the credits will role as Rock and Cena turn into an oil painting.In 2013 The Rock will be murdered by Dolph Lundgren.THOMAS BRIGGS1. John Cena will (finally) turn heel. Sure, this is an easy one, but it’s bound to happen, and when it does, it’ll be huge. Cena is such a polarizing individual that the turn will garner a fantastic reaction. I’ve been known to exaggerate a bit, but I truly believe that Cena has the potential to be one of the greatest heels of all time. He’s a heat magnet. The stars are about to align: CM Punk has proven his ability to sell top-superstar merchandise, and The Rock will certainly be the fan favorite going into he and Cena’s Wrestlemania 28 match. Ironically, once Cena does go heel, his fanbase will completely switch. Young fans will hate him, and older, internet savvy fans will embrace him. It’s a crazy world we live in. The dichotomy in his fanbase will hopefully lead to an end of the PG-era.2. Linda McMahon will lose the election for a Connecticut Senate seat, allowing the WWE to finally loosen up a bit. McMahon’s politics have been a large part of why the WWE attempts to be a family friendly company, but let’s face it, the image just doesn’t work as well as it should. Linda can call herself a conservative, but when your husband is known for having his very own “Kiss My Ass” club, creates socially controversial characters, and has even feuded with God in a tag team match against Shawn Michaels, people are going to call bullshit. And you know what? We, wrestling fans, love that aspect of Vince! Instead of changing wrestling to better reflect Linda McMahon, allow it to be what it truly is: a unique form of entertainment that doesn’t have to fit within mainstream parameters. 3. The WWE Network will be the biggest story in wrestling for all of 2012, and it will stumble out of the gate. I think it’s a bit lost on fans just how big of a risk the WWE Network is. If the WWE doesn’t secure numerous cable providers, or tanks in ratings due to non-compelling programming, they are going to take a huge financial hit. And with the business already in a bit of its own recession, a financial hit could be devastating for not only the WWE, but the industry as a whole. The WWE may be smart in delaying the launch of the Network a bit, rather be late than ill-prepared. 4. Stone Cold Steve Austin will begin a feud in 2012, leading to a return match in 2013. His opponent? CM Punk. Austin has teased a return match for quite some time, and he has two potentially awesome opponents in CM Punk and Brock Lesnar. Of course, Lesnar would need to return as well if he is to have a program with the Texas Rattlesnake. Ultimately Austin will choose Punk to have his match with. Austin is a brilliant wrestling mind and he understands that a match with Punk will hold much more significance than a match with Lesnar. 5. Smackdown will move to Tuesdays, where it will air live. This is really more of a wish than a prediction for me. Right now Smackdown is pulling very good ratings for its timeslot. You also have to factor in the fact that the show airs on SyFy, which isn’t as widespread as previous networks. But does the WWE for just that - good ratings? If moved to Tuesday nights, when millions of more people are at home, Smackdown has an opportunity to approach Raw-like ratings. And once that happens, all chaos will break out. Will the landscape stay the same with Raw being the A-show and Smackdown being the B-show? Will a top superstar or two migrate over to Smackdown? It all remains to be seen. But the WWE needs to make that first move and see for themselves if Smackdown can be a greater success on Tuesdays.MARC B.1. Cody Rhodes wins MITBCody Rhodes had a huge breakthrough year in WWE, and 2012 can only get bigger. He is poised to be one if the best villains going forward, and a MITB win could do wonders for his character.2. James Storm wins the TNA world Title and has a lengthy run.While everybody, myself included, had been clamoring for Bobby Roode to win the title, I think now that James Storm has elevated his game higher than anyone thought possible, and should be rewarded in kind. The fact that Angle has put him over cleanly is an indication of that. I think Roode should beat Hardy at Genesis and move on to a longer feud with Storm.3. Familiar faces will retire.HHH, Taker, Mysterio. All three have had a tremendous impact on the wrestling industry. They have also had some very key injuries that have caused them to miss substantial ring time. Of the three, only Rey Rey is under 40, but he has had many knew surgeries that have toned down his act. I think the end is near for them, and they should be proud of the legacies they leave behind.4. Cena will turn heel, defeat the Rock at WM.The heel turn of Cena is one of the most debated topics there is. A lot of people say he will never turn, but why not? If they market those "Cena Sucks" shirts, that will take care of any drop from his merchandise sales, and as a proven ratings draw, a turn can increase that. As far as WM goes, even if Cena doesn't turn, I still think he beats The Rock. You can't have the "face" of your company lose to a semi-retired performer. This is a passing of the torch moment.5. Dixie Carter will hire me to be on her creative team.I know I don't have any real qualifications or experience to be on a creative team, but I don't think that should matter. I'm knowledgeable about the product, and as a fan of wrestling for 25 years, I know what fans like. If anything, they can always go back to Russo. Give me a shot Dixie!LONESTARPrediction One: NXT will stay the course....Even though NXT will probably end up on the WWE Network when it launches I don’t foresee the show being changed from the Superstars-style format it currently languishes in, not with the company focused on reversing the ratings slide of their two main shows and undergoing a giant new endeavor in the WWE Network. Can you say “priorities”?Prediction Two: Punk’s influence will continueIgnore the rumors on the internet and ignore the cynicism of all its bloggers because Punk is now firmly entrenched in the main event scene of the WWE after years of excellent work. He will eventually lose the WWE title (duh) but his influence will continue and his star will shine. Don’t be surprised if the members of his group (i.e. anyone with a title as of 12/28/2011) continue to be an important part of the WWE throughout 2012.Prediction Three: Jericho will come in with guns blazingChris Jericho has debuted (or returned) in the WWE twice already and each time his initial awesomeness is followed by a period of growing pains; I don’t foresee that happening this time. Jericho has been out long enough to recharge his creative juices and with his confidence seemingly at an all time high I think he’ll hit the ground running.Prediction Four: Rock vs. Cena will be better than the internet expectsYou know what had no business kicking ass? Cena vs Batista at WrestleMania 26. Sometimes the best matches can just be two giant names dropping bombs on each other until somebody loses. Rock vs Cena is gonna be a lot more than that, but I’m sure there will still be a contingent of jaded fans surprised at how good the match turns out. It’s like two of the most promoted and celebrated wrestlers ever might know what they’re doing. Huh. Weird.Prediction Five: D-Bryan will fall down the ladder….and climb back upDaniel Bryan doesn’t know this yet, but we’re bros. I think Bryan is awesome and a phenomenally good wrestler that is wise enough to take his work seriously but not himself. Having said that he will lose the title eventually and Vince McMahon will momentarily forget who he is just like he did with……..well, half the people who’ve ever won a big title. The difference between Daniel Bryan and someone like Jack Swagger is that Bryan is good enough and experienced enough so that when the next opportunity comes he’ll hit that fastball right out of the park. So expect Bryan to fall down the card a bit in 2012 before working his way back up; in the end D-Bryan is here to stay.MIKE AIRES1. While Cena is king, Punk continues to drive the WWE Ship. Two people who want a piece of Punk come back mainly just for him: Chris Jericho and Stone Cold Steve Austin. This leads to Austin either having or setting up what will be his true retirement match. Rock has his in 2012, so I expect to see Austin later in the year to start the push of a Retirement Match. It's happening, folks.2. Seth Rollins (Tyler Black), Antonio Cesaro (Claudio Castagnoli), Chris Hero, and Dean Ambrose (Jon Moxley) all make their debuts. Orgasms are heard around the world. These are all four guys built from the same type of cloth that CM Punk and Daniel Bryan are, in that they all groomed themselves on the Indy circuit, most of which was in Ring of Honor. All of them are already above average wrestlers, have a built in cult following, and just need some good feuds to have them as big players in no time.3. Dolph Ziggler, Cody Rhodes, and Wade Barrett all get pushes towards the main event. Will it work out for all of them? Time will tell, but all three have all the tools to be taken serious as contenders. My prediction? Two of the three of them not only WIN Heavyweight Championships, but retain them (i.e. win them then lose it to a reverse decision and/or MITB contract cash-in 30 seconds later).4. The Miz turns face, and somehow actually pulls it off. Miz has been hated for his entire WWE run and always been bogged down by something that I can’t quite put my finger on. His character is starting to become stale. He gives great promos but they seem to all run along the same lines. He is in a holding pattern and it's time to let him loose to see what happens. He turns face, and becomes a bit of an underdog hero (since no one buys into the fact that he could kick anyone's ass).5. John Morrison will debut with TNA, and will win a championship before the year's end. Yes, a TNA reference. John Morrison, or whatever he is called will debut, and immediately make an...impact. Heh. We know he has plenty of talent, and whether they throw him into the excellent X-Division fire, or in the actual main event picture, he will win a title of some sort before the year is over. I would predict that Melina comes too…but there are too many jokes with that line to want to continue.LAURENCE SALFORD1) Ted DiBiase will win the Raw/Smackdown MITB in July 2012. I know currently Ted doesn’t look like he’s up to much, but the WWE are solidly building his foundation to ascend. I was never his biggest fan, due to his lack of charisma, but I think what they are doing with him on Smackdown is great. He’s getting a babyface reaction (which would be helped with some new music), crafting out a character and if it works, he has the in ring skills to go far. He’s already headlined a PPV as a part of legacy, and needs the MITB boost more than any other up-and-comer does.2) Foley to replace Teddy Long as Smackdown GM post ‘Mania – Holla! Let’s be honest, Teddy has been there far too long and doesn’t ever really achieve anything. I am amazed he has been in employment that long by WWE, since I don’t know what else he brings to the table. They need something good for Foley to do, and assuming he is willing to come back on the road full time, Smackdown GM would be ideal.3) Orton to win the 2012 Royal Rumble – After the fantastic year that he has had in 2011, I can’t see anyone else winning the Rumble, as no-one else deserves to headline Wrestlemania more. He has been in the title picture a lot in 2011, but he hasn’t looked his normal dominant self. He has had one of the better years in 2011 than any other superstars, as he is wrestling better than ever. He needs to be positioned to be a top star, and winning the Rumble as a face in his hometown seems like a dead cert to me. I know people are thinking Ziggler might win, but I can’t see him headlining Wrestlemania just yet.4) Seth Rollins to flop, Dean Ambrose to fly – I know that neither of these two have debuted yet, but based on what I have seen from FCW etc, heard and seen written about them, it looks like they will both debut this year, as they have been wrestling at house shows with increasing frequency. After they both debut, I can see Ambrose being successful within a short period of time, and Rollins taking a longer time to adapt and get over as a superstar, and when someone doesn’t get over straight away, they instantly get labeled as a flop.5) The Streak will finally be broken – I ummed and ahhed about including this one, as I didn’t want my predictions to be personal requests as opposed to genuine predictions about what will occur in 2012 but I just can’t not include it. The Streak should end, Barrett vs. ‘Taker should be the match and ‘Taker should bow out the same way that any other superstar bows out – by losing their final match. A lot of people want to see the Streak intact and for ‘Taker to never lose it, but I can’t see where else the storyline will go from HHH story last year. If HHH demands that he gets a rematch, he will likely get his way, but the match seems pointless. Having ‘Taker face someone brand new and lose on the grandest stage of them all and go 19-1 will be the most surprising storyline, and will give his opponent the biggest push of all time.MATTY J DOUGLASPrediction #1 – A Breakout Year for The UsosThese two are just too talented to stay buried in a non-existent Tag Team Division. The cream always rises to the top, and these brothers are in my opinion the best Tag team in the WWE. Their chemistry is off the charts, they’re exciting and charismatic, and have you seen that awesome entrance? WWE will get their heads out of their Asses at some point in 2012 and give these guys the ball. I have no doubt they’ll knock it out of the park and become the focal point of a revived Tag Team Division.Prediction #2 – 2012 Will be a Good Year For FCW StandoutsExpect to see a slew of young and talented superstars from FCW debut on the Main Roster during 2012. From Seth Rollins, to Dean Ambrose, to Damien Sandow, and Richie Steamboat, 2012 figures to be one of the best years for brand new talent is a while. In my opinion, they should tinker with the format of their annual WWE Draft, and make at least some of the draft picks be these new wrestlers, like a real sports draft. That’s highly unlikely but I can dream.Prediction #3 – Theodore Long will be relieved of his duties as Smackdown General ManagerThat’s right folks, no more “Holla! Holla! Holla!” coming from the GM’s office. The WWE’s longest tenured General Manager will lose his job as the figurehead of WWE’s B Brand. I like Teddy as a performer and hop he finds another on air role, but even I have to admit I’m getting bored with him occupying the GM role after all these years. I personally hope that they choose David Otunga as his replacement. Play up that the WWE wants to go in a more youthful direction and put Otunga in the GM role, which is one that suits his limited skill set perfectly.Prediction #4 – One of the Big Three Babyfaces (Randy Orton, John Cena, CM Punk) will turn heel in 2012You read that correctly, one of the three top babyfaces will turn heel. My logic, there are two shows with three top babyfaces. You do the math. The WWE has been lacking a reliable veteran villain since Punk turned face and with three top babyfaces there is the opportunity to turn one heel to assume that role. Which one will it be? Not Punk because he just turned face in 2011. It’ll either be Orton or Cena. I’d want it to be Orton, because I think he is leaps and bounds better as a heel character. Time will tell though.Prediction #5 – The Rock will wrestle more than one big match in 2012I firmly believe that the Rock will not only wrestle at Wrestlemania this year. I think he and Cena will have at least one more match after their showdown in Miami, possibly at Summerslam. When doesn’t really matter, the point is that there will be a return match at some point in 2012, where the loser of the Wrestlemania Main Event will get the opportunity to even things up.JACOB LINDSEY-John Morrison returnsThe rumor is that Johnny Nitro wanted some time off, and that he's expected to return some time this year. I think he'll come back in time for WrestleMania, where he can exact revenge on The Miz for putting him out of action. There are also rumors that the Money in the Bank match is happening at Mania, and that would give these two a perfect opportunity to destroy each other.-Brodus Clay wins a major championshipI would be more specific, but you never know who is gonna be on which show. Brodus Clay would make a great heel bully to take either championship, more likely after SummerSlam, when Vince conducts his experiments.-Daniel Bryan turns heelI admit that I have not followed Bryan Danielson's career from the beginning, but I've seen a lot of his older stuff lately, and I loved him as a heel. I could be wrong, but I haven't heard him say "I have till five," after breaking a hold, and I loved that. Give him a bodyguard, but let him beat people because he's the best, not because Big Bully Busick interfered.-WWE Network flopsYears ago, I pined for a channel that was dedicated to wrestling. I was excited by WWE 24/7 on the website, then Classics On Demand. But I don't think there are enough people who want to watch Nitro reruns, not to mention the ridiculous "reality" shows WWE wants to air. Legends House has potential to be funny, but you have to give viewers a reason to subscribe, and I don't know what kind of rabbits the Network will pull out of its hat in the next 3 months. I think the experiment will be over by year's end.-Kharma returnsNot a big deal, but just wait. She's gonna come back with a 3-month-old baby and start swinging it around like Hercules with his chain. I can't wait.CHRISTIAN MICHAEL 1. We will see Brock Lesnar wrestle a match by SummerSlam.You can bet that Vince McMahon’s ears were ringing when Brock announced he was retiring from the UFC this past Friday night. WWE has desperately wanted to get Brock back in the ring. You all remember the meeting he had with The Undertaker back in October of 2010 after he lost the UFC Championship. Brock equals dollars as he was a huge draw in UFC and bringing him back into WWE would create a great buzz. I can’t see Brock ever going back to being on the road fulltime but for the right amount of money I can see him working an angle or two a year. I think WrestleMania is too close to get Brock back in the fold but he could very well be the main attraction of WWE’s second biggest even of the year, SummerSlam.2. Dolph Ziggler will win the WWE or World Heavyweight ChampionshipThis should be a huge no brainer for WWE. The man is ready to leap to the top of the mountain in WWE. I really started to take notice of Dolph towards the end of 2010 and ever since then he has just gotten better and better. He’s even improved on the microphone to the point where you could say having Vickie Guerrero is no longer a necessity. I’d love Dolph to win the belt in a one on one match but I see his route to the title being through the Money in the Bank.3. The Undertaker will defeat Triple H at WrestleMania XXVIII and then officially retire.These two men had the WWE Match of the Year to me in 2011 so I’d be all for another rematch on the Grandest Stage of them All. Each year we see less and less of The Undertaker due to his age and injuries. I think making it to 20-0 means a lot to him that’s why I think we’ll see him at one more WrestleMania and then hang the boots up for good. Since he’ll probably only be back to set up a match for WrestleMania, Triple H makes the most sense since the feud is all ready there if you remember Hunter’s post WrestleMania XXVII promo.4. Michael Cole will finally be removed off commentary and made a heel manager.This is more of a wish than a prediction but it makes so much sense. I know that Vince loves Cole but he has to realize that when Cole goes into his heel act on commentary in ruins the matches that he’s calling. There have been some really strong TV matches that he made almost unwatchable with his nonsense. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler on RAW and Josh Mathews and Booker T on SmackDown would make for the best commentary teams. Cole is so hated he could do wonders for a young heel that needs help on the microphone like Vickie Guerrero did for Dolph Ziggler.5. WWE will unify the Intercontinental and United States Championships.I’d be against them unifying the two World Titles but I think this in necessary. They really only need one mid-card title. It would really count for something when one of these guys like Zack Ryder or Cody Rhodes wins the Intercontinental Championship (that’s the one I’d keep) because there’s a whole group of young, hungry guys going for the gold. They need to make the Intercontinental Championship like it used to be, the workhorse title, where the best wrestler in the company would hold it and put on great matches and then it would end up being the precursor to winning the WWE Championship.MATT SEAGULL1. Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose will make big splashes in WWE. The former Tyler Black and Jon Moxley were the two best that the independent scene had to offer. Both got WWE contracts around the same time, and both are now working dark matches/house shows for Raw and Smackdown. They've got the look that WWE likes and the wrestling ability that will make them internet darlings. If you think CM Punk and Daniel Bryan made splashes, just you wait. It starts in 2012 for these two.2. John Morrison will re-sign with WWE after breaking up with Melina. Call this a gut feeling, but I think Morrison will pull a Jerry Lawler from 2001, realize he's with the wrong girl, drop her crazy ass and come crawling back on his hands and knees to Vince. This will happen around the end of the year.3. Cody Rhodes will win Money in the Bank and cash in to become the new World Heavyweight Champion. He's having a similar rise now to the rise that Orton had back in 2004. He'll either win the MITB match at Wrestlemania (if they have it), or at the MITB PPV in July, but rest assured, Cody's getting the big gold belt.4. The Undertaker will retire at Wrestlemania after going 20-0. I personally think to preserve the intrigue of the Undertaker, he can't/shouldn't/won't lose at Wrestlemania. And it's getting to the point now where he's only showing up once a year for the Mania match. 20 is a nice round number. It doesn't matter who he's facing...he's winning, and then he's walking off into the sunset.5. I was thinking of doing something morbid and saying "An active wrestler will die in 2012" but nobody wants to be the one to successfully predict something like that, so instead I'll do something more fluffy and say that John Cena will get at least two more title reigns before the end of the year. Once he finishes up with this Kane deal, and after The Rock, he'll be thrust into the title picture once again, where I'm sure he'll play a game of championship hot potato with the heel of the month, which might be Dolph Ziggler hopefully.CODY DODSON1 At least three people will hold either the WWE or World Heavyweight Championships who have won a major title.You should know that I am writing this BEFORE this week’s Raw Supershow, just in case you’re reading this and Dolph Ziggler is WWE Champion (I don’t count his first “reign”). One thing that WWE did very well in 2011 was build up some superstars for the future. After years of complaining by fans that they don’t know to create new stars, WWE silenced critics in that aspect and gave us several superstars to keep our eyes on in 2012. The three I have in mind for this prediction are Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett, and Dolph Ziggler. I would actually be extremely surprised if all three of them didn’t win either the WWE or World Heavyweight Championship. All three are on a roll and have proven themselves quite well. I do have some concerns over them being able to draw enough heat, but I think that each of them have certainly earned the opportunity to make a run at it. Looking at the roster, it’s hard to say if we will see any other first-time champions this year. I could see Zack Ryder getting a shot at the end of the year if he keeps getting big reactions. Time will tell, but these three will definitely be main-eventers in 2012.2 Shawn Michaels will return to pro wrestling in some capacity beyond just a one-off interview.I struggled with how to word this so I will explain a bit further. What I’m thinking we will see here is something a little more substantial than just appearing for a single in-ring interview where he comes out, excites the fans, and delivers some Sweet Chin Music. I’m thinking we will see him appear in the weeks leading up to Wrestlemania, similar to how he did last year. Except this time, he will have an official scheduled role in the event. I’m thinking he will be the referee for a final “Career vs. Career” Triple H vs. Undertaker match. I know a lot of people are calling for there to be a triple threat involving the three men, but I just don’t see HBK agreeing to that. I believe that he has truly wrestled his last match. That doesn’t mean he can’t get in the ring as a referee, and it certainly doesn’t mean he can’t get physically involved. People may not want to see Triple H vs. Undertaker again, but they can’t argue with the fact that it’s one of the most “money” matches Undertaker could realistically have, especially with HBK as ref.3 Jim Ross will replace Michael Cole at the announcers’ table.I just can’t see Michael Cole continuing to be the same character at the announce booth. Fans are getting tired of it and it hurts the product to have him continue to bury the talent. However, WWE is obviously a fan of his character. I can see why. He is capable of drawing massive heat. Wouldn’t his “talents” be better served as a manager? It’s something many of us have been calling for, and I think WWE will pull the trigger on it in 2012. I believe that part of the motivation for getting Jim Ross involved in various angles this year was to see if the good ol’ boy could still get a reaction, and the answer is that he certainly can. It’s time to get him back to the position that he belongs. Let him make the big matches that much bigger, and let Cole be his annoying self in a position where he can actually help get somebody over instead of burying everybody on the roster.4 Wrestlemania 28 will be the highest grossing Mania ever.Cena vs. Rock. The Undertaker/Triple H match I discussed earlier? Jericho vs. Punk? This could shape up to be an amazing card, and I think it will be. People tuned into last year’s Mania to see The Rock host the show. There’s no reason to not believe that even more will tune in this year to see him wrestle a match a year in the making. It’s not quite as significant as Rock vs. Hogan, but it’s the biggest match of this era. Casual fans, hardcore fans, and people who haven’t bought a pay-per-view all year will buy this one. Presumably, it won’t just be about The Rock and Cena. We’ll also have what many believe will be the final match of The Undertaker. If it’s not his last match, he’ll still be going for 20-0, which is a huge milestone in itself. If the rumored Jericho/Punk match happens, that will draw in the wrestling purists. There will be something big for everybody on this show, and that will make it the highest grossing Mania of all time. Of course, there is the issue of whether it will air on the WWE Network, pay-per-view, or both. Depending on how that plays out, it could screw up my prediction, but we’ll see.5 Kharma will win the Divas Championship shortly after her return, and then hold it until the end of the year.The WWE obviously had big plans for Kharma until she had to go and get knocked up. One would assume that they will pick up where they left off when she returns. My guess is that she returns after Wrestlemania to once again start dominating every Diva in her path. She will win the Divas Championship within a month of her return, and I don’t see her losing it until 2013. The potential exists for the Divas division to actually be interesting, and I think a Divas vs. Goliath story could definitely help with that. Let her tear through everybody in the division and build up to a Beth Phoenix vs. Kharma match at Wrestlemania 29. Long term booking can be fun!KENNY LATHAM1- Seth Rollins will win IC/US gold - Yes, he hasn't debuted yet, but Tyson Kidd himself told me on twitter he was fantastic when they worked the Smackdown house shows. He will debut probably after Wrestlemania and get a good push since he's a 'CM Punk Guy'.2- Undertaker will Retire - I don't know who he'll face at Wrestlemania if he faces anyone, but I think he will hang up his boots for good in 2012 after he gets to 20-0.3- Cena will turn Heel - They are really setting this up great for him. Zack Ryder is the most popular guy in WWE right now, and Cena's his best friend on camera. If Cena turns against Ryder, he'll be vilified by everyone. Although the smarks will probably start to cheer for him.4- Kharma returns to feud with Beth - I think they're going to have Beth hold on to the title for a long time. Kharma will be making her return probably in the Summer, so that will be a good feud to look forward to.5- Cody Rhodes becomes WWE Champion - He's ready. He'll drop the title sometime soon, and he's my early pick to win a Money in the Bank briefcase.--------John Canton: What do you think? Was there anything in here that you really agreed with or something that blew your mind that you vehemently disagree with? Let us know your thoughts in the always convenient comment section below.