John Canton: Happy New Year to you. Welcome to our second annual column where the TJR staff predicts what we think is going to happen in the wrestling business in the coming year.
Before we get started, on behalf of everybody participating in this column I just want to say thank you for your continued support of TJRWrestling.com. Last year we moved from thejohnreport.net to our current location and your support has made it easy for us. This column is a lot of fun to write, so please be sure to "Like" it on Facebook and Tweet it because we really want to know what people think about it!
Last week we took a look at our 2012 predictions and realized some were pretty good while others were way off. How is that Cena heel turn looking? Not good at all. That's the fun of it, though. In the wrestling business you never know what's going to happen.
In the interest of full disclosure, the way this worked is I emailed all the writers and asked for their five predictions related to the wrestling business. While they were allowed to predict about anything in any company, as you will see below most of them focus on World Wrestling Entertainment. They were given a word limit (200 words per prediction) and told to make five predictions. As you will see below some guys have specific predictions while others are more vague. Some are optimistic while others are pessimistic. Some are very sarcastic, so it's up to you to decipher those ones. Believe me when I tell you we have the full spectrum covered.
The order of the names will be in the order that their submission was received. It's a long column, so let's get right to it.
John is the founder and editor of TJRWrestling. He writes the Raw Deal, PPV previews & reviews and a wide variety of other columns including reviews of every WrestleMania among other things.
1. There will be at least four WWE Title changes in 2013
How many WWE Title changes were there in 2012? Zero. This year there will be at least four and maybe five. I was going to put five down as my official pick, but I think it will be exactly four. I think one title change will happen at the Royal Rumble, another one at WrestleMania and then two more in the rest of the year (the Money in the Bank winner is always a strong candidate). I'm fine with that. I think CM Punk's 400+ day title reign is an exception rather than the rule.
I'm fine with three to five WWE Title changes in a year. I just don't like when they do nine WWE Title changes in a year (like in 2009). If it's two or less title changes this year I'd be very surprised. That's why I'm going with my prediction of four WWE Title changes at least.
2. CM Punk will turn babyface again
I don't want him to turn babyface. I just think it will happen. When you look at the WWE roster it's loaded with a lot of young heels who are ready to be elevated to the next level. What does WWE usually do when they need to elevate people? They turn former WWE Champion heels into babyfaces. Look at Randy Orton and Sheamus in the last few years as well as The Miz and Alberto Del Rio recently turning babyface. It always happens.
I think in the near future (maybe Monday's Raw) we'll see that Punk is in fact the leader of The Shield and that will be one of the main storylines in WWE. Towards the end of the year, the group will fracture, the three younger wrestlers will turn on Punk and that will make him a babyface.
3. The current NXT performer that will make the biggest impact in 2013 will be Bray Wyatt
The performer formerly known as Husky Harris has something special with this Bray Wyatt character of his. Out of all the talented performers that are currently on NXT roster, I think Wyatt will be a huge star. That's nothing against Kassius Ohno, Richie Steamboat, Corey Graves or Xavier Woods among others. I just have a lot of faith in Wyatt and believe in his potential. The problem with a lot of current wrestlers is they don't have much of a gimmick. They are too much like everybody else. Bray Wyatt stands out with the way he talks, the way he walks and the way he looks. (Video)
Have you ever seen the movie "Cape Fear" with Robert DeNiro as Max Brady? If you haven't you should check it out because it's one of the best heel characters in movie history. That's who he reminds me of. Don't be surprised if he gets called up to the main roster in the first half of the year and by the end of the year he'll prove to be one of the best young talents in all of WWE.
4. Raw will continue to be a three hour show
Once again I'm not predicting something I want. I just think we'll end 2013 with Monday Night Raw remaining a three hour show. Trust me when I say that I enjoy two hour editions of Raw much more than three hours especially because I write about it every week. The good thing about three hour Raw is that some of the matches get more time, which is something I like. The problem is sometimes the shows drag too much.
However, I look at recent comments from WWE CFO George Barrios saying USA Network is happy with Raw and ratings are up 35% over what previous programming did in that 8-9pmET hour. Throw in the fact that USA Network pays WWE to produce television and WWE makes money from putting on that third hour of Raw every week. Why turn down money? That's a bad business move.
I think from a creative standpoint two hour episodes of Raw are better for WWE. From a financial standpoint it's better for them to keep it at three hours. In the end, money talks.
5. John Cena will win the Royal Rumble and the WWE Title at WrestleMania 29
I feel very confident about both predictions. Cena's promo on the last Raw of 2012 was his admission of 2012 not being his year. He won some big matches, but he lost a lot of them too. To you or me (or any "smart fan") wins and losses don't matter that much.
From the perspective of a wrestling character point of view he needs to win more. I think he'll win the Royal Rumble match in a few weeks and then challenge The Rock for the WWE Title at WrestleMania 29 where Cena will get his win back. Then WrestleMania 29 will end with Rock handing Cena the WWE Title and giving him a hug because that's when Cena will have earned the respect of The Rock.
Just so you know I really wanted to include a TNA prediction. However, I think they'll still be taping television in the Impact Zone most of the time, still getting the 1.0 rating they always get and not growing as a company like usual. As long as they continue to have a TV contract they're in no danger of closing up shop. They can sustain losses. It's nice to be owned by a lady that has a billionaire daddy. In other words, not much will change with them.
You can follow John on Twitter @johnreport.
Lonestar is our resident Friday Headlines writer and NXT reviewer.
1. CM Punk will retire.
It will suck and I’ll hate it. But Punk has never been shy about the mortality of his career and with his body wearing down I think 2013 could very well be his curtain call. Let’s hope that it’s one of his indy “protégés” that retires him (cough Dean Ambrose cough) and not boring old John Cena.
2. Adam Cole with either become Ring of Honor World Champion or get signed by the WWE.
That name might not ring a bell, but if it does you already know that Cole is tearing up the American Independent scene right now, including in a depleted ROH. I would be absolutely shocked if he doesn’t win their World Title next year. Considering Cole’s status as a pretty boy I wouldn’t be surprised if the WWE snatches him up as well.
3. Dolph Ziggler’s boyhood dream will come true.
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.
4. Mass releases will come again.
It’s been a surprisingly long amount of time since the WWE up and fired a bunch of underused main-roster talents on the same day. I’m willing to bet 2013 is the year we see another future-endeavored extravaganza and certain wrestlers finally get let go………you’re all thinking of JTG right now, aren’t you?
5. The Big Show and Kane won’t retire, if only just to spite me.
I’ve privately said on several occasions that I wouldn’t care if either of them quit tomorrow. It’s usually only after I say something along those lines that the WWE pulls “Team Hell No” or “Sheamus feud” out of their collective asses. I guess what I’m saying is that the two giants will still manage to stay relevant and employed, despite their long history of performing at a high level.
You can follow Lonestar on Twitter @LonestarTJR.
Steve is our resident banner maker that made the banner that you see at the top of this column and on most TJRWrestling columns. He also writes a weekend "Melo Out" column every other week.
1. The Miz face turn will fail and he will turn heel again.
Maybe it's just me, but the idea of people actually getting behind someone as annoying as Miz just doesn't seem like something that is going to work. Perhaps it's how they are booking it, but regardless you can't deny it's not really taking off the way I would have expected it too. I know he has a movie coming out so WWE feels that by turning Miz face it will increase DVD sales. Even if he didn't, he really did need a change as his character was getting very stale. In the end, I just don't think the crowd is going to get behind him and he will be a heel again by the time 2014 rolls around. That and the fact that he is banging Maryse will always make him a heel in my book.
2. Dolph Ziggler will become a top babyface.
He is arguably the best bumper WWE has today. I don't think too many people would disagree with me on this one. Currently he is also one of the top heels on the roster. Overall, he is definitely one of the best workers in the company today alongside CM Punk and Daniel Bryan to name a few. Unlike the Miz, I think that if done right, fans could really get behind a Ziggler face turn. He already gets cheers now most of the time. I'm confident that before the year is done, he will not only make the turn to a top babyface, but will also have a lengthy world title reign as well. I really hope this happens and I am sure many fans will agree.
3. Brock Lesnar will sign a contract extension for at least another year.
He hates the travel schedule, but say what you want about Brock Lesnar. For the amount of money WWE is paying him to make minimal appearances on his one year contract, there is no denying that Lesnar is a ratings magnet and therefore a money maker to WWE. Both sides would be stupid not to negotiate some sort of contract extension, especially Lesnar. It's obvious that he is in it for the money regardless so I can see this happening as well as a Lesnar and Ryback confrontation somewhere down the line in 2013. Let's just hope it isn't anything like the Lesnar and Goldberg match from WrestleMania 20.
4. Daniel Bryan will once again be a World Champion.
It has been quite the year for the wrestler formerly known as "The American Dragon" on the independent scene. Ever since his 18 second defeat at the hands of Sheamus at WrestleMania 28 where he lost the world heavyweight title, his momentum has changed. It doesn't seem to matter if he is a face, a heel, in the main event, a mid card feud or one half of the current tag team champions, the WWE and the fans have all taken notice of Daniel Bryan. I think that like Ziggler, Daniel Bryan will capture the World Title again by the end of the year. Not only does he deserve it, but I think it could do much good for Smackdown having Daniel as their champion.
5. Natalya will become the top heel in the divas division.
I already wrote about this in the latest edition of my Mel Out column, but in case you missed it, in my opinion she is currently the best technically gifted female wrestler that the WWE has at their disposal. They have put so much focus, time and energy in making sure we all know that AJ Lee is one crazy chick who gets around that any heel divas are basically just there for no reason. You have Eve who is a heel and is the current Divas Champion, but does she draw heat? Vickie does, but I don't count her as a wrestler. I look at her and place her in the same category as AJ. Annoying. It's annoying because of the over exposure. Too much Vickie and too much AJ in bad storylines are not doing the Divas division any favors.
You look at what CM Punk has done with the WWE Championship. Do the same with Natalya. Have her win the Divas Title and have a long and dominant reign. Have her beat every diva on the roster and build up for that AJ Lee match. Instead of having Natalya constantly losing via roll-ups in under a minute, having intestinal farting problems and suddenly in love with Khali with no explanation, do this. It would make a huge difference. That's just my opinion and I think if WWE is smart, they should do it.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @MeloOutTJR
Jacob is our Wednesday Headlines writer that is also known for reviewing every Summerslam and dozens of films with wrestlers in them.
1. 2013 will feature a lot of trial and error
I realize that this is sort of a blanket prediction, but I think it’s an important one. I think it’s becoming clear to whoever is in charge that people are tuning out, and they need to figure out how to get people back. Had WWE capitalized - really capitalized - on the thing with Punk in 2011, they could’ve been onto something special. But they kinda farted it away. And Brock Lesnar is only available for a couple of shows. Anyway, I think there will be a lot of new/returning stars showing up, and a lot of other people being given opportunities.
2. Brock Lesnar will stick around for a little while
I don’t like talking about contracts and whatnot, because I (along with almost everyone else in the world) have no idea what’s up with them. But, provided that Lesnar’s contract expires at this year’s WrestleMania, I think he’ll re-sign or stick around for a bit longer. I think it’s a good business decision for everyone. Even if he is a douche, and I’ll likely use his match with Triple H at WrestleMania as my bathroom break. Brandon deserves credit for that idea.
3. Tensai and Brodus Clay have a Loser Leaves Town match
The entire crowd is forced to move.
4. Ric Flair comes out of retirement for ONE MORE MATCH
Please don’t let this happen. Please.
5. No one will have a life-threatening medical emergency on live television
No one predicted this last year, and it DID happen, so I’m hoping to ride the success of 3/5 correct predictions last year with this one. I will be so sad if I get this wrong.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter @chacobian.
Mike is one half of the Tuesday Headlines team and he writes a weekly column on Fridays.
After being the best in picking last year, there are mixed feelings of going easy to ensure a back-to-back win, or going hard to show how awesome I am at pretending to know anything about the wrestling business. With the help of my TJRsports radio co-host on the last one, I give you five predictions, each being harder to predict.
1) Dolph Ziggler will win and defend the World Heavyweight Championship
Just about everyone and their mammas know that Ziggles will win a title this year. If the WWE didn’t have faith in him, they would not have let him defeat and retain his Money in the Bank contract, as well as put him in a high-profile feud with the poster boy himself. But the question remains if the WWE sees a long-term potential with him. That’s why my prediction includes a title defense. The answer to the “long-term potential” question will be yes.
2) Kassius Ohno, Paige, Charlotte, Ricky Steamboat, and Bray Wyatt Debut
With the emergence of four NXT guys in the past couple months, I would expect to see even more talents brought up at some point in 2013. I’m predicting at least five. Kassius Ohno was a pick last year as well. He is the best wrestler still in NXT, and has ties with some other current WWE Superstars. He should be a lock to see. Paige and Charlotte are Divas that need to help that terrible division out. Paige is solid in the ring, unique, and young. Charlotte is still green, but due to the fact that her real name is Ashley FLAIR, she’ll be there soon. Steamboat and Wyatt are wild cards, but both are ready to see time on the main roster. Bray Wyatt has already been there as Husky Harris.
3) Chris Jericho & Ric Flair will once again return and put over some young talent
We’ve already seen Flair once recently, and it sounds like the TNA fiasco that has kept him in limbo is just about over. Naitch should once again show his face, but this time on a more consistent basis. He can be useful in whatever capacity they want, even if his wrestling days are behind him. Jericho on the other hand has been trying to come back for a few months but Vince wants to be in full control of Jericho’s side projects, which Jericho obviously says no to. I expect Y2J to be back when he is finished touring, and help put over some young guys, quite possibly some NXT guys. He’s already started a war of words with Seth Rollins on twitter. Just a matter of time now.
4) Rey Mysterio and Big Show (somewhat) retire
Let’s face it, some of the biggest stars in the company are getting up there in age and are one injury away from having them call it a career. The two guys I see that is most likely to happen with are Rey Mysterio and Big Show. Rey Rey is already missing quite a bit of time for personal reasons currently, and seems to just have constant knee problems. Big Show has stayed relatively injury free throughout his career, but he is slowing down quite a bit due to his age and unless he drops weight, it is going to be harder and harder for him to keep being somewhat agile. I am not saying both of these men will be completely done this year, but as guys who wrestle several times a week? I think their time is limited. Enjoy watching them while you can.
This last one comes from my TJRSports College Sports co-host Mike Durst. He went the dark route that I didn’t want to.
5) The one unfortunate thing about wrestling is the recent trend of wrestlers biting the dust and dying way before their time. In 2011 we had the untimely death of the great Macho Man Randy Savage and in 2012, while they weren’t exactly household names, Brad Armstrong was among one of at least 10 wrestlers who died way before their time. It’s a prediction I don’t want to make, nor hold any honor in being right but at this day in age, it appears inevitable. My prediction for 2013, is that a former wrestler or current wrestler (let’s hope this doesn’t happen) will die at a young age. There is going to come a time when medical examination is going to be at an all time high to try and collate wrestlers and untimely deaths.
You can follow Mike on Twitter @OsuMike03.
Brandon is a friend of the site that is the editor of the sports site With Leather and writes an outstanding "Best and Worst of Raw" column every week. Last year we went to WrestleMania together and had a blast. I'm pretty sure he has the best John Laurinaitis impression ever.
1. Sheamus will have a "shocking" heel turn
The wind just feels right. Sheamus is constantly being pushed as the Secondary John Cena, despite him being brutal to everyone and weird/racist/childish on the microphone. At some point during the year, probably somewhere near the middle, he'll hit somebody he isn't supposed to and stand over them with bug eyes, and Michael Cole will act like the guy who was a heel for the first few years we knew him could have NEVER done something like this. Not like this!
2. Paige will make the main roster/be an Internet darling
The Artist Formerly Known As Brittani Knight is ready to be the next Lita. Not so much in the "doin' moonsaults and aping the Hardyz" way, but in the way where she looks just a little different and wrestles just a little different and sets our worlds on fire because of it. The same guys who'd never watch a SHIMMER DVD will be on Twitter telling you how hot she is. She'll end up on a main show as somebody's sister or girlfriend or whatever, but eventually she'll be a thing. A really pale, wonderful thing.
3. Honey Boo Boo will emasculate somebody at WrestleMania
WWE's grasp of popular culture is "whatever's on People magazine's cover," so Honey Boo Boo will show up at WrestleMania. And these days WWE can't have an awful TV semi-star involved in their programming without putting them over one of their wrestlers, so HBB will get to knock down Drew McIntyre with a hip-thrust or fist pump with Zack Ryder or something asinine to entertain us between matches. To "entertain" us. Extra points if Mae Young and/or Gene Okerlund get stuck drinking Go Go Juice as a joke. Oh God, or Santino.
4. John Cena will be Exactly the Goddamn Same through December 2013
Nothing will change John Cena. His shirt color will change, that's it. Maybe the fabric in his shorts. No heel turns, no deep character development, no new moves, nothing. He'll be the same John Cena then as he is now, and he'll still be ending thrown-together main-eventer tag team matches on Raw with the Attitude Adjustment, celebrating with Replaceable Partner like he's just won the Royal Rumble. We'll still be complaining about him, and he'll still be making stupid jokes and millions of dollars.
5. Evan Bourne will be released at some point in 2013 and start charging local promoters way, way too much for indy dates
Bourne seemed like a surefire thing for WWE success for a while, but a combination of recreational drug enthusiasm and avian bird syndrome put him on the shelf for ... seemingly ever. He might pop back up again (in a Royal Rumble, or as a surprise entrant in Money in the Bank), but his flame will burn out quickly again, and that same combination will send him back to ROH or Dragon Gate USA or Your Local Armory, where he'll get $1800 more per show than he used to because people recognize him from television. Or maybe the Impact Zone. We know who that is, Taz!
You can follow Brandon on Twitter @MrBrandonStroud.
Andrew writes the Smacking of Smackdown weekly as well as the Monday Headlines and is part of our pay-per-view preview team. He likes sarcasm, which makes it difficult to bold his predictions.
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.
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.
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.
4) Sheamus will win the Royal Rumble again, because of course he will.
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 repertuar over the inner elements, and together they will destroy the threat of the Fire Nation and restore peace to the WWE.
In 2014, The Rock will be murdered by Dolph Lundgren.
You can follow Andrew on Twitter @TheAEJohnson.
Matt has covered Ring of Honor for the site and writes about WWE as well.
1. AJ will turn Face, then Heel, then Face again, then will be the new color commentator.
AJ’s road through WWE in 2012 had so many twists and turns because the writing team had no idea what they wanted to do with her, so they pulled her in about 15 different directions. I expect no different in 2013. This relationship with Dolph won’t last, so she’ll turn back babyface. I guess the next rational stop for her is winning the Divas Championship because she’s the most over woman on the roster, but she’s only really been in the spotlight for a year and already I’m sick of her.
2. Kassius Ohno will debut to much success.
I predicted last year that Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose would debut, and was close to having it not come true, but the Shield debuted in November, and are getting pushed heavily. I think 2013 will be the year we finally see the Wrestler formerly known as Chris Hero. After seeing the success of Rollins, Ambrose, and Antonio Cesaro, I expect big things from KO.
3. The WWE/World Championship game of hot potato will return.
2012 was quite the anomaly when it came to WWE and World Champions. We only had one WWE Champion all year and only three World Champions all year. That takes a lot of patience from a writing team that’s all about instant gratification. Once Punk loses the belt to Rock at Royal Rumble and Rock loses the belt to Cena at Wrestlemania, I expect a multitude of title changes for the WWE Championship. As for the World Title, Sheamus is due for another run, and there’s always the Ziggler cash in, plus Wade Barrett might be ready for a run as well.
4. The Undertaker will face CM Punk at Wrestlemania in his last match.
I think Taker’s got one more run in him, and after Punk loses to Rock, he’ll be a man without a storyline. Other than Brock Lesnar (who is rumored to face HHH in a rematch at Wrestlemania), I don’t see anybody who’s over enough to even attempt to end the streak at Mania other than Punk. He won’t end the streak (because frankly I think it’ll destroy the mystique of the Undertaker more than give a rub to the man who beats him), but Punk will try, and Taker will win and retire.
5. WWE will scoop up more Ring of Honor talents.
It seems inevitable that Ring of Honor wrestlers will get picked up by WWE. In the past we’ve seen Chris Hero, Claudio Castagnoli, Tyler Black, and Sara Del Ray leave for the big time. 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.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @PocketSeagull.
MATTY J. DOUGLAS
Matty writes a weekly column on Wednesdays looking at various characters in the company in his "Matter of Character" series.
1. The Divas division will undergo a complete overhaul.
Call this a wish more than a prediction. The fact is that the WWE doesn’t care about the Divas Division, but they seem to care an awful lot about AJ Lee. Eventually she’s going to have to make a run at the Divas title right? And that’s when the WWE will realize that aside from Natalya, Eve, and Kaitlyn, there are slim pickings in the Divas Division. 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.
2. Full time Tag Teams will take the reigns and keep the tag team division afloat for the majority of 2013.
Let’s face it; Team Hell No and Rhodes Scholars are not going to be teaming together this time in 2014. We’ll be lucky if these teams are still together through Wrestlemania. Sure they’ve helped revive the Tag Team Division, but the truth is that all four men are singles stars, three of which I’m expecting to have breakout years (Bryan, Sandow and Rhodes).
The reigns will be passed to the young, full time tag teams like The Usos (I’m still hitching my wagon to these guys) The Primetime Players, and a few teams from NXT like The Sons of Wyatt Family (Rowan and Luke Harper) to carry on what Hell No and Rhodes Scholars helped kick start at the end of 2012. Most of these teams are very young, and the WWE will need a veteran tag team to help get them over and keep the division afloat, which bring me to…
3. The New Age Outlaws have another run in them.
It’s pretty simple, these two still have some gas in the tank and the WWE is going to take them for a spin. I’ve only heard good things about their House Show appearances and think their presence in the Tag Team division will be a great help to all the young teams that are going to be asked to carry on what Daniel Bryan, Kane, Damien Sandow, and Cody Rhodes got started.
The Outlaws have always been one of the WWE’s most entertaining Tag Teams, and seeing how much the WWE has been relying on nostalgia to generate pops, I won’t be surprised if the New Age Outlaws return to action on a semi-weekly basis and get a short stint as Tag Team Champions before 2013 is over.
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.
CM Punk has paved the way in the last two years for guys like Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Antonio Cesaro and to an extent Daniel Bryan to be given an opportunity to succeed on the biggest stage in all of professional wrestling. His influence will continue to be felt in 2013 when Kassius Ohno (formerly Chris Hero) debuts on WWE TV. He is THE standout on NXT now that Rollins and Ambrose have departed and debuted on the main roster, and I absolutely love his character and performance on NXT. I’m certain that under the same character he has on NXT, he will become a favorite of the WWE Universe.
Not only will Kassius debut in 2013, but I’m also predicting that at some point in the year, he will team with his ROH tag team partner Antonio Cesaro for a mini Kings of Wrestling reunion. It will be a one off tag team match, where WWE throws the IWC a bone and lets us have a small taste of what these two once were.
5. Three Hour Raws will not last through to 2014.
Raw ratings have been dropping since the switch to three hours and I can only assume that at some point the WWE is going to have to tap out and recognize that the 3-Hour Raw Experiment was a failure. The show is far too long, and has become a chore for even the most hardcore WWE fan. There’s too much bad comedy, too many pointless segments, and there is no more story is being told in three hours than there were in two.
Raw is essentially bleeding viewers every week, and at some point in 2013 I expect the WWE to stop the bleeding and go back to two hours before they lose even more of their audience.
MARC "FOZZIE" B.
Fozzie writes the weekly TNA Impact Wrestling review as well as Tuesday Headlines and Fozzie's Den every other weekend.
1. Ryback will win the World Heavyweight Championship, probably at WrestleMania.
It's no question that Ryback is over and cemented in the Main Event scene. The only problem is that apparently the WWE title picture will be crowded with Punk, Cena, and Rock. If they move him over to the SD side(like it matters), then he should become champion.
2. The Shield will win titles, either as a group or individually.
I love the Shield. The 13 year old fanboy insider loves the Shield. They are a refreshing change to a mid card that so desperately needed one. I day that Rollins and Reigns become tag champs and Ambrose gets either the IC or US title.
3. Jack Swagger returns to dethrone Antonio Cesaro.
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?
4. Punk beats Rock at the Royal Rumble.
This is more of a hope than a prediction. I have nothing against the Rock, but I don't like the idea of him winning the Title. Punk beating him would make more sense to cement Punk as BITW, and I think WWE would benefit more in the long run if they go in that direction.
5. Undertaker wrestles his last match ever at WM.
The Undertaker is my favorite wrestler ever. I've always been a fan of the gimmick and respect the way he performs in the ring too. It pains me to say this, but I think he's done. He's pushing 50 and he really has nothing left to do. He has pretty much done everything in the business and will retire as one of the greatest ever, so I say that he goes out on top, 21-0 at WM.
You can follow Fozzie on Twitter @FozzieMB.
Christian writes the weekly WWE Main Event review and is also part of our pay-per-view preview team.
1. CM Punk will carry the WWE Championship into WrestleMania.
In my Main Event Review this week I said I wasn’t in love with The Rock winning the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble. I love The Rock but he doesn’t need to be the one to end the 14+ month reign of CM Punk. This streak has been pushed so much that it’s going to mean so much to the guy that finally ends Punk’s title reign. It should happen at WrestleMania and it should happen to the Royal Rumble winner.
2. Alberto Del Rio win will the 2013 Royal Rumble.
How do you skyrocket a guy you want to push as a top babyface? You have him win the Royal Rumble. How do you make the fans believe that he is that top babyface? You have him defeat the WWE Champion at WrestleMania. The WWE Champion that has held the title for going on 16 months at WrestleMania. With Ricardo Rodriguez and ADR’s natural charisma he is a guy I think the fans will get behind in a big way. He needs to be put over huge and this is the way to do it. Of course, if The Rock does win the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble, this is all mute but I’m sticking to it.
3. Dean Ambrose will win a World Title in 2013.
I really think that WWE is going to book The Shield right and make them the threat that The Nexus never was. Ambrose is the most complete superstar of the three members of The Shield. The Shield will continue to be unstoppable and sometime in the fall, say Hell in a Cell he’ll find himself in a title match against a babyface Champion (Daniel Bryan?) where his Shield comrades will see to it that he holds one of WWE’s top prizes.
4. John Cena will go another year without holding a World Title.
Outlandish you say? I say no. If you’ve noticed a trend in my predictions thus far it is that I’m all about WWE establishing new top superstars. They desperately need to in order to have any success in the future. 2013 will be a successful year for WWE if they establish new main event talent. John Cena doesn’t need a World Title. He’s the main event whether he faces CM Punk for the title or dances with a broom for kicks and giggles. Cena’s job now should be putting guys over like he did for Dolph Ziggler and CM Punk in recent memory. He’ll be over no matter if he loses every match in 2013. We all know that he won’t and we all know he doesn’t need a title to be relevant as was evident by this past year.
5. WWE will redraft their rosters.
This is a huge pipedream of mine. I liked WWE better when they had RAW and SmackDown as two separate brands where the talent didn’t interact with each other until the PPVs. I’ve beaten this horse to death in the past but when Randy Orton and Sheamus only appear on one show it allows time for development of other superstars. It also makes the PPVs mean more because you might see CM Punk and The Big Show bump into each other and it would be cool because the two champs never interact with each other. I think sometime after SummerSlam WWE will finally realize this.
You can follow Christian on Twitter @Christian_973. He'll probably tell you what he's watching on television too!
Thomas writes the Monday Sharpshooter column as well as Thursday Headlines.
1. Raw will revert to two hours.
This one should be a no brainer. Since moving to three hours, Raw has seen a decline in viewership. Part of that is thanks to Monday Night Football, and part of that is because of viewer fatigue. Once the ratings DON’T go up post NFL season, the WWE will decide to go back to the more reliable two hour format.
2. Stone Cold Steve Austin will make his return.
I made this prediction last year and was totally wrong. But with The Rock and Brock Lesnar’s returns coming to an end, it would make sense to see another living legend come back for a huge payday. Nobody is bigger than Stone Cold. And if Punk remains a heel, which he should, the perfect feud is there, ready for the taking.
3. The Shield will break up, and Roman Reigns will be the first to receive a major push.
As much as I like The Shield and want to see them continue as a team for a year, that’s just not how things work in the WWE. The unit will break up around summer time, and Roman Reigns will be pushed as a babyface. Normally I resent big bodies who receive quick pushes, but Reigns looks like he has massive potential. He doesn’t have the mic skills of Dean Ambrose, or the athleticism of Seth Rollins, but he’ll be a big attraction some day.
4. John Cena will turn heel
Again, this is a prediction repeat of last year. It made sense then, with Cena going against The Rock at Wrestlemania, and it makes sense again with a rematch likely taking place at this year’s Mania. The main reason Cena hasn’t turned yet is because of the lack of top faces in the company, and the amount of money he earns off of merchandise. It’s been unfortunate, as Cena has all the makings of an amazing heel. Luckily, guys like Ryback and Daniel Bryan have recently stepped up, and there may now be enough talent to replace Cena as top face.
5. Hulk Hogan will win the TNA World Heavyweight Title
Because he’s an egomaniac. Duh.
You can follow Thomas on Twitter @thjbriggs.
John: That's a wrap. Thanks for reading about our predictions for the wrestling business in 2013.
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