Column: 2014 Predictions
by Tom G
Time to dust off the crystal ball and see what is in store for the three biggest promotions this year…
The next boom
WWE is on the cusp of a new boom. All the pieces are starting to fall in place. Critics of the PG rating need to move on. Hulkamania wasn’t PG-13 and it arguably launched everything we have today. There is a smartness to moving talented veterans in-and-out for a few months at a time to keep things fresh. Brock Lesnar eyeing the championship and the return of Batista add a nice unpredictability. The Shield and The Wyatt Family are intriguing. The tag division is heating up and I am starting to see individual personalities of the Divas. Add in the inevitable launch of the WWE Network and I dare say 2014 will be the launching pad for another big boom.
New and Returning Faces
It might be storyline fodder, but WWE does what’s best for business — usually. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jeff Jarrett do what A.J. Styles and Sting will one day wish they did — spend some time in WWE. No burned bridge lasts forever in WWE (hello Bruno, Sable, etc.) so a Jarrett return is not out of the question. I’d like to see him lead an old school type faction, perhaps serving as a mentor to some guys from NXT or such.
I also think we will see for at least some period of time Mickie James, John Morrison, Matt Morgan, Hulk Hogan and Kurt Angle return to the fold by year’s end. Old School Raw would be a good place for some of these folks to show up.
Several NXT stars are ready for the spotlight, including Corey Graves, The Ascension, Tyler Breeze and a re-energized Mason Ryan. We sort of need to see him and Batista next to each other at some point. Maybe a tag match between them and John Cena/Darren Young?
Would love to see international star Prince Devitt come to WWE. Dave Dutra also a talented guy out of California. Give them a fast pass through NXT.
For some reason I think 30 will be done better than 25 was. The event will feature a mix of current and former stars. Maybe a nod to the original with Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper in opposite corners for a match? Had they planned this out better their sons could be wrestling each other (no, I know…). Matches I anticipate:
Brock Lesnar vs. Batista
Randy Orton vs. CM Punk
Undertaker vs. John Cena
Daniel Bryan vs. Shawn Michaels
Cody Rhodes vs. Goldust (will steal the show)
Dean Ambrose vs. Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins
The Hall of Fame
This year I see the Ultimate Warrior, Goldberg, Muhammad Ali, The Fabulous Freebirds and The NWO as some of the inductees.
The Big Picture
Now the random bits… Daniel Bryan will be champ again, and this time keep the belt for awhile… Sister Abigail will join her brothers in The Wyatt Family as they continue to get stronger… The Shield will split but the feud among members will be short-lived as they each go their separate ways and see further individual success… Dean Ambrose will become a challenger to Bryan’s title reign… Mark Henry will suffer a half-dozen storyline/real injuries… Ryback will get a minor repackaging… managers will see a renaissance period… Hulk Hogan will feud with the Real Americans… this may be how Angle is brought back… Sin Cara will turn heel… with the Network functioning, several WCW-themed events will return as specials, including the first-ever WWE Wargames.
Now when looking to the future of TNA, it seems I might drift off into more of what they need to do rather than what will happen, but I won’t let that stop me from having some fun!
Face and heel turns will begin to matter and make sense. If you miss a month Austin Aries, Chris Sabin and Mr. Anderson will have flipped three times for little reason… TNA will continue to swerve fans about contract statuses in the hopes of getting a small pop… another of Dixie Carter’s “relatives” will debut and become a thorn in her side… Magnus will become a legitimate champ… James Storm will finally get a title run with some depth, but as a heel… the Samuel Shaw gimmick will get creepy and be dropped… or Christian Bale will debut and challenge him to a match… Jeff Hardy will be cut… Aries, Sabin, Roode, Storm and Magnus will dominate the main event picture… Alex Shelley will return to feud with Sabin… Bully Ray and Abyss will engage in an extended war… TNA will continue on to 2015, but in the process will finally learn what their strengths are and play to them.
ROH will try to strike a deal to air on the WWE Network, and might be successful… Adam Cole will continue to be a major player… like ECW of old, stars will pass through on their way to WWE or TNA… if no WWE Network, there is the possibility of more TV stations carrying the program this year… this is the year for ROH to take the next step and close in on TNA as the second-most-known organization in the United States… Chris Hero will settle back in at home and find a new tag team partner to see success with… Alex Koslov will reach main event status level and break out as well.
Now before everyone gets all worked up, I know most of this isn’t going to happen, but if one just makes predictions based on being a “smart mark” there really isn’t much fun to the game.
Happy new year!