2013 has been a year of ups and downs for WWE. We saw The Rock end CM Punk’s record breaking 434 day reign as WWE Champion, before Cena beat The Brahma Bull at Wrestlemania at the Metlife Stadium. We saw the rise of Daniel Bryan to the main event scene, and the resurrection of Randy Orton’s main event career. We saw The Shield capture Championship gold, as well as the debut of The Wyatt Family, and the emergence of Big E Langston as a potential World Champion of the future. We saw two excellent Money In The Bank matches, and another Undertaker Wrestlemania classic, as well Taker vs Ambrose in London.
But then we’ve had the lows as well. The blind booking of The Authority angle, the confusion as to whether The Miz is a heel or a face, or a tweener or who knows. We’ve had PPV’s that have been god awful and not worth their PPV fee, regardless of where you are. The lack of planning in general has been shocking, and the use of some superstars has been just plain weird. We have seen Ryback and Curtis Axel fail to take advantage of pushes with Paul Heyman, for one reason or another, and we have seen WWE fail to capitalise on the popularity of RVD and Chris Jericho during their returns to the company.
So 2014 needs to be a classic, and that is something most will agree on. Wrestlemania XXX needs to be plain astounding, and with the WWE Network potentially launching next year (we’ve heard that before), the pressure is on for WWE to get things right straight away.
So here is what I think could happen in 2014, and how things will unfold.
GOING INTO THE YEAR
Somehow, I don’t see a unified champion heading into the New Year. It makes no sense, especially as you’ve spent months building Orton as the face of the WWE, and spent months building Cena up to be this superhuman who can return from any injury quicker than anyone else. There will be two champions come January 1st, and I believe that both men will be champion until the Elimination Chamber PPV at the very least.
THE ROYAL RUMBLE MATCH
An event that most people look forward to, and this year, it needs to set the tone for Wrestlemania 2 and a half months later. Expect returns from Sheamus, and possibly Chris Jericho to get a crowd hot. I expect the winner of the Rumble match to turn characters, either from Face to Heel, or Heel to Face. I believe that we will see cracks form in the Punk – Bryan alliance, and maybe cracks in The Shield. One thing is for sure in my mind, and that is we will see a first time winner of the match.
If I had to guess right now, I can honestly see CM Punk or Daniel Bryan winning the match, with the other winning a World Title at Elimination Chamber.
THE BUILD-UP TO NEW ORLEANS
I think WWE will try and book anyone and everyone who has been at the forefront of Wrestlemania’s of the past 30 years. Rumours of Hogan, Rock, Lesnar, Goldberg, Austin and many more have been doing the rounds on the internet, but I believe only three part-time talent will be used on April 6th. Unless The Undertaker is physically unable to compete, I expect to see him go up against Lesnar. With the greatest of respect, very few others have the credibility to face him at Wrestlemania. I can see Hogan involved in a storyline with Cena, although I personally don’t believe he will be involved in a match. I can see him costing Cena a win at the Mercedes Benz Superdome, meaning that Cena’s year goes from bad to worse after losing his title at Elimination Chamber.
A third part-timer could be used, and matches have been bounded around the internet. I don’t believe The Rock will be in action, as there is nobody he could really face. With Austin and Goldberg, it is all down to money, and I believe one will accept and offer and be in New Orleans on April 6th.
Wrestlemania will see the beginning of the end for The Shield. I believe they will be involved in a six man tag against The Wyatt Family. With the way he has been booked in recent weeks, expect to see Roman Reigns steal the show one way or another.
With many superstars looking for spots on the card, expect to see either a large tag match, or the return of Money In The Bank to Wrestlemania for the first time since 2010. With no man holding a MITB briefcase at the moment, could we see the first Wrestlemania MITB winner since Jack Swagger? I think so.
With it being the 30th anniversary of Wrestlemania, expect a mamoth Hall of Fame ceremony. I can see at least 3 former WWE/F champions being inducted in one way or another. Could this be the year for D-X, Ultimate Warrior or Randy Savage? Or could 2014 be the year of the Great One?
Randy Orton has seen his stock rise again in 2013, and expect him to be involved in a major way. Triple Threat matches have been prominent for Orton in the past at WM, and we could see another in New Orleans. Sheamus, Big Show and Kane all could be involved, and all have history with Orton.
THE FUTURE OF THE COMPANY
Once the dust has settled from Wrestlemania, expect to see the company invest in the future. Call up’s from NXT to fill mid-card slots, and men being pushed towards the main event are necessities for the company this year. Obviously, Big E Langston and Roman Reigns are the names that have been bounced about regularly, but others such as Antonio Cesaro, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt and Seth Rollins could also make an impact.
I will make this bold prediction though; we will see three, first time, World Champions before the end of the year. I expect to see a year similar to that in 2002, with regular title changes. I think WWE have lost the air of unpredictability that they have managed so well in recent years. Too many PPV’s have been predicted too easily, and not much has happened that has made me desperate to watch Raw or Smackdown following a PPV.
WILL THE WWE NETWORK GET OFF THE GROUND?
WWE are signing huge amounts of talent, and there isn’t enough room for them on the main roster, so management must know something we don’t. My gut instinct is that the WWE Network will get off the ground this year, and we will see a focus on some diverse wrestling programming.
We will also see many NXT talents given the chance to shine on a national scale. I mentioned before that I believe we will see 3 new World Champions next year. I also believe that we will see at least 2 current NXT talents win Singles Gold of some kind in the next 12 months.
So there are my predictions. I have tried to think how WWE think, but that is probably easier said than done. Regardless of what I think though, WWE need to pull something out of the bag come Wrestlemania and The Royal Rumble. Survivor Series was disappointing beyond belief, and if the Royal Rumble follows suit, then there will be huge problems with regards to Wrestlemania buy-rates in April.