An extension of Evan “The Boss” Cross’ Best Bets, each year I give ten predictions for the future of pro wrestling. Only one has ever come true, and I was a year off on it, but I’m satisfied with knowing Brock Lesnar would return to the Octagon.
As we embark on 2017, in a world full of unbelievable upsets and shocking comebacks, let’s remember who called these shots before they happened.
Hulk Hogan Returns to WrestleMania
After dropping the leg on that sleazy, slimy, fraud of journalism formerly known as Gawker, the Hulkster can now make his way back to the house that he built. All of those racism accusations will dissipate with one cup of the ear and a 15-minute pose. WrestleMania 33 is the perfect location (a skip and a hop from Casa de Hogan) for our Real American to return. But what will he do?
Muhammad Ali Inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame
He’ll induct The Greatest, of course! Hogan and Ali are forever linked to the inaugural WrestleMania, and Ali’s contributions to the industry deserve honoring. WWE tends to induct celebrities who are alive to reap the benefits of publicity, but Laila Ali has enough recognition to draw eyeballs to the ceremony and has a history with the Hulkster from the American Gladiators revival.
John Cena Marries Nikki Bella
I predicted this to happen in 2015, but clearly, Cena kicked out. With the success of Total Bellas and Total Divas, and the 15-time world heavyweight champion slowing his in-ring schedule, this will be the year that Cena drops to one knee, pulls out a ring and then traps Nikki into the STFU. The wedding won’t air on E!, though. It will be the main event of SummerSlam ala Macho & Liz.
Conor McGregor Debuts in WWE
Piggybacking off David Levin’s prediction that Paul Heyman splits from the Beast, the advocate will need a new charge. Obviously Conor McGregor doesn’t need a mouthpiece, but neither did CM Punk, and his chemistry with Heyman still worked well. McGregor has reportedly had talks with WWE, and Lesnar has already let his feelings be known about the controversial Irish fighter.
WWE Network Adds Indies
It’s just a matter of time before EVOLVE, Ring of Honor, PWG and other indy promotions sell their archives to WWE. Sure, there’s still tons of old content to release from the territories, WCW and even WWE, but with the influx of indy wrestlers appearing on NXT and in the Cruiserweight Classic, fans may prefer an array of more modern content.
House of Hardcore Gets TV Deal
You won’t see Tommy Dreamer’s promotion on the WWE Network because it will find a home on cable. I won’t be as bold as to choose which one, but if TNA can stay on the air this long, surely there’s a channel that will take a chance on the incredible action and spellbinding storytelling of HOH.
King Maxel and Vanguard 1 Win the TNA Tag Team Titles
Due to the viral success of Final Deletion and Total Nonstop Deletion, TNA will maximize their absurdity by crowning a toddler and a drone as its tag team champions. Perhaps King Maxel and Vanguard 1 will turn on the Hardys, or they’ll seek revenge against whichever team dethrones the Broken One and Brother Nero.
Daniel Bryan Pins The Miz
I’m not saying Daniel Bryan will wrestle again in WWE (when his contract expires, he’ll definitely compete on the indies, but let’s save that prediction for next year.) I am saying that this rivalry with The Miz will lead to a match, probably No Holds Barred, where Bryan will simply pin his Hollywood-obsessed foe after someone else (Ziggler?) does the heavy lifting.
The New Day Break Up
Pour a box of BootyOs out for the longest-reigning Tag Team Champions as there is nothing left for the trio to accomplish. Big E will snap on Kofi and Xavier, busting Francesca 3 over his meaty thigh. Then he’ll end Kofi’s career, leading to a series of excellent David vs. Goliath battles against Dr. Woods.
John Cena Will NOT Tie Ric Flair’s Record
You’ll think I’m biased, but my lifelong anti-Cena stance/Nature Boy worship is not why I made this prediction. Cena won’t tie the record because the money is in the chase. By ending The Streak, WWE gave up on an annual cash cow. There was perpetual interest in seeing if someone could beat the Undertaker at WrestleMania. Now that it happened, Cena’s chase for the record is the only cash cow left to milk.
And milk Vince will. Over and over, year after year, WrestleMania after WrestleMania. Cena is so popular and credible that he could get screwed once, maybe even twice a year, and fans will still line up to see him tie it. If he does, then sure, you can do the same chase for him to break the record. But then you lose the appeal of Flair fans like me bitching that he can’t lace Naitch’s boots, much less be regarded as the same champion.
And what’s the fun in that?