SO HERE WE ARE, ANOTHER YEAR HAS PASSED AND WE’VE ALREADY BEGUN 2017 WITH A BANG.
Women’s marches that were both empowering, awe-inspiring and had the world talking, to Donald Trump making it official in becoming the 45th president of the United States no. Just, no. I’m not going to give that misogynistic twat any light of day.
But, I digress. 2016 was surely one of the best years for WWE, and there’s no denying it. From January 2016 where you had AJ god damn Styles debut in the Royal Rumble match (great reaction recorded on Reigns for that, THANKS DUNNY BOY) to the NXT Takeover spectacles that took place all throughout 2016, all the while Women’s wrestling was finally brought back to it’s rightful place in WWE. We are quite spoiled in 2016, and for what we witnessed in 2016, if that’s any indication where we’re headed, 2017 will surely surpass all of our expectations. With that being said, here are my 10 ideas I’d like to see happen in 2017:
Number 10: Well-kept debuts/returns:
It’s to no secret that the internet is a wondrous tool that allows us to connect with friends and family, as well as access a wealth of knowledge and facts that cannot be conceived by the mind alone. It helps with everyday lives and allows a wrestling community to grow stronger and stronger, voicing their concerns whenever they feel please (why oh why does Roman kick out of absolutely everything, yet 1 spear kills everyone else. TELL ME WHY!).
With that noted, it’s been a common theme that when news gets broken (yyyyeesssssss aaahhahhahahaha *Broken Matt Hardy laugh*) it often spoils any sort of electric buzz that it could have, had it not been told in the first place. I know it was already announced AJ styles and company were leaving New Japan Pro Wrestling and coming here, but it wasn’t mentioned when any would debut. It left us, the WWE universe in a constant “Is this the time they’ll come out?!” Hell, look at when the Dudley Boyz returned in 2015 edition of Raw, after Summerslam. Brooklyn, NY lost their collective minds and I myself, marked out properly. It was a complete shock. No one had reported it and we all were certainly not expecting it.
It’s that kind of moment that makes being a wrestling fan all the worthwhile. Average people don’t understand the sheer excitement or thrill a fan gets when their favorite wrestler from another company, debut or return to WWE. It’s an art that is still very much there, but the sites that require hits are the ones that ruin those moments for us fans.
Number 9: AJ Styles v. Kenny Omega
Going off of number 10 on this list, this debut would surely shake the entire WWE universe to their core. Kenny Omega, for those who aren’t aware, is a pro-wrestler that has been making a name for him in almost all areas that aren’t TNA or WWE. From NJPW to Ring Of Honor to Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, he’s been cementing himself as one of the best in the business at what he does (I see you writing on that list, Jericho). When it was announced that AJ Styles was to be leaving NJPW and heading to WWE, Styles at the time was leader of the Bullet Club; a club that Kenny Omega also found himself to be a part of.
Well, with Styles heading out the door, what better way than to boot him in the ass and turn on him, having the entire club be a part of it. To top it all off, Omega delivered a great follow-up promo post-beat down.
“Bullet Club is fa-fa-fa-for life, except for AJ Styles”
When (or if) Kenny Omega decides to come to WWE, this is a feud that NEEDS to happen. There’s history between the two and both are incredible performers who would no doubt, put on an amazing bout that’d ultimately, regardless of who wins, the WWE universe wins as a whole.
Number 8: Raw back down to 2 hours
I understand the likelihood of this happening is not significant, but that 3rd hour of Raw is usually what kills it and makes it feel way longer than it should be. My beloved friends in the UK already stay up past midnight to watch Raw. You think we have it hard here if we’re watching a crap Raw, we turn it off at 10pm and go to bed. Friends in the UK are watching it from 1am to 4am, then head to bed only to wake up a couple hours later for work. Does that sound fun? No? So never complain that you “stayed up for this garbage”. Other fans have it way worse. Trust.
*Clears throat* where was I?….Oh yes. It’s no surprise that SmackDown has been surpassing Raw when it comes to interest from the masses. That 3rd hour of the show some nights drags on way too much. My solution? Cutting it back to a two-hour show, and having that 3rd hour (if it’s still needed) to be used as the “Raw Talk”. SmackDown has been great when it comes to providing thought-provoking storylines and the action we see in the ring, having it be a 2-hour show benefits from that greatly as well. Raw needs to follow the blueprint on it and fix it.
Number 7: Miz wins WWE championship
Miz has been with WWE since 2004. You read that right. He’s entering his 13th(!!!!!!) year with the company and is coming off arguably his best year in 2016. His character has seen a major maturity drive last few years, and that comes with age and experience. Now, for those who may not know, Miz has won the WWE title before actually. He cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase he won in 2010, only to cash in later on Randy Orton, later in the year. While that run was rather lack lustering, winning this year would make him a 2-time champion.
Back to the matter, Miz’s star has not been as high as it’s been ever in his career. His heat is at an all-time high, and his episodes with Daniel Bryan on Talking Smack were shoot worthy. He echoed during those heated interviews of how hard of a worker he is and has been for the company. You really felt compelled when he was talking because he was talking from the heart. His matches are phenomenal, he’s arguably top 5 in the company, his stock is at its peak and it’s time to for WWE to capitalize on that and give the man the title.
He will look like a legitimate contender with that belt over his shoulder (not that he doesn’t already) and it would cement Miz in being one of the greats to hold the belt. He’s deserving of it and it would be a remarkable run with the title.
Number 6: Major PPV to be held in U.K.
Let’s face it; U.K. crowds are the best crowds. There, I said it. Being Canadian, I hold our crowds for being loud, brash, exciting, and infectious. Crowds in the United States can be great, but wow there are some stinkers there (Looking at you Corpus Christi, Texas). U.K crowds are revolutionary. They’re the loudest, by far. The most creative chants, similar to those during Football games (That’s soccer for the western world readers).
With the U.K tournament recently wrapped up, during a match there was a chant that, no lie, was chanted, “heyyyy Jesus, huuu ha, I wanna know if you’d be my god”. Like, that’s unfathomable in the most exciting way. They are the craziest fans in the world. Could you imagine what Summerslam or Survivor Series or WrestleMania ‘over the pond’?! Realize this, if you didn’t already; wherever WrestleMania is held (generally ALWAYS in the U.S) those crowds, I’d like to say, are almost a 50/50 split in U.S fans and U.K/Canada fans. The Raw’s after are always energetic and electric, because of those fans.
U.K fans watch Raw, Smackdown and PPVs in the middle of the night, due to the differences in time zones. When we get tired after watching a PPV that ended at 11pm on this side of the world, our brothers and sisters living in the U.K are heading to bed at around 4-4:30am, depending where you are, only to wake up 2 hours later for work. I mentioned it earlier in this article, but U.K is majorly due for a major PPV. Canada just had an NXT Takeover and Survivor Series. It only took 10 years to get another PPV, and there should be more, but the next stop for a major PPV is for the U.K.
Number 5: Bray Wyatt wins gold.
This is a personal want of mine. Bray Wyatt has been a polarizing character that’s left the WWE universe on both spectrums of whether he’s a main eventer or a mid-card tweener. His booking has been lacklustre if that. He’s had good feuds and great matches. The reactions he’s enticed from the fans has been more positive than anything. He’s arguably one of the better all-around performers the WWE has, and they have this diamond that’s not an “internet darling” in that he’s a pure WWE product.
This is the year he wins gold. He did win the tag-titles late last year yet that fell flat rather quickly. If the expected feud is Harper/Wyatt, have Wyatt come out on top and then shift focus to winning the title or winning the MiTB briefcase. I have a fun booking idea for him winning the briefcase and cashing in (but that’s for another article ;D).
Bray Wyatt has matured over the last 4 years and with the brand split providing fresh, creative storylines, feuds that have never been done before are what we can look forward to in 2017.
Number 4: Brand warfare
I know most of the TWM staff won’t agree with me on this (looking at you Dean!) but I’ve always loved the ideology of superstars being proud of the respected brands and wanting their show to be the “A” show. What better way than to have “invasion” angles occur. The Brock Lesnar/Randy Orton saga where Lesnar went to Smackdown and Orton went to Raw had me properly excited. More big names like that, eventually leading to pure chaos is my most favourite kind of chaos.
In addition to this post, trading superstars like they do in say football, hockey, American Football etc. where players can become trade bait just opens the realm to new possibilities of storylines. They teased it on Raw with Zayn and Foley, and admittedly, Zayn would look much better in Blue.
If you don’t know, I am for sure #TeamSmackdown. Have been since early 2000’s so that won’t change any time soon.
Number 3: Pushing the Women’s Division
2016 was the year we witnessed women’s wrestling leaped years in regards to quality. Charlotte/Sasha Banks mainly dominated it, but we had the privilege witnessing Iron Women matches, Hell in a Cell matches, Steel Cage matches. 2017 needs to push the matches for the women. More specialty matches like a women’s Money in the Bank matches, Last Woman Standing, Submission-only. Dare I even say, a women’s STAIR MAT-no I’m kidding. I’m totally kidding. No one wants to ever see another stairs match.
You have women that are both beautiful and dangerous. They’re capable at stealing the show and the match in 2016 were great, but lets go further with it.
Number 2: Two-person commentating booth
The 3-person booth (or if you’re Smackdown, the 47-person booth) has been a constant headache. You have 1 individual calling what they see, another filling in spine-shivering small talk/comments and the 3rd who doesn’t bring anything aside from heel-comments. My proposed idea would be:
Raw – Michael Cole + Corey Graves
Smackdown – Mauro Ranallo + Tom Phillips
For Raw, you have 2 individuals that are excellent at what they do, plus Corey Graves handles the commentating as a heel flawlessly. It provides it with a classic WWE mix of a face/heel commentating team.
For Smackdown, Mauro and Phillips, there’s a nice blend of two voices that are good at what they do, and since you don’t have a heel commentator, it provides a fresh feel to the commentating team.
AND AT NUMBER 1…….
I know I mentioned keeping things secret in Number 10 on the list, but with this point I’m more meaning keeping us fans on our toes, with an “anything can happen” type of booking. I’m not talking about Ellsworth beating AJ Styles for the title (the tease almost killed me) but with talks that this year’s Royal Rumble winner is someone “No one will see coming” has absolutely everyone intrigued as to how it will go down.
Unpredictability in surprising upsets. Keeping the product fresh. Not having Roman Reigns take 4,000,000 finishers, kick out at 2 and win with 1 spear. Always keeping the WWE universe on their toes when it comes to matches and outcomes in their matches. Instead of falling back on the “safe” finish, try new and exciting ways for booking. We love surprises, and even more so when we say “I did NOT see that coming” i.e. Goldberg smashing Brock Lesnar in 1:26 seconds. That was due to injury on Goldberg’s side but still. Or you know, when Lesnar broke the streak of the Undertaker at Wrestlemania. HHH turning on Seth Rollins, having Kevin Owens win the Universal title. The reactions have us reeling on why it’s the most fun being a wrestling fan. For moments like those listed, and more so that have been done before. It leaves us feeling like kids again, filled to the brim with excitement and genuine love for the product.
Thanks for reading my mini manifesto in what idea’s I’d like to see happen in 2017. Let me know if you enjoyed my article or disagree, or have other idea’s you’d like to see!
Stay Classy, IWC.