JC’s Top Rope Report: 10 Predictions For 2014
Hello everyone. First off let me wish you all a Happy New Year. Hopefully you didn’t have to deal with a backed-up toilet at 2 in the morning at whatever party you attended.
With a new year comes new hope for the WWE. Of course, I’m sure a lot of wrestling fans say that every year. But I think we can all agree that this year’s Road to Wrestlemania looks a lot more interesting than last year. At this point last year, we were all dreading the idea of Rock/Cena and Brock/HHH rematches. While some matches are rumored to be locks, there is just as much uncertainty.
Every year I like to look ahead and make some predictions for the year. Last year, two of my predictions turned out right. I said the WWE should push Daniel Bryan as a top face, and re-sign Brock Lesnar to a new contract. Last year I only threw out five predictions for 2014. This year I’m expanding a bit and making it ten. Everyone has ideas on where they would like to see the WWE or TNA go moving forward. My predictions include what I think will happen in 2014, whether they are good or bad.
1. RAW Will Move Back To 2 Hours After SummerSlam
-This is one I got wrong last year. I predicted it would go back down after Wrestlemania and that didn’t happen. But with The Network likely debuting in a few months and the new television rights deal up for negotiation, I just think three hour RAWs are going to be a drain on the product. If the WWE is looking to get more money out of a new TV deal, I don’t know if a new network will sign on for three hour RAW in addition to possibly airing Smackdown, Main Event and possibly NXT. I’m not a money expert so I don’t know how much the extra hour of RAW actually makes for the WWE, but sooner or later they have to realize it is detrimental to the long term viability of their product. The ratings always struggle once football season starts. Hopefully the WWE realizes this and knows that a shorter, more to the point product is better than stretching RAW to three hours. All you have to do is cut out the numerous recaps and about two or three filler segments and you have your two hour RAW.
2. Bray Wyatt Will Main Event SummerSlam And Win The WWE Title
-In my column last week I ran down a list of wrestlers who could win the WWE Championship for the first time this year. Bray Wyatt was at the top of my list. He gets that billing from me because of the lack of heels the WWE currently has to offer. There’s no doubt that there is still a bit of intrigue surrounding the Wyatt Family. And the WWE seems to be getting behind them. While some will argue that putting Daniel Bryan with the Wyatts is a de-push for him, I would argue that it is elevating the Wyatts. They’ve become a key focus of the show after doing nothing for almost two months. While I don’t necessarily agree with how the Bryan/Wyatt angle has been booked, I think it will help them in the end. With The Shield break-up coming sooner rather than later, the Wyatts become the main group of the show. I don’t know who Bray takes the Title from, but I think he walks away from SummerSlam as WWE Champ. If not SummerSlam, then at some point in 2014 this will happen.
3. Batista’s Return Won’t Go Over Like The WWE Expects
-Let me start of by saying that I am happy that Batista is returning. I thought the heel work he was doing at the end of 2010 was some of the best work he has done in his career. It sucked to see him leave when he did. It wasn’t a proper send off for someone that had done so much in the WWE. Now he gets to return for one final run in the ring. Batista was never the greatest of workers, but he had some good matches with the likes of Undertaker and HHH. And I’m sure he can have some good ones with Daniel Bryan and CM Punk. But while I think Batista will get a good reaction upon his return, I don’t think it will last. The nostalgia of Batista being back won’t last forever. Eventually, the “fans want new stars on top” feeling will kick in and seeing Batista on top doesn’t help that. It is why I fear that a Batista/Randy Orton match at Wrestlemania won’t work. And it could backfire in a bad way. As I said before, I’d much rather see Batista/Brock Lesnar happen at Mania.
4. Dolph Ziggler Will Become World Champion Again… In TNA
-Any wrestling fan will tell you the biggest surprise/disappointment/screw up of the year was the push of Dolph Ziggler. There were a lot of people who thought he was the next big star in the WWE. I always thought he would reach the main event level, and be an interesting opponent for The Rock once he had everything worked out. But now, Dolph would probably be lucky if he even got to say hello to The Rock when he’s backstage. Dolph is barely above a jobber at this point. And if people in the WWE really are down on him, I could see him gone by the end of the year. I feel like Ziggler would fit in rather well in TNA. And I wouldn’t give TNA crap for signing a guy that was released by the WWE. In this case, TNA would be getting a wrestler who was massively under-utilized and can definitely go in the ring. Ziggler wouldn’t be a game changer for TNA, but he would definitely make the product instantly better.
5. Cody Rhodes Will Get Lost In The Shuffle After Wrestlemania
-Cody and Goldust have been the main architects behind the rejuvenation of the tag team division. They’ve put on some great matches with almost any team that has been put in the ring with them. But we pretty much all know that eventually they will break up. They’ve been rumored to be in line for a Wrestlemania feud. Whether Cody turns face or heel, I just fear that once the feud is over he won’t get nearly as high as he is right now. Cody has always shown flashes of potential, but he always seems to get knocked down a peg after a few months. I included him in my possible first time Champions column last week, but even I know it is a longshot. Cody just doesn’t have the look the WWE wants in their top guys. As much as I like Cody, I feel like he will be stuck in mid-card purgatory once we get to the summer.
6. Summer Rae Will Become The Top Diva In The WWE
-Anyone who watches NXT knows that there is a lot more to Summer Rae than being a dance partner for Fandango. She actually has a lot more personality and character to offer. She does a good job of playing the mean-spirited bitchy heel. And she is a decent worker in the ring. But she hasn’t been able to show that on RAW or Smackdown every week. Once Fandango runs his course, I think Summer Rae will break out as the top Diva in the company. As long as she is still on NXT she will have more time to develop her character and become more well-rounded as a performer. The crowd already cheers her more than Fandango during his matches. The WWE needs some fresh blood in their Divas Division, and Summer Rae fits that bill.
7. TNA Will Be Sold And Nothing Will Change
-Just as someone who loves pro wrestling, I want to see TNA succeed. They made a bad deal with Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff and it ended up costing them in the end. Now they have no place to film Impact after being kicked out of Universal. I think TNA is sold at some point this year. But the company is in need of more than just a new owner. They need a complete overhaul. Essentially, they need a full body makeover. They need to channel a lot of their resources into better advertising and promotion for their product. They don’t need to bring in aging veterans. They need to sign young talents or guys like Dolph Ziggler who have untapped potential. Until TNA does that, nothing will change with the overall structure of the company. At the end of 2014, we will be talking about TNA just like we are now.
8. Dean Ambrose Will Win Money In The Bank And Main Event PPVs By The End Of The Year
-To me, Dean Ambrose is a guy that is going to be just too good to keep down. He has a different edge to him. You can tell just by watching any of his promos or matches with The Shield. But part of me thinks that when The Shield breaks up, the WWE will be hesitant to push Ambrose at first. But eventually the WWE will realize that Ambrose just has a certain “it factor” that cannot be ignored. Amborse can go in the ring, and he can cut a promo that is the right mix of what you want from a heel. That is why I think Ambrose has a bright future in the WWE. If they are only doing one MITB match this year, I would prefer a heel win it. And Ambrose would be my candidate. By the time 2014 is coming to an end, I see Ambrose as a guy the WWE trusts to main event PPVs and build the company around in 2015.
9. The Intercontinental And Tag Team Titles Will Start To Main Event RAW And Smackdown
-Call this me putting too much faith in the WWE, but I really think they are ready to start putting more focus on these two titles. The entire tag team division has become more prominent now than it has been over the last five years. The WWE has done a good job of elevating tag teams while making new ones out of guys that don’t really have anything going for them as singles stars. Meanwhile, Big E Langston has been getting some prominent time as the Intercontinental Champion. He’s had two title matches at the 9 p.m. hour on RAW, which is a pretty big time slot for RAW. It is pretty obvious that Big E is in line for a big push. And he will have the IC Title to elevate along the way. I think both titles will get matches this year at Wrestlemania. I could see these titles becoming a huge focal point of Smackdown. And if things go well there, they could easily start to have these matches main event RAW as well.
10. 2014 Will Be The Year Of The NXT Invasion Onto WWE TV
-No, I do not think that the WWE will do something similar to what happened with Nexus a few years ago. I think this year we will end up seeing a lot of talent from NXT get called up to the main roster. There are just way too many valuable commodities down there for it not to happen. There’s Sami Zayn, who would be over if he debuted on the next episode of RAW with no build whatsoever. Bo Dallas and his current gimmick would work well in the WWE. There are acts like Aiden English and Tyler Breeze that I think are solid mid-card acts waiting to happen. The Ascension should get a call up soon. And I think Colin Cassady and Enzo Amore are perhaps the biggest wild cards of all. If they catch on I really like their chances of success in the WWE. With so much talent in NXT, there is bound to be a solid roster infusion in the coming year.
So what are your thoughts. What kind of predictions do you have for the WWE in 2014?
Until Next Time,
Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka