It is that time of the year again. The pro wrestling year is closing and it is time to look into my WWE crystal ball and see what lays ahead for the current and future WWE superstars in 2013.
Paul Heyman will turn on Brock Lesnar - Brock Lesnar has remained mum while Paul Heyman has managed his way into the WWE championship with CM Punk. The Punk and Heyman duo have been a hit and look like they are in it for the long haul. This presents a problem for Brock when he returns. Where do Heyman’s loyalties lie? Of course it is with the wrestler remaining the top heel in the WWE. The fans are already behind Brock anyway, the turn makes perfect sense. I think immediately after WrestleMania Heyman turns on Brock and WWE fans are treated to Brock vs. CM Punk in 2013 in what should be a fun feud.
Two of the three Shield members will wind up as low-mid carders by the end of 2013 - How often does the WWE generally see a young faction through more than a few months? It rarely if ever happens. Look at Nexus. They were all used to set up Wade Barrett. I know that Dean Ambrose is the darling of the Internet these days but I think it is actually Seth Rollins that breaks out of this pack. Unfortunately for Ambrose I think he is just a bit too small to be taken seriously in the upper cards and Roman Reigns is just too green for his role. Rollins has “it” and has a great chance of turning into an important utility player ala Daniel Bryan by the end of 2013, if not more.
Jeff Hardy will return to the WWE - Jeff Hardy is a free agent in the first quarter of 2013. Jeff Hardy now has a family to think about and as appealing as it may be to continue as the top dog in TNA Wrestling, he can take care of his family for life with one last WWE deal. Jeff is getting older and while he’ll probably have one more chance at a big deal in a few years, this is it. The WWE desperately need another big star and they could have one immediately with Hardy. I look for Hardy to return and defeat Dolph Ziggler at WrestleMania for the WWE world heavyweight championship and have a big showdown with CM Punk at SummerSlam.
A major WWE name will sign with TNA Wrestling - Hardy leaving TNA will open up some money for the company to aggressively sign a big name. But what big name would go from the glitz of the WWE to the lower-paying TNA? Maybe someone that doesn’t have a choice and is forced to leave the WWE? There is one guy currently at the top of the cards who has two strikes against him and his name is Randy Orton. What if Orton gets a third strike? He’s done. Could it be someone else on the roster? Sure, wrestling is a crazy business. Who will it be? Come back and visit the blog by the end of 2013 and we’ll find out.
CM Punk will wind up as a mid-card wrestler at some point in 2013 - I know this is a very unpopular thing to say but I’ll say it. CM Punk is not a draw. He doesn’t draw ratings, he doesn’t do a thing for buyrates, and the push has been better than anyone else has gotten in years. There is no excuse at this point. Vince McMahon is not an idiot and if it wasn’t for The Rock returning, Punk would have been demoted awhile back. I think Punk will wind up like The Big Show where he bounces in and out of main-events, but also winds up in the mid-card for a period of time. Maybe he saves his spot with some impressive ratings with The Rock but I think the experiment has gone on long enough and the results just aren’t there.
Steve Austin will…not return to the ring - I know everyone is waiting for Stone Cold to return to the wrestling rings but I hate to break it to you, it’s not going to happen. Don’t get me wrong. It pains me to write this as a big Austin fan. But the writing has been on the wall here for awhile and the guy just doesn’t want to tarnish his legacy with a return. If it was ever going to happen it would be now or WrestleMania and it’s not happening. Austin is enjoying a successful life outside of pro wrestling and is financially set for life. He’s seen what happens when guys like Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair go too long. He doesn’t need it financially and whatever quick payoff he receives won’t be worth it if his match disappoints or doesn’t deliver. Sorry Stone Cold fans, he’s staying retired.
WWE RAW will remain at three hours through 2013 - Again this is another prediction I am writing not because I wish it happens, but because I think it happens. Everyone is waiting for RAW to go back to two hours…except Vince McMahon. The WWE is receiving an undisclosed fee for the new hours and Vince owes it to his stockholders to take it. Has it damaged the WWE long term? I think it has but at the end of the day Vince is running a corporation in addition to a wrestling company. I don’t think it is right but I think the mindset here is to take the money. Unfortunately that will come at the expense of fans that are starting to tune out more than ever before.
Ric Flair will not return to the WWE - Wooo! Like Austin, a lot of fans are waiting for the Nature Boy to stroll back down the aisle on Monday Night RAW. It was practically a given that Flair would return after he had such an emotional day at the 2012 Hall of Fame. Unfortunately a few things happened that nobody expected. An employee in the WWE wound up allegedly stealing secrets about wrestler’s deals resulting in a lawsuit. But more importantly Flair’s soon-to-be ex-wife dished the dirt on him publicly and it is not good. Flair is still allegedly behind on his taxes. At some point something has to give and does the WWE really want to get in business with someone that always winds up in some kind of out of the ring controversy? I honestly don’t think they do and there are other issues. Flair loves to party and unfortunately for him, the wrestling business has changed. Ric Flair is one of my favorite all-time wrestlers but I wouldn’t want him anywhere near my company or locker room. Unfortunately for him I think that WWE officials wind up feeling the same way.