Welcome to 2016! We already got the new WWE video game which somehow has even more wrestlers in it. Next year they’ll add the AWA roster, then by 2019 we will also have WCCW, the USWA, and Mid-South.
It feels like it has been a while since I wrote one of these columns. Thanks to Mark Henely for coverage the past few crazy weeks. Seems Roman Reigns as WWE Champion isn’t so bad after all. The path is open for a slew of heels to get bumped up to the title program. This of course is now led by Vince McMahon in an Attitude Era angle with the whole “Don’t Cross the Boss” persona. Is Roman Reigns another Steve Austin? Not at all. He’s Roman Reigns. He will have guys like Ambrose and Ziggler who would be easy marks to be some sort of anti-corporate stable, and at some point Vince could re-form a corporate staff of his own, including the League of Nations and recruit some unlikely allies in the form of Kevin Owens and Big Show who I only mention due to being first to declare himself in the Royal Rumble. Show is still a natural heel, although I believe the recent chanting and taunting of retirement to be a tad on the disrespectful side considering he has been there longer the 90% of the roster, the other 10% being Mark Henry, The Undertaker, and Kane.
Speaking of the Attitude Era, the whole Vince going to jail thing was pretty funny. Very 90’s. However can also work in 2016. Vince on television is gold, to me anyway. His facial expressions are priceless. Vince has the natural ability to be hated and use that to put anyone over. This is a huge benefit to Roman Reigns. He has the look and the demeanor which amps up a live crowd and garners the same fanfare as someone like Cena. Reigns finally earned his respect, earned the WWE Championship, in a manner not force-fed like others. I expect Reigns to drop the title once or twice within the year, but fully expect him to regain the championship during said feuds, much like how The Rock or Austin would lose the belt, and regain it at the next major event. If Vince and Reigns can keep the chemistry going, 2016 will be an exciting year.
The Wyatt Family needs a big booster going into 2016. After easily vanquishing the ECW stable, the Wyatts need another feud to maintain their momentum.
There is a HUGE undercard roster, and seems the move to SmackDown will greatly benefit them. There are only so many championships to go around, so WWE will need to focus on the feuds and develop them well. I would think more fatal-four way and triple-threat matches will be needed to give everyone their fair share of air time.
Another factor to consider, the eventual returns of Tyson Kidd, Cesaro, and Seth Rollins. When Rollins comes back, it will not matter whether face or heel. It will be awesome. The crowd eruption when he showed up to claim his Slammy Award, is all the proof WWE needs. Rollins will be back in the main event for sure, and a second run as WWE Champion will not be too far behind. His cash-in at WrestleMania will be legendary. I believe he would still be champion if not for the injury. I believe, this might be harsh, but since WWE allowed for Nikki Bella to overtake AJ Lee as longest reigning Divas Champion, they had full intent on having Seth Rollins surpass CM Punk as longest reigning WWE Champion.
2016 will be an interesting year. The mid-card is stuffed with talent all primed to be welcomed into the main event. The Tag Team Division will thrive as long as The New Day continues to entertain and do what they do best. 2015 saw the New Day go from zeroes to heroes. Just need some more quality teams and 2016 can be a great year.
R-Truth needs to keep up the comedy. Stardust and Titus O’Neal would make an absurdly awesome duo. Kevin Owens needs to go around powerbombing everyone. Referees, office staff, interns, just go around “Powerbomb for you! You get a powerbomb! You get a powerbomb! EVERYONE GETS POWERBOMBS!” His no-nonsense attitude would fit in perfectly with the shift in programming.
NXT. How can I not talk about NXT? This has been an incredible year for the program. NXT needs more exposure, they had a lot through the summer of 2015, but it felt like it tapered off as more talents slowly crept into the main roster. 2016 needs to start with NXT getting some spots in the Royal Rumble, and then getting some time on Raw or SmackDown.
Happy new Year everyone!!