• Seven Things: 7 Bold Predictions For 2015

    Welcome to Seven Things, a list that consists of very eclectic topics. It happens once in a while when inspiration hits.

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    Wrestling thing – It’s 2015! 2014 was one of the most bizarre years in wrestling history. CM Punk left WWE, a “fan movement” pushed Daniel Bryan into the Wrestlemania main event, Alberto Del Rio was fired for slapping a racist employee, AJ Styles made TNA look like fools, Sting (in a t-shirt) joined WWE, Kevin Steen (in a t-shirt) joined WWE, NJPW became relevant to American wrestling fans, ROH took steps forward (namely gaining PPV) and TNA took steps backwards (namely losing PPV).

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    7. Neither Dolph Ziggler or Dean Ambrose will have a singles main event on PPV

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    Sad to say but the babyface pecking order is getting to be a tough climb. There’s the constant John Cena, a returning Daniel Bryan, a soon to be returning Randy Orton and WWE’s Christmas wish of a baby face Roman Reigns. Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose are clearly below those four and I can’t see getting over those hurdles. You can turn them heel as the only current top villains are Seth Rollins and Brock Lesnar with the latter likely leaving. The problem is their highest stock are due to the babyface runs. Ziggler is currently doing the best work of his career and Ambrose was built as a decent merch-mover when hitting on all cylinders as a face while feuding with Seth Rollins.

    Every year around Wrestlemania season, a few wrestlers get lost in the shuffle and have a hard timing getting back to where they were at the start of the year. I think both guys will have significant roles but I can’t see them getting back to the main event status like the Autumn of 2014. I have a little more faith in Ambrose due to his ceiling but you’d have assumed he’d be treated like a bigger deal after his great run in the August-October months if the hopes were higher.

    6. GFW’s broadcast of NJPW Wrestle Kingdom will fail

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    I just don’t see how this will work. There is a growing subculture of NJPW fans in America but they tend to appreciate the Japanese commentary and follow the storylines even with the language barrier. Now that NJPW World has launched and will be showing the show live for under 9 bucks, that is going to take away a large part of the audience that would be checking out NJPW.

    Even factoring those who will want to watch for Jim Ross’ return to the commentary booth, I would categorize them as casual fans with internet knowledge. That’s relevant because many will sleep through the live broadcast and while it airs again in prime time, the GFW product will be all over the internet the next day. I just don’t see it working out now that NJPW World is available. There’s also the risk of the PPV running over time and Jeff Jarrett’s Global Force getting stiffed during their four hour time limit.

    Note: I originally wrote this earlier in the week and since then, it has been reported that many PPV providers won’t air it live at 2AM EST due to the UFC replays and the Flipps app will only stream live on Apple products. The live broadcast won’t be streamed on Chromecast or XBox when using the Flipps app like Global Force has advertised. It’s already looking bad.

    5. Drew Galloway will be TNA champion

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    There have been some rumors that TNA will look to acquire some new talent to give their brand a fresh look with Drew Galloway being one of the free agents they have their eyes on. It would make sense considering Drew is one of the best wrestlers on the market today. Unlike many other ex-WWE signing, Galloway is motivated to show how good he is, is still young and has a high ceiling that was never met by WWE.

    This could be like an Ethan Carter type signing where he becomes known as a TNA guy despite having a following from his time in WWE. If he does sign with TNA, I don’t see any way he is held back from the main event picture and becoming champion very shortly by the end of 2015. TNA desperately needs a shake up and this could be a big way to do it.

    4. Alberto El Patron will win the ROH title and AJ Styles won’t

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    Many expect AJ Styles to be the next ROH champion but I don’t see that happening. Whether it’s the NJPW dates getting first priority or Global Force Wrestling actually existing, ROH won’t have the luxury of booking Styles enough to make him the champion like they would have hoped.

    Meanwhile, Alberto El Patron will be making his ROH debut in early 2015 with matches scheduled against ACH, Roderick Strong, Christopher Daniels and Jay Lethal. There has been interest in the former Del Rio from TNA, Lucha Underground and various MMA organizations so getting El Patron is a big move by the Sinclair owned promotion. Alberto is one of the best in ring performers in the wrestling world and I expect him to know how to work in front of any audience. He’ll excel in ROH and if the contract status/certainty of having him available for shows is there, ROH should put the strap on him.

    3. Seth Rollins will hold the WWE title longer than Roman Reigns

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    The booking of Seth Rollins has been very intriguing. Aside from Roman Reigns, WWE has not put this much stock into a young wrestler in quite some time. Rollins status on the show grows as he constantly gets into the biggest segments on RAW. In terms of how one is ranked in The Authority, Rollins has been treated like a bigger star than Randy Orton was when he was actually the WWE Champion going into Wrestlemania.

    Reigns is clearly the guy WWE adores and wants to become the next “face of the franchise.” There’s no doubt in my mind both guys will be WWE champ as some point in 2015. I don’t foresee Reigns withstanding the pressure of Wrestlemania season causing to more fans turning on someone getting “the Superman push” and I foresee Rollins cashing in at some point to get a longer run going into Summerslam.

    If I have to bet, I think Seth is leaving Wrestlemania as WWE champ. I can’t imagine the most hardcore of snarky fans in Philadelphia will accept Roman Reigns and if he gets the Batista treatment, it can snowball leading to B markets turning on him like last year. Rollins growing stock and the common sense storyline of a MITB holder wanting to cash in on the biggest night of the year makes this a juicy temptation that would likely create a great moment. The type of fans who would be “turned off” by this booking are the type that would also pop for a Rollins win over Reigns. It’s less tricky and more realistic than you think.

    2. Brock Lesnar will have an MMA fight before CM Punk

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    Even 9 months is a short time time to prep for an actual UFC fight. Yes, CM Punk has trained and desired this but so has just about everyone in the UFC. I don’t wish this at all but there’s also risk of Punk’s health during intense training in camps holding him up or delaying a hopeful late 2015 fight. Even if not, it’s quite possible the very intelligent Phil Brooks will realize training for a longer period and delaying his debut until 2016 would be beneficial to his hopes of a successful MMA career.

    On the other spectrum of Paul Heyman’s heart, there’s Brock Lesnar who is most likely ditching the WWE after Wrestlemania. His future seems to rely on Bellator or the UFC. I’m not MMA expert but I know Bellator is desperate and will pay Brock huge money. Lesnar loves money. I also know UFC has the top competition. Lesnar loves competition. WWE may fall third on the list when it comes to both of those motivations. If he signs with Bellator, he could probably walk in the ring tomorrow and kill a tomato can. I’m sure he could train fast enough for a UFC fight by the end of the year as he’s more physically gifted than Punk and is already an established MMA star.

    1. John Cena will not hold the WWE title in 2015

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    Don’t get me wrong – I can easily see John Cena winning the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble. If he doesn’t, I expect him to be out of the title picture for most of the year. WWE wants Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins to become elite tier superstars by the end of 2015. They will get all the opportunity they can. Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton likely returning full time also gives you two other big names that haven’t been in the title picture since last Spring.

    Cena is likely to spend most of the year in feuds with guys like Rusev, Luke Harper or Bray Wyatt along with a potential showdown with Triple H. The reason I’m making this prediction despite my inkling towards the possibility of Cena winning it at the Rumble is due to the fact that whenever he wins it next, it will be his 16th world title tying WWE’s standard bearer for title reigns Ric Flair. That will have to be treated like a big deal and he will hold it for a decent time period. If he does win it at the Rumble, it’s leading to a Rollins cash either that week or Wrestlemania week. I can’t see WWE throwing away the Flair record tie for a transitional win.

    I’d like to believe Rollins, Bryan, Reigns (yuck) and some others step up during the WWE Network era of not losing subscribers which would lead to Cena not being the title holder for the rest of the year.

    In WWE’s perfect world, I would expect them wanting Roman to work out as champ and get over as a top superstar, have him lose to Rollins then win it back to close the year. Cena vs. Reigns at Wrestlemania 32 breaking new records at the Dallas Cowboys stadium would be a Vince McMahon wet dream come true.