The 411 Wrestling Top 5 12.29.10: Week 107 – Predictions for 2011
Posted by Michael Bauer on 12.29.2010
From Triple H returning to put talent over--or bury it--and Alberto Del Rio winning a WWE World Championship to Randy Savage entering the Hall of Fame, John Cena turning heel, AJ Styles turning face and more, the 411 Staff ranks their top 5 predictions for 2011! Check out the full article to see what made their lists and why!
Hello everyone and welcome to 411 Wrestling's Top 5 List. What we are going to is take a topic each week and all the writers here on 411 wrestling will have the ability to give us their Top 5 on said topic, plus up to three honorable mentions. Most of our topics will be based on recent events in the Wrestling World, looking at those events that make us think of times past.
So, on to this week's topic…
Top 5 Predictions for 2011
In the annual tradition with the Top 5, our writers play prognosticator and make some bold predictions for the upcoming year. Note: These are not in any particular order, nor should they be thought of in that way.
What did our group of writers select? Let's find out…
1. Chris Hero and/or Claudio Castagnoli to WWE - How these two men are still on the independent scene really is beyond me. They are perfect fits for the WWE, and while big for the indies, would be about average side in the big leagues. Having said that, their mic skills and in-ring abilities are so refined that they'd be very comfortable in the upper midcard almost immediately. I also wish I could put Colt Cabana in this list, as a PG WWE is perfect for him as he'd get crazy over with the kids, but they already have Santino. Either way, I expect one or both of the Kings of Wrestling to be signed away from the indies.
2. Kevin Steen: Singles Champion - If he stays active on the independent scene, I think either PWG or ROH (later in the year) would be crazy not to get some gold on this man. 2010 was his year as a performer and I hope 2011 rewards him for that.
3. Ken Anderson: TNA World Champion - I feel like this is a pretty safe bet, as he's much more skilled than Matt Morgan, and is poised to be the top face in company as they feud with Immortal. WWE messed up in letting this man go, and I think if booked properly, he could very well be what gets TNA's fan interest back. They just have got to stop with all the swerves, betrayals, and stupid booking decisions. If they do it ONCE this year, and it not be something illogical, it'll be fine, but they do it so much that it means nothing. STRAIGHT-FORWARD BOOKING, and GIVING TIME TO ACTUAL WRESTLING is all TNA needs to do to put out a fantastic product, so I really hope they get behind the right guys in 2011 and show us what everyone knows they have.
4. Three first-time World Champions in WWE - I think the obvious candidates here are Wade Barrett and John Morrison, but with WWE's youth movement, they could build almost anyone up believably and give them a run with the top prize. I'm keeping my fingers crossed in saying that this will be Christian's year, as well as Alberto Del Rio, who is an absolute star in the making. Ziggler's a long shot, as is Kofi Kingston, but they are solid hands who could also end up in the main event scene realistically. Even longer shots are Cody Rhodes, and Drew McIntyre, but all of these men are competent enough to at least get an opportunity to run with it. Look at the Miz! He's at the top of his game right now and is succeeding in providing compelling television.
5. Matt Hardy continues to fail making me care about his career - In 2005 this man had the world in his hand. In 2010 he has the world in his gut. Heh. Because it looks like a globe. Get it? In all seriousness though, he may very well have turned me off of him as a performer with his last series of YouTube videos while in the WWE. But I don't hang onto a dislike for someone if they're able to get me to care about their character or story...I just don't see Matt being able to do that. I think a run in TNA is his only real option now if he wants to perform. If he trains wrestlers, then that's another thing. However, I find it inevitable that he'll end up with his brother in Orlando, and I don't trust his ability or TNA's booking to make me care at all. I welcome them to prove me wrong. A good storyline/good matches will do that.
1. The Undertaker Will Not Wrestle at Wrestlemania - Word on the street is that things are NOT looking good from the Undertaker from a health standpoint right now. There's an outside possibility that he could rush back from what's ailing him in order to do a match at 'Mania with his streak on the line, but his run against Kane fell apart so quickly this year due to a new injury that I have a feeling everybody involved will decide that discretion is the better part of valor and that UT needs to take upwards of a year to recoup. Most likely he'll be back at the 2012 version of Wrestlemania in order to say his farewells to the promotion, but I have a hard time believing that we'll see him in '11.
2. WWE Will Run a PPV that Loses Money - One of the biggest stories of 2010 that very few people are talking about is that WWE pay per view buyrates are steadily and rapidly decreasing. Granted, they're still at a level that TNA executives would kill to reach, but they're miserable compared to the WWE shows of six to eight years ago. It has been reported that some in the company see PPV as a dying industry, and, though I don't see the promotion completely getting rid of the events in 2011, their continued indifference to promoting the shows will only lead to the number of buyers continuing to drop. I have a feeling that, as a result, there will be at least one WWE show which does so badly this year that it does not turn a profit.
3. Hulk Hogan Will Not Re-Sign with TNA - My recollection is that Hulk Hogan's TNA deal expires in 2011. I have a feeling that, when it comes due, the Hulkster will be heading elsewhere. If you adjust for inflation, Hogan has probably made more money off of professional wrestling than anybody in the business not named McMahon. He knows how to be successful, and he knows that being successful involves being perceived as a star. Unfortunately for Hulk, he overestimated the ability of he and Eric Bischoff to turn TNA from a b-level wrestling promotion into an a-level wrestling promotion. The longer that Hogan remains affiliated with a b-level promotion, the more he runs the risk of being perceived as a b-level star. When you're a b-level star, the amount of money you can make goes down, and, when the amount of money Hogan can make goes down, he leaves town.
4. Miz Will Become a Multi-Time WWE Champion - He's only about a month into his first title reign, but word on the street is that Mike the MIz is already getting rave reviews for work he's doing in the champion, especially since he's getting a fair amount of mainstream media coverage and is making a Cena-like effort in his level of personal appearances and other work outside of the ring. On top of that, Monday Night Raw's ratings have held steady with him on top, and, if anything, the rating for the most recent show at the time that I'm making this prediction was slightly up. Everybody's happy with Miz's performance, and I have a feeling that he'll wind up being a lot like Edge, an MITB title winner who exceeded low expectations and became a permanent main eventer as a result.
5. There Will be No Growth in Independent Wrestling - The United States economy is still fairly stagnant. There are many people who don't have a lot of discretionary income to throw around, and those who do have it are cautious about spending it. As a result, we've seen very little positive news for indy groups in the US from a business perspective. PWG has remained afloat but runs significantly fewer shows than it used to. FIP is dead in the water. EVOLVE and Dragon Gate USA, though producing quality cards, have underperformed in terms of drawing crowds. Ring of Honor hasn't made any great strides. Though most of these companies run on such a small scale that I'm hard pressed to believe that they'll go under in 2011, economic circumstances are still such that I don't think they'll undergo any major growth.
1. CMLL Loses More Big Names - Due to the promoters, bookers or Paco Alonso himself, CMLL during the past years has lost so much talent, rumors of talent being unhappy persist. Not to mention feuds being stagnant and lacking focus. I see one of the two huge names in CMLL jumping ship, be it Mistico or Ultimo Guerrero. It was rumored in 2010 and I can see at least one leaving in 2011.
2. Triple H Returns and Buries Everyone - Oh yeah, during his time off we have seen the rise of the Miz. John Morrison slowly building up steam, Daniel Bryan having a good year, and Nexus causing all sorts of chaos, what is left you ask? Simple, for the God of Thunder himself, Hunter the Barberrier, aka Triple H to return and bury all of them! Morrison a headliner? To hell with that! Bryan Who? The Miz a champion? Please! 2011, the year career pushes go to their grave!
3. Samoa Joe Regrets Renewing His Contract - In the "I told you so" moment of the year, Samoa Joe continues wrestling for TNA and continues taking a backseat to guys like Shad Gaspard and the new TNA Champion David Arquette, who by the way Hogan gave a magic ring to that enables him to become a below average pro wrestler, and now he can also talk to fishes. As a complimentary prize Hogan and Dixie Carter team up Samoa Joe and Orlando Jordan, rebranding Joe as the "Samoan Love Making Machine", they go on to become TNA Tag champs for a week.
4. Daniel Bryan turns heel - I know I'm not the only one waiting for this! Daniel Bryan grows tired of the Bella twins choking both of them with a tie. He goes on to feud with John Cena, Randy Orton, and a returning Triple H. His push is postponed *see #4*. He goes on to win the Royal Rumble 2011 and uber heel Daniel Bryan wins Wrestler Of The Year at 411mania.com for a 2nd year in a row *I predict him winning this year*, Sports Illustrated Athlete of the Year and Time's Man of the Year awards, causing many fanboys to simultaneously crap their pants and have their heads explode.
5. Alberto Del Rio wins the big one - The one prediction that I personally am looking forward to the most! The former Dos Caras Jr. will continue to be the top heel in the Smackdown brand. His continued feud with Rey Mysterio finally ends leaving Del Rio with new rivalries and mountains to conquer. He becomes the Intercontinental Champion, defeating a red hot Kofi Kingston. He goes on to Wrestle-Mania and wins the Money in the Bank. The main event of the card is Triple H retaining the WWE Championship against John Cena. In a stunning turn of events that Vince Russo would kill for, Del Rio comes out and cashes the MITB winning the WWE Championship at Wrestle-Mania! Summerslam comes and goes which sees Alberto Del Rio unifying the WWE and WWE World titles, becoming the 2nd undisputed champion in WWE history. He continues throughout the year with fantastic matches and title defenses against the likes of Rey Mysterio, Edge, Christian, Undertaker and WWE newcomers A.J. Styles, Claudio Castagnoli, and Dr. Wagner Jr. Alberto Del Rio's run as a champion changes the path the WWE is taking and focuses more on wrestling as a sport, firing all writers that have no knowledge of pro wrestling. This newfound focus and Del Rio as the leader of the WWE reinvigorate the world of pro wrestling, WWE pay per views outselling UFC pay per views. Yeah, one can always dream!
1. Triple H Returns--And Puts Some Talent Over - I start my list with one that a lot of people will scoff at. However, I think it's actually a pretty safe bet. Triple H went out by putting over Sheamus—admittedly, someone he was a fan of. Since then, he's showing more and more influence on the creative end of things, and during that time we've seen more young talent earn credibility including the Miz, who is apparently earning some notice from him and Vince. I am sure he's going to come back, but I don't think it's going to be for a long run at the top. He's transitioning more and more to the business side and it makes sense that he'll start thinking of the company as a whole. Thus, when he comes back I see him putting over some of the names just on the verge of blowing up, or new main eventers that could use a win over a huge name. People like The Miz, Alberto Del Rio and so on. I'm not saying the Game won't be at the top of cards, or even World Title-less. I'm just saying that he'll be doing so, in part at least, to help push the future of the company.
2. The Anonymous GM Is Not Revealed - Raw has a pretty decent thing going with the Anonymous GM. They're able to have someone in charge of the program without having them dominate via promos and such. It's certainly better than the typical stale GM idea. Plus, pretty much anyone would be a letdown as GM. Thus, I think that the GM will never be revealed. They'll continue to have the computer make its emails until they're done with the concept, after which the GM will be "fired" without ever being revealed. Some people may hate that, considering it to be a "Who drove the Hummer?" kind of situation, but I think it's the wise way for the company to go.
3. A Major Talent Jumps Ship To TNA - This is just common sense. The cycling of people in the main event of WWE always means that eventually someone will be let go or request their contract be released. With Kaval's release, it's been learned that the company is now granting releases much easier, and I think that will result in someone at the main event level getting their release and then leaping over to TNA after their 90 days is up. Do I think it'll make a difference? Well, that depends on TNA. Probably not, but depending on the star you never know.
4. NXT Is Phased Out In Favor Of Tough Enough - The writing is on the wall here. WWE hasn't said that NXT will go away when Tough Enough debuts on USA, but it's what makes the most sense. You don't need two shows based around competitions to earn a spot on the WWE roster, and the NXT concept, while it has been fine thus far, is destined to be the one to go. It's simple reasoning—one of these two shows has a timeslot on American TV. One does not. Good bye, NXT.
5. Women's Wrestling Sees Growth - Call me crazy, but I've seen this coming over the last few months. TNA has been slowly rebuilding their Knockout division with the rehiring of Tara, followed by the addition of Mickie James and Winter. They featured the cage match in their main event to pretty good effect, and now they've recrowned Knockout Tag Team Champions. And WWE has taken notice, as evidenced by their Diva Tag Team tables match at TLC, which happened to be the best Diva's match we've seen in a long time (and with the best crowd reaction to boot). I'm not saying we're going back to the glory days of women's wrestling, but I think that both companies are going to take their female divisions a little more seriously, and as they do companies like SHIMMER will gain some credibility in the public's eye. Maybe this is wishful thinking on my part as I am a huge fan of women's wrestling, but I see some improved things coming down the line for that particular facet of the industry.
1. CM Punk and John Cena will have the feud of the year - Out of the potential feuds that I see happening in 2011, this is the feud that I think will be the best. Punk is gold on the mic whenever he speaks, and John Cena is no exception (when he is being serious). Both men can certainly go in the ring, and I believe that their styles will blend very well together and potentially give us some MOTYC. However, this will only happen if WWE gets fully behind both guys on this and gives them time to fully develop this feud.
2. Davey Richards will become ROH World Champion - I was very happy to see Roderick Strong retain the ROH Title over Richards, as he has been seen as a choke artist in the past in ROH. Strong will hold the belt for a while, but my money is on Davey Richards taking the strap (probably around Glory by Honor) and becoming the best wrestler in the world.
3. One or more major stars will leave WWE and TNA - I say this only because I see this happening for both companies. I can see superstars not fully being utilized by the WWE becoming unhappy and leaving and joining TNA. That being said, I think a major star in TNA finally leaves for greener pastures. TNA isn't exactly the best company to work for because of their booking problems, but their schedule allows for easier workloads. This is why someone will leave TNA, and also join TNA in 2011.
4. We will see three new World Champions in WWE - It's funny that Michael Ornelas put this down, because this was my first prediction. At the end of 2011, I see John Morrison, Wade Barrett, and perhaps Daniel Bryan becoming world champions in 2011. Bryan would be a stretch, as I don't think he is quite ready for it yet, but if I had to put my money on a new World Champion in WWE, it would be Alberto del Rio. The guy has an amazing look, draws serious heel heat, and has talent enough to have a good match with just about anyone. My prediction is that he wins a MITB match and cashes in at some PPV.
5. I lose my respect for the WWE creative/booking team - I recognize that it is very hard to come up with material for a feud or a rivalry between superstars nowadays. However,with more and more superstars leaving WWE because they simply "have no plans for them," I am growing more and more angry with WWE. Simply having no plans for a wrestler is bullshit. It is not the fault of the wrestler; look at Kaval. He had suggested a feud with Rey Mysterio; why not do it? What is wrong with feuding him and Ziggler over the Intercontinental Championship? They had some great matches over it! To say that "we have no plans for you, so we're going to let you go" is complete and utter shit. It is the job of the creative team and/or booking team to do this, and if no plans are made, then you fire THE CREATIVE TEAM, NOT THE WRESTLERS. I am tired of this bullshit that the WWE spews out about not having plans for a wrestler. It's your fucking job! Do it, or you should be fired! Simple. As. That.
1. Sting will make his WWE debut - If so, it will be in time for Wrestlemania. 2011 is probably the last realistic chance this has in happening. It seems that Sting's TNA contract is up; he still hasn't been given a proper good-bye; Wrestlemania is in Atlanta with rumors of a WCW tie-in; and Vince McMahon wants to break 1 million buys for said event. It's possible.
2. Alberto Del Rio will win the World Heavyweight Championship - Smackdown really needs a serious shake-up, and a fresh new World Heavyweight Champion like Alberto Del Rio could do the trick. He is arguably the most over heel on Smackdown not named Vickie Guerrero, and certainly one of the show's most compelling characters. I look forward to it happening.
3. Randy Savage will headline the Hall of Fame ceremony - First it was the "Best of" DVD, then it was the action figure. I think the time has come for one of the most glaring WWE Hall of Fame omissions to finally be filled. End the madness and put that man in there already!
4. Jeff Hardy, RVD, Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff will leave TNA - I'll admit it: I thought all four guys would bring TNA increased ratings and buyrates. I was excited for that. When the January 4th live Impact drew a 1.5, things were looking good. Unfortunately, the success was short-lived. I think all four guys on this list realize that, and I hope TNA as a whole realizes they can draw the exact same rating they are drawing now, only at a much cheaper cost, without these guys. It bothers me to say this, but TNA took some huge steps backwards in 2010, and it's time to move on in a different direction.
5. Brock Lesnar will be on the Wrestlemania 27 card - This one has the smallest chance of happening, but I'll risk looking like an idiot and go with it. It could be as a special enforcer, a special referee or even a wrestler, but Brock Lesnar will be there. Vince McMahon isn't afraid to shell out money, and the acquisition would make WWE a topic of great discussion, in and out of the IWC. Not to mention, it would make for some great TV.
1. Alberto Del Rio wins World Title - I feel that this guy has the talent and charisma to lead one of the two brands in 2011; he has proven he can work with the WWE main eventers and is already very over with the WWE Universe. I personally find him quite entertaining and see gold on the blue show for Alberto.
2. Undertaker's streak will survive WrestleMania 27 - 19-0 will happen considering all signs seem to point to a Undertaker/Kane match at WrestleMania (hopefully in some sort of gimmick match); I do not see Kane dethroning his brother considering he has had two shots before and failed both times.
3. Christian will win MitB at this WrestleMania - I think (if he is healthy) he will return and take the briefcase this year (hopefully) translating into a WWE world title run, Christian has the talent but for some reason has a mild Marty Jannetty stink to him; he'll exorcise those demons in 2011.
4. The US Title and IC title will unify - WWE is slowly transitioning all non-World titles into unified titles that can be defended on either brand; since neither title seems as prestigious now. Look for someone (most likely Dolph Ziggler) to unify the US and IC titles with the (hopefully the old '80 version) Intercontinental Title surviving and the champion defends on either brand; therefore they can showcase the next big thing on both shows.
5. Hulk Hogan will officially retire from pro wrestling - With his back in bad shape I think the Hulkster will no longer sign with any more promotions (save for an Old school WWE night) and will disappear from the wrestling world. I hope he recovers and is okay and all but this will end Hogan's neafr40 year wrestling career.
1. John Cena Turns Heel - The heat he could garner would be amazing. Plus, he could actually lose clean! If this did happen, it would be late in the year, setting up heel Cena vs. face Undertaker at WrestleMania 28.
2. Sting Wrestles at WrestleMania 27 - With the possible WCW tie in, Sting or Goldberg are
the two most likely participants, and several sources but Goldberg wanting upwards of $4 million to do it. I have a feeling Sting would be more reasonable. Plus, a Sting match coupled with his Hall of Fame induction could make for a classic weekend.
3. Gabe Sapolsky Goes Back to Ring of Honor - I think this is bound to happen eventually. Gabe is currently running two promotions that are seeing low to moderate success. Deep down he has to still look at ROH as his baby. He'll have over two years of new experiences and growth under his belt, and could return recharged and reinvigorated.
4. Dave Batista Sign With TNA - After a year off to try to train for an MMA debut, the possibility of working a limited schedule will entice big Dave to make the jump. Add in the fact that he can use the name, and he's a valuable asset to TNA. Plus, it gives Dixie Carter something to tweet about...
5. CM Punk Has A Wellness Policy Violation - If it were to happen, it wouldn't legitimately be his fault. A screwed-up prescription...contaminated sample...something will cause Punk to fail a test and send the internet into a frenzy.
1. Triple H Will Main Event WrestleMania - Some think his increased role backstage will lead to Triple H stepping back more, but I think he won't be able to resist including a title shot at WrestleMania in his return to the ring. And why not? He's been gone long enough that the prospect of him being in the main event has some appeal and him turning heel to challenge a face Randy Orton would be a little different.
2. The Undertaker Will Wrestle His Final Match at WrestleMania - As I did last year, I told my girlfriend to make one of my predictions for me. This time, she thinks the Undertaker will wrestle at WrestleMania this year and it will be when he retires. It will be the Undertaker vs. Kane and the Undertaker will win, but will still retire. Doesn't seem too bad an idea to me.
3. John Morrison Wins a World Title - This was my girlfriend's prediction last year and, while it was wrong, he did end the year with a guaranteed title shot. So, why not in 2010? It could be a result of Money in the Bank, it could not be, but it will happen.
4. A Face AJ Styles Will Lead a Faction that Ends Immortal - He took some warming to role, but I think AJ Styles has made a pretty decent heel. Still, it's looking like he may turn face in the future and I could see him stepping into the role of the man leading the charge against Immortal and Fortune. The final win will involve Styles regaining the TNA World Heavyweight Champion and having the title run as a face he should have had the first time.
5. Rey Mysterio Will Be Unmasked and Retire Due to Injury - Mysterio has been close to suffering injuries that could end his career for the past few years and I think this is the year that his injuries become too great and he'll be forced to retire. But, before that happens, the WWE will want to give someone the rub of unmasking Mysterio. It could be someone like Alberto del Rio, it could be a returning Jericho, it could be CM Punk... but, if Mysterio is leaving, why not give someone something almost better than a world belt: the claim to fame of unmasking Rey Rey...