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Christmas has come & gone, and the Lovely & Talented Mrs. DeMarco and I have picked the worst time of the year to move into a new house!
So on with the column!
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A new year brings about new hope, sets us up for new disappointment and prepares the wrestling world for the twists and turns of The Road To WrestleMania. It also gives us an opportunity for some Bold Predictions for 2014!
Disclaimer: These are bold predictions. They're supposed to be outlandish and seem improbable. That's what makes them bold. Enjoy!
CM Punk Wins The Royal Rumble, Main Events WrestleMania
CM Punk is an anomaly in the WWE. He wasn't supposed to be a success. He, along with Daniel Bryan, overcame not being "what Vince wants" by capturing the imagination of WWE fans. Punk boasts the longest world title reign in the WWE's modern era at 434 days, and has consistently shown the ability to take anything he's given and make the most of it.
Looking at the set-up for WrestleMania (and barring a shocking Roman Reigns or Batista win), the Royal Rumble comes down to two realistic possibilities: John Cena and CM Punk. Daniel Bryan appears to be on a collision course with Triple H (with Shawn Michaels as the special guest referee, by the way), The Undertaker doesn't need to be in the title match, as does(n't) Brock Lesnar, the Batista rumors just seem silly, and Roman Reigns has other big plans in store for him.
When looking at Cena and Punk, the latter is the better option. Cena-Orton has been done to death, and will likely get another match (along with Daniel Bryan) at the Royal Rumble. If Cena's in the Rumble, I expect it to come down to he and Punk. If not, I expect Batista or Reigns to be the last man eliminated by Punk.
Either way, CM Punk...welcome to the WrestleMania main event!
Roman Reigns Ends The Streak at WrestleMania 30
The WWE's desired push of Roman Reigns is one of the internet newz speculations that I can buy into. The guy has it all—skill, desire, look, charisma and the all-important "it-factor." He's young and there just might be room in the upper tier for one more guy. If so, I expect it to be Roman Reigns.
You want to truly strap the rocket to a guy? There's no rocket more powerful than The Streak. It's what WrestleMania is all about, and it has to end at some point.
So why not Reigns? The WWE needs to know that he's the real deal if they want to do it, as it can't be wasted. Someone like Randy Orton, John Cena or even Sheamus is likely the safer bet, but the impact is greater using a guy like Reigns.
It's a "high risk/high reward" situation for the WWE, and it makes perfect sense.
The Shield Adds a (New) Third Member
If Roman Reigns breaks away from The Shield—and he doesn't actually have to—there's no reason to completely end the unit. The gimmick still has legs, and it's still insanely over. The debut worked perfectly for Reigns, Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose, and an arena blackout would be the perfect to have the group reestablish themselves after WrestleMania 30—with a new member.
Who would that member be? There are plenty of options at NXT. Leo Kruger would be the best bet, but he a) looks too much like Roman Reigns, and b) just went through a gimmick overhaul. In all honesty, I don't know who the best option is, and I don't care. The WWE did a great job picking the three members of The Shield without my advice, I'm sure they'll do just fine again.
There is one possible amendment, and one I'd like: the WWE reestablishes the trio before WrestleMania. This makes a great deal of sense to me, as it allows the WWE to both push Reigns into a singles spot at ‘Mania (the aforementioned Undertaker match) and put the much desired Shield-Wyatts match onto the card.
AJ Styles Returns To "Save" TNA
When you ask a "sort of" wrestling fan about today's WWE, they're likely to think of John Cena before anyone else. When you do the same for TNA, AJ Styles should be the name that comes to mind.
Yet, for some reason, he's on the sidelines (and was recently joined by Jeff Jarrett). Now, I immediately called it a work and said AJ would be back. And even if I end up being wrong about the work part, AJ will be back in TNA.
Don't chalk that up to the recent newz that he's signed using evidence of a deposit being needed right away for his independent bookings. This is a common practice among the biggest independent talents, and isn't a sign of anything outside of a smart business practice.
A smarter business practice is TNA bringing Styles back, and their keeping that shit as quiet as possible. Imagine the scene at Lockdown, when Magnus is battling Samoa Joe inside of a steel cage, and interference is running rampant against Joe. While the match may be over, the celebration is prematurely ended when a maniacal AJ Styles scales the fences, getting his hands on Magnus before he escapes the cage with both Dixie and Ethan Carter (the third). Left in the cage to take a beating is Rockstar Spud, who sells like a champ and allows the fans to rejoice in the fact that their savior has returned home.
Now, disappointment likely hits new levels when AJ is screwed at Slammiversary in his "only title shot," only to have him win the Bound for Glory Series for a second time, and winning the world title for a second time in a years, at Bound For Glory 2014.
TNA Loses One Broadcast Partner in Spike TV, But Gains Another in YouTube
This one is out there, but hear me out...
TV executives are fickle, and once Bellator proves to be a failure, Spike TV might get away from combat sports for a while. This could prove to be the end of their deal with TNA, who could foreseeably see their ratings continue to slide with their erratic taping schedule and even more erratic booking decisions.
As former 411 Smackdown and Main Event recapper Michael Benjamin can tell you, one market closing offers great opportunity for another.
When Spike TV shuts the door on TNA, YouTube will open one for them in a big way.
Why? The WWE Network.
The advent of the WWE Network as a digital format could mean the end of their YouTube projects, as they're more profitable on the WWE's own online platform. Since wrestling and the internet go together like burgers and fries, it makes sense for YouTube to pursue a new wrestling partner. Ring of Honor is owned by a conglomerate of television stations, so despite the obvious benefits to going all digital, they'll continue to seek out local network television markets. I mean, those are bound to at least outlast newspapers, but not by too long!
Enter TNA, who would make the perfect dance partner for YouTube.
Listen people, cable TV is actually dying a slow death. While it's got several more years of life left, digital internet television is the wave of the future. Chromecast, Hulu Plus, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Plex, network television apps and more are doing to make the internet the way we get our "cable" television access. The WWE obviously knows this, but they're choosing to carve out their own niche. That, plus my predicted split from Spike, opens the door for TNA to preemptively (if accidently) enter the digital age full-time, and they're likely to be better for it.
The WrestleMania Title Match—Not A Title—Is Defended In The Elimination Chamber
I can't claim full credit for this one—it actually goes to my Greg DeMarco Show broadcast partner—and best friend—"The Wrestling Realist" Patrick O'Dowd.
On air, O'Dowd answered my question of what could be up for grabs in the Elimination Chamber with one answer: the Royal Rumble winner's WrestleMania title match.
And it makes perfect-damn-sense!
Assume for a moment that Randy Orton is headed into WrestleMania 30 as WWE World Champion. Outside of an Authority manipulation—which there's precedent for—it makes no sense for Orton to be forced to defend his title in the Chamber. But what better way for Triple H to push the Rumble winning challenger than to make him defend that shot on February 24, 2014 at the Target Center in Minneapolis?
Look at the favorites to win the Royal Rumble... CM Punk. Daniel Bryan. John Cena. Batista. Sheamus. If those are your top five, each would be entering ‘Mania as a face opposite Orton. Hell, any Rumble winner is going to be a big face against The Authority's chosen champion.
Crazy, outside-the-box idea? Maybe. One that simply makes perfect sense? Absolutely.
A tradition started at the end of each point when I wrote The Wrestling 5&1, "You Decide!" is your chance to weigh in on a major question facing professional wrestling each week. Vote once per hour, and leave your opinions in the comments section!
2014 is just around the corner, and it's so much fun to speculate about what will happen in the New Year. This only separates us from the "dirt sheets" because our speculation isn't reported as news!
So, what is the most likely-to-happen of the six crazy ass predictions I've made?
Voting closes Wednesday night!
Hey WWE, if one of your goals for 2013 was to completely ruin Ryback, then job well done guys! Seriously, you deserve a medal for how you seriously fucked up a potential face cash cow.
Many people either don't remember or choose to not remember, but Ryback's build—while boring at first—allowed him to become an overnight sensation when John Cena's injury forced him out of action for the Hell In A Cell pay-per-view. Fans were screaming for Ryback to end Punk's reign, and the company actually booked a situation that protected Ryback. This was the case at Survivor Series as well, thanks to the debut of The Shield. Ryback didn't suffer the fall at TLC, and was in the final two in January's Royal Rumble.
Ryback was pinned at Elimination Chamber, but in a believable way. His inexplicable loss at WrestleMania started the downward spiral that an ill-fated heel turn continued and a failed Heyman guy run finished. Now he's stuck in a tag team with Curtis Axel that might as well be called "2013's Biggest Failures."
But of the two, Ryback is the bigger failure, simply because he had the greater potential. He had it all. He had a catchphrase that people went nuts for in "Feed Me More!" He had an amazing following thanks to his hard hitting style and infections natural charisma. A WrestleMania victory and a John Cena heel turn would have propelled Ryback into the stratosphere of WWE faces, and he'd be the marketing tool that the company could build around for a few years to come.
Instead, well, we've already discussed what happened! But it opens me up for a seventh bold prediction for 2014...
Ryback Is Repaired—And With Ease
History tells us that wrestling fans are a forgiving bunch, and if the WWE really wanted to, a month or two off of television and a heroic return are all it'd take for the people to love Ryback again.
It'd be so easy to pull off. Put Ryback out after the Royal Rumble or Elimination Chamber, and have him away from WWE television come WrestleMania time. Plot his return for some point between "RawAfterMania" and SummerSlam, and let him return as a powerful face against a heel entity. Bring back the "Feed Me More" intro to his theme song, and let him run rampant once again.
Put it all in place and bang-poo-pow! Ryback is repaired.
So Brock Lesnar is rumored to be eyeing a UFC return months in advance of a chance to renegotiate with the WWE in lieu of his WrestleMania 30 run. Some complain and some praise the situation.
But we don't see this for what it is? This is Nick Saban or Kevin Sumlin flirting with the Texas Longhorns, all to get more money from their current employer. It's business—nothing more, nothing less.
Each week, I look at various newsbites from the week. I'll rate them using the propriety Believability Meter (patent pending), and might poke a little fun at them.
Okay, I'll poke a lot of fun!
Triple H Rumored To Face CM Punk or Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 30
Read the original at http://www.411mania.com/wrestling/news/308079
"The latest rumors for Triple H's WrestleMania opponent is in, so get out your WrestleMania Bingo cards and see if you're a winner. While the plans are still currently set for the Game to face CM Punk in a singles match, Creative has been discussing a Roman Reigns/HHH match as a "backup plan" in case plans for Punk need to change."
Believability Meter: Mother-fucking-aye, really? Okay, if you're the Triple H and you really want to push Reigns, you put him against yourself, right? That's what the internet newz reporters (*cough*Meltzer*cough) are thinking, but it really makes no sense. Neither does CM Punk, who is more likely to oppose Orton. The only opponent who makes sense for Triple H is Daniel Bryan. It's been building since before SummerSlam, and it comes to a head at WrestleMania 30.
WWE Child Star JoJo On The Outs
Read the original at http://www.411mania.com/wrestling/news/307980
"There are backstage rumors that WWE Diva JoJo could be on thin ice with the company. The fact that she was mostly ignored for the second half of the season of Total Divas and has also not been on WWE programming in recent weeks is said to be a bad sign about her future with the company. She is, however, continuing to appear at NXT events."
Believability Meter: Yeah, it's believable. She's basically disappeared from WWE television (which I don't count Total Divas as part of—it is, but I don't watch it, so it doesn't count!) and she really added no value. My guess is Randy Orton realized she wasn't cutting it in the bedroom and started to look the other way when she came around, so the WWE no longer has a use for her.
On other news, Orton is looking to even younger "talent," as Trips and Stephanie have taken to taking their girls on the road lately.
Listen, if you don't like the joke, complain to Larry! Not because he made it up (I did), because I simply don't give a shit!
Colt Cabana Discusses WWE Talks
In an interview with Cleveland.com, Colt Cabana said the following about his potential WWE future:
"I'm just riding the wave of fun right now. The WWE has been weirdly talking with me for over a year now. I can't rely on them though. I do my own thing until stuff gets concrete. Right now, I can't worry if I'll be doing announcing or anything else. I know I want to concentrate on continuing to wrestle around the world and growing my comedy stuff. All I can say about the future is that I'm going to be having fun with wrestling. That's a guarantee."
Read more at http://www.411mania.com/wrestling/news/307917.
Believability Meter: It's a quote from a legit news source, so I believe it. And good for Colt. The WWE is going to act on their own time when it comes to tryouts, so talent shouldn't sit around and wait for them while sacrifice their current money making potential. Colt has opportunities, and I don't see those impeding a potential WWE deal. So take full advantage of them!
What news jumped out at you this week?
In wrestling today, there is no show quite like Raw. Giving us moments and memories that we will cherish forever, and some we'd rather not ever recall again. This space is the chance to look back in time, each week, to a Raw memory.
Say what you want about Batista, but back on May 3, 2010, he made Daniel Bryan look like a million bucks!
Have a match or a moment you'd like to see here?
Leave your suggestions in the comments below!
Our DeMarcette of the Week is actually two DeMarcettes of The Week, but they're paired for a great reason...
Photo credit: Ring of Honor and Adam Bouska.
Breaking from the norm, go check out the NOH8 Campaign, which will celebrate 5 years in 2014!
Before we depart, enjoy and support these independent efforts!
Adam Pearce's second edition of The Scrapyard!
Darin Corbin's latest W.R.E.S.T.L.I.N.G. Reflections!
Obviously I want you to watch both, but this second one has a special place in my heart—since I play an obscure role! Bonus points if you point it out in the comments.
Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, drop a line in the comments, and until next time...