Recently, I did a collabo column, and there wasn't a lot of serious planning behind the idea. I just wanted to have some fun, and there wasn't any intention of jumping right back into another collabo with this person. However, this person received unanimously positive reviews, with people requesting another column between us. I'd be an idiot not to capitalize on that momentum and give the people what they're asking for. So, without any further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I present none other than the NINJA herself, Brie..
Brie here, again, working on yet another column, as you can see! I'd like to thank everyone for the positive feedback I got on my first ever column. You got me motivated, and you gave me enough courage to go, YET AGAIN, with Hustle. Hopefully, I don't disappoint anyone with round two here, and I would once again like to thank Hustle for letting me tag along. :)
What we're going to do today is look into the future a bit. Bust out the crystal ball and take a look at the rest of 2012. It's amazing to think about, but we're already approaching the one-third mark of the year. Seems like just yesterday that it was 2011, and now, here we are in the middle of April. Brie and I will be looking at both WWE and TNA, and using multiple categories, will be making predictions on what the rest of the year will see. Who will enjoy the rest of the year? Who won't enjoy the rest of the year? When you see the pink-ish text, you know it's Brie. I'll remain in the "normal" text, except when I'm actually listing names, at which point I'll use my trusty red. Chances are, this is going to end up being another lengthy column, so I don't want to waste any more time. Let's make this happen. Shall I proceed?
Less dew eet!!
Get Your Pink Slips
This one is for the people we think are seeing their days numbered. The people we think won't last until the end of the year as members of WWE or TNA. It's pretty easy to figure out. Let's see our lists..
JTG, Ezekiel Jackson, Heath Slater, Johnny Curtis, Trent Barreta, Alicia Fox, Anarquia, D'Angelo Dinero, Kid Kash, Mark Haskins, Rob Van Dam, Brooke Tessmacher
The first thing I can't help but notice from our lists is the fact that there aren't really any "surprises". We both come close, I suppose, with the additions of Evan Bourne and Rob Van Dam, but everyone else seems somewhat "obvious".
Yeah, I might have added RVD if I knew more about the current TNA product. It's hard to make a call when you don't watch the product regularly. With Bourne, though, I think with those two drug violations, and now this injury, WWE might be cutting some ties with him.
I can't even argue with that, even if I didn't place Bourne on my list. I think he's going to have one more chance, and it really all depends on how he bounces back from this injury. It's a shame, because he could be a big contributor to the WWE product. He'll never be a WWE/World Champion, but he's over, has an exciting in-ring style, and can make his opponents look like a million bucks.
I love Evan Bourne. I made him WWE Champion on my video games, but it just seems like WWE would be getting frustrated with him at this point. Not that his injury is really his fault, but those two suspensions so close to each other and now this HUGE injury... I don't know how patient WWE will be with Bourne, who isn't a "mega star".
I see that we do have some similar names listed. If we have any "say" at all, it doesn't look like bright days are ahead for the likes of JTG, Ezekiel Jackson, Heath Slater, Alicia Fox, Trent Barreta and D'Angelo Dinero.
JTG, Barreta and Slater seem like obvious choices. Ezekiel and Alicia may seem "surprising", considering they're both former champions, but look at how they're being used right now. It shouldn't be considered surprising, and as WWE has shown numerous times in the past, when someone goes from where they were at one point to being where they are now, it really is only a matter of time. Their limited TV appearences and their losses when they do appear, is just WWE slowly sweeping them under the rug.
What Zeke and Alicia have in common is that the company has tried, on multiple occasions, to push them. As you mentioned, they've both held titles while with WWE, but no matter what happens, they just can't get the crowd to get behind them. It's time to end the experiment already, in my opinion.
It seems WWE has finally realized the crowd won't be standing behind them, which is why they are where they are now. That's a little disappointing. I wasn't the biggest Ezekiel fan, but I didn't mind seeing him, especially over someone like Jinder Mahal.
FUCK Jinder Mahal. I'd love to see him get released from his contract with life, but the reason I didn't list him is because I don't think my luck is good enough for that to happen.
The reason I have Mahal listed is because I notice a lot less of him on my TV these days. I am praying that it's because WWE realizes, at the very least, that they pushed him/called him up too quickly, but I see nothing really special about him. Maybe WWE sees him the same way now, and they release him.
If they release him, I'd be so happy that I might just have to kiss you. Alright, now I'm going to get my hopes up. Let's look at a different category.
To The Moon, Alice
This category is for the people we think are going to see pushes over the course of the next several months that see them reaching the main event scene. It could be people that reach the upper-tier for the first time in their career, or it could be people that are making their way back to the main event scene after a brief hiatus away from it. List time..
David Otunga, Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston, Lord Tensai, The Miz, Ryback, Wade Bar-ruh, Austin Aries, Bully Ray, Garett Bischoff
Dolph Ziggler, Lord Tensai, Ryback, Wade Barrett, Dean Ambrose, Cody Rhodes, Austin Aries, Garett Bischoff
I have to start with this.. I can't help but notice that you listed Dean Ambrose here. Wow. Not that I have anything wrong with Ambrose main eventing, but do you really have that much faith in him getting a big push?
I'm looking at all the reports I keep seeing, and everyone seems really high on Ambrose, especially when he toured with them not too far back Now we have this Twitter war between him and Mick Foley. He may not get to the main events this year, but it seems like WWE has big intentions to push Ambrose, and to push him quickly, starting with Foley. Foley, as we know, is a legend and will do wonders with Ambrose's push.
With the current direction that this Ambrose/Foley situation is going in, I must admit that I haven't been this intrigued about a potential main roster call up in a long, long time. Ambrose really is a once-in-a-lifetime character that will immediately stand out as a member of either Raw or Smackdown. I dig your gumption here. That's really taking it to the next level.
A lot of people are interested already, and if I am not mistaken, I believe there was a Dean Ambrose related sign on Smackdown this past week. Even before debuting he has people interested. People getting behind you quick and early is a sure fire way to go to the top. Garett Bischoff, though, is another story altogether, isn't he?
If there was ever anything that encapsulated TNA's problems all at once, it would be the push of Garett Bischoff. He wrestles like someone who just began training, and yet, he continues getting pushed. He continues getting television time. He continues getting over on people he has no business beating. TNA doesn't seem to understand that more and more people are turning on him with every passing week. They just keep pushing him, oblivious to the reactions, and the lack thereof, that he gets. It says a lot, though, that we both see him hitting the main event scene. My head hurts now.
My head hurt when I watched him wrestle. It exploded when I saw him win. I think TNA is aware of the lack of reaction Garett is getting but I don't think they care. I wasn't watching wrestling back in the days of WCW, but I have heard countless stories on how and why they went out of business and it seems like I am watching the stories I heard. No one likes him, but will they stop pushing him? Don't bet on it.
If his name was Garett McDonald or Garett Yamamoto, he wouldn't even be employed by the company. They're trying to capitalize off of the "Bischoff" name, but like I said, that just means TNA can't push someone who actually deserves it because he's been working, improving, and building a crowd connection. You're right, though. It won't change. Not as long as Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff are there.
If his last name was Hogan he might already be champion! A pretty interesting pick that you made is Otunga. A lot of people seem to dislike him, but I actually think he keeps getting better. Maybe not main eventing in a year, but it's something I can definitely see in the future if he keeps improving.
Otunga's performance against John Cena on Raw this week was his best in-ring work to date. No, that isn't saying much, but it's a sign that he's improving. His character shift has actually given him more of a chance to be himself, and it's working, getting more of a reaction with live crowds. My main reason for including him is simple, though.. he's working with John Laurinaitis, who is now running both Raw and Smackdown, meaning we're going to see more and more of him, and also of David Otunga. Mix that all up, and you have a push in the making.
Kayfabe-wise, I can see Otunga being "rewarded". He WAS the captain of Team Johnny, after all. I wouldn't mind seeing it. His character works well for him, and like you said, he is doing his best in-ring work to date. That may not be a big improvement, but if he keeps going like this, you've got someone to keep an eye on.
One more thing I want to mention in this section is the inclusion of Lord Tensai and Ryback. We both mentioned them, so we both see big things in their future, apparently. Who do you think is more likely to be successful?
Ryback, if only because "...and his biggest supporter is none other than Vince Mcmahon himself". How many of those reports have we seen? I liked Skip ever since his Nexus days, so I am fine with him getting pushed, and with Vince behind him, you can only imagine the push he is going to get. The one thing I can't tell yet is who will get the better crowd reaction between the two.
Well, Tensai is a better in-ring worker, but Ryback is more physically imposing, as far as his muscles and his strength go, and that can go a long way in getting pushed. So far, Tensai gets no reaction, although "Albert" and "A-Train" get the occasional chant. Ryback impressed the hell out of people with his squash on Smackdown this week. I'd love to see Tensai achieve a lot, but I have to agree with you and say Ryback is likely to be the most successful of the two. It just makes sense on a lot of levels.
He impressed you? He scared me with that clothesline! Another thing, though, with Vince Mcmahon behind Ryback, is that, should he fail, I can see him getting more chances at a push, which only helps his chances. It would be good to see Tensai up there, though, because, like you said, he is the better in-ring worker. I have a question for you. Do you really believe The Miz is going to improve after his recent slump?
He's making a turn for the better right now. His work seems to be back to normal after what we saw on television every week there, where it seemed like he couldn't get through a single match without botching something. He remains a valuable asset to the company, with his dedication to wrestling and his crossover appeal, so if he works hard, I have no doubt that he'll be main eventing again soon.
I was a big fan of The Miz last year. Slowly, I am distancing myself from being a fan of his more and more, but if he can start working well again, in the ring and on the microphone, I have no problem with him getting back to the top because I feel he has "it", but it's up to him to climb again. This time, though, he needs to hang on and STAY! I think it's time we move on to a new category.
Down, Down, Down
In this particular category, I wanted to go in the opposite direction of the previous one. We looked at names that are moving up, so it's only right that we look at the names we think are on their way down. This is for current main eventers who will see their pushes end. This is for midcarders that will become an afterthought. Here's the list..
KAAAAANNNNNEEEEE, Zack Ryder, Crimson
KAAAAANNNNNEEEEE, Zack Ryder, Epico, Primo, Jack Swagger
Well, I'm seeing that we don't exactly have a whole bunch of people listed for this one, but what we do have is a pretty similar list.
Yeah, I had trouble coming up with names for this, but I thought KAAAAANNNNNEEEEEE and Ryder were fairly obvious picks. Personally, I am not a fan of Ryder, but I do admire how he got himself over. I just don't think WWE sees much in him.
Ryder is an amazing story, building himself up from nothing to something. Got himself on television. Got himself pushed. Got himself an actual title reign. However, when he received his push, he became exposed. Everyone saw what some of us already knew.. he was limited in the ring, and his gimmick could only go so far. It's a shame, really. He could've been a self-made megastar.
That's what I noticed. Once he got more time, a lot of his flaws were revealed and people turned on him just as quick as they got behind him. Not everyone, of course, but a lot of people are seeing that, in the ring, there is only so much to him and the character is just... there. Also, I don't know if it's his character or what, but I find his mic work not as "excellent" as people say.
I'd look for him to remain relatively over, no matter what, but for him to be like Santino has been for the last few years. 99% of the time, Santino isn't a serious threat to anything, but he has always remained over. Maybe Ryder can get another chance down the line, though. Maybe. Possibly. Probably not. Maybe.
He probably will remain over, but with this character, I don't see him going too far. On that note, I find Santino better overall than Ryder. I would like to see Santino given a shot at something big. He can do it and get the crowd response. Just look at Elimination Chamber this year. Amazing.
Shit, you don't have to tell me twice. Santino's performance at Elimination Chamber is one of my biggest mark out moments in years, and is probably in my top ten all-time. That was incredible work by a man that does deserve more. You're right.. he is better than Ryder. Better in the ring. Better on the mic. More crowd connection.
It's funny... Kane and Ryder to be de-pushed, and both were involved in a storyline together. Kane's interesting because I expected him to get over pretty big with this "predator" look, but I feel like he has lost A LOT of momentum recently and will only lose more moving forward.
I still like KAAAAANNNNNEEEEE. He's clearly lost a few steps since his prime, but he's one of the best "big man" workers we've ever seen. My main reason for adding him to this list is simple.. 45. That's how old he's going to be in a few days. I don't think he really has much left in the tank, and will eventually just fade away.
45? Wow. That's definitely going to affect things. I think Kane has done well over the years, but I don't even think he has that one big title run left in him. I could be wrong, but I see him dwindling down and simply putting people over in his final moments, which is a good thing in itself, actually.
Damn right. Can you imagine how much of a rub he could give to someone by having them end his career? Look at everything he's accomplished in his career. If some up-and-coming face can defeat him and take him out of the picture, they can become a star because of it, even though he's far beyond his prime.
Exactly, but the question is... who is that up and coming face to do that? Who deserves it? I think Ryder is a safe bet to not on that list, but that may be another question for another day.
John Cena. Clearly. That kid has potential.
Definitely, but I say we skip that "kid" up a few levels and throw him straight at "the streak". Surely, people will get behind him for that.
I think we've now pissed off half of our readers.
I think a nice long "Why we love Cena" column could be interesting one day, just to see some responses. Damn, where were we? This was a short catagory.
I think it's time to move on.
Welcome To The Show
This one is simple. We're looking into the future, so it's time to look at WWE's future. The current FCW roster is incredible, loaded with some of the top talents in the world, and some promising young names. Who do we think gets called up before the year is over, though? Let's see..
Antonio Cesaro, Big E Langston, Dean Ambrose, Husky Harris, Kassius Ohno, Leakee, Seth Rollins
Antonio Cesaro, Bo Rotundo, Dean Ambrose, Husky Harris, Kassius Ohno, Seth Rollins
There's some really obvious names on our lists that we certainly agree on, so I want to start with the names that we don't seem to agree on. You went with Bo Rotundo, and I didn't. What do you think the company can do with Bo?
Quite simply, we have a tag division going to waste and we CAN do something to fix it. Obvious choice is to throw him and Husky Harris together, and let them tear up the division. Even with just them two, The Usos, and Epico & Primo, the tag divison looks nice and has potential.
I suppose it does make sense to bring the Rotundo boys up together, and I do like the idea. I'm just not as big a fan of Bo as others are. He doesn't have the overall talent level as his brother, who remains built for pro wrestling. I love that you're trying to improve an entire division by calling Bo up, though, that's for sure. You certainly couldn't make the WWE tag division any worse than it has been.
I haven't seen Bo work much, to be honest, and going off of what others say, I understand Husky is definitely going to be the more successful of the two, but why not do the tag team for now? It helps Husky get his foot in the door, help out a division and then when the time calls for it, Husky bursts out as a singles star and Bo becomes Marty Jannetty.
I suppose so. It's funny, because the reason I included Leakee is because of his family relations to The Usos. He could definitely come in as some sort of back-up for them. He's bigger than they are (6'3" and 250 pounds to their 6'1" and 230-240), and he wrestles a different style, so it could be a nice combination. He has so much raw potential. He hasn't even been wrestling for two years now, but he looks like he could be the next huge Samoan name in a business that has seen a long line of them.
Well, he is definitely going to be interesting to see, especially for me, since I haven't seen much of his work. It would be good to see a Samoan stable (or any stable, actually) done properly, especially if it helps The Usos get over. Your other pick, Big E Langston, is one I am not too familiar with, either. :/
Big E Langston isn't ever going to be confused with the best technical wrestlers on the planet. I know that. He knows that. However, what he does bring to the table is absolute world-class strength. We're talking numerous national records in the deadlift category. In fact, if you remember that vignette with John Cena working out with the FCW guys during the build to WrestleMania 28, Langston is the guy that was bench pressing all of that weight at the end, causing the entire gym to go banana nut muffin. He's an absolute freak of nature, and could be pushed as another Bobby Lashley or Ezekiel Jackson.
Well, let's just hope his push doesn't go exactly the way of Big Zeke for obvious reasons *cough* soon to be released *cough* Obviously, a similar push to what Zeke had would be nice. Hopefully, he gets over because big guys do have their role in wrestling and always will.
Of course they do. I'm just excited to see the next wave of names get called up. As I said, the overall talent level in FCW right now is ridiculous. The future looks like it could be very bright for WWE, but time will tell what happens, who gets called up, who is successful after being called up, etc.
Also, if you believe the reports, Triple H is all about building these new guys up properly with a definitive gimmick and storyline in mind to debut with. If that's the case, it definitely looks good for WWE with all the talent they have in FCW and that they seem intent, at the moment, in debuting and pushing them properly.
I think it's time for the next category, though.
Turn, Turn, Turn
Another simple one. Pro wrestling sees people turning all the time. Faces become heels. Heels become faces. It's a big part of the business. This is where we look at who we think will be "hopping the fence" at some point in the next seven-plus months.
Brodus Clay, Daniel Bryan, Sheamus, Garett Bischoff
Brodus Clay, Daniel Bryan, Christian, Mr Anderson, Jeff Hardy
Well, we have a couple similar names on our lists. I think Daniel Bryan is more of an "obvious" one, based on the crowd responses he's been getting since WrestleMania, but Brodus Clay definitely intrigues me. As much as I dig the Funkasaurus gimmick, I think it could really benefit him to eventually turn heel, and now that he's being placed in a team with Santino, that provides a perfect opportunity to do so. Santino, of course, is over like Grover. He always has the crowds behind him. If this big bastard Brodus turns his back on Santino and just destroys him, that will instantly get the crowd to hate him, giving him more of a crowd response than he gets now, which is sad to say.
Daniel Bryan is really the easiest option here. What does Vince McMahon love? MONEY! With Bryan's huge popularity spike right now, they will capitilize on that They've already started with the new t-shirt for him. Look for it to continue. With Brodus, though, my mind set is like this... I love the gimmick, too, but it's only going to get him so far in WWE. With his size, you can imagine WWE wanting to push him as a legitimate threat (again) and go for a World Title. He will need to turn heel for that, in my mind. Someone that size, like a Mark Henry, simply works better as a heel that is a constant threat to the top title.
If Brodus does turn heel, do you think he can hang in the main event scene? He has a different moveset than most wrestlers his size, but we still haven't seen a whole lot with him. There's still a huge jump to be made from squashing the JTGs of the world to feuding with Santino to working the main event scene.
I doubt he could hang for long unless he has something up his sleeve we haven't seen. Once again looking at the past, I can only imagine WWE wanting to do something with someone of this size. It doesn't take much of a storyline, either, for the big guys to get the push to that scene, but whether or not they hang there is a different story. Kozlov and Khali? Yeah.
I'm pulling for the guy. I like his work. I guess we'll have to see. Can I ask you what your line of thinking was when you included Jeff Hardy?
I haven't watched that much TNA recently, as I've said, but haven't they turned him numerous times before? This is probably an unfair choice, I'll admit, but I'm just going off of TNA turning people randomly for seemingly no reason. Same with my other choice in Mr Anderson. I really need to watch more TNA so I don't keep picking choices in the dark.
Way to go, kiddo. You're right, however.. TNA does seem to give us face and heel turns for seemingly no reason. In fact, if we included the entire TNA roster for this category, we'd be right far more often than we'd be wrong. In the end, I could only (officially) include one TNA name on my list.
Yeah, and while my choices seem like generic TNA "let's just turn this guy" choices, your choice of Garett Bischoff is a little different. Everyone in the crowd seems to hate him, and people backstage probably feel the same way (I believe even Mickie James said something at one point), but isn't TNA trying to put him over as the "next big face"?
Of course they are. They're trying. God knows they're trying. However, they're also failing, and failing miserably. At this point, I think the only real thing they can do for him is to try and turn him heel to see how that works out for him, to see if the crowds respond to him better that way. Logically, the best option would be.. I don't know.. to take him SMOOTH THE FUCK OFF OF TELEVISION until he shows more ability than a wrestling school trainee in their second month, but logic and TNA don't really go together, so look for them to try another option.
If they turn him heel, Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff might think all those boos are legitimate heel heat, rather than the simple fact that NO ONE wants Garett anywhere near a ring. It's not unjustified hate. Just give him the Zack Ryder "WEEEEE" treatment off the stage. I also see that you chose Sheamus, though. Someone who the crowd seemed to love before WrestleMania. Do you think the crowd won't get behind Sheamus again and it would be simpler to just turn him heel?
First and foremost, I have to preface this by saying this current "boo Sheamus and cheer Daniel Bryan" fad will die out, at least for Sheamus, and his crowd reactions will go back to normal. sooner than later. However, if you look at the landscape of wrestling today, and you look at the way live crowds take to face wrestlers, it could only be a matter of time before the WWE Universe (or at least the vocal ones) actually do turn on him. WWE seems to be going out of their way to show Sheamus as a real down-to-earth guy, working with the anti-bullying campaigns, doing Make-A-Wish requests and even making red carpet appearances. Does that sound familiar at all? Once the vocal males begin to turn on Sheamus, I think the company will (and should) pull the trigger on a heel turn for him. He's done a much better job as a face than I ever could have expected him to do, but let's be honest here.. he works best as a badass heel.
I'm surprised at how well he has done as a heel. I didn't think he had it in him, but he is much better as a heel and seems more intimidating that way. I don't see John Cena turning heel, so it may be best to turn Sheamus. It won't "cost" the company anywhere near as much if they turn Sheamus.
I think it's time to put the wraps on this one before the column ends up being too long. Before we get out of here, I'll turn things over to Brie again for her final words..
Thanks AGAIN to Hustle for letting me do this with him. This was a lot of fun, as always, and I hope everyone had just as much fun reading it as we did writing it! If you have anything to ask me feel free to hit me up via email or via twitter. Always love to hear what everyone has to say. Thanks again to everyone, love you all!
If anyone would like to contact Brie, you can e-mail her at.. email@example.com