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Posted in: Just Business
Just Business: The Preview Side of the Pond – Our Predictions for 2018
By Samuel 'Plan
Jan 12, 2018 - 6:25:49 PM

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Just Business: The Preview Side of the Pond – Our Predictions for 2018

First of all, before I kick off this week, a quick mention that LOPForums’ Columns Forum is currently gearing up for its biggest, toughest and most stacked writing competition in a decade – the Columns Series Invitational (CSI) 2018!

A raft of new talent like SirSam, Spinmaster and 205 Clive are prepped to compete alongside current main page writers like myself, Skitz and Maverick, LOP Hall of Famers like Steve, Shinobi and mizfan, and CF legends like Mavsman, dannokaboom and eldandy.

Fancy having a go?! You know you want to! Just sign up and let us know your intentions to be a part of something truly historic on this site right here: CSI 2018.

This week on The Right Side of the Pond, the band is back together again as Mazza, Maverick and I rejoin forces to make our predictions for WWE in 2018. There’s some good ones in there too folks, from cynical predictions born from frightful panic to sobering discussions on the potential futures of some of pro wrestling’s biggest names – it’s a corker this week, so don’t miss it!

We even find the time to throw in a bunch of insane predictions, as is tradition.

For now, though, I’m going to get the ball rolling with some predictions I didn’t have a chance to make on the show later tonight, starting with…

205 Live as we know it will have ceased to exist by December 31st. Though I’m a big fan of the show and its more retro approach to simple crisp storytelling and slow burn character development, the popular reaction to the Purple Brand has not been kind for the most part. Neville has long since departed – and even if he returned you would expect it to be somewhere other than the division he long since outgrew – and the move of Goldust to a show he doesn’t fit in on is a bizarre (pun definitely intended!) action on the part of the ‘E, explained only by a sudden lack of belief in the cruiserweight project. So whether it becomes a Main Event-style C show or whether it simply stops altogether, I highly doubt 205 Live as we know it will remain intact by the twelfth month of the year; sadly.

Alistair Black will bypass the NXT Championship on his way to the main roster is another event I expect to see this year. Despite having one of the strongest stage presences on the Golden Brand, Black seems to consistently be anchoring the show’s undercard. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it does demonstrate where Triple H seemingly finds the man’s greatest value. As one of the more polished performers and engaging characters down there too, it’s hard to see him not ‘graduating’ – if you might forgive the term – to the main roster by the end of this year. Drew McIntyre’s return from injury and Johnny Gargano’s move upwards seem to potentially block out a title reign for Black, and two plus two equals four. It’s a disappointing notion we might never see him as NXT Champ, but I remain optimistic about Black’s future on either of the main brands; so it’s not all bad!

What is all bad is my next prediction: The Revival will split up. Now don’t rush to crucify me folks; I desperately do not want this to happen ever. But this is WWE, who apparently have nothing in line for the greatest tag team on the planet here at the start of the biggest season of the year. They split American Alpha, the Realest Guys and DIY apart in 2017; Revival are the last team standing. While I expect they’ll get some kind of a run, I doubt WWE will resist the urge to create a lazy short-term storyline, the likes of which a tag split creates, in order to paper over their oftentimes creative inadequacy.

Though if this does happen, don’t expect to see me again; I’ll be hiding from my fellow Ponder Maverick and his blood-thirsty desire to hack me apart with a rusty butter knife….

On the bright side, I’d also like to predict that Summerslam will be a critical success for the first time since moving to four hours this year. Is this a little optimistic? Probably so; and despite a prediction I make on the show tonight being routed in the opposite idea, hopefully Brock Lesnar will no longer be around by then. I’m praying, therefore, that Summerslam will rely more heavily on full-time talent – again, indicated by a prediction of both mine and Mazza’s on the Pond later! – and, as a result, will find itself fondly received by the fan base for the first real time since it became another four hour marathon.

It will be despite this, I predict, that WWE will resign Batista and Rey Mysterio as part-time talent. With Lesnar possibly out the door and Undertaker possibly (again) retiring after wrestling John Cena at WrestleMania per the current rumour mill, WWE will fail to realise the natural end point their use of part-timers has arrived at and seek to plug the gap by continuing to scrape the bottom of the barrel of their past, dragging Mysterio back into the fold with a schedule screaming of entitlement. As for Batista? Well, he wants that match with Triple H nobody else does, and after the disastrous handling of his return last time I wonder if Vince McMahon – who hates a failure, as my friend Mav puts it on the show tonight – will try to succeed in doing what he failed to do four years ago.

Besides, as we know, part-timers in WWE today are like the Hydra; you chop one head off and two more take its place!

Before any of this we have to get past Royal Rumble 2018 though, and I have two predictions left in me orientated around my favourite event of the year, and they are perhaps bolder than any others.

First, I believe the winner of the Women’s Royal Rumble Match will be a character we have seen before, returning to wrestle full-time. It’s a simple one, really. Whether it’s Serena Deeb or Kharma or some other such character, I’m going for broke and saying someone we’ve seen before will return, full time, to win and go on and wrestle for the title come ‘Mania.

And finally, Neville will return in the Royal Rumble Match and go on to wrestle Finn Bálor at WrestleMania. I’m going for two birds with one stone here. It’s hopelessly naïve of me, I know, but I’d love to see Neville make an impossibly unpredictable return in the style of Alberto Del Rio in 2014, this time on the main roster, and go on to give us the feature length mid card match that the Showcase of the Immortals desperately needs, and against his NXT successor Finn Bálor no less.

But that’ll do it for now, folks; you can hear more predictions from myself, Maverick and Mazza on the next instalment of The Right Side of the Pond, airing only on Lords of Pain Radio to kick your weekend off right! The Right Side of the Pond airs only on LOP Radio every Friday night, 9pm GMT / 5pm EST, or can be listened to on demand at any time via BlogTalkRadio or on iTunes, so be sure to check it out!

Finally, do be sure to let me know what you think of my predictions, and what your own for 2018 might be, in the comments below, over on social media or even by signing up to our own LOPForums, where TRSOTP and every other LOP Radio show has its very own discussion thread for you to throw some responses our way without the limitations of Twitter or Facebook; just click here to sign up!

Don’t forget to pick up your copy of my book, 101 WWE Matches To See Before You Die, from the LOP Store or Amazon today! Simply click here to find mine and a host of other books and merchandise on offer, all courtesy of LOP, or on the icon to the left to be taken directly to Amazon!

Click here to add me on Facebook!

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