Ever since CM Punk won his second Money in the Bank briefcase at Wrestlemania 25, the element of surprise that has accompanied his world title opportunity has been severely tarnished. People began counting down the days until Punk would ultimately cash in the contract, because as history had proven, Money in the Bank winners did not go many months without using their briefcase. As a result, the instant Punk, The Miz, and Alberto Del Rio walked into a Pay-Per-View with their MitB briefcase in hand, there would always be a certain amount of people who predicted there would be a MitB cash-in that night. Regardless if a superstar like The Undertaker was the current world champion, or if it was a throwaway PPV like Over The Limit, as long as someone had a Money in the Bank contract in their possession, there was always a small but realistic chance that a fallen champion would be victim to Money in the Bank.
In other words, Money in the Bank has lost A LOT of it's prestige. It may be a one-way ticket to a world championship, but as someone like Jack Swagger or even CM Punk will tell you, cashing in the briefcase does not cement you as a main-eventer for life. Furthermore, I'd argue that not only has the outcome become stale and predictable, but the timing of the cash-in has as well. Faces and heels wait until a world champion is nearly beaten to death, competed in a gruelling match, or sustained an injury, and then they "pick the bones" to win the title. It was cool the first few times (Punk cashing in on Edge is still a mark-out moment for yours truly), but it's the same formula being recycled over and over again.
Daniel Bryan, on the other hand, has taken the Money in the Bank "rulebook" and has flipped it upside down. Rather than taking the cheap way out and keeping his cash-in a secret to win the world title when no one expects him to, he has openly stated he wishes on cashing in at Wrestlemania 28. If Bryan follows up on his promise, he'll have held onto his Money in the Bank briefcase for a grand total of EIGHT months. In the world of WWE, that's a lifetime. Some people's careers are made and lost in eight months. Bryan, however, wants to be in the main-event of Wrestlemania. He doesn't want to be like all the other MitB winners before him. Bryan wants to win his first world title on the grandest stage of them all.
There's only one problem with Bryan's little plan, though:
I don't believe him
No matter which way I look at it, I cannot picture a scenario of Bryan competing for the world heavyweight title at Wrestlemania 28. This isn't a knock against him in any way, of course. I just think there's a lot more guys who I can realistically imagine fighting for both world titles in April instead of D-Bryan. Hell, I'll even be a bit surprised if both Mark Henry and Alberto Del Rio are involved in world title matches at the big event. Granted, a lot of things can change between now and Wrestlemania, but if Bryan is cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase that night, and Henry AND Del Rio are still in the title picture, than only one or two of these names will have a world title match as well: Randy Orton, CM Punk, The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, Christian, Sheamus, Cody Rhodes. Those are a lot of main-event or quickly rising superstars right there. For Orton to not have a world title match at Wrestlemania for the third year in a row sounds ludicrous to me.
The reason I believe Bryan won't cash-in at Wrestlemania 28 is because he's using his announcement as a red herring. Basically, Bryan is trying to surprise the massive wrestling audience by telling them to expect a Money in the Bank cash-in at Wrestlemania, when it's not even true. Call it a "super-swerve" if you will. How do you make the fans stop guessing which Pay-Per-View the MitB briefcase will be used at? Give them an exact date and then use it beforehand, completely out of the blue. Fans have become so conditioned to seeing MitB cashed in on fallen champions that when a babyfaced, good guy promises to wait until Wrestlemania 28 to do the deed, they believe him. Whether Bryan cashes in on a heel like Henry or a face like Orton, at RAW, Smackdown!, or a PPV before Wrestlemania, they'll never see it coming. Whether Bryan wins the world title or not, Bryan will have shocked the world.
There's still five months to go until Wrestlemania. A lot of things can happen before then, including another Money in the Bank cash-in. This time, the fans won't be ready for it. If I were you, I'd even go as far as to "bank" on it.
2. Day 377
It's (almost) that time of year again. When people start gearing up for Survivor Series and the Royal Rumble, and put some serious thought into their Wrestlemania dream cards. Hell, even Hustle recently shared his fantasy Wrestlemania 28 line-up. Me on the other hand, I'm going to do things a bit differently. Rather than trying to guess who will be pissed at who five months from now, I'm going to try and predict who will WIN the 2012 Royal Rumble and go on to challenge for either the WWE or World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania. In no particular order, here are several superstars who I feel have the best shot of out-lasting twenty-nine (or thirty-nine) other men this January:
CM Punk: Might as well kick things off with the IWC's early pick to win the Rumble, a former FOUR-TIME world champion (not bad for someone who's been "buried"). Although he could potentially defeat Alberto Del Rio at Survivor Series or even TLC to win the WWE Championship, I think Punk still has to be considered a strong contender to win the upcoming Royal Rumble. Partly because winning the match would not only guarantee Punk a main-event match at Wrestlemania, but it would fill out the rest of Punk's WWE resume; he's already accomplished almost everything there is to accomplish in the company, except winning the Rumble and headlining Wrestlemania. Well, here's a perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. Again, quite impressive for someone who's been "buried".
Sheamus: If the Royal Rumble was taking place three weeks from now rather than in three months, The Great White would be my number one choice to win the Rumble. Right now, he has all the momentum in the world (I believe he's lost only one match since SummerSlam), and is really getting over as a top face. What better way to capitalize on Sheamus's hot streak? Keep building him up and have him win the Royal Rumble so he can challenge a top heel for their title at Wrestlemania. If Sheamus does win the Rumble, I have no doubt he'll break the recent Royal Rumble curse and actually win the belt at Wrestlemania 28. Unlike TNA, WWE won't pass up the opportunity to create their next big star at their biggest PPV of the year.
Cody Rhodes: 2012 might be a bit too early for the current Intercontinental Champion to main-event Wrestlemania, but at the rate he's going, it would not shock me at all to see WWE push Rhodes even further up the card. Not only did his match against Randy Orton at last Sunday's Vengeance feel like a main-event bout, but Rhodes is enjoying a fantastic Intercontinental title reign that may lead to him being hot-shot to the world title picture. In fact, I would love it if he follows a similar route as John Cena prior to Cena's first world title victory at Wrestlemania 21, when Cena dropped the United States Championship to Orlando Jordan weeks before facing JBL for the WWE Championship. Cena made the transition from midcard champion to world champion so easily that if any superstar could follow in his footsteps, it just might be Rhodes.
The Miz: Now this would be an interesting scenario; The Miz winning the Royal Rumble. When he was Mr. Money in the Bank, WWE did a fantastic job of building Miz up as a credible challenger to the world title. Now that Miz has already main-evented Wrestlemania, what better way for him to regain lost momentum than to put him right back in the title hunt with a one-way ticket to Wrestlemania. Now, I'm sure you Awesome Truth fans will not like this idea because if Miz wins the Rumble, Miz and R-Truth will undoubtedly split up. But let's face it; their conspiracy union won't last forever. I basically view them as Rated-RKO V2.0 - they'll successfully team for a while, but not that long. Miz has had so many partners over the years that carrying another one isn't going to do him much help. Therefore, Miz winning the Royal Rumble would be the perfect way to end Awesome Truth and get back Miz's lost momentum.
Dolph Ziggler: My fifth and final pick to win the 2012 Royal Rumble is the darkhorse, or the wildcard, if you will. You've heard everyone from respected columnists like Dr. CMV1 to nobodies like John Smith say that Ziggler is on the cusp of breaking that damn glass ceiling. Honestly, I agree. Ziggler has been a great United States Champion, but I'm starting to think he's outgrown the title. Hell, before he hooked up with Jack Swagger, I would have said Ziggler had outgrown Vickie Guerrero as well. I KNEW moving Ziggler and Vickie to RAW last year would do nothing but help Ziggler evolve, and I was right. Ziggler had a great feud with Edge on Smackdown! and even briefly won the world heavyweight title, but it wasn't until Ziggler won the U.S. title and became a regular on RAW that his stock began to go up. WWE are in need of new main-eventers, and I think Ziggler has paid his dues long enough in the midcard. I'd love to see WWE pull the trigger and give Ziggler a chance to run with the ball, all the way up to Wrestlemania.
What about you, broskis? Who do YOU think will win the 2012 Royal Rumble? Punk? Ziggler? Someone else (cough*ZACK RYDER*cough)? Feel free to take a stab at it!
3. Day 378
Believe it or not, today is my favourite holiday of the year - Halloween. There's just something incredibly cool about being able to trick-or-treat for candy, watch scary movies, and dress up as someone or something else that has entertained me since I was a little kid. Not only that, but it's always fun to watch Halloween-themed episodes of The Simpsons on repeat as well (they never get old). Therefore, in honour of Halloween, and since I have nothing better to do, here are some of the scariest moments/characters/matches/promos that I have ever seen.
(Writer's Note: Keep in mind that I only started watching wrestling on a regular basis in 2001 so my apologies if any of these videos are too "new" and not "classics".)
Awww, The Boogeyman and Jillian. Two of WWE's strangest characters from the post Attitude-Era. Although neither Boogeyman or Jillian were ever the best wrestlers, they sure were entertaining outside the squared circle. Boogey could either make you roll your eyes from his silly antics, or creep you out. This was probably the first time I felt like barfing when watching television, because even though Jillian's "mole" was fake as shit, just watching Boogey EAT Jillian's face growth was absolutely disgusting. I'm surprised WWE didn't change his catchphrase afterwards to "I'm The Boogeyman! And I'm Coming To LICK You!"
Just...weird. Kane was always spooky back when he was The Big red Machine and wore his mask every week, but he's always been able to intimidate someone through sheer size alone. I remember watching this as a teenager and thinking this was Kane's real face. I truly believed Kane wasn't wearing any make-up, that his face was scarred like that in real-life. Combine that with the wig and ugly grimace, and you have yourselves one ugly badass.
This wasn't really a "scary" moment but more of a "jump out for your seat" thing. After CM Punk beat Jeff Hardy for the World Heavyweight Championship, most people figured Punk would move onto a new challenger since Hardy's WWE contract was about to expire. However, that was not meant to be. The GONG sounded, the lights went out, and The Undertaker made his 283rd WWE return by surprising Punk from literally out of nowhere. You never saw it coming.
Speaking of Undertaker, how many people can watch this infamous clip and not say "HOLY SHIT!"? It is a miracle Mick Foley was able to survive the fall (and the one after) but no matter how many times I watch this video back, I have to remind myself that Foley would be alright. The next time someone says wrestling isn't real, show them this clip and I guarantee you they'll shut their mouth.
There you have it, folks. The scariest man to ever wrestle for WWE. The video that forced me to join the #FuckYouMattHardy group on Facebook. Matt Hardy is without a doubt the scariest individual to ever walk the face of the earth, as even little kids are scared to cross his path. As they say, if Freddy Kreuger doesn't get you in your dreams, then Matt Hardy will get you on the internet instead. True story.
4. Day 379
I know the story of longtime WWE Diva Maryse's release is old news. Hell, considering that the news broke last Friday night, many of you may even consider this to be VERY OLD news. However, if you've been following my columns over the years, then you might recall me mentioning that Maryse just happened to be one of my all-time favorite divas. Everytime I ranked the best (or my favorite) current WWE Divas, Maryse was always in the top three. Whenever I did year-end countdowns, Maryse never failed to make an appearance on one of my lists. In other words, I loved Maryse.
Therefore, you can imagine how devastated I was to hear about her parting ways with the company late last week. Whether it was WWE who made the decision, or if Maryse asked for her release, it doesn't really matter. All that matters is WWE let one of their best female performers slip through their fingers and did nothing to stop it from happening. In a day and age where women's wrestling is on the verge of extinction (The Sisters Of Destruction are the only thing keeping the division on life-support), Maryse was something different. She may not have been a superb in-ring technician, but she possessed something 95% of the other divas did not - charisma.
You heard me correctly. WWE can push the likes of Kelly Kelly, Eve Torres, and The Bella Twins down our throats as hard as they want, but none of them will ever become the next Trish Stratus or the next Lita. Why? Because they're nothing but a pretty face. Granted, they're not terrible wrestlers like the majority of the internet will make you believe, but that's beside the point. They will never be successful because they all suffer from "Charlie Haas Syndrome" - not being able to get a crowd reaction even if their life depended on it. Poor Charlie would only get a pop when he impersonated another wrestler. Most of the divas will only get a pop if they have a wardrobe malfunction.
But not Maryse. WWE made a great decision by putting the divas championship around Maryse. In fact, if she hadn't suffered an untimely injury, I'm sure Maryse's first title reign would have made her a huge star. Keep in mind that Maryse was divas champion before Lay-Cool was formed, BEFORE Kharma made her WWE debut. Basically, Maryse had very little to work with during her title reigns, but she managed to make it work. By that I mean people actually cared about her matches. As in, Maryse got a reaction everytime her music hit and she swaggered down to the ring. Either the crowd booed her because of her "bitch-look", or the men cheered for her undeniable hotness. Whatever the reason was, Maryse was getting noticed.
Alas, Maryse's reign as queen of the divas division did not last forever. The Montreal beauty was forced to sit on the sidelines while WWE pushed Alicia Fox, Eve, eventually Lay-Cool, and as we all know, Kelly Kelly. Maryse's on-air relationship with Ted DiBiase did her more harm than good, as not even Maryse could get the crowd to give two shits about DiBiase. Of all the women WWE could use as a superstar's valet, they decided to take one of their best heels and waste it on a charisma-vacuum. Therefore, as sad as it was to hear about Maryse's release, I can't say I was shocked. Maryse spent the majority of 2011 doing next-to-nothing, and WWE literally flushed one of their best female talents down the drain.
And that's what really gets to me. WHY did WWE pass on the Maryse experiment? WHY did they opt to push Alicia and Eve instead of Maryse? Like the old saying goes, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", and there was absolutely nothing wrong with having Maryse as the face of the divas division. Instead, WWE got anxious and tried to push Alicia and Eve as the next big divas - big mistake. The fans weren't having any of it, and to this day, WWE is still trying to recover from that mess.
What it all comes down to, ladies and gentlemen, is that it's complete bullshit that Maryse is no longer a WWE employee while losers like Kelly and Eve continue to get TV time and title matches week after week. You can argue with me all you want, but Maryse is a million times more talented than both those annoying bimbos combined. Not only inside the ring, not only on the mic, but also because Maryse contains more charisma in her cute little pinky than Eve and Kelly posses in each of their bodies. The fans do not care about Eve or Kelly, and in my opinion, most of them never will. Maryse won over audiences in a matter of WEEKS. There is no justifiable explanation for keeping Eve or Kelly on the payroll but letting Maryse go instead.
Au revoir, Maryse. Thank you for the past five years. Thank you for making me care about women's wrestling for a short amount of time. Thank you for providing me with a stunning wallpaper for my laptop. But most of all, thank you for giving me another reason to hate Eve Torres and Kelly Kelly. Who knows, maybe I'll run into you at a Montreal club one day.
Hey, there's nothing wrong with dreaming, right?
5. Day 380
Love them or hate them (but you probably hate them), TNA has been putting on some damn good shows since last month's Bound For Glory Pay-Per-View. Mind you, it's not like TNA has turned over a new leaf, hired a brand new creative team, and are putting on one five-star match after another, week after week. Rather, there have been a lot of good from what I've seen from TNA lately. The world title scene is cluttered with TNA originals like Bobby Roode, James Storm, and even Samoa Joe, Gail Kim has renewed my interest in the Knockouts Division (I know right?) and even the smaller rivalries are fairly interesting (Morgan vs. Crimson, Jarrett vs. Hardy, RVD vs. Daniels).
BUT - and there's always a but - TNA has not been doing everything right. With so much talent on their overcrowded roster, with dozens of men and women competing for television time each and every week, can someone please explain to me why the fuck the last few episodes of Impact have focused on Eric Bischoff and his goddamn son, Garrett. In case you're not up to speed, Eric is pissed at his son for not helping Hulk Hogan defeat Sting at Bound For Glory, since Garrett (Eric's son) was the referee for that match. Not only that, but Garrett stopped his father from striking Sting with a chair, only for Daddy Bischoff to hit his son in retaliation. This has led to both men coming face-to-face and having "intense talks" over the last weeks on Impact.
My opinion? WHO THE FUCK CARES? Eric Bischoff is not a wrestler. Garrett Bischoff is not a wrestler. So why are they feuding??? Wrestling fans tune into WWE and TNA every week to see wrestlers feud, not to hear an authority figure talk to his untrained son about the birds and the bees. Not only is their "feud" boring me to tears, but it's taking up WAY too much time on the broadcast, and I fail to see the point between all this going down. So what if Garrett agrees to compete, he could get his father "fired" from TNA? ANYBODY ELSE COULD COMPETE INSTEAD. D'Angelo Dinero, Douglas Williams, Brian Kendrick - these guys are literally sitting at home collecting paychecks, or wrestling on Xplosion (if that is a real show). Why not use one of them for the angle instead of a guy who's not even a trained wrestler?
I find it funny how people are rejoicing that Hulk Hogan has announced he will be staying off television for the foreseeable future so he doesn't "overshadow" other TNA talent. That's super, but now Eric Bischoff is taking that timeslot instead. What's worse, he's sharing that precious air-time with Garrett just because he's the man's son! Imagine I was promoted to head manager of my McDonalds, and I decided to hire my mother to help me count money and help supervise the day-to-day activities. However, my mother is NOT experienced in restaurant management, nor is she skilled in accounting. So why the fuck would I hire my mom, and give her such an important job, just because she gave birth to me? That is not fair to the employees that were already there, just like Garrett Bischoff getting involved in a major storyline is not fair to the rest of the TNA roster.
The sad thing is, for the large part, TNA fans are fine with this feud going forward. I've even heard several "Garrett" chants over the past few weeks. That is pathetic. The man is boring, uncharismatic, and IS NOT A WRESTLER! The only reason he's getting face pops is because he's standing up to his father, who happens to be a heat magnet in TNA. I guarantee that even a debuting superstar would get a huge reaction if he came out and punched out Eric Bischoff on his first official night with the company. It's wrestling logic 101: the fans will cheer for whoever stands up to the biggest, most annoying sob. Bischoff is trying to share his spotlight with his son, and I don't think that's acceptable.
Screw it. Crow, I'm with you bro. #FuckTheBischoffs. TNA has been really good these past few weeks, but these two ass-clowns are seriously tempting me to change the channel every week. Bobby Roode vs. Samoa Joe was a perfectly acceptable main-event for last week's show. Why did it have to go on before Eric and Garrett's show-concluding segment? That's bullshit. I understand guys like Roode and Storm aren't the biggest draws the company has to offer (yet), but if you're going to close the show with two veterans, at least use wrestlers. Push the Jarrett vs. Hardy feud, or even Anderson vs. Bully Ray. Why should two NON-WRESTLERS get the final dibs?
TNA, you seem to be on the right path, but you ain't going nowhere until you get the Bischoffs off television and fast. I would rather watch Hulk Hogan vs. Sting in a 60-Minute IronMan Match ten years from now than hear son and daddy argue for ten minutes. Wake up, TNA.
6. Day 381
After watching a decent episode of Monday Night RAW last night (in my opinion), I decided to see what the Internet Wrestling Community thought about RAW from Liverpool. Surprisingly, the majority of posters were pretty much in agreement about the show. Morrison vs. Ziggler was a good match, Del Rio and Punk did a nice job of hyping their title match next Sunday, Kevin Nash wasn't THAT bad on the mic (although that's debateable), and the main-event was a lot of fun. In fact, the show's low-points were the two squash matches (Mason Ryan vs. JTG, Swagger vs. Santino), the tedious divas segment, and the commentary team doing another crappy job. Seriously, they either need to bring J.R. back full-time or move Josh Matthews to Monday nights, because Cole and Lawler need help ASAP.
Overall, it wasn't the BEST episode of RAW I've ever seen, but it wasn't terrible. The positives out-weighed the negatives, at least last night they did. However, the problem with the IWC is that no matter what WWE, TNA, or any other wrestling promotion does, there will always be a group of people complaining about SOMETHING. Either they're not happy because John Cena is constantly in the main-event, or angry that their "flavour of the month" isn't being awarded a world title match, whatever the case may be, you will never see every single member of the IWC collectively in joy.
And this is where the trolls come in. Whether they're posting on WWE's Facebook page, harassing Superstars and Divas on Twitter, or even leaving asinine comments on websites like Lords of Pain, trolls can be found everywhere on the internet. Usually I tend to ignore them because it's like arguing with a pigeon; they don't comprehend the English language and just keep squawking without learning a thing. But as you all know, Zack Ryder is my favourite WWE superstar of the past three years, and to see a guy who many people thought would be future endeavoured by now get the chance to team with Cena in the main-event of RAW last night, I was ECSTATIC. Finally, Ryder's hard work (and Z! True Long Island Story) paid off. The Ryder push was in full-swing, and it was working, as Ryder got some of the biggest pops of the night.
Considering how the majority of the IWC has jumped on the Ryder bandwagon since his YouTube show became a hit, you'd think wrestling fans all over the internet would be rejoicing, right? Wrong! Over the past twelve hours, I have seen Facebook comments, tweets, and forum posts from people saying things like:
“Screw Zack Ryder. He sucks.”
“Ryder is overrated. Send him back to Superstars.”
“What’s the point? Ryder will be released by 2012, anyways.
How typical of the IWC. They’ll support someone who barely gets television time, and complain when they don’t get matches or segments on RAW. However, when WWE (or even TNA) gives in to the demands and starts pushing that superstar, some of those same people will turn their backs on him and pretend they never liked him. It happened to John Cena. It happened to CM Punk. Now it’s happening with Zack Ryder.
I can deal with the “Ryder sucks” and “Ryder is overrated” comments. I may not agree with them, but I respect that because it’s your opinion. Mind you, I would respect you a lot more if you explained WHY you think Ryder sucks, but I can’t force you to like someone you don’t want to. You could say Ryder sucks and Big Show is awesome, and I would debate that with you, but I wouldn’t hate you or anything. Everyone is entitled to cheer for and support whoever they please.
What DOES piss me off is the last comment, how some people believe Ryder’s success won’t last, that he won’t have a WWE contract by the end of 2012. I’m sorry, do you idiots have a crystal ball? Can you predict the future? Do you work for WWE, and have a great inside source saying that the McMahon family hates Ryder and can’t wait to release him the day after New Year’s? Because if the answer is no to any of those questions, then shut up because you have no idea what you’re talking about.
WHY should Ryder get fired? The last time I checked, Ryder:
-Is one of the company’s top merchandise sellers
-Has no reported backstage heat
-Is a safe in-ring worker and seems to get along with everyone backstage
-Has a successful YouTube show that gets thousands of views, promotes storylines, and plugs more merchandise
-Is arguably the third biggest face on RAW after Cena and Punk (fourth if Triple H returns as a full-time wrestler)
So tell me, why should Ryder get released if he’s been so successful? How is it a good business move by WWE to cut someone who’s getting loud crowd reactions on a weekly basis, is a dependable worker, entertaining and charismatic, AND MAKING THEM MONEY! If WWE wants to fire people, release the ones who aren’t doing anything but killing time on Superstars and in dark matches. Saying Ryder should be released just because you don’t like the guy makes zero sense.
Honestly, I don’t care whether you’re a Broski or not. Just don’t talk out of your ass. That’s all I ask.
7. Day 382
Is it just me, or did 2011 fly by? Believe it or not, we are less than two months away from ringing in the new year, a.k.a. the final year of mankind if you listen to that bullshit about the world ending on December 21, 2012. But I'm not here to talk depressing science or debate religious beliefs. I would like to pick seven names from WWE's active roster and explain why I feel 2012 won't be the end of the world for these men, but the start of their wrestling legacy. Okay, maybe they won't be that successful, but anything can and will happen in the world of the WWE.
Oh, and one more thing. I'm not considering any FCW talent because they are not members of RAW or Smackdown!, and to be considered a "breakout superstar", a performer can not have won a world title at least twice since joining the WWE. So basically, Jack Swagger can be a breakout superstar, but not Alberto Del Rio, since ADR's enjoying his second WWE Championship reign. Fishy stipulations? Maybe, but it's my column, so my rules. Let's get started!
In no particular order, we kick things off with one-half (and for the moment, the ONLY-half) of the WWE Tag Team Champions, Kofi Kingston. Among the other guys I will be discussing today, Kofi is one of the most-tenured in the WWE. He's been on television since the dying days of WWECW, and has enjoyed multiple reigns as Intercontinental, United Sates, and Tag Team Champion (once with CM Punk, now with Evan Bourne). However, Kofi has yet to have that career-defining match to propel him into the main-event scene. His feud with Randy Orton from late-2009 had the potential to elevate Kofi, but WWE failed to follow-up on it. That being said, WWE's main-event scene is paper-thin, and 2012 might be Kofi's best chance to jump up the ladder. While I wouldn't predict Kofi winning the upcoming Royal Rumble, it would not shock me if Kofi wins a Money in the Bank briefcase next July. I just wish he'd be able to cut a promo more often.
Next up is the reigning Mr. Money in the Bank, Daniel Bryan. As you'll recall in my Daniel Bryan column from two weeks ago (or you can just scroll up the page and read it), I sincerely doubt Bryan will follow through on his cash-in at Wrestlemania 28. My theory showed signs of plausibility last week on Smackdown! when Bryan teased cashing in the briefcase on a fallen Mark Henry. Regardless if I'm right and Bryan cashes in BEFORE Wrestlemania, or I'm wrong and Bryan keeps his word, I think a heel turn and possible reign with the world title will cement Bryan as a star on the blue brand. WWE tried to build Bryan as a top face on RAW, but he wasn't getting very over, probably because Bryan is better suited to wrestling longer matches than RAW's average 3-minute "match". Smackdown! is the perfect place for Bryan to leave his mark, and I definitely see it happening sometime over the next twelve months.
If you've been reading my columns since at least this past summer, then you probably know I'm not a big fan of Sin Cara. Ever since his debut, I've felt that Cara was overrated by both the WWE and several members of the IWC. I didn't see a replacement for Rey Mysterio; I saw a botch machine who couldn't even speak English. That being said, it's clear that WWE have no intention of slowing down Cara's push, and as long as Cara continues to improve in the ring, and learns at least a bit of English, I have no problem with it happening. With rumours of Mysterio's career coming to an end stronger than ever, pretty soon WWE will have no choice but to use Cara as his permanent substitute. Cara already has a lot of support from the fans, and his merchandise is a big hit among the Hispanic audience and little kids. Again, I don't really mind WWE pushing Cara all the way, as long as Cara is willing to put in an effort in return.
If you've been reading my columns since at least, well, yesterday, then you probably know I'm a HUGE fan of Zack Ryder. As I mentioned yesterday (and many, many times in the past), I think Ryder has all the tools to make it big in the WWE. Now that WWE has finally expressed interest in pushing Ryder and putting him on television on a regular basis, I think 2012 will be an even bigger year for Ryder since he spent the majority of 2011 jobbing on "WWE Superstars". In fact, I firmly believe Long Island Iced Z will enter the new year as United States Champion, and end 2012 as an established upper mid-carder. The fans are behind him, WWE is behind him, and Ryder has shown a hard work ethic. I see no reason why Ryder shouldn't breakout for real in the near future.
This next superstar may surprise you, but remember, I'm discussing upcoming "BREAKOUT" stars, not future world champions. Not that I'm saying he'll never be a WWE Champion, but I don't see it happening in 2012. However, I do expect him to establish himself as a reliable midcarder, capable of having a good match with anyone from The Big Show to Trent Barretta. Who is this man? None other than former tag team champion, Tyson Kidd. First off, yes he is still employed, and secondly, if you haven't been watching his matches in recent months, then shame on you. Kidd may not have the best win/loss record imaginable to man, but that doesn't stop him from giving 110% in every one of his matches. I've seen countless people, from fellow Superstars on Twitter to casual wrestling fans, describe Kidd as a workhorse in the ring, and they're absolutely right. Kidd is very passionate when he competes, and I don't think I've ever seen him wrestle a bad match. It's only a matter of time until WWE takes notice and gives Kidd a solid run in the Smackdown! midcard title scene.
I know my fellow Main Page columnists Hustle and Dr. CMV1 have sung this man's praises in recent weeks, but I'll sing a few more. Dolph Ziggler has REALLY stepped up his game since he and Vickie Guerrero were moved to the RAW brand earlier this year. In fact, many will argue that Ziggler has single-handedly reignited RAW's midcard scene since winning the United States Championship. But I think 2012 will see Ziggler take things to an even higher level. Whether it's via winning the Royal Rumble or winning a number one contender's match, I strongly believe Ziggler will earn himself at least a few world title matches over the next year. What more, it may be without Vickie's assistance, as I do not see the pair remaining a unit come this time next year. Ziggler has all the potential in the world to become WWE's next big star, and as long as he stays healthy and avoids a Wellness Suspension, I can't see Ziggler running in circles much longer.
The seventh and final man I predict big things for in the new year is a man who just recently got back on track. Wade Barrett is a serious contender for a future world title reign in 2012. This whole "Barrett Barrage" and "Barrett Uprising" stuff has been surprisingly successful in recent weeks, and now the NXT Season One winner finds himself leading a team into battle against Randy Orton next Sunday at Survivor Series (the same man who defeated him at least year's Survivor Series PPV to retain the WWE Championship). The difference between 2010 and 2011 is that unlike last year, Barrett's momentum won't come to a screeching halt after next Sunday. I would not at all be surprised to see Barrett challenging for the world heavyweight title sooner rather than later. But this time, I predict Barrett will succeed in capturing the world title. Look for Barrett to make a big impact in 2012, ladies and gentlemen.
What do you guys think? Did I make some reasonable picks? Did I forget somebody? Was I too biased? Then tell me!
Song Of The Day:
With Day 382 in the books, another "week" of MTC comes to an end. Trust me folks, I wish I could write a column every single day for you, but life has been hectic for quite some time now and shows no sign of letting up. Therefore, you're stuck looking out for me every other day. It sucks, but believe me when I say I'm trying my best for you guys.
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