I saw this topic come up over on Reddit and decided to put some thoughts down. Although my overall interests has dwindled over the year and that I’m down to watching very short clips and perusing headlines, I still have a limited amount of interest towards pro-wrestling. Hence, why this might be a good topic to write about.
I don’t know if I should limit myself to predictions as opposed to what I think ought to happen in pro-wrestling in 2024. There’s a few key players that I’m interested in and with the momentum shifting back towards the WWE, I’m going to make some generalizations.
- CM Punk and Cody Rhodes win the Royal Rumble a la 1994 where Bret Hart and Lex Luger eliminated each other. Because CM Punk is a huge Bret Hart fan, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a finish like this saved up in Punk’s typical tributes to Bret and other legends. The reason why having them both eliminated at the same time makes sense is that they can receive respective title shots where Punk goes after Seth Rollins while Cody chases Roman Reigns. However, they would eventually be able to settle the score later in the year in a title vs title bout, which could be huge. I could see Punk putting Cody over in that instance.
- Becky Lynch vs Rhea Ripley at Wrestlemania for the title. Becky Lynch currently is in a feud against Nia Jax but I think it’s just to settle the issue so Becky can move on. Nia is getting air time and that’s tragic because she’s awful. But Rhea needs a top player to really put her over. Although Charlotte did that once, she’s out. That leaves Becky Lynch, Trish Stratus and Lita as the biggest female names in the industry to give Rhea the final rub. However, Trish and Lita aren’t what they once were but Becky still is the promotion’s top face. I don’t think they can get much out of Nia at this point unless she loses a lot of weight or changes her style completely so there’s no point moving her up the ranks. Either way, Rhea is going to continue to be the dominant champion until Jade Cargill shows up.
- Jade Cargill will eventually debut. Some people are saying she’ll be on the main roster, although she really needs to work in NXT and just dominate. But the money feud with Jade will be against Charlotte. That’s going to be the ultimate test of Charlotte and we’ll see if Jade can perform at a high level. Of course, we’ll have to wait until Charlotte recovers but that might be a blessing in disguise if it means Jade gets more time to be seasoned either behind the scenes or in NXT.
- MJF will sign with the WWE. He’s been very vocal about AEW lately but I think if he’s smart (and I think he is), he’ll leave AEW in the dust because the WWE is on a big time rise. He’ll make far money working his way back up the ranks than he would sticking around as the top guy in AEW. What does he have to accomplish in AEW? There isn’t anyone that I would want to watch him against at this point in his career especially with how bad AEW has been of late.
- Swerve Strickland will be the one to beat MJF for the world title as MJF leaves for the WWE. Even if Swerve had that rotten match against Adam Page, Swerve has shown he’s willing to be a player in any environment. Of all the people they have in AEW at the moment, he’s the one guy that should be next on the list as champion. It shouldn’t be Moxley, Jericho, Danielson, etc. And to be fair, he should be the first African American AEW champion. I think he’s got loads of natural charisma, he’s got the talent and if he learns better ring psychology, will be one of the top people for years.
- AEW is going to get kicked off of network TV and/or sign with something like Amazon Prime. Let’s be honest. AEW’s ratings have fallen on hard times (if you will in Dusty’s drawl) and they can’t maintain their time. Although Tony has been trying to beef up his team with more professionals, nothing really has done enough to garner actual interest in the TV as opposed to the behind the scenes murmurings. But there was a suggestion that if they moved to a subscription based network like Prime, they won’t be criticized at least for the declining viewership, which is what Tony cares about (because he’s all about the peripherals).
- Tony will do a giant house cleaning (which he seemingly has been doing) and part of this will involve the Bucks. Already their wife has been removed from her position as head of merchandising and she mouthed off. The Bucks are off TV and it’s been said that they are preparing for a “dickish heel persona” upon their return. I’m going to read this as “the Bucks’ last chance” because of all the fuck ups involving them that has damaged Tony’s massive ego since Punk returned to the WWE and even drew huge numbers on the non-televised MSG card. If the Bucks go, I think more of their friends will part ways so that Tony can save on money once all the ex-WWE people’s contracts are up (which supposedly is soon). I think Bryan Danielson is going to get a lot of power backstage as he moves towards retirement and so will Jeff Jarrett. Jericho might lose power mostly due to him being unable to perform at a high level anymore but also because of his wife. However, he might be smart enough to stifle his wife and play along with the new group that will help Tony reorganize.
- Tony Khan will finally relinquish the book as part of the subscription service deal. There will be more restructuring with more executives taking a firmer hold of the deal since Tony will have a weakened play book after losing their current TV deal. Tony will move more towards a high level strategist role, meaning just the connection broker and money man while a better suited team gets imposed that will cut down on creative freedom and try to reign their programming in.
- Giulia will not sign with any American promotion and stick with Stardom.
- Sasha Banks…excuse me, Mercedes Mone will actually sign with the AEW. But she’s going to get a huge deal that will make her the top paid female wrestler in the industry once she recovers. This is done as a market ploy to try and attract the WWE female talent but in reality she ends up jobbing to the likes of Riho, Hikaru Shida and Willow Nightengale because she’s old and was told “to help the younger talent.”
- Kenny Omega avoids getting removed as EVP and head of the women’s division initially because of the move to a streaming platform to not demonstrate the declining numbers. But AEW’s PPV buys go down significantly too because of the overall shrinking market partly due to the gymnastic matches, high number of injuries and badly performing women’s matches that are a huge tribute to their decline and he gets canned to make up for Mone’s huge contract.
- A few other wrestlers eventually show up in WWE from AEW, including Powerhouse Hobbs, Wardlow, Ricky Starks, the Acclaimed and Kris Statlander. Jamie Hayter should be on that list but I think she still likes the Japanese style better, which seems to be more AEW suited.
- The WWE will have one of the biggest Wrestlemania’s ever. But outside of three matches and a special appearance, the majority of the show will be horribly boring.
- I will continue to watch limited clips, read headlines and listen to Jim Cornette’s podcasts just because everything else has become intolerable.