The second and last part of the VultureHound team’s 2018 wrestling wishes and one last ride into the Dreamers’ vault.
NJPW will keep going from strength to strength and be the real alternative to WWE. Jericho’s involvement will take them to bigger and better places and more available talent will see Japan as the place to go rather than NXT. Ring of Honor will continue to work with them but no real growth will be seen.
Talking of Vince’s baby I’m still hoping they’ll have Roman turn heel eventually. It’s what he needs to truly break through to that next level. If he turned on The Shield and became a huge cocky star then it’d be perfect. On the SmackDown side, there’s another man who desperately needs a heel turn and that’s Bobby Roode. It’ll move him into the main event scene.
The Undertaker won’t return for another match. It’s just not necessary. Woken Matt Hardy will become a sensation. Bray Wyatt will continue to be boring. Hopefully, Dolph Ziggler will walk because he’s pointless these days. Raw and SmackDown will see the likes of Drew McIntyre, Andrade “Cien” Almas and The Authors of Pain. NXT will continue to be successful as a third brand of sorts but potentially struggle with getting new talent on board with the success of NJPW/ROH etc. If WWE can’t get their UK show off the ground properly then Pete Dunne and co will become a regular part of NXT and give the roster a much-needed boost.
The UK scene overall will remain a solid investment for fans who want to see home-grown talent and some of the best overseas indie wrestlers around, but they’ll need to be careful about overexposure and too many events. 2018 will definitely be the year of Marty Scurll. IMPACT Wrestling will continue to be mostly irrelevant and a general blip on the radar despite having a solid enough roster. They’ll surprise everyone by changing names another 10 times and surviving the year.
May 23, 1999 is a day that forever lives in my mind. It was on that night, on the eve of my fifteenth birthday that Owen Hart fell from the rafters of Kemper Arena and left this earth as wrestling fans fell into a deep sadness and began asking the question “Why?”. This moment has plagued me for years not simply because it was tragic and I felt a connection to Owen but because it happened in Kansas City, a place I have always had a deep love and connection too as well. For years courtroom decisions on Owen’s behalf have resulted in his career seeming non-existent. Owen is rarely mentioned on WWE programming and years of hurt and sadness have yet to be cleaned from a slate that is in dire need of care and attention.
I have read Martha Hart’s (Owen’s Widow) book and was touched by her sadness and completely understand the position she has taken against the WWE, yet all these years later it is the fans who suffer along with her as our hero’s greatest moments remain overshadowed by that night in Kansas City and the horrible days that followed directly behind it. While I have many hopes for the world of wrestling in 2018, the greatest thing that could ever occur from my standpoint would be Owen Hart’s induction into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Owen Hart was an in-ring innovator and artful technician who inspired some of the greatest wrestlers currently ascending the ranks. His mic skills were the best in his bloodline. He was fan friendly, faithful and a joker well-remembered by everyone who knew him. His career was solid and full of memorable moments and, recently, the release of an Owen DVD set gave me a glimmer of hope that one day the fences can be mended and our hero and his trademark smile could erase the memories of that horrible night in Kansas City. Therefore, as I ring in the new year I will once again be wishing for the same thing as last year. Good friends, good health and a Hall of fame inductee worthy of two Slammy awards. “Enough is enough and it’s time for a change…”
2017 has given us a lot of amazing memories and matches we’ll never forget, which holds a lot of promise for 2018. There are many matches I’d like to see, but here are just a few. Marcel Barthel vs Pete Dunne for the WWE UK Championship, maybe this will shock some folks, but the former Axel Dieter Jr would be a tremendous opponent for the Bruiserweight. Barthel has been with WWE NXT for some time now and would be a perfect edition to the UK Show, as he has history with many of the UK lads.
Shield vs British Strong Style, now this would depend on many factors, do the Shield stay together long enough to meet the trio that has taken over the UK? Does British Strong Style become a thing in a WWE ring? Does the world fall apart in the best possible way if they meet up? Probably. If the build up is done right, this match could be the match of 2018 for WWE on any show.
It seems I am sticking with WWE matches, so let’s go for one I know can happen pretty immediately in the year: Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa for the NXT Championship. We all know this match is eventually coming, but having it for the NXT championship; would mean Johnny isn’t just fighting to show Ciampa he was worth it, but proving to the NXT faithful that he is the heart and soul of the brand.
In 2018 I want to see the women of wrestling being centred around more than one match and one title. We need to see them have side feuds and not be put on the bench because the “women’s champion wasn’t available” for the date, or because the show wants to focus on just the title. I want Cesaro to be in the World/Universal title picture (and win) – maybe even a big feud with Seth Rollins, the two have AMAZING chemistry. I’d also love to see more diversity within wrestling rosters; more POCs, genders and body types to mention a few. I’d also really like to see another Mae Young Classic Tournament, hopefully featuring the likes of Jinny, Taeler Hendrix and Riho.
2017, like 2016 before it, was an amazing year for professional wrestling. It’s fair to say that each month had something good going for it. However, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything I wish would come true for 2018. But, since I have a word count to fill out, here are a few things that I’ll be crossing my fingers for when we enter the new year.
I think I speak for everyone who’s a fan of the “Broken” Matt Hardy persona when I say, “We knew you’d come!” Finally, the broken one himself was recently revived for WWE TV, laughing in his own unique style and annunciating the only way he knows how. What can make this even better? Well, if Hardy has been given more creative control over his character, then it would be interesting to see how new skits would work. Will we see him talking to a Kangeroo (actually Joe Frazier) or making reference to the man with the Three H’s? Either way, having more of the “Woken” character on RAW could lead to more people watching the show. Plus, this finally feels like a conclusion to the horrid back and forth of news leaks from legal battles.
The last thing I hope for is something that’s still on my mind since it all began many months ago, where is the WWE UK Show? I understand the hesitation of creating a new show which puts a spotlight on a niche part of the market, but the UK stars have proven to be more than capable of captivating audiences and persuading new viewers to watch with how hard they can hit. How, when, or if this ever becomes a real thing, I’ll be waiting for it. They’ve opened the floodgates to new possibilities, it’d be a huge shame to let it all go to waste.
So, wrestling wishes for 2018, I’ll start with WWE and looking towards WrestleMania, AJ Styles vs Nakamura, a chance for fans to see what they missed out on when both men headlined NJPW a few years ago. NXT doing Download again would be great too. Also WWE hosting an all female PPV, or other promotions hosting something similar, Shimmer, Shine, EVE and Bellatrix do this on a regular basis with excellent results. With WWE and the UK, how about actually having a UK Division, and as for the UK Championship, shows the Title defences from held in multiple promotions seen on the WWE Network. Speaking of WWE Network, bring back “Talking Smack” and “Unfiltered”.
In the UK, this may never happen, but think about a Progress vs. Insane Championship Wrestling trio of shows. Hear me out, One show in London, another on Glasgow (both hometowns for the promotions) and the final show in another city. If you’re fans of both, think about the other promotions it would draw in, Futureshock, PBW, Riptide, Pro Wrestling Elite and the chance for fans across the world to become invested in UK Wrestling, even more so. Sticking with both promotions, it would be good if WWE would show their shows on the network as well, I think the latter has more chance of happening.
Finally, this year, Beyond Wrestling joined PowerbombTV. I’d love to see more promotions doing things similar to this, joining with Wrestling Network style programming, and with the downfall of FloSlam, it would be great to see other US promotions do the same, like Ring of Honor, House of Glory, House of Hardcore, Ronin Pro, RISE, Sabotage, Fest, CZW and many others.
Let’s dream a little… I desperately want to see Sami Zayn being rewarded with a Championship. As WrestleMania is heading back to New Orleans, where Daniel Bryan had a “Miracle on Bourbon Street”, Zayn could be the perfect new “Mania Miracle”. The part-timers era must be over, with guys coming and going as they want. The WWE roster is stacked with great talents. AJ Styles, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose or Shinsuke Nakamura, among many others, are show stealers and they prove it every week. NXT must not reach national TV because it could be the end of it. NXT has to stay the “underground” side of WWE it has always been. I want to appreciate the PPVs again, this year was quite poor in quality, though recently Hell in a Cell and Survivor Series were interesting.
I want people to appreciate IMPACT because it is worth way more than people think. The X-Division has never been more interesting, new talents are pushing the limits, and Garza Jr. is ripping his pants off (my Friday afternoon delight…). ROH and NJPW will continue to tear the house down, like all the indie scenes around the world. I want Cody Rhodes to succeed in his 10,000 seats show project with The Young Bucks. This will be a night to remember. I want Jericho vs. Omega not to a one-match-only, but a series of 7 or 8 star matches.
As a woman, I want to see more intergender matches on television because I don’t see any reason for a woman not to do the same and even better than men in a ring. Lucha Underground proved it, I can’t wait to watch Season 4 to maybe review it again for you. As a fan, I had the chance to attend my first wrestling show in 2017. I want to go to more of them, even if my country is not the best for that.
All pics courtesy of WWE.