The Dark Match Predicts 2017

According to the Chinese Zodiac, we have just entered into the year of the Rooster, but unless you see Miz reprising his role from Pupper Clucker’s Chicken Ad or the return of the Gobbledy Gooker in 2017, let’s see what who we’re anticipating having a massive 2017 in the WWE.

Here’s the video of the 6 people to watch for in WWE in 2017.  If you expect them to ever lead you in the right direction, please note the substantial attention given to Dillinger here, as it made me quite happy:

Matt’s 5 to Watch for 2017

I’m not going to do mine like most, where it’s what’s coming next.  Rather, I’m going to predict big things that are coming in 2017, both from newcomers and from legends.

 5 – Samoa Joe

With the return of Chris Hero as a tested Heel veteran to assume the mantle long held by Joe in NXT, all signs point to his call up, most likely as a participant in the Royal Rumble.  This opens a lot of doors, as it can call back to his time in the ring with both current and previous Universal Champions Kevin Owens and Finn Balor, respectively.  I wouldn’t anticipate him winning the Rumble like Corbin with the Andre the Giant Memorial, but he’ll have a good opening showing.  It’s going to be a good year for the long proven veteran.

4.  The Undertaker

This one has been on my mind a lot lately, could be because of the Raw appearance even though he was sort of built as a Smackdown legacy.  Anyway, I think the big surprise is going to be an Undertaker win at the Royal Rumble.  He did pick up a Rumble victory, recently, having taken the win in 2007 by eliminating Shawn Michaels, who is conveniently the other guest on tonight’s “Oh My God How Do We Compete With Bama” version of Monday Night Raw.  Speculation has been pretty rampant that Undertaker would face Cena at Mania, and could you imagine any greater build than The Undertaker winning the Rumble and Cena taking the title from Styles, setting the stage for The Face to take on The Phenom on the Grandest Stage of Them All?  I think one last run, which is what they’ve been building with Goldberg’s promos, is actually setting the stage for a different veteran.  Would be a hell of a curtain call for The Dead Man.  (Note: British books are actually taking bets with Taker as the favorite).

3.  Finn Balor

The meteoric rise of the Demon King was quickly cut short when he suffered a significant shoulder injury while trying to give the Summerslam audience the greatest match he could possibly give, popping the shoulder back into place and continuing to wrestle for almost twenty minutes to win the Universal Championship.  The Demon is coming.  Expect him in a few weeks, as a surprise entrant in the Rumble.  For Cena-Taker, it won’t matter that he doesn’t get the win, he’s the rightful #1 contender, and Mick Foley will have a dozen annoying promos to get it there, but the match is going to be absolutely fantastic.

2.  Triple H

They’re certainly taking their sweet ass time getting to it, but once The Game returns to take on the challenge posed by The Architect, Seth Rollins, it is absolutely on, and it should run for a while (all things considered, a 3 month run of this feud is a quarter of a year, which can feel like forever in WWE).  The Cerebral Assassin is in the best shape of his life, on top of his game, the Face they can’t find any way to turn thanks to the overwhelming success of NXT….the only way they can possibly screw this up is if they feel the need to have Haitch and a sidekick take on The New Shield simply as a means of trying desperately, once again, to get Roman over with the Smark audience.  It won’t work, just let Roman get back there naturally.  He’s doing a pretty damn good job right now if you’ll just let him play to his strengths in the mid-upper mid card.

1.  Gallows and Anderson

This one seems like a long shot, and it very well might be, but I’m anticipating the rumors fueled by the John Cena Instagram post to be true and the Bullet Club will be getting Kenny Omega very soon.  Omega and a healthy Finn Balor could be exactly what these two need to get everything moving in the right direction.  These guys are great, and someone is going to have to be the counterbalance to a rebuilt Shield.  I’m ok with Balor playing from the darker side if it means that counterbalance revitalizes these two who have been treading water (maybe or maybe not because of that injury) and brings the Bullet Club to WWE.  Now if only it could bring The American Nightmare back from Japan.

Jeremy’s 5 to Watch for 2017

5. Baron Corbin, Strowman, and the return of the monster

2016’s Most Metal Athlete and the big man from the Wyatt family brought credibility back to the monster heel.  And, with a much smaller average wrestler than 10 years, it’s a great time to do so.  They don’t even need to be as big as they used to be because of that.  They don’t need to be 500 pounds or actually have gigantism.  They just need to be slightly bigger but have an attitude as if they were an immovable object.  Prior to mid-2016, the monster heel was limited to whether Vince felt like Big Show should be a heel that night.

I put Baron first here because I believe every word he says.  I believe he doesn’t hang out with everyone else.  I believe he’s kind of an asshole.  His work paves the way for my #1, a much shorter monster.

4. Papa Hunter builds a legacy (not that Legacy)

NXT, the Cruiserweight Classic, and now the UK Championship Tournament.  HHH didn’t really have to do anything when his wrestling career started to wind down.  Sure, he married the boss’ daughter.  He could have quietly slipped into an unassuming corporate role or just been an onscreen authority figure.  Instead, he’s actively spearheading WWE’s future endeavors.  And by creating alternative brands within the company, he’s still keeping watching the product, even if they’re not watching Raw.

I expect he has a match against Rollins at Mania and he probably shows up at the Rumble in some form.  Beyond that, the real thing to watch is what he does for wrestling and WWE, in particular.  Expect more tournaments.  Expect for the further expansion of NXT.  Expect the conclusion of his in ring career.  Maybe Max Landis can do a final chapter of his Wrestling Isn’t Wrestling video.

3. Queen’s court

Now, I’m leading with Charlotte here, but part of that reason is that she really is the strongest part of the women’s devision.  She improved so fast in such a short amount of time.  It’s really impressive.  She is, without a doubt, one of the top five wrestler’s in the WWE.  No female wrestlers, just wrestlers.

Why do I say Queen’s court?  Charlotte is going to be the ring leader and take the women’s devision to new heights.  She maybe hampered by bad writing sometimes on Raw, but it doesn’t really matter.

She kills it.

But overall?  There’s that saying that “A rising tide lifts all ships.”  Charlotte is the tide and the entire division, Raw and Smackdown, are the ships.

2. Finn Balor

The roll-out of Balor on Raw…wasn’t the best.  His 2017 return will be epic.  He got a huge pop at the UK Championship.  I hope we get the return of NXT Finn where he teases us before he comes back.

It’s clear Vince had big plans for him and I’m sure they remain.

1. Samoa Joe

I’ll miss Joe’s war with Mr. Regal, but the time is ripe for Joe to wreck havoc on the main roster.  A lot of people were questioning why he was in NXT for so long.  I think it was for two reasons:  1) it bolstered the touring brand and gave a good foil for both Bálor and Nak. 2) the stage wasn’t set.

As I mentioned in #5, the monster heel is back, making the perfect time for Joe to come back.  I personally hope he goes to SmackDown, but I wouldn’t even mind if he goes to Raw.  On Raw, he can fight Roman, Rollins, Balor, even other heels, basically the whole roster.  On SmackDown, I think everyone would love to see him revive his feud with AJ on a show that a lot of people actually watch.