WWE Brewing Thoughts: Chris Jericho's Silence & the New-Look WWE Product

Josh BrewerCorrespondent IJanuary 10, 2012

Photo courtesy of royalrumbler.wordpress.com
Photo courtesy of royalrumbler.wordpress.com

2012 is only 10 days old, but the turning over of the calendar also means we have begun the build to one of WWE's most exciting pay-per-view events, Royal Rumble.

Only four men have been officially added to the 30-man main event—Jinder Mahal, Wade Barrett, Santino Marella, and Sheamus were confirmed last night on Raw—but the names will continue to pour in over the next two and a half weeks.

The Royal Rumble event also marks the beginning of the Road to WrestleMania, which ought to be quite the ride. Things have changed significantly since last year's big event, which leaves plenty of intrigue for WrestleMania XXVIII, now less than three months away.

One of the most intriguing figures of 2012 has been a man who has yet to say a word since his return to the WWE Universe.


The End of the World As We Know It Is Pretty Quiet

Throughout December, mysterious videos warned us of the return of someone from the past, someone who would change the world as we know it.

As expected, Chris Jericho made his WWE return Jan. 2, but much to the surprise of most, he didn't say a word.

Jericho made his presence felt last night as well, but instead of addressing the WWE Universe for the first time in nearly 18 months, Jericho became visibly emotional and left to a chorus of cheers.

But when will the first-ever Undisputed WWE Champion break his silence?

Don't expect it to happen next week.

Many Internet reports have suggested Jericho has returned to WWE to enter a feud with current WWE Champion CM Punk. While a face-versus-face feud is possible, it is unlikely. Punk is incredibly over, leaving the returning Jericho to turn heel.

Expect Jericho to cut a scathing heel promo on the Jan. 23 edition of Raw, leading to his full-fledged heel turn just in time for Royal Rumble.

Once Punk retains the title and ends his mini-feud with Dolph Ziggler, Jericho and Punk can begin what should be one of the most entertaining feuds in recent memory.


2012 Hall of Fame Class Starting to Take Shape

Mil Mascaras was announced as the first member of the 2012 Hall of Fame Class last fall, and two more inductees were announced last night: Edge and The Four Horsemen.

Edge was a surprise entrant this year, as one of the rumored sites to host WrestleMania XXIX was Edge's home town of Toronto.

It would have been fitting for the Rated-R Superstar to enter the Hall in his hometown next year, but according to a recent report by Wrestlezone.com, Toronto has been taken off the list to host next year's big event.

Now, Edge, one of the most decorated champions in WWE history, will take his rightful place in the Hall of Fame.

In my article previewing potential Hall of Fame inductees last month, I mentioned Arn Anderson as a deserving candidate for the Hall. It looks like WWE will take it one step further, inducing fellow Horsemen Tully Blanchard, Ric Flair, Barry Windham, and J.J. Dillon into the Hall.

It will certainly be interesting to see if Flair, currently under contract with TNA, will make an appearance alongside his Four Horsemen stable mates.

Wrestlezone.com released a report earlier today stating Yokozuna is set to join Edge and The Four Horsemen in the 2012 class.

The same report states The Rock's name has been tossed around quite a bit for a spot in this year's Hall of Fame class, which would allow The Great One to enter the Hall in his hometown of Miami.


The Reality Era is in Full Swing

Six and a half months ago, CM Punk spent six minutes setting the table for the future of WWE.

The Reality Era began when Punk cut his memorable worked-shoot promo at the end of Raw in Las Vegas June 27, and it has taken over the WWE Universe.

Twitter is everywhere on WWE programming. John Laurinaitis has become an on-screen character thanks, in no small part, to Punk outing Vince McMahon's right-hand man as a yes man and an enemy of superstars not headlining pay-per-view events.

YouTube has been utilized as a medium to further storylines. Multiple superstars have acknowledged the way John Cena is perceived by the audience, in contrast to how he is supposed to be received as the company's top babyface.

Most importantly, the art of the slow-burn storyline has returned.

Finally, WWE programming is entertaining again.

The Reality Era is giving superstars who never would have had a chance 15 years ago the opportunity to shine. None of our four major champions—Punk, Daniel Bryan, Zack Ryder, and Cody Rhodes—are billed at more than 220 pounds. Dolph Ziggler is on the brink of busting through to the main event. 

Meanwhile, guys like Mason Ryan and David Otunga—superstars with massive physiques but questionable in-ring skills—are stuck with menial roles.

Maybe Vince McMahon is backing off on his "superstars must look like bodybuilders" mantra, or maybe he's realizing the importance of in-ring work. Whatever it is, it's a welcome sight in the WWE Universe.