WWE: 5 Future Moments That Will Forever Change Pro Wrestling
As a fan of pro wrestling, I truly live for moments. When it comes to story lines and wrestling, it usually is not the overall arc that moves fans. Nine times out of 10, it is the singular moments in time that define what pro wrestling means to us.
It is Hulk Hogan turning heel at Bash At The Beach or Jimmy Snuka leaping off the top of the cage.
It is Austin and his beer truck or The Undertaker sending Foley straight to Hell by crashing through a table from about twenty feet in the air.
Instead of focusing on the past, let's look ahead to the future. I feel that the following five moments are all truly inevitable and will shake up the WWE in a way that it has never been shaken before.
5. John Cena's Heel Turn
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For all intents and purposes, John Cena is the WWE. That is no secret. When it comes to good guys in the wrestling business, Cena is the pinnacle. He is about as real as real can get.
In many ways he is more important to the WWE than Hulk Hogan ever was. At the time that Hogan was the face of pro wrestling, the WWF was more popular than it had ever been. Even without Hogan, the WWF had a plethora of superstars who were more than capable of carrying the torch.
Up until the last year or two, the WWE has solely depended on Cena's popularity to carry the weight of the company on his back. Whether it be in pay-per-view buys, merchandise sales or live gates, Cena has lead the charge as a top baby face money-maker for WWE.
The time will soon approach when Cena's good guy role will grow stale and tired. Many can argue that it already has been for a long time now. Hard-core fans have been anti-Cena for years, but when the casual wrestling audience turns against him, it will only be a matter of time before the good guy goes bad.
This will lead to a new two- to three-year period of story lines worth telling. The WWE creative team will have a fresh start and a new direction.
If WWE needs anything, it's fresh ideas.
With Cena as a heel, at least we will see something new on TV. With CM Punk quickly becoming the top baby face in the company, John Cena will make a formidable foe for him going forward. Let's just hope that the heel turn has a strong impact and doesn't quickly fade away as a cheap shot at a quick ratings spike.
4. Undertaker's Retirement
The Undertaker kind of reminds me of that one girl in your life that never let you down. The one that you could count on for a late-night conversation or cup of coffee. The one that you should probably marry but are too stupid to realize it until it's too late.
The one that you only see once a year, and it always turns into the wildest night you could imagine.
It is no secret that Taker is almost done. He has to be. He has put his body through it all and given us more blood, sweat, and tears than any superstar in WWE history. He is a workhouse who has never let us down, and when he hangs up his boots, it will be a dark day for pro wrestling fans.
Who could possibly fill that void?
Dolph Ziggler reminds me a bit of Shawn Michaels, and Daniel Bryan is like a Bret Hart and Chris Benoit hybrid. But I cannot think of one guy that even remotely resembles The Undertaker.
Maybe he has a Wrestlemania match or two left in him, but sooner rather than later, The Undertaker will be gone.
3. The Rise of a Competing Wrestling Company
No company will ever truly compete with the WWF. The WWF is the biggest wrestling company in the world, and with its global recognition and superstar roster, no competition will ever stand a chance.
Hi, my name is Eric Bischoff.
It only takes one man, one mind, one powerful Idea to shake up any industry. Now, do not get me wrong, that man is not Eric Bischoff, and I am not sure that it ever was. But what Mr. Bischoff did is legendary.
He flipped the switch of pro wrestling. He went head-to-head with the giant and threw the wrestling rulebook out the window. When it was all said and done, the WWE ultimately won the battle.
But history tends to repeat itself, and eventually someone will come along with a vision that will challenge the rut that WWE is in.
And don't fool yourselves. WWE is in a rut. They are running on automatic pilot, much like they were in the mid-90s. We all tend to forget that before the WWE was dominating the cable ratings with The Rock and Steve Austin, they were drawing numbers that were not too much better than what TNA Wrestling is doing in 2012.
The WWE is more powerful than they have ever been, but they can never be invincible. There will come a day, maybe soon, when a powerful man or woman with a grand idea will challenge the WWE. I will happily welcome the days of ratings wars, roster jumps and overall chaos. Competition brought out the best in the WWF and WCW.
I, for one, cannot wait for a repeat performance
2. Stephanie McMahon Taking over
I don't really have a strong opinion one way or the other when it comes to Stephanie McMahon.
I know that she has a strong mind for business and holds the WWE very close to her heart. My gut feeling is that she is not all that different than her father. She has been around pro wrestling her entire life and is in line to take the reins when Vince passes.
I say "when Vince passes" because I do not see Vinnie-Mac ever retiring. He will be booking matches and approving story lines until his dying breath, and as a wrestling fan, I wouldn't want it any other way.
But what happens after Vince? Will Stephanie take WWE to the next level? Will Triple H be a major decision-maker? Will there be room for Shane McMahon to step back into the family business?
I like the mystery. The McMahons feel like a family that we all know very well but still know nothing about. I think it is hard for anyone on the outside looking in to properly speculate on what a post-Vince wrestling world will be.
Maybe the transition will be seamless, but I have a feeling that Stephanie will want to make a strong impact immediately.
1. The End of Monday Night RAW
RAW will end.
There, I said it. It has to, does it not?
Television shows do not last forever. "The Tonight Show" will eventually not exist. The same goes for "The Price Is Right" and "60 Minutes".
I am not saying that WWE will be over or that wrestling will not be on TV, but as time moves on and the wrestling and television industries change, RAW will eventually end. It will soon have its 1000th episode, which will make it the longest running episodic television program.
That is quite a feat in itself, and I think RAW has many years to come.
But just ponder this question: Can the WWE ever truly grow to new heights if it just rests on doing what it has always done? Companies change. iPods happen. The Internet is invented. Steve Austin starts using Bible verses to get over.
As time and technology move along, WWE will continue to find innovative and efficient ways to provide programming to its core audience.
I am not even sure that TV as we know it will be around for another 20 or 30 years. On-demand programming and Internet streaming is giving companies more options than they have ever had. What does the future hold for Monday Night RAW?
Let's wait and find out!