As WWE fans, we have plenty to be thankful for this holiday season. Spoiler: the Gobbledy Gooker isn't one of those things.
But this upcoming year for the WWE is looking like it will be much better than the past few years, and there are five big reasons why.
Without further ado, the five things in WWE for which we should be thankful.
First, the obligatory YOU'RE WELCOME! There, now that that's out of the way...
I am thankful this year to see that WWE has truly made an effort to infuse their roster with new talent. Whether it's Damien Sandow, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Ryback or a variety of others, WWE seems to know that the end is near for Cena. Whether or not the most recent knee injury is a work, Cena has been getting injured more often than before. That's a sign that he's been used almost to his limit.
Enter the new talent. Whether they're from the indies or they're WWE's homegrown talent, I welcome the newer faces. Without them, Cena and Punk would sit alone as top talent, with everyone else at least one notch below them. The new talent, like Ryback, should allow WWE to exhibit great wrestling and storylines for years to come.
Speaking of Ryback...
I'm thankful this year for Ryback. Ryback is a rather polarizing figure in WWE right now. The live crowds seem to love him, but his critics claim that he can't have a long match, that he's limited in his move set or that he's just a ripoff of Goldberg.
But I'm just grateful to see someone besides John Cena or CM Punk vying for the WWE Championship, which has been, more or less, the entire WWE title picture since Money in the Bank 2011, when CM Punk won the strap and then left the company.
Ryback is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stale storyline, and more importantly, he has a big upside. He looks to be the next big name in WWE, and at just 31 years old, we should see Ryback at or near the top of the card for years.
John Cena is a stale, boring character that I'm sick and tired of seeing week after week. SuperCena is terrible, and I never want to see him again.
That's what I would have told you about a month ago, before the storyline with Cena, AJ, Vickie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler. Cena hasn't been a heel in years, and in my opinion, that's when he did his best work. With Dolph Ziggler getting cheered in many arenas, he may be turning face. And what better way to get him over than to turn Cena heel?
Cena already is moving out of the WWE Championship picture as the Royal Rumble approaches since it looks as though CM Punk vs. the Rock will happen, barring injury. People who dismiss the idea need only look to Hulk Hogan in the nWo as an example of how the ultimate babyface can become the ultimate heel.
Cena is likely nearing the end of his reign of dominance in the WWE, as age and injuries are starting to take a toll on him. And as he gets closer to 40, he will become irrelevant unless he turns heel.
As I wrote in my ode to CM Punk, I am grateful to have someone like CM Punk at the top of the WWE. For the better part of 10 years, John Cena (and a handful of others like Triple H and Randy Orton) have dominated the WWE title picture, especially in the last five. Having CM Punk as champion gives the WWE title more credibility. It no longer looks like John Cena's prop (at least it won't much longer), but it feels like there actually is competition for the title again.
Aside from being WWE Champion, CM Punk is better than a lot of people on the mic. He's paired with Paul Heyman. And now, he might be leading a new faction of guys from the indies. Punk has been just a joy to watch as a heel, and he's still great as a face. I look forward to his match with the Rock, and I hope my predictions don't come true.
Let's be honest, the WWE has been pretty dull lately. The PG product has frustrated long-time fans for too long. In my opinion—and the opinion of many others, I'm sure—WWE has whitewashed their product for five years to protect the image of Linda McMahon. Well, $100 million (a record for personal campaign financing) and two losses later, it now appears Linda won't run again.
How that helps WWE is that they will no longer be looking to protect the image of a senatorial candidate, meaning WWE can now unleash its creative team.
With ratings as low as any time before the Monday Night Wars, the Attitude Era and the PG Era, Vince must know that something has to be done. Will WWE return to the storylines of some of the most exciting, highest-rated and most profitable eras in WWE history? Or will WWE continue to try to appeal to the nine-and-under demographic group, continuing to bleed viewers and alienate lifelong fans?
Only time will tell. But Linda McMahon's loss, and the recent storylines on WWE TV, lead me to believe some "Attitude" and "Aggression" might be returning to WWE.
One can only hope...