The new year is upon us, and that means the Royal Rumble season has officially kicked off for World Wrestling Entertainment. While the "most wonderful time of the year" may be December for the real world, we know the best months to be a wrestling fan are January through April.
In the spirit of ringing in 2013 the right way, I'm here to offer up five predictions for World Wrestling Entertainment.
I'm sure if I sat here for hours I could come up with 50 WWE predictions, but most of them would just be silly. What I'm trying to do here is deliver my five best predictions.
In these predictions, I look at some major happenings in WWE and try to forecast the future for a young wrestler who may be under the radar.
To make myself perfectly clear before I begin, this is not what I would do. This is what I think WWE will do.
Let's get to it.
How many WWE Title changes were there in 2012?
This year there will be at least four and maybe five. I was going to put five down as my official pick, but I think it will be exactly four.
I think one title change will happen at the Royal Rumble, another one at WrestleMania and then two more during the rest of the year (the Money in the Bank winner is always a strong candidate).
I think CM Punk's 400-plus-day title reign is an exception rather than the rule. It's not going to happen again for a very long time; if it does, that would surprise me a lot.
How many people would have predicted a 400-plus-day title run for CM Punk? I doubt many fans would have been able to call that.
I'm fine with three to five WWE Title changes in a year. I just don't like when the WWE does nine title changes in a year (like in 2009). I thought that was one of the worst years in WWE in general, and a large part of that was because of all those WWE (and World) title changes.
If the title changes two times or less this year I'd be very surprised. That's why I'm going with my prediction of four WWE Title changes at least.
Also as a side prediction, I think we'll see a new version of the WWE Championship this year as well.
Goodbye, spinner title.
I don't want CM Punk to turn babyface. I just think it will happen.
I feel that he's the best heel in the business, and nobody in the WWE could be a better heel than him. Once again, though, it's not about my personal opinion in this case.
When you look at the WWE roster, it's loaded with a lot of young heels who are ready to be elevated to the next level.
I think we can all see guys like Antonio Cesaro, Wade Barrett, Damien Sandow, Cody Rhodes, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns as candidates who could break through on the heel side this year.
I didn't even list Dolph Ziggler, who is already at the main-event level. There are so many more too.
What does WWE usually do when it needs to elevate people?
It turns former WWE Champion heels into babyfaces. Look at Randy Orton and Sheamus in the last few years as well as The Miz and Alberto Del Rio recently turning babyface. It always happens.
I think in the near future (maybe at Raw on Monday) we'll see that CM Punk is in fact the leader of The Shield. That will be one of the main storylines in WWE for 2013.
Towards the end of the year, the group will fracture, the three younger wrestlers will turn on CM Punk and that will make him a babyface.
The performer formerly known as Husky Harris has something special with this Bray Wyatt character of his.
Out of all the talented performers who are currently on the NXT roster, I think Wyatt will be a huge star. That's nothing against Kassius Ohno, Richie Steamboat, Corey Graves or Xavier Woods. I just have a lot of faith in Wyatt and believe in his potential.
The problem with a lot of current wrestlers is they don't have much of a gimmick. They are too much like everybody else.
Bray Wyatt stands out with the way he talks, the way he walks and the way he looks.
Have you ever seen Cape Fear with Robert De Niro as Max Cady? If you haven't, you should check it out because he is one of the best heel characters in movie history. Wyatt reminds me of him.
Don't be surprised if he gets called up to the main roster in the first half of the year. By the end of the year, he'll prove to be one of the best young talents in all of WWE.
Once again I'm not predicting something I want. I just think we'll end 2013 with Raw remaining a three-hour show.
Trust me when I say that I enjoy two-hour editions of Raw much more than the three-hour ones especially because I write about it every week.
The good thing about three-hour Raw is that some of the matches get more time, which is something I like.
The problem is sometimes the show drags too much.
What makes me think Raw will stay at three hours are the recent comments from WWE CFO George Barrios. He said that USA Network is happy with Raw and ratings are up 35 percent over what previous programming did in that 8-9 p.m. ET slot.
Throw in the fact that USA Network pays WWE to produce television, and WWE makes money from putting on that third hour of Raw every week.
Why would the WWE turn down money? That would be a bad business move.
From a creative standpoint, two-hour episodes of Raw are better for WWE. From a financial standpoint, it's better for the WWE to keep it at three hours.
In the end, money talks. Just like the Million Dollar Man's theme song said: "Everybody's got a price."
I can hear the groans already from the Cena haters out there. I'm not a Cena hater, but I absolutely understand why they exist and are so vocal about their feelings.
I feel very confident about both predictions. Cena's promo on the last Raw of 2012 was his admission that 2012 was not his year. He won some big matches, but he lost a lot of them too. To you or me (or any "smart fan"), wins and losses don't matter that much, though.
I thought Cena had a very good 2012 with memorable feuds against talented opponents like The Rock, Brock Lesnar, CM Punk and Dolph Ziggler. The feuds with Kane, John Laurinaitis and Big Show were a little underwhelming, but that's just how the wrestling business is. Not everything is going to be great.
From the perspective of a character point of view, he will be driven to win more in 2013. I think he'll win the Royal Rumble match in a few weeks. He's always a favorite to win it, and it's been five years since the last time he won it, so I think he's due for another victory.
I think he'll challenge The Rock for the WWE Title at WrestleMania 29, where Cena will get his win back from WrestleMania 28. As soon as WrestleMania 28 ended last year, I felt like Cena was going to get the win at WrestleMania 29.
Rematches are good for business.
I believe WrestleMania 29 will end with The Rock handing Cena the WWE Title and giving him a hug because Cena will have earned The Rock's respect.
That's a wrap. Don't be shy about letting me know what you think. What do you predict in WWE for 2013?
John Canton is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report. You can read more of his work at his website TJRWrestling.com along with his talented staff of writers. You can follow John on Twitter @johnreport, too.