Bleachers, Wrestlemania XXVII is in the books.
It is time to look to the future. The superstars and divas put on a great show, and I feel WWE delivered a good event last night. Now we all have our favorites, and after Mania passes, there are many questions left unanswered. They say it will soon be time for some spring cleaning. The top of the mountain is reserved for a select few. What do I see happening for them now?
Wrestlemania is the culmination of a year's work, and already, they look ahead to next year in Miami, Florida. It is also a time where a career can be made or unmade. It is up to each and every superstar who has the privilege of appearing to make the most of the time allowed.
With that said, I have my own favorites, and I predict it will be an interesting year for them now. I have my wish list: A better tag team division, a better divas division, unification of titles and no more separate rosters, but what about those key guys and gals I really like?
The following are the top five people I see making an impact in 2011. There was room for 10, but I went with my gut, my heart and picked my safest bets.
Formerly known as "Dashing." This fallen angel has come out of the shadows and delivered a great performance last night in his match against Rey Mysterio.
Everything seemed to work for him as well. I found him to be a very interesting character. His new entrance theme, new outfit and general "dark jedi" persona earned him a place amongst my top five picks of WWE superstars. I personally loved the camera angle where Rhodes was facing the corner as Mysterio entered the ring. He looked very dark and sinister.
This feud is not over just yet. I think it will close this week or ultimately, at Extreme Rules, and not further. Yes, the mask and knee brace were a factor last night, so I think this will be key in the next encounter. Perhaps a mask vs. mask match?
I see great things for this guy now more than ever. He has a great gimmick, and I like this dark, aggressive character. Since Edge retained the world heavyweight championship, I can even see Cody Rhodes as a potential contender in the coming months. The "Dashing" Cody Rhodes we knew has come and gone, but I won't start calling him "Grotesque" just yet. I still need to see more viciousness from this man in the next few weeks.
I think he's going to win the Money in the Bank ladder match for Smackdown this year. Seems logical since the Intercontinental championship is held by Wade Barrett. We are not going to see Rhodes take that. I could swear a few weeks ago he was the one to take it from Kofi, but I was wrong.
This guy is IN.
This guy I like.
I love the feud with Randy Orton. I love the way he talks and delivers his promises. The war is far from over and will get even more nasty in the next few weeks. Both Randy Orton and CM Punk are well beloved by the WWE Universe and the general wrestling fans altogether. We want more of this. Their match was great and ended great, Punk caught an RKO in mid-air...wow!
Extreme Rules and Over the Limit are on the way. What about an "Anything Goes, Falls Count Anywhere" match between these two? If CM Punk is to progress in his career right now, he has to go over Orton in this feud. Randy is already well established and would survive the loss, but for Punk, who is no less great, still needs a big win to put him in his rightful main-event player position.
I'll even throw in a prediction. If Miz turns face sooner or later, expect a great feud between the two for the WWE championship. CM Punk is a great heel and will stay that way. I already see him defending the title at Mania next year.
However, it is still far from happening now. Hopefully he wins his war against Randy Orton.
Now if Nexus is to exist any further, I say keep him paired with Mason Ryan because they mesh well together. I think at Extreme Rules, Punk will use another wild card to finally win over Orton. His name is Skip Sheffield, who is long due for a return to the ring. Punk will win him over into the New Nexus fold.
Imagine, Nexus featuring CM Punk, Mason Ryan and Skip Sheffield. Ouch! Use the two powerhouses to help rebuild the tag team division, and that would leave the possibility of a tag team match with the champions who are former Nexus members or even with Big Show and Kane, who can help establish the young guys.
CM Punk is a winner, he is so IN.
Last night at Wrestlemania XXVII, we had a six-person tag team match between John Morrison, Trish Stratus and Jersey Shore's very own Nicole "Sn00ki" Polizzi against Dolph Ziggler, Layla and this one, Michelle McCool. The good guys won of course, and in less than 10 minutes, when Sn00ki pinned McCool.
I don't know about you, but I was really looking forward to this match anf for many reasons. First of course, because I had friends who were into this because they were JS fans and wanted to see Sn00ki perform, but also, for my part, because I really love the divas and was waiting to see how they'd play the face-off between McCool and diva superstar Trsh Stratus.
I got my wish.
She and Layla were arguing who was to start the match until McCool pushed Layla aside and took control. That was well done. This woman is the first ever diva to hold both titles and the first ever unified divas champion. The one accolade she hasn't accomplished is battle seven-time champion and Tough Enough trainer Trish Stratus. I think it was epic. I got goosebumps when I saw them staring at each other. If a match is really in development then it would be extraordinary!
Yes, Michelle McCool is the wife of Undertaker, and yes, she has been accused of manipulating that to her advantage. Good for her! She plays the game well, and like her, I would use every resource at my disposal to further my own agenda. She didn't, however, earn her place there because of her husband. She is a talented performer and a hard-worker. I love her matches, and if they were given enough time, they'd be even better. You cannot say her work with Melina awhile ago wasn't good.
In this particular world of sports-entertainment, I am certain it isn't easy for women to step out of the men's shadows, so we have to respect her drive and success even if we don't like it.
I see a LayCool split soon. It's been hinted in the past, but with McCool's own ambition to destroy Stratus and make herself the supreme diva, it won't be long before Layla realizes she is just in the way and breaks away. I really wasn't expecting Michelle McCool to push off Layla the way she did yesterday. She wants a piece of Trish, and I want to see that happen.
I want a great SummerSlam match. Another question also: Where will Awesome Kong fit in all this?
There is room for only one queen.
What's next for our real american hero?
He didn't win the WWE championship last night.
He lost to The Miz twice last night (a double count-out with the champion retaining is a loss to me.)
He took a Skull-Crushing Finale and a Rock-Bottom.
He will retaliate with a vengeance!
I think this is a great transitional period for WWE right now. Past, present and future are coming together, and the result will be epic. On one hand, you have the WWE Champion, the Miz, who is young, talented and the future of this business and the other, one of the greatest parts of the Attitude Era, The Rock, who realistically MADE WrestleMania 27.
John Cena is at a crossroads. His character needs a change, we know it, the people want it and it's a great way to begin his road to Wrestlemania 28. I'll explain. Last night, he and Miz did battle at last and it ended with a draw. The Rock comes in and orders the match to continue without possibility of a draw once more. He took out Cena and the Miz retained (to my delight). This GUARANTEES an encounter between the two superpowers.
Tonight, there will be another confrontation between all three men. Cena vs. Miz II at Extreme Rules is a sure shot, but don't expect a Cena title victory no no. Instead we'll get a vengeful Cena who will be determined to destroy The Rock and his legacy.
Remember, last night, people were booing him more than The Miz and cheering The Rock even after the finish. I think his character will evolve into something brand new that will lead him to only one possible point. A match at WrestleMania XXVIII against The Undertaker for the big 20-0.
I have been waiting for that for awhile, and a heel Cena is more fit for such a great and epic confrontation. Also, I'd enjoy a Cena reign as champion much more right now if he were a heel. I guess it would feel more acceptable because it would be new.
I have a new-found respect for John Cena after last night's match. He was man enough to put The Miz over and let him continue his "Era of Awesomeness." It also guaranteed many more viewers will tune in tonight for Monday Night RAW.
I love this image of the champion and his young acolyte Alex Riley.
He and A-Ri are staring into the future, and it is a bright one. The Miz is the champion and more importantly, a main-event player, like it or not. Not an easy task to go into the LAST MATCH of the show of shows and in the presence of John Cena and The Rock no less but he pulled it off.
I had no doubt he would win. I've said it many time before and even wrote numerous pieces on him and how proud I am to be called a "Mizfit."
Say what you want about him or his title reign, he is here to stay, and as champion for awhile longer too. His entrance last night, with video promo and all, was way over that of John Cena. I loved how he switched channels when the other top dogs such as Hogan and HBK were shown. He came from nothing and made it all the way to the top. He defeated the top superstar of the moment, a controversial victory yes, but a victory nonetheless.
There will be another rematch unfortunately against Cena at Extreme Rules, but I think this time, he will win clean, if only to further send Cena on the heel path and prepare his own feud with The Rock. The image used for WWE Over the Limit in May is one of The Miz. Might not mean much to you, but to me, it is a sign: The Era of Awesome is not over yet.
Who is to be the next challenger after this whole Cena mess is over? Great question. There are two possible scenarios I see in the future.
TRIPLE H: The Cerebral Assassin, the King of Kings and a 13-time champion
He is The Game. Vince McMahon's right hand and in the final years of his in-ring career. I am certain he wishes to add at least one more championship reign to his already impressive list of accomplishments. What a great way also to put over The Miz than by having him face the king.
Let's see it from a business point of view. They have Miz appear everywhere nowadays from late-night shows to the weather channel. He is a media magnet, and WWE likes that. The DO believe in "Mike The Miz." To make him credible as champion, you simply have to make it so; write it into the script. I already believe in him as a superstar and many people do as well.
Imagine. The Miz defeats Cena, rants about it and about how "awesome" and "stupendous" he is for triumphing over the best when he is interrupted by Triple H's music. This would be an angry Triple H too, having lost to Undertaker at Mania he's going to have to unload somewhere soon. I'd pay to see this match.
CHRIS JERICHO: The best in the world at what he does
His return to WWE is one of the many wishes the IWC and company desire. Since I follow both via Twitter and such networks, I often read comments from one to the other and how they like to one-up each other. They are both verbal masters, and right now, it seems Jericho talks about returning to correct a certain someone for stealing his gimmick.
We are talking about The Miz wearing suits to the ring now. That is a Jericho trait; call it tribute or spite whatever, it got his attention. Personally, I would love to see this because the two are favorites of mine, and I enjoyed their brief pairing last year when they challenged the tag team champions.
On another note, I admire Chris Jericho for being a solid in-ring worker and promoter of younger athletes. The Miz would have everything to gain from a program with him. He could learn what he needs to move onto the highest points of pro-wrestling and he would have learned from the best.
As for Jericho taking the title off The Miz, I see no more honorable a person except perhaps Triple H or Undertaker. The Miz is young and would bounce back quickly while the WWE championship retains its prestige by being carried and defended by the most respectable a superstar that is Chris Jericho.
Like him or hate him, he is the WWE Champion. Period!
The Miz is IN
Here you had but a few superstars shown to have a great future. How WWE takes it from here on is still a mystery. Only time will tell, but rest assured, the future looks bright, and the beaches of Miami are already warming up to welcome the arrival of WrestleMania. So much has yet to happen, but I know I want to be part of that.