First off, a personal note. I want to thank everyone for their kind words in the comments of my first article. I have to admit I expected plenty of rogue comments seeing as this is, in its most simple form, an Internet forum. Your support means a lot.
Now let's get to business. The WWE has been going through some drastic changes as of late, a new on-air COO, new, exciting storylines, and most surprisingly of all, the apparent end of the brand extension.
For one, I readily admit I'd be lying if I were to say I saw the brand extension dying, but, in hindsight, the writing was on the wall. Bragging Rights, the pay per view where we got to see Raw vs. Smackdown, was dropped due to low buy rates.
The WWE flagship video game, Smackdown vs. Raw, got a facelift and a new name, WWE '12.
As much as the WWE loved the potential for two separate brands, the viewership simply wasn't there. With Smackdown averaging in the neighborhood of the low 1's in Nielsen television ratings, change was a definite need. The end of the brand extension brings me to the first slide...
That's right. Without the brand extension, a 'B' show will be necessary to utilize every bit of the current WWE talent. Without it, there's simply no way for the WWE to groom their up-and-comers. These guys need a forum to showcase their talent and learn the proper ways to conduct themselves.
Back before there was ever a show called Smackdown, there was Sunday Night Heat and Shotgun Saturday Night. Sunday Night Heat got decent exposure as the final place to show the audience why they needed to buy the pay per view, and the show's end coincided with the beginning of the PPV.
I know when I was young, I simply could not wait until the PPV's started and tuned into Heat religiously before a PPV. The sneaky thing about Heat was that this was a prime chance to get the younger wrestlers some much-needed air time.
One of two things is sure to come into fruition: either the WWE will start a new show for these guys to perform on TV, or Smackdown will become the designated 'B' show.
If it's the latter, sure, you'll get to see Cena, CM Punk, and HHH, if only to get people to tune in, but, the focal point and majority of matches will be those low- to mid-card guys that didn't get any action on Raw.
That's what Smackdown was before the extension, and my guess is that's what it'll be post-extension.
Guys like Big Zeke, Jinder Mahal, Zack Ryder, and FCW wrestlers looking to make the jump to the big league are going to need a way to not be forgotten if the WWE plans to move them along in their careers.
For two weeks, Kevin Nash waltzed out to the ring with the only audible noise being the pop from us veteran pro-wrestling fans. Monday night on Raw, the creative team made an interesting choice as to the music he would come out to.
That's right, the old nWo theme was dusted off. Many are pining (or dreading) the nostalgic return of one of wrestling's most notorious factions in history.
While this is not a definite sign of nWo's return, it does lead me to the fact that it seems inevitable for certain factions to emerge.
There have been rumors of the WWE talking with various Ring of Honor guys about jumping ship, as well as Colt Cabana wrestling a dark match a few weeks back, it would only make sense for these guys to be allied with CM Punk to give them instant credibility.
There's one other strong indicator that we may soon see stables: the WWE clearly wants to bring prestige back to the tag team division.
What better way to make the average fan (those removed from the IWC) actually pay attention to the guys that wrestle before CM Punk or John Cena take the stage than to ally them with a group that will instantly bring them either heat or applause?
Edge and Christian (as the Brood), the Acolytes, the New Age Outlaws, X-Pac and Kane, and even the great Outsiders all had their tag team careers catapulted by the formation or alliances with stables.
Don't you think Little Jimmy would love Air Boom even more if they were in a stable with John Cena?
This one is very much assuming the brand extension truly is dead. Even if it's not, this still makes sense. Do I really need to see a WWE Champion, World Heavyweight Champion, Intercontinental Champion, United States Champion, Tag Team Champions, and a Divas Champion all in the same night? I think not.
Especially with the rumored return of the Cruiserweight Championship. There are simply too many championships out there right now and it waters down the meaning of each of them.
My guess is soon we'll see an Undisputed Champion, Intercontinental Champion, Cruiserweight Champion, Tag Team Champions, and a Divas Champion.
Now I know what you're thinking, "B-B-Buttttt that's only one less championship!!!!1!!one!" This would be true, except I'm thinking the Cruiserweight title would primarily be seen on the designated 'B' show mentioned in the first slide, only making it's appearance on Raw in the last show before a PPV.
Also, the Tag Team Champs would likely have a nearly equal split between Raw and the 'B' show. This would cut the Championships seen weekly on Raw to two, plus, twice a month a third with Tag Team titles.
Oh yeah, and two minutes of the Divas.
Now, the title may be a bit misleading, and, I'm going to clear that up for you right now. Whomever returns will most likely not be on a full-time basis, nor necessarily in a wrestling capacity. With that said, it seems to me the signs are pointing to the return of Chris Jericho, Stone Cold Steve Austin or Mick Foley.
Chris Jericho, would be my favorite candidate, and, I, for one, would mark out if there were a countdown timer to appear on Raw tonight. CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho. "The best in the world" vs. "The best in the world at what I do."
It's a match made in wrestling heaven, and I'm praying to the wrestling gods that we may get to see this soon. Here's the best part, Y2J and CM Punk share some barbs in the forum most preferred by the WWE to tease us hardcore fans, Twitter.
Jericho left the WWE originally to venture into the world of music and go on tour with Fozzy, as well as to Dance with the Stars. Well, Fozzy's international tour is now over, and DWTS has been over for some time now.
If you follow Jericho's twitter, you'll know he has been doing little shows here and there, but, far from a full fledged tour. It almost seems to me as though he may be keeping his schedule open. We can only hope.
Stone Cold and Mick Foley both have said they would like to return to wrestling, even if only for a "one last match" type scenario. Neither, I guarantee you, will ever be seen on a rival promotion ever again, so, their options may be limited to the world's most watched wrestling company. Poor them.
Now, this may be the most obvious of the slideshow, but, I saved it for number one for a very good reason. This is going to drive nearly everything I mentioned in the previous slides.
Though there's an outside chance Vinny-Mac is the man behind "Textgate," (side note: Am I the only one bugged by the fact that every time there's a controversy, we take one word from the subject matter and add the word "gate" as a suffix? Watergate, while controversial, was not a about some water conspiracy. It just happened to take place in a hotel named Watergate. Just sayin') the safe money is on his lovely daughter, Stephanie McMahon.
It seems clear to me, and most intelligent viewers, that Mrs. Helmsley sent Big Daddy Cool the fateful text from her husband's phone.
Being Vince's daughter, she's probably pretty upset that both John Cena and CM Punk inevitably cost her father his place at the helm of his own company. That would be why Nash stated the text read "no matter who wins, take them out."
Nash wasn't out to get Punk, Cena would have been the one powerbombed from well over 7 feet. Sure, Johnny Ace is in on the conspiracy, but as he always has been, Laurinaitis is just a puppet to the McMahon family.
Bottom line here is, whether it comes at Night of Champions, or it's already happened on the east coast on tonight's Raw (current time here in Cali is 7 p.m.) we will see Stephanie return to weekly programming and begin a feud for control over her father's company with her husband, Triple H.
This will bring about the return of stables, either Hunter or Daddy's Little Princess will make the blockbuster signing of a former star I mentioned previously, and surely, Stephanie is going to try to make her guy, Alberto Del Rio, the newest Undisputed Champion.
The slide title reads "Thank you for reading," in my family's native Swedish. I figure since this is merely my second article, I should let you guys in on just a bit of my personal life.
My family is of Viking heritage, so, be sure to leave me some good comments and hit the "Like" button below, or we'll destroy Ireland again.
......Just kidding, Sheamus....