A new year is on the horizon, and that means it is time for fortunes to change with new stars coming into the fray.
This year so far, we have seen Mark Henry, Christian, Alberto Del Rio, R-Truth, Sheamus and CM Punk find ways to finally rise into the main event.
The question is, who will follow?
WWE may have the Rock and Mick Foley appearing every know and then along with possible returns by Undertaker or even Chris Jericho (regardless of what he says).
However, they need to start creating main-event stars.
The youth movement is almost in a do-or-die stage now, which means this year could be the most important year in WWE history.
With a need in WWE for young stars to step up, here are 12 stars who could be taking huge leaps in the business in 2012.
I know what you're thinking.
Why would Drew McIntyre have a breakout year after where he has been lately?
The answer is quite simple.
WWE needs its stars, and Drew McIntyre has nothing holding him back.
He has the mic skills and the in-ring acumen necessary to be a star.
In fact, if he had not been derailed (because of his rocky marriage according to rumors), he could have been a top contender right now.
Instead, he sits on the sidelines, for now.
That will all change in 2011, as WWE will need stars to fill in as confident and talented heels for the mid-card.
That will be where Drew McIntyre begins to rise.
He rarely loses and has actually helped other young stars in Hunico and Epico (along with a re-surging Primo) come into the fray.
The main thing that will determine how far Sin Cara ascends in 2012 is his rumored and anticipated match with Rey Mysterio at WrestleMania XXVIII.
If this match happens, I guarantee that Sin Cara will come out the victor.
It will be a passing of the torch that will instantly begin Sin Cara's rise to stardom in WWE.
Look where a win over Mysterio at WrestleMania XXVII got Cody Rhodes.
Now think about the added implications of the match, and you have nothing short of a main-event push for Sin Cara.
This man used to be a World Heavyweight Champion.
He was on top of the world and looked poised to become a force in the WWE.
Instead, the reign went sour, and Jack Swagger became the mid-card jobber of 2011.
What a waste of talent.
However, things will change in 2012.
Because Swagger will become the main focus of Vickie Guerrero.
Ziggler will move up and away from Guerrero, leaving Swagger with the best (and only) manager in WWE today.
Guerrero and any star always leads to gold.
Swagger will continue that trend.
Another man who has been neglected and abused for the past year, Ted Dibiase is finally showing signs of life.
He is a face on the rise, and that will only continue in 2011.
Dibiase will hold real singles gold in 2012.
Probably taking it off his former partner and friend, Cody Rhodes.
This will lead to a steady rise in Dibiase's popularity, and he will sooner rather than later be the newest success story in WWE.
OK, I might be getting ahead of myself, but the future looks bright for Dibiase.
Zack Ryder may have started his rise to fame in the past few months, but he will truly hit the payoff in 2012.
There is no face in WWE today that is hotter than Ryder, except possibly Punk.
And I mean that.
It takes a special star to get such a reaction out of the fans for an unscheduled match, regardless of whether it is a live match or a dark match.
Ryder is going places, and whether it means he takes the US Title from Ziggler or gets a match at WrestleMania, everything is going Ryder's way.
Woo woo woo, you know it!
Most fans were absolutely electrified by R-Truth's heel turn when it came earlier this year.
This was quite a year for R-Truth, but it wasn't his limit.
This coming year, R-Truth will be 40 and on his way out.
It is now or never, and I see it happening now.
R-Truth will win at least won WWE or World Heavyweight Championship this year.
It will solidify his status as a veteran in the company and it will be a great time to watch.
He will probably only hold it for a month or two, but it will be his greatest moment.
This will be the year R-Truth always remembers. No more conspiracies.
Didn't the Miz win the WWE Title and hold it for months on end in 2010-2011?
Yes, but where is he now?
He is simply another heel player in the business at a lower level than Alberto Del Rio.
In the coming year, two things will happen that will make the Miz huge.
He will win the WWE Title, and he will turn face.
After the Miz turns face, he will become possibly the most mainstream champion in the company's history.
With the Miz and Punk (who will have a great year but has already had his breakout year this year) at the top as faces, there will be enough mainstream and popular power for a certain star to finally become heel.
While he can't really have a breakout year after all this time, I do want to give a shout out to Cena, who could become huge again as a heel.
Can anyone dispute this pick?
Cody Rhodes is simply one of the best young stars today.
When the new year comes around, all the cards will be in Rhodes' favor.
He may not win a World Title, but he will certainly become a major star.
At the same time, I wouldn't discount the possibility of his first serious WHC reign coming during the coming year.
The Undashing One has been unmasked, and I only see it bringing him further up the ladder.
The Wade Barrett Barrage will continue into 2012, and it will lead Barrett to top-level competition.
First, Barrett could potentially be facing Undertaker at WrestleMania XXVIII, which would effectively give him the biggest match of his career.
I have also predicted before that if that match happens, I can see Barrett ending the Streak.
I'm not trying to get into another argument about the Streak here, but it is a possibility that would effectively make Barrett the biggest rising star in WWE.
Regardless of that, Barrett will win a World Title in WWE.
That is not even a prediction. It is a fact.
Whether his first win is clean or with the Money in the Bank briefcase, Barrett will become the second star in NXT history to win the World Title.
Wait, did I just say second...?
Yes, Daniel Bryan will be the first-ever NXT star to win the World Title, just as he was the first NXT star to win any championship gold. Fun fact: David Otunga was second as he won the tag titles one month later.
Daniel Bryan has a guaranteed title shot whenever he wants it, which he will hold onto until WrestleMania.
Regardless, Bryan will walk out champion.
It will be the grandest moment of Bryan's career, and I doubt it will ever be matched, even though hopefully this will not be his only title win.
Everyone taps—even Orton.
You could argue that Sheamus had his breakout year in 2011, as he has cemented himself at No. 2 to Orton as the face of SmackDown.
However, bigger things are in Sheamus' future.
If Orton faces Bryan at WrestleMania, Orton might turn heel, giving Sheamus the No. 1 spot on the SmackDown roster.
That basically means that Sheamus will win one if not two World Heavyweight Championships over the next year.
Expect gigantic things from the Celtic Warrior as he finally gets a World Title reign that not everyone criticizes.
It has been a long road for Dolph Ziggler.
He has been a caddy, a cheerleader, named after a movie porn star and refused title reigns.
By this time next year, it will all be worth it.
Not only do I see Ziggler gaining main-event credibility, I see his improvements giving him a WWE Title reign. There is even an outside chance at this point of him winning the Royal Rumble, though, the most likely candidate is Randy Orton.
It will be a huge moment, as Ziggler will undoubtedly get a decently long run after his six years of working his way to the top.
With unbelievable in-ring ability and mic skills that are quickly becoming some of the best in the business, Dolph Ziggler has nothing holding him back anymore.
Ladies and gentlemen, the biggest breakout star of 2012, Dolph Ziggler.
Thanks for reading!