Samoa Joe, The Revival and the WWE Superstars Poised for a Huge Year in 2018
Samoa Joe is going to dig his claws deeper into WWE Raw's flesh in 2018.
The Destroyer is a surging star with all the tools to make a long-term home on the marquee. He spent much of 2017 proving more opportunities need to come his way. Joe compelled as he choked out the competition as he promised to conquer our heroes.
More of the same is on its way. Go ahead and pencil The Samoan Submission Machine as one of the Superstars who can claim a championship next year.
The same goes for The Revival. Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder looked on their way to matching their NXT success on the Raw stage. But a bad wheel has kept Dawson out of action.
Not for long, though. Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet said: "Sources tell us Scott is currently on-track to get the green light by the end of the month and will likely hit that target, pending any complications that could be found during the next few weeks."
When Dawson gets back to knocking folks around with right hands, big things are headed his and his partner's way. Count on The Revival and Joe to be among WWE's MVPs in 2018.
Who else is in position to make a major impact on Raw, SmackDown or NXT? Read on as we project the breakout talent and WWE stars set to have people talking.
Dawson and Wilder were on their way to ascending to the top of the tag team division when injury struck. Twice. Wilder suffered a broken jaw; Dawson went down with a biceps injury.
And so their rise had to be put on hold.
The Revival is a top-notch tag team that has flourished against a variety of opponents. It's not a coincidence that American Alpha, The Authors of Pain and the team of Enzo Amore and Big Cass all had career matches when facing these two smashmouth specialists.
Dawson and Wilder employ a throwback physical style that resonates and have a clear understanding of who they are as characters.
And Raw's tag team scene needs fresh faces after a steady diet of Cesaro and Sheamus in recent months.
Now healthy, The Revival is bound to pick up where it left off. That means knocking folks around with right hands and being the best tag team on the roster. A Raw Tag Team Championship reign and showdowns with The Shield are on their way in 2018.
Ruby Riott is the surest bet among the recent female NXT transplants. While Superstars like Sonya Deville and Liv Morgan are works in progress, the tattooed bruiser is ready to be a star right now.
She's a reliable in-ring worker with a good mix of brawling and high-flying in her repertoire. Her presence on the mic has been solid, as well.
She led the way as The Riott Squad invaded SmackDown late in the year—a moment that will be a precursor to her being among the blue brand's top women.
Riott has the advantage of being a faction leader. That's going to lead to more storylines than she might have on her own. She's also in the midst of climbing a division that needs new blood.
WWE can't have an endless cycle of the same matchups. Riott offers a chance for SmackDown to create new rivalries and stories. And as we briefly saw at NXT, she's bound to make the most of her chances.
Look for Riott to be firmly entrenched in the SmackDown Women's Championship picture and be a key figure on Tuesday nights.
On a card that had blue-chip prospects like Aleister Black, Kairi Sane and Adam Cole, Velveteen Dream ended up being the talk of NXT TakeOver: WarGames.
The former WWE Tough Enough contestant had a breakout performance against Black that night. He and his opponent told a stellar story. Velveteen Dream hung in there with a grade-A striker, showing athleticism and presence that will be his keys to success.
His character work has been excellent. The flamboyant heel has embraced his Goldust-like gimmick and made it into a winning act.
Velveteen Dream is going get some big TakeOver matches in 2018. He'll face a number of the brand's biggest names, and he's ready to hit home runs each time he steps into the box.
Elias proved himself to be a valuable asset for Raw as he elevated his stock arguably more than anyone else on the roster in 2017.
His pre-match songs were some of the most fun stuff on the show. His matches improved throughout the year. He grew into an intriguing character.
During his battles with Roman Reigns, Finn Balor and others, Elias outshone superior athletes and more highly touted prospects. While Apollo Crews and Tye Dillinger were busy trying to get going, Elias rolled right past them.
He's in line to keep the hits coming.
The Drifter is likely to work with some high-level talent moving forward. He's shown that he's an upper midcarder at least. And foes that will push him in the ring as Reigns did recently is going to aid Elias in his ongoing climb.
Rusev remains one of the Superstars whose position doesn't line up with his talent. He ranks as one of WWE's most underutilized wrestlers.
But even when given corny material and asked to be a midcard comedy act, The Lion of Bulgaria has looked like a star.
Pairing him with the crooning Aiden English seemed like an odd choice at first, but their chemistry crackled. The duo has begun to establish itself as a fun, compelling act and a tag team capable of leading the division.
In 2018, SmackDown would be foolish not to showcase Rusev, either as a tag team title contender or a steamrolling bruiser with a musically inclined sidekick.
Gold is coming his way. His surging momentum will see to that.
The Destroyer is going to outdo himself in 2018.
Joe made it clear as soon as he arrived on the main roster that he is a marquee talent. He's established himself as one of the top-five talkers in the company. He's an enthralling beast in the ring. His presence screams star.
WWE seemed to fully recognize that as the year went on. After inconsistent spotlight in his first few months on the main roster, Joe moved to Raw's top tier.
He was excellent there, becoming a believable threat to Brock Lesnar and a must-see monster on the red brand. That should continue in a big way next year. It would be foolish not to keep putting him in big spots.
The Universal Championship, main events, feuds with Braun Strowman and John Cena are all within his grasp.