Forecasting WWE Fans' Worst Booking Nightmares in 2019
The life of a WWE fan can be frustrating.
While there are matches and moments that reward fandom, there are often creative decisions that frustrate and confuse. They may be in relation to pushes, wins and losses or the booking of a high-profile pay-per-view.
As 2019 arrives, there are several booking nightmares that could await the WWE faithful.
From the de-emphasis of a certain "Man" to another tedious run with the top prize on Raw for a Beast Incarnate, these are among the most horrifying scenarios that fans should be concerned with.
De-Emphasizing Becky Lynch
Becky Lynch rode the momentum from a heel turn at August's SummerSlam to her greatest stretch yet on WWE's main roster. A no-nonsense antihero whose attitude mimicked that of UFC megastar Connor McGregor, the hardworking Irishwoman connected with audiences and became the most popular star on the roster.
Entering 2019, she is coming off a year in that saw her Last Woman Standing match with Charlotte Flair earn her a Match of the Year award from WWE's official website.
While her momentum and popularity is undeniable, the biggest nightmare scenario for fans in 2019 is the de-emphasis of Lynch.
Rarely does a Superstar evolve so organically as to force WWE's hand. Lynch has done that. She has developed into a show-stealer WWE officials almost certainly had no plans to push to the extent they have. Whenever that happens, management allows very little leeway for a letdown. The slightest slip in popularity or in-ring production is grounds for a lesser role.
If that were to happen, it would rob WWE of its first legitimate breakout star in years and serve as a slap to the face of the fans who championed her rise to stardom in 2018.
Unsatisfactory Development of the Midcard
WWE has had an underdeveloped midcard for years.
So often, management focuses on a handful of Superstars it wants to promote at or near the top of the card, and the result is an undercard full of talented individuals who often are relegated to creatively bankrupt feuds, stories and programs.
They wrestle each other for the sake of wrestling each other or are programmed because one beat the other and the loser wants revenge. It is the same storyline across the board, and it often results in heatless matches that do not reflect the talent of the Superstars involved.
The continuation of that pattern is a nightmare for fans in 2019, especially considering the depth of talent on the roster.
There is no reason a Superstar like Apollo Crews cannot get over with fans. It's not for a lack of talent or athleticism. A story that creates sympathy or makes fans genuinely want to see him succeed would go a long way in helping him achieve greatness.
Ditto any number of competitors underserved by the lack of creative attention paid to them.
Another Yearlong Brock Lesnar Universal Championship Reign
Brock Lesnar won the Universal Championship at Crown Jewel in November in a drastic measure taken by WWE Creative after the departure of Roman Reigns for health reasons. Entering the new year, Lesnar is still champion with a date against Braun Strowman at Royal Rumble on the horizon.
The last thing fans want to deal with is another extended Lesnar reign.
The Beast Incarnate is an asset to the company, but his last reign lasting a year did more to hurt the Raw brand than help it. Without a championship for Superstars to vie for, the show became an unending run of matches for matches' sake.
A Lesnar reign that ends with him putting a Superstar over at WrestleMania would be perfect.
Hopefully, for the sake of fans tuning into the product, it does not last longer than that.
A Disappointing Conclusion to Ronda Rousey's Undefeated Streak
WWE Creative takes a lot of heat for the poor manner in which they handle certain Superstars, but their booking of Ronda Rousey has been nothing short of perfect.
Rowdy has faced adversity, overcome it and finished her matches off with a trademark armbar. She is undefeated entering the new year and is in the midst of a lengthy program with Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair that figures to play out on the grand stage of WrestleMania.
A star with mainstream recognition and crossover appeal, Rousey is the company's greatest full-time asset.
That is why one of the biggest nightmare scenarios facing fans is an unsatisfactory first loss for The Baddest Woman on the Planet.
We saw how lackluster booking led to a disappointing end to Asuka's undefeated streak last year at WrestleMania, when she lost to Flair. The last thing anyone wants is for Rousey to head into a big event, lose for the first time and have it mean absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things.
If she is to lose in the new year, it should come at the hands of a red-hot opponent in dramatic fashion at a show that means something.
Not a five-minute loss to Mickie James at a C-level show like Fastlane.
Another Year of Mediocrity for Finn Balor
There is nothing mediocre about the in-ring exploits of Finn Balor.
The Extraordinary Man is consistently one of the best wrestlers on the Raw brand and a cornerstone of the show. The first universal champion, though, has not had the quality of his performance pay off in any sort of substantial push.
Sure, he has wrestled the likes of Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins in high-profile singles matches, but he has been relegated to underwritten midcard programs with Baron Corbin, Elias, Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler.
He is a main eventer moseying around McMahonland waiting for an opportunity the Raw creative team does not really seem all that interested in providing.
In the new year, continued mediocrity would be detrimental to Balor and the fans who continue to support him. The same fans who react with a pop whenever his music explodes over the PA system.
May the new year bring a journey to Tuesday nights and SmackDown Live, where someone of Balor's stature and ability can thrive at the top of the card, rather than being the sidekick for the top babyfaces on Mondays.