5 Bold Predictions for WWE Raw and SmackDown for the Remainder of 2021
With WrestleMania 37 done, WWE starts a new season. Old stories will slowly disappear, and new talent will emerge. It's the time of year when anything can happen.
With that in mind, it could be fun to speculate on what comes next. After an immensely successful 'Mania, the company needs to keep the momentum going. How can talent be used to further emphasize a bright future?
WWE has a tough task ahead that could head in so many directions. A prediction now could be completely disproved in a month, but there's no harm in making some truly bold ones about where the company will go.
Will Raw finally back itself up to compete with SmackDown? Who will lead the charge for the red and blue brands in the year to come? Can WWE focus on the future rather than returning to the past?
These questions come to mind when considering a future that could be brighter than we expected.
No Current Raw or SmackDown Champion Will Hold Title by Survivor Series
Following WrestleMania 37, Bobby Lashley, Rhea Ripley, Sheamus, AJ Styles and Omos represent Raw as champions. Roman Reigns, Bianca Belair, Apollo Crews, Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode are the SmackDown titleholders. And Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler cover both brands with the WWE women's tag team belts.
There's so much talent in the mix here, but WWE is always changing. No one can stay champion forever. A new angle will blossom, convincing the creative team to move on from one or more of these titleholders.
Survivor Series has become the night when SmackDown and Raw compete for brand supremacy. It is an important milestone where the right Superstars must hold the gold to tell the best story.
While the matchups with this current crop of stars is intriguing, few would be considered perfect matches for that card in November. It will take a complete reshuffle to put together a Survivor Series card no one will forget.
Some of these titles are bound to change hands, but for all of them to lose the gold, the company would have to grow impatient. For the sake of this prediction, WWE officials always have a tendency to do just that.
Bad Bunny Adds a Championship to His Resume in 2021
Bad Bunny's win at WrestleMania on Saturday was a huge moment. It was, arguably, the best celebrity appearance in the history of The Show of Shows, with the Grammy Award winner displaying his passion for the business through his work in the ring.
While most celebrities disappear after one match, the singer impressed too much to make this just a one-off experience. He has the talent and brings WWE a spotlight it cannot ignore.
Bad Bunny is a former 24/7 champion, but that doesn't feel like a lasting accomplishment unless you are talking about R-Truth's ridiculous 51 reigns with the title.
If WWE wants to solidify the legacy of the rapper for a long time to come, he should win something with more impact. The best way to do that would be for him and Damian Priest to capture the Raw Tag Team Championships.
The pair looked great at 'Mania as they worked off each other. With more time, they could look like a complete team in the ring. The Archer of Infamy continues to benefit from playing protector to Bad Bunny, and the two are the rare team with the credibility to defeat the dangerous duo of AJ Styles and Omos.
It's a win-win scenario that just has to work around Bad Bunny's hectic schedule as one of the best-known musicians in the world today.
R-Truth Retires as a 60-Time 24/7 Champion, Ending the Reign of the Title
R-Truth has been 24/7 champion an unbelievable 51 times since its inception in May 2019. No one has defined a title so thoroughly.
However, the belt has run its course to the point that it has barely been used on television recently.
While this idea gave some wrestlers a fresh outlet to shine for a while, the 24/7 stipulation has simply become the Truth gimmick. As much as he has guided the title forward, nothing will change unless WWE is willing to move past him.
Truth is approaching 50 years old and not competing at the level he once could anymore. Retirement is a real possibility for the veteran, and it would be appropriate for him to go out as 24/7 champion and let the title be discontinued.
No one else is going to be able to carry on that same legacy. Akira Tozawa, Drew Gulak and more deserve better than to continue wrestling for that gold. WWE should consider other ways to use the roster beyond a tired comedy shtick.
This may be a bit premature, especially in the sense of Truth retiring himself, but the sooner the championship is no longer a crutch Raw barely needs, the better the product will be for it.
Rhea Ripley, Bianca Belair Compete on More 2021 PPVs Than Four Horsewomen
Bianca Belair was crowned SmackDown women's champion in the main event of Night 1 at WrestleMania 37, and Rhea Ripley took the Raw title 24 hours later. Together, they have solidified themselves as the future of the WWE women's division.
Since Sasha Banks, Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch and Bayley arrived on the main roster four years ago, they have dominated the airtime for women's wrestling on all shows. Only Asuka has been able to keep up with them in terms of appearances.
However, with a new era comes a new spotlight. Flair and Bayley did not have a match at The Show of Shows at the weekend, Lynch is still absent following the birth of her daughter, and Banks dropped the SmackDown Women's Championship.
With these factors in mind, it looks like Belair and Ripley could take over a rare mantle. Only Banks right now is keeping up with them for pay-per-view spotlight, but that will soon change.
The EST of WWE and The Nightmare can find the diamonds in the rough of this women's division and begin building a future that does not have to rely on the Four Horsewomen.
While everyone wants as many opportunities to shine as possible, even the famed quartet might be glad of the fresh spotlight on an underused division.
John Cena, Brock Lesnar and Triple H Will Not Wrestle This Year
Some wrestlers are so iconic to the business that it is a shock to not see them around. Especially in the modern era, WWE has relied on bringing back legends to boost the attention on the roster. But this year's WrestleMania signaled a change in direction.
While Shane McMahon did have a match and Edge has fully returned to action, WWE legend usage was much lower than usual at Raymond James Stadium at the weekend. The company instead put the focus on talent that can deliver when given the opportunity.
WWE no longer needs John Cena or Triple H to elevate the card. Brock Lesnar does not need to be the indomitable force everyone attempts to take down. The torch has been passed to the next generation.
While it is likely Cena will appear again at some point, he is a celebrity rather than a wrestler at this point. Triple H has transitioned into a backstage role that has allowed NXT to thrive, and The Beast Incarnate can live out his life in peace with the money he has made.
The year 2021 does not need these names. We can add Goldberg not returning and Undertaker not breaking his retirement to this prediction.
WWE has finally passed by these legends and instead turned the focus toward its future Superstars.