Reacting to Fans' Best and Worst Bold Predictions for WWE, AEW in 2022
The start of a new year also means a fresh beginning in both of the biggest pro wrestling promotions in the world.
In WWE, January 1 is the unofficial opening of the buildup to the Royal Rumble pay-per-view, which in turn begins the Road to WrestleMania. In All Elite Wrestling, New Year's Day is when win-loss records are reset and everyone is on equal ground again.
We saw a lot of ups and downs for both promotions in 2021, but with a new year comes new chances to freshen up the product and attract new or lapsed fans to the shows.
This week, we asked the B/R wrestling community to share its bold predictions for AEW and WWE this year. The comments ranged from things about specific Superstars to predictions that would impact an entire company.
Let's see what you guys think will happen in 2022.
Bye-Bye Brand Split
"The brand split will end in WWE and everyone will be on both shows again." (@howardedwards46)
This feels more and more like a real possibility every time WWE makes a round of cuts without calling up Superstars to fill those spots.
We have seen both Raw and SmackDown's rosters significantly reduced in 2021 to the point where neither show feels like it has enough people to fill every division in a satisfying way.
I could see the company merging the WWE and Universal Championships into one world title, and I could also see that happening for the men's tag team titles, but I don't think they should merge the women's titles.
One should be treated as the top belt while the other is akin to the Intercontinental Championship. How that gets decided is beyond me, but I would prefer the women's division keeps two singles belts in rotation, especially if it never plans on building the women's tag team division to support those belts.
One large roster seems like a better option now that WWE has cut so many people. It will give us more variety in every title picture and allow the company to return to having one touring crew instead of two.
Will WWE Be Sold in 2022?
"My biggest prediction is before 2022 is over, WWE will be sold to NBC." (@MrFackisBack)
The rumors of a potential sale have plagued WWE for years, but every time the company cuts a bunch of people as it did on Wednesday, those rumors pop back up.
NBC Universal, Fox, Amazon and Disney have all been touted as potential buyers, but it's all conjecture until an announcement is made.
That said, this does seem to be a bigger possibility now than it was a few years ago. WWE has reduced its roster and operating costs, which is exactly what a company would do right before a sale to make its books look better to potential buyers.
It seems weird to think of a WWE that is not run by a McMahon, but the past few years have shown that it might be time for somebody else to take over. The company still produces some great matches, but there's no denying how stagnant some of the storytelling has become.
Austin Theory in the Main Event Scene
"Austin Theory wins Royal Rumble or MITB." (@pistolpete2311)
I can't begin to describe how much I hate that this feels like a real possibility. Austin Theory has been nothing but annoying since he was called up, but a lot of the blame for that goes to the way he has been used.
When he was in NXT with Johnny Gargano, his character was much easier to handle. He was basically playing a wrestler with a kid's mentality, but now he's just a selfie-taking suckup.
Being paired with Vince McMahon is one of the signs that WWE has big plans for the 24-year-old. The WWE chairman doesn't appear on TV much these days, so he must see something in the youngster if he's willing to spend time on camera for him.
Theory could grow into a well-rounded character eventually, but it's way too early to give him that main event push. He needs to start by chasing the intercontinental or United States title and see how that goes.
Does Seth Rollins + Kevin Owens = RKO?
"Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens will form a tag team and call themselves RKO." (@paulharms1970)
Nothing would make me happier right now than seeing KO and Rollins use the chemistry they have displayed in recent weeks to become a top tag team.
It's clear WWE has other plans for the WWE title in the immediate future. Brock Lesnar is the champ and Bobby Lashley is the No. 1 contender. Big E still wants a rematch and Goldberg might be looking to pop back in at some point.
The past few weeks have allowed Rollins and Owens to play off of each other as allies instead of rivals, and it has led to some of the best segments on Raw.
They are both so funny in their current characters that there is no way this pairing can fail. Give them a microphone and five minutes, and they will sell any feud they're in.
Naming themselves RKO would be an amazing mind game to play against Randy Orton to weaken him for an eventual loss of the Raw Tag Team Championships.
I love everything about this idea.
"Sting turns heel and attacks Darby Allin with a bat." (@MeechieAndretti)
Sting is not turning heel in AEW. If anything, it would be Allin attacking him to become a villain. The Icon is at a point in his career where he is too over as a babyface to try turning him into a bad guy unless it's what the crowd demanded.
"NXT will not be on TV anymore." (@Vicrattlehead)
While I don't think NXT will last much longer on the USA Network, I could see it at least making it through the year. After that, who knows?
"Charlotte Flair will leave WWE for AEW." (@bjregin1975)
I know a lot of people seem to want this to happen, but I don't think it's a realistic possibility. She is booked like a star, makes way more money than any other company would be able to afford, and she is close to the McMahon family. Just because she is with Andrade El Idolo in real life doesn't mean she needs to be in the same promotion.
"Riddle turns on Orton and becomes a major player as a heel." (@dannyslates)
This actually makes sense from a storytelling standpoint. Riddle preemptively striking before Orton can turn on him would immediately make him look a lot smarter than anything else he has done so far, and it would also put The Viper on defense for once. I don't know if The Original Bro can pull off being a heel but everyone has to try it at some point in their career.
"Becky Lynch retires." (@julianvhayden)
Lol. Good one.
"John Cena will get that elusive 17th title." (@Tuk337)
Cena's schedule is busier than ever these days, so unless it was done as a meaningless short reign, I don't see him winning another belt this year. Maybe in 2023, but his filming schedule in 2022 would likely prevent it.