Last year I looked at 5 WWE superstars that needed something major to change in order to stay relevant in the current WWE roster. (http://wrestling-edge.com/it-is-an-important-year-for/ ) Besides Brie Bella who went on to retire from professional wrestling, the other 4 went onto have a big impact on the WWE Universe in 2016. The Brand split helped in a major way, but The Miz is arguably the top heel on Smackdown, Dolph Ziggler is battling for major titles and is just in the midst of a heel turn, Heath Slater just finished an impressive story arc and tag team title run, and Randy Orton is currently in a major story arc with the Wyatt Family. So with 2017 to include more talent graduating from NXT (including the likes of Samoan Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura), consistent rumour of more WWE favourites possibly returning, 2017 has become an important year again for some WWE superstars.
Bray Wyatt – It is hard to imagine that Bray Wyatt first major WWE title was the Tag Team title won with Randy Orton last month. For someone that has been around the main event scene since his debut (April 2012), to have only 1 title to his name is a tragedy. 2017 Bray Wyatt needs to add a major singles title to his resume to solidify his WWE career and legacy. This year needs to be the year Bray Wyatt becomes a major champion, after the Orton story line is complete, The WWE needs to give Bray his time as champion. He has well and truly served his time, and with the likes of Balor, and Owens giving opportunities, Bray deserves his chance as well.
The Club (Anderson and Gallows) – Anderson and Gallows arrived at the wrong time in the WWE, which was right in the middle of The New Day’s historic run as Tag Team champions. By the time the New Day had reached the milestone of the longest running champions, the losses to the New Day had hurt the reputation of Anderson and Gallows. This Tag Team should have arrived and dominated the WWE tag team division just like Demolition did back in the 80’s. Instead they have become nothing more than jobbers to the New Day and Sheamus & Cesaro. This is a habit the WWE have, of wasting established tag teams like the Assertion, Big Cass and Enzo Amore, in favour of teams they have put together New Day, Sheamus and Cesaro, Slater and Rhyno. This year the Club needs to re-establish themselves as the dominate and powerful tag team they are by destroying other teams on an impressive title run, otherwise it may be a short stay in the WWE.
Naomi – Even with one of the coolest Diva entrances currently in the WWE, Naomi just can’t seem to break the Diva’s glass ceiling. Often put in teams and factions, she has always been held back and/or used for others to get a push. With the new Divas of Alexa Bliss, Becky Lynch and Carmella getting great pushes, and stalwarts Nikki Bella and Natalya getting plenty of air time, Naomi has missed out again. Naomi needs an important winning feud with one of the new breed, or with the returning Mickie James, otherwise she may find herself used as the jobber for all these other talented Divas.
Dean Ambrose – After being the face of Smackdown Live when the brands first split, Ambrose now finds himself on a slide down the main event scene. Losses of matches and feuds to Styles and The Miz, the return of Cena, and the rise of Ziggler and Luke Harper, rumours of a last Undertaker run, and Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt on the roster, means Ambrose has gone from the top of the tree to free falling down the roster. Ambrose needs a change, while winning the Intercontinental Title is a nice start, it will not be enough, he needs possibly a swap to Raw, or a winning feud against a main event superstar, or a face change something to stop the slide. It seems what endeared fans to Dean Ambrose is now getting tired and is what is turning fans against Ambrose. Dean is such a talented wrestler and performer expect a bounce back soon.
Braun Strownman – In a company known for liking large monster wrestlers, the WWE is in a crossroads of sorts as many of his current monster wrestlers are part timers and nearing the age of retirement. Mark Henry, The Big Show and Kane are all used to help put over the next generation, Brock Lesnar, The Undertaker and Goldberg are all part timers, which currently leaves us with a new generation of ‘monsters’. Braun Strownman is leading this new breed and has had a near perfect rise. Starting as part of a stable, then destroying local talent, to finally dominating a respected WWE star in Sami Zayn (who has wins over current Universe Champion Kevin Owens). 2017 Stownman needs to remain looking strong, powerful and near undefeatable….just keep him away from John Cena!
Jack Swagger – Like Ryback and Cody Rhodes in 2016, Jack Swagger needs to make the decision of asking the WWE to give him something (feud, revamp, major push), or leave the WWE to reinvigorate himself back into the wrestling industry. You only need to take a look at Cody Rhodes success in the independent circuit once leaving the WWE, to see how much success and enjoyment he is having. Even with all its problems, TNA maybe a better option for Swagger, as at least he will be wrestling every week. Jack Swagger cannot sit back and have another irrelevant year in the WWE, otherwise he will become this generations Brooklyn Brawler.
Hooroo and see you next time