By RJ Marceau
2015 will be known as an amazing year for the WWE with great matches, feuds and PPVs throughout the year. I know it has only been over one week into the 2016 year but the WWE has been doing different things already that were well needed. I can't say the WWE will continue these positives but hopefully will continue to build on these throughout 2016.
1. Making Feuds Meaningful
The WWE specifically in the midcard and Divas division have lacked making feuds meaningful. The WWE usually just throws two people in a feud but doesn’t really have a story or meaning behind it. So far in 2016 we have The Royal Rumble for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens, Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte and Kalisto vs. Alberto Del Rio.
Owens and Ambrose has been a feud carried over since TLC but they have kept the audience's interest in the booking of this feud. Owens has resorted back to his ways by sneak attacking Ambrose and trying to hurt his opponents post-match out of frustration. They had a good match last week on SmackDown and continued their feud last night on Raw with Owens attacking Ambrose. I don’t know if they will blow the feud off at the Royal Rumble or have another title match on SmackDown.
When it comes to the Divas division, the WWE Universe is finally starting to support the “Lasskicker” Becky Lynch. Lynch has been my favorite diva since debuting in NXT so I’m glad she is getting a good push. The story of Charlotte turning on her and playing dirty with Becky doing the same has kept this feud fresh. Instead of the usual friend jealousy angle they have used them splitting up their friendship as the main story in the feud. After Becky won on Raw and Charlotte attacked her to turn heel they had a great match on SmackDown with Charlotte winning dirty. Becky attacking Charlotte last night and the promo she had with JoJo was amazing. The character development has been on point and hopefully we get a title change on Raw, Smackdown or the Royal Rumble.
Only one week in and one bold prediction is crossed off my list. Kalisto captured the United States title last night vs. Alberto Del Rio in a great bout. Kalisto has the underdog story with rolling up Del Rio twice for the pinfall. WWE having Kalisto win without using the Salida del Sol sells his wins as fluke victories. Del Rio vs. Kalisto will have a rematch on SmackDown and I wonder if that will end the feud since Kalisto is 2-0 vs. Del Rio in the past week.
2. SmackDown Debuts on USA Network with a Good Show
SmackDown debuted last Thursday night on USA Network with a good show. Mauro Ranallo made his debut on commentary in the WWE and I was thoroughly impressed with him as a play-by-play announcer. The show had two title matches with Ambrose vs. Owens and Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte. Both matches were good and we saw a good match between Kalisto and Alberto Del Rio.
SmackDown has announced the Wyatt Family vs. Dudley Boys in a Tables match and a rematch for the United States Championship with Kalisto defending his US title vs. Alberto Del Rio. The emphasis on quality matches and segments will help SmackDown get back to being relevant. I think the first installment of 2016 was better then any episode I can remember in 2015 so this is a good first step.
3. WWE Universe Is on the Edge of Their Seats Due to Unpredictability
Last Monday night on Raw we saw Roman Reigns retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and Vince McMahon announced that this year's 30 man Royal Rumble match will be for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. This week Kalisto shocked the WWE Universe by winning the WWE United States Championship. I am not totally shocked since I predicted he would win a mid card championship in 2016 but the 2nd episode of Raw of 2016 I was shocked. The WWE deciding to push the Latino star should be good for Kalisto and allows the WWE to make a new star.
We also saw the returns of Chris Jericho last week on Raw and Brock Lesnar destroying all the heels and Roman Reigns on Raw. Heath Slater has assembled a new stable called the “Social Outcasts” with Adam Rose, Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas. As a Boliever, I am glad Bo is actually on WWE TV and this new stable gives them a story or a reason for the fans to care about these 4 guys.
The rumors of the NJPW signings of AJ Styles, Doc Gallows, Shinsuke Nakamura and Karl Anderson has the WWE Universe wondering when and where they will debut and if they will be in the 2016 Royal Rumble. The 2016 Rumble has a lot of unpredictability with the title being on the line and will have naysayers saying Reigns winning is predictable but there are plenty of guys who could win. If Styles or Nakamura are in the Rumble they could win, HHH, Reigns, Lesnar, Owens, Jericho, Bray Wyatt and Ambrose are all viable options to win. WWE has pushed the tagline that “Anyone can win this year's Royal Rumble” so don’t be surprised with a shocking ending,
The WWE has done a great job so far in 2016 and I hope they can continue the momentum they have. Even with all the stars out with injuries the WWE can still capitalize and keep fans interested. I can’t wait till January 24th for the Royal Rumble and see how the WWE will set up for WrestleMania season.
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