Jamie Lithgow, Brian Damage, Craig Wilson & Chris Flackett
The M.O. of this blog is to celebrate wrestling’s past and remember the ‘good old days’. Today however, we’re going to do the exact opposite! In today’s Sunday Sermon the team will attempt to prophesize the landscape of WWE five years from now, in 2020. Why five years from now you ask? Simply because this is a short enough space of time – and with the presence of NXT – to assume that a large chunk of the 2020 roster will likely be under contract right now. Five years is also a long enough period of time to rule out some of the ‘old guard’ who were present in 2010, 2005 and, in some cases, 2000. So, WWE in 2020, what will that look like?
Jamie: First thing’s first, in 2020 John Cena will be 43. While I do expect John Cena to be a feature in WWE in 2020, I would hope that he is not still the ‘face of WWE’. The kids that cheer for him now will have aged. While some will stay with him, some will naturally grow out of his kid-friendly persona. This has been fine up until now, as these fans are just replaced by younger fans. Problem is, Cena will not age with his fans a la The Rock, Stone Cold etc. Will John Cena be a 43 year old man, dressed as a 10 year old boy?
While we’re on the subject of age – Triple H will be 50, The Big Show will be 47, Kane will be 53 and Randy Orton will be 40. Special attraction performers like Brock Lesnar, The Rock and The Undertaker will be 42, 47 and 55 respectively. With the possible exception of Orton, most – if not all – of these guys will need to be replaced…. but who by?
Brian: The first person to immediately come to mind is Kevin Owens. This is a guy who has just got “it.” He’s big, he is agile and believable as a monster heel. I expect nothing but big things from Owens in the future. Secondly, keep your eye out for Enzo Amore….this guy oozes personality which is something the WWE loves. I could easily see Amore as a top star on the main roster one day. Amore to me is a modern day Rowdy Roddy Piper. On the female side…Bayley is a star waiting to happen. I would also say Sasha Banks…but I may be wrong..but…it looks like Naomi stole her swag gimmick.
Craig: Guess it’s topical to mention Sami Zayn here, huh? I know it was in his home town but the reaction his debut on Raw got was incredible. Great touch having Bret Hart introduce him as well.
As silly as it sounds, Zayn’s theme song will help as it really gets crowd going then they see a supremely talented individual in the ring. That’s a big win right there.
Brian’s analysis on the NXT female talent is spot on. It all comes down to whether the WWE give them a proper shot or merely use them as filler 2 or 3 minute matches.
Chris: There has been a noticable increase in NXT talent appearing on main roster programming post-Mania. I take this as an encouraging sign that WWE is at least thinking about the future.
From a NXT point of view, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn will play a big part in the future. Both are extremely entertaining wrestlers, both have the gift of the gab and, importantly, are able to connect with the audience in a way a lot of the main roster seems unable to at the moment.
I think Hideo Itami deserves to play a big role in the future but he strikes me as one of those wrestlers Vince won’t know what to do with.
I don’t know what plan they have for Neville but the way he is being booked does at least suggest there is some kind of long term plan. I think he has got huge potential to be a big star moving forward.
Outside of NXT, I will be intrigued whether Seth Rollins will really cement himself as a true main event player. I think the end fan reaction to his current reign will decide that.
The audience may never accept Roman Reigns as a main eventer (and Vince will continue to try and convince us otherwise) but I can see him becoming a major player at the top of the mid card in years to come.
This week’s Raw raised the intriguing question of Dean Ambrose; he has been suddenly booked into the main event of Payback. He left the encounter of the faces at the show’s climax as the last one standing. If this is the beginning of a real main event push, and not an example of WWE blowing hot and cold, then Ambrose could potentially see himself a bona fide heavyweight champion by 2020. A main event feud down the line between Ambrose and Kevin Owens could potentially be thrilling.
Jamie: I can see Seth Rollins getting better and better. He’s such a villain, but on occasion he can be soo good that you can’t help but appreciate him. He reminds me of Shawn Michaels circa 1994 in that respect. He could easily end up as a babyface purely because he’s so good. Five years from now I see him as WWE’s top guy. After all, he is the one with the head start in 2015…
As for Reigns and Ambrose, the jury is still out. If Reigns doesn’t catch on soon then I feel sure WWE will pull the plug on him, or at least change tactics. It’s okay for Cena to divide opinion because he generates tons of money, that’s not a luxury Reigns has. I think Ambrose will always have a place in WWE because fans connect with him. Unfortunately that place does not depend upon us…
Here’s a slightly random name to throw out there – Luke Harper. For years Kane has been WWE’s monster, but he’s knocking on a bit. This is such an interesting role that I hope WWE fill this void once Kane calls it quits. For me, Luke Harper fits the bill. Kane has always yo-yoed between mid-card and main event to suit creative plans, and I think Harper could do just that. he could be booked as a serious threat with just a few weeks work, just as Kane is every year or so.
By default I nominate Big Cas to replace The Big Show as resident giant too. Oh, I totally agree with Brian regarding Enzo Amore too. I’m not convinced he will go far as a wrestler, but as a manager or other personality he is a sure thing in my book.
Brian: I absolutely agree with Chris about Hideo Itami in the WWE. He works in NXT because it is smaller and the fans are more “hardcore.” Will Hideo Itami appeal to kids and to places in Middle America like Iowa and Kansas City? I just don’t see it. The talent is there of course…but Vince likes entertainers first…wrestlers second. But that brings up another interesting question….will Vince still be calling the shots in 2020? I seriously doubt it.
Chris: Here’s a thought; what will the future hold for Daniel Bryan?
Will we see him retire through injury, or even go part time like Brock Lesnar?
If he does return full time, I can’t see WWE putting him above mid card, fan intervention or not. I’m not saying this to knock Bryan at all, but twice he’s been given a title and twice he’s left injured within a month or so. I can’t see WWE giving him these chances again, with him being so injury prone.
Brian: I agree wholeheartedly about D-Bry…look at Dolph Ziggler as a perfect example. If you believe what has been written and said about Dolph…the WWE feared he was injury prone and let up on their pushes of him in the past. I am sure Bryan will be no different. I just think knowing what wrestlers know today about injuries and health…I think Daniel Bryan will slow down his schedule at the very least.
Craig: There’s probably a whole Sermon on Bryan’s future. Maybe one for next week.
You can read all previous Sunday Sermons here.