”Man plans. . . God laughs”
Maybe it’s been reading Shawn Michaels book on faith, but that quote resonates with me as I sit down to write this column. I was all set to do another running diary of Monday Night RAW, but for some reason, I couldn’t get into it. Maybe it was the early hour of the morning, maybe it was being distracted by other matters, but I wasn’t finding my quasi-witty one liners and potentially interesting anecdotes flowing as freely as I usually do. I was stuck.
That’s when I saw John Cena lock in the STF on Alberto Del Rio, and an idea popped into my head. All of a sudden, I was brought in a completely new direction, which is what you’re (hopefully) about to read.
What should our favorite talents be aiming for in the new year? Let’s find out.
John Cena - Use the STF a whole lot less, and the Anaconda Vice a whole lot more.
This is a weird one to begin with, I grant you. To my knowledge, Cena has never used the Anaconda Vice ever in his life. For all I know, he’d have no idea how to apply it. But he still should use it, and here are some reasons why.
Number one - It’s a really good submission move. - As evidenced by the #NAI150 (which will soon have its results revealed to you - Patience, NAIborhood), submission moves are all the rage, and it is my firm belief that every wrestler should have one.
Truthfully, the best person to have this move is Bo Dallas, so he can look down on his opponent and encourage them NOT to tap out. But that’s a pipe dream at best.
Number two - the STF is terrible - Particularly Cena’s application. Let Ambrose use the Regal Stretch, which is a much better version of the move.
Number three - It’s a slap in the face to CM Punk - To have the ultimate “WWE guy” using Punk’s pet move would just be entertaining to me.
Alberto Del Rio - Remember that every match you’re in can be a main event match
Del Rio, like Randy Orton, seems to perform best when the spotlight is on him. He needs to remember that the best way to keep that happening is to steal the show as often as possible (provided your name isn’t Dolph Ziggler). Less of his Kalisto nonsense, more of this.
Roman Reigns - Remember what got you over with the fans
No, it wasn’t making fun of people, nor was it coming up with clever synonyms for body parts. People started to cheer for you when you got angry and started beating the tar out of people. I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but it bears repeating.
YOU’RE NOT THE ROCK! Remember that, and 2016 will be a banner year for you.
Kevin Owens - Keep doing what you’re doing
Each and every week, KO continues to be one of the most compelling talents AND characters we’ve seen in a very long time. People forget that he’s only been in WWE for about 6 months, and (Spoiler Alert!) he’s been voted by the #NAI150 as having the Match AND Feud of the year for 2015. What’s going to happen when he has a full 12 months to leave his mark? Magic. . . That’s what.
Dean Ambrose - Feud with Kevin Owens for as long as possible.
Jason Moltov said it best with his tweet last night - Kevin Owens is beating the boring out of Dean Ambrose. Not since he was crawling out of the trunk of a car have I been this invested in Dean. I’m not sure how long they drag this feud out, but the longer it goes, the better Ambrose’s career will be for it.
Sheamus - Continue to invest in any substance that will keep the ‘hawk growing bigger
Gels, sprays, whatever it takes. Sheamus’ return to main event status had a lot to do with injuries, sure, but it also had to do with his total commitment to embracing his new look. He didn’t complain about it on Twitter, he didn’t bemoan it on Instagram, he ran with it, and now he’s a TRUE former WHC (not counting the brand extension titles). Good lesson for a lot of superstars out there.
Speaking of which…
Dolph Ziggler, Curtis Axel, and basically half the entire roster - STOP TRYING TO USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO GET OVER!
It rarely, if ever, works. In fact, I’d argue that WWE punishes those who try to rally supporters via Twitter. That’s not how you play the game in McMahonLand, folks.
Rusev - Stop living in Sheamus’ shadow. . . And keep coming out on your own.
While it wasn’t the most popular storyline in WWE history, the #LoveRhombus worked for a while because, as the most successful gimmicks do, art imitated life. We saw Rusev get jealous because Lana was more over with the fans than he was - And that was exactly what was happening, and will continue to happen so long as she keeps walking out with him.
Rusev will never be as big a star as he could be if he continues to be defined by the people around him - First Lana and now the League of Nations. If he wants to contend for the World Title in 2016 (and I’m making a #PreDCtion that he will), he needs to come out completely on his own.
OK. . . He can bring the tank.
The Miz - Build up your Talent Agency and become the best manager we’ve seen this century.
Part of this isn’t up to him - There really haven’t been a lot of great managers in the 2000’s (remember, Paul Heyman is an Advocate), so he doesn’t have to do too much to earn the billing. Regardless, Miz is one of the best in the world at what he does - Stand around looking ridiculous and be irritating on the microphone. What better role for him than as a manager? Gather a stable of lower tier guys, put them with Miz and I guarantee that one of them gets over in a big, bad way.
Doesn’t need to just be guys, either.
Sasha Banks - Ditch Team BAD, join up with Miz, take over the world.
As popular as Sasha is with the fans (and really, the IWC), there might not be a better heel in WWE than Sasha. . . Except for Miz, of course. With their powers combined. . . There’s no stopping her.
Charlotte - Run as far and as fast as you can away from your father.
As long as Ric Flair is on camera, the focus is going to be on the 16 time World Champion. Charlotte just becomes his latest arm candy, in a creepy, but totally true way. If Charlotte wants to recover the huge amount of momentum she has lost in the last few months, she can find it anywhere that her daddy isn’t.
Becky Lynch - Realize that the only way you get truly over hasn’t made his WWE debut yet.
We joke in the NAIborhood all the time about the savior that Finn Balor will be, but in this case, it’s completely true. Unless we see a Balor / Becky power couple, Lynch will ALWAYS be an afterthought in this division.
Bray Wyatt - Less preaching, more beating
I love the promos of Wyatt, but they have gotten him nowhere. Time to take a page from the Roman Reigns guide to getting over - Silent and Deadly. Bring your family, ditch your family, it doesn’t matter. Just start causing as much destruction as possible.
Vince McMahon - Continue to guard the secret of your Lazarus Pit very carefully
You have to be a superhero nerd to understand the reference - The Lazarus Pit is just a darker version of the Fountain of Youth. Either way, Vince has one, as he looks as good (maybe a bit more wrinkly) as he did in the Attitude Era right now.
Keep bathing in those waters, Vincent. You’re the key to WWE success in 2016, and I mean purely as an on-screen character.
What do YOU think? What should WWE talents have as New Year’s Resolutions? Be Heard