wrestling / Columns

Looking Back At Watry’s 2019 Bold Predictions (So Far)

July 18, 2019 | Posted by Justin Watry
Becky Lynch Ronda Rousey Charlotte Flair WrestleMania 35 Kurt Angle

We are officially halfway through 2019. How are those new year’s resolutions doing? Hit the gym every day? Ask the boss for a raise and promotion? Have you ate better? Are you traveling the world as you proclaimed? Regardless, it feels like a good time to rewind back to January and look at my twenty 2019 BOLD predictions in the wrestling world. With six months down the drain, that still leaves another six months to go. Let’s dive into it.

1. CM Punk returns to wrestling in some fashion – For those who are keeping score, this is not something I blindly say every year and get wrong. I never said he would come back to WWE or even join All Elite Wrestling. All I said was he would get the itch and do ‘something’ in the wrestling business. Seems like that was confirmed a few months ago with his much discussed run in with the mysterious hoodie Go To Sleep. Ironically nearby. Will we get the full blown CM Punk appearance in 2019? Still six months left. Still, count it.

2. Braun Strowman goes to Smackdown LIVE – A prediction from 2018 and 2019. Hindsight tells us his time on Raw has not amounted to much in the past year or so. Thus, he probably SHOULD be on the blue brand right now as the monster. Yet, he remains on the red brand doing a whole lot of nothing. For those who recall, he did indeed go to Smackdown LIVE two days after WrestleMania 35…and the Superstar Shakeup (and Wildcard Rule) meant nothing anyways. Everybody is on every show now. I will be fair and give half a point.

3. A TOP star goes to Smackdown LIVE – I listed Roman Reigns, Ronda Rousey, or Brock Lesnar specifically. Remember this was written in January when Roman Reigns was still believed to be gone for the foreseeable future. Reigns did go to Smackdown as the final Superstar Shakeup move. Plus, with the show being moved to FOX in October, look out for both Brock Lesnar and Ronda Rousey to show up. Point me.

4. The Rock returns to WWE – No point…yet. It will happen. I assume the big FOX Smackdown Live premiere episode will get a Rocky promo or two.

5. I continue not to care about NJPW or Ring Of Honor – Another point. Neither company has done a darn thing to lure me in. Sorry. I do not think I have seen a single match from New Japan Pro Wrestling or Ring Of Honor in 2019. Am I missing anything?

6. AEW is the real deal – Again, this was written the first week of January. Just after All Elite Wrestling was even announced. I have said from the beginning they would land on TNT (listen to the 411 Foresight Wrestling Podcast for more details) and sign a whole bunch of great talent. Lots of momentum is on their side as we speak. My mind has not wavered too much since January. There is a lot of potential there. The folks that were mocking them months ago are not anymore. We will know the full story come October. All these special events and stuff still do not mean a ton. Doing it every few months is AMAZING. They want to do it weekly though; that’s the goal. You want to be a big dog? Okay, then do it. Every single week! Count another point.

7. Impact Wrestling keeps on spiraling – Well, their beloved Pursuit television station is airing them late night on Fridays. Plus, some episodes have either been the WRONG show or just never returned from a commercial break. At least there are rumors of them wanting to get the heck off that garbage channel. Of course, what they want does not really matter. There has to be a channel that wants them. If it is AXS, cool. I don’t get that either. Irrelevance to irrelevance. More spiraling in 2019 to come. Point.

8. Batista returns – Remember those laughable Batista/AEW headlines? Batista had teased a showdown with Triple H back in October 2018 on Smackdown LIVE. Yes, HHH got injured a month later. Yes, there were definitely negotiations to be had. Yes, it was never a for sure thing. Ultimately though, if Batista was going to come back at all, it was going to be at WrestleMania to face off one last time with Triple H. That was my guess all along, and it happened. Another point.

9. NXT remains on the WWE Network – All the talk of NXT moving to FS1 or USA Network last year equaled to a lot of nothing. I assume WWE knows NXT is a property NOT to be messed with. Let them do their own thing. Triple H and his crew know they can not let this golden goose lay a few bad eggs. It has been home run after home run after home run. Moving to FS1 may eventually happen. I will say that now. I think it will be tempting if FOX throws another payday their way. It will be tempting to turn that down, on top of the already $2 billion deals. So far though, NXT has remained on the WWE Network, which means another point for yours truly.

10. The new NXT call ups are handled better than others – I am talking about Lacey Evans, Heavy Machinery, Lars, EC3, and Nikki Cross. Their debut vignette had just started to air on television. The quote was ‘on their way’ to WWE. One by one. Nikki Cross is on PPV this Sunday getting a Smackdown Live Womens Title match. Lacey Evans has been the center of attention since debuting, feuding with WrestleMania headliner Becky Lynch and is planned to main event Extreme Rules. Heavy Machinery are also going to be on the pay-per-view this Sunday, getting a Smackdown Live Tag Tag Team Title bout. Lars destroyed a few legends and was poised to dominate (perhaps against John Cena?) but got hurt. Finally, we have EC3 who has already won championship gold despite only being on television a short time. I could even throw in Ricochet who debuted right after this and is United States Champion – wrestling AJ Styles in Raw main events and on PPV. Yeah, point for me.

11. Lucha Underground wraps up – Still to be determined. As much as it sucks, I do not see much of a future for the brand/show/promotion/whatever. No point…yet.

12. Bray Wyatt tweaks his character – BOOM! Another point. Bray Wyatt has been doing this wacky Firefly Funhouse bit through promos for awhile now. I was told his re-debut inside an actual arena is right around the corner. I am curious to see how it will play out. Reminds me of the “DELETE” stuff with Matt Hardy. Outside the ring, it works. Inside the ring, it is still just Matt Hardy. Bray will have to go all out with this to make it work.

13. Women’s Tag Team Titles are introduced – It was teased throughout late 2018 and officially announced by Vince McMahon. Point! I loved the initial Bayley and Sasha Banks victory at Elimination Chamber. I even loved the shocking win by The IIconics at WrestleMania 35. Since then, ugh. Ugh. UGH! Too much talent across all the rosters to be doing with them.

14. An old, unexpected name returns to WWE – For examples, I listed Alex Riley, Melina, Victoria, or even a Justin Gabriel type of wrestler. Somebody that you may remember but is so far off the radar it would be ridiculous to fathom. Does Eric Bischoff count? Does Jeff Jarrett count? How about Bill Goldberg? I wrote this back in January remember. I would say we have had plenty of oddball returns since. Maybe John Morrison is next? I will give myself a point for this.

15. WWE’s global expansion continues – I was talking about the WWE Network airing different promotions. Different styles of wrestling. The Mae Young Classic was cool. NXT UK has started. The Cruiserweight Classic was memorable. There was s stadium show in Australia last year. You could even reference the multiple Saudi Arabia events per year…but in the end, the real zinger is Evolve will air on the WWE Network this Saturday night! Finally, we are getting the long talked about beginning of WWE Network ‘tiers’ with various promotions added. I love it. Having never seen Evolve in my life, I will be watching. Point.

16. XFL will go on as planned – This was for everyone who kept saying XFL returning was a hoax or nonsense. Ladies and gentlemen, Vince McMahon is 100% serious about this football league. Keep in mind he never wanted the original XFL to shut down. The second it ended he was already thinking of how it would come back. No matter what went wrong with AAF, that does not and should not deter Vince one bit. XFL struck a surprising deal with many big time networks (ABC, ESPN, Fox Sports, and others) to air their games in early 2020, and that is all you need to know. Never doubt Vince McMahon. Yet another point.

17. I may attend WrestleMania in 2020 – This was depending on the location announcement. Tampa Bay won out. I only went to one WrestleMania, and that was in 2017. In Florida. Will I go for another round in April 2020? Still undecided. No point…yet.

18. Roman Reigns comes back to WWE – There you have it. As shocking as it may seem, Roman Reigns is back inside a wrestling ring. I was hoping it would happen sooner than anybody ever thought. I was right. Give me that point and keep them coming. Roman Reigns just won an ESPY for his emotional comeback moment earlier in 2019, and that is cool to me. I love that stuff. As much as it means to wrestling fans, it means so much more to those battling leukemia and beating the odds.

19. Ronda Rousey vs. Becky Lynch headlines WrestleMania 35 – Can I give half a point as I openly admitted in the January column (and podcast) that Charlotte would be added? Truth is the bout should have been Rousey/Becky. That was the Survivor Series 2018 showdown and MONEY coming out of the 2019 Royal Rumble. Despite not even being in the Rumble, I had Becky winning the thing and challenging Rousey for the belt. Things got jacked up with the Ms. Flair addition and Asuka title loss. All that jazz was not enough to take away from the real story. Women were headlining WrestleMania, and that is exactly what I was talking about. For the first time ever, it was happening.

20. Ronda Rousey loses – This was my big bold prediction, and it was dead on. Not only did I write that the undefeated Ronda Rousey would finally lose clean, it was going to be against Becky Lynch in the main event of WrestleMania 35. A LOADED prediction …but it paid off. Point. Becky Lynch won not only the RAW Womens Title but also the Smackdown Live Womens Title. Winner takes all. Ronda did the honors on her way out the door, and now Becky is carrying the WWE torch. Not just the star of the women’s division but the entire company. Heck, the entire industry! Becky Lynch is officially The Man.

SUMMARY: There you have it. I got more points than a WrestleMania sign and Kawhi Leonard in the NBA Finals combined. Six months into the year. Time flies by when you’re having fun, huh? What do you think? Any other BOLD predictions still to come in the latter half of 2019? Let me know below in the comment section.

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