wrestling / Columns

Top 7 Wrestling Predictions For 2024

December 29, 2023 | Posted by Steve Cook
AEW Collision MJF Image Credit: AEW

Hello friends! I’m Steve Cook, and I’ve been in the business of making predictions about pro wrestling longer than I can remember. Well, not really longer than I can remember, it’s just been a few years. I haven’t been keeping track of my success rate, but I assume it’s pretty good. Nobody has told me otherwise, so I assume that I’m a Nostradamus when it comes to this particular brand of pop culture.

What will happen in 2024? Keep reading and you’ll find out.

7. MJF stays with AEW

Image Credit: AEW

This might be the prediction that proves me wrong earliest, which is why it’s number seven. MJF’s been talking about the War of 2024 awhile now, long after people were interested in hearing about it. With all due respect to the talents of Maxwell Jacob Friedman, a man that has a very high ceiling in the professional wrestling business, his free agency isn’t going to move the needle much unless he signs with WWE and starts in NXT so he can learn how to work the WWE style. That would be a good dagger in the back of AEW, much more than the Jade Cargill move.

MJF is still a young man. I’m sure he has ambitions of moving to WWE, or to acting or other things, but AEW feels like the best place for him now. He can be a big fish there & can showcase his talents. Keeping MJF should be a huge priority for AEW, and I think they get that done. We can quibble later on about MJF’s creative direction, which he’ll probably have a big sway in (and might already have), but I think MJF’s best opportunity in the next few years is as a top AEW guy. Once more of WWE’s top guys age out, that might change…but who ages out in this business these days?

6. TNA re-branding keeps popularity at current level

Image Credit: TNA

I think I’ve reviewed more Impact Wrestling shows than any other promotion in the last couple of years. That’s my role around here, the guy reviewing the shows (that happen to fall on nights I’m off work) that other people don’t have time for because they want those Big Two clicks & views. I’m long past the point of caring how many clicks & views I get. I just want to watch some enjoyable wrestling and have some fun writing about it. More often than not, I enjoy watching Impact’s productions. Good in-ring action with some characters & booking that doesn’t insult my intelligence. I love the fact they’re bringing back the TNA brand, as it takes me back to the days of reviewing TNA Impact shows on Fox Sports Net and getting a break here on this very website. For me, the TNA initials bring back good times & great memories.

For others, not so much. We all know that TNA had its rough parts. “LOLTNA” didn’t become a thing by accident, a lot of stuff happened to make that work. The journey of this company has been long & winding, and I know plenty of fans that gave up on that journey and refuse to get back on the horse no matter what. Wrestling fans can be pretty stubborn. I thought the re-introduction of the TNA brand was pretty great, and others did as well, but others didn’t buy in & the Las Vegas ticket sales tell me that the people not buying in are the majority. I will continue to root TNA Wrestling on and review their big shows whenever possible, but I won’t expect their audience to grow beyond what it currently is. This is one of the predictions where I hope I’m wrong.

5. Tony Khan gets some more help

Image Credit: AEW

I’m sure that I’m not one of the people Tony Khan reads online, as I’d probably have heard from him at some point in the last twenty years if I was. (Man, do I wish I asked Larry Csonka if he’d corresponded with Tony Khan! Maybe I did and don’t remember it, there’s a good chance that happened.) He’s very online, which is one of his drawbacks as a booker of professional wrestling. Tony is very into what the people on social media are saying, very into what the DIRT SHEETS are saying, very into whatever people are saying about anything. So we must assume that he hears the chatter. The man does too much. Winter might be coming, but burnout is also coming. From what I’ve seen on AEW television, it’s already partially come. There’s still plenty of good stuff, but there’s also a lot of stuff lacking of attention.

Tony will eventually learn that every good booker needs some time off. There’s only so many ideas in one person’s head. He’s already got Bryan Danielson doing a lot of stuff, apparently Jimmy Jacobs is also involved. I think we’ll hear at some point in 2024 that Tony Khan is taking a vacation and Danielson, Jacobs or somebody else will be the head of creative for AEW shows. Tony has a lot on his plate, so as much as he loves booking wrestling maybe he should take a beat? The more people that tell him this, the more likely it will happen.

4. Dominik Mysterio wins a major championship

Image Credit: AEW

We should know better than to doubt a Mysterio. Everybody said that Rey would never become a top star due to his size, and that his career wouldn’t last long due to his high-flying style. The guy’s been doing his thing for over thirty years & has won almost every championship available to a WWE Superstar. It wasn’t exactly surprising when Rey’s son Dominik started wrestling in 2020, as he’d been involved in wrestling storylines when he was a little kid. It was probably a little too much too soon, as Dominik could have used more seasoning before debuting full-time & teaming with Rey. Fans were largely unimpressed with Dominik at first, and people wondered if he’d have the staying power of his father. I mean, if he doesn’t have the staying power of Rey he can still have a very successful career.

Dirty Dom found success once he got outside the shadow of his father and inside the shadow of Rhea Ripley. This wasn’t very surprising either. A despicable heel that’s turned against his family usually gets more of a reaction from fans than a smiling, happy to be there son that teams with his daddy. Dominik never fails to get a reaction these days, he & Rey have re-signed with WWE, and it seems pretty obvious that the company has big plans for the black sheep of the Mysterio family. Dom was CM Punk’s opponent for Punk’s first match back with WWE. Most of you know that Punk vs. Dom is a feud that’s been building for nearly fifteen years, back to the days when Punk was heading up the Straight Edge Society and harrassing Rey’s family.

Dominik’s future looks very bright, in fact I think it looks golden. Sometime during 2024, Dominik Mysterio will win a major championship. I know the phrase “major championship” is relative. Some will say that Roman Reigns’ championship is the only one that really matters. Dom already won the NXT North American Championship in 2023, and some will tell you that’s a major championship. Which it is in the NXT Universe. Dom’s next championship will at least be on the Intercontinental/United States level. Heck, he’s got issues with Seth Rollins going back to 2020, maybe it’ll be that title! Whichever one it is, 2024 will be Dirty Dom’s year.

3. CM Punk survives 2024 without a major backstage incident

Image Credit: WWE

CM Punk is a lot of things to a lot of people, but I don’t believe that “an idiot” is one of them. Punk is very aware of his value to a wrestling company. Hell, AEW got an extra two hours of television largely because of Punk, but that’s an issue we’ll cover later. He knew how valuable he was to AEW, and that he had a good amount of leeway with Owner/CEO/Grand Poobah Tony Khan. Now, Punk does have a temper, and we saw that on display plenty during his time with AEW. Even then, he was smart enough to not instigate things with people that would probably kick his ass. He was also smart enough to know that parting ways with AEW was the best thing for himself & everybody else.

Punk is smart enough to know that WWE won’t give him as long of a leash. Sure, everybody’s saying the right things now, but we all know that WWE won’t wait until the second backstage fiasco to fire CM Punk, no matter how well his merchandise sales are doing. Punk knows that WWE is a machine, he’s a part of it that can easily be replaced. They always have replaced faulty parts. So he’ll lay low, as far as the backstage politics go. He’ll give some advice to the NXT women, but won’t force his way of doing business on everybody. Wrestling news writers will have a lot less to write about when it comes to CM Punk in 2024, at least off-screen.

2. WWE/AEW TV Deal speculation

Image Credit: WWE

I really don’t want to make a prediction about television deals. Mostly because I’ve been wrong about everything that’s happened regarding television deals in the past few months. Apparently somebody at the CW was really desperate for wrestling, which led to the NWA almost getting an over the air TV deal before screwing the pooch with a horrendously offensive segment on PPV. WOW even got an hour for a documentary. Tony Khan wanted to show loyalty to Warner Brothers Discovery, which led to AEW/ROH not getting involved and WWE sneaking in with an NXT deal. I’m not sure what the CW’s audience is, but they’ve been buying up sports properties lately and it would have been smart for a wrestling company with a good head on its shoulders to get involved. WWE took that carrot.

I also wouldn’t have predicted USA jumping on SmackDown and letting Raw/NXT jump ship, but apparently that’s what’s happening. NXT found a home on the CW and now we’re all wondering where Raw will go. Lots of options out there, but the longer that AEW fails to make a deal with their current overlords at Warner Brothers Discovery, the more that Raw airing on Monday night on TNT or TBS seems like an option. Seems weird to folks like me that grew up during the Monday Night War with WCW airing on TNT & TBS, but this is a new era. AEW’s contract with Warner Brothers Discovery ends at the end of 2024, and most people thought that it would be renewed by now, but that hasn’t happened. Talks between WBD & WWE apparently closed, but re-opened once WWE got CM Punk, who happens to be WBD CEO David Zaslav’s favorite wrestler for whatever reason, on board. From everything I read online, Zaslav is torching everything good about the properties he currently oversees, but apparently likes CM Punk. Well, that tracks.

If I had to make a prediction right now, I would say that WWE ends up putting Raw on ESPN, which would be a tremendous outlet for them and would create all types of crossover opportunities. Not Monday night, obviously because Monday Night Football is a big thing. Tuesday night seems wide open. This would also leave the door open for AEW to renew with WBD, and that traditional Monday night wrestling slot would be open. This would be the best case scenario for wrestling fans. I expect to be wrong, but hope I’m right.

Honorable Mention: Online wrestling fandom gets more toxic than ever

Without delving too deeply into my personal political beliefs and encouraging some of you to demand that 411 ownership cancel me, we know that 2024 is going to be a difficult year in many ways in America. A Presidential election will happen in November. While a government’s function should be to foster the best possible environment for its citizens to flourish & pursue happiness, many politicians have found it easier to get elected by fostering division & anger amongst their constituents. The outrage media industrial complex has been more than happy to play along with these bad faith actors, and will be doing all they can to encourage this plague on society in the name of ratings & revenue. Bottom line: if you go on social media you’ll see even more rage & vitriol than usual, with more than a serving size of disinformation. Of course, in public most of these people won’t do much more than put up a sign or a flag in their front yard.

The same will be true, with less of a negative impact on society at large, when it comes to pro wrestling fandom. I’m not saying that all online fans have chosen sides between WWE & AEW, but the loudest & most persistent ones certainly have. Instead of news pundits encouraging angst & bitterness among their cult followings, it’s wrestling podcasters. Fans will continue to wish death & destruction on companies that aren’t their precious one & get mad online at everybody that disagrees. If you’re waiting for online wrestling discourse to get less toxic, don’t hold your breath.

1. Roman Reigns will remain Undisputed WWE Universal Champion

Image Credit: WWE

When I first started writing this, I was going to go the opposite way. Certainly one of these contenders being built for Roman would eventually beat the guy at some point during 2024. You’ve got the likes of Randy Orton, AJ Styles & LA Knight at the front of the line. Cody Rhodes & CM Punk both have stories they want to finish & are looming as potential Royal Rumble winners. Heck, I’ve even heard people throw Gunther’s name out there as an ideal Reigns opponent for a European show. There used to be a shortage of viable contenders to dethrone the Tribal Chief, now it seems like there’s a surplus.

Which is why I see Roman Reigns continuing his dominance and leaving 2024 with the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship still around his waist, over his shoulder or however he feels like wearing it. WWE fans have grown accustomed to having a part-time champion over the past decade, it’s not like the Brock Lesnar days where everybody whinged & moaned that the title was only defended a few times a year at most. The Roman Reigns title run doesn’t seem to be broken, so why fix it? The only question is if everybody can hold their patience until Reigns gets to 2,804 days as champion and breaks Bruno Sammartino’s record. They probably won’t be able to, but they’ll get used to it eventually.

Thanks for reading! Hit me up at [email protected] or on the social media with thoughts, comments or suggestions. Until next time, true believers!

article topics :

AEW, WWE, Steve Cook