By Graham "GSM" Matthews
The start of every new year is a time to making resolutions (seriously, who keeps those anyway?), but it's also a time to start making bold predictions for what the year will have in store! Of course, the landscape of WWE is ever-changing, and to try to tell the future is near impossible. However, it's always fun to at least make an attempt.
The year of 2016 is already off to a strong start with one of the best Royal Rumble matches om recent memory, Triple H capturing the WWE World Heavyweight Championship for the 14th time, and AJ Styles debuting WWE. Had you told me any of that would happen even a few short months ago, I likely would have called you crazy. Those events are obviously a sign that we should expect the unexpected in 2016, and that it will be a year of epic proportions. And how could it not be if these ten things were to happen?
By Graham "GSM" Matthews
AJ Styles sent shockwaves throughout the wrestling world on Sunday night when he made his long awaited WWE debut in the 2016 Royal Rumble match. While it had been rumored for weeks, I couldn't believe my eyes seeing The Phenomenal One enter the Amway Center to an incredible reaction with his own name (not CJ Myles or something else WWE pulled out of an online name generator), attire and character. It has been days since the monumental moment and I still find myself watching it back on YouTube and getting goosebumps every time. At long last, Styles has arrived!
When I started watching TNA in August 2008, the main event of the very first show I saw was AJ Styles against Kurt Angle in a Ladder match for Angle's Olympic gold medals. Right then and there, I instantly became an AJ Styles fan, rallying behind him in the years that followed as he led the TNA Frontline, turned heel and formed Fortune, and even engaged in one of the worst angles I've ever seen in my time as a wrestling fan (a.k.a. Claire Lynch). Through it all I remained loyal to the former multi-time world champion, so much so that when he left TNA in January 2014, I continued to follow his career. In fact, it was because of him that I checked out Ring of Honor for the first time in the summer of 2014 and now I watch weekly. He also introduced me to New Japan Pro Wrestling, where I have seen him compete at the last two Wrestle Kingdom shows.
As we prepare to embark on the likely exciting journey of The Phenomenal One in WWE, I'll give you my list of my seven favorite matches of his (along with videos so you can watch them for yourself and appreciate their awesomeness).
By Thomas Brunt
Judging by the current state of WWE right now, with several of their top stars injured, and likely to miss WrestleMania some might be inclined to think it is desperation time. There are still 65 days until the big event. Some things still have not been finalized at this point, so it is not as if we know what we are getting, and if it's crappy, or not what we want. Again, though looking forward realistically, do not expect Seth Rollins to come back by then. It is always a possibility with John Cena that the trigger may be pulled, but it would still be somewhat unexpected. With that in mind, here are my top 3 "Desperation time matches" for WrestleMania.
By John Napolitano
Dear WWE television ratings,
Get ready to fly! Yes, the “Phenomenal One,” AJ Styles has touched ground in World Wrestling Entertainment, after debuting in the 2016 Royal Rumble Match. Styles had a very strong performance in the 30-man over-the-top rope Battle Royal, followed that up with a great one-on-one bout against “Y2J” Chris Jericho, and had a good showing against Curtis Axel on Smackdown. He’s only had three matchups under the WWE banner, and the seeds for two potential feuds have been planted.
Tension between Kevin Owens and the “Phenomenal One” came about after they got fiercely physical in the Royal Rumble Match, and Owens proceeded to eliminate Styles. AJ was also snubbed by “Y2J” after he pinned the six-time world champion during his Monday Night Raw debut. These are two readymade programs for AJ Styles, but the sky’s the limit for WWE’s newest signee. I am confident that he will be main eventing WWE pay-per-views for years to come; hopefully, with any luck, AJ Styles will be in primetime with these three WWE Superstars.
By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Stardust def. Darren Young
I know I wasn't the only one surprised to see Stardust in action after he teased on Twitter on Monday that he was doing away with the gimmick. Now, that might be something coming down the road and not immediately, but sooner the better in my opinion as he's beyond irrelevant at this point and a change in character could do wonders for him. Meanwhile, I've said in the past that Young doesn't get the credit he deserves for being as competent of a worker as he is, and he certainly does try to get the crowd behind him during his matches. The audience was relatively quiet for this contest, but it was enjoyable while it lasted.
Titus O'Neil def. Tyler Breeze
Is it just me or is anyone else starting to get sick of Breeze's opponents mimicking his middle-of-the-rope taunt? It was funny when Jushin Liger did it in Brooklyn, but now everyone seems to be doing it and it's grown old fast. You don't need me to tell you that Breeze is stuck in a rut at the moment and how disappointing it is to see, but at least O'Neil is winning on a consistent basis. Now the question is whether they will ever elevate him to the next level with these victories or continue to relegate him to Superstars.
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