Each year WWE plans ahead and usually already has the next year’s WrestleMania planned before Christmas, but while every card is subject to change it seems that some of the booking decisions that WWE actually went with in 2017 will continue to affect them throughout next year. The company can still change their plans up to five minutes before the show and sometimes there are plans still being changed when it comes to the main event but somehow the company has still managed to get so many decisions wrong.
There are a number of stars in WWE right now about whom it could be argued that they never deserved the place they retained on the WWE card for most of the year and they took a place that could have been used for someone who had worked for it. Also, WWE has been so focused on teasing angles for the new year recently that they haven’t been able to push the newer stars on the roster to the places that they should have been in this late in the year.
Simply put, WWE has made some of their biggest mistakes over the past 12 months and it seems that it isn’t over yet. Many of these mistakes will continue to play out throughout the beginning of 2018 and the fans will be forced to witness the fallout. The following list looks at just 15 of the mistakes that the company made over the past year that they really wish they could take back.
15. Jinder Mahal As Champion
Jinder Mahal was WWE’s project for most of the year as the company attempted to push wrestling into India and used Jinder as the spearhead for this campaign. WWE thought that by making Jinder WWE Champion they would ensure that the 1.3 billion people in India would then begin watching wrestling, despite the fact that many people were already aware that Jinder is Canadian.
Mahal wasn’t the kind of Champion that a nation could get behind, as he cheated and used the numbers game throughout his matches and needed The Singh Brothers and The Great Khali to help him retain the title on a number of occasions. The WWE Universe was ecstatic when he finally dropped the title back in November and it seems that just like that, the Jinder project was over, merely months after it began. The sad part now is that heading into 2018, Jinder could be the man to win The Royal Rumble, something that he desperately now needs to remain relevant.
14. Promoting Shinsuke Nakamura Before SmackDown Was Ready
When John Cena left WWE and went on hiatus following WrestleMania earlier this year, SmackDown Live was in need of a new face that could control the brand. It was decided that former NXT Champion Shinsuke Nakamura was the man to take his place, but he hasn’t quite been able to rise to the task.
Nakamura hasn’t been the same on the main roster and while many fans are blaming the star himself because his matches have been subpar, it seems that the company has also been at fault for not only putting him in feuds that make him look bad but also allowing him to be pinned clean by Jinder Mahal back at SummerSlam. The Japanese star hasn’t managed to recover from this yet and it seems that heading into 2018 he will be trying to ensure that he has a decent feud moving forward that will allow him to compete at his first WrestleMania.
13. The Treatment Of The Tag Team Division
WWE’s Tag Team Division on both brands has seemingly been nonexistent for most of the year, with The Club, Breezango and The Ascension hardly being used, The Revival being injured for the past few months and Rusev only recently forming a bond with Aiden English to allow the duo to compete as a team.
Enzo and Cass, The Hype Bros and DIY all split this year as it seems that WWE has preferred to focus on teams like The Shield, The New Day, Cesaro and Sheamus and The Usos. Raw’s past two Champions have been teams that the company has put together themselves rather than depending on teams who had already climbed the ranks in the company. It’s been a horrific year to be a tag team in WWE and the new year isn’t looking much brighter, with former NXT Tag Team Champions The Authors of Pain at the top of the list for a WWE call-up.
12. What Happened to Finn Balor?
Finn Balor was once one of WWE’s hottest up and coming talents. During his time in NXT, Finn was able to control the entire brand as Champion as well as main eventing a number of pay-per-views that helped to put the show on the map. Finn was later promoted to the main roster and became the inaugural Universal Champion, a title he was forced to relinquish due to injury the day after SummerSlam in 2016.
Balor finally returned to action on the Raw After WrestleMania back in April and it seems that the company has thrown away all of the work that they put into Balor over the past few years because it was reported that WWE Chairman Vince McMahon doesn’t think that he’s over enough to face Universal Champion Brock Lesnar at The Royal Rumble, even though Finn is a former Champion. Finn needs to prove himself next year or he could end up in the same position as his former Bullet Club friends on WWE Main Event on a weekly basis.
11. Money In The Bank
The history-making first ever Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match took place back in May, but instead of it being a moment that the wrestling world would remember forever, it was a moment that WWE ensured their fans would never stop talking about. Controversial would be the best name for it, as James Ellsworth was the one to climb the ladder, retrieve the case and then hand it off to Carmella to ruin the historic match for all of the women involved.
Ellsworth has since been released from WWE, but it seems that his actions will live long in the memory since next year’s Money in the Bank is now a dual brand event and it could mean that there are two women’s matches for two separate cases on each brand. The WWE Universe will be on edge throughout these now, wondering if there will be interference once again since the WWE Chairman has no confidence in the women to be able to steal the show alone.
10. Dean Ambrose Injury
It is currently unknown what kind of effect Dean Ambrose‘s recent injury is going to have on WWE heading into 2018, but the outlook is so bleak that he could be forced to miss his first WrestleMania in six years. The Shield member is reportedly going to be injured for a number of months and he required surgery, something that he underwent recently on his right arm.
Ambrose was in the middle of a storyline with his teammate Seth Rollins and the duo was set to go back after the Raw Tag Team Championships heading into the new year. With no Ambrose to team with and no feud heading into WrestleMania without The Lunatic Fringe, it is unknown what Rollins will actually be doing moving forward, but the upcoming Christmas day episode of Monday Night Raw could hold some of the answers that the WWE Universe has been searching for.
9. The Decline Of Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler is a former World Champion and one of WWE’s Grand Slam Champions, as well as being a former Mr Money in the Bank, but 2017 could be considered the worst year of The Showoff’s career since Dolph failed to win a single match on pay-per-view or pick up a title until Clash of Champions.
Dolph’s new gimmick went down like a lead balloon and the current United States Champion celebrated his title win last week on SmackDown by leaving the title in the middle of the ring and walking away. It is unknown if he has vacated the Championship yet or not, but with rumours that Ziggler’s WWE contract is set to run out in 2018, it seems that this will be an interesting story over the next few months. The fact that WWE decided to give Ziggler the Championship over someone like Roode, who deserved that spot, was a confusing creative decision, to say the least.
8. The WWE Women’s Division
What can be said about The WWE Women’s Division this year? There was so much hope back in 2016 with the women’s Ironman match, main eventing Raw and even the Hell in a Cell main event, but WWE has seemingly allowed this all to slip away. Bayley has been on the biggest decline of her career, despite being Women’s Champion back in February, while WWE has promoted five women recently who didn’t look fully prepared to be welcomed to the main roster.
The company has been building towards the Women’s Royal Rumble match for the past few months but many of the women who were recently promoted seem to be exposing the division up for all of its flaws rather than helping it to move forward. WWE needs to start using the women that they already have over the next few months rather than bringing in other women who are unprepared and cringeworthy to watch.
7. The Curious Case Of Mike Kanellis
Mike Kanellis, or Mike Bennett, who has been on the Ring of Honor and Impact Wrestling roster for the past few years, was brought to WWE back in May and was thought to be a star who was set to be the face of the SmackDown Brand alongside his wife Maria.
Mike was part of the show for a few weeks while feuding with Sami Zayn before it was announced that his wife was expecting the couple’s first child and Zayn has fallen out of favour with Vince McMahon. The story was that Vince wasn’t happy with the shape that Mike was in and thought that he had been sitting around ever since he has signed and wasn’t ready to work for his place in the company. Sadly, Vince is the man who pulls all of the strings and without his backing, Mike has disappeared from WWE TV. It’s likely that he could resurface in the Royal Rumble, but to what end? He won’t win the match so that would just further bury a star that hasn’t even been given a platform yet.
6. The Mistreatment Of The Cruiserweight Division
The 205 Live Division has been the most underused division that WWE has at their disposal over the past year. Not only was Neville the shining light when he was made The King of The Cruiserweights, but their treatment of the British star over the past few months has been shocking as well.
Neville was the standout Cruiserweight star and for the company to allow Enzo Amore to become the Champion in a short match where he was forced to cheat and then to screw Neville out of a rematch is low even for WWE. Neville walked out of WWE a number of months ago and the company has since been trying hard to bring him back, but he’s not willing to budge. 205 Live will either cease to be a show after 2017 or be merged with the UK Division because it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere right now.
5. Triple H Stealing The Spotlight
Triple H unsurprisingly had one of the biggest storylines heading into WrestleMania this year where he lost to Seth Rollins before he disappeared from TV once again for a number of months so that he can continue his duties behind the scenes in NXT.
The Game then resurfaced before this year’s Survivor Series when he stole Jason Jordan’s place and put himself in the Survivor Series Elimination Match. Obviously, Triple H wasn’t there to help his wife’s brand, which could be why he decided to pedigree Kurt Angle, who was on the same team as him. He also then took out Shane McMahon because the two still seem to have their own issues. If this isn’t building towards Triple H up against Kurt Angle at WrestleMania, then it seems that the entire scenario at Survivor Series was for absolutely nothing and took away from many of the younger stars who could have made a difference.
4. John Cena Equalling Ric Flair’s Record
John Cena’s rise in WWE has been a steady one over the past few years, but it was always known that one day he would be the leader of the CeNation who equalled Ric Flair’s long-standing record. It was the way that it was done that many fans are still angry about.
SmackDown Live was the house that AJ Styles built and it had been ever since the brand split. Cena then returned at the beginning of this year and despite not doing anything for the SmackDown brand, he was allowed a Championship match and won the title at the first attempt at The Royal Rumble. Not only that, but Cena then dropped it a month later at Elimination Chamber, so it seems that WWE just wanted Cena to equal the record regardless of the circumstances. Cena is now on to make history and become a 17-time Champion next year, something that will definitely be one of his main focuses.
3. Enzo Amore Becoming Cruiserweight Champion
Enzo Amore isn’t one of WWE’s best wrestlers or even one that the Cruiserweight Division could consider their best, which defeats the purpose of the show by allowing him to become the Champion. Amore was hired by WWE because he can talk; The 205 Live brand is all about high-flying stunts from the best wrestlers in the world and it seems that he doesn’t make the cut.
Many of the WWE Universe are still scratching their heads when it comes to why Enzo was made the Champion to begin with, but it seems that it’s something that the Cruiserweights have had to learn to deal with. Amore isn’t well-liked backstage and was moved to 205 because he was kicked out of the locker room by many main roster stars. He isn’t the kind of star anyone would want representing their brand and could be the main reason why 205 Live isn’t considered to be popular anymore.
2. Roman Reigns Defeating The Undertaker At WrestleMania
Roman Reigns has been being primed to be a top star in WWE over the past few years, but this year his push reached a new level when he was chosen to face The Undertaker at WrestleMania. Not only was Roman able to defeat The Deadman, but Undertaker then left his attire in the ring and exited the arena for what was seemingly the last time.
Undertaker hasn’t been seen in WWE since this defeat, but it is thought that he will play a huge part in Raw’s 25th Anniversary show next month where it could be announced that Undertaker will have another match at WrestleMania this year. It could be the long rumoured match against John Cena. If this is the case then it seems that this year’s loss at WrestleMania was pretty much pointless, and Roman won’t even be given the rub of being the man who retired the legend.
1. Daniel Bryan And Shane McMahon Teases
Daniel Bryan was forced to retire from WWE back in 2016 when it was revealed that the WWE doctors refused to clear the former World Champion to return to the ring. Over the past year, Bryan has been the General Manager of SmackDown Live and WWE is well aware that his contract runs out in April next year, and Bryan wants to return to the Independent Circuit.
It seems that the teases for a match between Bryan and Shane McMahon have already begun with their interactions over the past few weeks, but with the word still being that Daniel Bryan hasn’t been cleared to compete with WWE and isn’t likely to be, why would WWE tease this kind of match? The WWE Universe will only be disappointed now when it’s revealed that it was never going to be a storyline that was resolved with a WrestleMania match between the two.
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