5 Things That Need To Happen By The End of WrestleMania 38: Retrospective
Updated: Apr 27, 2022
Reverse Hipster's List
5. King Woods
I said Xavier Woods needed to be crowned as the King of The Ring in our original list, and I was right on the money with that. King Woods became King Woods after beating Finn Balor in the King of the Ring tournament. Now, I originally said that Woods should beat Jey Uso, and it should play into the Roman Reigns story. That didn't happen, but once King Woods won, the New Day did fight the Bloodline. So it did happen, but in another way.
Overall, King Woods has been good. He has an awesome crown, he has picked up some wins, and has been more credible than before. Also, now Woods has been King of the Ring, Kofi has been World Champion, and Big E has been WWE Champion. However, Big E being WWE Champion and Xavier being King of the Ring led to them being split up, and I think the New Day would have been better if they were able to thrive as a group.
4. Big E vs. John Cena
I said that John Cena should come back and face Big E at SummerSlam, and solidify Big E as a singles star. I thought it be a good match and an excellent way to establish Big E as a star on his way to a world title reign. Big E didn't end up winning the IC Championship, but he did win Money in the Bank and went on to become WWE Champion. Big E's reign as champion wasn't booked well. He was thrust into the title picture to draw ratings for a week instead of as a way to get the most out of his title reign. Reports indicated that the WWE locker room wasn't happy with how he was treated during his reign. He lost it to Brock Lesnar at Day One in one of the year's worst moments. However, Big E was world champion, and nobody can take that away from him.
Roman Reigns ended up getting the match with John Cena at SummerSlam and he won it, further cementing him as a star. It's currently Roman's peak as champion. The IC championship has been dead ever since Shinsuke Nakamura won it from Apollo Crews.
3. Ruby Riott to NXT
I said that Ruby needed to move down to NXT and revitalize her career. The NXT I was talking about then doesn't even exist anymore, and it's become NXT 2.0. However, it still remains a popular destination for main roster talent to be better utilized. Dolph Ziggler went down to NXT and won the world title, and Mandy Rose has totally reignited her career as NXT women's champion with Toxic Attraction.
Unfortunately, Ruby wasn't given a chance to do this. She was fired, and she signed with AEW. She had a big push, initially making it to the finals of the TBS tournament and nearly becoming champion. However, she has been off television most weeks after losing that match. I think she would have been way better off if WWE hadn't fired her, and she would have gone to NXT. Even Liv Morgan, who is underutilized, is being used way better than Ruby has been in AEW.
2. Queen Of Ring
I predicted that WWE would do a Queen of the Ring tournament. I was 100 percent right. WWE did the Queen's Crown Tournament at Crown Jewel. However, WWE messed up the second part of my prediction, and that made a lot of the difference. I predicted they would do it at Evolution 2. It would make sense because part of the tournament could take up a PPV just like the men used to have the King of the Ring PPV. Also, because it's a tournament, it would have a natural TV build. Also, I thought it would be a slam dunk for Evolution 2 because it has stakes and something actually on the line, unlike Evolution 1.
However, WWE completely bungled the tournament. From the guys that brought you Santino Marella, winning Mrs. WrestleMania in the Divas Legacy Battle Royal, and James Ellsworth, pulling down the first-ever women's Money in the Bank briefcase, it's Queen's Crown in Saudi Arabia.
WWE booked the first-ever Queen's Crown like someone had a gun to the head of one of their loved ones. Everything about it said we don't really want to do this, but we have to. Every match was super short, like Divas Era short. All the heavy hitters of the women's division weren't involved in the Queen's Crown. Still, foolishly people had hope at the very least Liv Morgan could win and finally have a crowning moment for all she had done in the past year, but nope. It went to Zelina, which still could have worked. However, Zelina won the tag team championships with Carmella and was barely used until it was time to drop the titles at WrestleMania.
1. Cesaro Becomes Champion
I predicted it would be Cesaro's year, but it was not. At the time of my prediction, Cesaro had proven he could stand toe to toe with Roman Reigns, and he had re-signed with WWE. However, it appears WWE only gave him that title shot to dangle the carrot in his face to get him to sign. Because for the rest of the year, WWE booked Cesaro terribly. He lost on regular TV to Corbin. Cesaro didn't get another title shot of any kind and seemed to be just floating in the WWE ether until he left the company when his contract ran out. I was as wrong as I could be on this one. It's a shame because he would probably still be with WWE if I was right.
5. Backstage Team Gets A Facelift
I hoped that we would have seen some concrete steps to replace Vince McMahon, Kevin Dunn, and Bruce Prichard in the last year. We did get some newer faces backstage, especially in roles that produce matches, but creative is much the same. You could even argue that the opposite happened. After Triple H’s health scare, new creative took over, and the much-loved NXT became NXT 2.0. The whole brand changed back to more of a developmental brand, and we stepped away from the wrestling-heavy, independent wrestler-loaded promotion. Now, we have WWE staples like name changes galore and most wrestling signings coming from athletes with no prior wrestling experience. It’s not all bad, but it definitely doesn’t match my prediction.
4. Paige Gets One Last Run
Clearly, this didn’t happen, but I still have hopes. A recent tweet from Paige said that she was inspired by Edge and Daniel Bryan’s recovery, and everyone’s road to recovery is different. If there are still health issues, I’m glad that she didn’t rush a return to in-ring. It does seem increasingly like just the time off wrestling can get people to a place where they feel comfortable having one more match. Look no further than Stone Cold Steve Austin! The old WWE adage of never say never still holds true. It just didn’t happen this year.
3. Building A Women’s Tag Division
This post aged like milk. Rereading it, I wanted them to go all-in on the Riott Squad, Natalya/Tamina, Naomi/Lana, Ember Moon/Shotzi Blackheart, and Candice LeRae/Indi Hartwell. None of those teams are still together, and many of those stars are no longer in WWE. I think the main point of my argument was that I wanted them to invest in making real teams and not just duos of women. To that point, I don’t think they made any steps. Every pair of champions of the last year has been forgettable. Many of them aren’t even together anymore. But I have to say that the build and finish to WrestleMania 38 made me more optimistic that WWE are willing to invest time and talent to the Women’s tag division. If they do that, with their talent level, I think they made at least a half step toward this coming true.
2. NXT At Survivor Series And Debuts
I wanted WWE to go all-in on NXT as a third brand that offers something different than Raw and SmackDown. I loved their inclusion at Survivor Series 2019, but it wasn’t meant to be in 2021. I also thought NXT should be involved in the Superstar Shakeup, and I think I should get a half a point for this. Finn Balor went back to Raw, and regular NXT-ers like Pete Dunne went to the main roster. On top of that, WWE allowed Dolph Ziggler and Mandy Rose to go back to NXT and even end WrestleMania weekend as the two champions of the brand. I think that illustrates that at least that part is a good idea for WWE to manage some of their underutilized stars, elevating NXT and giving their stars something to be more excited about.
1. Rising Stars Win World Titles
My two main predictions here were a swing and a miss: Cesaro to win the Universal Championship and Riddle to win the WWE Championship. After beating Seth Rollins at WrestleMania 37 and feuding with Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship, Cesaro never got close to that level again, and he’s now no longer with the company. Riddle had an excellent year, but he stayed with Randy Orton the whole time, and he didn’t really ever return to his singles push. In terms of any rising star winning a world championship, Roman Reigns held on to the Universal Championship all year, so that is out. Big E won his first WWE championship in an excellent cash-in, but that feels like a creative lifetime ago since he returned to the New Day and was seriously injured before WrestleMania.
Fantasy Booking Chapter 6 Royal Rumble
Find out who I would book to win the Royal Rumble. Also, have you ever wondered what would happen if Brock Lesnar won the IC Championship? Find out the answer to this question as well as how I would book the Bloodline and Women's Tag Titles at Royal Rumble on Patreon. Join the Patreon, support the blog, and get access to this long-term fantasy booking of The Bloodline that will conclude at WrestleMania.