Elton's 12 Craziest Wrestling Predictions for 2022

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When wrestling fans look back on the year 2021, they'll enter a heated discussion over all the madness that transpired over its hectic 12 months.

Big E finally claimed the WWE Championship. Huge names like Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowman, and Keith Lee got released by the world's largest wrestling organization. AEW continued to build momentum by signing major stars such as CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, and Adam Cole. NXT got a major overhaul as it entered its "2.0" era. And Game Changer Wrestling managed to gain a ton of fan goodwill and notoriety as the latest premiere indy fed on the wrestling scene. Even with all those occurrences in mind, there's a wealth of other noteworthy happenings that blew everyone's minds in 2021. And judging by the final developments of the year, it's clear that the wide and wonderful world of wrestling is going to produce even more craziness in 2022.

I decided to get in my Miss Cleo bag here and take a look into the future. Here are 12 wild wrestling predictions that I'm betting the house on! At least five of these gotta come true, right...RIGHT? Alright, let's get into it!

1. Kevin Owens is #AllElite

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The rumor mills have made it clear that Kevin Owens' WWE contract is coming up in January 2022. And if so, my gut instincts are pointing to him rejecting a new contract offer in order to rejoin his Mouth Rushmore brethren in AEW. When you look at Owens' WWE career, it's filled with some highly celebrated accolades - NXT Champion, managed to defeat John Cena in his very first main roster match, Universal Champion, Intercontinental Champion, United States Champion, etc.

He's turned heel and face more times than I can count, been featured in some memorable storylines, and competed in some of the best matches I've watched in recent memory. But looking at his current trajectory in WWE leads me to believe that he'd eventually become someone along the lines of Cesaro - a Superstar who's only relied on to get good matches out of everyone instead of getting meaningful feuds to involve himself in. Owens will make his way to AEW in 2022 and probably become an amalgamation of his crazed ROH self and his "Fight Owens Fight!" WWE moniker on Tony Khan's grandest stage.

2. WALTER Wins the Royal Rumble and Faces Big E for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania


Yes, I know - rumors have pointed to Walter having little to no interest in staying in the States for a prolonged period of time. But now that he's no longer NXT UK Champion and really doesn't fit in with NXT 2.0's current direction, the only place I can see him excelling next is the main roster. I've watched far too many NXT call-ups get disrupted by horrible booking, but I think Walter's high intimidation factor and simple yet understandable gimmick might give him a fighting chance at doing something worthwhile on Raw or SmackDown.

I predict Walter will take the next logical step in his career by enjoying an extended run in the States as the newest member of the Raw roster. And I think his grand debut will occur at the 2022 Royal Rumble, where he'll outlast 30 other men and book his way into a match against WWE Champion Big E at WrestleMania. When you look at the lay of the land on Raw, Big E doesn't have a long list of strong contenders square off with. Bringing Walter into the fray would make for an enticing matchup that could truly freshen things up and present Big E with a natural rival that matches his size & stature.

3. Roman Reigns Continues to Hold the Universal Championship Through All of 2022


Is there anyone that can step up to Roman Reigns and believably relinquish him of the Universal Championship? I say no. I honestly feel like WWE has done a terrible job at building up someone fresh that could get a huge rub from besting SmackDown's "Tribal Chief." Sure, new blood like Ridge Holland is on the same brand as Roman. But I just can't imagine WWE rushing his push in a year's time to have him become the new face of Friday nights.

When it comes to already proven talent, Drew McIntyre has the biggest chance of stepping up to Roman and actually besting him. But watching Drew do the unthinkable doesn't sound nearly as exciting as a rising face doing the exact same thing. I don't have enough confidence in WWE building up someone proper in order to finally defeat Roman, which is why I presume he'll hold onto that Universal Championship all year long. His reign won't go any longer than the epic one Bruno Sammartino enjoyed, obviously. But Roman will keep his stronghold over Smackdown until 2023. Believe that!

4. Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kazuchika Okada Wrestle for AEW

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Masashi Hara/Getty Images

The teases for both of these New Japan Pro Wrestling legends coming to AEW have already been put in place. Hiroshi Tanahashi appeared in a video package for AEW's Fight for the Fallen event in 2021. As for the "Rainmaker" himself, Rocky Romero showing up in the company to make Best Friends official members of CHAOS was a clear indication of Kazuchika Okada's future appearance. Tony Khan's prophetic words after an edition of Rampage also leads me to believe that we'll witness Okada's money-filled entrance on an AEW PPV sometime in 2022.

It's practically inevitable at this point - the two main frontmen for NJPW will wrestle for AEW in 2022. I fully expect Tanahashi to come in and face off with a returning Jon Moxley with future IWGP US Heavyweight Championship contender implications. In the case of Okada, I think he'll pull up to AEW to do two things - aid his fellow CHAOS stablemates in Best Friends to take down their latest foes and rekindle one of the greatest NJPW feuds of all time by making a beeline for Kenny Omega.

5. Damian Priest and Piper Niven Win Their Respective Money in the Bank Matches

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When you take a look at the midcard landscape for both Raw and SmackDown, it's easy to start debating over who's primed to be the next Money in the Bank briefcase holders. I've done the exact same thing already and there are two clear candidates for such an honor. And they are none other than Raw's Damian Priest and Piper Niven (man, y'all know the vibes - I refuse to call her Doudrop). I sincerely believe Damian Priest will get his hands on either of WWE's top heavyweight titles sometime in 2023. And that road to top title status will begin when he wins the Men's MITB match in 2022.

As for the Women's MITB, I expect a dark horse winner that no one even expects. Piper's probably gonna be 2022's Nikki A.S.H. in which she shockingly claims the briefcase, cashes in shortly after winning it, and wins the women's championship of her choice in short order. And before you know it, that title reign will come to an end way too quickly and result in Piper going right back to doing much of nothing sadly. This is one of those predictions that totally depresses me 'cause I just know it'll come true...

6. Impact Wrestling Acquires the Services of Harry Smith, Lince Dorado, Oney Lorcan, and Tucker Knight

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The shocking amount of WWE releases that have gone down in 2021 still has everyone scratching their heads in confusion. It's understandable when a developmental talent you've never even seen on NXT gets their walking papers. But it was highly upsetting when major names such as Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowman, and Aleister Black ended up on WWE's cutting block. Impact Wrestling clearly has its eyes on the wide swatch of recently released talents - they acquired the services of wrestlers such as Heath, Matt Cardona, Chelsea Green, JONAH, Matthew Rehwoldt, etc. after all.

I have a feeling that Impact is going to pull in the sorts of names that didn't really get much of a chance to do a whole lot during the closing moments of their WWE tenures. In 2022, Harry Smith, Lince Dorado, Oney Lorcan, and Tucker Knight will end up singing with Impact and becoming major players for the organization. Harry and Tucker strike me as the type of talents that can easily be slotted into the world title scene, while Lince and Oney stand out to me as the sorts of wrestlers that will do amazing things in the X-Division.

7. MJF Captures the AEW World Championship

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He's better than you...and you know it. Maxwell Jacob Friedman has every right to keep reciting that catchphrase since he's proven it to be true all throughout 2021. MJF's fiery promos have its lovers and haters, but all of them have to agree on one fact that always rings true - they always nab plenty of attention. And in the ring, he's quieted all his doubters via incredible performances with Chris Jericho, Darby Allin, and Sammy Guevara. MJF hasn't captured any AEW titles as of yet. And when I consider which title is befitting of his status, my brain goes straight to the AEW World Championship (MJF's a bit above the TNT Championship, wouldn't you all say?).

"Hangman" Adam Page is the ultimate babyface that the crowd totally got behind as the reigning AEW World Champion. I feel like he'll get a long reign on par with the one Kenny Omega had and solidify his greatness even more. But who will be the man to defeat him for that much-lauded prize? It will be none other than AEW's resident jerk. The ultimate heel will prevail at some point near the end of 2022 (Full Gear, perhaps?) and carry the title into 2023 as the most hated champion in all of wrestling.

8. Keith Lee, Isaiah “Swerve” Scott, John Morrison, and Franky Monet Sign With AEW

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Yeah, it's time to get back to those aforementioned WWE releases. As soon as everyone learned about some of the bigger names getting "future endeavored," they began contemplating who should go where. In the case of AEW, most fans agree that its roster is quite bloated at the moment and might need to thin its ranks a bit if it hopes to feature the types of talents that have gone under the radar. Rumors say a bunch of contracted wrestlers that were signed at the start of AEW's tenure are nearing the end of their deals, which will play a huge part in getting the roster back to a manageable size.

Once those released names are announced, I'm sure Tony Khan will look to fill up those empty spots with some big signing from ROH and WWE. And when it comes to WWE, my gut tells me Keith Lee, Isaiah “Swerve” Scott, John Morrison, and Franky Monet will become #AllElite. Keith and Isaiah got the short end of the stick during their WWE main roster runs, so I'm sure they're ready to prove their worth on another big wrestling stage. As for John Morrison and Franky Monet, bringing them in as a package deal and rekindling their Lucha Underground chemistry is the best move to make. Johnny Elite sure has a nice ring to it!

9. WWE Releases Ricochet, Akira Tozawa, Apollo Crews, and T-BAR

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Yep, let's talk releases again! The culling of the WWE roster in 2021 was the biggest story of the year - fans lamented the firings of their favorite wrestlers and couldn't figure out why a company with so much financial success felt the need to cut so many of them. WWE releases are an annual thing, so you already know we're all going to wake up one morning in 2022 and be shocked by the latest round of them.

I hate to say it, but Ricochet, Akira Tozawa, Apollo Crews, and T-BAR will be among those names. I love Ricochet, but his post-2020 Super Showdown treatment lets me know he's already reached his ceiling within the company. Appolo's Nigerian heritage gimmick afforded him some TV time and even the Intercontinental Championship, but I don't see him doing anything of note now that he's on Raw. Akira Tozawa's an amazing wrestler that's been relegated to 24/7 Championship idiocy, which lets me know he's probably due for nothing worthwhile in the far and immediate future. And T-BAR? That horrible name and the stink of Retribution's failure won't do him any favors as a singles guy.

10. Game Changer Wrestling Gets a Cable Television Show on VICE TV

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Game Changer Wrestling has gotten the ball rolling as the latest must-see independent wrestling federation. Throughout 2021, GCW turned heads and made headlines as Matt Cardona, Jon Moxley, The Briscoes, and Nick Gage got engaged in some truly violent hardcore bouts. The mass fan goodwill GCW has gathered over time has led right into the company selling out the Hammerstein Ballroom for its January supershow at the top of 2022. The company has steadily been gaining more and more steam to the point where even casual onlookers have decided to give it a chance.

I'm fully convinced that they're secretly working on a TV deal behind the scenes that will come to fruition in the new year. VICE TV, which is a channel that's known for showing wrestling a lot of love via Dark Side of the Ring and airings of MLW (Major League Wrestling), will be the main destination of GCW. You heard it here first, folks! I'm betting the house on GCW making its cable TV debut with a late-night hour and a half of hardcore wrestling that'll make old-school ECW fans extremely thankful.

11. Katsuyori Shibata Faces Bryan Danielson on the NJPW Stage

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The NJPW hive came unglued once Katsuyori Shibata hit the ring to exchange holds with Zack Sabre Jr. on the final night of the 31st G1 Climax tournament. That 5-minute UWF rules exhibition gave everyone a glimpse into Shibata finally being able to compete in a New Japan ring on a regular schedule once again. After that exhibition came to a close, Shibata made it clear that he'll be wrestling in a proper match the next time we see him. I'm pretty sure he'll try to get his revenge on Kenta at Wrestle Kingdon 16.

And once that grudge match comes to a close, I know Shibata will have his eyes on some domestic and foreign talent worth facing next. At some point next year, Bryan Danielson will make the trek to New Japan for one of their tours. And when he does, I'm quite confident that Shibata will be one of the "American Dragon's" first opponents. That cross-promotional NJPW vs. AEW matchup will become a reality and the whole wrestling world will surely rejoice! The slaps, kicks, and submissions this match will feature will definitely be off the charts.

12. Darby Allin and Sting Win the AEW World Tag Team Championship

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AEW has utilized "The Man Called" Sting to perfection ever since he entered the company at 2020's Winter is Coming. Since then, the face-painted legend has fought alongside Darby Allin and clashed with the likes of Team Taz, 2Point0, The Gunn Club, and a host of other AEW duos. Sting's role as Darby's mentor has placed him in a good spot that maintains his relevancy and gives the crowd someone beloved to cheer for whenever his music hits. The tag team division in AEW is stacked, to say the least. With excellent teams such as FTR, the Young Bucks, the Lucha Bros, etc., it becomes hard for some of the lower-ranked tandems to break through to championship contender status.

My crystal ball is pointing towards Sting and Darby truly taking their partnership to the next level in 2022. And that's by fighting their way to the top of the tag team division and making a run for the straps. And whoever they face for the belts will end up falling to the face-painted tandem. Sting and Darby will have one of the most sentimental moments of the year when they capture the AEW World Tag Team Championship and celebrate with a very receptive crowd in attendance. Could this be Sting's final title run? Oh, for sure! But will it also mark his last crusade as a full-time competitor? I sure hope not...

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