Even though the aesthetics of pro wrestling have undergone a sea change in recent decades, wrestling remains a relatively niche passion. Perhaps this is because mainstream audiences still find many of the key tropes of the genre to be outdated and incompatible with the social values of a more progressive discourse that has overtaken most of entertainment media. If 2018 has taught us anything, it’s that grapple addicts are ready for change that reflects the nuances of the era we live in: we want complicated characters, less corporate influence, gender parity, no more racist storylines, and more.
2018 was a fairly momentous year as far as pro wrestling goes: from the first ever all-women’s Pay Per View held by the WWE to the creation of super-indie showcase ALL IN and beyond. 2019 is shaping up to be just as revolutionary. Looking forward, wrestling’s future is clearly bright: a new generation of rising stars are poised to reshape the commonly held beliefs about the medium.
Here are five predictions for what's going to matter in 2019.