Roman Reigns to have lengthy title run, John Cena beats the Undertaker, Braun Strowman gets revenge on Triple H and Shinsuke Nakamura wins Royal Rumble: WWE predictions for 2018
The Miz to get a WWE World Heavyweight title run on SmackDown among the other forecasts for the coming 12 months.
In the early weeks of 2018 here are some predictions and forecasts on what will unfold on WWE programming in the next 12 months.
Roman Reigns to have a long reign as WWE Universal champion
One of the biggest givens is that at WrestleMania 34 on April 8 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans Roman Reigns will win the WWE Universal title from Brock Lesnar.
The WWE still sees Reigns as their No 1 guy. Lesnar was supposed to put Reigns over in San Jose three years at WrestleMania 31, but the negative crowd reactions from fans led them to go to Plan B and have Seth Rollins cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase instead to be champion.
In hindsight it was a good move as Reigns was not ready for the role of carrying the brand at that time. He is a lot more credible now, even if some fans still boo him, due to his consistent high level of matches with a variety of opponents.
It has been clear since Lesnar retained his title against opponents in Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman, who both had a lot of upside for having runs as champion, that Lesnar v Reigns II has been the end game for the WWE creative.
Reigns will kick out of the F-5 and win, no doubt to a mixed reaction and then his real work begins.
He is a three-time champion but he has never had a lengthy reign before. Expect him to carry the belt until Survivor Series, if not longer, as the WWE get behind their man.
John Cena v The Undertaker will finally take place
The WWE have played the past 10 months since WrestleMania 33 in Orlando with the Undertaker beautifully.
While the Deadman's actions after losing to Reigns in the main event screamed retirement as he left his jacket and hat in the ring, the WWE have never officially acknowledged that it was his final match.
On the one hand, the Undertaker looked physically spent last year, but with hip surgery having been completed he may well be in better shape for a match and this may well be his wish to sign off with a better finale.
The match with Reigns was a disappointing affair and a blockbuster clash with John Cena has the potential to be a cracking match-up.
That is, with the very big caveat, that Undertaker can function physically.
But WWE must not let the match go more than 15 minutes. Reigns v Undertaker was far too long and the last minutes dragged on.
Cena to win a fun match and Undertaker to bow out on a better note.
Triple H to screw over Braun Strowman at Royal Rumble to set up WrestleMania match
The seeds for this were set at Survivor Series when Strowman attacked Triple H for his selfish actions in the 5x5 elimination main event.
Strowman has been excellent in the big man role on Raw and all that is missing is a WrestleMania moment.
That comes in April. Watch for Triple H interfering in the Royal Rumble WWE World Heavyweight title match to take Strowman out of proceedings when well placed and allow Lesnar to retain his title in the triple threat match, which also includes Kane.
Triple H will put Strowman over at WrestleMania, hopefully in a quick match of no longer then 15 minutes.
The question for Strowman after that is what next and a move to SmackDown is on the horizon.
With Reigns set for a long reign as top dog on Raw, and the pair having feuded heavily in 2017, Strowman is unlikely to be too near the title scene on Raw.
A move to SmackDown gives him more fresh feuds and the likelihood of a first title run either late in 2018 or early 2019.
Shinsuke Nakumura to win the Royal Rumble
With a stacked WrestleMania on the horizon, the WWE can afford to experiment a little with the main event scene.
The WWE have been inconsistent, at best, with their booking of Shinsuke Nakamura since he came up from NXT.
Losing twice to Jinder Mahal could have derailed main a WWE Superstar's career but Nakamura remains over.
The WWE have a chance here to give him a major push and regain the momentum lost by his summer feud with Mahal.
Have him win the Rumble, eliminating Randy Orton last to set up a mini-feud between him and the Viper before he has a showdown with AJ Styles in New Orleans for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
How he fares in February and March can help WWE whether to give Nakamura a run as champion, or have Styles continue on with the title into the summer.
Asuka to dominate the Raw women's division
Asuka will make history at the end of the month by winning the first Women's Royal Rumble and will then go to WrestleMania 34 to dethrone Alexa Bliss.
WWE has a real superstar in their hands in Asuka and they need to a) keep her strong and b) unbeaten for as long as possible.
A dominant 2018 is on the cards for the Japanese woman to set her up for a dream match with Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania 35.
The Miz to become WWE World Heavyweight champion
I am reluctant to completely say that moving the Miz to Raw was a mistake.
That is because as usual he has made the most of the situation and he remains the best natural heel on WWE programming.
Expect him to get moved back to SmackDown so that he can feud with AJ Styles over the summer for the title.
The Miz's act is ten times what it was back in 2010-11 when he had his one and only WWE title run to date and he definitely deserves another go at the top.
That will not come on Raw with the focus on Reigns, so a move back to the blue brand will help him achieve his goal of being WWE champion.
Updated: January 12, 2018 06:30 PM