The landscape of WWE is always changing and it’s difficult to predict who will be WWE World Heavyweight Champion next week, let alone a year from now. However, a conversation during a meeting at WWE.com quickly turned into a heated debate over where WWE will be in five years.
A small group of WWE.com editors took on the challenge of predicting where John Cena, Dean Ambrose and more will be by the year 2019. Who do we think will be champion? Where will WrestleMania be held? Check out our forecasts and let us know where YOU think WWE will be five years from now in the comments section.
1.) John Cena will be Raw General Manager
It may be difficult to fathom, but five years from now John Cena’s in-ring career will be winding down. By 2019, Cena will have surpassed Ric Flair to become the first 19-time World Champion in sports-entertainment history, and he’ll be ripe for induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. That’s not to say that the Cenation leader no longer grapples, but his competitive in-ring appearances will be reserved for his most bitter rivalries, and will only take place on The Grandest Stage of Them All — WrestleMania.
Nevertheless, Cena won’t be a “part-time” Superstar. He will still be on Raw nearly every week but rather than active competition, Cena will be Raw’s most successful and fair General Manager. He will keep WWE authority figures in check and make sure Raw remains the most action-packed show on television. Of course, the 19-time World Champion will have his enemies, but he’ll be the first to get physical if the situation arises.
2.) Roman Reigns will be on a WrestleMania win streak
The WWE Universe was ready to write off WrestleMania undefeated streaks forever in 2014, when Brock Lesnar inconceivably conquered The Undertaker’s vaunted 21-year record in New Orleans. Yet, the heartache of that loss would soften over time, thanks to an emerging new streak belonging to Roman Reigns.
By 2019, The Road to WrestleMania chatter will be dominated not only by talk of the WWE World Heavyweight Title Match, but also speculation over whether the Superman Punch will notch yet another victory at The Showcase of the Immortals. (In certain WrestleMania seasons, those conversations might be one and the same.) After netting his first two Show of Shows wins as a member of The Shield, Reigns will be closing in on 7-0 by the time of WrestleMania XXXV. His streak may never reach Phenom proportions, but interest in Reigns’ insane success on The Grandest Stage of Them All might just make “Showcase of the Superman Punch” a T-shirt slogan someday.
3.) Hideo Itami will be Mr. Money in the Bank
Five years after making his explosive debut in WWE NXT, Hideo Itami will have proven himself as one of the most celebrated international Superstars in WWE history, waging a memorable succession of back-and-forth battles with the likes of Cesaro, Daniel Bryan and Sami Zayn. Having thrice captured the Intercontinental Championship — becoming the first Japanese-born competitor to hold the title — Itami now sets his sights on the WWE World Heavyweight Title in 2019’s high-flying Money in the Bank Ladder Match.
Overcoming several of his fellow NXT alumni, including the indomitable Finn Bálor, Itami will ensnare the briefcase and stalk reigning WWE World Heavyweight Champion Dean Ambrose and his vocal advocate, WWE COO Paul Heyman. Countering Heyman’s cruel machinations and Ambrose’s mind games with unsettling silence, Itami’s kinetic style and extreme discipline will make him the greatest threat to Ambrose’s historic title reign. As always, Itami’s strategy is simple: His style is kick.
4.) WWE NXT will compete with Raw for brand supremacy
Triple H has stated that he sees NXT growing from WWE’s developmental territory into a brand that can compete with WWE’s main roster. With time to cultivate some of the best young talent from the independent scene and abroad, along with athletes from outside the industry willing to learn the mat game at the WWE Performance Center, the high-octane action of NXT will definitely give Raw and SmackDown a run for its money in five years.
The stellar success of NXT will lead to a rift in the McMahon Family, as Triple H sides with the brand he help build, while Stephanie McMahon leads the charge for WWE. The battle for squared-circle supremacy will come to a head at WrestleMania XXXVI, when the main roster’s top stars clash with the best NXT has to offer in a “best-of-seven” Series for bragging rights.
5.) There will be a WWE Network Champion
Shawn Michaels always topped himself on The Grandest Stage of Them All, earning the nickname “Mr. WrestleMania.” Rob Van Dam had a knack for shining bright on pay-per-view, so ECW announcer Joey Styles dubbed him “Mr. PPV.” With “Mr. WrestleMania” indisputable and “Mr. PPV” undeniable, WWE wanted a Superstar to rule the ring on WWE Network. Taking a cue from the Television Titles of old, WWE will create the WWE Network Championship, a title that is defended exclusively on the network.
The hottest Superstars in WWE and NXT will square off in a tournament to crown the first champion, with Tyler Breeze overcoming the best to win the title. Breeze will be highly successfully and defend the title everywhere from WWE NXT to WrestleMania. Breeze will establish a reputation far removed from “Prince Pretty” and “King Comely” thanks to a 10-month reign with the Network Title. However, seeing his success, the list of challengers grows, as everyone wants to show they dominate when WWE Network cameras are rolling.
7.) Dean Ambrose will be the longest reigning WWE World Heavyweight Champion of modern times
First things first, Dean Ambrose is going to win the title. The title. The WWE World Heavyweight Title. And he ain’t gonna let it go, wheeling and dealing his way to what will become the longest recorded reign since the unification of the two championships. Having already proven himself as a master of disguise, chicanery and otherwise unsavory techniques, he’ll channel Ric Flair and empty his bag of dirty tricks to extend his reign through multiple pages of the calendar.
Ambrose will do this with help from a man who’s no stranger to representing underhanded, record-breaking champions: Paul Heyman, whose work as the advocate for Brock Lesnar, CM Punk and others will earn him the spot of COO after Triple H abdicates the position for a larger role. In other words, Paul Heyman will, for all intents and purposes, finally be running WWE, and Dean Ambrose will be his newest and greatest “Guy.” Hey, stranger things have happened.
8.) WrestleMania will be held in China
WrestleMania has become the greatest spectacle in all of entertainment, so it might shock some to learn that WWE has never held its signature event outside of North America. The last major pay-per-view to take place on a different continent was SummerSlam 1992 more than 20 years ago. But in 2019, all of that will change when WrestleMania XXXV packs nearly 80,000 WWE fans into the architectural marvel of Shanghai Stadium.
Hailed by many as the world’s next great superpower, China was a clear pick for WWE’s first international WrestleMania. And with John Cena nearly fluent in Mandarin, Shanghai was a natural choice over the Cantonese-speaking Beijing and Guangzhou.
WWE will take full advantage of the city’s state-of-the-art facilities. All weekend long, WrestleMania Axxess will be held at the incredible World Expo Exhibition and Convention Center. And the night before the big event, nearly 20,000 fans and Superstars will attend the WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony held at the Mercedes-Benz Arena — fondly referred to by locals as The Clam Shell — where WWE will induct Japanese legend The Great Muta and, fittingly, Chyna.