Predictions for April 2004 (written April 18, 2002)
Prediction: By 2004, one or more of the Hardy Boys will be a main-event singles star. Probably Jeff because he's crazy, even though Matt is better.
Reality: Jeff Hardy was released from WWE in late 2003, and now works dates now and then with the cult Ring of Honor promotion. Matt Hardy is a main-event singles star-- on Sunday Night Heat. But hope springs eternal.
Score: 0 for 1
Prediction: By 2004, Brock Lesnar will have won the WWF Championship.
Reality: Well, this was an easy pick to make, given Lesnar's push immediately following his debut. For two years, he was the guy on SmackDown, feuding primarily with Kurt Angle on his way to three WWE Championships. He won his first title by defeating The Rock at SummerSlam 2002, and won his second and third titles over Kurt Angle, including a victory in the main-event of WrestleMania XIX. In addition, he won the Royal Rumble and the King of the Ring. As of now, he's no longer with the promotion, as he's allegedly gonna try out for the NFL.
Score: 1 for 2
Prediction: Bill Goldberg will not have wrestled for the WWF between now and 2004.
Reality: I underestimated just how desperate Goldberg was for the spotlight, apparently. Goldberg made his in-ring WWE debut by defeating The Rock at Backlash 2003, and defeated Triple H for the World Heavyweight Title at Unforgiven 2003. He lost the belt back to Triple H at Armageddon in a triple-threat match also involving Kane. Ironically, Goldberg's destiny would intersect with the subject of my previous prediction, Brock Lesnar. The two met at WrestleMania XX in a match that will forever be remembered for all the wrong reasons. Right now, Goldberg's status with WWE is unclear, although it's believed by most that he's no longer with the company.
Score: 1 for 3
Prediction: Low Ki' will be a star in the WWF, perhaps in the cruiserweight division.
Reality: Not only is Low Ki' not a star in WWE, he's not even in WWE. He's remained with NWA: TNA and other smaller promotions, and won the NWA X Title at one point. He has yet to make a WWE appearance, unless you include a match on Jakked back in, I think, 2000.
Score: 1 for 4
Prediction: Kane will still be around, and probably be a bigger star than he is now.
Reality: Kane is still around, and he's playing the monster psycho heel role very well, his squashing by The Undertaker at WrestleMania XX notwithstanding. As of right now, he's slated to meet the returning Edge at Backlash.
Score: 2 for 5
Prediction: Steve Austin will be either gone or on his way out.
Reality: Well, I was almost right with this one. Austin did walk out of WWE in mid-2002, and later became embroiled in a domestic disturbance with his now ex-wife Debra. He returned to WWE at No Way Out 2003, establishing a rivalry with RAW general manager Eric Bischoff that continues to this day. Currently, he's in a "sheriff" role on RAW, punishing those who violate "Austin's law".
Score: 2 for 6
Prediction: Rob Van Dam will have won the WWF Championship.
Reality: A prediction that seemed like a foregone conclusion in April 2002 has turned into a joke in April 2004. Rob Van Dam's been in midcard hell for the last year and a half, having to settle for the Intercontinental and World Tag Team Titles. In late March he was drafted from RAW to SmackDown, but it remains to be seen if his situation has actually improved.
Score: 2 for 7
Prediction: At least three of the McMahons will have an important role to play in storylines (most likely Vince, Shane and Stephanie).
Reality: At the moment, none of the McMahons are even on TV, with the exception of Vince, and even Vince is on TV in a limited capacity. However, all four of the McMahons have been integral parts of storylines in the past two years. Vince and Stephanie have feuded. Vince has feuded with Hulk Hogan and even had a match with him at WrestleMania XIX. Shane has had a vicious feud with Kane, which started when Kane attacked Shane's mother Linda. So I'm giving myself a point for this one, even if it isn't presently true.
Score: 3 for 8
Prediction: Chris Benoit will have won the WWF Championship.
Reality: Benoit still hasn't won the WWE Championship, but he did win RAW's World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XX, defeating Triple H and Shawn Michaels in a triple-threat match for the ages. Back when I wrote this, the World Heavyweight Title hadn't yet been re-established, so I'm giving myself a point for this one too.
Score: 4 for 9
Prediction: Kurt Angle will have won the WWF Tag Team Championship.
Reality: At least this one I can say occurred, without any provisions. Yes, Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit won the WWE Tag Team Championship (the new SmackDown! version of the title), defeating Rey Mysterio and Edge in a tournament final at No Mercy 2002. Angle and Benoit were the first champions, as a matter of fact.
Score: 5 for 10
Prediction: Kurt Angle will be one of the favorites to win the gold medal in freestyle wrestling at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
Reality: At the time, this seemed plausible. In fact, most of us were resigned to the fact that we'd lose Angle for a little while while he trained to get back into Olympic form. It was not to be, however, due to Angle's recurring injuries. As a matter of fact, at this time Angle is the newly-minted general manager of SmackDown!, and is no longer with WWE in a full-time wrestling capacity. His injuries are being given time to heal.
Score: 5 for 11
Prediction: Most of the old guys who've recently returned to the WWF will be gone, or at least gone in a full-time wrestling capacity.
Reality: At the time I wrote this, Billy Gunn, The Godfather, Val Venis and Mr. Perfect had recently returned to the WWF at Royal Rumble 2002. Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and Hollywood Hogan returned at No Way Out 2002. Of those seven guys, only two are still on the roster-- Gunn with SmackDown!, and Venis with RAW. And their roles are extremely limited. The Godfather disappeared pretty quickly. Scott Hall was gone after Backlash 2002. Kevin Nash was injured, gone for a year, came back as a RAW main-eventer and feuded with Triple H in 2003. He was unsuccessful in wresting the World Title away from The Game and eventually disappeared. Unfortunately, Mr. Perfect is no longer with us.
Hulk Hogan won the WWF Undisputed Championship from Triple H three days after I wrote this, and a month later lost the belt back to The Undertaker. He put over Brock Lesnar in a major way and disappeared for some time. He lost to The Rock at Backlash 2003, and defeated Vince McMahon at WrestleMania XIX. He did a storyline involving Vince, Zach Gowen and Kurt Angle that I missed most of because I'm rarely able to watch SmackDown. After that he disappeared, and will allegedly face NWA World Champion Jeff Jarrett at a big TNA show somewhere down the line.
Five out of seven ain't bad, so give me the win on this prediction.
Score: 6 for 12
Prediction: Sting will not have wrestled for the WWF between now and 2004.
Reality: Correct-amundo. I knew he wouldn't sell out to Vince. Sting wrestled for some time in the Australia-based World Wrestling All-Stars promotion, becoming the WWA Champion. Later, he lost the belt in a unification match to NWA World Champion Jeff Jarrett, and WWA ceased to exist as a viable promotion. Sting's currently plying his trade in TNA.
Score: 7 for 13
Prediction: Jeff Jarrett will not have wrestled for the WWF between now and 2004.
Reality: Again, correct. Jeff Jarrett has been the standard-bearer of the NWA: TNA promotion almost since its inception. He's won the NWA World Heavyweight Title on a couple of occasions. And there's no sign that "Double J" will return to WWE at any time in the near future.
Score: 8 for 14
Prediction: There will be a few upstart wrestling promotions that have a cult-like following; however, none will approach the WWF in terms of popularity or success.
Reality: WWE's overall stranglehold on the wrestling industry did indeed continue as I predicted, although NWA: TNA and Ring of Honor have struck a chord with wrestling fans looking for a viable alternative.
Score: 9 for 15
Prediction: A dominant cruiserweight division still will not exist in the WWF in 2004.
Reality: Ha! The more things change, the more they stay the same. WWE's cruiserweight division has, in fact, gotten more exposure thanks in part to its SmackDown-exclusivity, but the division is still nowhere near as dominant as it was in WCW circa 1996.
Score: 10 for 16
Prediction: A WWF Superstar who we've never even conceived of in 2002 will enjoy a tremendous run of success and be on top of (or very near the top of) the promotion by 2004.
Reality: Well, John Cena won the United States Championship at WrestleMania XX, but two years ago he was at least well-known in Ohio Valley Wrestling. Zach Gowen feuded with Vince McMahon, although he was never a legitimate threat to hold any title, let alone the WWE Championship. WWE has shown signs that it's serious about pushing former La Resistance member Rene Dupree, especially now that he's on his own with the SmackDown! roster. It's subject to interpretation, but I'm saying I probably didn't get this one.
Score: 10 for 17
Prediction: Edge and Christian will be back together as a tag-team by 2004.
Reality: Edge has been gone for most of the past year, and even when he was around, he was on SmackDown while Christian was on RAW. Edge recently returned from injury, and is now on the same show with Christian, but the two are clearly going on parallel courses.. Edge is getting a face push, possibly towards the main event, as he's set to take on Kane in his return match at Backlash 2004. Christian is feuding with Chris Jericho, having defeated him at WrestleMania XX when Trish Stratus turned on Y2J. Christian and Jericho are also scheduled to meet at Backlash. So while Edge and Christian are certainly not tag-teaming together, it looks like both, at least, are getting the opportunity to showcase their talents at the top of the card.
Final Score: 10 for 18 (55%)
So... I don't think I did too bad. Anyone else want to chip in with the results of their predictions?
“Chris Benoit, finally, is the Heavyweight Champion of this world!” --Jim Ross, WrestleMania XX
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Won the title on 5/27/02 from Lunacy in a hardcore match; lost the belt the following day to wheresitat42 via offbeat shenanigans
Regained the title on 7/3/02 by pinning SKLOKAZOID in a triple-threat match; lost the belt the next day to NickBockwinkelFan via heel chicanery
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