The new year is upon us, with professional wrestling looking to be in for a big year. Triple H in charge of the WWE as the product feels as fresh as ever, AEW seems like they are finally recovered from the rough end to 2022, Impact Wrestling is firing on all cylinders and New Japan Pro Wrestling has kicked off 2023 in grand fashion with Wrestle Kingdom 17. Now there are many other great promotions out there such as NOAH, Stardom, PWG, Revolver, AJPW, GCW, and many more, but this article will just be focused on WWE. AEW, NJPW, and Impact.
10. WWE has some big surprises in store for the Royal Rumble
With the WWE allowing Shinsuke Nakamura to wrestle The Great Muta on January 1st and allowing Karl Anderson to work Wrestle Kingdom in New Japan Pro Wrestling on January 4th, we could possibly see them get some return compensation in Rumble appearances from those respective companies to surprise the fans. With this being The Great Muta’s final year and him never being in a Royal Rumble match, we could very well see him make an appearance in exchange for Shinsuke Nakamura going to NOAH. As for Karl Anderson going to New Japan, I’ll throw a couple predictions: For the Women’s Royal Rumble, I believe we get KAIRI (Kairi Sane) returning in an appearance. Either that, or Minoru Suzuki shocks the world and enters the Men’s Royal Rumble.
9. WWE Makes More Free Agent Splashes
The WWE recently signed Dragon Lee, and it’s clear they are back to not only trying to create homegrown talent, but also bring in top independent and free agent stars into the company. Some names to watch out for include KC Navaro, who recently had a tryout with the WWE and was pulled from a couple Indy events afterwards. Another big name would be Nick Aldis, who will be free of his NWA contract in January 2023. Jacob Fatu previously had a WWE tryout in the past, but since then has vastly improved with his 819 day-reign as MLW World Champion and is also a part of the Anoa’i family.
8. ROH Relaunch on Honor Club Goes Well
ROH will be coming back as a weekly show as part of the Honor Club relaunch in 2023. For $9.99 a month, you not only get the weekly ROH show, but also every Ring of Honor show since 2002. It also seems as though upcoming ROH PPV’s will be available on the service after a certain time period. The entire ROH library will attract various die-hard wrestling fans to subscribe, never mind the new weekly show.
7. Following Historic Reign, Josh Alexander Loses Impact World Championship to Mike Bailey at Slammiversary
Josh Alexander is currently the longest reigning Impact World Champion. On January 4th, he broke the record at 257 days. Alexander could possibly surpass an entire year as Champion, as there doesn’t seem to be a legitimate contender to end his run at this time. Mike Bailey recently took Alexander to the limit after almost an hour-long match on Impact TV, despite coming up short. Impact could set up Mike Bailey to ultimately be the one to take that belt off Alexander, as he was the one who came closest to previously doing so.
6. Cody Rhodes Wins WWE or Universal Championship in 2023
Cody Rhodes was on a mission when coming back to the WWE in April of 2022, and it was to become WWE Champion. He then feuded with Seth Rollins throughout the spring, but unfortunately tore his pec, causing him to miss the rest of the year. Rhodes is speculated to be coming back soon and it will most likely be during the Royal Rumble. He will likely face Roman Reigns for the Championship at some point and will be the one to dethrone him, whether it’s at WrestleMania or at Summer Slam.
5. The Bloodline Implodes in 2023
The Bloodline have been on an incredible run, but 2023 seems like the year it may come to an end. There has been tension building for months, as we have seen the seeds planted for The Bloodline to eventually turn on Sami Zayn. It will likely lead to Zayn reuniting with long-time friend Kevin Owens to take the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships off the Usos. It could also lead to Roman Reigns scolding them for doing so. When Reigns loses his belt, it is possible that he turns on the entire Bloodline. One member who will push back is Solo Sikoa, who could be elevated with an eventual feud against Reigns.
4. AEW X NJPW Forbidden Door 2 Will Be Headlined by Kenny Omega vs. Kazuchicka Okada 5
It has been confirmed by AEW Predator Tony Khan that Forbidden Door 2 will take place. Kenny Omega missed the first event, so he is going to want to make a splash at the second one. What better way to do so than renewing his rivalry with Kazuchicka Okada? The two had some great matches in the later half of the 2010’s and the fans would be excited for this bout.
3. MJF vs. Hangman Adam Page Will Headline AEW’s Big Summer Program
Two of the AEW Originals who have met a couple times in the past, but never in a situation like this. Adam Page is feuding with Jon Moxley right now, which should put him right back into the world title picture. MJF is feuding with Bryan Danielson and it is likely that the feud won’t last until the summer. After both of these feuds are over, we could see AEW pull the trigger on two of their brightest young talents going face-to-face for the AEW Championship.
2. Will Ospreay Finally Wins The Big One Against Kazuchicka Okada
Regardless of how you feel about New Japan Pro Wrestling over the past two years, something they have always been good at is building a long-term story. When Tetsuya Naito’s Championship aspirations and story lasted from 2016-20, this is a similar situation. Will Ospreay has only ever pinned Kazuchicka Okada one time and it was in the G1 Climax in 2020. Since then, Ospreay hasn’t been able to shake Okada. At Wrestle Kingdom in 2021, he lost after over 30 minutes in the non-title Classic. The following year at Wrestle Kingdom in a Championship match, Okada conquered Ospreay again. In the summer of 2022, Okada put Ospreay’s Wrestle Kingdom main event dreams to bed, defeating him in the G1 Climax Finals. Will 2023 be the year Will Ospreay beats the Rainmaker?
1. CM Punk Returns to AEW
I saved this one for last, as it is the boldest (and least likely) to happen out of all of these predictions. It has been speculated since the All Out 2022 incident whether Punk would return to AEW after his backstage fight with The Elite (Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson, and Nick Jackson). In a recent podcast, Dax Harwood stated that he wishes CM Punk and The Elite would just talk things out and that Punk would return to the company. Punk responded to the comment by just saying “duh”. It shows that Punk would be willing to hash things out with The Elite and possibly make a big return to AEW.