Going into 2019, we can’t help but to still have doubt surrounding the “shakeup”. While the first four weeks have surely shown that they are finally understanding us, we’ve seen the disappointing fake out before. One moment you think they are listening, and the next it’s too late because they’ve already destroyed their opportunity. Some of those missed opportunities can be used as learning blocks going forward and will be addressed down below. Then there are opportunities that need to be seized now before prime candidates fall victim to the WWE’s unwillingness to pull the trigger on the bold decisions. Truth is, it’s those bold decisions that we desire. What better time than now, when the WWE is “shaking things up, with fresh match-ups, and new faces”, where “we are the authority”? Here, we put that to the test. Follow along as we analyze the current path and breakdown where the future of the WWE landscape needs to be when going forward.

Ronda Rousey versus Becky Lynch

We all expected this one, so let’s get it out of the way first. Ronda Rousey and Becky Lynch were 2018’s biggest stars, without a doubt. 2018 launched Ronda’s career in near perfect fashion as she adapted to the industry like only a few ever have. Even Lynch, as much as she stands by her dominance over the WWE, has been well spoken of Rousey’s impressive taking to the sport. We saw her dominant rise starting at Wrestlemania 34, and we’ve loved nearly every moment of it. Becky Lynch made one of the most organic and fan backed heel-turns we’ve ever seen and ignited the world with her ‘Straight Fire’ momentum. There is no hotter run in the WWE right now. Not only was this a match that people desired at Survivor Series, but this is the match people desire to headline Wrestlemania 35. There is no match any fan, critic, or superstar wants to see more.  Both paths have naturally painted their way to this moment, and for the WWE to deny this, would be a slap in the face to every fan they have ever harbored. Rousey’s reign and streak must to come to an end in a way in which fans will cheer for her loss, and with the backing of almost the entire fan base, that won’t be easy. Learning from 2018, when Asuka’s end came to an end at Wrestlemania via Charlotte Flair, which left most disappointed, we must consider that mistake as one of many reason’s fans backed “The Man’s” play. Now is the opportunity to learn and seize at the same time, making last years loss, this year’s win. What better way to end Rousey’s streak than with a loss to Becky Lynch? I really can’t think of any better outcome.

RELATED: WRESTLE THOUGHTS | WrestleMania 35 Main Event

Sasha Banks as Raw Women’s Champion

Yes, I am aware that I just said Rousey’s streak needs to end to Becky Lynch, but I was speaking more on the note of her momentum. See, what better way to promo the Rousey/Lynch fight than for Becky to return the favor and cost Rousey her title just like Rousey did at TLC when she threw Lynch and Flair from brass ring allowing Asuka to get her redemption? This will not be seen as a loss for Rousey no more than it was for The Man. This will only add fuel to the ‘Baddest Woman on the Planet’s’ fire, and will solidify her and Lynch’s collision course. But who could have such an appeal to the audience, as to walk away clean with the title the way that Asuka did? There’s only one woman currently on the Raw women’s roster with that kind of star power and admiration of the fans, and that is ‘The Boss’, Sasha Banks. Sasha has fans craving a return run and is currently in a great position to hold the Raw women’s Championship, among other titles. She would also be the perfect person to put over the next biggest thing, which brings me to my next point.

Ember Moon and Apollo Crews

Ember Moon and Apollo Crews are two of Raw’s biggest potentials, each with rapid momentum being built. Each with their own star power. If last week’s mixed match showed us anything, it’s that these two, shine even brighter together. This should become an official stable for many reasons. Firstly, is continued in ring momentum. These stars can feed off each others energy, and create truly special in-ring moments, both together, and on their own. Secondly, this would make for fantastic promos, and give both some much-needed microphone time to showcase their personalities and build their star power. Lastly, creating a stable would give them power, and a reason to push. When forces unite, its usually only for one goal, and that goal is gold. Together, their fan bases would unite and shine, and their in-ring talent would propel them into respective championship runs. Referring back to my previous point, Ember Moon would be the perfect candidate for The Boss, Sash Banks to put over in a glorious battle amongst heroes, that would unfold into a deep rivalry and respect of future reigns and change each of them forever.

Finn Balor as Intercontinental Champion

The next big move would be to move Finn Balor into the Intercontinental Championship role, by defeating Ambrose. Finn Balor is one of the WWE’s biggest talent’s and is rapidly regaining moment. While personally, I think he should follow my next candidate into the Universal run due to his recent “Warrior of Pride” momentum, if he must be in the mid-card, then he must be in the championship card. With a revert back similar to Finn’s ‘Real Rock ‘N’ Rolla’ persona, and a need for a push, now is the prime opportunity to mix up the title race that has recently become stale. With Seth seemingly pushing back into the Universal efforts, a new hero should emerge within Finn Balor. What better way than to have him reign over Dean Ambrose and Bobby Lashley. I’m not suggesting we give the WWE a reason to keep Finn down in the mid-card, but we are suggesting they keep his progression alive. When the time comes for Finn to capture the Universal once more, there will be a successor in Apollo Crews, and hopefully making Apollo and Ember a force to be reckoned with.

Drew McIntyre as Universal Champion

It’s a universal truth, that Brock Lesnar can no longer hold the Universal Championship. However, one of their biggest mistakes last year was trying so hard to push Roman Reigns and turn fans opinions. The mistake wasn’t their efforts for Reigns, but their decision making around the standstill when they realized it wasn’t going to be so easy. For as long as it took to change the tide, there stood a perfect immediate replacement to Lesnar in Braun Strowman, face or not, and they wasted it time and time again. By the time Reigns finally got the title, and fans approval, Strowman had fell victim to WWE’s string of missed opportunities. With Reigns ill and unable to compete, they finally burned the Strowman bridge and any momentum he had with the way they handled his respective injury. Now, we see a candidate that may have missed his shot, and it seems the WWE might agree. With Seth Rollins holding the Intercontinental Championship as Raw’s main title in lieu of Lesnar’s absence, and a recent reignition from the Authority, we may be seeing a Rollins push for the Universal. While we still support this decision for sometime in 2018, there is only one man that we see falling into place for any opponent in this mix, whether be Lesnar, Strowman, Rollins, or hopefully sometime later in the year, Balor. One man with immense momentum that simply cannot be denied the way Strowman’s was. This man is none other than Drew McIntyre. Drew has been devastating to the Raw Roster since being called up. With his size, agility, power, and aggression, he has sent waves the same way he did on NXT. He has gone up against The Shield and Strowman, and the Tag Team division, and has put fuel to Finn Balor. The next move for McIntyre is a no-brainer; Universal Championship.

The Good Brothers as Smackdown Tag Team Champions

While Smackdown currently holds the WWE’s three best tag teams in The Uso’s, The Bar, and The New Day, it’s clearly in need of a fresh change of course. That course is heading directly for Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. These two are much bigger than the WWE has given credit for, and they are the only fresh group I see taking down The Bar. They would also serve as the most appealing bridge into the lower ranks of their Tag Division allowing newcomers to garnish some traction, as well as, continue to give the “big three” a marketable new opponent.

The First 3 Women’s Tag Team Champions

There are many viable tag team’s within the Women’s Division, including the veteran duo that was doing it better and before anyone else we will mention here, and that is the ‘Bella Twins’. There’s also plenty of fodder within The Iconics, The Riott Squad, and The Samoan’s that are Nia Jax and Tamina Snuka. However, none of those teams have the current momentum or backing to make a legitimate play for the gold. The Bella’s would have that immediate momentum considering their legacy, and so would The Boss and Hug Connection’s Bayley and Sasha Banks. The optimal first rivalry would see the Bella’s demanding their footprint be solidified as it should have years ago, and there is really no other way this should go. However, immediately involving Bayley and Sasha would not only make anyone else winning hard, even for the Bella’s, but this win for the Nikki and Brie becoming the first Women’s Tag Team should be used to promote an up and coming team. That team should be none other than Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville; two quickly rising stars that both show promise for the Smackdown Women’s Championship one day soon. This matchup would be the perfect way to bring them both over and help solidify the Bella twins legacy. As I stated earlier, Sasha would be a prime candidate for the Raw Women’s Championship which would give good reason to not include them in the initial tag team run; and as I also stated, she would soon do best to drop the title to Ember Moon, both putting Moon over, and freeing herself up to help Bayley end The Bella’s run, and eventually put over Rose and Deville.

Mustafa Ali as WWE Champion

Mustafa Ali is their perfect guy to throw into the mix of AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan. Personally, I’m pretty on the fence with Daniel Bryan’s new heel turn, but I’m even more so with AJ’s new found aggression. AJ Styles pretty much dominated 2018 and the title definitely needed a fresh face with Daniel Bryan, but every villain needs a hero, I’m just not so sure AJ Styles is that guy. We want new and fresh, right? Well, Daniel Bryan fits the bill of a fresh villain, so let’s get a new hero. Who better than Mustafa Ali? As one of 2018’s biggest break out stars, He’s already begun down this road by fighting Bryan twice, including a match where he gained a victory over Bryan, and even cut a semi-strong promo with him. He’s competed well on Smackdown, and why bring him over from 205 Live if not for a title run? Do you really see Ali in the mix with Shinsuke and Rusev? I’m not saying we slingshot the kid into the mix, let AJ settle his run with Bryan, but let Bryan stay on top and have a vicious run with Ali before Ali’s heart carries him to a reign of his own. We need to start putting the talent the fans want to see over. Mustafa Ali, just like everyone else I’ve mentioned here, is one of those guys.

RELATED: WRESTLE THOUGHTS | The Opening Act of the Vinnie Mac Shakeup

In Conclusion

There is no other match for Becky Lynch or Ronda Rousey in 2019. If you want to sell Wrestlemania 35, you put those two against one another and you have Becky Lynch win because it’s the only viable option for Rousey’s first major loss. It will garnish her more respect than it will anything else. The match needs to be legendary, but with those two involved, it’s sure to be one for the ages. Sasha Banks would be the optimal candidate to transition the Raw Women’s title from Rousey to Ember Moon and sits in a perfect spot to do so before bringing the Women’s Tag Team belts to The Boss and Hug Connection. Apollo Crews and Ember Moon would serve well as an associated pair, excelling both of each other’s in-ring presence, as well as help, develop each other’s personas through backstage, ringside, and in-ring promos. The partnership would see Ember soon into the Raw Women’s Championship role, and Apollo soon into the Intercontinental role, standing as the pinnacle of future raw talent, side by side. Finn Balor would best find his momentum carrying him into the crown of the mid-card against the likes of Ambrose and Lashley, before dropping it to Apollo Crews and moving up to the main card race. Before Balor met Rollins, or more preferably McIntyre at the gate for Universal title, Drew McIntyre would be the perfect person to topple Brock Lesnar and bring the title back to frequent defense against Rollins, Strowman, and eventually Finn Balor. The Good Brothers, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson are Smackdown’s best bet at bridging in the greener talent to “The Big Three”, and the best match to take down ‘The Bar’. The best candidates for the first Women’s Tag Team champions would be the Bella’s, who have been the longest-serving tag team in the women’s division and would provide a great arc over Mandie Rose and Sonya Deville, while building up the budding new duo before running into their saboteurs, The Boss and Hug Connection. Coming off Sasha’s Raw Women’s Championship run, these two would be the perfect team with not only the momentum but the admiration and skill to knock of Nikki and Brie. They would also be the best team to continue the build-up of Mandie and Sonya before dropping the titles to put them over.

RELATED: Wrestle Wrap | AEW Rally Recap

Leave your thoughts on the road map I’ve laid out, and if you disagree, where you would take it, and why I would buy into it, in the comments below. Don’t forget to Subscribe by Email for more on Wrestling, and everything you find up top in the menus. Be sure to Follow Us on Social Media for Exclusive Content you won’t find here. Drop that like/rate, and Share to Support.

Follow Us On

TwitchFacebook Page | Facebook Group | Instagram | YouTube |  Twitter

Join some of the Running The Ropes LIVE panelists in a commentary stream and discord chat.
Just follow the Twitch link above.
All viewers must subscribe to the WWE Network and view on their own end.
This is a not a stream of the Royal Rumble.

View More Written Wrestling Press HERE