With the "Reality Era" in full swing, the WWE seems to be placing more and more stock in crowd reaction. Daniel Bryan won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXX. "Super Cena" was decimated - a feat the anti-Cena crowd has been hoping for since 2005. We've seen Rollins/Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler as Intercontinental Champion, The Wyatts/Shield, & (thank goodness) Evolution/The Shield.
2014 has been a banner year for the organization - which is saying something given the huge transition facing the company.
So, how can WWE keep the ball rolling? Here's how:
20 things WWE fans must see before the end of 2015
20. Dolph Ziggler vs. Bad News Barrett
Barrett is going to return from injury at some point, and his first goal will undoubtedly be to regain his Intercontinental Championship. Should Ziggler still be carrying the championship (or even if he isn't), this would provide for a midcard bout the likes of which we haven't seen since the early 90s, when Bret Hart was defending the Intercontinental Championship on a regular basis.
I know this won't pack a punch, but it will certainly keep the diehard fans happy and bring prestige back to WWE's midcard. Who knows, this may even be the spark both men need to get back to the main event level.
19. Save Damien Sandow
People either love him, hate him, or love to hate him. Regardless, Sandow is one of the WWE's most talented performers. For whatever reason, he's in the doghouse.
Scratch that, Sandow's been booked so horribly this year that the doghouse he's in seems to have been thrown into the ocean sporting cinder blocks chained to each corner.
What gives? You had a potential main eventer on your hands, Paul. What gives?
18. Split up Ryback & Curtis Axel
Sure, the two had been underutilized into oblivion, but each time these guys walk to the ring, I can't help but notice the impressive look each man possesses.
Bottom line: it's might not be too late for either of these guys to become fixtures in between the WWE Championship & Intercontinental/U.S. Championship levels.
It starts with abandoning the horrid 'Rybaxel' moniker.
17. The Usos vs. The Ascension
If you own the WWE Network, you've watched NXT. If you've watched NXT, you've seen the Ascension - and (yeah - I'll stop with the deductive reasoning after this) if you've seen The Ascension you've thought "how in the hell are these guys not on the main roster?"
You'd be right to think so, as Viktor & Konnor (too brutal for last names) look like the second coming of the Legion of Doom.
16. One more Dolph Ziggler main event
He's easily one of the five most beloved wrestlers in the WWE today, and believe it or not, I can understand the company's reservations about promoting such an injury-prone superstar as "the guy."
Still, it doesn't mean we can't see him get one more good run - and one more headlining pay-per-view...err..."special event" match.
How about Ziggler/Seth Rollins? Did you see any of the matches the two had on SmackDown earlier in the summer?
15. Unify the United States & Intercontinental Championships
This is tough for me to write. I love both of these championships, and firmly believe that if they would just do something with them, they'd become interesting again.
Alas - the fans seem to want to see the U.S. title done away with. And if the WWE is going to continue down this road, I can't blame them.
Consider June's Payback event - With WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Daniel Bryan, out due to injury, both the Intercontinental & United States Championships were given prominent spots on the card. Sheamus would defend his U.S. title against Cesaro, while Bad News Barrett defended his Intercontinental Championship against Rob Van Dam.
Why can't every show be like that? Instead, it seems the WWE is shifting the focus back forth between each title. For 2 weeks, Sheamus will be featured as the fighting champion, then disappear while Dolph Ziggler & The Miz take center stage, feuding over the Intercontinental Championship.
If this isn't going to change, then just merge the damn things!
14. Call up Adrian Neville & Sami Zayn
These 2 are leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of the current crop of NXT talent. Both are seasoned vets, established fan favorites, and have just about carried out the extent of what they can accomplish at Full Sail down in Florida.
Why not give them the opportunity they deserve? A crack at a regular spot on the main roster. WWE creative might not realize it, but both of these men could very well be the next Daniel Bryan.
13. The Nation of Domination
The rebirth of the classic, Attitude Era stable appeared to be in the works earlier this summer, but quickly fizzled out.
I'll ask again: What gives, Paul? What the hell gives?
Big E & Kofi Kingston both desperately need something to revitalize their characters, and Xavier Woods needs the platform to truly demonstrate his abilities. Thought this seemed like a pretty good way of accomplishing all of that - but no.
For now, we'll just have to wait and see if the idea was simply put on hold, or nixed for good.
12. Bo Dallas: Intercontinental Champion
Amidst reports of WWE "giving up" on Bo Dallas, I (along with the rest of the WWE Universe) still Bo-lieve.
The Bo Dallas character reminds me of Kurt Angle upon his debut - so morally wholesome, but so universally disdained, that it's hilarious. Back it up with Dallas' in ring ability, and I see no reason for quitting on him.
In fact, I want to see Dallas take the next step and snag the prestigious Intercontinental Championship.
11. Fortification of the tag team division
For a brief period earlier in 2014, the tag team division seemed to bubbling up to a boil. I even planned an article on what a great job Triple H had done in beefing up the ranks of tag team wrestling.
When I finally got around to that article, things had changed. It was The Usos, The Wyatt Family, and that's about it.
With so many high-ceiling teams in NXT, there's no reason for such a lack of depth in the division. For reference, check out The Ascension, The Vaudevillains, & The Legionnaires.
I haven't even mentioned Enzo Amore & Big Cass, who have HUGE potential on the WWE main roster.
Even pairing singles wrestlers as tag team specialists helps. I'm talking more about the likes of a Tyson Kidd & Justin Gabriel pairing, not Big Show & Mark Henry. Tag team wrestling can still be a draw, but if nothing is done to accentuate the Usos, people will soon forget about them.
10. United States Champion, Rusev
Do I even have to write this part? I'm pretty sure you made the connection as soon as you read that. You've probably made that connection before you even read this.
Still, if the WWE wants Rusev to be the next big monster heel, the Bulgarian Brute Now Residing In Russia (I know - what a weird nickname) won't get much more heat than toting around a championship emblazoned with the United States flag.
9. Cesaro's face turn
Everything seemed to be going right for Cesaro in early 2014. He earned a spot in the Elimination Chamber. He won the inaugural Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania XXX, and seemed to be on a quick ascent to main event level.
He turned on Zeb Coulter & Jack Swagger, and fans cheered him wherever he went. It seemed as though he was a force to be reckoned with.....and then, he joined Paul Heyman, and remained a heel.
It was a screeching halt to the momentum he had been gaining over the past few months. Eventually, Heyman would leave Cesaro's side as Brock Lesnar returned to the WWE, and now, Cesaro lingers in WWE main event purgatory.
Give him the full-fledged face turn he was building towards earlier, and you just may regain some of that momentum.
8. The King of the Ring tournament
Tournaments are rarely unexciting in professional wrestling, so it's hard to understand why the most prestigious tournament in all of the WWE just vanished one year.
Bring it back, and give the the winner a shot at the title at SummerSlam. That simple.
7. Sheamus' heel turn
Sheamus is one of the 10 best workers in the WWE right now - but he is in dire need of a direction change.
Once upon a time (two months ago), the rumor was that Sheamus would be teaming up with The Authority/Evolution, and having a run as a heel. That sounded awesome.
What actually happened - wasn't.
Sheamus has been middling as United States Champion, and if he's going to return to WWE Championship material, something has to happen quickly.
6. The Undertaker's last match
WrestleMania XXX was downright painful to watch. The Undertaker is evidently out of working shape, and the clock seems to have vehemently struck midnight on the Phenom's Hall of Fame career.
But, the Dead Man just. can't. go out like that!
I know the "dream match" you're all clamoring for - but I have news for you, it'll only be a dream match on paper. 'Taker needs an opponent who isn't rusty and can provide energy in the ring where he can't.
If you ask me, Bray Wyatt is the perfect candidate to send The Undertaker into retirement.
"The Icon" has created a buzz for nearly a year regarding his return to the squared circle, claiming through many outlets that he has one good match left in him.
Whether it was implied or not, wrestling fans immediately assumed 'Sting vs. Undertaker' was the plan.
I'm not on board.
Sting's been out of wrestling for a while now, and as I previously touched on, Undertaker's star is fading fast. Both men need proven workers to carry the match in case the part-time schedule rust sets in.
Give me Sting vs. Triple H at WrestleMania 31.
4. The Rock vs. Randy Orton
The dream match that no one seems to have ever talked about! Randy Orton has been arguably the greatest villain of the past decade, and has done wonders to put over talent in the process. Reward him with the consideration of being in one of these rare "Icon vs. Icon" matches.
Also, if "De-WAYNE" (channeling my inner CM Punk) is set to return to the WWE, give him a chance to work with someone who is on a level up from John Cena, and you might have better content than the WrestleMania 28 & 29 main events provided.
This is a no-brainer.
3. Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt
I'm almost geeking out too much to even type anymore thinking about the build and dynamic of such a program.
These 2 are far and away the most interesting characters on WWE programming. Both have a knack for connecting with the crowd (one way or another), and both are bona fide blue chippers in the making.
Make this match happen. Period.
2. Daniel Bryan vs. Seth Rollins
As soon as Rollins turned on The Shield and won the Money In The Bank briefcase, this was the match in the back of everyone's minds.
If you've seen any of the matches these 2 had in the past, you know that this could very well be the next installment of Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels.
1. Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns
This is obviously the coveted moneymaker that the WWE would like to build towards in the future - and they're doing a fantastic job at allowing these two individuals to establish their roles in WWE lore.
On one hand, Brock Lesnar has been booked into the second coming of Andre The Giant, defeating the Undertaker at WrestleMania XXX, then decimating John Cena at SummerSlam to capture the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Lesnar is truly the monster heel that the WWE has lacked since Yokozuna in the mid-90s.
On the other hand, the "golden boy" Roman Reigns has been allowed to mature and develop at a slow pace. The biggest thing working for Reigns right now is that he's been placed in competition with proven workers that will help him transition into the WWE's main babyface: Triple H, Randy Orton, Kane, etc.
There's no doubt that Reigns is "the one." He'll be the one to take down Lesnar and provide the next generation's version of Hulk Hogan body slamming Andre The Giant.