Last year, my choice was Seth Rollins, which panned out to be a sure-thing. In 2014, I guessed completely wrong with Sheamus, and in 2013 I hit the nail on the head with Daniel Bryan. Basically, I'm 2 for 3, so who do I think will be the ONE TO WATCH for 2016?
5. John Cena
I can only hope that John Cena has as good or a better year than he did in 2015, which was pretty amazing. Honestly, at the moment, I'm hoping he wins the United States Championship back from Alberto Del Rio very soon and feuds with The League of Nations at WrestleMania, before going on a full year-long title reign with the US Open Challenge yet again. If it's not broke, why try to fix it? That ended up being one of the best things in 2015 and I'd love to see it continue again. Even if it doesn't, I think Cena's helped salvage his reputation because of that and turn a lot of the crowd in his favor, as well as learn how to have more consistent and higher quality matches. That knowledge will help him improve his game in 2016 in multiple ways.
4. Dean Ambrose
This year makes or breaks Dean Ambrose, and it all depends on his inevitable heel turn. Yes, I think without a doubt, Ambrose is going to be turning heel and feuding with Roman Reigns at some point in 2016—possibly for SummerSlam. It all depends on how the return of Seth Rollins is handled, but I think there's more of a chance Rollins returns as a babyface and Ambrose turns heel than for the two of them to stay with the same character as their 2015 roles were. Ambrose is the current Intercontinental champion, which should keep him in the midcard / upper-midcard for a few months, but after WrestleMania he'll be gearing up for a main event run.
3. Kevin Owens
This guy is prime for a world title reign and I think he's going to be one of the biggest players in the main event scene for this year, feuding with Roman Reigns and others along the way. At the moment, I still think he's one of the top 3 choices to win the Royal Rumble, even, so this could happen sooner than later. Considering how many massive upgrades his career took in 2015, there's no doubt Owens is going to have one hell of a year in 2016.
2. Seth Rollins
Last year, he was my One to Watch and Roman Reigns was my #2, and if you look below, you'll see below that things have switched around. The biggest reason why I don't have Rollins in the top spot again is because of his injury. Granted, I think when he makes his return several months from now, he's going to go straight to the top and could very well surpass everybody on the roster as far as importance, but the amount of time he's going to be on the sidelines kills his chances for being the top guy of the year in my mind. Rollins will have a great 2016 once he comes back, but the longer he doesn't, the harder it will be to make more of an impact than anybody else.
Just like last year, this is the obvious answer, but that's why I need to pick it. Roman Reigns is going into 2016 with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and the company spent over the past 12 months building up to that point. There's no way he's going to be pushed down the hierarchy soon by any means. Even if his title reign feels like a drag and he isn't as over with the crowd as WWE would like, they're going to be stubborn as hell and refuse to adjust their plans for months on end. Barring some kind of injury, I think Reigns will be at the top of the card with the title until at least SummerSlam, if not longer.
Check out our discussion on this subject from the latest episode of the Smack Talk podcast below!