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    Tuesday, February 2, 2016

    The Smark Henry RAW Report (2/1/16): Your WWE Forecast for the Year of the Monkey

    We’re one week away from the Year of the Monkey, so for this week’s column, I’ll be switching things up while channeling my inner feng shui master. We’ll go through several of the key Superstars and Divas who are on the fast lane of the Road to WrestleMania and predict what’s on the horizon for them in the Year of the Monkey. Hey, my Chinese roots had to manifest themselves at some time, right? Plus, it helps to have some friends who can guide my feng shui instincts towards the right forecasts. Let’s jump right in!

    Triple H

    Year of the Rooster (1969)
    Forecast: Your industry is changing. You’ll need to spend more time and energy on your job. You will feel pressure from the schedule of your projects, but you can still work happily as long as you follow what the boss says.

    Not a bad forecast for someone who is pretty much his own boss for the most part. We’ve been fortunate that Trips has had the foresight to sign the right talent and do the right things to elevate NXT beyond being a developmental territory. He’ll need to spend more time as an active character now that he’s WWE World Heavyweight Champion, but that’s not going to last very long since he’s most likely dropping the title to Roman Reigns at WrestleMania Star.

    Triple H has been the happy balance between old school and new school in the WWE, and the IWC is waiting for the day when the “idiot son-in-law” finally inherits the company. That’s a matter of when, not if, and when it does happen, he’ll surely prove CM Punk wrong because the Game knows what’s best for business.

    Roman Reigns

    Year of the Ox (1985)
    Forecast: Should you have quarrels, disputes, or disagreements with someone, you will initially have the upper hand, but that doesn’t mean you will be victorious in the end. Being careless could lead to your downfall.

    We already saw this in the month of January alone, with Roman Reigns finding opportunity after opportunity to best the Authority. By the end of the month, however, Triple H proved that once again, the Authority always wins. Looking forward, Roman Reigns may be poised to feud with Dean Ambrose at some point once they turn on each other. The Big Dog might lean too much on his friendship and trust with Ambrose, and that could cost him dearly. Yes, Roman will have moments this year in which he will come out on top, but these will come at a price—particularly, his bromance with the Lunatic Fringe.

    Dean Ambrose

    Year of the Ox (1985)
    Forecast: The Year of the Monkey is a good time to build more relationships, join more social circles, and meet more people to advance your career.

    In line with Roman’s forecast, Dean Ambrose could well be in line for a heel turn in the Year of the Monkey. While he’s been excellent in his role as the tough and plucky babyface who just doesn’t give a damn, imagine him trading his tanktop and jeans for a nice suit as the next Authority golden boy. What if Dean finally realizes that his friendship with Roman Reigns is holding him back and he decides to make new friends in the form of Trips, Stephanie, and Vince McMahon? This could be what takes his singles career to a whole new level.

    Brock Lesnar

    Year of the Snake (1977)
    Forecast: If you have issues with someone in the Year of the Monkey, then you must settle the issue by yourself. If you rely on others to take care of it for you, you will not get the ideal result.

    Brock Lesnar looks like he’s headed for a collision course with Bray Wyatt and the Wyatt Family after Fastlane, and this should keep them busy all the way to WrestleMania. The Beast Incarnate will have his hands full with the Wyatts, but it is in his best interests to keep being the lone wolf of the main roster and to take care of business on his own. Brock’s never been one to make friends anyway, not since 2004, at least. And honestly, that helps the other WWE Superstars more than Brock himself, because none of them will want to be in the crosshairs of anyone who’s audacious (or foolish) enough to go after the Conqueror.


    Year of the Tiger (1986)
    Forecast: You must be extra careful of accidents in the Year of the Monkey, particularly towards your arms and legs. You must also take good care of your liver and nervous system.

    The Diminutive Dynamo has earned the love and adoration of the WWE Universe en route to being a two-time YOU-nited States Champion, and we’re only a little over a month into 2016. That being said, Kalisto should make sure that getting all this positive energy from the fans doesn’t come at the expense of his health. His high-risk style will always bring the possibility of an injury, so Kalisto may want to dial that back a bit this year so he can remain healthy and continue to fill the void left by other top-tier stars who have been sidelined due to injury.

    Alberto Del Rio, AJ Styles, John Cena, Sheamus

    Year of the Snake (1977 to early 1978, in the case of Sheamus)
    Forecast: Try not to over-exercise and then injure yourself. Watch out for arthritis, as well as injuries to your arms, legs, and shoulders.

    I swear I am not making this up, lest my ancestors rain down dishonor upon me and my cow.

    ADR was lucky not to have joined the League of Injuries, and he looks to be in shape for another U.S. Championship match with Kalisto at Fastlane. Del Rio has been wrestling a more deliberate style since he came back, and that’s allowed him to get the right kind of heel heat from fans who have accustomed themselves to his formerly exciting moveset. For Alberto’s sake, I’d want him to keep wrestling the way he does because this will help his body age better given the long career he’s had. Mexico’s Greatest Export needs to take care of himself first and foremost if he wants to get back to the top of the WWE.

    You can say the same for AJ Styles—who’s getting acquainted really quickly with the rigors of being a full-time WWE talent—and John Cena, who’s already trying to squat and lift weights within a month of surgery. Somebody show Cena tape of Tim Duncan’s alien powers and Kobe Bryant’s mortality to remind Jearn to slow the fuck down. As for Sheamus, he just went down with an injury himself, but he’s already rehabbing it. If he can find his stride again before WrestleMania, he could position himself as a top-tier heel throughout the rest of the Year of the Monkey.


    Year of the Ox (1985)
    Forecast: For a better romantic relationship, people born during the Year of the Ox must reserve some room for their partner in their hearts to build the relationship and to strengthen it.

    We haven’t seen much of Rusev and Lana as a couple since the League of Nations became a thing. For better or for worse, Lana hasn’t made a big deal out of it because what’s good for RuRu’s career should be good for Lana’s career (and purse). However, Rusev must learn when to defend the honor of his woman, especially when she’s on the receiving end of the Rock’s juvenile and creepy jokes. We’re not even one year removed yet from Rusev-Lana being the top active in-ring couple in WWE, but that time feels so long ago. These two have to rekindle their spark on TV to remind all of us why they were called the Macho Man and Elizabeth of their generation.

    King Barrett

    Year of the Monkey (1980)
    Forecast: You won’t have serious health issues, but you will have to watch out for unnecessary injuries to your arms and legs. Avoid dangerous sports and activities.

    Welp. Being a pro wrestler is a dangerous activity/lifestyle/job to begin with, so where does King Barrett go from here?

    For someone so talented, Barrett can never seem to put it all together because of a lack of opportunity or because he keeps having such bad injury luck. He’s become the WWE’s version of Kyrie Irving—really talented, but can’t get through a full year without being injured so you’re not sure if you can build around the guy as a centerpiece.

    We’re sure that the WWE schedule plays a huge part in Barrett’s poor injury luck. If he can’t get better in time for ‘Mania, then he’ll just be another name in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. His saving grace is his mic work, so he can at least be the League of Nations’ mouthpiece while he’s recovering—something we should be seeing more of.

    Chris Jericho

    Year of the Dog (1970):
    Forecast: If you’re offered a new job opportunity or a promotion, take it. A different working environment could be a platform to show your talents and could advance career development.

    Jericho’s just about won it all, done it all, and tried it all. He’s a wrestler, a rock star, an actor, a podcast host, and a TV host, all rolled up into one. Nobody’s ever stopped him from doing anything, not even failure. But there are duds that Jericho should just stay away from, like hosting another season of Tough Enough. Maybe that new opportunity could come in the form of a currently vacant General Manager position? Hmmm.

    Big E, Xavier Woods

    Year of the Tiger (1986)
    Forecast: If you get an offer from another company, don’t take it. It’s not time to make a change. Just relax, take it easy. You’re still young—

    Oh wait, before I go into Cat Stevens mode over there, this is one forecast which I’d actually want Big E and Xavier (and Kofi Kingston, by association) to go against. The New Day has already beaten every face tag team there is. As a whole, they’re very popular and they know how to connect with the audience, so the time could very well be ripe for a face turn. Look for them to make an impact by WrestleMania or sometime after that as an entertaining stable of babyfaces making fun of their heel foils.


    Year of the Tiger (1986)
    Forecast: Your career will have a few challenges this year. You’ll need experience, knowledge, and wisdom to get through them. If you don’t have the answers, you’ll have to ask and learn from someone else.

    Charlotte was getting by just fine as a babyface until she won the Divas Championship. It was then that her weaknesses as a character and as a wrestler were exposed. A heel turn freshened her up and she’s thriving in it, especially with her father, Ric Flair, by her side to guide her along the way. Expect Charlotte to at least challenge Nikki Bella’s record-setting reign as the Divas Champion, only to be foiled by a returning Nikki later this year.

    Becky Lynch

    Year of the Rabbit (1987)
    Forecast: Beware of getting into disputes with others during the Year of the Monkey. You’ll be involved with different people, and that might lead to arguments, or even lawsuits. In this case, you must negotiate and make peace with the person you’re at odds with.

    Becky might not sit down with Charlotte to talk about her feelings anytime soon, but she seems to have found an ally now in Sasha Banks. Their relationship as of this week on RAW is uneasy at best, which is good because it reflects on the continuity of their arcs dating back to NXT.

    Becky and Sasha may want to sit down and have a pow-wow if they want their alliance to go anywhere. Otherwise, they might be better off flying solo, which is a win for all of us fans in the long run, especially if we can get that triple threat for the Divas Championship at WrestleMania Star.

    Sasha Banks

    Year of the Goat/Sheep (born January 26, 1992, which still fell under the Year of the Goat/Sheep)
    Forecast: If you get an opportunity to be promoted, then take it. Somebody must be putting in a good word for you. People will help you along the way up.

    I can’t believe it’s taken Sasha Banks this long to get into a relevant storyline since she came up from NXT. Nonetheless, her Royal Rumble appearance has propelled her towards the Divas Championship picture. Separating herself from Team B.A.D. has also allowed her—and Becky Lynch, by association—to get into a meaningful feud without the championship in the picture. As long as Sasha’s stories are kept logical and simple, then it won’t be difficult for her to get the push the WWE Universe has long clamored for. It’s about time somebody vouched for Sasha backstage.

    Kevin Owens

    Year of the Rat (1984)
    Forecast: Your relationships with people will be very good this year. If you have arguments with anyone, someone will have your back.

    Well that was the most unlikely thing we could have read for Kevin Owens. For a guy who’s such a heel that he can feud with multiple guys at the same time, he’s probably the last person you’d think of to establish relationships that could advance his career. He’s one of the few modern heels who actually gets what it takes to be a real villain. And that’s why he’s been successful. People know that they should hate this guy because he has absolutely zero interpersonal skills.

    The more that Kevin Owens stands out as the perfect modern-day peg for a successful heel, the more opportunities he should get to prove it. Look for him to have a solid midcard feud heading into WrestleMania. At worst, he’ll have a decent singles program. At best, he could contend for either the Intercontinental or United States Championships. He held a singles title for two-thirds of 2015, and it won’t be long before he gets to taste championship gold again in the Year of the Monkey.

    Dolph Ziggler, The Miz

    Year of the Monkey (1980)
    Forecast: Your career is keeping you busy, but it may not necessarily affect your position at your job. There is no sign for promotion because you have too many competitors out there.

    This is as honest as it gets for both guys, who have been overshadowed by his more talented and popular peers.

    Ziggler’s time as World Heavyweight Champion feels so long ago. In fact, most nights, I have actually forgotten about those runs. When Kevin Owens was mocking him during their match and yelling, “You’re a former World Heavyweight Champ?!” I couldn’t help but ask the same question myself.

    The ball has been dropped so hard on this guy since he was the sole survivor at Survivor Series 2014. Ziggler still hasn’t recovered from the Love Quadrangle, but there is still time between now and ‘Mania. The best-case scenario from the Show Off is that he finally gets his first singles program for WrestleMania. Worst case? See Miz’s.

    Miz has stagnated since his storyline with Damien Sandow ended, even though he somehow still came out better off than his erstwhile partner did. Lucky for him, he still gets to do Miz TV every week, where he at least gets to remind everyone why he still has a job.

    If he continues to perform the way he did with AJ Styles this week, he might have a shot at another run in the upper midcard. At worst, he’ll be part of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at ‘Mania again.

    Bray Wyatt

    Year of the Rabbit (1987)
    Forecast: Your relationships with other people are in pretty good shape, and everything will go your way. The results of your endeavors will be satisfactory to you.

    Things seem to be looking up for Bray Wyatt, who should be on his way to a monster clash with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania Star. It’s no secret he’ll be relying on the Wyatt Family to gain an upper hand. It’s no secret he’s needed no other relationships other than what he has with Luke Harper, Erick Rowan, and Braun Strowman. Individually, all of these characters felt so much weaker when they went their separate ways. These guys are stronger together, and they should go after a championship post-WrestleMania to cement their dominance as a group. What if Harper/Rowan challenge a face New Day for the Tag Team Championships while Bray Wyatt goes after the WWE World Heavyweight Championship?

    Big Show

    Year of the Pig (born before February 15, 1972 when the Year of the Rat began)
    Forecast: Having a fight with someone will just waste your time and energy. Negotiating with them is the better approach. Otherwise, this problem will be a long and drawn-out headache.

    Well, there’s no negotiating with the Wyatt Family, so it’s safe to say that Big Show is fucked.


    Year of the Rooster (1969)
    Forecast: You will have more activities with more people, but be careful because some people within your circle could just waste your time by being talkative, attention-seeking, and non-sensical.

    This only means one thing: Stay the hell away from R-Truth.


    Year of the Pig (born before February 15, 1972 when the Year of the Rat began)
    Forecast: People care and are concerned about you. The positive vibes will give you courage and compliments, but beware because these may also spoil you. Remain humble about your good fortune or achievements or else people will try to bring you down.

    This probably explains why Goldust has been t-t-trying so h-h-hard to be his p-p-partner.


    And there you have it! Our first (of what hopes to be an) annual Chinese New Year forecasts for the WWE. What do you think of their forecasts for the Year of the Monkey?

    As it is with anything concerning predicting whatever is in the future, please be reminded that these are just supposed to be tips and guides for you. Your friendly neighborhood feng shui master will always tell you that in the end, the choices are yours to make, and you are in control of your own destiny.

    To quote Captain Planet, the power is yours!

    Photos from WWE.


    Stan Sy (@_StanSyis the Editor at Large of Smark Henry, and is also a radio DJ, an events host, a freelance writer, and one of the hosts of the Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. He enjoys watching WWE, NXT, Lucha Underground, and the occasional New Japan match. Every now and then, he dresses up in fancy suits to book matches as PWR's longest-tenured General Manager to date.
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    Item Reviewed: The Smark Henry RAW Report (2/1/16): Your WWE Forecast for the Year of the Monkey Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Stan Sy
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