Ok, this is where the list is going to be a bit more obvious. Sometimes, it’s just easy to see who will be getting the next big pushes. As far as the Women’s Division goes, there’s no more obvious push coming than the push coming towards Asuka. We all saw this coming a mile away and there’s not much that needs to be said. Asuka seems to be a sure bet to capture the RAW Women’s Championship at some point in 2018. Add into that equation the emergence of the Absolution (Paige’s new faction) and there is a very interesting cocktail of mayhem brewing. Paige and her new friends have been making their presence known to Asuka, but have yet to try attacking her. That in itself is interesting. Put the belt on Asuka and let the Absolution be a menace to her life. It oddly reminds me of Stone Cold, as the Champ, having to watch his back all the time with heel DX looming around every corner back in the late 90’s and early 00’s. Asuka is a big enough ass-kicker that I think she could work that dynamic very well and make a feud with Paige and the Absolution a potential feud of the year.
4. Finn Balor
2016 was supposed to be the year of Finn Balor and we all know what happened to that. 2017 was supposed to be the year of Finn Balor, and the booking team failed him. Maybe 2018 will finally be the year Finn gets his due. Finn is one of the best workers in the company and he is literally the MOST OVER BABYFACE IN THE COMPANY. I’ve never heard of somebody who dislikes Finn Balor and I’m not even mildly surprised. With the Universal Championship presumably coming off of Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania, the door is open for Finn to be a realistic challenger for the belt again and to reclaim what is rightfully his. Finn’s most recent social media campaign in response to the reports that he’s not “over” anymore has proved the exact opposite. The Demon King deserves a run with his championship and I firmly believe that he will get that chance once Big Bad Brock drops the title to Roman. We’ve seen what Finn and Reigns can do in the ring together. And who knows; perhaps The Shield vs. Balor Club (Finn, Gallows and Anderson) with the Tag Team and Universal Championships in the balance? Sounds good to me.
3. Baron Corbin
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it seems that Baron Corbin’s de-push has officially ended. The circumstances surrounding his de-push (which culminated in that God-awful SummerSlam squash with John Cena) were foggy to say the least, but by all accounts did not seem to be fair to Corbin. However, a brand new entrance song, a shiny new title, and the coolest finisher in the game and Baron Corbin is back on track. The top of the card for heels on Smackdown is wide open. Jinder Mahal has the championship pedigree but is nowhere close to the performer Corbin is. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn are entrenched in their battle with Shane McMahon. Top heel spot is ripe for the taking for the Lone Wolf and a solid showing as United States Champion is the first big step towards that ultimate goal.
2. Sami Zayn
I’m just gonna go ahead and say it…I think Sami is trying to pull a fast one on KO with the best friend shtick. And I think that at a crucial part of 2018, Sami is going to turn on KO and that will catapult him to a championship and ultimate babyface turn. Whether I’m right remains to be seen, but his recent teaming with Owens will have some sort of payoff and it will be an utter shame if it only helps Owens. Sami Zayn can go out and put on a classic match with anybody and his character work on either side of morality is spot on. He can be the quirky underdog babyface with one of the best fire-ups in the game, or he can be a condescending heel who is just like that guy from school who thinks he’s the smartest guy who ever lived and wants to rub it in your face every chance he gets. Sami Zayn and KO has the potential to be as good as the Jeri-KO saga and could legitimately lead to an awesome blowoff match at WrestleMania. If the plan isn’t AJ vs. Shinsuke for the WWE Title at Mania, I would have no problem with KO winning the strap from Styles just for Sami to win the Royal Rumble resulting in one last faceoff between Kevin Steen and El Generico.
1. Samoa Joe
Samoa Joe has been an absolute FORCE since making the jump up from NXT. He started off slow with underwhelming pseudo-feuds with Sami Zayn and Seth Rollins, but the Samoan Submission Machine caught fire when he won the fatal fiveway at Extreme Rules to become #1 Contender to Brock Lesnar’s Universal Championship. The buildup to that match at Great Balls of Fire was spectacular and the match itself delivered in a huge way, solidifying Joe’s spot at the top of the card. Unless something awful happens, Joe will be at the top of the card and in the championship hunt for the entirety of 2018. This budding feud with Roman Reigns is exciting to see develop, and the upcoming inevitable Braun Strowman official face turn sets up another batch of dream matches between Joe and the Monster Among Men. If Joe doesn’t have a run as Universal Champion before 2018 ends, it will be one of the biggest tragedies of the year.
What do you guys think? Which Superstars do you think will have a huge 2018? Sound off in the comments below and stay tuned for the NXT edition.