WWE Smackdown – It's hard to give individual Smackdown storylines their own spot on here. I feel the need to group them all together. It's unfortunate, too, because there's a lot of good things taking place on Friday nights. Daniel Bryan has done an incredible job getting over as a smart, cocky, obnoxious heel Champion. Sheamus is the Royal Rumble winner. Cody Rhodes continues to deliver. Orton/Barrett has been up and down, but decent overall. 2012 is already shaping up to provide several Smackdown stars an opportunity for a big year. I expect a Daniel Bryan vs Sheamus main event at WrestleMania, but wouldn't be surprised if Randy Orton ends up winning at Elimination Chamber. As much as I'm a fan of Orton's, I hope that doesn't happen. If ever there was a year WWE could rest easy by placing Daniel Bryan vs Sheamus in that Smackdown spot at WrestleMania, this would be it. I'm just not sure Vince sees it that way.
Prospects – At the beginning of every year, I always enjoy guessing which stars will be on top, or at least on their way, by the end of it. This year, there's a few potential prospects. Dolph Ziggler NEEDS to have a big year in 2012. I think he will after WrestleMania. Sheamus is another one that WWE needs to make up their mind on. Winning a slew of matches isn't enough; Sheamus needs purpose, direction and relevance more than ever right now. I like Cody Rhodes, but can't see him main eventing for any lengthy period of time. He's good where he's at because he's better than the position he's in. However, trying to move him up a level will produce the opposite effect in my opinion. Wade Barrett's full potential should be determined this year. I fully expect him to wear heavyweight gold at some point in 2012. I refuse to mention Brodus Clay in this category! I like the Miz, but doubt 2012 does him any favors. The same goes for Alberto Del Rio and Christian when they return. Who do you think will have big years? Tweet me @RealityofChris.
CONCLUSION – WWE is currently in a great position for a big year. However, they had a lot of opportunities in 2011 as well, but simply failed to deliver. That's going to remain the biggest factor this year. Will Vince pull the trigger and take risks. We are less than two months away from arguably the most anticipated WrestleMania of all time, CM Punk has emerged as a bona fied superstar out of nowhere, John Cena is more polarizing than ever, Johnny Ace has proven himself capable, and there is a lot of potential in the talent pool, so what else do you need? That's right…you need creativity. Here's to hoping WWE Creative and more specifically, Vince McMahon, decides to pull out all the stops in 2012. All the pieces are in place, but that's never been the issue. Vince needs to seize the opportunities he's given and not hold back. He can't be afraid to try new things, and when he does, stick with them all the way through. That's what I feel was missing in 2011.
The current state of WWE? Promising.
Chris Cash can be reached via email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealityofChris and tune in this Monday night from 7-8 EST for the Voice of Wrestling radio show, exclusively on WrestleZone.com and VOWLive.com.
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