Chris Hyatte: What to watch for in 2023

As we’re counting down the final hours of 2022, I’ve found myself thinking on what’s coming in the days, weeks, and months ahead in the world of professional wrestling. So much has changed this year; from the birth of Higher Level Wrestling/American eXellence Wrestling, the return of ‘HCW’, the draft that shook up the entire landscape, to the debut of All Elite Wrestling. A lot can happen in this industry within a calendar year, and what’s more fun than making predictions? And as luck would have it, I’m gonna make some bold ones tonight…

I’m not the only wrestling pundit to point out that it’s been years since we’ve seen a three major promotion landscape, but as we head into 2023, that’s what we’re fortunate to have. I know you’re all dying to hear my predictions on the year to come, as I am and always have been the premiere pundit, and I didn’t even have to win a season-long tournament that’s impossible to follow to win THAT title.

So, without further delay, here’s my BOLD predictions on what to expect in the year 2023.

The aXw Women’s Division will be a success

Look, a lot of my colleagues believe that the key to a successful Women’s Division is a deep roster full of the most talented females to ever lace up the boots, but in my opinion, that’s just one approach. I think the aXw has been unfairly maligned by some of the wrestling media for it’s small roster, and I think that comes from an old way of thinking. One of the biggest stories of the era has been the focus on the women in the industry, and that’s been a story for a few years now.

The initial fun and excitement that came from MMouse Enterprises and BWM Inc. trying to one up one another with the Womens and Knockouts Divisions has come and gone. We’ve seen all the milestones already: The women have main evented; the women have had their own shows, we’ve seen the introduction of multiple divisions within the division… the only things we’ve yet to witness are women headlining a MAJOR PPV or an all women weekly show. Other than that, all the firsts have been claimed.

And truthfully, now that the novelty has started to wear off, I’m shockingly okay with the depth of aXw’s division given their model of delivery. With weekly shows at three segments, there’s limited space as it is for the division. But I’d rather have a roster of 6 to 12 women in which they’re all stars than a roster of 30 to 50 in which I’m bored by a good 15 or 20 of them. That’s probably a controversial opinion to have, and as such it’s on my BOLD predictions list.

The HCW won’t survive 2023*

*And if it does, it’ll be clinging to life heading into 2024.

I’ll preface this prediction by saying I’d be okay with being wrong on this one, but I just don’t think I am. To date, the HCW concept has existed solely to further the storyline between Scott Nash and Mickey Mouse. The only people that come out of this angle looking better than they went into it are mentioned above. I know that MMouse Enterprises made a lot of announcements lately, one of which being that the HCW is getting it’s own 3-match show.

So, arguably, maybe one or two others will truly get over from the continuation of this angle. Perhaps Ted Brown will come out of it better than he started, but who else? There’s currently no one on the roster that poses a true threat to Nash’s reign as champion. An argument can be made for Tiny, Max Steel, and Giant Satan coming out better than they went in, but cementing them as a top comedy act isn’t going to be enough to keep the HCW alive when it’s already on life-support in terms of its ratings success. Again, I’d love to be wrong on this, but the HCW Revival was always going to be a tough sell when the original mainstream HCW was lightening in a bottle.

Aidan English will win a championship

Some would say this is a BOLD prediction as currently, English isn’t an active wrestler on the aXw roster, but I think I’m onto something here… English has consistently been a ratings draw for the company, and there’s only so long Camden Cross will be able to ignore that. I think we’re still months to a half a year from English even having a match and let alone a title shot, but if Camden continues to treat English poorly, the fan’s will only clamor for him to have his moment. I think he’s ripe for a Main Event Championship run towards the end of the year, and a high profile feud.

MMouse Enterprises will win its first rating’s competition

As always, MMouse Enterprises has adopted a “bigger is better” approach to its presentation, and with the company’s decision to get into Wednesday nights, we’ll see more direct competition than ever before.

It’s already a major shock that the company hasn’t achieved this milestone in the era, but it would be unheard of if the company didn’t pull out a victory or two in the year to come. The increase in direct competition will make it more likely than ever before that the PWI will get lucky. Plus, with Catherine in charge, she seems more likely than ever before to change what’s not working in real time.

January 9th is a big night for PWI, because it’ll serve as the company’s chance to reset the narrative. I don’t know if PWI’s return will top Dynamite, but I think it’ll serve as the beginning of the company’s attempt at a reset and that reset will have some success.

The aXw and MMouse Enterprises will negotiate a trade

It’s bound to happen at some point, but I believe we will see an aXw talent in a PWI ring before 2024, and that is not including the 2022 Draft. Sources tell me that the World of Wrestling is going out of its way to get Camden Cross to participate in the draft, but terms are still being negotiated. My sources have also told me that BWM Inc. and MMouse Enterprises are looking for a shake-up to how the process works, but plans are still far from finalized. All that said, I think in 2023 the phone lines between Camden Cross and Catherine Mouse will finally open up.

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