by Panda Pete – All Things Wrestling Radio

We saw a proverbial who’s who list appear in WWE in 2015 and 2016 from Johnny Wrestling and the Psycho Killer, to the return of Bill Goldberg after a 12 year hiatus. With many of our favorite indy wrestlers now inking deals with the “E,” who else could appear in 2017? Let’s speculate!

Kota Ibushi

One of Japan’s favorite sons is still floating around in the free agent pool. Ibushi had been offered 3 different contracts last year, but his biggest sticking point is that he doesn’t want an exclusive deal. Understandable since Ibushi hasn’t been a major fixture in any USA promotions during his career, and he hasn’t ruled out returning to Japan if NJPW makes him an offer that suits his current goals. While the non-exclusivity might be the biggest holding point, the money and exposure WWE can offer Kota may be more enticing the longer he doesn’t sign a deal elsewhere.

Kenny Omega

Do I expect Kenny Omega to show up in WWE this year? No. Would I mark out if he did? Absolutely. Kenny is next in line for a shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at Wrestle Kingdom 11, and I’m willing to bet Za Cleana will get the job done. Kenny has found incredible success in Japan, and almost seems to take pride in not signing with WWE since he’s moved to Japan. Something that might be of concern to Kenny – WWE’s handling of “The Club.” Gallows and Anderson are getting great time on TV, but their win / loss record isn’t exactly great. Kenny and The Bullet Club are booked well no matter where they go. Would he be willing to give that up in what could be a banner year for his career in 2017?

The Young Bucks

The other 2/3rds of Elite have also found great success since joining NJPW, The Bullet Club, and ROH. Currently the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions, ROH World Tag Team Champions, and PWG World Tag Team Champions; Nick and Matt are enjoying life on both sides of the pond. While joining WWE is the dream for most wrestlers, The Young Bucks would almost be hindering by signing contracts. For all the advances the cruiserweight style wrestlers have made in WWE over the last two years, they still seem to suffer from “McMahon-itis” on the main roster. Triple H has done amazing things with *insert any cruiserweight that’s spent time in NXT*, yet there still seems to be a reluctance, or ineptitude, to book them properly on Raw (hence #205Live), and even Smackdown to an extent. While many of us would lose it if we got a New Day / The Club / Elite (The Bullet Club) showdown, it probably won’t happen this year, if ever.

Zack Sabre Jr

Possibly the best technical wrestler in the world, ZSJ chose not to sign with WWE during the Cruiserweight Classic because he has goals he wants to achieve outside WWE first. That’s commendable. It’s also a sign that it’s not if we’ll see Zack in WWE again, it’s when. Not only would ZSJ be a huge signing to bolster the cruiserweight division, he’d also be the first wrestler named Zack to get a solid push, probably. (#RIPRyder) Raw has not been the launching pad that the cruiserweight division needed. The fact that many of the big names (Ciampa, Gargano, Ibushi, Sabre Jr.) have yet to appear (or won’t because contracts) has hurt the division gaining traction. Has it been amazing for guys like TJP, Brian Kendrick, and Rich Swann? Absolutely. Has it been good for the other guys? The jury’s still out. Bringing in a Zack Sabre Jr would give more credibility to the division, and begin to make names like Ariya Daivari, Jack Gallagher, and the Bollywood Boys household names.

Ronda Rousey

Ronda got shelled in her fight with Amanda Nunes. Ronda is a huge wrestling fan. Ronda has appeared at a previous WrestleMania. Rumors have been swirling that Ronda is going to retire from UFC. Ronda Rousey will be in WWE by the end of the year.