2023 was a wild year that offered a lot of notable moments in and out of WWE. There were shocking returns, big matches,the sale of the company, title changes, and more throughout the year. Unexpected moments such as CM Punk’s return took fans by surprise, but there were some things that didn’t end up happening that many thought they’d see.
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WWE fans had some expectations for certain matches or moments throughout 2023 that in the end didn’t take place. For whatever reason, whether it be creative decisions or other factors, particular things didn’t end up occurring, for better or for worse.
10 Damian Priest’s Money In The Bank Cash In
The Judgment Day Member Still Hasn’t Cashed In
- Priest has been thwarted by babyfaces and his own stable
- The best moment for Priest to cash in has passed
At Money in the Bank 2023, Damian Priest won the briefcase and looked set to become a world champion. With the creation of the World Heavyweight Championship, it felt inevitable that he would win the belt before the end of the year.
The latter half of the year was the perfect time for a new name to be tried out as world champion, before WrestleMania season begins. However, despite it being teased time and time again, Priest has yet to win the belt. It now feels less and less likely that he ever will.
9 Dream Match Between Gunther & Brock Lesnar
WWE Teased Gunther Vs. Brock Lesnar
- The two behemoths faced off at the Royal Rumble
- Brock Lesnar doesn’t have loads of matches left
Gunther and Brock Lesnar came face to face at the 2023 Royal Rumble, and this led to fans believing a dream match was inevitable, with both WrestleMania and SummerSlam being heavily speculated. However, this never came to fruition.
Gunther has spoken in interviews, for instance on My Love Letter to Wrestling with Mark Andrews, about this match which increased speculation for it happening in 2023, but it never came to be.
8 The End Of Damage CTRL
It Took Some Time For Damage CTRL To Be Legitimized
- The group has shown tension for many months
- In a twist, the group has only gotten stronger throughout 2023
Damage CTRL had very little momentum for a long time, suffering loss after loss. A lot of tension rose up through the summer, with it looking like a matter of time before Bayley, Iyo Sky, and Dakota Kai imploded.
However, the group remained together, got stronger through Iyo Sky’s Women’s Championship reign, and have now even added more members in Asuka and Kairi Sane. This was a complete switch on what fans expected for the faction in 2023.
7 LA Knight Getting Squashed And Buried
LA Knight Naturally Got Over Contrary To WWE’s Plans
- WWE has a history of burying names who get over on their own
- It took WWE a while to build up LA Knight
LA Knight received a huge wave of popularity in 2023, though for many months WWE had him still lose, missing out on big shows and not getting featured. Fans expected him to just get buried like most names who got over on their own.
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AEW had set these events in motion, but fans didn’t get to see these come to fruition in 2023.
However, SummerSlam 2023 saw a change in his booking, and Knight finally received a push that even saw him main event a PPV. WWE listened to fans and Knight is now a top name on SmackDown.
6 “Stone Cold” Steve Austin Returning To The Ring Again
After A Successful Comeback, Fans Expected Another Match
- Steve Austin didn’t appear at WrestleMania 39
- For now, Steve Austin is retired from professional wrestling
In the lead up to both the Royal Rumble 2023 and WrestleMania 39, there was a lot of talk and speculation over Steve Austin competing once again after a return the previous year. In fact, after the success of his return, it felt almost likely for another comeback.
In the end though, even with rumors of matches with Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar, and even LA Knight, Austin didn’t end up returning in any capacity throughout 2023 for WWE.
5 Matt Cardona Signing And Returning To WWE
The Former Zack Ryder Has Teased A Return
- After Chelsea Green, his wife, returned to WWE, many expected Cardona to follow
- Cardona has instead remained on the independent scene in 2023
Following a massively successful run on the independent circuit, Matt Cardona has looked ready to become a WWE superstar once again. The man himself has even teased a return on multiple occasions.
Chelsea Green’s return sparked rumors, and it felt like just a matter of time in 2023 before Cardona came back to WWE. Ultimately though, Cardona continued working on the independent scene, and it hasn’t been clear if WWE are even interested in him.
4 Bianca Belair’s First Main Roster Heel Run
Fans Were Growing Tired Of Bianca Belair As A Babyface In WWE
- Bianca Belair showed signs of a heel turn
- WWE didn’t commit and kept her as a babyface
For several years now, Bianca Belair has been a babyface on top of the WWE women’s division. In 2023, it was getting far too repetitive, and fans expected a change. Belair had shown great heel work in NXT, and she showed glimpses of a turn during the summer.
Following an absence though, Belair’s return saw her revert back to the same character of being just a normal babyface. The expected heel turn didn’t take place even though it would’ve opened up a lot of new avenues for her WWE career.
3 The End Of The Bloodline In WWE
The Bloodline Lost Several Members In 2023
- Fans expected the natural progression of the story to end with The Bloodline’s death
- Jimmy Uso rejoined The Bloodline
The Bloodline storyline was red hot at the start of 2023, and throughout the first half of the year Sami Zayn left, The Usos lost their tag titles and proceeded to turn on Roman Reigns, and tensions rose between Reigns and Solo Sikoa.
The correct direction would’ve seen a continued collapse of the group, and fans thought that would happen by the end of the year. This hasn’t been the case, and Jimmy Uso would even nonsensically return to The Bloodline, with the storyline becoming convoluted and tiring now.
2 Bron Breakker’s Main Roster Call Up
Bron Breakker Has Been A Top NXT Star
- Since NXT was rebranded, Bron Breakker was a clear breakout superstar
- He has been in NXT for two years without a call-up
Ever since his NXT debut, Bron Breakker has looked ready for a quick main roster call up. He has continued to improve and hone his skills, but WWE have yet to pull the trigger on a main roster call up.
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While some WWE wrestlers took their careers to the next level in 2023, others just had a bad year.
2023 seemed like the year it would happen, but as the year is coming to a close, it has still not taken place. Breakker is now over two years into his NXT career, which feels too long for someone so talented.
1 Cody Rhodes Defeating Roman Reigns In The WrestleMania Main Event
Fans Expected Roman Reigns’ Title Reign To End
- Roman Reigns’ record-breaking reign continued
- Cody Rhodes has been on a year-long journey to get back into title contention
The stars seemed to align at WrestleMania 39 for Cody Rhodes to end Roman Reigns’ record-breaking world title reign, and in fact everyone in the stadium thought that it would happen.
The complete shock in the audience when Reigns won was proof of the expectations going into this.