Until recently, WWE's dominance of the wrestling landscape left fans adjusting their calendars to reflect the company's internal timeline.
Rather than running from January to December, the mindset logically switched from WrestleMania to WrestleMania, with the post-'Mania Monday Night Raw largely considered the start of the new wrestling year. Whilst the 20,000 beach ball b*ll-ends might still maintain that their self-fellating singalong is the true kick-off to another 12 months of high risks and hijinks, Vince McMahon's slipped grip on the wrestling mainstream has allowed for a more traditional reflective approach.
2018 won't start proper with the April 9th Raw, but with Wrestle Kingdom 12's blockbuster double main event on January 4th. It's been much the same for several years, with legendary Tokyo Dome contests featuring Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Styles, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tetsuya Naito and most famously Kenny Omega and Kazuchika Okada grabbing early headlines before the Royal Rumble's first entry klaxon has even sounded.
January even feels like a fresh start, with Chris Jericho's New Japan return on par with the historic first ever Women's Rumble match four weeks later. It also allows a the fanbase at large to put a bow on 2017 - a year unlike any other. To paraphrase the parable of the little girl with the curl, when wrestling was good, it was very very good, but when it was bad, it was a f*cking absolute b*stard sh*tshow.
The year ahead may look intoxicating, but the agony and ecstasy of 2017 will force quite the steep comedown first.
Square eyes on a square head, trained almost exclusively to Pro Wrestling, Sunderland AFC & Paul Rudd films. Responsible for 'Shocking Plans You Won't Believe Actually Happened', some of the words in our amazing Wrestling bookazines (both available at shop.whatculture.com), and probably every website list you read that praised Kevin Nash.