With the brand split finally going down, let the next conversation begin pertaining to who is the next in line to be “the guy”. With fans already giving up on Roman following his suspension, the door seems wide open for a new face to take the “reigns” (no pun intended). Several names have come up recently, such as the new Raw draftee Finn Balor. Will he be main eventing during the 2020s? We’ll have that answer for you a little later.
For now, let the speculation begin; will new stars emerge in the 2020s that are currently outside of the WWE? Has the Cruiserweight Classic opened the door for several new faces that will potentially main event down the line? Will Rollins and AJ still dominate the main event scene on their respective brands? And will Roman Reigns still be regarded as a main event face five years from now? We will speculate and give you some temporary analysis on these situations. So without further ado, here are 15 WWE stars that will be main eventing in the 2020s. Enjoy!
15. American Alpha: Jason Jordan & Chad Gable
Recruited by Gerald Brisco as an amateur wrestler, Jordan entered the mix way back in the WWE’s days of FCW as the company’s developmental system back in 2011. He is still only 27, which is pretty mind-boggling but he’s been in the WWE system for five years already. So if you see Jordan get emotional from time to time, it’s because he’s been on quite the journey down in development.
His talent was obvious; for Jordan the only thing missing was that connection with the crowd which he lacked early on because of meaningless personas which just didn’t seem to match his identity. Enter Chad Gable. Cut from the same cloth, Gable was another well scouted amateur wrestler that was signed to a developmental deal in 2013. His first major angle was to work a Tag Team with Jordan, and the two were an instant hit and took the NXT brand by storm.
Fast forward to now and the duo is set to make their main roster debut on Tuesday night’s SmackDown Live. The addition of the team added so much more value to the show. Following their long Tag Team dominance on the main roster, you can expect these two to thrive as singles stars for a long, long time. Look for Gable and Jordan to enter the main event mix in the 2020s.
You can mark this entry down as a wild card on this list with everybody else having some type of WWE involvement at the moment. AJ Styles, along with other indie talents like Austin Aries, have opened the WWE’s eyes in more ways the one. With the success of both stars in and out of the ring, the company has now elected to broaden their horizons into adding more independent pieces from around the world.
With this new influx of talent comes the name of Trevor Mann (aka Ricochet, aka Prince Puma). The Illinois native is regarded as the hottest commodity outside of the WWE at the moment, with his charismatic demeanor matched up with his unique brand of wrestling style. Only issue is that he is currently under contract with Lucha Underground. Once that expires, you have to believe the WWE will be giving this 27 year old a call.
13. Zack Sabre Jr.
Indie legend Chris Hero had a hand in training Sabre, who is now regarded as one of the most gifted wrestlers in all of sports and entertainment. When the names from the Cruiserweight Classic were exposed, Sabre’s name was one of the most notable and noteworthy to look at. What makes Zack so special is how unique he is in the ring. The England native has perfected a technical wrestling style which seems to be a lost art, particularly in the WWE which focuses on a typical North American run and gun type of genre during their matches.
He will bring an added dimension to the WWE and we truly hope that this tournament will showcase his talents on a larger scale. At the age of 28, this guy certainly has a huge future ahead of him. With the NXT roster being quite thin and the Cruiserweight Division set to debut on Raw, the likelihood of Sabre Jr. joining the WWE ranks certainly went up quite a bit. When he does get signed (assuming he will), look for the wrestling technician to bring his unique style of wrestling into the WWE’s main event scene during the 2020s.
12. Big Cass
He signed his first WWE deal way back in 2011 joining the FCW ranks. Once the developmental circuit transformed into NXT, Big Cass began to fully thrive as a Tag Team wrestler alongside Enzo Amore. The two found some instant success playing off their real life heritage, with Big Cass born and raised in Queens, New York, while Amore is a Jersey boy. The two played off each other’s strengths and are now one of the most popular acts in all of the WWE.
At the moment, it’s hard to identify Cass as a singles star because of his current role. Though, when looking at his body of work you can see why so many wrestling media outlets are predicting big things for the big man. Still only 29, Cass will only get better. Mix that in with his huge size and bayface demeanor with the crowd, Cass has all the makings to be a prominent future face. After all, when was the last time we saw a wrestler over 6’5 that was a face and not a heel.
11. Kota Ibushi
Now more than ever before, the WWE is extremely aggressive when it comes to the signing of Japanese talents. The CWC is a clear indication of that, with three Superstars from the country. Kota Ibushi is certainly the top draw not only from Japan, but probably the entire tournament making him the favorite to win it all. Don’t be fooled by his breathtaking movement in the ring, as Ibushi is a veteran working as a pro wrestler for more than a decade now. Not to mention he is 34 years of age.
After one CWC match, the WWE went all in and signed Ibushi to a developmental deal down in NXT on July 15th. When the Cruiserweight Division is launched on Monday Nights you can expect to see his face on the flagship program for a long time.
The real question is: will he have enough draw value to reach main event potential? We truly believe so. Ibushi has to be a front-runner at the moment for the first ever Japanese WWE Champion. Like so many others on this list, we cannot wait to see what the future holds for the dazzling kicker.
10. Baron Corbin
Before the invasion of indie wrestlers, the NXT brand was meant to develop athletes from around the globe into future WWE stars. Baron Corbin will forever remain the poster boy of this concept. Before signing with the WWE, Corbin had a couple of NFL stints with the Colts and the Cardinals. Not to mention, a brief boxing career in 2007 and 2008.
His development since joining the WWE is quite remarkable. He started off with minor in-ring skills, mixed in with a poor demeanor as a heel. Little by little, improvements were made and he became the most prominent heel on the NXT roster. His WWE run has been very limited, all he’s really done is take on Dolph Ziggler in several matches. His selection to SmackDown was huge for his career, making him one of the top heels on the roster. Getting a chance to work with the likes of John Cena and AJ Styles will only further his development. Look for Corbin to become a big time player in the near future.
9. Bray Wyatt
Shocking that we still await Bray’s name as a permanent force on WWE television. Thankfully the only upside to this is the fact that he is only 29 years old. Injuries and terrible creative bookings have set Bray’s character back quite a bit in the last couple of years. He’s lost matches to some of the biggest names, while seeing his in-ring time be cut in half. Despite all of this, he is more than ready to receive a push. Wyatt has a tremendous gimmick, mixed-in with terrific storytelling on the microphone and great in-ring skills.
A new start with SmackDown is exactly what the Florida native needed. With a smaller roster, we predict big things in the future for Bray. Look for the face of fear to run the place in a couple of years. For now, it should be the WWE’s duty to make him great again, and joining SmackDown is the perfect start.
Still, we await the debut of one of the most popular wrestlers down in NXT, Bayley. Thankfully, she is still only 27, so she’ll be sticking around for a while. No matter what brand Bayley ends up working on, we can pretty much guarantee that she’s going to be a star. WWE crowds are already chanting her name in anticipation of her future debut, and once she does, expect the roof to come off of whichever building she begins in.
As we go along, you can expect the Women’s Division to increase in importance. The selection of Charlotte as second overall ensured that the WWE holds the class in high regard. When women do start main eventing shows, you can expect Bayley to be at the forefront of the action. The 2020s will see Bayley maintain her status as a dominant force with the company, though this time on the main roster.
7. Sasha Banks
Sticking with the topic of women main eventing the WWE scene during the 2020s, you have to believe without a doubt that Sasha Banks will be taking a part in this, as she is currently regarded as the most popular female on the entire WWE roster.
It’s obvious when looking at the booking decisions with Sasha, the company is taking their sweet time to build her up as the prominent face of the division. In the meantime, Charlotte has furthered her legacy as a major heel in the division for years to come.
With this in mind, there will come a point in the near future when the company will have no choice but to give Sasha the ball. Once she gets it, you can expect Banks to run with it for a long, long time, all the way into the 2020s. And who knows, maybe she’ll achieve her dream and main event WrestleMania one day. With Sasha, everything is a possibility.
The only thing really holding Nakamura back from being a main fixture in the main event scene for the WWE throughout the 2020s is the fact that he is already 36 years of age. The New Japan product began as the Super Rookie way back in 2002. Although he’s just months into his NXT run, he’s been doing this for almost 15 years already. With this in mind, it is crucial that the WWE calls up Shinsuke sooner rather than later. We hope that by the end of 2016, he is up on the main roster.
His talent is so out there, but what makes him so special is how you get the feeling of fortune when watching this guy compete. Watching Nakamura compete seems like something we should be grateful for; his matches are rare and when they happen, our eyes are glued to our TV sets. We hope the company will keep this approach, as this will not only lengthen his stay, but keep that brilliant demeanor the company has worked in beautifully.
We’re still not sure how long he’ll be around for, but we can most certainly predict he will burst onto the main event scene and perhaps become the first ever Japanese born WWE Champion once he gets the call up.
5. Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens personifies what the new era is all about: a highly skilled wrestler that is not seven feet tall and has a burning desire and passion for not only the WWE, but to reach the top of the mountain. We can almost guarantee, KO will one day become the WWE Champion. Yes, it is a bold statement but his body of work since joining the main roster speaks for itself. The guy is durable in the ring, tells great stories with every match he partakes in, and he’s loaded with charisma from his antics in the commentary booth to cutting a promo on a wrestler in the ring during a match.
By 2020, Owens should solidify himself as one of the greatest heels in all of the company as he is today. Buddy Sami Zayn doesn’t make this list, but he too will see himself climb up the card during the next couple of years. A bright future lies ahead for both Montreal natives.
4. AJ Styles
Yes, he is 39 but AJ will be a prominent force with the WWE for a very long time. Vince said his only regret with AJ was not signing him to a 10 year deal instead. It’s rather apparent, the company likes what Styles is selling thus far in his WWE journey which hasn’t even lasted a calendar year yet.
Booking-wise, AJ has been handled beautifully. We still marvel at how many jaw-dropping encounters AJ will have in the future against various opponents. With so many options at their disposal, the WWE chose to opt for the long route with AJ and it’s been the right choice.
His involvement with the SmackDown show will solidify Styles as the top dog. Although many think of it as Cena’s show, truth be told things will revolve around AJ more so than anyone else. He is main eventing now and look for this trend to continue for many, many years down the road.
3. Roman Reigns
For all the Roman haters out there, I hate to break it to you but this guy is going to be around for a long time. Factor in that he’s still only 31, you can expect to see Roman still main eventing the bulk of the first half during the 2020s.
His suspension may set him back a bit, but at the end of the day the company is very high on Roman for several reasons. One: he’s a great worker in the ring; two: his image is a major selling point and three: his style represents what the new era thrives on, an athletically gifted athlete that has superhuman strength. Those three factors have pushed his name over the years. It hasn’t been well received however, because of terrible booking decisions made by the WWE who only have themselves to blame. With a fresh new start, look for Roman to leave his troubles behind him and build a legacy as a major player for years to come. Whether it’s as a babyface or heel, that remains to be seen.
2. Seth Rollins
As of right now, not a single wrestler on Raw holds a candle to the work of Seth Rollins; he is by far the greatest worker on the brand and in the company at the moment. No doubt by 2020, Seth will still be basking as one of the top draws in the entire company. His first overall selection solidified how great he really is and how the company also sees him in the same light.
For the future, it’ll be interesting to see how the company manages Seth’s durability as a prominent player. Since he won the championship at WrestleMania 31, Seth has been plugged into every main headlining story in the company. A babyface run can extend his time in the spotlight; many of us thought that would have happened sooner, although the company has elected to wait a little longer. The eventual turn will give fans something new to chew on and only extend his reign at the top for several more years to come.
1. Finn Balor
With a new era, comes a new face. Finn Balor is everything the WWE Universe wants in a star; he oozes with charisma, uses a mysterious gimmick that’s never been seen before and his in-ring work is nothing short of spectacular. With all this being said, Finn provides so much more than that. NXT as a brand gave fans hope for change; it gave us a sense of excitement that the future does look bright after all. Balor was the catalyst of the great script being written down in development. He is NXT and represent everything that was so great with the product.
We all hope that his success will translate onto the big stage for years and years to come. Look for Balor to solidify his status as the face of the company in the 2020s. I speak for most wrestling fans when I say, I cannot wait to see how it will all unfold.