Things change quickly in WWE with new stars being created and prior names fading away. WWE is always looking for new talents to “grab the brass ring” and prove they deserve a top spot in the company. You never would have predicted Kevin Owens, Jinder Mahal, AJ Styles and a few other names would be World Champions and main eventers just three years ago. On the flip side, Dean Ambrose has shown just how quickly one can fall off from a top spot to hit a downward spiral. Cody Rhodes leaving WWE also gave a glimpse at how easily the change can come for one to depart the company.
We'll peer into the future a few years forward into 2020 to see what the landscape of WWE will look like. There are bound to be new faces at the top of the card dominating the main event scene. Other stars we currently see on the roster will be out of the company. The changes coming seem to be a long way away but three years goes by very quickly in WWE. This list will look at eight wrestlers that will be on top of WWE by 2020 along with seven that will be gone.
15 Top: Baron Corbin
Baron Corbin winning the Money in the Bank briefcase shows just how much WWE values him. Many of the previous winners moved into the main event spot for good after cashing in such as Edge, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. Corbin has been viewed as one of the top prospects in WWE’s system for many years before his main roster debut.
The original purpose of the Performance Center was to bring in athletes from other sports to learn the business and become new stars for WWE. Corbin is the best example of this progressing from a former NFL player into a competent wrestler. There’s no doubt he's a top level commodity in WWE. Corbin is the future main event heel for the company and he's clearly getting there by 2020 unless he screws it up.
14 Gone: Dolph Ziggler
The peak of Dolph Ziggler’s career in WWE has clearly come and gone. Ziggler appeared to be on pace to a main event position in WWE back in 2013 after cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase to win the World Championship. Vince McMahon reportedly disliked Ziggler and refused to believe he could be a main event player which led to his demise.
Ziggler also deserves blame for his current position as a mid-carder. Dolph has regressed from a must-see performer having classic matches into a forgettable lower tier guy falling behind the new stars joining the company. The recent years have seen Ziggler transition into the world of comedy and political talk shows. It's obvious he's setting up a future in other fields once his contract ends.
13 Top: Finn Balor
Finn Balor is currently one of the most popular faces on Raw despite the booking not featuring him as such since a return from injury. Fans dig the energy, in-ring skills and the demon character of Balor. There's a reason WWE felt confident enough to make Finn the first ever Universal Champion before an injury ruined the biggest moment of his career.
The future of Balor is still bright. Once this Brock Lesnar title reign finally ends, Balor should have a chance in the main event spot with the title picture having more participants. You can’t deny a special talent if the fans are supporting him. Finn is too good and has too much going for him for WWE to stop him. Triple H is one of his biggest supporters likely making it perfect for Balor to dominate WWE in a few years once he takes over.
12 Gone: Lana
The decision of WWE to transition Lana away from being the manager of Rusev into a wrestler on the main roster shocked many fans. Lana never spent much time in NXT but occasionally worked on the live events to learn on the spot. Over the past few months, Lana has become part of the SmackDown Women’s Division losing three title shots against Naomi.
WWE has huge hopes for her evolving into a big star. The stunning look of Lana along with a background in acting are the main reasons the company thinks she can be a major player in the future. Lana however failed to keep up with Naomi showing a lot of reason to believe she won’t be a success as a wrestler. Every indication shows she cares a bit more about fame and wants to pursuit a career in acting. Don’t be surprised if she leaves WWE for movies and television if opportunities open up.
11 Top: Big Cass
The split of Big Cass and Enzo Amore showed that WWE feels Cass’ potential as a singles star is greater than the tag team. From day one, Cass was the bigger priority in WWE thanks to his height. Vince McMahon clearly prefers an athletic big man with the look of Cass over the short trash talker Enzo. The breakup is mostly meant to elevate Cass to the top of the card.
Cass already getting his win over Enzo and moving into a feud with Big Show proved he's on the fast track to a bigger spot on the card. Both Vince and Triple H are high on Cass giving him all the confidence to move into the main event picture within a few years. Don’t be surprised of Cass is a main event heel facing off with Roman Reigns on many PPVs in 2020.
10 Gone: Big Show
Big Show is clearly seeing the end of his career with his age getting up there. At 45 years old, Big Show only has a couple of years left in the tank. WWE uses him in a part-time role to keep his body fresh for when they have something of use for him. Big Show is about to return to television for the next month on Raw to put over young star Big Cass.
The claims of Big Show are that he's going to retire in the next two years when his contract expires. Unlike Mark Henry and other veterans, Big Show seems to have zero interest in moving forward in the business once he retires. Once Big Show leaves, he's likely done with the wrestling industry forever. We definitely won’t see him in the ring come 2020.
9 Top: Adam Cole
We'll see many new signings in WWE in between now and 2020. Adam Cole is expected to be one of the new names coming to WWE sooner than later for NXT. The body of work shown by Cole in ROH, PWG and NJPW made him a top star outside of WWE and he's now a free agent. It's almost a guarantee that Cole signs with WWE and becomes the next top star in NXT going forward.
Cole should be a big player on the main roster by 2020 given his track record. Unlike many independent stars, Cole worked at the top of the card in the relevant independent promotions for the majority of his career. The top spot in ROH saw him make many media appearances as a great spokesperson. Cole essentially has everything WWE wants from their stars and he's only 27 years old. This gives him everything needed to thrive.
8 Gone: Titus O'Neil
The deceptively older age of Titus O'Neil has his career on limited time. O'Neil is shockingly 40 years old and finding a new productive role on the shows. Titus is managing Apollo Crews and Akira Tozawa bringing his personality to them in "Titus Worldwide". However, this doesn’t appear to be the makings of a long-term situation.
O'Neil was involved in controversy when WWE suspended him for making physical contact with Vince McMahon as a joke back in 2016. Titus’ close friend Batista implored him to quit WWE. According to Batista, O’Neil will have a future coaching youth and high school football. That is the path we'll likely see Titus take in the next few years. WWE has minimal interest in him as a wrestler and Titus Worldwide can only last so long.
7 Top: Ruby Riot
The Women’s Division in WWE is better than ever with great talent all over the roster. Raw, SmackDown Live and NXT all have unique rosters with more talented women than any other time in wrestling history. NXT is currently looking to build new stars with their former top names all thriving on the main roster today. Ruby Riot stands out as someone new with a different look and the talent to match anyone.
Riot is already making waves on NXT with a standout match against Nikki Cross and Asuka on the last TakeOver special in Chicago. All she needs is a little more tinkering with her character that often comes in NXT. Ruby is clearly going to have a great future in WWE and should become Women’s Champion on Raw or SmackDown by 2020 having matches against the current big names.
6 Gone: Erick Rowan
The end of The Wyatt Family has hurt the careers of Erick Rowan, Luke Harper and even Bray Wyatt to an extent. Rowan is the one that suffers most in the long run. Very few people even remember he’s still a part of WWE today. Rowan has zero presence on television and it's hard to imagine that changing anytime soon unless the Wyatt Family reunites.
There’s no realistic scenario of Rowan working out as a singles star. You would have to assume he's one of the names most likely to get released in the next few years. Unlike other names to get fired by WWE, Rowan would not have a strong market of promotions looking to hire him. Rowan is most likely going to be out of the business altogether within a few years.
5 Top: Drew McIntyre
The long road of Drew McIntyre to his current spot in NXT makes us assume he's a lot older than he actually is. McIntyre had a big push at a young age in WWE before flopping and getting released. Following a tremendous run on the independent scene, McIntyre saw him name value rise bigger than ever before. WWE couldn’t resist signing McIntyre back to a top spot in NXT. Most shockingly, he's currently only 32 years older actually younger than current top face Roman Reigns.
The talent and experience of McIntyre finally sees him as the performer WWE always envisioned him becoming. Drew is bound to have a great career on the main roster once his time in NXT ends. All wrestling fans should be excited about the future with McIntyre likely being a future World Champion by 2020.
4 Gone: Daniel Bryan
Daniel Bryan is doing a great job as the General Manager of SmackDown Live. However, the rumors all indicate that Bryan is looking to leave the company once his contract expires in 2018. Bryan does not necessarily have the same passion for the wrestling role outside of the ring. Everyone and their mother believe it's set that he'll continue his career wrestling in the ring for New Japan and ROH.
The health concerns of Bryan’s history with concussions make it a tough sell for him to actually come back to the ring now that he's a father. Bryan has a passion for other fields in life such as growing vegetables and environmental issues. The most likely scenario is a middle of Bryan leaving WWE and finding his happiness in a new world completely away from wrestling to keep his health.
3 Top: Sami Zayn
Sami Zayn has seen former fellow NXT stars and close friends Kevin Owens and Finn Balor win Worlds Championships on the main roster before him. Quite frankly, Zayn doesn’t even appear close to the title picture right away. The main roster career of Sami is a long game with the company viewing him having a story similar to Daniel Bryan.
Fans were invested in seeing Bryan finally get to the top of WWE after a long road of being an underdog. The same will happen for someone as talented and beloved as Sami. Don’t be surprised if Zayn is the biggest face in WWE by 2020. All he has to do is continue working hard and growing a connection with the audience. Sami’s moment will come as a culmination of years of being the underdog.
2 Gone: Randy Orton
The recent run of Randy Orton as WWE Champion showed he's no longer worthy of being a top star. Orton had an all-time awful feud with Bray Wyatt leading to a horrendous title match at WrestleMania 33. The horrible stretch continued in another boring feud with Jinder Mahal. WWE actually preferred Mahal as the champion going forward showing just how much Orton has disappointed.
Orton has done just about everything possible to do in WWE and no longer provides much to the show. As one of the wealthiest wrestlers in WWE, Orton really doesn’t need WWE anymore and they clearly don’t need him. Randy has claimed he wants to wrestle for another decade. That's just unlikely with the writing on the wall that his time is coming to an end.
1 Top: Kenny Omega
The top WWE star in 2020 will be someone that isn’t even on the roster right now. Kenny Omega is currently the biggest non-WWE wrestling star in many years. It was a tough role becoming the leader of the Bullet Club having to follow in the footsteps of A.J. Styles and Finn Balor. Omega has taken the Bullet Club to a new level and is arguably the best wrestler in the world.
You can purchase Omega shirts and other Bullet Club shirts in Hot Topic stores today. That's just one sign of many that shows the star power of Omega. Steve Austin recently attended the New Japan shows in California and claimed Omega could be the face of WWE if he signs when his NJPW contract expires. This isn’t just Austin blowing smoke as Omega really does have it all. Kenny is the most complete performer in wrestling today and will instantly dominate WWE if he does decide to sign before 2020.