The “new era” and upcoming brand split has created the most excitement WWE has seen in a few years. Change is coming and it always presents a hope for optimism. WWE has signed many of the diehard fan favorites that made their names in other companies as an effort to bring in the best performers. A.J. Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura and Kevin Owens represent the change in philosophy that personify what the new era is all about with new faces the fans want to see. The brand split will only give more opportunity to the young and hungry stars waiting to blow up.
WWE will be fascinating to watch over the next decade. Many of the part-time performers and established main eventers will be gone or in a reduced role by 2020. Who in the world will pick up the slack with the top spots there for the taking? Two different rosters with the brand split will just mean more main event positions for the best talents to take advantage of. Many of the current young stars on the main roster, a few stars in NXT and a couple of independent standouts should be running WWE by then. We’ll look at the names here of the top 15 stars that will be main eventing the WWE from 2020-2025.
15 Dean Ambrose
Dean Ambrose position on the card is rather fascinating to figure out. You can make the argument he will become a future World Champion as a best case scenario or go with the thought process that he'll be a midcarder for life if you’re a pessimist. Ambrose appeared to be the breakout star of The Shield during the early stages but it has become clear now that he is definitely below Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins in the pecking order.
One great positive for Ambrose is that he does connect with the fan base. Most of his big match losses can be easily forgiven since he’s been portrayed as a lovable underdog. Ambrose will likely blossom into a part-time main eventer as the years go by. The Lunatic Fringe has a much better chance at winning a World Title with the brand split coming up. The trajectory of Ambrose will likely see him have a career like Kane or Sheamus. You’ll see him in the main event scene once or twice a year but he’ll never be “the guy.”
14 Finn Balor
The time is now for Finn Balor to get called up to the main roster with the brand split approaching. Balor has been the face of NXT for the past year but WWE can’t waste his prime years any longer. Expect Finn to get a huge push instantly on one of the main roster shows and quickly make his way into the main event scene. Balor’s age (34) isn’t working in his favor but most main event WWE stars work into their early 40s and his genetics are obviously great.
For as long as he’s been in the system, NXT isn’t a gruelling schedule and his career will likely last longer due to it. Balor has a special “it factor” quality that WWE desperately searches for in performers and it will make him a World Champion with the company. 2020 should see the final few years of Balor’s career and he’ll have a few main events left in the tank.
Neville was one of the first successful NXT products to show that the developmental system was going to be something special. The awe-inspiring moves done by Neville are superhuman and can energize any crowd within seconds. Neville is 29 years old and should have another decade of work left in him. WWE has been moving towards showcasing the performers that do amazing things in the ring to have great matches. Between that and the brand split, Neville will have a chance at success.
The opportunity for a future World Title reign may be there and he will likely be a worthy challenger that finds himself in the main event picture every now and then. Neville has a genuinely likeable personality and once he is able to show that, he will become a fan favorite. The career of Neville is bound to take off in the next five years as the older members of the roster retire to open up new spots.
We all often forget just how great Rusev can be. The Bulgarian Brute was one of the best heels in the company during his first year on the main roster. An undefeated streak did wonders for Rusev to become credible enough to face John Cena at WrestleMania 31. We still see signs of greatness from Rusev and his second United States Championship reign is helping him get back to relevancy with Lana by his side.
The brand split will help Rusev more than most. The heel side of the WWE roster is desperately lacking. That’s the reason Seth Rollins was forced to return from injury as a villain and why A.J. Styles randomly turned heel. With two shows needing heels at the top of the card, Rusev will take advantage of the opportunity and become one of the most hated figures in the company. The big man will become a main eventer over the next five-to-ten years in the WWE given his age and talent.
The first selection of a wrestler not currently in the company, but who will find himself signed to become a big star in the WWE is Ricochet. Everyone is still talking about the memorable match between Ricochet and Will Ospreay in New Japan. Polarizing is great in today’s wrestling culture and Ricochet has that going for him. Most would agree that his natural athleticism and talent are towards the top of the pro wrestling industry and he should end up in WWE soon.
Ricochet is bound to achieve great success in WWE whenever he eventually does sign and he has all the time in the world at the age of 27. His main event potential will see him blossom into one of the top names in the WWE. Ricochet just needs the opportunity and Triple H gradually gaining power in WWE will give performers like him the chance to make the company a lot of money.
10 Baron Corbin
The original purpose of the Performance Center was to sign talented athletes from other sports looking to make it in pro wrestling and train them all the way to the main roster. The majority of breakout NXT stars have been names signed from the independent wrestling scene, but Baron Corbin has a chance to prove the system works for its overall intent. WWE has not used Corbin very well since he was called up to the main roster at WrestleMania 32 but he will get plenty of opportunities.
Corbin has the look that Vince McMahon loves and the background that Triple H loves. They will do everything in their power to make sure he excels on the main roster as a future World Champion. Corbin should slowly become a fixture in the main event scene well before 2020 and last into 2025. Expect “The Big Banter” to live up to his name as a top heel in the WWE for the next decade.
WWE’s plan to make the women’s division credible has been a bit disappointing following WrestleMania 32 but they won’t quit on it just yet. NXT continues to develop female talents the fan base believes in and the cream will rise to the top. Bayley has the potential to become the biggest female wrestling hero of all time. Her honorable personality, amazing matches and ability to connect with young fans all make her a special, one of a kind performer.
Bayley could become the female version of John Cena in terms of selling merchandise and becoming a media blessing with kids loving everything she stands for. The work put out by Bayley in the ring is almost equally impressive, as she's had outstanding matches against Sasha Banks, Carmella and Nia Jax. The women will have their chance to main event in the near future and Bayley will be among those making history by 2020-2025.
8 Adam Cole
The landscape of the WWE is always changing and they are zoning in on signing all of the best wrestlers in the world. NXT becoming a touring brand and the upcoming main roster split means WWE now needs strong rosters for three separate entities. They will continue to sign the top independent wrestling stars to add depth to the roster and Adam Cole has to be among the future additions.
ROH has utilized Cole as one of their biggest stars and he’s accomplished more than most at the young age of 26. Most wrestlers and experts agree on Cole being perfectly made for the WWE system, as a tremendous talent and one of the best-spoken professionals. Cole has star potential and will find himself in a main event position once he does sign. The potential and young age of Cole gives him a chance to become a future WrestleMania main eventer and a huge star in WWE come 2020-2025.
7 Sasha Banks
Sasha Banks is the most popular female performer in WWE today, but she’s rarely utilized on television. WWE knows she has all the time in the world at just 24 years old and is slowly waiting to put the Women’s Championship on her at the right moment. There’s no doubt Banks will become the face of the division by capturing the title in the near future. Once she gets crowned champion, her ascension will really take off.
Fans love everything Banks does, from her in-ring work to her character work to her genuine passion for the industry. The time is coming for the women to main event shows and Banks will likely be the most frequent competitor in those situations. We can only hope everything works out positively for the likes of Banks, Bayley and others to main event shows for the Women’s Championship in the 2020s. The best bet is Banks not only making history but kicking the door down while doing so.
6 Kevin Owens
The hard work and long road to the WWE paid off for Kevin Owens as he has already become a big player just a year after his debut. Owens is the most entertaining personality on WWE television these days with his amazing matches and hilarious promos. While he is a comedic genius, Owens has the ability to make it serious with the snap of a finger. The sky is the limit for KO and he will become a main event heel very soon.
Owens has another decade of wrestling left in him and the odds would dictate he spends most of that time in the main event picture. Multiple World Title reigns and main events are coming for Owens. The Canadian import will play a huge role in WWE’s success from 2020 to 2025 and he should have a great deal of main events in that time frame. If you don’t enjoy the style or look of Kevin Owens, get ready to complain online for the next decade.
5 Shinsuke Nakamura
Shinsuke Nakamura's age should make it difficult for him to make it to 2020 and beyond in a main event position, but he has everything going for him. Fourteen years of gruelling work on the body and being 36 years old are the only things working against Nakamura. Most top Japanese wrestlers to tend to work into their 40s at a high level, so we may be lucky there. Nakamura has proved he is going to become a main eventer in WWE quickly.
Fans absolutely adore him and his overall presence has a nonstop energy that can’t be matched. Nakamura makes people want to watch him and pay for the honor. WWE will likely call him up to the main roster within the next year and he will force the company to give him a huge push with the fan support. Nakamura should still be a top player and championship contender around 2020 as he main events a few shows per year.
4 Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins was the first man younger than WrestleMania to win a main event on the show at WrestleMania 31. That showed both his young age and his future as a top player in the WWE. Rollins has always been one of the best wrestlers in the world but his promo skills and character work lacked until he turned heel on The Shield. His ability to grow on his own helped Rollins evolve into an elite all-around performer.
John Cena is getting older. The Undertaker’s part-time days have to end sometime soon. Triple H can only wrestle so often. Rollins is shaping up to be a top three performer in WWE over the next decade. There’s nothing that will be able to stop Rollins’ momentum and ascension into legendary status aside from the bad luck of injuries. Rollins’ knee is back to 100% and he should appear in plenty of PPV main event matches over the next nine years.
3 Bray Wyatt
The overall look and persona of Bray Wyatt often skews his age and makes it shocking to believe he is less than 30 years old. Wyatt was one of the instant successes in NXT with his new character propelling him to the main roster with a world of potential. The booking he's received has not helped him, with losses in every major feud to John Cena, Undertaker and Roman Reigns. Let’s not even get into The Rock humiliating him at WrestleMania 32.
Wyatt still has a great deal of potential and it’s clear that Triple H views him as a main event star of the future. WWE has been very adamant about keeping him away from title matches. Whenever he gets a crack at the title, he'll likely win it and he is absolutely bound for big things, especially with the brand split coming up. With less competition and more opportunity, Bray will be a top star in WWE for the next decade, main eventing multiple many shows.
2 Roman Reigns
The most obvious choice here is Roman Reigns. You can hear Vince McMahon’s excitement for Reigns every time JBL shouts he’s “THE GUY.” Following a few hiccups, WWE finally committed to Reigns at WrestleMania 32 by making him their guy in a decisive victory over Triple H to close the historic show. Reigns is going to have the top spot in the company for the next decade and that will see him in the majority of main events.
Unless he turns into a traditional heel, his detractors will always criticize him and the polarizing reactions will never end. WWE probably prefers it that way. The era of Reigns is likely to follow the era of John Cena with Roman monopolizing the main event picture by holding the title consistently over the next decade. Warm up those vocal chords because you’re going to be booing Reigns into 2025 if you’re still attending shows at that point.
1 Big Cass
Big Cass’ short time on the main roster has given us an indication that big things are coming for him. The 29 year old is very athletic and a mammoth of a man. Triple H has worked hard to develop his NXT stars, but very few of them fall under the traditional Vince McMahon criteria of what a top star should look like. Cass presents the perfect middle ground of a new era star that fans believe in, but who also has the perfect look of the past.
The confidence and continued experience of Big Cass will only make him better. The booking has protected Cass since coming up from NXT in April. An injury to Enzo Amore for a few weeks spotlighted Cass as a singles star and his television time gave an insight into how much WWE believes in him. The tag team will split within a year or two and Big Cass will be elevated into the elite main event picture by 2020.
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