2018 featured many ups and downs for WWE as the company clearly did not commit to every storyline. Some of the better stories featured the rise of Becky Lynch, AJ Styles having a dominant reign as WWE Champion and Daniel Bryan turning heel. Each major angle had its positives and negatives associated with it like most things to play out on WWE television. WWE is often criticized for not committing to paying off long-term stories as much as prior eras.
We will look at the instances of recent storylines not getting a fair chance to play out or give the fans an honest ending. WWE either gave up or didn’t care enough to truly provide a culmination to these stories they were telling. There is always the chance they can be visited now in 2019, but that seems unlikely for these tales. All ten of these WWE storylines from 2018 still need closure today.
10 Braun Strowman vs Brock Lesnar
The end of 2018 featured the Universal Championship in question after Roman Reigns vacated it to deal with his leukemia battle. Brock Lesnar faced off with Braun Strowman for the title at Crown Jewel with Lesnar getting the win within a minute after starting the match with a cheap shot.
2019 started with the match of Strowman vs Lesnar scheduled for the Royal Rumble. WWE instead replaced Strowman with Finn Balor for a great Rumble title match, but there was no payoff to the Braun/Brock storyline. Strowman never tried to get revenge after Lesnar sabotaged his chance at a world title.
9 Rousey's revenge on Charlotte
Ronda Rousey had two feuds in 2018 carry over into 2019 with the WrestleMania 35 triple threat match against Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair. The story started back at Survivor Series 2018 when Charlotte got intentionally disqualified by decimating Rousey with a kendo stick.
Rousey did not get another singles match with Flair in that time as they only squared off in the triple threat match. The finish of the WM 35 match featured Lynch winning the Raw and Smackdown Women’s Championships. This left the Flair/Rousey angle open as no one proved dominance over the other in a singles match.
8 Jason Jordan's drama with Kurt Angle and Seth Rollins
The start of 2018 had Jason Jordan in an important position on the Raw roster. Jordan was one half of the Raw Tag Team Champions with Seth Rollins and part of a bigger storyline as Kurt Angle’s long-lost son.
WrestleMania 34 rumors indicated Jordan would have a huge match against either Angle or Rollins as a new top heel. An injury to Jordan ruled him out as he and Seth lost the Raw Tag Team Championship with harsh words exchanged. No payoff has come from it since Jordan has not been cleared to compete yet and might never get cleared.
7 Carmella and James Ellsworth's relationship
One of the biggest surprises in 2018 featured the return of James Ellsworth to help Carmella defeat Asuka. The Smackdown Women’s Championship reign of Carmella would feature two PPV wins over Asuka both thanks to distractions from Ellsworth.
Carmella continued to have Ellsworth by her side for a few months with no definition of their relationship. Past teases left it open with no clarification on if they were friends, lovers or business partners. Ellsworth would get fired by Smackdown General Manager Paige with no explanation about Carmella’s ties to him.
6 Broken Matt Hardy
The unique tag team of Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt found success together in 2018 by winning the Raw Tag Team Championship. Matt adopted his popular “Broken” gimmick with Wyatt following his guidance as they teamed together for months.
WWE would have Wyatt and Hardy drop the tag titles ahead of Summerslam and write them off television. We are finally seeing Bray return with a new identity, but Matt’s character is still unknown. Matt returned with his brother Jeff in 2019 to win the Smackdown Tag Team Championship before vacating it due to Jeff’s injury. He shows signs of the Broken character, but there’s no confirmation either way.
5 Rousey vs Lynch
The main event of WrestleMania 35 gave us a great ending with Becky Lynch winning both the Raw and Smackdown Women’s Championships. Many hoped to find closure for the red-hot Lynch vs Rousey storyline that was building for many months.
An inconclusive finish left fans confused when it looked like Lynch was kicking out of the pin that Becky won the match with. There was no definitive closure to this angle and Rousey taking time away from WWE means we’ll have to wait longer for it to come if it ever does.
4 Gargano vs Ciampa rivalry
NXT is known for having better long-term storytelling than the WWE main roster. This was shown with the Johnny Gargano vs Tommaso Ciampa feud. Both former partners had brutal battles in 2018 and eventually teamed up again when Gargano turned heel to end the year.
The pay off was meant to come at TakeOver: New York during the past WrestleMania weekend, but Ciampa suffered an injury forcing him to vacate the NXT Championship. Gargano still got his win in a classic match over Adam Cole. Ciampa greeted him with a huge to provide some sort of closure, but we missed out on Gargano getting his first world title win by dethroning his former partner.
3 Shane McMahon's ban on Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
The feud between Shane McMahon and the duo of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn started in 2017 with an assumed payoff in 2018. WrestleMania 34 would see the return of Daniel Bryan to the ring teaming with Shane to defeat Owens and Zayn.
The stipulation was that Owens and Zayn would be banned from Smackdown while Shane was in power. Shane has turned heel this year and is now getting along with Owens and Zayn with no reference to the 2018 ban. The closure accomplished at WM 34 has been erased in recent months.
2 Bayley attacking Sasha Banks
The ups and downs between the friendship of Bayley and Sasha Banks has been going on for many years. 2018 featured the most explosive moment when Bayley was the one to brutally attack Banks at the ringside area to great reaction from the crowd.
This was the first and only signs of a heel Bayley due to the aggression and ruthlessness associated with the beatdown of Banks. They eventually made peace to win the Women’s Tag Team Championship, but fans would still love some closure on the mean streak Bayley exhibited during this angle.
1 Dean Ambrose turning on The Shield and insulting Roman Reigns
The night of Roman Reigns announcing his battle with leukemia featured a heartbreaking heel turn when Dean Ambrose attacked Seth Rollins to end The Shield for the time being. Ambrose insulted Reigns during his time away setting up a potential feud down the road.
Rollins would get a few wins over Ambrose, but the return of Reigns would see WWE reunite The Shield with no closure to Ambrose’s comments about Roman. The news of Ambrose leaving WWE when his contract expired led to WWE choosing the profiting of the final Shield reunion over storyline closure.