WWE’s Women Superstars continue to go from strength to strength, and starting with the first ever women’s Royal Rumble match in 2018, it’s set to be yet another great, groundbreaking year for the women of WWE. We saw plenty of new faces in 2017, and when the calendar hits 2018, we are likely to see those new performers make a big impact, but which ones will claim Championship gold? We can’t be certain, but these are 5 women who we think will make the biggest impact in 2018, and claim their first title in WWE.
(Author's note: “First” refers to the performers first championship on their current roster, i.e. Asuka has won the NXT Women’s Championship, but a win on either RAW or Smackdown would mark her first main roster win, which we will classify as first for the purposes of this list.)
5. Kairi Sane
Kairi Sane recently came out victorious in WWE’s inaugural Mae Young Classic. She has injected herself into the NXT Women’s Championship picture and is practically a lock to win that title at some point in the next calendar year. Ember Moon stands in her way, and with the talent of both women, a prolonged rivalry could be one of the best in a very illustrious history in NXT. Some may feel that keeping Sane un-pinned could be NXT simply looking to replace Asuka with Sane, but she is very different thsn The Empress of Tomorrow. If WWE can highlight those differences, she could go on to become just as good, if not better than Asuka.
4. Ruby Riott
Just a night after Paige’s WWE return, we saw the debut of three new women from NXT, with Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan joining Ruby Riott to create The Riott Squad. In her few matches on SmackDown, Riott has looked at home, and will definitely get more chances in 2018. It’s clear that her character has clicked with the fans too as she has been very engaging early on in her career. With a victory over current Champion Charlotte (plus the rumored Horsewomen match at Mania), she could be getting it early in the year. Riott wasn’t given much of a chance in NXT, but SmackDown Live looks to have big plans in store for her and it will almost certainly result in gold around her waist.
3. Shayna Baszler
Shayna Baszler just made her debut in NXT, and it’s very obvious given her run in the MYC that WWE loves the Queen of Spades. Whether it’s in NXT or the main roster, it won’t be long before she’s at the top of the women's division. We know WWE are aiming for a Four Horsewomen match at WrestleMania, so it’s unclear whether she’ll be in NXT long or a permanent fixture alongside Ronda Rousey on the main roster, but she’s set up for success. We’ll need to see her character developed a fair bit, but she is a legit badass and a very good wrestler, so expect to see her succeed in WWE for a long time.
Asuka was the longest reigning NXT Champion of any kind in history, and she remained unbeaten during her 3 year run. If that doesn’t make her a lock to win the Raw Women’s Championship within the next year, then I don’t know what will. With the return of Paige and The Absolution injecting themselves into the picture recently, it might take a bit longer than we initially expected, but you’d be silly to bet against Asuka in 2018. There have been rumors that she is using an arm-bar now to set up a big match with Ronda Rousey, but if she wins the Championship beforehand, it could go down as the biggest women’s match in WWE history.
Carmella came to WWE fame alongside Enzo & Cass in NXT, and although her road to the main roster and success has lagged behind those two, she has just as much potential as either of them. She currently holds the Money in the Bank briefcase, and if history tells us anything, it’s that she will almost certainly hold a championship in 2018. She hasn’t been as involved as of late, and that might be a good thing, as her cash-in might come as more of a surprise. But if she continues to improve, there will always be a play for the Princess of Staten Island at the top of WWE’s women’s roster.