We’re at the dawn of a new decade and the landscape of professional wrestling has never been so diverse. Performers from all corners of the globe are making a name for themselves as potential superstars in the industry, whether that be as part of the mainstream juggernaut that is WWE, or a burgeoning independent promotion that’s beginning to scratch the surface of its potential.
As we start on the long road of the 2020s, lets have a run down of 5 wrestlers that you should take note of for the next 12 months. These guys and girls are destined to be the talk of the town, so make sure you’re ahead of the curve and start brushing up on their recent history.
Make sure you drop your own wrestlers to watch in the comments section below.
1. Rhea Ripley
‘The Nightmare’ took NXT by storm in the last few months of 2019. Rhea Ripley made the jump to the US branch after the promotion made its TV debut on USA, immediately setting her sights on the NXT Women’s Champ, Shayna Baszler, making her the fan favourite to take down the unstoppable ‘Submission Magician’.
Ripley’s popularity sky-rocketed as part of Survivor Series weekend, not only leading her team to victory in the first-ever women’s WarGames match, pinning Baszler in the closing moments, but also defeating teams from both RAW and SmackDown Live at Survivor Series.
Ripley has developed into a prime candidate for the face of NXT in 2020. The now-crowned NXT Women’s Champion has started the decade off with heaps of momentum behind her, so there’s no doubt that she’ll continue on the path to superstardom as we enter the new year.
Rhea Ripley has an undeniable presence as a future star, a rare appeal to the new generation of wrestling fans seeking female empowerment and general badassery.
AEW’s Maxwell Jacob Friedman has kicked off 2020 as one of the companies top heels, after finally stabbing his ‘best friend’ Cody Rhodes in the back after months of acting as his ringside henchman. MJF has quickly become one of the most talked about villains in the entire industry, living his gimmick vicariously through social media and turning every crowd against him with only a few seconds of mic-time.
MJF’s star is only starting to shine as part of the AEW roster. Taking a while to finally find his feet as a singles competitor, MJF is now looking at one of the biggest feuds in the promotion’s short history, with a pretty impressive bodyguard in Wardlow in tow. MJF will soon ascend to the main event scene and likely start stealing shows along the way.
There’s no doubt in my mind that 2020 will usher in MJF’s first major championship run, whether that be as part of AEW or potentially an independent promotion that AEW are happy for him to compete within. MJF is one of the few true heels on the planet right now, able to create the sort of nuclear heat not seen since the 1990s.
3. Jay White
‘Switchblade’ Jay White turned heads over the course of 2019, battling the likes of Kota Ibushi, Tetsuya Naito and even Kazuchika Okada in match of the year candidates. The former IWGP World Champion is now looking to capture both the main championships in NJPW as part of the upcoming Wrestle Kingdom 14 weekender; the first attempt at doing so in recent history. Should Jay White accomplish such a feat, there’s nothing stopping him from making 2020 his year.
It took quite some time for wrestling fans to take a shine to the Bullet Club leader. Following the likes of AJ Styles, Prince Devitt and Kenny Omega is of course no easy feat for any young gun, but Jay White has been able to re-shape the Bullet Club in his own image and come out looking like a potential headliner for the future ahead. NJPW has something special in ‘Switchblade’, time to make the most of that.
Jay White may not be on the top of everyone’s to-watch list this year, but I assure you he’s going to be leaving 2020 a bigger star than ever. Just take a look at his G1 Finals match with Ibushi from last year, then you’ll understand the hype.
4. Jordan Devlin
‘The Irish Ace’ has been making some ripples throughout BritWres since the dawn of NXT UK and the United Kingdom Championship Tournament. Devlin’s put on some bangers with the likes of Finn Balor, Travis Banks and David Starr, setting him up for an incredible 2020.
Devlin is scheduled to go one-on-one with fellow UK standout Tyler Bate at NXT UK’s first TakeOver event of the year in Blackpool, which is sure to be yet another instant classic from ‘The Ace’ and ‘The Big Strong Boi’. The first of many technical masterclasses I’m sure.
Devlin has also been securing a prominent position over in PROGRESS Wrestling, closing the year as one of their Tag champions alongside newcomer Scotty Davis. The two have become firm fan-favourites with the crowd, and a few folks are already hedging their bets for Jordan Devlin to take the winner’s spot in the Super Strong Style 16 tournament in the summer.
There’s nothing stopping the former protege of Finn Balor to usurp some of the biggest stars and start forging his own legacy on the British scene, both inside and outside of WWE. His feud with WALTER has rooted itself across the UK, making him a possible contender to dethrone ‘The Austrian Anomaly’.
5. Marty Scurll
‘The Villain’ has recently parted ways with ROH after remaining incredible loyal to the ailing promotion during the rise of AEW, making Marty Scurll one of the hottest free agents at the start of 2020. Recently making his first independent appearance as part of NWA’s first pay-per-view event, Into the Fire, to challenge Nick Aldis for the NWA Championship, Scurll is ready to start branching out once again and remind the world how incredible he is.
Naturally, a lot of guesses are going towards him eventually signing with AEW and reuniting with his Elite pals, but for now at least it seems that he’s enjoying his freedom to try out possible avenues. Scurll is certainly one of the most popular stars on the indie scene, whether that be at home or across the world. It wouldn’t shock me if Marty returned to reclaim a few home-turfs, PROGRESS and RevPro for example, but then again why wouldn’t he also flirt with the idea of checking out the big leagues?
There’s plenty on offer for ‘The Villain’, but needless to say, all eyes are going to be on Marty over the next few months. 2020 could very well become the year of causing a spot of bother.
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