ViRTUE's RAGE: WWE's Next Top Stars Submitted by Virtue on 09/27/2020 at 04:38 PM
September 27, 2020
Who will be WWE’s next potential top (main event) superstar? This is a very difficult topic to try and discuss because with WWE’s current structure of using the NXT factory to produce “wrestlers”, it is borderline unpredictable to pinpoint who management might allow to grab the brass ring. This is especially true when WWE is in an era of no one wrestler can be bigger than the company itself. This list is strictly my own personal preference based on my observations of the criteria Vince McMahon typically uses when choosing what wrestler might become his main event scene go to performer. Ranking them in order from 5 to 1 is subjective and some of you will agree with my list and some of you will disagree with it, but this is the order I felt most strongly about regarding if and when any of these wrestlers moving to the main event scene might actually come to fruition.
5) Karrion Kross: Originally, I was not going to include anyone that was not currently on WWE’s main roster. However, after reviewing the roster and only coming up with four wrestlers, I ended up deciding to include Kross from NXT in this list. Despite his recent injury, he quickly ascended the main event ranks of NXT by winning the title. Although he did have to relinquish the title shortly afterwards, it became evident that he is being taken seriously by NXT management. I do realize that not everything in NXT ends up translating to the main roster once Vince McMahon gets his talons on the talent, but there have been instances in the past where (at least initially) it has. A few examples of this would be Kevin Owens, Demon Finn Balor, and Charlotte. Kross convincingly has the look of a bad ass, and he is also all in on performing as his character, which is key for being considered as a potential main event star. The dedication and commitment must be present for fans, especially casual fans, to buy into what they are watching. Kross has more of an old school style in the ring (trained by Disco Inferno), which I tend to prefer over the modern style of wrestling. Whether he is paired with Scarlett as his valet or not, Kross should strongly be considered as a possible future main event star that may very well catch Vince McMahon’s eye.
4) Mandy Rose: I will probably make many of you scratch your heads with this one. However, Mandy has the look and has shown glimpses of charisma with her recent programs with Otis and Sonya Deville. Call me crazy, but WWE once considered pushing Eva Marie strong, and I believe Mandy checks all the boxes way more definitively than she does. If Ronda Rousey was able to come into the wrestling world and perform rather admirably in the ring at the main event level, Mandy has a good head start because she has had plenty of professional training by coming up through the NXT ranks. With her recent move over to Raw, it is evident that she is most likely going to be strongly counted on in the Women’s Division. If Zelina Vega is getting a Raw Women’s title opportunity against Asuka so soon, the sky is the limit for Mandy on Monday nights. Without Rousey, Becky Lynch, and for the time being Charlotte, it is time WWE finds a fresh female main event star.
3) Keith Lee: I am pretty sure many of you will think Keith Lee should be ranked #1, and perhaps he will be in time. He has a unique look bolstered by a dominant physical presence. It is also no secret he has a versatile style in the ring, but so do the top 2 on this list. He did quickly rise the ranks in NXT and ended up in the main event scene there, briefly holding the title. As soon as he was moved to the main roster, he was booked over Randy Orton rather strong at a PPV. That is obviously a good sign, especially if signed off on by Vince McMahon. There are several potential opponents that would be intriguing matchups for Keith Lee, most notably Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar. I cannot say I would want many other wrestlers to be considered as opponents for those two guys, especially so soon. Keith Lee is unquestionably a potential top star. Now we need to see how Vince McMahon handles his booking.
2) Matt Riddle: Right now, Matt Riddle is smoothly coasting on SmackDown and having solid matches against various opponents. I feel if he was on Raw, he would be getting a more noticeable push like Keith Lee, but on SmackDown there seems to be a pecking order behind the likes of Reigns, Wyatt, AJ Styles, and Jeff Hardy. Perhaps WWE is just trying to keep Riddle under the radar right now because of the accusations against him that are out there. It does appear that Riddle and his legal team have it under control though. I still believe that Riddle has caught Vince McMahon’s eye in a mid-1990’s Shawn Michaels’ (boy toy) kind of way, but only time will tell. There are already two potential main event caliber matches that could one day take place because of Riddle’s social media behavior, and those would be against Goldberg and against Lesnar. I would love to see Riddle be booked to go OVER Goldberg and then eventually face Lesnar on the big stage, win or lose.
1) Big E: Is Big E perhaps a late bloomer like Drew McIntyre was regarding the WWE main event scene? Although it was a good, long run he had with the New Day, it most likely postponed a potential main event run for him. However, now is the perfect opportunity for WWE management to get Big E to the dance, whether it be on SmackDown or if he gets moved over to Raw at some point. Big E is charismatic, very solid on the mic, and can go in the ring. We all know he is a John Cena guy! He has also been around long enough for Vince McMahon to possibly have noticed he can trust Big E in big match situations as the New Day has been booked rather strong during their run. Everyone knows that the New Day was one of VKM’s pride and joys the last 5+ years and helped him make some nice merchandise money. Although Kofi was the one to already rise (and fall) to the main event scene from this group, it was always Big E that looked and talked the part the most convincingly. It was a no brainer to rank Big E #1 because of his WWE experience. Let’s not forget he had a singles’ run prior to joining the New Day and is a former Intercontinental Champion. There is no better time than now, and no better wrestler than Big E, for WWE to finally allow a fresh face into its main event picture.
Let me know what you think of my list and how you would rank them. Is there anyone I left out that you would like WWE to push to the top?
Thanks for reading Virtue’s Rage and I WILL BE BACK…