With AEW’s TV debut looming, speculation continues to rise with who the company will snatch up next. According to Dave Meltzer, WWE stars are actually contacting the company with interest in joining. By the time the 2020s roll around, we might see all the dominoes start to follow for WWE, especially with so many contracts looming. We’ll feature some surprising departures that might take place in the 2020s.
On the flip side, we’ll also feature which acts might be on top of the WWE mountain during the decade. Some are already on the main roster while others are scattered in developmental with NXT or NXT UK.
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20 Departure - Daniel Bryan
Yes, we know, Daniel Bryan extended his WWE contract back in the fall of 2018. According to Wrestle Talk, the deal is set to expire in 2021.
He’ll be in his 40s by then, however, don’t expect Daniel to slow down, this guy wants to wrestle into his 70s. Like Chris Jericho, we fully expect Daniel to reinvent himself once his deal expires, likely joining New Japan and possibly AEW.
19 Main Act - Pete Dunne
In the 2020s, Dunne will be one of the best acts and surely a WWE Champion. Still only 25, he’s currently working his craft with NXT: UK.
Dunne has all the tools to thrive whether it be as a heel or a babyface. He’ll make quite the impact once he joins the main roster – at this point, we hope that’s sooner rather than later.
18 Departure - Mauro Ranallo
It isn’t just the wrestlers that will depart from WWE – we expect the same from a number of the backstage employees along with some of the commentators.
AEW will want to make a huge statement and what better way to do so then by snagging one of WWE’s best commentators? We know Ranallo and McMahon have their differences, perhaps that’ll be enough to make Mauro walk away from the company.
17 Main Act - Montez Ford
The 29-year-old is currently in the tag team known as The Street Profits. This one is the long-shot prediction of the article, however, if Ford keeps on improving as he has, we expect massive things for the NXT star in the future.
The guy can talk and bring it in the ring. We see lots of comparisons to Kofi given his style. He definitely has the tools to thrive into the 2020s, let’s hope he gets put in the right spots.
16 Departure - Rey Mysterio
Mysterio said he wants to end his career with WWE – we’re not quite sure how valid that statement really is, though. Rey has so many connections with AEW, heck he even follows the rival wrestling company via IG.
It wouldn’t surprise us all that much if Rey chose to prolong his career with AEW following the expiration of his WWE deal.
15 Main Act - Undisputed Era
This group joining the main roster would be very reminiscent to The Radicalz joining back in the early 2000s. Both the groups contain talented wrestlers who can each thrive on their own, in truth.
We expect a big push for all the men in the stable once they join the main roster. Adam Cole will become a multi-time WWE Champion in the 2020s, surely.
14 Departure - Renee Young
It must be pretty darn awkward for Renee Young at the moment. She remains on the commentary desk despite Dean’s WWE departure. It is also rumored that Young will be the host of WWE’s new show on FS1 in the fall.
We really don’t know what the future holds. What we do know is that Young can easily snub WWE for AEW given her husband works for the company. Losing Young would be a major blow.
13 Main Act - Kacy Catanzaro
For those who aren’t following NXT or Kacy, she might be the best-kept secret at the moment. She is so talented with a style we really haven’t seen before. Everything she does seems so innovative and risky, really kind of like a Lita 2.0.
Despite the fact that she’s undersized, her skill will put her over as one of the best females of the 2020s.
12 Departure - The Usos
Fans were surprised when it was revealed that The Usos had agreed to an extension. The multi-year deal terms are still sketchy, though Ring Side News believes it is for a five-year term.
Once the deal expires, they’ll still be in their 30s. Surely, they’ll decide to explore other options like a potential dream match against The Young Bucks in AEW.
11 Main Act - Rhea Ripley
Another young talent from the UK scene, we can see Rhea Ripley becoming a dominant figure in the women’s division for years to come.
At only 22, she already seems to be a natural putting on some great matches alongside Toni Storm. We’ll be seeing a lot more of that for years to come.
10 Departure - Rusev & Lana
Everyone thought the Rusev day gimmick which grew to popularity organically was finally going to be Rusev’s ticket to the top. It wasn’t. He ultimately lost a Fatal-Four-Way at WrestleMania for the US Title; it basically squashed all the momentum.
Lana hasn’t been the same either and we really haven’t seen much of her on WWE television as of late. AEW would definitely provide a greater opportunity for the duo, one they might take in the 2020s.
9 Main Act - Drew McIntyre
McIntyre is the veteran on this list. He’s currently at the prime of his career at the age of 34.
We expect his current momentum to continue into the 2020s. Drew is a dream heel for the company and a wrestler that can matchup with any type of Superstar. Even if Triple H takes over, McIntyre will still thrive – he’s that good and will continue to be for quite some time.
8 Departure - Samoa Joe
On the flip side, Samoa Joe might be the most underutilized heel in the business. He’s just so good, though the company continues to book him in the mid-card.
He’ll be in his 40s once his deal comes to an end. Though Joe just seems to be an act that gets better with age. With a chip on his shoulder, he’ll potentially leave WWE and thrive elsewhere.
7 Main Act - Matt Riddle
Riddle isn’t afraid to speak his mind and in truth, it is kind of a breath of fresh air especially in this day and age with the current talent usually playing it safe.
Riddle criticized Goldberg for his recent match against Undertaker. He wasn’t apologetic either, claiming he can back up whatever he has to say. This might give the company even more reason to push him in the future.
6 Departure - The Hardy Boyz
Both Matt and Jeff might not be sticking around long term. As we’ve seen in the past, both don’t like to be tied down and are free spirits. That’s especially true for Matt who loves to pursue different gimmicks and ideas without being stifled by others.
We can see the two thriving with AEW working a dream long-term storyline alongside the Young Bucks and others.
5 Main Act - Ricochet
At the prime of his career, Ricochet is just getting started on the main roster. Into the 2020s, we can see Ricochet thriving as an upper card act in the Universal Championship picture.
Ricochet personifies what the new school wrestling star is all about. With an improved promo, he can be one of the faces of the company in the 2020s.
4 Departure - Sami Zayn
We still can’t believe that the 34-year-old has never won a single WWE Championship on the main roster.
It is said that McMahon isn't the biggest fan of Zayn. It doesn’t help when your boss thinks you’re annoying. Sami is a talent that can easily depart in the 2020s given his awful booking. That would be a terrible loss as Zayn can thrive with AEW.
3 Main Act - Aleister Black
We really hope WWE treats Black’s run on the main roster with proper care. Black has the potential to be the 2020s version of The Undertaker. He is slated for an early feud with Randy Orton – that is a must-win program for Black and one that can solidify his future.
If all goes well, he’ll be holding gold in the 2020s.
2 Departure – Kevin Owens
WWE is offering long term contracts at the moment. KO was one of the talents to accept a new deal inking a five-year extension.
A lot can happen between then and now. It should also be noted that he’ll be 40 by the time his deal expires. Maybe there might be some gas left in the tank for one last run in AEW alongside his best friends Chris Jericho and the Young Bucks.
1 Main Act – Velveteen Dream
According to John Cena and others, Velveteen Dream is the one that will lead WWE into the future. Surely, he’s main roster ready but we believe WWE wants to take as much time as possible not to hinder his development.
Once 2020 comes around, he’ll be on the main roster and one of the biggest stars in the business.
Sources – Ring Side News, Wrestle Talk & Twitter