Most Important WWE and AEW Storylines to Track for Rest of 2022
With WWE and All Elite Wrestling's pay-per-view schedules for 2022 now compete, the rest of the year can be spent preparing for what 2023 will bring.
December is typically a time when rivalries begin before kicking into high gear at the turn of the new year. It isn't always the most newsworthy month due to the holiday season, but the early stages of these storylines will be crucial to their long-term development.
It's apparent that the central focus on Raw and SmackDown for the foreseeable future will be the continued domination of The Bloodline and Kevin Owens making an enemy out of them. Sami Zayn is bound to play a pivotal role in the angle as well.
Meanwhile in AEW, MJF has a massive target on his back after beating Jon Moxley for the AEW World Championship at Full Gear and subsequently betraying William Regal. His reign will ensure he remains the most must-see star on the show.
The following six storylines will be the most important to track in WWE and AEW as 2022 comes to a close.
When Will Bray Wyatt Finally Wrestle?
Everything leading up to Bray Wyatt's highly anticipated return at Extreme Rules on October 8 was exceptionally executed and made the moment that much more monumental.
However, he's been back on SmackDown for two months now and has yet to wrestle a single match.
The good news is that he's kept a majority of viewers engaged with his weekly promos about battling his inner demons, specifically his apparent alter ego, Uncle Howdy. He's also entered a rivalry with LA Knight, and the interactions they've had up to this point have been terrific.
The bad news is that the Royal Rumble isn't until January 28, which begs the question of whether WWE really wants to wait that long for Wyatt to finally step back inside the squared circle. That would require killing a lot of television time and it's not worth the risk.
Running Wyatt vs. Knight as a special attraction on SmackDown before the end of the month would be the company's best bet, but either way, this feud will be fun to follow in the weeks ahead as far as what twists and turns we could see next.
MJF vs. the World
MJF is undoubtedly AEW's most compelling character right now, making him the perfect person to be holding the AEW World Championship heading into 2023.
The possibilities are endless for potential opponents, but before anyone else can step up, he'll have to defend against Ricky Starks at the Winter Is Coming edition of Dynamite next week.
Bryan Danielson is waiting in the wings for a shot at the title as well, especially after MJF laid out his mentor, William Regal, in shocking fashion last Wednesday. That looks to be the main event for Revolution come March 5, but they'll likely kick off the build before the year is done.
MJF has demonstrated he is willing to do whatever it takes to remain at the top in AEW. His promos have become a recurring highlight on Dynamite and his character work has also been top-notch.
What he does next as his era gets underway will keep fans tuning in week after week.
Kevin Owens' Unfinished Business with The Bloodline
Kevin Owens has made it abundantly clear for months that he will not rest until he gives The Bloodline their comeuppance after all they've done to him these past two years.
He nearly pinned Roman Reigns in WarGames at Survivor Series but was thwarted by Sami Zayn at the last possible second. He also fell short of unseating The Usos as undisputed WWE tag team champions this past week on Raw.
KO's win over Jey Uso two nights removed from Survivor Series seemed to indicate he'll be in hot pursuit of Roman Reigns' Undisputed WWE Universal Championship come the Royal Rumble. How he earns that opportunity remains to be seen, though.
Regardless of how it happens, the endgame of the angle must see Owens and Zayn reunite to battle The Bloodline. It's too early in the story to deliver on that any time soon, but this month should be when those seeds are planted.
The Prizefighter attempting to eliminate every member of the group until he gets what he wants would be the most logical path to take en route to the Rumble pay-per-view.
Blackpool Combat Club's Slow Dissolution
Blackpool Combat Club got off to a strong start when Jon Moxley and Bryan Danielson joined forces under the guidance of William Regal in March.
They embarked on an undefeated streak as a duo before recruiting Wheeler Yuta and Claudio Castagnoli into their ranks in the months that followed. By July, three members carried championships and they appeared to be unstoppable.
Unfortunately, their rivalry with the Jericho Appreciation Society has hindered their momentum considerably, and they haven't had much direction as of late. Worse yet, William Regal apparently getting written out of AEW with last week's injury angle leaves the group without its most important member.
Danielson and Yuta previously had issues that went unresolved, Moxley is busy with "Hangman" Adam Page, and Castagnoli may be on the verge of joining the JAS if he doesn't win at Final Battle on Saturday.
In other words, the writing is on the wall for Blackpool Combat Club, and how they're breakup is handled and addressed will be worth keeping an eye on.
Braun Strowman Guns for Gunther's Intercontinental Championship
Although Ricochet came out on top in the SmackDown World Cup to earn the next shot at the Intercontinental Championship, Braun Strowman is the name WWE is actually building to being Gunther's biggest threat to the title.
They first crossed paths during a six-man tag team match on the November 18 edition of SmackDown. Imperium then cost Strowman his semifinal match in the tournament against Ricochet, and The Monster of All Monsters retaliated by attacking the group at ringside the following Friday.
Gunther will defeat Ricochet with ease and then set his sights on Strowman for the rest of the year. The Ring General vs. Strowman is far and away the biggest possible match WWE can book for the intercontinental title right now, and it should be saved for a stage as grand as the Royal Rumble.
Questionable social media comments aside, Strowman has been massively over with the audience since returning in September. It wouldn't be surprising for WWE to put the belt on him, but it would feel premature for Gunther's reign to end before WrestleMania 39.
Roman Reigns' appearances are few and far between nowadays, making this heated rivalry the highest-profile program the blue brand can produce in his absence.
Britt Baker's Inevitable Betrayal of Jamie Hayter
It couldn't be more obvious that the partnership between Britt Baker and Jamie Hayter is about to boil over. It's more a matter of when than if the split happens, and all signs point to it going down imminently.
Truth be told, Hayter was ready to ditch Baker months ago, but Saraya's shocking arrival in September may have altered AEW's plans. The Good Doctor shifted her focus to the newcomer while Hayter went on to dethrone Toni Storm as AEW women's world champion.
Coming out of Full Gear, Baker and Hayter are still teasing tension with the former attempting to steal the latter's spotlight every chance she gets. Hayter needs to embark on her own path sooner rather than later and is already receiving favorable reactions from crowds.
A Hayter vs. Baker feud would effectively cement Hayter as a babyface and give her someone to build credibility against as champ. Baker can bring the best out of her both on the mic and in the ring, so keeping them together any longer is merely delaying the inevitable.
The ultimate twist would be Hayter beating Baker to the punch and severing ties with her before she can.
Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, has specialized in sports and entertainment writing since 2010. Visit his website, WrestleRant, and subscribe to his YouTube channel for more wrestling-related content.