Early Candidates for WWE and AEW's Breakout Stars of 2020
Every year, new stars emerge from wrestling undercards to make a lasting impact on the product. No promotion could go 12 months without some names rising and falling through the ranks.
In 2019, WWE saw the surprise run of Kofi Kingston, the full commitment to Becky Lynch, the rebirth of Bray Wyatt, the rise of Lacey Evans and Kevin Owens' dramatic face turn.
All Elite Wrestling might be a relative newcomer but it has surprised already with some of its rising stars. Darby Allin and MJF made the most of stories with Cody to launch into the top ranks of the promotion.
Riho powered through the ranks to become the first AEW women's champion, and Private Party made a massive impact early in their career.
It should be no different in 2020. Plenty of stars have an opportunity to break out in a way no one will forget. It will just be about who gets opportunities and who delivers on them.
From Drew McIntyre to Kris Statlander, many stand out as obvious breakout candidates, but a few others are ready to make a leap of their own as well.
As long as everything goes according to plan, this is set in stone. Drew McIntyre won the 2020 men's Royal Rumble in January by taking out a host of top stars, including Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns. Now he is going into WrestleMania 36 with all the momentum to face The Beast Incarnate.
If he defeats Lesnar on April 5, it will ensure 2020 is the year of The Scottish Psychopath. He will topple giants and reign supreme as the top star on Raw.
McIntyre is absolutely ready for this challenge. He has gone through the ringer with WWE already. Even after making a name for himself all over again outside the company, he could not seem to find his way in NXT or Raw on a consistent basis.
With each opportunity he knocked out of the park, it felt like he was still being held back. That changes this year, and the Rumble was only the beginning. McIntyre won't let this chance pass him by.
Lesnar continues to overcome all obstacles. Even the likes of Reigns and Seth Rollins have only delayed the inevitability of him dominating WWE.
McIntyre can be the one to end Lesnar's run at the top. After The Scottish Psychopath wins at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, The Beast will have to start all over again and hopefully without gold for plenty of time.
Jimmy Havoc has had a fascinating run in AEW to this point. He is often used but never treated as being as big a star as his pedigree would indicate. After being shown as the third biggest daredevil in the promotion, he has needed a recent hard reset in AEW Dark.
Luckily, he got that, and a new year means new opportunities.
Havoc is unique in comparison to anyone else in AEW. He isn't just the guy who can wrestle hardcore matches with Darby Allin and Joey Janela.
All it will take is one story and one feud to get him to the next level. He is a great mic worker, a strong technical performer and can make a rivalry work with just about anyone.
Given AEW's need to find fresh heels, especially outside of The Inner Circle, Havoc is perfectly suited to rise up the ranks. Recent hints give hope that the dangerous grappler will get a chance to shine soon.
2020 has already been a big year for Bianca Belair. She broke records in the Royal Rumble and got a major championship match against Rhea Ripley at NXT TakeOver: Portland. Despite losing that, she still made an impact.
Everyone will be talking about The EST soon. Most already should be. These last few years, she has constantly gotten better. She just needs the defining win that will never be forgotten.
Rhea Ripley will define NXT for a while, so it is worth considering moving Belair to another brand. Regardless of where she is, she should absolutely be featured. She is an incredible athlete with the ability to adapt to anyone.
Like many of the best in NXT, The EST is young and motivated to succeed. She will be one of the biggest stars in the women's division sooner rather than later. It's just a matter of timing.
If Belair does not break out in 2020, it won't be her fault; it will be down to WWE continuing to hold off on pushing her to the moon.
Kris Statlander's singles debut on AEW Dynamite was a sign of things to come. She defeated Hikaru Shida on Dec. 4 and then beat Britt Baker to become No. 1 contender for the women's title the following week. Only the Nightmare Collective could stop her from defeating Riho.
She may not be champion yet or have featured as much as others in AEW, but she is poised to make the leap. Her ranking in the women's division is No. 3, but she is likely to only rise.
No one in AEW has the upside of The Galaxy's Greatest Alien. Even with an odd gimmick, she has so much charisma that it is infectious. She put on strong matches with many of AEW's best, and she is just getting started in the promotion.
Of everyone who could next fight Nyla Rose, nobody would be more exciting than Statlander in a pure adrenaline-fueled brawl.
Statlander is likely AEW women's titleholder before the end of 2020, and going from unknown to champ in one year will be the ultimate breakout.
The Street Profits
The Street Profits have been frequently used in the last few months even before officially getting their Raw call-up. Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins are consistently entertaining and have showed they can also deliver in the ring when asked.
They are ready for a push and will get it. It's just a matter of the right timing. Ford and Dawkins will make the most of every opportunity and can work off plenty current tag teams on the red brand.
The Street Profits vs. Seth Rollins and Murphy, AOP, The O.C., The Viking Raiders and more would all be highlight rivalries.
No team feels better suited for a dramatic push this year than The Street Profits. They may be the most WWE-ready team that has been put together since The New Day.
Jurassic Express has been on a journey in the past few months that does not seem to be going anywhere, but each stop along the way has been memorable.
Jungle Boy fought valiantly against Chris Jericho and MJF, while Luchasaurus has showed up against even the top heavies in AEW.
This group has the potential to make a monstrous move up the rankings soon. It is just a matter of turning around the win-loss record. Jungle Boy is not winning enough to justify some of his opportunities, and the team has fallen short in every major clash.
That can quickly change, though, and AEW just needs to listen to the fans. There is a reason Jurassic Express found a way into the AEW Tag Team Championships tournament. Everyone loves the group.
Marko Stunt is also fantastic even if he mostly as the third wheel for the group. He overdelivers often. It is just his size that keeps him from being treated the same as the other wrestlers in the trio.
If The Dark Order need real rivals to take them down, no one is better suited for the role. These two teams could build each other up quickly.
Murphy is an easy choice given how his 2020 has already gone. The new Raw tag team champion has instantly benefited from working with Seth Rollins, and he is already putting on excellent weekly shows against Aleister Black.
It is just a matter of what comes next. Will he continue to rise? Will The Best Kept Secret slip back into obscurity? Hopefully, he will only find more opportunities.
In 2019, Murphy spent too much time in the background even after overdelivering every time he did perform. His matches with Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan made many think huge things were coming for him earlier than they did.
The Australian should only deliver more with time. It often feels like he is the glue holding together the matches between Rollins' and Kevin Owens' groups.
At some point, Murphy will no longer need Rollins. When he does break out of the stable, he could become a defining heel on his own. He is still far higher on the card now than he has ever been.
Joey Janela is a unique brand of wrestler. He has a signature style of wrestling that has translated to booking his own unforgettably wacky shows. In AEW, he has made an impact as a solo act.
However, every time he gets a chance to step up, he has fallen short. His matches with Kenny Omega and Jon Moxley were unforgettable, but he could not get the win or build on those displays to claim victories against others.
It will be interesting if he can take the next step. His feud with Shawn Spears has not helped either man much, but it did keep Janela in the spotlight enough to take a major step forward sooner rather than later.
The Bad Boy feels on the precipice of a breakout performance and just needs the right dance partner. AEW values him for all the right reasons: He is popular, talented and creative.
AEW will benefit from him breaking out as more than just a hardcore wrestler. He can go against anyone and has already shown that. He seems perfectly suited to show the world what he can do in 2020.