Ranking 7 Women Most Likely to Be Female WWE Star of the Year
The year 2020 was a big one for several of WWE's female Superstars, most notably Bayley, Sasha Banks, Asuka and Io Shirai. Each of them dominated their respective divisions on Raw, SmackDown and NXT and had historic championship reigns that will be remembered for years to come.
As the company kicks off 2021, it should look to continue building and elevating its women's division to the next level. Although there are a ton of talented performers across all of its biggest brands, there wasn't as much emphasis on women's wrestling in 2020 as there was the year prior.
Even if Evolution and the Mae Young Classic don't return and the women aren't featured in the main event of WrestleMania again in 2021, expect those on the roster to make the most of every opportunity they're given and be among the best parts of whatever show they're on.
The division took a significant hit when both Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair took time off around the same time in 2020, but it did allow others to rise in their absence and experience the biggest success of their careers to date.
Considering everything she accomplished, Bayley was far and away the biggest women's wrestling Superstar for WWE in 2020. Based on the current trajectory of the following rising stars, look for them to seize the spotlight in 2021 and have the strongest chance of being the company's female face of the next 12 months.
7. Peyton Royce
Many fans had high hopes for Peyton Royce once she and Billie Kay went their separate ways this past summer. Although she has yet to escape the tag team ranks, it's more of a matter of when rather than if she'll get her big break as a singles star.
Royce showed signs of potential throughout her time in The IIconics and always impressed in the ring. The longtime friends played off each other exceptionally well in their four years as a team and even captured the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania 35.
They eventually reached a point where they did all they could together, and the time had come for Royce to branch off on her own. She appeared to be primed for greatness coming out of October's WWE draft but instead disappeared from Raw all together.
Royce has been featured fairly prominently on the red brand recently as part of her alliance with Lacey Evans, but the Raw Women's Championship picture is where she belongs. Once she can find her footing in singles competition and stacks up some victories, she'll be one step closer to wearing gold around her waist.
Fresh feuds with Asuka, Charlotte Flair and Nikki Cross await Royce in 2021, and hopefully WWE can make a new star out of her in the process.
6. Io Shirai
It took a bit longer than originally expected, but Io Shirai finally reached the mountaintop of the NXT women's division in June 2020 when she won the NXT Women's Championship.
She has since defended her title against all comers, including Candice LeRae, Tegan Nox, Dakota Kai and Rhea Ripley. Regardless of how much longer she holds the gold for, it's apparent that she'll be positioned as the face of the division for the better part of 2021.
Once her reign does come to an end, though, it's worth questioning what's next for her. By that point, she will have beaten virtually everybody the black-and-gold brand has to offer and could be in line for a call-up to Raw or SmackDown.
WWE already has plenty of women on both brands they aren't doing anything of note with at the moment, so perhaps it's best she stays put for the foreseeable future. No matter what show she's a part of, she's too talented to not be involved in the main event mix at all times.
The Genius of the Sky merely scratched the surface of what she's capable of in 2020 and is bound for bigger and better things in 2021.
It wouldn't be a stretch to say she is among the best women's wrestlers in the world today, and for that reason alone, she'll always be in the running for female star of the year.
5. Alexa Bliss
Interestingly enough, 2021 will mark five years since Alexa Bliss joined WWE's main roster. In that time, she's bounced between brands multiple times and accomplished more than most as a former Raw women's champion, SmackDown women's champion, WWE women's tag team champion, Money in the Bank winner and host of WrestleMania 35.
With all that said, she's doing some of her best work yet in her ongoing angle with Bray Wyatt. The company's decision to pair her with The Fiend has proved to be a smart one as the two of them are a recurring highlight every Monday night.
Bliss hasn't wrestled often with her current gimmick, but she is getting more airtime than ever before. Sooner rather than later, she'll find herself back in the Raw Women's Championship picture, and it would be hard to argue against putting the title on her.
Her matches aren't normally anything out of the ordinary, but her character work is where she shines. As long as she excels in that area, she can be a believable female face of Raw, champion or not.
This career resurgence for Little Miss Bliss could and should take her to heights she hasn't reached in years. Come the close of 2021, it wouldn't be surprising to see her in an even more prominent role on Raw considering how compelling she's been up to this point.
4. Sonya Deville
Before her hiatus, Sonya Deville was one of the best things going in WWE in 2020.
In a matter of months, she went from being a background player in Fire & Desire to a breakout star in the SmackDown women's division. Her betrayal of best friend Mandy Rose exceeded all expectations as she stepped up her game on the mic and proved she could flourish on her own.
Their feud carried the blue brand through the summer, and that was largely because of Deville. She unfortunately went on to lose to Rose in a Loser Leaves WWE match at SummerSlam to explain her absence from TV, which was the result of a real-life incident that happened shortly before the pay-per-view.
It wasn't until the New Year's Day edition of SmackDown that she resurfaced in an on-air authority role as Adam Pearce's assistant. She has appeared in only two episodes this year but has already shown she could be a fantastic fit for the position before inevitably ending up back in the ring.
SmackDown doesn't have a ton of women on its roster, but between Bayley, Bianca Belair, Sasha Banks and Carmella, it's loaded with star power. Deville would have no problem rising up those ranks, clinching the title and cementing herself as one of the best heels in all of WWE.
3. Sasha Banks
It's entirely possible 2021 ends up being the year of The Boss in WWE.
Sasha Banks is indisputably at the top of her game right now, though it's hard to say that 2020 was her year because of how her strongest stuff came in the latter half. At the very least, she and Bayley were the biggest spots during WWE's time at the Performance Center, and their reign as women's tag team champions was very entertaining.
Upon breaking away from Bayley, it didn't take her long to become SmackDown women's champion in one of 2020's best bouts for WWE. More importantly, not only did she capture the title, she's been able to hold onto it and have several successful defenses.
All signs point to The Boss putting the gold up for grabs at WrestleMania 37 against Bianca Belair, but even if not, there are plenty of women for her to fight at the event and beyond. She should be the measuring stick for success on SmackDown in 2021 and is owed a lengthy title run after all of her other ones were cut short.
Banks simply radiates superstardom and has a ton of buzz and momentum coming off her appearance in The Mandalorian. Look for her stock to soar even more in 2021 as she gains more and more mainstream attention.
2. Rhea Ripley
It's all but confirmed that a main roster call-up for Rhea Ripley is imminent at this point.
If you're not yet familiar with this promising prospect from NXT, you should be. She burst onto the WWE scene in the inaugural Mae Young Classic, became the inaugural NXT UK women's champion, knocked off Shayna Baszler for the NXT Women's Championship and walked into WrestleMania 36 as champion.
Her career took a step backward for a bit following her loss to Charlotte Flair at The Show of Shows, but she has since rebounded in a major way. Her defeat by Raquel Gonzalez at New Year's Evil last week served as the perfect sendoff for her from the brand, and the timing couldn't be better with the Royal Rumble right around the corner.
The ultimate scenario would see her debuting in the women's match, coming out on top and going on to WrestleMania 37 to right last year's wrong by winning the Raw Women's Championship. That doesn't necessarily have to happen, but it is one way of cementing her as a star from the get-go.
Then again, Ripley is bound to be a star on SmackDown or Raw regardless of what WWE has in store for her first few months on the main roster. She got over with the audience her first time around, so most fans should already be familiar with her upon her arrival.
Of course, WWE doesn't have the strongest track record with NXT call-ups, but Ripley will likely be the exception to that due to being the complete package.
1. Bianca Belair
If you thought Bianca Belair's rookie year in WWE was impressive, prepare for her to achieve even greater success in 2021.
She started off 2020 contending for the NXT Women's Championship, made her way over to the Raw roster for a few months and dominated the competition, and then made the move to SmackDown where she has already made a name for herself.
In addition to taking part in Team SmackDown at Survivor Series, she's also been engaged in a feud with Bayley, who she suffered her first televised loss to recently. That hasn't stopped her from targeting the longest-reigning SmackDown women's champion in an attempt to keep climbing the ladder toward a title shot.
As of this moment, Belair should be considered the early favorite to win the women's Royal Rumble match and advance to WrestleMania 37 for a shot at the SmackDown Women's Championship. She and current champ Sasha Banks are destined to do battle on The Grandest Stage of Them All, though it isn't imperative that she wins.
Belair is bound to shine in whatever she's involved in, but it would be criminal for her to not be wearing title gold at some point in the coming months. WWE has a huge star on its hands in her and must fully capitalize on her upside by pushing her to the moon and beyond in 2021.
She's ready to be at that elite level and should be standing atop the women's division once the year is through.
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.