WWE and AEW Stars Off to Rough Starts in 2021

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2021

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Last year was one of the worst on record because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but 2021 isn't starting as great as many wrestlers in WWE and All Elite Wrestling thought it would.

On the WWE side, Kevin Owens and Lacey Evans thought they were in line for major pushes to start the year, but the former was nothing more than a way to get Roman Reigns over and the latter is dating an old man to get under Charlotte Flair's skin.

As for AEW, Orange Cassidy hasn't capitalized on the momentum he created by beating Chris Jericho, and Abadon has been lost in the shuffle since running through the division before coming up short against Hikaru Shida.

Here are the wrestlers off to rough starts this year.


Kevin Owens

Any time Owens is part of a major program, it is a chance for him to showcase why he is regarded as one of the best professional wrestlers around. Unfortunately, Owens has been a placeholder rival for Roman Reigns.

WWE's obsession with Reigns is unquestionable, but letting him beat Owens for the third straight time does nothing for either man. Owens looks weak for losing all of his matches against the universal champion, and Reigns looks foolish for wasting his time.

The biggest problem for Owens is there was no setup for another feud leading out of this feud, which will likely see him relegated to a secondary storyline with little to no build as per usual.

Owens will make the most of what he's given, but he deserves so much more than being a holdover feud before the Road to WrestleMania.


Orange Cassidy

Orange Cassidy finished 2020 with a whimper, and that has carried over into 2021. Since beating Chris Jericho in a Mimosa Mayhem match at All Out, Cassidy has lost every big match.

After being defeated by both Brodie Lee and Cody Rhodes in challenges for the TNT Championship and losing to MJF for the Dynamite Diamond Ring, Cassidy's biggest wins include pinfalls over John Silver and Kip Sabian.

Cassidy was a star on the rise last summer, but recent booking has brought him back down to earth.

Heading into the remainder of 2021, AEW creative needs to not only find a substantial role for Orange Cassidy on its television programming, but the company also must ensure he is in a marquee storyline to capitalize on his immense popularity.


Lacey Evans

If a WWE Superstar were told they would be working with Charlotte and Ric Flair, most fans would think it's a slam dunk and would take their career to the next level. Not for Lacey Evans.

Sorry, folks, this is WWE.

Evans has been one of the hardest-working athletes in the company since making her debut in 2019, drastically improving her in-ring work and developing a heel persona that resonates with the fans. Unfortunately, the best WWE creative could come up with is a storyline that Vince Russo would reject.

Evans and Charlotte should have solid matches coming out of the angle, but hitting on Ric Flair will do nothing for Evans' long-term success and could end up being a reason the WWE Universe doesn't accept her when she eventually turns face again.



One of the best parts of AEW's women's division in 2020 was the rise of Abadon, a frightening character who was built to be an unstoppable force.

Since the start of 2021, though, it's been a major letdown.

Abadon went 7-1 in AEW in 2020, with her only loss coming to women's champion Shida in March. The six straight victories to close the year led to a championship match against Shida at New Year's Smash, but the bout didn't live up to the hype.

The relatively short contest—eight minutes and 27 seconds—and commercial break turned off many fans to the situation, which made Abadon look weak. She has not been seen on TNT since, which is no way to build upon last year's success.


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