Ranking Big E's WWE Title Win and the Hottest Wrestling Storylines of the Week
Welcome to the newest edition of our ranking of the hottest wrestling storylines of the week. This is a weekly column we started last week that offers a brief glimpse at the best feuds and plots going on at the moment.
Ongoing stories are the backbone of professional wrestling. High-quality matches and talented performers are only part of the equation. The aspects that truly grab the viewers and create memorable instances are engaging narratives, believable antagonists and protagonists, and compelling conflicts.
Fans will always remember a feud like The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin because of the stories that these two legends managed to tell together. It was the kind of program that elevated both men to a new plateau, and that’s part of why it’s so highly regarded.
The week of Sept. 12 hosted a historic moment and the build for a dream matchup. Let’s take a look at how the biggest storylines stack up against each other.
6. Seth Rollins vs. Edge
Seth Rollins and Edge's current rivalry joins the ranking of the hottest storylines for the first time this week.
Rollins and The Rated R Superstar have already had two tremendous matches together. Their encounter at SummerSlam was easily the best match of the night, but their second bout on the September 10 episode of SmackDown at Madison Square Garden upped the ante.
The Visionary seemingly showed remorse after he viciously put the former world heavyweight champion away with a thunderous Curb Stomp. As a result, the Canadian star had to be carried out on a stretcher as his opponent sat in the corner and attempted to look away.
Rollins' acting and character work sold the finish and played up emotions around Edge's retirement in 2011. On Friday, The Architect of The Shield returned in an outlandish shiny silver suit that would make Sean "P. Diddy" Combs proud. Then, he proceeded to cut an incredible heel promo where he blamed the fans for their hero's predicament and vowed to finish what he started.
The best villains believe what they're saying, and the blue brand's self-appointed savior buys into every word he spews. That's precisely what makes him so entertaining in this role. The turn this storyline took makes what could've been an unnecessary third match feel more enthralling.
5. Mickie James vs. Deonna Purrazzo
Mickie James vs. Deonna Purrazzo moved up an entry this week following Impact Wrestling Victory Road.
On Saturday night, this bitter rivalry progressed as James ran out to attack the Knockouts champion. This led to a great pull-apart brawl, and security had to come down to restrain the two women.
The tension between The Virtuosa and the women's wrestling legend has reached an all-time high following the events at NWA 73. It has been so much fun to see this dream come together. Impact deserves so much credit for giving them the time to craft an overarching story that has been building since July.
Purrazzo is an excellent heel champion with several impressive wins under her belt. Meanwhile, James is on a quest to prove that she still has plenty left in the tank. Their showdown already feels personal, and the added stakes of a title match could make this one of the highlights of Bound for Glory next month.
4. Ruby Soho vs. Britt Baker
Ruby Soho vs. Britt Baker jumped up to the fourth slot this week following a phenomenal segment on Friday's episode of AEW Rampage.
Their war of words generated the most viewed clip from last week's show on the company's YouTube channel. During the exchange, Soho proved that she's still a captivating talker as she held her own against the best character on the women's roster.
In fact, this was probably the first time viewers have seen anyone outperform Baker on the microphone since she turned heel last January. It was quite a feat for the No. 1 contender, and it effectively raised anticipation for the AEW Women's World Championship match on the upcoming edition of Dynamite.
The Runaway represents the biggest challenge for The Face of the Division so far. She has yet to win a title with a major promotion, and she looks more hungry than ever. To secure her first significant win, Soho will have to overcome the woman who scratched and clawed her way to the top of the roster, and she won't go down easily.
It's so easy to connect with these competitors because they've both struggled to gain superstardom. Still, only one of them will walk out of Arthur Ashe Stadium as champion. That makes the outcome of their clash so tough to predict, but it adds so much intrigue, as well.
3. Roman Reigns vs. the World
Last week, Roman Reigns' feuds with Finn Balor and Brock Lesnar both made the list, but The Tribal Chief has a full dance card.
During the last episode of SmackDown, his growing tension with Big E finally boiled over as The Usos attacked the new WWE champion backstage. This segment will culminate in a six-man tag match pitting The Bloodline against The New Day on Monday Night Raw.
This was a fantastic way to deliver a fresh television angle and continue the plot point WWE teased for weeks with Big E as Mr. Money in the Bank. It also puts Reigns in an interesting new dynamic as all of his enemies are converging on him at the same time.
The Head of the Table still has unfinished business with Balor heading into Extreme Rules, and he's set to face Lesnar at Crown Jewel next month. At this rate, we have to assume The New Day's resident powerhouse will be the universal champion's opponent at Survivor Series.
WWE rarely builds up more than one challenger at a time. So, it has been a blast to watch the company weave so many different storylines around its biggest star and top heel. Yes, the match with The Demon King this weekend feels like an afterthought as a result, but this is an outstanding use of Reigns' star power.
2. Bryan Danielson vs. Kenny Omega
Bryan Danielson vs. Kenny Omega dropped out of the No. 1 spot this week merely because a more pivotal moment replaced it.
Nevertheless, the dream matchup became official on the last episode of Dynamite. The American Dragon will test his mettle against The Best Bout Machine this week during a stacked edition of the flagship series emanating from Arthur Ashe Stadium.
This non-title match will undoubtedly be the biggest draw of AEW's first show in New York. The company named the segment from last Wednesday Moment of the Week, and Danielson's challenge from the prior episode accumulated 2.4 million views on YouTube.
The story is fairly simple. Both men have honed their respective reputations as top in-ring competitors, but they never clashed at the height of their success. Danielson already has some claim to the title of "The Greatest of All Time," and Omega represents the first box he must check as he plots the remainder of his storied career.
Meanwhile, The Cleaner has arguably grown complacent as he collected championship gold and secured title defenses with the help of Don Callis and The Elite. This match is his chance to stop running and prove he is everything he says he is and more.
Omega vs. Danielson is a huge deal, but the outcome and fallout will be even more intriguing because of what it could mean for AEW's final pay-per-view of the year.
1. Big E’s WWE Championship Win
Big E's Money in the Bank cash-in to become the fourth Black WWE champion lands at the top spot this week. The Purveyor of Positivity didn't appear on last week's ranking, but his feel-good win was an obvious choice this time around.
For weeks, the Tampa native taunted Paul Heyman backstage, but he actually had an ax to grind with Bobby Lashley. The Almighty annihilated Big E's stablemate Kofi Kingston on the same night that he climbed the ladder to become the first Black wrestler to claim the Money in the Bank briefcase.
Last Monday, Big E made his intentions clear on Twitter and successfully cashed in on Lashley following his title defense against Randy Orton. Watching Kingston and Woods run down the ramp to celebrate with their friend was an unforgettable way to cap off their feud with MVP and The Hurt Business. Mr. 305's words fell on deaf ears, and their lasting friendship won out.
Skeptics can call this hotshot booking or a ploy to increase ratings, but it was still a historic moment that made Raw must-see television for the first time in months. This will be a prevailing memory for some fans, like Mankind's WWE title win on the January 4, 1999, episode.
To put this in perspective, it was the first time fans have ever seen two consecutive Black WWE champions in the history of the company. That's a monumental step forward for the largest professional wrestling promotion in the world and the industry as a whole.
Nevertheless, we haven't seen the last of The CEO of The Hurt Business. Lashley will return for revenge, and his bid to regain his title will be worth the wait. After all, he was a dominant champion, and a beloved babyface like Big E will make for a perfect foil.