Ranking Adam Page vs. Kenny Omega and the Hottest Storylines of the Week
This was a fun week of wrestling thanks to the competitive rivalry between All Elite Wrestling and WWE. On Friday, the two companies went head-to-head for the first time since NXT moved Tuesday nights.
As a result, fans enjoyed an extra half-hour of SmackDown and an additional hour of action ahead of Rampage. Even more, individuals from both sides took jabs at each other online that helped to reignite some of that unpredictable and exciting energy from the Monday Night Wars.
However, the pace of AEW and WWE's programming has been a bit plodding because neither will host a major pay-per-view until next month. Yes, Crown Jewel takes place on Thursday, but the shows in Saudi Arabia always feel like they exist in a vacuum. The results of this year's WWE draft also don't take effect until Friday.
Although there were some incredible matches this week, it seems like the major plotlines at both companies have been in a holding pattern for the time being. Luckily, some of the top babyfaces in the industry have done enough to keep us interested.
In this edition of Bleacher Report's ranking of the hottest pro wrestling storylines of the week, we will grade the top feuds and plot developments in the industry. As always, these selections are subjective but most of them are a testament to just how valuable many of the top stars are to their respective companies.
6. Naomi vs. Sonya Deville
Last Week's Ranking: N/A
Naomi's ongoing beef with Sonya Deville landed on the Sept. 27 list but has dropped off over the last two weeks. The storyline makes its return at the No. 6 spot this time around thanks to a fun swerve.
Putting a determined underdog up against a corrupt authority figure is a tried-and-true story element. The dynamic usually works because it's so relatable. Everyone has had a boss they didn't like or feel stifled by.
WWE has done an interesting twist of this popular trope with the former SmackDown women's champion and Deville. It's laced with some real-world issues like discrimination, but it also plays up some of the unfounded criticisms of Naomi's career.
This makes it an excellent response to the hashtag #NaomiDeservesBetter and the calls for a meaningful storyline for the long-tenured superstar. It's also a great way to build toward Deville's first one-on-one match in over a year.
On the latest episode of SmackDown, the two were scheduled to compete, but The Pride Fighter revealed at the last minute that it would be a handicap match. Then, she and Shayna Baszler proceeded to beat down their helpless opponent.
This is the best non-title WWE feud featuring women right now. Hopefully, there are more secondary plots like this down the line and Naomi eventually gets her revenge.
5. Sasha Banks vs. Bianca Belair vs. Becky Lynch
Last Week's Ranking: 4
Sasha Banks vs. Bianca Belair vs. Becky Lynch drops down to the No. 5 spot this week due to WWE's usual decision to put rivaling opponents in tag team matches.
This is an overused plot device that is often predictable and nonsensical. The resulting tag match on the latest episode of Raw went just as many viewers would expect, and it took some of the wind out of the sails of an otherwise entertaining build.
Nevertheless, the upcoming Triple Threat match for the SmackDown Women's Championship is still probably the most appealing showdown heading into Crown Jewel. It has also set up some fantastic one-on-one matchups like Banks vs. Lynch from Friday's edition of SmackDown.
Belair continues to be one of the likable protagonists in the company, while The Boss and The Man bring a palpable level of star power and top-notch character work to the table.
Everyone has clear motives to vie for the women's title on the blue brand. If anything has hurt this storyline, it's the fact that weekly programming often feels so inconsequential.
4. Big E vs. Drew McIntyre
Last Week's Ranking: N/A
The reigning WWE champion makes his return to the list this week following a solid build to his next title defense against Drew McIntyre.
Raw is usually the most difficult weekly show to follow, but Big E has been a vast improvement as the brand's flagbearer. That's not a knock on Bobby Lashley's tenure, but The New Day's resident powerhouse has been a highlight since he cashed in his Money in the Bank contract on Sept. 13.
On the surface, his feud with McIntyre looks like filler, but the challenger's motivation to regain the WWE title is actually believable. Last Monday, he said he was proud of his time as the face of "A show," but he's still chasing his moment in front of a live crowd.
That's compelling because the Scot did climb to the top of the mountain and vanquish The Beast Incarnate at WrestleMania 36. However, the coronavirus pandemic robbed him of the well-deserved ovation that would've made his crowning achievement complete.
His drive to earn it at Crown Jewel and the list of notable competitors he toppled will make him Big E's toughest test yet. If he wants to prove he is ready to lead Raw into a new era, he will have to get through the man who stood atop the brand during uncertain times.
The clip of their breakdown in communication during a tag match with The Usos garnered two million views on the official WWE YouTube channel.
3. Seth Rollins vs. Edge
Last Week's Ranking: 3
The build for Seth Rollins vs. Edge was more of the same this week, but it was engaging enough to remain at the No. 3 spot.
Last week, The Rated-R Superstar finally got his hands on The Drip God and answered his challenge after he went a step too far. As such, the two will face off in a Hell in a Cell match at Crown Jewel.
Edge opened the latest episode with a chilling promo that perfectly summed up their rivalry since SummerSlam and his need to put an end to it. The WWE Hall of Famer also gave his opponent what he wanted and admitted he's not "Edge lite" as he originally boasted.
Still, the similarities between these two Superstars have made their rivalry so intriguing. As Edge noted, Rollins pulled a page out of his playbook when he went to his house on Oct. 1. The Canadian even threatened to return the favor before vowing to channel his anger into their next match.
The Visionary's response was a tad long-winded but there were some gems in it. It hit all the right story beats as he celebrated his minuscule victory over Edge and gloated about outplaying a master of mind games.
To some degree, he's right and that's what makes his delusional heel persona so fascinating. The former universal champion truly believes the end justifies the means, but he won't be able to run away when he enters the demonic structure on Thursday.
This has to be most fans' early pick for the best match on the card in Saudi Arabia.
2. Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar
Last Week's Ranking: 2
Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar lands at the No. 2 spot for a second consecutive week, but it's probably time for WWE to flip all of the cards over and show its hand.
The tension between Paul Heyman and his Tribal Chief has made for captivating television. The slow-burning tug of war for his consultant's loyalty has been just as smart and well-executed as much of Reigns' time as universal champion.
Viewers didn't see much of The Head of the Table or The Beast Incarnate this week outside of a short but effective segment to close SmackDown. It was basically a run-of-the-mill contract signing where Lesnar confidently signed the document because he had already discussed it with his advocate, Heyman.
It was a nice stinger to end on, but WWE has to deliver on all these teases now. This has been going on long enough and has kept fans guessing to the very end, making it one of the most engrossing storylines every week.
1. 'Hangman' Adam Page vs. Kenny Omega
Last Week's Ranking: 1
Adam Page's return to finally challenge Kenny Omega for the AEW World Championship secures the No. 1 spot again.
This should come as no surprise as this long-running storyline has many fans clamoring for him to dethrone The Best Bout Machine at Full Gear on Nov. 13. His reemergence as a surprise entrant and eventual winner of the Casino ladder match on Oct. 6 was perfect.
On Saturday night, Hangman cut an incredible promo, chronicling his journey since his failure to become the first AEW world champion. In the process, he displayed everything you could possibly want in a top babyface.
Page was vulnerable and honest in a way that he hasn't been in a long time, but he was also confident, appreciative of the fans' support and driven. He even dropped a memorable line about having the balls to leave during the hottest run of his career to go home and experience the birth of his first-born son.
Everything he has gone through since AEW's inception has molded him into a better man. It feels like he's finally ready to take his place at the top of the company after pledging to give everything to achieve his goal.