Seth Rollins vs. Big E and the Hottest Wrestling Storylines of the Week

Philip LindseyContributor IINovember 1, 2021

Seth Rollins vs. Big E and the Hottest Wrestling Storylines of the Week

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    Welcome to the newest edition of Bleacher Report's ranking of the hottest pro wrestling storylines of the week. This is where we take a look at the most intriguing plots and how they've advanced.

    Professional wrestling often benefits from the serial nature of its weekly programming. It gives companies like All Elite Wrestling and WWE a wealth of continuity to play with. Some of the best storylines are a result of long-term storytelling or callbacks.

    For example, most of Roman Reigns' recent character work and feuds utilize his career up to this point. His last encounter with Daniel Bryan, for example, was much more appealing due to their storied history.

    This week, many of our entries developed out of dangling plot threads or references to older matchups. It has helped to enrich many ongoing storylines.

    Let's see how some of the best examples rank.

6. Naomi vs. Sonya Deville

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    Last week's ranking: N/A

    Naomi vs. Sonya Deville fell off of recent rankings, but this classic depiction of an underdog's struggles with an underhanded authority figure has been a pleasant surprise.

    WWE often makes more of a concerted effort to produce title feuds featuring its women's division. It rarely takes the time to develop interesting secondary conflicts with them, which is a shame because there are so many talented performers on the roster.

    More to the point, Naomi hasn't been part of any meaningful storylines as a singles competitor. This was one of the few drawbacks to her reign as SmackDown women's champion. Fortunately, WWE has managed to kill two birds with one stone here and effectively address both issues.

    The last few episodes of SmackDown have done a great job making The Glow increasingly sympathetic in the face of discrimination. Even more, it has been an excellent slow build since she joined the blue brand.

    Deville has been properly loathsome as an executive who continues to overstep her boundaries, but we don't know why she has singled out Naomi. It's the only real flaw in what has been an otherwise engrossing subplot.

    Honestly, it's a minor issue but just a slight explanation would add so much to this rivalry.

5. Cody Rhodes vs. Malakai Black

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    Last week's ranking: N/A

    Cody Rhodes' bad blood with Malakai Black lands in the No. 5 spot this week after a divisive outcome to their third match.

    The American Nightmare is such a fascinating case study on how the reception to a star can easily go from sugar to...well, you know. Admittedly, Arn Anderson's attempt to take Rhodes back to his roots helped to change up his presentation a little.

    Nevertheless, another one-on-one encounter with The Dutch Destroyer seemed a bit premature. It certainly didn't seem like the right time for Black to take his first loss but AEW managed to spin this into a segment that was better than it had any right to be.

    The Ominous Man from Amsterdam is such a spellbinding antagonist with a unique look and a chilling entrance. One loss doesn't hurt his mystique and he has already masterfully used it as fodder in a pair of strong vignettes both online and on Dynamite.

    Meanwhile, Rhodes cut his best promo in a while on this week's episode of AEW's flagship series. It was honest and heartfelt, but it also played off of the calls for him to turn heel and comparisons to Triple H.

    Whether you love or hate him, it's hard to deny that the 36-year-old has an impeccable mind for the business. The latest chapter to Black vs. Rhodes showed that he still understands how to hook the audience and keep them talking.

    It's unclear how PAC and Andrade will figure into this storyline moving forward, but we're interested to see how it will play out.

4. MJF vs. Darby Allin

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    Last week's ranking: 6

    MJF vs. Darby Allin climbed to the No. 4 spot this week. The upcoming showdown at Full Gear is already one of the most anticipated matches on the card.

    After weeks of mind games and boastful tirades, MJF began to look past the straight edge. Instead, he staked his claim to become a contender for the AEW World Championship as he pointed out that he has already beaten "Hangman" Adam Page.

    However, Allin returned to interrupt him and run The Pinnacle off. Afterward, he vehemently challenged the heel to a match at the company's next pay-per-view.

    MJF has done a fantastic job getting viewers invested in this matchup. He's such a tremendous villain because he always does just enough to make us clamor for the good guy to exact revenge.

    AEW was also smart to keep Allin off of television long enough for the two-time Dynamite Diamond Ring winner to do his thing.

3. Hikaru Shida vs. Serena Deeb

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    Last week's ranking: N/A

    Hikaru Shida's rematch against Serena Deeb in the first round of the TBS Championship Tournament earned third place in our list.

    Their initial encounter from the anniversary episode of Dynamite was brilliant. They delivered an amazing match, and the swerve at the end secured a spot on the Oct. 11 ranking.

    As such, Shida's renewed effort to become the first woman on the roster to win 50 matches and attain vindication added greater stakes to this preliminary contest. This incredible clash of styles reminded fans just how assertive and single-minded The Fullmetal Champion can be.

    Meanwhile, Deeb continues to prove she is one of the best technical wrestlers in the world. These two competitors routinely bring out the best in their opponents, and they didn't disappoint as they took part in possibly the best women's match on Dynamite to date.

    In the end, Shida narrowly picked up her 50th win to advance to the semifinals. As a result, AEW named the Japanese star "Wrestler of the Week." However, it looks like this bitter rivalry is far from over.

    Afterward, The Professor continued to target her injured knee, going as far as repeatedly hitting it with a steel chair. Deeb later made it clear she wants her opponents to feel her pain as she has had to undergo knee surgery.

    Some viewers criticized Shida's tenure as champion because she didn't have any memorable feuds. More booking decisions like this could have alleviated those assessments. After all, their inevitable third match would be a perfect addition to Full Gear as it stands.

2. 'Hangman' Adam Page vs. Kenny Omega

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    Last week's ranking: N/A

    "Hangman" Adam Page vs. Kenny Omega dropped off of last week's ranking after two consecutive entries in the No. 1 spot. Their highly anticipated showdown at Full Gear is still the best storyline in professional wrestling right now, but it did take a bit of a step back.

    AEW doesn't need to do much to sell fans on this battle for its world title. Omega's reign as champion has successfully built him into the man to beat to become the top babyface.

    Concurrently, Hangman's long journey to become the company's flagbearer has been in the making for two years. The 30-year-old is one of the most beloved characters on the roster, and the crowd is firmly behind him.

    On the latest episode of Dynamite, Page interfered in an outrageous and polarizing main event where he revealed he was the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man all along. Yes, you read that correctly.

    It was a ridiculous moment but Hangman is so popular that it still resonated with the crowd and the audience online. The clip of him unmasking himself and glaring at Matt Jackson was a highlight of the week.

    This was another example of how good The Elite is at using comedy to progress a storyline. It may not work for everyone but this feud is still on pace to finish up as one of the best stories of the year.

1. Seth Rollins vs. Big E

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    Last week's ranking: N/A

    Big E's stint as the top champion on Raw has been a welcomed improvement to Raw. So, his next defense against Seth Rollins landed in the No. 1 spot this week.

    One could argue Page vs. Omega should be top again but the women's match was definitely the best part of the latest episode of Dynamite. Moreover, Rollins' jump into the WWE title picture is another much-needed change of pace for the red brand, which has been bogged down by rematches for most of the year.

    There is clearly interest in shaking up the red brand's main event scene. The clip from the ladder match to determine the No. 1 contender garnered 1.1 million views on WWE's YouTube channel.

    This is a fresh matchup and the logical next step for The Visionary and Big E's reign. Rollins has put together a collection of must-see matches this year, so he's the perfect challenger to make or break the first-time world champion.

    Furthermore, these two have a history as The Powerhouse of Positivity defeated Rollins to become the second NXT champion. He also triumphed over him en route to become this year's Mr. Money in the Bank.

    For that matter, Big E denied him the chance to use the contract to dethrone Roman Reigns after WWE seemingly teased that matchup. Now, he is all that stands in the way of a potential confrontation between the two ex-members of The Shield at Survivor Series.

    Conversely, beating Rollins would be the final test as Big E looks to finally face The Tribal Chief in a champion vs. champion match at the last "Big Four" PPV of the year. It's also an opportunity for the former New Day man to take part in a noteworthy television match.