The 10 WWE and AEW Stars Most Likely to Break Out in 2022December 9, 2021
The 10 WWE and AEW Stars Most Likely to Break Out in 2022
The past year has seen a lot of great wrestlers find their groove and enjoy the best 12 months of their career, but 2022 could be even better.
In 2021, we saw Superstars from WWE and All Elite Wrestling reach new heights. Some were newcomers while others were veterans who had waited years for their big opportunity.
In WWE, Bianca Belair headlined WrestleMania 37 with Sasha Banks, Big E won his first WWE title, and Roman Reigns continued his move from being one of the most divisive stars on the roster to one of the most universally praised thanks to his heel turn and run as The Tribal Chief.
Over in AEW, Britt Baker became the face of the women's division, "Hangman" Adam Page completed his journey to becoming a world champion, MJF became one of the top heels in wrestling, and Darby Allin rose to become one of the most popular names in the entire company.
With so many talented people on both rosters, the next 12 months could see a whole new crop of talents start occupying the main event scene. Let's look at 10 AEW and WWE stars who could have a breakout year in 2022. This is not a ranked list, so pay no attention to the order.
The rebranded NXT 2.0 has been controversial since it was first introduced on September 14, but one person most people can agree will be one of the breakout names in this new group of Superstars is Bron Breakker.
As the son of Rick Steiner and the nephew of "Big Poppa Pump" Scott Steiner, the 24-year-old has a lot of pressure on him to live up to the legacy of two men who are often cited as one of the best tag teams of all time.
So far, the newcomer has been knocking every opportunity out of the park. He won WarGames for his team and now has a shot at Tommaso Ciampa and the NXT Championship.
It would not be surprising to see Breakker placed on the fast track to the main roster within a year. He has the look, size and attitude to be just what WWE wants in a top star.
When 2021 began, Dante Martin was one of many tag team wrestlers trying to make a name for himself and his team in AEW. But after an unfortunate injury sidelined his brother, Darius Martin, he began shining in a new way.
After a few high-profile matches with the likes of Kenny Omega and Matt Sydal, everybody began to notice how talented the young high-flyer is and how much potential he has.
He was aligned with Team Taz after forsaking Lio Rush during contract negotiations, but that relationship appeared to dissolve during Wednesday's episode of Dynamite.
Dante has no ceiling when it comes to success. If he can stay healthy and keep learning from the veterans in the locker room, he will have a title around his waist before 2022 is done.
Liv Morgan was unable to take the Raw Women's Championship from Becky Lynch during the main event of Monday's Raw, but she did capture the hearts and minds of many fans in the process.
When she was first called up with The Riott Squad, she still had a lot of growing to do. Losing both Sarah Logan and Ruby Riott in WWE releases was a tough hit to take, but going solo has allowed the 27-year-old to stand on her own two feet and prove herself in a new way.
If you were on Twitter during Monday's match, it was obvious that a lot of people were pulling for her to win despite the odds being stacked against her. She has grown naturally into a popular star thanks to the hard work she has put into improving every aspect of her game.
Monday wasn't her night, but putting her in a main event match with Big Time Becks was a good indication that WWE wants to push her as a top name eventually.
If you look at every woman in AEW right now, Jade Cargill stands out from the crowd as having the most intimidating presence. She already looks, walks and acts like a top star.
While the 29-year-old is still new to the business, the rate at which she has grown has been amazing. Her promos are miles ahead of where they were she first debuted, her confidence has grown by leaps and bounds, and her popularity continues to increase.
The vast majority of her matches have been short squashes, but that is by design. She is a powerhouse who should be running over everybody like a steamroller, so that is how she is booked.
The real test will be how she does once she has to have long, competitive matches. If she can hang with the likes of Thunder Rosa or Serena Deeb, she will be a made woman.
Many expect her to win the TBS Championship at the end of the tournament, so she might get thrown into the deep end sooner than we think.
Some might argue that 2021 was Dominik Mysterio's breakout year because of all the things he has done with his father, but 2022 is going to be even bigger.
Once WWE pulls the trigger and splits Dom and Rey up as a tag team, they will likely feud. If Dom goes over his legendary father, it will set him up for massive success in the future.
His promo skills still need to develop but there is no denying how quickly Dominik has adapted to the style of working on the main roster. Just about everything he does looks good and for someone who is only 24, that is a rarity.
It's tough to predict when he might end up facing Rey in a match, but if it happens at WrestleMania 38, it will put an even bigger spotlight on him.
Lee Moriarty has been called one of the greatest technical wrestlers working today by many fans of indie wrestling, but a lot more people will see exactly what he can do now that he's with AEW.
When his signing was first announced, social media blew up with ideas for dream matches he could have against the likes of Bryan Danielson, Kenny Omega, Sammy Guevara and many more.
His first big-time match in AEW was against Bobby Fish on the October 15 episode of Rampage during the Buy-In on YouTube.
At only 27 years old, Moriarty is way ahead of most people at this stage of their career in terms of pure talent between the ropes. If you are not familiar with this man's work, go do a YouTube search. You won't regret it.
One look at Ridge Holland and you will see that he has WWE Superstar written all over him.
His physique is obviously one of the things that makes him noticeable, but his real value comes from his athleticism.
While the 33-year-old has not been given many opportunities to show us what he can do on the main roster, he had some great matches in NXT. Unfortunately, an injury kept him on the shelf for most of 2021.
Whether he forms an official tag team with Sheamus or works as a singles competitor, the powerhouse from West Yorkshire, England, is going to be on everyone's radar soon.
When WWE released Tay Conti in April 2020, her future was uncertain. Four months later, though, she debuted in AEW as a tag team partner for Anna Jay.
Over the past year, Conti has been able to establish a loyal following among AEW fans and earned a few big opportunities along the way, but she is only just getting started.
Her title matches with Britt Baker and Hikaru Shida ended in losses, but the 26-year-old proved she could hang with the main event players in the women's division.
Her Brazilian heritage gives her international appeal, and her jiu-jitsu experience makes her a threat to anyone. This coming year is going to be a good one for Conti.
Whether she goes by Shotzi Blackheart or just Shotzi, The Ballsy Badass is someone everybody should keep an eye on in 2022.
Her time in NXT saw her win the women's tag team titles alongside Ember Moon as well as hosting Halloween Havoc in 2020.
Unfortunately, her spell on the main roster has already been a little inconsistent. WWE brought her up with Tegan Nox as a tag team in July only to release the Welsh wrestler four months later.
Shotzi's risk-taking style is going to make her a fan favorite quickly, and her unique personal aesthetic makes her instantly recognizable. The 29-year-old has all the tools necessary to succeed, and WWE would be foolish not to push her toward a title at some point.
Daniel Garcia has been working with AEW for roughly a year, but he was only agreed to an official deal in October.
At just 23, The Red Death is already widely considered to be among the best technicians on the roster. Just imagine how good he is going to be in five years' time.
Garcia's alliance with 2.0 has already put him in the ring with guys such as Eddie Kingston, CM Punk, Darby Allin and Sting, so Tony Khan sees something special in him.
The TNT Championship seems like a logical first step for the New Yorker in AEW unless a set of Trios Championships are introduced at some point.
WWE and AEW have so many talented people waiting to have a breakout year that narrowing this list down to 10 was a difficult task. Arguments could be made for including Toni Storm, Jamie Hayter, Wardlow, Grayson Waller and many more. Who do you think is going to have a great year in 2022?