Hi folks! Today, we are looking at the top 10 WWE Superstars of 2021. Before we delve in to the top 10, here are some honorable mentions who were considered:
Seth Rollins – After missing the first couple of months of 2021, Seth Rollins returned with a modified Messiah gimmick. This developed in to what he describes as “A Narcissist Joker Going Through A Midlife Crisis“. His one major achievement of the year saw him as the sole survivor at Survivor Series, but the rest of 2021 has seen him at the losing end of rivalries.
Rollins’ biggest feud was against Cesaro, which worked out well for Swiss Superman as he got a Universal title shot out of it. Rollins moved on to a program with Edge, who he got a win over, but again got the short end of the stick. As a heel, he struggled to get in to the main event scene of SmackDown (because of Reigns), but on Raw he immediately got involved.
Bron Breakker – Because the NXT 2.0 revamp is still so fresh, I cannot bring myself to include anyone (even Tommaso Ciampa) from the rainbow brand in the top 10. However, if the Steiner Brothers came to my house, knocked on my door, and yelled at me to put Breakker in there… I wouldn’t disappoint. Breakker has had an exceptional year for a guy who is still considered a rookie, and if he doesn’t become NXT Champion in 2022? The math won’t add up. It’s definitely happening, unless Breakker screws it up.
Damian Priest & Shinsuke Nakamura – The longest reigning United States & Intercontinental Champions deserve a mention, just because they have done well to get continuous airtime. Yet, it does not feel like either champ has a nemesis or any sustained storylines, so there’s not much more I can say about them.
Drew McIntyre – He started the year well as the WWE Champion, but it has all been downhill since losing it to The Miz. Sure, he’s had title shots and consistent TV time, but it has been nothing like 2020. All I can remember is McIntyre swinging his sword around like he’s in Lord Of The Rings. Losing to Lashley at WrestleMania and then being barred from future title shots was a huge momentum killer.
Doudrop – I’m so pleased for her. I remember watching the revived World of Sport here in the UK on Saturday’s and seeing her (she was called Viper) challenge the champion Kay Lee Ray. There was a feeling there, like… I knew she could be something, but it needed a big company to see past her size and appreciate her skill set. After spending years in NXT UK as Piper Niven and never winning the women’s title, I was stunned to see her debut on the main roster next to Eva Marie. Even more so with that dumb name… Doudrop! Wow. Yet, it has grown on me, and in WWE, sometimes you have to take what you get and prove you have the talent to make it work. She’s bound for great things.
Zelina Vega – It didn’t look like WWE would have Vega back after the situation with her streaming platform and wanting to start up an OnlyFans. Even more so when Aleister Black was released (they are in a relationship). To me, I felt like the natural progression would be to leave WWE and join AEW, so I was shocked to see the relationship mended. Creative jobbed her out pretty hard in the beginning, but she persisted and took it on the chin when they excluded her from the 9/11 show. WWE payed her back handsomely, not only by making her the first ever Queen’s Crown tournament winner, but a Tag Team Champion with Carmella. 2021 was easily the most successful of her career.
King Woods – The New Day has been exceedingly successful for so long, but Kofi Kingston was the standout as a singles performer. 2021 was the year of The New Day collectively becoming singles stars, with Kingston taking a backseat to his friends, who had once supported him as WWE Champion. Xavier Woods’ career has been more about tag team success, even before making it to WWE. He said that winning King of the Ring was the single biggest achievement he ever wanted in WWE, and he has done that. Everything else is gravy. With that feat, it symbolizes validation for The New Day, not just as a tag team or stable, but individually as well.
Before we start, I should mention that I include tag teams as one entry.
#10. Charlotte Flair
Guys, I seriously struggled to decide who would join the top 7 on this list. After a few revisions, this is what I came up with. Now, Charlotte Flair only just makes it in to the top 10 for one reason… she technically won three women’s titles. However, one reign lasted a day, and the other was “handed over” during the controversial title switch with Becky Lynch. Her year has been marred with controversy, with the apparent backstage heat with Lynch, seeing her Father leave the company, on top of dirt sheets claiming her relationship with Andrade is over.
It has not been smooth sailing, yet despite everything, Flair continues to be one of WWE’s most consistent performers. She is so popularly hated, you can throw anyone in with her and she will get booed. However, Charlotte isn’t higher because there’s no evolution, and it feels like she doesn’t care anymore. There’s nothing left for her to aspire to, and with little motivation, it leaves me wondering if she will do anything significant in 2022… other than winning more titles.
#9. Becky Lynch
Because Becky Lynch has only been back since SummerSlam, this is as high as she gets. However, with an unexpected heel turn came a challenge which I believe she overcome. So many thought it was ridiculous turning her heel, because “The Man” is over. It was like turning Steve Austin heel in his prime. Somehow, Lynch gradually shifted in to this “Big Time Becks” character and made it work so well, we are seeing the benefits.
Can you imagine fans cheering for Liv Morgan over Becky two years ago? Not a chance. Lynch has made this character obnoxious enough to help get fresh faces over. She did it with Bianca Belair, and she’s doing it again with Liv. The absence of Sasha Banks and Bayley has left a space for a character like Big Time Becks to thrive. And despite not being around the entire year, I think it has done more in four months to get talent over than Charlotte Flair has in twelve. Lynch is here because she has grown.
Wait, what? Edge only #8? On this day, you must not see clearly. Now, let me begin my defense by saying I am a big Edge fan. Always have been, since way back in The Brood days, so I can safely say that his year has been too stop-start. When you win the Royal Rumble, you’d assume a significant year ahead. For whatever reason, WWE didn’t think Edge vs. Roman Reigns would be enough, so they got Daniel Bryan involved. Both Bryan & Edge were pinned by Reigns, so it’s not like Edge was screwed.
Because of injuries, Edge had to go on hiatus more than once. He did eventually get his return match with Reigns, but fell short again. The only other thing Edge did this year was beat Seth Rollins in their feud. If you were to take out the fact that Edge won the Royal Rumble and was in the main event of two PPVs against Reigns, he has done little. So while I’d love to push him higher, it hasn’t been the year I’m sure many of us were expecting back in January.
#7. Ilja Dragunov
The only superstar outside the main roster to make this list is the “Mad Russian” Ilja Dragunov. If we were to make a top wrestler list, Dragunov would be somewhere at the top. So, how do I sell this to anyone who hasn’t been watching NXT UK? Well, if you did not see the title match between Dragunov and Walter, add it to your to-do list. I’m not overselling you on this… Dragunov vs. Walter is probably WWE’s match of the year. I can’t think of anything else worthy of the title.
Consider these facts. Walter was NXT UK Champion for 870 days from April 2019. The NXT UK brand suffered during the pandemic as it wasn’t allowed to run shows because of restrictions being pretty heavy over here. Still, I think even without that, Walter would have spent most of 2020 as champion. His only viable challenger, Ilja Dragunov, had to wait over half a year? It was an extremely long time. Dragunov was #1 contender and when it finally came time for him to collide with the unstoppable Walter… it was a massive deal, and WWE treated it as such.
Many British fans are patriotic enough in their sports (not of the Royal Family and other things) to want to see British wrestlers succeed. However, when we see two foreigner warriors like Walter and Dragunov doing battle over the UK title, there’s a ton of respect there. I’m proud to say Dragunov is the UK Champion because he has earned it through sheer blood, sweat and tears.
#6. The Usos
Jimmy & Jey Uso are the longest reigning tag team champions of Raw or SmackDown this year. They have enjoyed plenty of spotlight as Roman Reigns’ backup in The Bloodline. There have been some questionable losses, and Jimmy has rarely got out of line.
However, this has been a glorious return for The Usos, who weren’t anywhere to be seen in 2020 because of Jimmy’s issues with DUIs. They have been monumental, not just in dominating SmackDown’s tag team division, but with ensuring Roman Reigns remains the Head of the Table and Universal Champion. That should be enough to acknowledge their return to former glory.
The oddball pairing never looked like they would become a formidable duo, but Randy Orton & Riddle have made it work. Not just in the ring, but outside of it, RK-Bro has been entertaining and major sellers. Considering Orton spent the early part of the year in an otherworldly feud with The Fiend, he has come a long way. Riddle is something else. He definitely has a “love it or hate it” persona.
RK-Bro has done very well as the Raw Tag Team Champions, enough so that I think they are deserving of the top 5 and best tag team of 2021. I’m still waiting for the inevitable betrayal from Orton, but I guess that’s what makes this team intriguing. You’re never sure what you’re getting with RK-Bro. In an age full of predictable programming, it’s refreshing to have something like this on Raw. One day, I hope we don’t see the split coming from a mile away.
#4. Big E
While the quality of Big E’s WWE Championship reign is debatable, his journey to achieving it isn’t. It feels like ages ago, but Big E started the year as the Intercontinental Champion, defending it against the likes of Apollo Crews. He had recently shared his intention to want to branch out as a singles star, after years of tag team success with The New Day. WWE saw enough in Big E during his IC title reign to want to push him further, so he won the Money in the Bank ladder match.
Big E teased cash-ins on Roman Reigns and Lashley many times before settling on Lashley. Winning MITB and the WWE were such wonderful moments. You could tell what winning the WWE Championship meant to Big E, after all the years of hard work and loyalty to the company. I feel like Big E has wanted this for a long time. Even at the height of The New Day, he secretly wished to stand on his own and say he’s worthy of being WWE Champion.
However, the one thing I hate (which I hope WWE stops doing) is having champion vs. champion matches at Survivor Series. We don’t need to define who is #1, because it cheapens the reign of the other champion. Reigns did not need further acknowledgement with that win over Big E, but it happened… and we’ve just got to accept it. To counter this, Big E desperately needs to retain at Day 1.
#3. Bobby Lashley
Wow, what a year for “The Almighty”. The longest reigning WWE Champion. Defended the title at WrestleMania, and beat McIntyre again to ensure he got no more title shots. He would also retain against Kofi Kingston, Goldberg and Randy Orton, before losing it to Big E. Lashley held the title over six months, finally solidifying himself as a main event star in WWE.
For too long, Lashley has struggled to break through the glass ceiling. He had the look and athleticism, but his ring and mic work left much to be desired. With years of experience, and a helping hand from MVP, Lashley has found a formula which works. He’ll always be able to look back and say he reached his potential, which was what WWE was hoping for back in 2005 when he debuted. As a late bloomer, 2021 may be the best year of his career, which I think makes him deserving of a top three spot. Lashley brought everything he has to make this the “Almighty Era” of WWE. Major kudos for that.
#2. Bianca Belair
WWE’s Women’s Revolution suffered this year. With the loss of Bayley, Sasha Banks turning up randomly, Charlotte Flair not caring, and Lynch reinventing herself, there has been little to praise. WWE tried pushing new stars, like Nikki A.S.H, but their moments are fleeting. NXT call ups like Shotzi Blackheart and Toni Storm did what they could to get noticed. Meanwhile, Sonya Deville bullied Naomi for what? Who knows? Rhea Ripley is kind of… just there? As are Carmella and several others.
It has been a strange year for the women of Raw & SmackDown, but there has been one constant who has enjoyed plenty of success at the highest level. Bianca Belair won the Royal Rumble, went to WrestleMania, and defeated Sasha Banks in the main event for the title. She then kept her title with wins against Bayley at Backlash & Hell in a Cell. Belair carried the title all the way to SummerSlam. Yes, she lost the title quickly to Lynch and failed to get it back in their rematch because of Sasha Banks interference, but it didn’t hurt her image too much.
It’s amazing to see how over Belair has gotten as a baby face superstar. She has done exceptionally well and is set for many more years of success in WWE. There isn’t much more I can say. Like I’ve been saying since I first saw her wrestling in NXT back in 2017, she has everything it takes to be a top caliber WWE Superstar. Belair hasn’t reached her peak yet.
#1. Roman Reigns
Acknowledge me this, acknowledge me that. Who’s afraid of the… Tribal Chief? Sorry, I can’t think of a rhyme to end that reference to The Riddler’s (from Batman) phrase. Seriously though, Roman Reigns has been champion since August of last year. Do you remember who he beat? I forgot, so I had to look it up… it was in a triple threat with Bray Wyatt (& Strowman), who only held it for a week before that. Since then, here’s a list of Roman Reigns’ victims in championship and other important matches:
- Jey Uso twice, including a Hell in a Cell I Quit match
- Braun Strowman by submission
- Drew McIntyre in a champion vs. champion match at Survivor Series
- Kevin Owens three times, in a TLC, Steel Cage, and Last Man Standing match
- Daniel Bryan four times, including the WrestleMania main event
- Edge twice, including the WrestleMania main event
- Cesaro by submission
- Rey Mysterio in a Hell in a Cell match
- John Cena at SummerSlam
- Finn Balor twice, including an Extreme Rules match
- Brock Lesnar at Crown Jewel
- Big E in a champion vs. champion match at Survivor Series
- Sami Zayn on SmackDown
Reigns could have wrestled more than he has, but WWE has saved him for big events. This is an old school way of booking top champions. It makes their matches more important, therefore giving more reason for fans to tune in for PPVs. Still, it’s a considerable list, and one which makes you wonder if anyone can beat him. Brock Lesnar will face him again at Day 1, but Roman has the momentum in recent years.
In early 2018, Lesnar retained the title against him twice. Since then, however, he has twice failed to defeat Reigns. This will be their fifth one-on-one Universal title match, with the score at 2-2. Reigns won the last two and has been wrestling consistently since last year. Lesnar’s only match in 2021 was his losing effort to Reigns. Before that, his only wins were squashes against guys like Ricochet, Rey Mysterio, Kofi Kingston and Cain Velasquez. We have to go back to his win over Seth Rollins in the summer of 2019 to find a competitive title match, which he came out the victor.
Yet, the biggest thing on Lesnar’s side this time, is that he may have Paul Heyman in his pocket, who has been Reigns’ special counsel for well over a year. Heyman knows Roman, and if he is secretly working for Lesnar, this will be a major strategic disadvantage for the Universal Champion. So if Reigns loses the title at Day 1, expect there to be some foul play because of Heyman. However, if Lesnar loses? It has to be the end for him. To keep this rivalry going, there has to be a title switch. Unless they find another way around it… like Reigns’ firing of Heyman being a ruse.
Whatever happens at Day 1, Roman Reigns is the obvious #1 pick for 2021. Sorry, I couldn’t be unpredictable with this! Whether you love him, hate him, or never gave a flying pig what he does, WWE has cemented him as the guy. All we can do is acknowledge that.
– This is my last piece of 2021. Personally, it has been a tough couple of months for me, but I hope to bounce back in 2022. Here’s to a new year and fresh start, Thank you for supporting me and the site. See you again.