WWE in 2021: Greatest Wonders of the Year


Following the breakdown of the worst things that happened this year with the Biggest Blunders list, let’s give credit where it’s due with the best things. Part 2 of this 2021 review is the Greatest Wonders of the Year from WWE.

As with the other list (and pretty much any opinion piece), this is subjective and I may have even forgotten about things that should be added. You may have other ideas of what else should be listed here. In that case, I invite you to post your own lists in the comments below to keep the discussion going!

Keep in mind that this won’t be an individual maneuver that took place or a single promo or anything like that. Rather, this is more on the broad scale of things.

With that being said, let’s begin. In no particular order…


Matt Riddle has been one of the absolute highlights of 2021 on his own, but he’s been made that much better by being alongside Randy Orton.

Odd Couple pairings either work really well or not at all. Super Brutality (Rhea Ripley and Nikki A.S.H.) isn’t working for me, as it all feels manufactured and fake. Zoey Stark and Io Shirai keep acting like they don’t get along, but it’s not particularly fun to see them interact.

Orton, on the other hand, gives off a vibe that he genuinely likes working with Riddle. In fact, I’d go so far as to say this was his idea. He spoke highly of Riddle in the past and how he could see a version of himself in him, so I bet he requested this program.

It’s saved his year, too. He had just gotten out of that god awful storyline with Bray Wyatt and did a total 180 to become a more comedic character. As the straight man of this pair, he gets to have some great reactions while allowing Riddle to be the focal point. That means Riddle gets boosts in his star power by having Orton sell for his comedy, but Orton can also be part of the fun as the adversary who sometimes can’t help but to go along with it, too.

RK-Bro is an actual tag team name. They have some matching iconography and music. How rare is that, these days? Typically, WWE is so afraid of tag teams that they just announce the two singles names and that’s it. Hell, it’s even happening with Super Brutality. Have you ever heard them referred to by that name, or are they just Rhea and Nikki?

This has worked so well, from the setup to the tag title reign, that I just assume the inevitable split in 2022 that leads to a WrestleMania match will be awesome, too. Hats off.

The Way

Another group I’ve enjoyed a lot this year was NXT’s The Way. Johnny Gargano has been among my absolute favorite Superstars in general for the past few years, Candice LeRae was perpetually underutilized, Austin Theory’s a guy I immediately saw potential in, and Indi Hartwell is someone I’ve really warmed up to.

Playing around with their heel characters and their dysfunctional family had its fair share of moments. Not the least of which was the addition of a new member to the team in Dexter Lumis.

On paper, it sounds so ridiculous and like something that wouldn’t get over, nor be something to cheer about. Lumis—the creepy stalker guy—was pure babyface in his mutual attraction to Indi, leading to pseudo-dad Gargano and pseudo-mom LeRae scolding her for this unapproved relationship while pseudo-brother Theory was just a dipshit meathead.

Absurd, but it somehow worked. Even the wedding, which normally doesn’t go well, just ended with them “married”, and it not only wasn’t a letdown for “going nowhere”, but it felt like a positive. That’s exceedingly rare. Just as Miro.

It was sad to see this group split, but among all the chaos of this year, they managed to keep some of that exit going well enough that I’m okay with it. Candice is pregnant, so obviously, that’s a rational excuse for her to be off television. Gargano is now out of NXT, sadly, so if we don’t get references for him going forward, it’s understandable, and he was even written off with an attack. Theory moved up to the main roster, so that’s his reason for going away, kind of like when parents watch their kids go off to college after graduating high school. Indi is still together with Dexter, meaning InDex continues, and she has her best friend (Persia Pirotta) as a new teammate, after bringing her in via the bachelorette party. Persia, meanwhile, has been treated like a star in the making, which is nice to see. Then, you’ve got Gargano and Lumis getting along, giving each other thumbs ups and Gargano defending him as his son-in-law.

So much of this year was a mess, but this was one of the fun messes.

Bianca Belair

Back in NXT, Bianca Belair was clearly a star in the making. She didn’t manage to reach the mountain top there, but that ultimately doesn’t matter. Instead, she had a much better 2021 than damn near any other woman on the roster, which more than makes up for it.

Winning the Royal Rumble is already awesome. I’m a big fan of when someone new wins that match and goes on to win their first title at WrestleMania. It’s my go-to strategy that I would love to see WWE employ even more often and properly build to at least every other year, considering there are 4 titles (2 winners) to potentially do this with each shot.

Admittedly, her feud with Sasha Banks was trash. WWE spent months basically saying “We don’t care enough to put effort into this. You know you’ll like the match. Just shut up and wait until Mania.”

That’s never good enough, so they need to be held accountable for that. However, how lucky were they that that match actually delivered and did indeed erase many people’s memories about how terrible February and March were for this feud?

Seeing Belair and Banks crying at the start of their match is one of my favorite moments of the year. Checking off that historic main event idea to begin with is already a positive, but to see the genuine emotion behind them just made it so much better. Had Banks won, it would have soured the whole situation, so it was great Belair took the title, too.

While she had to job out to Becky Lynch because WWE couldn’t resist the temptation to put the belt back on The Man, it’s nice to see Belair hasn’t fully lost steam since then. Her run at Survivor Series is proof of that.

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