The new year is here! That means that we are in for another 12 months of fantastic in-ring action from the quickly growing promotion out of Jacksonville. AEW had an awesome 2020 and while it wasn't all good, things are looking to be even better in 2021. AEW isn't worried about playing catch up against their weekly competition so they have a ton of room to do some bold things in 2021. All of the predictions are bold but still believable. Of course, the number one thing that everyone wants from any promotion is great in-ring work and entertaining stories, so let's assume that AEW will continue to offer those this year as well. I am excited for this year and I'd be even more excited if any or all of my predictions came true.
1. AEW Will Introduce A Title Specifically For Dark
Some people will get mad at me for this prediction because "AEW doesn't need any more titles" but that's where I think they are wrong. I am sure that AEW dark provides a ton of fun matches and helps a lot of talent learn the ropes of how to work on live tv, I really wouldn't know because I don't care to watch it. AEW needs to give people who primarily only watch Dynamite a reason to watch Dark. A title that gets defended only on Dark and on pay per view is the perfect way to add some intrigue to the weekly youtube show.
I don't even know if this is the perfect solution, but I think AEW will likely try it and if it doesn't work the title can become non-exclusive or eventually get united with the TNT title or the World Championship.
2. A Major AEW Will Defect to WWE
I know I put a picture of Chris Jericho here, but it doesn't have to be him. I do think, however the most likely major defection will be a former WWE star looking to have one last run with WWE in order to get that Hall of Fame nod. That or it will be a newer name that isn't getting the opportunity like they would on NXT. That being said, the sparkle has started to wear off of AEW, and now they are just another place to get a paycheck. Talent will continue to look for the promotion that pays the best and offers them the most opportunities.
I think Jericho is a good fit for this spot, and his leaving would actually free up some cash for AEW to sign some smaller talents that they can build-up on their own, but Taz, Dustin Rhodes, and Billy Gunn could all fit the former WWE star that wants to end their career their mold. Whoever it is that leaves AEW will likely face a lot of backlash from the "IWC," but it will end up being a good thing overall for wrestling.
3. NWA and AEW Will Have an Official Merger
This one really seems like a lock at this point, but the NWA and AEW crossovers have been a great thing for NWA. Currently, the NWA Women's Champion is AEW wrestler Serena Deeb, while AEW has really enjoyed getting to use the former NWA Women's Champion Thunder Rosa in a variety of capacities. A lot of current AEW wrestlers were also former members of the NWA roster. With conflicting reports about the future of NWA, it is safe to say that a merger might be in their best interest.
I can't predict exactly how it would play out, but this move would really benefit almost everyone involved while giving some very talented wrestlers a great home to showcase their talents. The other option here is not an outright merger but both companies leaning into their working partnership, similarly to the Impact and AEW relationship. Both are very valid, and regardless, I think we will see AEW continue to grow its presence in NWA.
4. The AEW Women's Championship WIll Main Event A Pay Per View
The AEW Women's Division gets a lot of criticism, but to their credit, it seems to be an area that AEW is looking to fix. The current champion, Hikaru Shida, has had some stellar matches, and her match against Abadon this week will likely be a lot of fun. AEW needs to find a place to start building momentum for the division and continue from there, so while I don't expect the title to be the center of attention at Revolution, I think there is a lot of time to build something exciting.
There is a ton of talent on their roster, and AEW is aware of it. They just need to figure out what story they want to build. My pitch here would be to have Anna Jay take the title off of Shida at All Out or Full Gear in the Fall of this year. AEW needs to be willing to commit to giving time to the title and making the match feel important. Wrestling fans clearly love women's wrestling, so why not give the people more of what they want?
5. The Dark Order Will Hold All The Gold By The End of 2021
A lot has changed for this once seemingly doomed faction in a little less than a year. With the help of the late Brodie Lee and their antics of Being The Elite, The Dark Order have gone from a crew of "mysterious" jobbers to incredibly over with the fans. The reaction that they received at the Brodie Lee tribute show gave us a taste of how much fans want to see The Dark Order succeed.
The question is who will actually win the titles for the faction. It is pretty obvious to me who the choices are. Evil Uno and Stu Grayson should win the tag-team titles, Anna Jay should be AEW Women's Champion, I would put the TNT title on the biggest Dark Order breakout star so far, John Silver, and finally, I think we will see Hangman Adam Page finally join the Dark Order as AEW World Champion.
Not only has the faction gone from nearly dead in the water to one of the most popular factions in wrestling right now, but I think it would be a great way to honor the memory of Brodie Lee, who really did elevate the faction to where they are now.
So there are my bold predictions for AEW in 2021! Do you agree with me? What do you want to see happen in AEW this year? Let me know by tweeting at me @robbydeshazer!
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