2020 has been quite the year for the entire globe as the pandemic hit and literally changed everything overnight. This was especially felt in the world of wrestling (and all sports) as fans were forced to watch from their homes instead of arenas. In addition, the wrestlers themselves did not know how the promotions would be able to operate, but in AEW they were able to weather the storm to put on incredible matches and storylines.
While there have been several setbacks and tragedies throughout the business (R.I.P. Brodie Lee), there were some amazing moments that have placed the industry's number two promotion in position to go to an even greater level in 2021. Here are just a few predictions that I believe will take place next year. As always, I'm willing to admit that I'm wrong if these do not go through, but I doubt it. Okay, here we go!
1) The AEW/Impact Alliance will open the doors for an exchange of talent. This is the most obvious one as we've seen World Champion Kenny Omega making his presence on Impact Wrestling, and he will be teaming up with former Bullet Club members Gallows and Anderson on their January PPV Hard to Kill. Rest assured that it will not end there as we will see wrestlers such as Moose and Tara Valkyrie return the favor and show up on an episode of Dynamite. Omega will win the Impact World Championship and will attempt to go after the NJPW Championship as well, introducing the U.S. audience to the amazing talent from the Far East in a high profile match. Expect the Revolution PPV to become a combination of AEW/Impact matches, all thanks to The Collector.
2) The Women's Division will come into focus. One of AEW's greatest problems has been its inconsistent booking of the Women's Division. At times it has shown that it doesn't care. Lately, there are traces of some actual storylines that will allow them to finally shine. First, the Vicious Vixens (Jade Cargill & Nyla Rose) will be dominating the faces, setting up an eventually comeuppance. Also, the championship will finally change hands as Dr. Britt Baker will win the title from Shida, becoming the hated heel that can draw the heat need to give this division the attention it needs.
3) Introduction of a Trios Championship. The Tag Team division is the best in the world, but it's also very crowded. Expect Tony Khan to change that by adding the Trios championship. Thanks to stables like Death Triangle, Jurassic Express and the Inner Circle, there will be plenty of competitors to this division, while allowing younger tag teams such as Top Flight and The Acclaimed to try their hand at the tag team titles. Question is, how will AEW find the time to feature these belts?
4) AEW's newest show will debut, but not at the time everyone thinks. Here's how they'll do it. Word has it that AEW has copyrighted the word 'Elevation,' and that could potentially be the new name of the show. Although it would in a way make sense to feature it on Tuesday night since that is their time for Dark, I don't think that is what they will do, since that will be needed to showcase lower card talent that isn't exactly ready for prime time. However, the show will be on Saturday as a nod to the old 6:05pm shows on TBS. It would still draw an audience and would be a great platform to feature not only the Women's division but the Trios as well, clearing out much of the logjam that they have with their underutilized talent.
5) A phasing out of veterans as the torch is passed. One thing AEW does exceptionally well is incorporate legends of the industry to put over young talent. From the aforementioned Inner Circle to Matt Hardy/Private Party and even more so with the Sting/Darby Allin alliance, expect more of the same in 2021. However, we will see some of these veterans take a step back. The biggest one being Jericho will go away for a while to tour and give MJF full control of the Inner Circle.
6) Kenny Omega's Title Reign will come to an end in a MOTY candidate. The Collector's quest for titles will be one of the biggest stories in 2021. However all good things must come to an end, and it will at All Out in September as someone will do what has yet to be done in AEW: kick out of the One Winged Angel, and it will be Hangman Page as he finally completes his journey to becoming World Champion.
7) There will be a new acquisition to the promotion, and a subtraction. At the end of the day it's still a business, and although we get attached to our favorite wrestlers, there's just not enough time to feature everyone, and the promotion will experience that as 2021 will see the exodus of an AEW star as they will head to Stamford and join WWE. To counteract that move, expect AEW to continue its ability to acquire talent and bring in someone from WWE once their contract expires.
8) AEW will see a set of major turns. Turns happen all the time, but in this instance, it will be two that will rock the promotion. First is the heel turn, as we will see the end of SCU as Kazarian will finally turn on his longtime partner Christopher Daniels on his way to becoming a force in the mid-card division. On the other side, we will see Sammy Guevara, who has been cutting a lot of face like promos on Dark have enough of MJF's shenanigans and begin his ascension as a huge face.
9) The TNT Championship will become the best secondary championship in wrestling. The impact of a great mid-card title is for promoters to gauge a wrestler's ability to become the eventual top star in the company. Placing the belt on Darby Allin will begin the transition to allow other guys such as Guevara, Ricky Starks and Scorpio Sky to challenge for the belt. There will become a clear distinction for the up and coming talent as this title becomes a throwback to what a true secondary title should be.
10) A surprising team will rise to become Tag Team Champions. The Young Bucks finally climbed the mountain to become Tag Team Champions in 2020, and they already have their fair share of challengers. Although FTR is still waiting for their rematch, they will not be the team to upend them. No, it will be the tag team of Kip Sabian and Miro. After the wedding of Kip and Penelope Ford in February, expect the duo to take the titles in a huge upset.
11) Sting and Jericho will have AEW's last cinematic match. One innovative concept that came as a result of the pandemic was the invention of cinematic matches, from the Boneyard Match in WWE to Stadium Stampede in AEW. With reports of the vaccine being distributed, there's a chance fans will be in attendance and the necessity for cinematic matches diminish. For AEW, they have already begun putting fans at Daily's Place, and there's really only one match left that is needed in the promotion of this format: Sting vs. Jericho. It's amazing these veterans have never met, even though they were in WCW at the same time during the late 90's. Expect the promo work to be amazing and the match will allow these gentlemen to flourish.