0 of 6
Photo credit: All Elite Wrestling
It has been an eventful week for professional wrestling fans. AEW All Out is on pace to become the best pay-per-view event of the year. However, the latest edition of SmackDown emanating from Madison Square Garden proved WWE can still produce high-quality shows when under pressure.
It truly is a great time to be a fan as there are more viable alternatives to watch than ever before. As such, we wanted to create a place where viewers can find a sample of the most exciting storylines in wrestling at the moment.
Of course, the selections for this column will be subjective. The aim is to take a brief glimpse at what’s going on right now and rank our interests accordingly. These are the hottest storylines of the week.
1 of 6
This showdown has been simmering ever since Mickie James showed up at Slammiversary in July.
Deonna Purrazzo has been on a fantastic run since joining Impact Wrestling last year. Fans have enjoyed some excellent matches during both of her reigns as Knockouts champion, but she hasn’t stopped there.
At TripleMania XXIX, she defeated Faby Apache to win AAA Reina de Reinas Championship. The Virtuosa has also seemingly targeted a who’s who list of women’s wrestling legends in hopes to cement her own legacy.
The 27-year-old has already used her technical prowess and vicious tactics to dispatch Jazz and Melina. Now, she has her eyes set on three-time Knockouts champion James, who is seeking revenge after their encounter at NWA 73.
The Impact Wrestler of the Year attacked James at the event following her match with Kylie Rae. This led to a backstage segment last week in which she made it clear that the tension between them has escalated into a personal rivalry.
It’s unclear when this dream match will take place, but it’s the most intriguing storyline on Impact programming right now.
2 of 6
Ruby Soho’s AEW debut to win the second women’s Casino Battle Royale at All Out was one of the most talked-about moments of the week.
Soho has effectively reinvented herself since her WWE release and already feels like a massive star. That much was evident when she received a raucous reaction as she entered the match as this year’s Joker.
In Chicago, The Runaway picked up the biggest win of her career outside of her time as an indie wrestler. However, this sets her on a collision course with the self-appointed Face of the Division and one of the biggest stars in the company, Britt Baker.
The two have only traded words on Dynamite but this already looks like a PPV-caliber matchup. This is exactly what AEW needs to continue to develop the most heavily criticized aspect of its programming.
Could Soho be the first Casino Battle Royale winner to successfully challenge for a world title?
3 of 6
Finn Balor has been a name to watch since he reminded the WWE Universe just how talented he is during his second run on NXT.
The Prince is one of the most influential wrestlers of the last decade, but his cookie-cutter do-gooder act on the main roster grew stale. So, his trek back to the black-and-gold brand was a welcome change.
In return, the Irishman turned heel and started working a more grounded and hard-hitting style. This helped him produce an incredible series of matches and secure a second NXT title reign.
Now that Balor has returned to SmackDown, he has become one of the top contenders for the Universal Championship against Roman Reigns. The way WWE put this feud on hold before SummerSlam didn’t make much sense, but it’s hard not to be excited about the long-awaited return of The Demon King.
The 40-year-old’s alter ego appeared at the end of the latest episode of SmackDown, setting up the title match for Extreme Rules. This presents a credible opponent for The Tribal Chief because The Demon is undefeated at main roster pay-per-views.
This is a great storyline and would rank higher on our list if it didn’t seem like a placeholder match until WWE pulls the trigger on Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar later this year. Still, there’s plenty of reason to believe Balor could eventually be the one to dethrone The Head of the Table.
4 of 6
This match started with a controversial finish at SummerSlam but it’s quickly becoming more fascinating than most viewers expected.
At the very least, there’s enough star power between Bianca Belair and Becky Lynch to keep us invested. The EST of WWE remains the most affable babyface on the roster, and the SmackDown women’s champion is growing into her new role as an antagonist.
It’s a questionable position to put Lynch in as she is one of the most popular Superstars of her generation, but she has the mic skills and acting chops to make this heel turn work. In fact, her appearance in front of the live audience at Madison Square Garden on Friday illustrated that she can turn a crowd against her.
Professional wrestling is at its best when each opponent has a defined character and motives, and this storyline has vastly improved over the past few weeks because of that. The blue brand needed a replacement for Bayley and Sasha Banks, and The Man fits the bill. This could be a storyline that continues for the next two pay-per-views.
5 of 6
On the surface, another feud centered around Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns isn’t much to write home about. After all, we’ve seen this match several times already.
Enter Paul Heyman. The Tribal Chief’s special counsel has made the latest iteration of this rivalry much better than it has any right to be. His secret phone call with a familiar ringtone and the revelation that he may have known The Beast Incarnate was at SummerSlam adds so much intrigue to this storyline.
The idea he could betray The Bloodline is the sole reason this is all so compelling. However, it’s also a part of a growing main event scene on SmackDown that includes Finn Balor and the threat of a Money in the Bank cash-in from Big E.
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts at the moment because it finally looks like Reigns’ tenure as champion is in jeopardy. Lesnar is the longest-reigning universal titleholder and his track record speaks for itself.
Still, it’s hard to predict where The Beast Incarnate’s latest clash with Reigns will lead with other variables in play.
6 of 6
It sounds unbelievable but the road to Bryan Danielson vs. Kenny Omega is underway.
This is a matchup that has been in the making for some time, but it’s closer to fruition after the events of All Out. Danielson made his surprise debut for All Elite Wrestling at the event and immediately gestured to the AEW world champion before he fled.
The American Dragon officially called Omega out on the following episode of Dynamite. Even more, he took down The Best Bout Machine and cinched in the LeBell Lock in the blink of an eye.
It seems like it’s way too early for AEW to deliver such a high-profile scenario, right? This should potentially headline an upcoming PPV, but the company does have a big show coming up at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Sept. 22.
AEW’s first show in New York could be a perfect setting for this dream match. Making it an exhibition, as opposed to a title shot, also leaves the door open for “Hangman” Adam Page to return and eventually challenge his former tag team partner.
That may disappoint some fans, but how can anyone not be excited about seeing two of the best wrestlers in the world square off? This is a pairing that seemed impossible a few years ago, and we could get to see it before the end of the month. If not then, it’s still inevitable and will be worth the wait.