WWE fans are excited for the new year of action and storylines — 2020 was a tough year for both wrestlers and fans.
It saw WWE criticised for poor storylines and reaching record low ratings on Raw.
But it wasn’t all bad. WWE also delivered some great moments and a handful of the best storylines in modern wrestling history.
Sun Sport looks back at the five best (and five worst) things to happen in WWE in 2020.
The five best:
Nine years after he was forced to retire from spinal stenosis and triple-fusion neck surgery, no one expected to see the 'Rated-R Superstar' back in the ring.
His surprise entry into the Royal Rumble was a skin-prickling, emotional sucker-punch that left Edge and a lot of old school fans teary-eyed.
The next night on Raw, former tag partner Randy Orton attacked Edge in one of the angles of the year — a brutal chair-assisted beat-down that turned Orton into a full-on psychopathic heel.
WrestleMania was almost a disaster. It was forced to move into WWE’s empty Performance Center and change its big matches at the last minute.
But The Undertaker vs AJ Styles was an unexpected success — a “cinematic match” (basically a brawl mixed with a horror movie) around a cemetery.
Playing a combo of his Deadman and American Badass personas, Taker literally buried AJ and rode off into the night on his motorcycle. Undertaker later revealed it was his retirement match.
GOLDEN ROLE MODELS
The hottest story of the summer belonged to Bayley and Sasha Banks — the BFFs destined for a spectacular fallout.
The chemistry between Bayley and Banks was so brilliant that WWE used them across all three brands and multiple storylines. It cultimated with a killer match at Hell in a Cell.
WWE has dropped the ball with Bayley and Banks multiple times. But they proved how valuable and skilled they are when they're given the creative freedom.
REIGNS' FAMILY FEUD
The heel turn of Roman Reigns was the best storytelling in 2020 by far — and arguably the best story that WWE has done in years.
Roman's nuanced, emotionally charged matches against Jey Uso at Clash of Champions and Hell in a Cell delivered gut-wrenching family drama that played on real-life family dynamics.
Fans have been booing Roman Reigns for years already. Now he’s officially turned heel, the same fans have been forced to admit how good he really is.
Drew faced the toughest challenge of any WWE Champion in history — to carry the belt with no fans and constant uncertainty.
But the British champ found new levels of intensity in his big feuds — against Seth Rollins, Bobby Lashley, Randy Orton, and Roman Reigns.
The highlight was his ludicrously fun ambulance match with Orton at Clash of Champions — featuring cameos from Big Show, Christian, Shawn Michaels, and Ric Flair.
And the five worst:
GOLDBERG BEATS THE FIEND
In three miserable minutes at Super ShowDown in Saudi Arabia, WWE sold out both Bray Wyatt and its fans.
The 53-year-old Goldberg hammered Wyatt with dreadful-looking spears and a jackhammer to win the Universal Championship.
It killed Wyatt’s momentum and made a statement about WWE's priorities — keeping the Saudis happy by booking veterans was obviously more important than current stars and good storytelling.
MONEY IN THE BANK
Hyped up by the success of its cinematic matches at WrestleMania, WWE turned Money in the Bank into a drawn-out comedy skit around WWE HQ.
It was amusing in places but the punchline was a dud — comedy mid-carder Otis won the men’s MITB briefcase.
WWE has since switched the briefcase to The Miz but the MITB has never meant less. Like so many other aspects of the tired WWE formula, it’s time to retire the Money in the Bank gimmick.
EYE FOR AN EYE
Seth Rollins’ “Messiah” character was an exciting change at the start of 2020. But mid-way through the year it was everything that’s wrong with Raw — boring promos, repetitive matches, and dwindling interest.
WWE attempted to add some grisly realism into Seth's feud with Rey Mysterio with an "eye for eye match" at Extreme Rules.
Perfectly good hardcore action turned to cartoon silliness when Rollins extracted Rey’s eyeball (a ping pong ball coloured-in red) and made himself sick at the ringside area.
WWE responded to low ratings by introducing Raw Underground — a Fight Club inspired MMA den that made absolutely no sense and undermined Raw’s regular (already poor) content.
The likes of The Viking Raiders, the Hurt Business, and Braun Strowman took detours to Raw Underground to fight Shane McMahon’s Dabba-Kato.
Longtime fans immediately predicted that Raw Underground (and Dabba-Kato) would ultimately disappear and never be spoken of again. That prediction was correct.
The anarchic faction invaded Raw and SmackDown with such rebellious acts as chain-sawing the ring ropes (while being careful not to destroy WWE’s expensive ThunderDome set) and turning the lights off.
WWE seemed inspired by Antifa and BLM protests but was typically out of touch and nonsensical – why was a faction trying to bring down WWE then given WWE contracts?
Despite the best efforts of the Retribution crew on social media (T-Bar’s tweets were hilarious) the gang was finished before it got started.
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