Five years ago, the card of SummerSlam 2013 included the likes of Alberto Del Rio, Christian, CM Punk, Rob Van Dam, Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, Brock Lesnar, Natalya, and John Cena. As we head into SummerSlam 2018, it’s clear that a lot has changed in Vince McMahon’s machine that is WWE.
The leading stars in WWE now include the likes of Seth Rollins, Charlotte Flair, Braun Strowman, AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Ronda Rousey, and of course, The Big Dog Roman Reigns. Some guys from 2013 are still hanging around the top of the card, such as Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, John Cena and Brock Lesnar (well, when he shows up).
This got me thinking: what will the face of WWE look like five years from now? Who will be Vince’s top guys come SummerSlam 2023 (barring Vince’s death)?
This choice was obvious. Being a headliner of four straight WrestleManias, it’s clear that Vince McMahon sees Roman Reigns as the megastar that John Cena, Steve Austin and Hulk Hogan also were.
One of the best in-ring performers on the WWE roster and a definite fan favorite, it will be a top priority for Vince and company to keep The Kingslayer around for much longer.
Another fan favorite and WWE staple, Dean Ambrose will stick around with his former Shield partners, Roman and Seth.
The Monster Among Men has used the past two years to establish exactly that: he is a monster among men. He is a dominant, scary force on RAW week-after-week, and is extremely over with fans of all ages. He won the 50-man Greatest Royal Rumble match in Saudi Arabia this year and currently holds the Money In The Bank briefcase. Look for Braun to continue to be a dominant force and have a role similar to Undertaker’s former role.
At only age 26, Sasha Banks has already solidified her place among the top of WWE’s women’s division. She’s made history by main-eventing a pay-per-view with Charlotte Flair in a Hell In A Cell match. She also took part in one of the greatest women’s matches in WWE history, by defeating Bayley in a 30-minute Iron Woman match at NXT TakeOver: Respect. She’s played a key role in the evolution of the women’s division and will continue to play a key role for years to come.
Charlotte will be 37 by the time 2023 rolls around, which made me hesitant to put on her on this list. But considering how athletic and skilled that she is, and just how important she is to the women’s division, there’s no doubt that she will definitely continue to have a big presence for a long time.
One of the best women to come out of NXT since the four horsewomen, Ember is young and extremely talented. Look for her to be a featured woman on the roster for the long-term future.
Former Universal Champion Kevin Owens reportedly signed a 5-year extension with WWE back in May, so, there you go.
Arguably the best heel that NXT has ever seen, the hated NXT champion will look to bring his devilish aura to the main roster soon. His character will take him far, and his wrestling ability will back him up as he works to the top of the card.
Andrade “Cien” Almas
The Lucha sensation won over many with his 5-star classic match at NXT TakeOver: New Orleans. He’s also rumored to have already made a big impression on the head producers in charge of SmackDown Live.
Johnny Wrestling is certainly one of the best and most beloved superstars that NXT has ever seen. He has the charisma, the wrestling ability and the underdog nature about him that draws comparisons to Daniel Bryan. Unless Gargano ends up in the struggling cruiserweight division, he can certainly be main-eventing main roster pay-per-views one day.
A fan favorite of the internet wrestling community and a charming guy held back by his current heel character, look for Rusev to be a breakout star soon and create many more happy Rusev Days in the future.
One of the three members of what is arguably one of the greatest stables in WWE history, New Day member Big E’s name has always popped in and out of rumor mills as a guy next in line for a big singles push. At just 32 years old, and having all the charisma and athleticism that he possesses, it’s not a matter of “if”, it’s a matter of “when”.
The artist formerly known as Elias Samson never stood out as a top guy in his NXT days, but ever since getting called up to RAW, he has made his mark as a breakout star. He’s entertaining, great at drawing crowd reactions, quite a good wrestler, and one of WWE’s greatest musicians. It’s only a matter of time before he gets over the mid-card hump.
The UK star has made a big impression on many NXT fans, most notably with his classic match with Tyler Bate at NXT TakeOver: Chicago. His brash, yet entertaining character and his consistently great performances should place him as a big feature on the main roster soon.
Wildcards are guys that could be big or could be jobbers. They might not even be in WWE come 2023. But they certainly have potential to be a premier superstar.
Will Ospreay has established himself as a must-see attraction in Ring of Honor and New Japan due to his innovative, high-flying offense. Being just 25 years old, there is a lot of career and untapped potential ahead for Ospreay.
In a recent article for ESPN, fellow Bullet Club member Cody said, “Adam Page is making a run, unbeknownst to us all, he’s making a run for best wrestler in the world long before he should be.” Cody also went on to say that Page garnered the attention of Chris Jericho: “Chris Jericho saw Adam Page at Dominion and he jokingly said, ‘What is this guy, 6-5, 265 pounds, a Texan doing a shooting star press?’. Adam Page isn’t any of those things except the shooting star press,” Cody said. “The presence of him is what made Jericho turn his head. Everything in wrestling is about turning your head. I can’t sing his praises enough. He’s just the man.” At age 26, there’s a lot of career left for the Hangman, so we’ll see what the future holds.
The main roster will soon experience Velveteen Dream and all of his purple flamboyance. RAW and SmackDown Live fans will learn what many NXT fans already know: that The Dream is outstandingly entertaining. At just age 22, it is almost unbelievable just how good and charismatic Velveteen is. However, a big question looms: will Vince McMahon give the opportunity to be a big name to a flamboyant, peculiar character who is unlike any current and past premier superstars?
Who do you think will be at the top of the card in five years? Let us know in the comments!