Jan. 1 (UPI) — WWE continued to entertain and thrill fans in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic, never missing a show as fans worldwide were forced to stay indoors.
Things were still business as usual in 2020, with WWE surprising viewers with new partnerships, the break up of tag teams, sudden departures and the return of a Hall of Fame performer.
These are the Top 5 most shocking moments of WWE this year that changed the professional wrestling landscape.
5. Alexa Bliss joins Bray Wyatt/The Fiend
Bray Wyatt and his sinister alter ego, The Fiend, gained a new ally this year in the unlikely form of Alexa Bliss. The demented duo were first linked together during Wyatt’s feud with Braun Strowman, who was previously close with Bliss.
Visions of Bliss appeared to distract Strowman during his Swamp Fight with Wyatt at The Horror Show at Extreme Rules in July, leading many fans to believe that Bliss was perhaps Wyatt’s mysterious mentor, Sister Abigail.
Bliss was not Sister Abigail, but became enthralled with The Fiend as the two continued to cross paths. Bliss, after Strowman cast her aside, welcomed The Fiend into her life with open arms. The pair made their partnership official in October when Bliss explained to Kevin Owens on his talk show that The Fiend was both terrifying and captivating.
It was clear that Bliss had changed during this interview. The Fiend suddenly appeared to attack Owens before he held hands with his new partner, setting the stage for one of the most powerful tandems to be formed in WWE.
Bliss and Wyatt/The Fiend were drafted to Raw where they continue to host new episodes of The Firefly Funhouse and confront Wyatt’s rivals, including his longtime nemesis Randy Orton. Bliss has a new Funhouse inspired look that is both innocent-looking and creepy. This new take on Beauty and the Beast seems poised to haunt WWE for a long time.
4. The New Day are split-up during the draft
Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods and Big E’s time together as a trio came to a close in October due to the WWE Draft. Kingston and Woods were drafted to Raw while Big E remained on SmackDown, shocking and disappointing fans in the process.
“Say E’s name,” Woods pleaded with WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon who was reading off the draft picks for Raw and SmackDown. Big E was then officially declared for SmackDown shortly afterward.
The expression on The New Day’s face told the whole story of how fans felt worldwide seeing one of the most popular and successful tag teams in WWE history now suddenly feel incomplete.
The New Day celebrated their time together with a farewell match on SmackDown where they claimed victory over Sheamus, Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura. Big E, Kingston and Woods shared an emotional moment inside the ring as they hugged each other and celebrated their accomplishments together.
Woods and Kingston continue to compete under The New Day name, but it doesn’t feel the same without Big E’s booming voice and boisterous behavior following them. The tandem continues to host their podcast, The New Day: Feel the Power and WWE history dictates that they will be whole again, but for now, this was the most shocking moment in WWE that was also the most disappointing.
Leave it to 2020 to be the year that The New Day was split apart.
3. Roman Reigns returns with a new attitude and aligns himself with Paul Heyman
Roman Reigns, the poster boy for WWE, was always the good guy — always fighting for justice. That is no longer the case as The Big Dog returned from a lengthy absence in August to take out Strowman and The Fiend following their Universal Championship match at SummerSlam.
Reigns was invited to compete for the Universal title at Payback, but refused to sign the match contract until certain changes were made. Something seemed off about Reigns’ demeanor as he said that him winning back the Universal Championship was not a prediction, but a spoiler, echoing Heyman’s signature catchphrase while he served as the advocate for Brock Lesnar.
It was then that Heyman came into the camera’s view sitting next to Reigns, shocking WWE fans that never believed Reigns would turn to the dark side and join forces with an evil genius like Heyman.
Reigns defeated Strowman and The Fiend to become Universal Champion controversially by signing the contract late and entering the bout at the last minute. Heyman’s influence seemed to have influenced Reigns, until the loudmouth set the record straight on SmackDown in October.
Heyman said that it was Reigns who sought him out and that Reigns was the one corrupting him. Heyman wasn’t wrong as Reigns has forced his cousin Jey Uso to do his bidding and has defeated any challengers by either cheating or resorting to brutal, violent tactics.
2. Becky Lynch announces she is pregnant, relinquishes Raw Women’s Championship
Becky Lynch was in the top echelon of WWE stars and had impressively held her Raw Women’s Championship for over a year until she was forced to relinquish the title in May due to being pregnant with her first child.
Lynch made the announcement on Raw and declared that Asuka, who had recently won the Money in the Bank briefcase, had actually won the Raw Women’s Championship instead.
The Man told fans that she needed to go away for a while before handing Asuka championship gold.
“You go and be a warrior, ’cause I’m going to go be a mother,” Lynch said to Asuka.
Lynch and her spouse Seth Rollins celebrated the birth of a baby girl in December. Perhaps Lynch will shock the professional wrestling world again if she decides to lace up her boots and step back into the squared circle.
1. Edge comes out of retirement at the Royal Rumble
The unthinkable happened at the Royal Rumble in January when Hall of Famer Edge, who retired in 2011 due to injury, entered the Men’s Royal Rumble match at No. 21.
The Rated R Superstar’s legendary career was supposed to be over, but sure enough, Edge came down to the ring and delivered a Spear to multiple opponents.
When Edge’s theme music hit, the capacity crowd at Minute Maid Park in Houston lost their collective minds. Fans stood on their feet, cheered, cried and looked on in total disbelief. No one thought Edge would ever compete again.
The Royal Rumble is famous for surprise entrances and for legends to make a brief, one-night comeback for the fans, but nothing compares to just how out of left field Edge’s return was. A miracle had happened and dreams came true.
Edge remained in WWE and had two matches with Randy Orton, one at WrestleMania 36 in March and then at Backlash in June. The Backlash bout, which was promoted as The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever, actually lived up to its name and stands as one of the best WWE matches of 2020.
Edge needed to take time off due to injury shortly after Backlash, but all signs point to Edge returning in due time so that he can continue his awe-inspiring career.