As the year 2022 comes to an end it has been a wild year in the world of professional wrestling. There has been drama throughout all the major brands of professional wrestling. Even at the “second tier” or the independent scene, it has been a wild year. As we close the book on 2022 let’s take a look at the Top Five Stories of 2022 in the world of Pro Wrestling.
Before we get to the list let’s take a minute to look at some honourable mentions that did not make the Top Five list. First off, even though the NWA is not on everyone’s radar the saga with Nick Aldis and the NWA hit a boiling point. Aldis was stripped of the number one contender’s tag. From there, Aldis told Billy Corgan he was out of the NWA. There has been some tension there for a long-time. But the face of the NWA is gone and we will see where he ends up.
Next on the honourable mentions is Ricky Steamboat’s last match. Unlike Ric Flair’s which was an utter disaster, Steamboat showed he could still work in the ring. Heck when he fought Jericho, Steamboat could go. But it is nice to see Steamboat had one more good match in him. Finally, the saga with Mandy Rose and WWE to close out 2022. Rose lost the NXT women’s title and then was fired the next day for the adult content she put up on a private site. In addition, ROH finds a new home, NJPW and AEW unite for Forbidden Door in Chicago, plus more.
With that out of the way, time for the Top Five Stories in the Pro Wrestling World in 2022.
Top Five Wrestling Stories
Vince McMahon Retiring and Triple H Taking Over
Look nothing made more shockwaves than Vince McMahon stepping down as the head of WWE. That is why it is number one on the Top Five Stories list in pro wrestling for 2022. Multiple sexual assault allegations took down the head of WWE creative. It was not the competition, it was Vince McMahon himself. Many thought McMahon was going to die in the guerilla position. However, that was not the case. Multiple reports of sexual assault did the Chairman of WWE in.
And it was just not the reports of sexual assault, it was the cover-ups following those allegations. McMahon made these women sign non-discloser agreements and used company funds to pay off the women. Which made the board look at the books and realize that the money he used as payoffs were not accounted for in the quarterly financials.
This was straight out of a storyline in McMahon’s WWE. We have seen his on-air character have affairs and nothing comes of it. But now the worlds were crossing and McMahon was going to be accountable. In any other line of business, McMahon would have been fired. Vince McMahon decided to step down as head of creative and allow Triple H to take over and the company has not looked back since.
Though Vince wants to make a comeback it is unlikely to happen as the company is in a good spot under Triple H. Not to mention there is new legal action against McMahon so that is unlikely.
CM Punk Press Conference and The Brawl That Followed
In 2021, CM Punk was the talk of the wrestling world. He came back after a seven-year hiatus. Punk put on some good matches too. He gave AEW some stability and more eyeballs. Chris Jericho was the biggest name before Punk. While people knew who Jon Moxley was, CM Punk could move needles. Unfortunately, his time in the company came to an end after the press conference following All Out in September.
Punk had just regained the AEW World Title for a second time from Moxley. After Punk won the title from Hangman Adam Page, Punk got hurt and missed time, Moxley stepped in for him to have a solid run with the title. However, Punk in his post-match commentary went off on the Elite (Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks) and Hangman Adam Page. It was a rant filled with obscenities directed at the AEW locker room.
From there a fight ensued between Punk and members of the Elite. Again this started way back before Double or Nothing when Hangman Page went off script and Punk that up a couple of weeks later when he knew Page was not in the building. There was definitely tension. This was a black eye for AEW. They had such momentum, especially with what was going on in WWE. Punk and the Elite were stripped of their titles and suspended. The Elite are back, while it appears Punk is gone from the company for now. Though a buyout may happen Tony Khan is still working on those details.
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Cody Rhodes Returns To WWE
One of the bigger storylines in 2022 was Cody Rhodes jumping ship from AEW to go back to WWE.
Cody returned to WWE at Wrestlemania 38 as the surprise opponent for Seth Rollins. The reaction Cody got was remarkable and something he had been looking for since the early days of AEW. One of the reasons Cody left was the fans. While there were some boos for Cody early on, fans decided it was the cool thing to do and boo him constantly. However, Rhodes continued to put on great matches for AEW until he left the company.
Nobody knows the real story because Tony Khan and Cody have never spoken publicly about it, but there were reports of Rhodes and members of the Elite not getting along backstage. Rhodes left in February of 2022 and in March of 2022 reports of him signing in WWE were circulating. Once he appeared at Wrestlemania, the reports were true.
Rhodes and Rollins had a great feud. Not to mention the trilogy of matches were excellent including the famous Hell In a Cell match where Cody worked with a torn pec muscle. Who knows the path Cody was on before he got hurt? But he was a big deal again and positioned as a champion.
Sasha Banks and Naomi Walk Out and Remain Out
Many champions have walked out of a company being displeased with how they were booked. However, Sasha Banks and Naomi took to a whole new level on the May 16th episode of Raw. After talking it out with Vince McMahon and the rest of creative, they left the belts there and walked out of the building.
WWE decided to run with the walkout on air that night. However, in typical WWE fashion, they put the blame for the walkout on Naomi and Sasha along with the fans. They made it look like a work than something real that was going on. Those who spoke to wrestlers off the record supported the ladies for what they did. Though some felt it could have been done better.
There were reports both were coming back, but as the calendar closes on the year 2022 that is not going to happen. Sasha Banks is rumoured to appear at NJPW Wrestle Kingdom next week. Which means she is a free agent and can do whatever she wants.
In any other year this might have been number one on the top five wrestling stories.
Stone Cold Steve Austin Returns to the Ring
Another Wrestlemania 38 moment saw the return of Stone Cold Steve Austin to the ring. He took on Kevin Owens in an impromptu NO DQ match to close out Night 1 of Wrestlemania 38. This was a fun match. Most remember Steve Austin’s final match to be against the Rock at Wrestlemania 19. However, Austin admits while he put on a good match it could have been better considering he was in the hospital the night before.
Austin gave the people the hits. Owens was up to the task as well. It was a fun moment that neither wrestler will forget. It just started as a talk show segment that led to a match. Austin returned the following night to stun Vince McMahon and Austin Theory during Pat McAfee’s match. It appears Stone Cold could be wrestling again this year as well. Nothing official yet but it sure seems like it.
Those are the Top Five Stories in Pro Wrestling for 2022.
Let us know what you think. Did we miss any? Leave us a comment.