AEW star Matt Hardy has looked past his own company to find someone he believes to have been the top wrestler of 2022, naming a WWE Superstar.
2022 was one of the most monumental years in the history of wrestling. Cody Rhodes rejoined WWE after an absence of six years, re-debuting in grand style at WrestleMania 38. That event also saw Stone Cold Steve Austin return to a WWE ring for the first time in 19 years as he defeated Kevin Owens. CM Punk stole the headlines in September when he and The Elite had an alleged backstage fight after Punk slammed several of his co-workers in the post-All Out press conference.
All of these events were dwarfed however by the news that Vince McMahon was retiring as WWE Chairman after forty years. McMahon’s retirement came amid an investigation into alleged sexual misconduct and payments made to female former WWE employees.
However, in the ring, 2022 was all about the continued dominance of one man. Speaking on his Extreme Life of Matt Hardy podcast, Hardy noted that while Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns hadn’t competed very often during the year – only ten times since the middle of June – he was the benchmark for all wrestlers:
“I know he hasn’t wrestled a lot, but his work has been superior, has been above and beyond, and him heading The Bloodline, turning it into a main event act, they really are the franchise of the WWE. Roman Reigns is the franchise player. He’s just the nucleus of WWE right now and he’s just done a tremendous job.”
“To me, it almost feels reminiscent of back in the day when I was growing up and a big fan when I first got hooked on wrestling, and Hulk Hogan, his wrestling appearances were so limited on TV anyway.”