Gimmicks, storylines, movesets, face turns, heel turns, the wrestling world so rarely stays the same. But here, in August 2019, this is my current top 10 favourite WWE wrestlers (including NXT).
(PS: John Cena would have featured in this list, but he’s no longer a full-time active competitor so I’ve left him out for those that are.)
10 – Tommaso Ciampa
Since I’ve been watching in 2015 there has been no better heel than Tommaso Ciampa. He was a full-on true heel. And it was fantastic. It also made Johnny Gargano the ultimate babyface (something which he has failed, in my eyes, to be able to recapture). I can’t wait for him to return, although I don’t want him to become a babyface (even though he’s most likely to be).
9 – Velveteen Dream
Watch a Velveteen Dream match. You’ll understand.
8 – Kairi Sane
Most of the wrestlers on this list I’ve had that one match, feud or memory that have landed them on this list. Kairi Sane doesn’t have that. I enjoyed her match in the final of the Mae Young Classic and a few of her matches since, but nothing to justify her position here. But, still, there’s something about her I just love. Whether it’s her gimmick, her happy-go-lucky demeanour or her insane elbow drop, there’s something that’s caught me. But, she will need a proper feud soon, and not in a makeshift tag team match, for her to rank any higher.
7 – Rey Mysterio
If I’d have started watching wrestling in 2015, Rey Mysterio would be nowhere near this list. But, as I watched a lot in my younger days, and Rey Mysterio is my favourite wrestler of all time, he has to feature. It’s a shame for someone so good to essentially be a veteran enhancement talent, but the fans, myself included, still get a pop at seeing him. And, as his recent matches with Andrade proved, he can still go in the ring.
6 – Seth Rollins
This is a name that’s falling quickly. Between his stale character, boring feuds and the internet nonsense he’s continuously posting. Despite all that, he’s still a fantastic in-ring worker. I just hope they fix his character before fans really start to turn on him.
5 – Adam Cole
Bay bay. A year ago this list would probably have been filled with so many main roster stars, but I’ve grown to really love NXT (especially their TakeOver shows), and Adam Cole is the most recent wrestler whose character, matches and moveset make a perfect combination. So much so, that I don’t want the Undesputed Era to grace the main roster and be ruined (like so many other recent call-ups).
4 – AJ Styles
WWE’s biggest regret should be waiting so long to sign AJ Styles. There was so much fanfare when he signed but I didn’t know too much about him, and his first feud with Chris Jericho did nothing for me to really be excited. Then came his rivalry with Roman Reigns. Then John Cena. And I realised why there was so much excitement around him: he truly is phenomenal.
3 – Bray Wyatt
I’ve always been a fan of Bray Wyatt, even if he has often been used as a modern-day Undertaker, but it’s such a shame that WWE have never fully pulled the trigger with him. Even after he won the WWE Championship he was just a the lesser-half of the championship picture. He’s got a new character now, and the vignettes have been amazing, so I just hope that his in-ring character is just as good.
2 – Ricochet
Someone who became an instant favourite of mine with his high-flying offense. As a kid I was always a fan of the cruiserweights, and now that the athletes are all more-or-less high-flying it takes a special one to stand out. And Ricochet is that special one. From the moment I watched the NXT North American Championship ladder match I knew this guy would be someone I’d love. Now, he just needs to bed himself in and get some top quality matches on the main roster, matches I know he’s capable of having.
1 – Becky Lynch
I restarted watching WWE back in 2015 and one of the earliest episodes I watched features Stephanie McMahon parading her new toys and proclaiming the women’s revolution was in full force. This episode featured the main roster debuts of Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks. I remember my housemate was big on Sasha Banks and knew that WWE were big on Charlotte Flair, but something drew me towards Becky. I watched on as Charlotte, Sasha, Ronda, Alexa, Asuka, Nikki and Carmella had much, much more success than Becky, who was languishing around for the most part, often on pre-shows in nothing feuds. Finally, in 2018/19 they finally caught on and Becky became one of the hottest stars in the business, defeating the unbeaten Ronda Rousey at Wrestlemania to become double champion (Smackdown Women’s and Raw Women’s).
Should have listened to me from the start.