Posts tagged WWE Top 25
The 2019 WWE Top 25: Midyear Edition

2019 has been a fascinating year for wrestling. Such has been the case for WWE. Through all the highs and lows, in-ring action certainly hasn’t been a complaint at the midway point of the year. The best of the best in the company have (for the most part) gotten to shine, and shine brightly they all have.

Let’s not make any haste here. This post will obviously be different than the rest you’ve seen here. I’ve already deposited my Top 100 Matches of the Year, as well as my Women’s Top 25, too. So we’re just going to be primarily focusing in on the superstars, 25-1, in this post.

First though, since this is the midway point in the year, I’ll reveal the superstars who’re currently ranked 100-26. I’ll do this by 10s, and then 30-26 before starting the Top 25. And so, away we go.

100-91

100. Sarah Logan (20)
99. Lio Rush (20)
98. Zack Gibson (20)
97. Buddy Murphy (20)
96. Travis Banks (20.75)
95. R-Truth (20.75)
94. Noam Dar (20.75)
93. Ariya Daivari (21)
92. Billie Kay (21.5)
91. Sonya Deville (21.75)

Seeing Buddy Murphy here really upsets me, man. He’s only got six matches this year. Shane McMahon, meanwhile, has nine. Hopefully that sees an uptick as time progresses here. A lto of these folks here could probably benefit from some more work too, or in some cases, more time in the ring (hello, Sonya Deville).

90-81

90. Kassius Ohno (21.75)
89. Wesley Blake (21.75)
88. Steve Cutler (21.75)
87. Curt Hawkins (22)
86. Joe Coffey (22.25)
85. Marcel Barthel (22.25)
84. Tommaso Ciampa (22.5)
83. Bobby Roode (22.75)
82. Fabian Aichner (22.75)
81. Kairi Sane (23.25)

There’s a lot of solid workers here, obviously. The Forgotten Sons may get a bit of hate, but I thin k they’ve done a fine job tagging this year on NXT. Same with the great team of Aichner and Barthel, who I absolutely want to see more of on NXT UK. Let’s get more of Kairi Sane in the mix on SmackDown Live too, yeah? Also, I probably get the sense that Tommaso Ciampa wouldn’t be so low here if it were not for his unfortunate injury. If he comes back and starts working again, I suspect big things will be on the horizon for him.

80-71

80. Montez Ford (23.25)
79. Angelo Dawkins (23.25)
78. Chad Gable (23.75)
77. Natalya (24)
76. Lacey Evans (24)
75. Rowe (24.625)
74. Hanson (24.625)
73. Naomi (25)
72. Mark Andrews (25)
71. Jack Gallagher (25)

The War… er, Viking Exp… Raiders. Okay let me stop the joke here. TAFKA Hanson and Rowe would probably be higher on the list, if not for a couple of low-grade squash matches they’ve had. That’s obviously fine, but it has hindered some progress for them. Their peak is pretty damn good, though. Also, The Street Profits are pegged to be heavy risers once they really get going as tag champs, methinks.

70-61

70. Danny Burch (25)
69. Carmella (25.5)
68. Ronda Rousey (25.5)
67. Pete Dunne (26)
66. James Drake (26)
65. Peyton Royce (27.5)
64. Alexa Bliss (27.75)
63. Asuka (27.75)
62. Mike Kanellis (28)
61. Bobby Fish (28)

There’s a good abundance of women’s talent here. Danny Burch is ranked significantly lower than his oftentimes tag team partner Oney Lorcan, but that’s because Lorcan’s solo work on 205 Live has given him a big boost in the match # department. Pete Dunne is a phenomenal worker, of course. But he’s competed just seven times on TV this year. So that is what it is. Asuka would be higher if not for an absence from TV. Look out for Alexa Bliss here the rest of the way in 2019, as well, as she’s getting back into the fold.

60-51

60. Elias (28.5)
59. WALTER (29)
58. Kyle O’Reilly (29)
57. Nia Jax (29)
56. Jeff Hardy (29.75)
55. Mandy Rose (30.5)
54. Rusev (31.25)
53. Braun Strowman (31.75)
52. Shayna Baszler (31.75)
51. Io Shirai (32.75)

Shayna and Io just had a classic Steel Cage Match, and it boosted them all the way up to 51st and 52nd overall and into the Top 10 among the women. Pretty clutch eh? There’s some talent here for sure, and a couple compilers in the case of Braun and Mandy, who have a combined 33 matches on TV between them this year.

50-41

50. Jordan Devlin (33.25)
49. Charlotte Flair (33.75)
48. Sasha Banks (34.5)
47. Randy Orton (35.25)
46. Trent Seven (35.75)
45. Bianca Belair (36)
44. Big E (36.5)
43. Dean Ambrose (37.75)
42. Rowan (37.75)
41. Roderick Strong (38.5)

Sasha Banks is in the Top 50 despite not working the last two months. Checks out right? Dean Ambrose is here too, but I would suspect that his fall will continue to accelerate as the months pass. Charlotte seems a little out of place here, but she’s just not working as much as she has the past few years. Or at least it feels that way. Shout out to Bianca Belair at 45th, with only 11 matches under her built. She’s really a wonderful talent. As is Roderick Strong, one of just four wrestlers this year who’ve been given the Full Five by yours truly.

40-31

40. Shinsuke Nakamura (39)
39. Sami Zayn (40.25)
38. Cedric Alexander (40.75)
37. Xavier Woods (43.25)
36. Nikki Cross (43.75)
35. Roman Reigns (43.75)
34. Sheamus (45.5)
33. Drew Gulak (47.25)
32. The Miz (47.5)
31. Tony Nese (48.75)

Round of applause for Nikki Cross. Cross has made the most of her recent opportunities on the Raw brand and sits all the way up to 36th after the first six months of the year. A lot of these all check out. Drew Gulak, I’d imagine, will make a push for the Top 25 once he gets going on 205 Live as Cruiserweight Champion. Shinsuke could bounce closer as well if his feud with Finn Bálor pans out well.

30-26

30. AJ Styles (50)

AJ Styles has always been a elite worker, obviously. He’s tasked with a workload that’s not nearly the same level as it’s been the past few years, but he’s still shining when given the chance. His looming program with Ricochet should give him an opportunity to have Top 25 status after being on the shelf for the last month or so.

29. Becky Lynch (51.5)

The Man misses out on the Top 25 after the first six months of the year. Her in-ring work to me has been a little hit and miss, but she’s still obviously connecting well with the audience. Maybe her choice of opponents and rivals haven’t helped her, but she’s still in a pretty good spot here. A hot stretch later and she could get her way into the Top 25.

28. Tyler Bate (51.5)

Tyler Bate slipped out of the Top 25 for the first time all year after June. That’s pretty much because he didn’t work all that much, if at all. I wouldn’t expect him to be away from the scene for long if he gets back on TV and gets back to work. He’s a very skilled worker and is one of the best young talents under the umbrella right now.

27. Humberto Carrillo (52)

I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Humberto Carrillo, but I think he’s yet to really work a big-time singles match. He did an awesome job in the Fatal 4-Way a few weeks ago on 205 Live, a match that earned a ****1/2 from me. But he hasn’t had a really great singles match quite yet this year. Maybe that changes as the months go on here. I’d like to see it. He’s mostly here as well because of a high match count (22).

26. Kevin Owens (52.375)

Kevin Owens missed out on the first two months of the year, and fell just shy of the Top 25 at the midway point. KO has looked great in the spots that he’s been given this year. No real duds, and a lot of good-great TV matches. His series with Kofi Kingston was tremendous, and he was part of my Non-Big 4 MOTY with Ali and Daniel Bryan at Fastlane, as well.

And now…

THE WWE TOP 25, MIDYEAR EDITION

25. Akira Tozawa
Matches in 2019: 15 | Points: 53

Akira Tozawa has arguably been 205 Live’s most consistent performer this year. Tozawa finds himself 25th at the midway point of the year 2019 after putting in some serious work. In fact, every match he partook in during June got ****+ from me, including ****1/4 in his match with Tony Nese last week and ****1/2 in the epic Fatal 4-Way from a few weeks ago. Akira has been one of the best around this year, and I hope he continues to get a platform to excel.

24. Dash Wilder
Matches in 2019: 20 | Points: 53.75

The Revival have been pretty good when given the opportunity this year, so Dash Wilder being in the mix here should come as no surprise. As always, the qualifier here and why he’s not matched up with his partner is that Scott Dawson has wrestled in one more match than he did back at the Royal Rumble. You know by now how good Dash can be, so this pretty much writes itself.

23. Rey Mysterio
Matches in 2019: 14 | Points: 53.875

Rey Mysterio would likely be higher than 23rd had he not been put on the shelf with an injury. Mysterio has been a high-level worker in 2019 despite not getting to 20 televised matches so far this year. Seven of his 20 matches were given ****+, one being the Royal Rumble, so the other six were all his doing or multi-man matches. Rey is a living legend and he will likely get right back to it once he returns from his stint on the pine.

22. Scott Dawson
Matches in 2019: 21 | Points: 54.25

Essentially, everything I said about Dash Wilder can be put right here with Scott Dawson. He gets a 0.5-point edge over Wilder since he wrestled in the Royal Rumble Kickoff Show Raw Tag Team Championships Match with Rezar of The Authors of Pain back in January. So basically, unless he doesn’t wrestle a match and Dash does, Dawson will maintain this edge over his partner the rest of the way.

21. Ali
Matches in 2019: 15 | Points: 54.625

Ali has been a victim of lack of TV time in June, so he finds himself at 21st at the halfway point. Make no mistake though, he’s got an abundance of talent and has had quite the display on the SmackDown Live brand this year. Six of his 15 matches picked up grades of ***1/2+, including three of ****+. It’s obvious the kind of worker that he is, so if he gets more TV time soon enough, he could very well make a push for the Top 15 and even the Top 10.

20. Matt Riddle
Matches in 2019: 10 | Points: 55.625

The superstar who’s accumulated the highest Points Per Match average this year in the WWE Top 25 is Matt Riddle. And with only 10 matches under his belt, Riddle sneaks into the Top 20 of these rankings, having accumulated 55.625 points so far. Just two of his 10 matches gained scores in the **-**3/4 range. His range otherwise is ***1/2-*****, which includes his incredible bout with Roderick Strong at TakeOver: XXV. I have a feeling that he will only continue to rise as the year progresses. He’s an exceptional talent and it’s been awesome to watch him flourish.

19. Oney Lorcan
Matches in 2019: 16 | Points: 55.75

Oney Lorcan has been a very nice surprise in 2019. Not because it wasn’t known that he’s a fantastic worker, but because he’s gotten the platform to show his stuff. He’d gotten some burn in 2018 on NXT, but the cyclical nature of that brand only allows for so much flourishing. But he’s made a huge mark on 205 Live since he got there. If that continues, I think Lorcan will continue to turn heads and only widen his mark on the brand as one of the best workers they have.

18. Adam Cole
Matches in 2019: 12 | Points: 55.75

The NXT Champion is 18th on the rankings so far. That’s partially because of his workload, as having 12 televised matches to this point has hurt him a little bit. But he’s shined in just about every match he’s had. He’s earned 4.65 points per match, which if it keeps up should only help him out if and when his workload sees an increase. As the champ, he’ll likely have the big marquee stages to show his stuff, and he’s yet to miss this year on that stage.

17. The Velveteen Dream
Matches in 2019: 13 | Points: 56.125

Much like Adam Cole, The Velveteen Dream is hurt by his workload. With 13 matches so far, Dream is at 17th at the halfway point. That’s still a really great spot to be in though and when you dive deeper, you’ll find that he’s been an excellent worker. I’ve given seven of his 13 matches ****+, and nine of the 13 ***1/2+. So, the only true thing holding him back from climbing the rungs here is just the nature of the NXT brand and how often they have their superstars compete. Nevertheless, make no mistake, Dream has been one of the best wrestlers in the company this year.

16. Jimmy Uso
Matches in 2019: 18 | Points: 58.75

You don’t need anyone to tell you that The Usos are one of the best tag teams in WWE. Jimmy Uso stands 16th in the WWE Top 25 at the halfway point in 2019, and that really isn’t surprising at all. Jimmy and his brother Jey have put in serious work yet again in 2019, and obviously it pleases me that they’re still around. Jimmy’s not connected with his partner however, as Jey wrestled in one additional match this year.

15. Jey Uso
Matches in 2019: 19 | Points: 59.25

Much like with The Revival, there’s a mere 0.5-point difference between Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso. The reason for that? A singles match with The Miz back on March 5. So just take that into consideration as you see this difference between the two Uso brothers.

14. Baron Corbin
Matches in 2019: 27 | Points: 63.5

I’m sure this won’t cause a stir. Okay, so, Baron Corbin is 14th in the WWE Top 25. There’ve been some grumblings about Corbin’s in-ring work, whether he’s good or bad, etc. Here’s my take on the matter. I think he’s fine. In-ring wise, he does what he does and really excels in multi-man matches. Here is the reason he really finds himself up here: Workload. He’s worked 27 matches this year. He’s always on TV and therefore will get an abundance of opportunities compared to his peers. So he’s what I would call a compiler. Keep this in mind too: His Points Per Match through the first six months of the year is just 2.35. That number is the lowest of anybody currently in the WWE Top 25.

13. Bobby Lashley
Matches in 2019: 21 | Points: 64

Bobby Lashley gets a few conflicting opinions around these parts as well. The truth of the matter though is that he’s had a pretty good year. While he’s probably been exposed a lot, Lashley’s matches have all hit pretty well for me. Thus, he’s 13th on these midyear rankings. He’ll likely remain a fixture of the Raw brand going forward, and since he’s over 20 matches, don’t expect that to change barring something drastic.

12. Johnny Gargano
Matches in 2019: 13 | Points: 67.625

Johnny Gargano’s had a heck of a 2019. For his efforts, he lands 12th on the Midyear Top 25. Gargano has worked 13 matches and has earned a paltry 5.2 points per match this year. That’s the third-best mark of anyone in WWE right now, only behind the aforementioned Matt Riddle and Brock Lesnar. Good company to be in, I’d say. You know by now how good he is. If he got even more chances at work, he’d probably be even higher on this list.

11. Andrade
Matches in 2019: 20 | Points: 69.125

Andrade’s 2019 started off really hot. He’s cooled down a little bit, but not enough to drop him too far out of the Top 10. In fact, he’s just on the outside looking in at 11th. He’s obviously an incredibly gifted worker and he’s been able to showcase that plenty of times this year. All it will probably take for him to get going again and be in the Top 10 is the ball to run with. We’ll see if that happens on SDLive going forward, but it would probably be foolish to not let him do it.

10. Cesaro
Matches in 2019: 23 | Points: 71.5

You don’t need to tell anybody within earshot that Cesaro’s a great worker. He’s having a really good 2019 all things considered so far, and his efforts bring him to #10 on the rankings. He’s had a great balance of tag and singles matches this year, and has shined in just about every one of them. 20 of his 23 matches this year were given scores of ***+ so he is without many less than stellar outings in 2019. Look for him to keep it going on Raw as 2019 progresses.

9. Bayley
Matches in 2019: 26 | Points: 74

The workhorse of the women’s division this year is the only woman in the Top 25. Bayley has pieced together a really great 2019 so far and her efforts get her up to #9 here. She’s been a good-to-great TV worker in the spots she’s had this year. Her Points/Match is a little low, standing at 2.85. But, 21 of her 26 matches this year have gotten scores of ***+ this year, with 17 of them being between ***-***3/4. That kind of consistency has made her one of the best around right now, and among the top women in WWE, if not the best.

8. Samoa Joe
Matches in 2019: 22 | Points: 74

Surprised? Maybe you can be. But Samoa Joe has had a pretty great 2019. He’s been stellar in multi-man matches this year, and got a lot of participation points from being in Gauntlets on SmackDown Live and the Elimination Chamber, too. His work in the US Title Fatal 4-Ways in March definitely boosted his cause, as did his match with Ricochet at Stomping Grounds just a couple of days ago. Joe likely won’t be hurt now that he’s working with Kofi Kingston, so expect him to hang around this territory for the foreseeable future.

7. Seth Rollins
Matches in 2019: 22 | Points: 81.5

The Universal Champion is at 7th in the Midway Edition of the WWE Top 25. Seth Rollins has had a pretty solid year. He’s had one really, really standout match, which was at Money in the Bank against AJ Styles. Other than that, he’s been a very good TV worker who’s hit on pretty much everything he’s been given. He’s one of just a few guys out there who haven’t gotten anything below *** this year.

6. Finn Bálor
Matches in 2019: 25 | Points: 82.75

The IC Champion’s slowed down a bit, but Finn Bálor is still among the Top 10 here in the WWE Top 25. He was #1 in January and February but eventually fell behind the torid pace of Ricochet and Aleister Black. He hasn’t gotten the chance to storm ahead, but honestly after how much he was working in the first part of the year, I’m not too mad that he got some rest. Expect him to get going again in July with a program against Shinsuke Nakamura on the way.

5. Drew McIntyre
Matches in 2019: 30 | Points: 85

Drew McIntyre edged out Finn Bálor and Seth Rollins for the #5 spot on the rankings. He was able to build a heavy cache of matches thanks to the fact that he’s worked 30 times on TV this year. Now, Drew’s in-ring work has been pretty good, and 18 of his 30 matches have gotten somewhere within the ***-***3/4 range. But it should be noted that his Points/Match this year is 2.83 so far. That’s the lowest of anyone in the Top 5 and the lowest of anyone in the Top 10. And he’s also the only one in the Top 5 without anything at ****1/2+. So, maybe he’s pretty good, and maybe he’s also a compiler.

4. Aleister Black
Matches in 2019: 24 | Points: 90.125

For a while it didn’t seem like anyone was going to catch Aleister Black’s #2 spot. But after not working for the last two months, he’s “fallen” down to 2nd. He’s still one of only four superstars to hit the 90-point threshold though and he’s had an excellent campaign so far. I’m sure that he will get boosted by whatever happens on SmackDown, whenever they decide to turn him loose away from the vignettes. His tag stuff with Ricochet earlier this year was incredible and I look forward to what comes next.

3. Daniel Bryan
Matches in 2019: 21 | Points: 91.375

Daniel Bryan needed only 21 matches to get to the #3 spot in the WWE Top 25’s halfway point. Sounds about right, yeah? Bryan’s an incredible worker and you already know that. He’s made the most of everything given to him. Whether it be a PPV match or a TV match, Bryan’s efforts this year have just been outstanding. I’m excited to see what’s to come, since he’ll be working tags and he’s done a great job thus far in that role.

2. Kofi Kingston
Matches in 2019: 28 | Points: 103

Kofi Kingston has taken WWE by storm and as a result, he’s ended all the way up to #2 in the WWE Top 25. I’m not sure anyone could’ve foreseen this, but all Kofi’s done is win and put on great matches since February. It’s really been a delight to watch and he’s really hitting his stride and then some. I’m not sure when this groove will stop, but I really don’t want it to. Kofi’s easily one of the best things going about WWE right now and he’s proven to be a very strong TV worker this year.

1. Ricochet
Matches in 2019: 37 | Points: 145

Not only does Ricochet have the most matches in WWE by more than a handful of furlongs, but he’s also #1 by quite a lot as well. Ricochet has earned 145 points after six months of action. That was accumulated by getting to work on Raw, SmackDown Live and NXT during the early portion of the year. But it wasn’t just working either, and that shouldn’t just be the only reason he’s up here. No, he’s also been ridiculously good too. I’ve given 35 of his 37 matches this year ***+. 22 of those 35 were given ***1/2+, and eight were at ****+. Those are some ridiculous numbers. I’m excited to see what’s to come, since he’s seemingly pegged to have a program with AJ Styles, and those two can produce absolute dynamite at their peaks. Nevertheless, right now nobody is touching Ricochet in the workload department or the point sone, either. He’s The One and Only, and #1 in the WWE Top 25 midway through 2019.

The WWE Top 25 - May

Five months have come and gone in 2019. WWE has been a lot of things this year, but they’ve not been short on match quality. That didn’t change this month, as May brought about a wealth of good matches. That created a bit of an impact as it pertains to this month’s WWE Top 25. Let’s take a dive into how the month of May played out, shall we?

Before that, if you’re new, here’s a crash course on everything as it pertains to the Top 25.


TOP 10 TV MATCHES (May)

1. Kofi Kingston vs. Kevin Owens (SmackDown Live, 5/28) - ****¼
2. Kofi Kingston vs. AJ Styles vs. Sami Zayn (SmackDown Live, 5/7) - ****
3. The Usos vs. The Revival (Raw, 5/20) - ****
4. The Usos vs. Daniel Bryan & Rowan (SmackDown Live, 5/7) - ****
5. Cesaro vs. Ricochet (Raw, 5/27) - ****
6. Ali vs. Andrade vs. Finn Balor vs. Randy Orton (SmackDown Live, 5/14) - ***¾
7. Kofi Kingston vs. Daniel Bryan (Raw, 5/6) - ***¾
8. WALTER vs. Pete Dunne (NXT UK, 5/22) - ***¾
9. Ali vs. Andrade (SmackDown Live, 5/21) - ***¾
10. Drew Gulak vs. KUSHIDA (NXT, 5/29) - ***¾

TOP 10 TV MATCHES (2019)

1. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio (SmackDown Live, 1/15) - ****¾
2. Adam Cole vs. Aleister Black vs. Matt Riddle vs. Ricochet vs. Velveteen Dream (NXT, 3/20) - ****½
3. Cedric Alexander vs. Tony Nese (205 Live, 3/19) - ****½
4. Johnny Gargano vs. Velveteen Dream (NXT, 2/20) - ****¼
5. Kofi Kingston vs. Kevin Owens (SmackDown Live, 5/28) - ****¼
6. DIY vs. The Undisputed Era (NXT, 3/6) - ****¼
7. Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair (SmackDown Live, 3/26) - ****¼
8. Kofi Kingston vs. Cesaro vs. Sheamus vs. Samoa Joe vs. Rowan vs. Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan (SmackDown Live, 3/19) - ****¼
9. Velveteen Dream vs. Buddy Murphy (NXT, 4/17) - ****¼
10. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio (SmackDown Live, 1/22) - ****¼

TOP 10 MATCHES (May)

1. Seth Rollins vs. AJ Styles (Money in the Bank, 5/19) - ****½
2. Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match (Money in the Bank, 5/19) - ****¼
3. Kofi Kingston vs. Kevin Owens (SmackDown Live, 5/28) - ****¼
4. Kofi Kingston vs. Kevin Owens (Money in the Bank, 5/19) - ****
5. Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match (Money in the Bank, 5/19) - ****
6. Kofi Kingston vs. AJ Styles vs. Sami Zayn (SmackDown Live, 5/7) - ****
7. The Usos vs. The Revival (Raw, 5/20) - ****
8. The Usos vs. Daniel Bryan & Rowan (SmackDown Live, 5/7) - ****
9. Cesaro vs. Ricochet (Raw, 5/27) - ****
10. Ali vs. Andrade vs. Finn Balor vs. Randy Orton (SmackDown Live, 5/14) - ***¾

TOP 10 MATCHES (2019)

1. Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston (WrestleMania, 4/7) - *****
2. Daniel Bryan vs. Ali vs. Kevin Owens (Fastlane, 3/10) - ****¾
3. Ricochet vs. Johnny Gargano (TakeOver: Phoenix, 1/26) - ****¾
4. Velveteen Dream vs. Matt Riddle (TakeOver: New York, 4/6) - ****¾
5. The War Raiders vs. Aleister Black and Ricochet (TakeOver: New York, 4/6) - ****¾
6. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio (SmackDown Live, 1/15) - ****¾
7. Asuka vs. Becky Lynch (Royal Rumble, 1/27) - ****½
8. Adam Cole vs. Johnny Gargano (TakeOver: New York, 4/6) - ****½
9. Seth Rollins vs. AJ Styles (Money in the Bank, 5/19) - ****½
10. Brock Lesnar vs. Finn Balor (Royal Rumble, 1/27) - ****½


WWE TOP 25 (May)

1. Kofi Kingston (22.5)
2. Seth Rollins (19)
3. Ricochet (18.25)
4. Roman Reigns (18)
5. Baron Corbin (17.5)
6. AJ Styles (16)
T7. The Usos, Sami Zayn (15.25)
10. Daniel Bryan (15)
T11. Drew McIntyre, Elias (14.5)
13. Nikki Cross (13.5)
14. Jack Gallagher (13.25)
T15. Becky Lynch, Bobby Lashley (12.75)
17. Lacey Evans (12.5)
T18. Ali, Andrade (12.25)
20. Rowan (11.25)
T21. Cesaro, Humberto Carrillo (11)
T23. Bayley, KUSHIDA, The Miz (10.25)


WWE WOMEN’S TOP 25 (THROUGH MAY)

1. Bayley (60.5)
2. Becky Lynch (44.75)
3. Sasha Banks (34.5)
4. Nikki Cross (33.25)
5. Bianca Belair (32.25)
6. Mandy Rose (30.5)
7. Charlotte Flair (30)
8. Nia Jax (29.25)
9. Asuka (27.75)
10. Ronda Rousey (25.5)
11. Naomi (24.25)
12. Peyton Royce (23.75)
13. Natalya (23.5)
14. Kairi Sane (23.25)
15. Carmella (21.5)
T16. Billie Kay, Sonya Deville (20.75)
18. Sarah Logan (20)
19. Tamina (19.5)
20. Io Shirai (19)
T21. Shayna Baszler, Toni Storm (18.5)
23. Lacey Evans (17)
24. Ruby Riott (16.75)
25. Liv Morgan (16.5)

WWE TOP 25 (THROUGH MAY)

25. Adam Cole
Points: 43 | Last Month: 20

This slide for Adam Cole isn’t going to last much longer. After becoming NXT Champion at TakeOver XXV, expect to see Cole have more of a cushion now that he’s the top dog in the third brand of WWE. Especially so after his great match with Johnny Gargano for the championship at TakeOver. Frankly, it’s about time for him, and we’ll see how he can do going forward with that championship. I predict some big things for him.

24. Scott Dawson
Points: 43.25 | Last Month: 21

Scott Dawson and The Revival fell off just a little bit after last month, but not by too much. Dawson dropped down to #24 but still managed to stay in the Top 25 by the thinnest of margins. He holds a slight advantage over his tag team partner, only because he worked that one match at the Royal Rumble that Wilder did not. So it goes.

23. Becky Lynch
Points 44.75 | Last Month: N/A

Hey, look at that. Another woman has finally joined Bayley in the Top 25. Her name is Becky Lynch, and the former Raw AND SmackDown Live Women’s Champion finally worked enough matches to get herself in this spot. Lynch likely shouldn’t see a nominal decrease in workload, with a looming title defense coming up against whomever at Stomping Grounds. Plus, she’ll likely be working more on Raw going forward now. At least somebody else has joined the party.

22. Sheamus
Points 45.5 | Last Month: 15

Well, when you continue to not work, you slide down. With nothing in the foreseeable future for Sheamus, this dive will unfortunately continue on for another month.

21. AJ Styles
Points: 46.75 | Last Month: N/A

Feels weird to say, but AJ Styles hasn’t been around the Top 25 at all this year. And this might be his only appearance for quite some time. After a very good May, Styles apparently has injured himself and is out for at least the next month. So AJ’s time in this Top 25 might be very shortlived. At least he had that great match with Seth Rollins at MITB. We can at least say that.

20. Jimmy Uso
Points: 47.25 | Last Month: N/A

As it’s been said before, the only reason that Jimmy Uso is not tied up with his partner is because of one singles match that happened earlier this year. Nevertheless, you know by now how good The Usos are. And after a strong month of May, they finally find themselves in the Top 25. With a heavy workload on Raw looking likely, expect that to remain a consistent piece of truth going forward.

T18. Jey Uso, Tyler Bate
Points: 47.75 | Last Month: N/A (Jey), 16 (Bate)

One half of The Usos and Tyler Bate find themselves tied up for the 18th spot in the Top 25. Bate didn’t work too much at all in the NXT UK brand in May and as a result took a slight dip down to 16th. Jey Uso, meanwhile, soared into the Top 25 after a very, very strong month with his brother Jimmy. That ascent could continue for he and his brother if things go right for them. And I mean, hey, they’re the best tag team in the world. So that’s looking pretty likely.

17. Velveteen Dream
Points: 48.125 | Last Month: 14

Much like some others, Velveteen Dream saw a drop this month just entirely based on workload. He didn’t work at all in the month of May. And as a result, he took a dip down to 17th. After TakeOver XXV and perhaps a TV match or too, Dream may very well see himself take a bit of a stronger leap going forward in June.

16. Samoa Joe
Points: 49 | Last Month: 13

Samoa Joe didn’t work too much in May, and that’s why he saw himself drop down from #13 to #16. He’s still in a good spot, but obviously working as little as he did, and not having any standout matches saw reason for a drop. We’ll see what the next venture for him is, given that the US Championship scene is up in the air right now. But given his track record this year, expect Joe to make the most of it, as he’s having a quiet renaissance right now.

15. Rey Mysterio
Points: 53.875 | Last Month: 10

Rey Mysterio finally falls out of the Top 10 after staying in there for quite some time this year. And that descent, unfortunately, might continue on. Mysterio has a shoulder injury that’s going to keep him on the shelf for a little while now, and as a result, might get passed over by quite a lot of people. Especially the person who he was just in front of, who of course he’s very much tied to in Samoa Joe. Get well, Mysterio, and come back guns blazing whenever that may be.

14. Ali
Points: 53.875 | Last Month: 18

Ali saw a rise in these rankings from #18 to #14 this month. That’s after quite a few standout showings on SmackDown Live and at Money in the Bank. Ali is obviously one of the best around, and he showed exactly why in the month of May. He may have been swiped of the MITB briefcase by Brock Lesnar, but he certainly would’ve been a worthy candidate for it otherwise. When he gets going again, whenever that may be, expect him to excel some more.

13. Bobby Lashley
Points: 56.75 | Last Month: 17

Bobby Lashley’s a very interesting case here. He didn’t have many standout matches, so to speak, in the month of May. But he got enough reps to jump up to 13th in this month’s rankings. It’s the compiling thing again, and that’s kind of just how it is in these rankings sometimes. But Lashley is definitely having more than a good enough year to justify his standing here, even if you may find yourself disagreeing with that opinion. The proof, as always, is in the pudding.

12. Baron Corbin
Points: 56.75 | Last Month: 21

Baron Corbin is getting boosted big time by a lot of compiling. But he’s still certainly showing off his strengths in multi-man matches. He had plenty of those in May, and that’s a big reason why he jumps all the way up to 12th in this month’s Top 25. No one’s saying you have to like him, and he probably isn’t the 12th best worker in the company. But, credit given where credit is due, and when you work so many matches, your ascent is inevitable.

11. Johnny Gargano
Points: 58.625 | Last Month: 8

Johnny Gargano is obviously one of the best in the entire company. The reason for this fall out of the Top 10 is of course due in large to a workload decrease in NXT the past few weeks. But that of course isn’t too surprising, just based on how the formula works down in Full Sail. Whether or not he gets himself into the Top 10 after next month will largely hinge on how much he’s used and what kind of boost the match with Adam Cole at TakeOver XXV will give him. Hint: Likely a big one!

10. Cesaro
Points: 60.25 | Last Month: 11

A nice increase in points allowed for Cesaro to make his way into the Top 10. Maybe he’s not discussed enough, but he’s having a very, very good year so far. His recent string of matches with Ricochet have elevated him in a big way, and if he keeps going down on that path then we might need to talk about him being in the Top 5 very soon. At this point, he’s still one of the best in the entire company, and that, meanwhile, should definitely not come as too much a surprise.

9. Bayley
Points: 60.5 | Last Month: 9

What is there to really say about Bayley that hasn’t already been said? She is easily the MVP of the women’s division and was given her flowers, so to speak, in May when she won MITB and then the SmackDown Women’s Championship later in the month. She’s been the workhorse of the division, working the most matches out of anybody by a country mile this year amongst her peers. That likely won’t change anytime soon, so expect her to stay a consistent threat around here as long as she’s given the ball to run with.

8. Seth Rollins
Points: 68 | Last Month: 12

Seth Rollins jumps back into the Top 10 after a couple of months of hanging around the teens. Rollins’ efforts were mightily aided by a banger of a match with AJ Styles at Money in the Bank for his Universal Championship. While Rollins will be feuding with Baron Corbin for the foreseeable future, there’s still no doubt that he’s one of the better worker sin the company when he’ son. He certainly proved that in May, and that’s why he’s now in the Top 10.

7. Andrade
Points: 68.875 | Last Month: 7

After gaining over 10 points, Andrade remains at #7 in the Top 25. Andrade hasn’t been working too much this year, but definitely saw a big workload in the month of May, working numerous matches on SmackDown Live. He also played a big part in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match, which certainly assisted him in staying where he’s at right now. We all know he has the talent to see a big jump. Time will tell to see if he’s given that ball to run with.

6. Drew McIntyre
Points: 73 | Last Month: 6

Drew McIntyre stays at #6 in this month’s Top 25. Mac saw a near 15-point increase this month, and it certainly helps out when you’re wrestling nearly every week. There’s obvious character concerns when it comes to him, and whether or not people are tired of seeing him. But Mac is still showing to be a pretty good wrestler as far as in-ring action goes. Thus, he stays a consistent piece in this month’s Top 25.

5. Daniel Bryan
Points: 76.375 | Last Month: 4

Daniel Bryan isn’t working the rigorous schedule that many may have expected. But, Bryan’s still making the most of his opportunities. And for his efforts, Bryan is ranked #5 in this month’s Top 25. He’s shifted over into the tag team scene, and that’s definitely seen a nice change of pace for him. He’s worked great matches with The Usos and has been a very big boost to Rowan’s cause too. We’ll see if he can continue to boost his cause as time progresses, and if he can remain a threat to be in the Top 10 all year. Ah, who am I kidding? Of course he will. It’s Daniel Bryan.

4. Kofi Kingston
Points: 81.25 | Last Month: 5

Kofi Kingston’s run has been sensational since February. After a strong month of May, Kingston finds himself just one point off Finn Balor as the #4 wrestler in the Top 25. Kingston has been booked about as well as any face WWE Champion has been in recent memory. He’s had great matches and great title defenses over the past few weeks, and that doesn’t look to be stopping anytime soon, either. Kofi should be able to catch Finn Balor at some point soon, especially if his workload doesn’t increase. It will be a fun battle to see who can catch whom, as Aleister Black is within striking distance too.

3. Finn Balor
Points: 82.75 | Last Month: 3

Finn Balor has recently been given a bit of a break, but the IC Champion did enough to remain the #3 wrestler in the Top 25. Balor’s workload is going to likely have to increase, especially if he wants to keep his status as the #3 wrestler with Kofi Kingston hot on his tail. We’ll see if a workload increase helps his cause or not. For now, Balor is #3, but definitely is starting to feel the heat.

2. Aleister Black
Points: 90.125 | Last Month: 2

Aleister Black hasn’t wrestled a match in a very long time. He still is #2 on the Top 25. That should tell you everything about the start of his year, no?

1. Ricochet
Points: 126.25 | Last Month: 1

Ricochet continues to set the pace, as he still remains the #1 ranked wrestler in the Top 25. It’s probably easier at this point to track when he’s going to hit 200 than when someone else is going to catch him. Especially if he continues to have great matches with Cesaro on Raw. He’s having a remarkable year so far, and it’s super exciting to watch.

The WWE Top 25: April Edition
WWE

WWE

One-third of the year 2019 has already come and gone. That means it’s time for the April edition of The WWE Top 25!

You know the rules by now around here. But just in case you don’t and you’re new around here, here’s a breakdown on the matter.

As I mentioned, we’re a third of the way through the year. Crazy, right? The cumulative Top 25 is starting to really separate itself from the rest of the pack (I went over this on Thursday on Twitter, actually. If you want to see, click this here link).

We’re going to go through things as we typically do here. But there’s an addition to this post now. Given the fact that there’s just one woman in the cumulative WWE Top 25 right now, I’ve decided to post the WOMEN’S Top 25 as well. Women’s wrestling is an incredibly hot topic of discussion all the time, of course, and so I figured that it would be fair to showcase the women of WWE right now and where they currently stand amongst each other. So that will be down past the April Top 25, right before the cumulative WWE Top 25.


TOP 10 TV MATCHES (APRIL)

1. The Velveteen Dream vs. Buddy Murphy (NXT, 4/17, ****¼)
2. Tony Nese vs. Buddy Murphy (205 Live, 4/9, ****)
3. Cedric Alexander vs. Oney Lorcan (205 Live, 4/16, ****)
4. Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair (SmackDown Live, 4/23, ****)
5. AJ Styles vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Samoa Joe (Raw, 4/22, ****)
6. Johnny Gargano vs. Roderick Strong (NXT, 4/24, ***¾)
7. Bayley vs. Becky Lynch (SmackDown Live, 4/30, ***¾)
8. Shayna Baszler vs. Kairi Sane (NXT, 4/17, ***¾)
9. Andrade vs. Finn Balor (Raw, 4/15, ***½)
10. Finn Balor vs. Sami Zayn (Raw, 4/8, ***½)

TOP 10 MATCHES (APRIL)

1. Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston (WrestleMania, 4/7, *****)
2. The Velveteen Dream vs. Matt Riddle (TakeOver: NY, 4/6, ****¾)
3. The War Raiders vs. Aleister Black & Ricochet (TakeOver: NY, 4/6, ****¾)
4. Adam Cole vs. Johnny Gargano (TakeOver: NY, 4/6, ****½)
5. The Velveteen Dream vs. Buddy Murphy (NXT, 4/17, ****¼)
6. Pete Dunne vs. WALTER (TakeOver: NY, 4/6, ****¼)
7. Charlotte vs. Ronda Rousey vs. Becky Lynch (WrestleMania, 4/7, ****)
8. Shayna Baszler vs. Bianca Belair vs. Io Shirai vs. Kairi Sane (TakeOver: NY, 4/6, ****)
9. Dominik Dijakovic vs. Harper (Worlds Collide, 4/14, ****)
10. Tony Nese vs. Buddy Murphy (205 Live, 4/9, ****)

TOP 10 TV MATCHES (2019)

1. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio (SmackDown Live, 1/15, ****¾)
2. Adam Cole vs. Aleister Black vs. Matt Riddle vs. Ricochet vs. The Velveteen Dream (NXT, 3/20, ****½)
3. Cedric Alexander vs. Tony Nese (205 Live, 3/19, ****½)
4. Johnny Gargano vs. The Velveteen Dream (NXT, 2/20, ****¼)
5. DIY vs. The Undisputed Era (NXT, 3/6, ****¼)
6. Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair (SmackDown Live, 3/26, ****¼)
7. Kofi Kingston vs. Cesaro vs. Sheamus vs. Samoa Joe vs. Rowan vs. Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan (SmackDown Live, Gauntlet Match, 3/19, ****¼)
8. The Velveteen Dream vs. Buddy Murphy (NXT, 4/17, ****¼)
9. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio (SmackDown Live, 1/22, ****¼)
10. Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Samoa Joe vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles (SmackDown Live, Gauntlet Match, 2/12, ****¼)

TOP 10 MATCHES (2019)

1. Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston (WrestleMania, 4/7, *****)
2. Daniel Bryan vs. Kevin Owens vs. Mustafa Ali (Fastlane, 3/10, ****¾)
3. Ricochet vs. Johnny Gargano (TakeOver: Phoenix, 1/26, ****¾)
4. The Velveteen Dream vs. Matt Riddle (TakeOver: NY, 4/6, ****¾)
5. The War Raiders vs. Aleister Black & Ricochet (TakeOver: NY, 4/6, ****¾)
6. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio (SmackDown Live, 1/15, ****¾)
7. Asuka vs. Becky Lynch (Royal Rumble, 1/27, ****½)
8. Adam Cole vs. Johnny Gargano (TakeOver: NY, 4/6, ****½)
9. Brock Lesnar vs. Finn Balor (Royal Rumble, 1/27, ****½)
10. Adam Cole vs. Aleister Black vs. Matt Riddle vs. Ricochet vs. The Velveteen Dream (NXT, 3/20, ****½)


WWE TOP 25 (APRIL)

1. Ricochet (37.625)
2. Aleister Black (31.375)
3. Kofi Kingston (31)
4. Finn Balor (22.75)
5. Baron Corbin (20.5)
6. Drew McIntyre (20)
T7. The War/Viking Raiders (19.125)
9. Cesaro (19)
10. Bayley (18.25)
11. Shinsuke Nakamura (16.25)
12. The Velveteen Dream (16.125)
T13. The Revival, Seth Rollins (16)
16. Kairi Sane (15.25)
17. Daniel Bryan (15)
18. AJ Styles (14.5)
19. Andrade (14)
T20. The Usos (13.5)
22. Roman Reigns (13.25)
23. Mustafa Ali (13)
T24. Johnny Gargano, Rusev, Sheamus (12.75)

The compilers really stood out this month. Ricochet and Aleister Black may have performed well as always, but they were certainly aided by just how much they worked this month. Ricochet wrestled in nine matches and built up a big lead, and continued his stay at the top of the list. The two of them were followed by the group of Kofi Kingston, Finn Balor and… yes, you read it right: Baron Corbin.

Corbin was another case of being a compiler, and at some point, whether we like it or not, he was going to find his way up to the top in one of these monthly lists at some point. Nevertheless, he’s put in decent work and was able to bounce up. That’s just how it goes sometimes here.

The highest-ranked woman in the rankings once again was Bayley. While she might not be tagging with her best friend anymore (who’s gone at the moment anyways) The Hugger is still putting in serious work. She had some terrific matches, if you couldn’t tell by how she was featured in two of the best TV matches of the month. She’s really having an extremely great 2019, and should certainly be recognized for her efforts. The only other woman to make the cut? Kairi Sane, who got a main roster bump. She’s going to probably need to do some heavy lifting if she wants to pick up ground in the cumulative edition, but she’s certainly in a very good spot right now.

Tag teams kind of ruled the day here, as well. A slew of them were featured in this list. The Revival, The War Raiders, The Bar and The Usos were all in the mix this month. I suppose if you count Aleister and Ricochet, they count too, as do Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura. Who says tag team wrestling is a dying art?

We had a tie for the final spots between Rusev, Sheamus and Johnny Gargano. And man, it was close. A difference of just 0.5 points separated these three from the others who just missed, who by the way were… another tag team: Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder.

Now, let’s talk about the women, shall we?


WOMEN’S TOP 25 (2019)

1. Bayley (50.25)
2. Sasha Banks (34.5)
3. Becky Lynch (32)
4. Nia Jax (29.25)
5. Charlotte Flair (26.5)
6. Ronda Rousey (25.5)
7. Bianca Belair (25)
8. Asuka (24.5)
9. Mandy Rose (22.25)
T10. Kairi Sane, Sarah Logan (20)
12. Nikki Cross (19.75)
13. Tamina (19.5)
T14. Io Shirai, Shayna Baszler (18.5)
16. Peyton Royce (17.75)
17. Sonya Deville (17)
T18. Naomi, Ruby Riott (16.75)
T20. Carmella, Liv Morgan (16.5)
22. Natalya (16)
23. Billie Kay (14.75)
24. Toni Storm (14.5)
25. Alexa Bliss (13)

So… bit of a significant gap, huh?

There’s a lot that plays into that. For one, Bayley has worked 18 matches that have made tap this year. Second place in that department is Sasha Banks, who’s worked 14. Sasha, of course, hasn’t wrestled since WrestleMania. Going down the ladder, third place among the women in that department is Ronda Rousey. Rousey hasn’t wrestled since WrestleMania, and we don’t know the next time that she’s going to wrestle either. Tied for fourth are Billie Kay, Ruby Riott and Peyton Royce. And, well, you see where they are with their workload this year.

Becky Lynch has worked 11 matches this year, which is tied with Nia Jax and Sarah Logan. Becky has the highest score, but she’s had a lot of variability. Nia is the same way, but Jax has another problem facing her: An injury that’s going to doubt keep her on the shelf for a very long time. Logan has competed just a few times this month, but also hasn’t been seen since The Riott Squad’s last hurrah on the Shield Last Chapter WWE Network special. She, like many others among the women this year, has had a LOT of variance, though not all of it is her fault.

When you consider these factors, it’s no surprise that Bayley finds herself where she is. She has a four-match advantage over second place, and we don’t know the next time Banks will compete. The superstar in third won’t be working again this year, it seems, and the middle of the pack are well behind the pace and have had too much variance. Bayley, meanwhile, has made the absolute most out of anything. She’s having a superb year, and it ought to be recognized as such.

I know that there’s some bias here, but if you oppose that thought, as you look at this, ask yourself who’s made the most out of their opportunities? I can make the case for Charlotte Flair for that department. However, Charlotte has wrestled just nine times this year. And she would’ve needed to have a ridiculous output each time. Because of some TV matches on Raw, that probably precluded her from doing so.

Anyhow, the rest of the Top 25 is interesting, is it not? Everyone is within only a couple of points of each other. Some opportunities that may await these ladies could result in some tremendous showcases. I’m particularly fascinated to see what happens next. Money in the Bank could be a big shift for a lot of these ladies in one direction or another. It could result in some fun movement in the month of May. A majority of this Top 25 will be competing at the event in fact, as well as a couple others who don’t find themselves here. Watch the space for Alexa Bliss also, as they may be about to go full throttle with her very soon. Also, look for Kairi Sane to go up the board, as she’s currently tied for 10th and about to get some main roster growth.

Plus, the group of NXTers all look to have big TV matches coming their way. If they hit on them, that could catapult them up the list. Bianca, for instance, could work her way near the Top 5, and Shayna Baszler and Io Shirai could touch the Top 10 if they get the ball and run with it.

Stay tuned!

Anyways, let’s get to the cumulative Top 25 now, shall we?


WWE TOP 25 (2019)

25. Dean Ambrose
Points: 37.75 | Last Month: 11
Matches in 2019: 14 | Recommended Viewing: 6 Tag, Shield’s Last Chapter

Au revoir to Dean Ambrose, who finishes his WWE career at 25th in the WWE Top 25. You likely won’t see him come near this chart again, so relish this moment! Dean competed in just one aired match this month, a six-man tag with his Shield mates against Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre. It was quite a way for him to go out, and he had a very good showing this year, having been in the Top 25 for the entirety of the year. Godspeed, Dean, and best of luck in the death matches that likely now await you.

24. Dash Wilder
Points: 38.75 | Last Month: N/A
Matches in 2019: 16 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Aleister Black/Ricochet, Raw 4/1

At some point or another, Dash Wilder and his tag team partner were going to get into the WWE Top 25. And as they continue to work nearly every week of the year, that now holds true. Dash gets in at 24th after a pretty solid month of April that saw he and his partner gain 16 points. Given that they’re going to now be feuding with The Usos, I’d expect them to continue to ascend up the ladder here in these rankings, as well as The Usos, really, as those two teams are definitely capable of making magic happen in the ring.

23. Shinsuke Nakamura
Points: 39 | Last Month: N/A
Matches in 2019: 13 | Recommended Viewing: Fatal 4-Way Tag, WrestleMania 4/7

While he’s gained (and perhaps earned) a reputation for coasting, Shinsuke Nakamura is in the midst of a rock solid 2019. Nakamura’s entered the WWE Top 25 after a strong April, earning 16.25 points in the process. That was good for 9th place in the April rankings, so needless to say he’s making a strong pitch to be among the best of the best right now. Nak is playing a very good role on SmackDown in the mid-card, and that might be where we see him stay going forward. If that’s the case, expect him to continue to be a player in this spot.

T21. Baron Corbin, Scott Dawson
Points: 39.25 | Last Month: N/A (Both)
Matches in 2019: 20 (Corbin) / 17 (Dawson)

Ah, the case of Baron Corbin. Corbin is regularly panned for not being too great, and based on match ratings that I’ve given him… it’s hard to disagree with that notion. Just six of the matches that I’ve graded of his got ***½ or above, one of them being the Royal Rumble match, of course. And half of them were given ** or less.

But, when you work 20 matches on the year, it’s going to eventually become hard to deny you a spot here. So, he’s finally made his way into the mix. Whether or not he accelerates that jump will be dependent on his workload and how well he does going forward.

As for Scott Dawson? He’s ahead of Dash Wilder just because of the match at the Royal Rumble. No, seriously. That’s it. That’s the reason for the discrepancy.

20. Adam Cole
Points: 39.5 | Last Month: 19
Matches in 2019: 9 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Johnny Gargano, ⅔ Falls, TakeOver: NY 4/6

Adam Cole made a nine-point jump from where he was last month… and fell down one spot in the rankings. Cold world? Cold world. Cole had a great showing in the ⅔ Falls Match against Johnny Gargano in the main event of TakeOver: New York. That match gave him nine points, but that was all that he did this month. Perhaps May will be a bit kinder to Adam Cole (bay bay) but he unfortunately is the victim of workload, or in his case, a lack thereof.

19. Cedric Alexander
Points: 40.75 | Last Month: 12
Matches in 2019: 11 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Oney Lorcan, 205 Live, 4/16

Cedric Alexander takes a bit of a slide this month after working just two matches in the month of April. He gained seven points, but still managed to slip behind some other wrestlers who worked a bit more than him. Ceddy should be able to see that workload increase on the Raw brand, but it also depends on how they use him and if they do at all. He worked a fun match with Cesaro two weeks ago, but wasn’t mentioned or heard from on this past week’s episode. So, we truly don’t know what lies ahead for him. But he’s still having a very, very good year.

18. Mustafa Ali
Points: 42.375 | Last Month: 21
Matches in 2019: 11 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Finn Balor, SmackDown Live, 4/16

After earning 13 points in the month of April, TAFKA Mustafa Ali leaps up three spots to the 18th spot in the WWE Top 25. Ali had quite a few solid outings in TV matches in April, getting plenty of opportunities along the way. He worked five matches, with four of them getting at least three stars. That kind of output will certainly help him out going forward, as he could be a steady riser as long as the work comes his way. He’ll be in the MITB Ladder Match, which should serve as a very good spot for him to dazzle in the middle of May.

17. Bobby Lashley
Points: 43.75 | Last Month: 12
Matches in 2019: 15 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Finn Balor, WrestleMania, 4/7

Lashley had a solid month of April, but fell five spots down to 17th. The All Mighty has put together a very good 2019 campaign so far, but certainly could use a bit more workload to help him out. 15 matches puts him around the top of the leaderboard in that category, but there are still quite a few people who’ve beaten him out. With more work, he could very well ascend up the charts after the month of May. But right now, he’s not booked for MITB. So we shall see what happens with him going forward.

16. Tyler Bate
Points: 44.25 | Last Month: 9
Matches in 2019: 13 | Recommended Viewing: w/ Trent Seven vs. Flash Morgan Webster & Mark Andrews, NXT UK, 4/24

Tyler Bate had been a bit of a workhorse through the first three months of the year. But after seeing his workload cut down by more than a couple of pegs, he’s fallen out of the Top 10 down to 16th. Granted, it’s still a very comfy spot to be in, but it’s certainly not Top 10 or hovering around it as he’s done most of the year. He’s still been one of the brightest spots of the NXT UK brand, and that should still remain true as the year progresses. Especially since he continues to get in good work in all the Worlds Collide events, too.

15. Sheamus
Points: 45.5 | Last Month: 16
Matches in 2019: 15 | Recommended Viewing: Fatal 4-Way Tag, WrestleMania, 4/7

It’s a wonder if we’ve seen the last of The Celtic Warrior in WWE. Sheamus’ injuries have mounted up and he hasn’t competed since after WrestleMania. The move for his tag team partner over to Raw might be an indication of what’s to come. If that’s indeed the case, it’s an unfortunate end to one of the strongest runs in recent memory. Sheamus finished this month at 15th after a strong showing, going up one spot from 16th last month.

14. The Velveteen Dream
Points: 48.125 | Last Month: 17
Matches in 2019: 11 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Matt Riddle, TakeOver: NY, 4/6

Everything that The Velveteen Dream touches these days turns to gold. Dream worked two matches in the month of April and they were among the best of the entire month. His match with Matt Riddle at TakeOver: New York was an incredible showing for both superstars, and it’s really hard, honestly, to pick just who shined the most. Then, Dream decided to have a banger of a North American Championship defense against Buddy Murphy on NXT TV, which proved to be the best TV match of the month of April. It’s a shame that Dream doesn’t get to wrestle more, but at this point, he’s appointment television every time he does. And while he’s 14th in the WWE Top 25, he’s easily among the elite right now.

13. Samoa Joe
Points: 48.5 | Last Month: 10
Matches in 2019: 15 | Recommended Viewing: vs. AJ Styles, Rey Mysterio, Raw, 4/22

Samoa Joe’s strong 2019 continued with another standout showing in the month of April. The incumbent United States Champion may not have had a stellar WrestleMania match -- he squashed Rey Mysterio in just a few minutes -- but still compiled enough points to sit 13th. That’s 3 spots down from 10th, but a strong month of May could catapult him right back into the Top 10. He might not be the worker he once was, but the man is still getting it done right now.

12. Seth Rollins
Points: 49 | Last Month: 15
Matches in 2019: 14 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Brock Lesnar, WrestleMania, 4/7

The new Universal Champion takes a three spot bump up to 12th in this month’s WWE Top 25. Seth Rollins hasn’t hit his extra gear yet in 2019, but we imagine that will soon change. Now that he’s got the workload of a champ, and seems to be healthy again, Rollins should be able to get back in the Top 10 in no time at this rate. Rollins is just a few points shy of the Top 10 mark, and could very well eclipse it with merely one match as long as it hits. Given this prior history, there’s no reason he can’t jump up to that level. It wouldn’t surprise many if he got back into that position quickly.

11. Cesaro
Points: 49.25 | Last Month: 20
Matches in 2019: 17 | Recommended Viewing: Fatal 4-Way Tag, WrestleMania, 4/7

Cesaro is a big mover in this month’s Top 25, as The Swiss Cyborg jumps up all the way to 11th. He was merely a few points shy of the Top 10 mark, missing out by a hair or two. Away from Sheamus on Raw now, we’ll see if a new landscape and environment can help Cesaro wrestle his way into the Top 10. There’s no denying that he’s one of the best on the planet when he’s on. It’s been a while since we’ve seen him as a singles competitor, and expect him to remind everybody of what he can do. His tag efforts with Sheamus certainly helped supplant him in this spot, and there may be nowhere to go but up from here.

10. Rey Mysterio
Points: 49.875 | Last Month: 7
Matches in 2019: 12 | Recommended Viewing: vs. AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Raw, 4/22

Rey Mysterio nearly dropped out of the Top 10 this month, but managed to hang on for dear life after this past week’s Raw. Mysterio was likely aided by the fact that the aforementioned Cesaro AND Seth Rollins didn’t compete. Otherwise, he may have fallen out of the Top 10 for the first time all year. Mysterio has proven to be among the greatest again this year, and April was no different. While his Mania match was short, Mysterio still made the most of his other in-ring opportunities. He dazzled in a Triple Threat Match featuring AJ Styles and Samoa Joe, and looks to still be feuding with Joe over the US Title. That match could very well help both of them, so keep your eye on Rey as the month of May progresses.

9. Bayley
Points: 50.25 | Last Month: 17
Matches in 2019: 18 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Charlotte Flair, SmackDown Live, 4/23

We’ve gone over this already… but Bayley is very clearly the workhorse of the women’s division this year. It’s completely and totally obvious that they see a lot in her, as she’s worked more matches than anybody in the entire division. She’s made the most of just about every opportunity that she’s had. Shifting back to a singles competitor hasn’t seen her miss a beat yet. She worked three singles matches this month, and all of them got 3 stars or better, including a 4-star banger against Charlotte Flair on SmackDown Live two weeks ago. We’ve already gone over this… but Bayley certainly deserves your respect this year.

8. Johnny Gargano
Points: 54.875 | Last Month: 6
Matches in 2019: 11 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Adam Cole, ⅔ Falls, TakeOver: NY, 4/6

Johnny Gargano dropped down to 8th place this month. But, despite the small drop, he’s very clearly still among the elite. Gargano finally became NXT Champion in a dazzling match against Adam Cole at TakeOver. He competed in a match against Roderick Strong on NXT TV, a match that likely helped keep him in the Top 10 this month. The problem hasn’t ever really been workload for him, because he excels in just about every single match he’s had this year. Seth Rollins is the only other superstar in the Top 25 who hasn’t had a match between 2-2 ¾ stars this year. Pretty good company to be in, we’d say.

7. Andrade
Points: 56.625 | Last Month: 5
Matches in 2019: 15 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Finn Balor, Raw, 4/15

Andrade has stayed in the Top 10 despite a relatively “quiet” month of April. He fell down to 7th, but is still obviously one of the best that the company has to offer. He may very well be gaining more steam as Money in the Bank approaches. And that event could serve as a total launching pad for him going forward. As long as he keeps getting opportunities, it’s likely that he’s going to make the most of all of them. You can’t help but be in awe of him every time he’s in the ring, and so far, the math would agree that he’s one of the best of the best.

6. Drew McIntyre
Points: 58.5 | Last Month: 8
Matches in 2019: 21 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Baron Corbin, The Miz, Raw, 4/22

The last two months for Drew McIntyre have been torrid to say the least. After finishing 8th last month, Drew has ascended up to 6th in this month’s WWE Top 25. He fell just 0.25 points shy of the 5th spot, as he’s certainly getting the job done while called upon. Quantity may certainly be helping him out a bunch, as he’s had 21 matches in 2019, fourth-most in the entire company. But he’s definitely had the ball rolling for a bit, and with the focus still on him, that shouldn’t change for a while.

5. Kofi Kingston
Points: 58.75 | Last Month: 23
Matches in 2019: 14 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Daniel Bryan, WrestleMania, 4/7

Kofi Kingston’s rise up to 5th from 23rd was mostly due to his shining performance at WrestleMania. He and Daniel Bryan produced what is the only five-star match of the entire year so far in my humble opinion. The incumbent WWE Champion has always been a very solid worker, but 2019 is looking particularly great for him. Now entrenched in a feud with Kevin Owens, Kingston should see his standing stay pretty steady going forward as the top dog on the blue brand.

4. Daniel Bryan
Points: 61.375 | Last Month: 4
Matches in 2019: 12 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Kofi Kingston, WrestleMania, 4/7

Daniel Bryan worked just one match this month… and still managed to stay steady at the 4th position in the WWE Top 25. Bryan’s five-star bout with the aforementioned Kofi Kingston earned he and Kingston 15 points, as they stand as the only recipients of that honor to this point in the year. Bryan’s been banged up, but with him reportedly being cleared, he should be able to get back in the ring soon enough. When he does, expect him to continually remind you why he is one of the best of all time and the greatest of this generation.

3. Finn Balor
Points: 74.75 | Last Month: 3
Matches in 2019: 23 | Recommended Viewing: vs. Andrade, Raw, 4/15

A shift in brands hasn’t deterred Finn Balor at all. Balor is at 3rd once again in this month’s WWE Top 25 after another consistent effort in April. Finn, like everyone else, will need to pick up a lot of ground on #1 and #2 here. But he also has a 13+ point edge on 4th place. And that standing probably won’t change, unless someone below him goes on an absolutely torrid run themselves. So Finn is still very comfortable here, and the Intercontinental Champion likely won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

2. Aleister Black
Points: 90.125 | Last Month: 2
Matches in 2019: 24 | Recommended Viewing: w/ Ricochet vs. War Raiders, TakeOver: NY, 4/6

Aleister Black sits #2 yet again in this month’s WWE Top 25. That heavy workload that he and Ricochet were on for a while seems to be slowing down significantly. But that didn’t stop him from still remaining at 2nd in this month’s edition of the rankings. Black had a great match against The War Raiders with his tag team partner at TakeOver: New York, which absolutely helped his cause. So did, you know, working every single WWE event that weekend. As we said, that workload will be slowing down. And I’m not sure if he’s going to be caught. But Black should still be able to excel in the spots that he’s in.

1. Ricochet
Points: 108 | Last Month: 1
Matches in 2019: 27 | Recommended Viewing: w/ Aleister Black vs. War Raiders, TakeOver: NY, 4/6

Yet again, The One and Only is THE #1 in the WWE Top 25. Ricochet’s workload was still very heavy this month, working nine matches throughout April across all three brands. He’s likely done working a rather ridiculous pace, but obviously he has a heavy edge on everyone else in that department. Either there’s going to be some kind of curve, or Ricochet will just continue to lap the entire field. What will happen? Your guess is as good as mine. I certainly didn’t expect this after he worked ONE match in January, but he’s just doing extraordinary things right now. He’s certainly deserving of this spot, and no one seems to be particularly close from ripping it away from him.

The WWE Top 25: March

Welcome, FINALLY, to the March edition of the WWE Top 25!

The month of March saw quite a lot of action go down in the Federation. All the brands brought big hit after big hit as we had been barreling along on the road to WrestleMania. As a result, this past month’s WWE Top 25 has seen quite the shakeup, including a NEW #1.

Before we reveal the cumulative Top 25, we’ll be going about this process just like we did the February one. So, first up, we’ll reveal the Top 10 TV matches in March, the Top 10 matches for March, the cumulative Top 10 TV matches for 2019, the cumulative Top 10 matches for 2019, the March Top 25 and then, finally, the cumulative Top 25.

So let’s get off to the races, shall we?


TOP 10 TV MATCHES (March)

1. Adam Cole vs. Aleister Black vs. Matt Riddle vs. Ricochet vs. The Velveteen Dream (NXT, 3/20, ****½)
2. Cedric Alexander vs. Tony Nese (205 Live, 2/19, ****½)
3. DIY vs. The Undisputed Era (NXT, 3/6, ****¼)
4. Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair (SmackDown Live, 3/26, ****¼)
5. Kofi Kingston vs. Cesaro vs. Sheamus vs. Samoa Joe vs. Rowan vs. Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan (SmackDown Live, Gauntlet Match, 3/19, ****¼)
6. R-Truth vs. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Samoa Joe (SmackDown Live, 3/5, ****)
7. Akira Tozawa vs. Cedric Alexander (205 Live, 3/5, ****)
8. Aleister Black and Ricochet vs. Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel (NXT, 3/6, ****)
9. Jordan Devlin vs. Travis Banks (NXT UK, Falls Count Anywhere, 3/6, ***¾)
10. Moustache Mountain vs. The Street Profits (NXT, 3/6, ***¾)

TOP 10 MATCHES (March)

1. Daniel Bryan vs. Kevin Owens vs. Mustafa Ali (Fastlane, 3/10, ****¾)
2. Adam Cole vs. Aleister Black vs. Matt Riddle vs. Ricochet vs. The Velveteen Dream (NXT, 3/20, ****½)
3. Cedric Alexander vs. Tony Nese (205 Live, 2/19, ****½)
4. DIY vs. The Undisputed Era (NXT, 3/6, ****¼)
5. Samoa Joe vs. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio vs. R-Truth (Fastlane, 3/10, ****¼)
6. Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair (SmackDown Live, 3/26, ****¼)
7. Kofi Kingston vs. Cesaro vs. Sheamus vs. Samoa Joe vs. Rowan vs. Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan (SmackDown Live, Gauntlet Match, 3/19, ****¼)
8. The Usos vs. The Miz and Shane McMahon (Fastlane, 3/10, ****¼)
9. R-Truth vs. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Samoa Joe (SmackDown Live, 3/5, ****)
10. Akira Tozawa vs. Cedric Alexander (205 Live, 3/5, ****)

TOP 10 TV MATCHES (2019)

1. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio (SmackDown Live, 1/15, ****¾)
2. Adam Cole vs. Aleister Black vs. Matt Riddle vs. Ricochet vs. The Velveteen Dream (NXT, 3/20, ****½)
3. Cedric Alexander vs. Tony Nese (205 Live, 2/19, ****½)
4. Johnny Gargano vs. The Velveteen Dream (NXT, 2/20, ****¼)
5. DIY vs. The Undisputed Era (NXT, 3/6, ****¼)
6. Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair (SmackDown Live, 3/26, ****¼)
7. Kofi Kingston vs. Cesaro vs. Sheamus vs. Samoa Joe vs. Rowan vs. Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan (SmackDown Live, Gauntlet Match, 3/19, ****¼)
8. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio (SmackDown Live, 2/3 Falls, 1/22, ****¼)
9. Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Samoa Joe vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Randy ORton vs. AJ Styles (SmackDown Live, Gauntlet Match, 2/12, ****¼)
10. Drew Gulak vs. Matt Riddle (NXT, 2/6, ****)

TOP 10 MATCHES (2019)

1. Daniel Bryan vs. Mustafa Ali vs. Kevin Owens (Fastlane, 3/10, ****¾)
2. Ricochet vs. Johnny Gargano (TakeOver: Phoenix, 1/26, ****¾)
3. Rey Mysterio vs. Andrade (SmackDown Live, 1/15, ****¾)
4. Asuka vs. Becky Lynch (Royal Rumble, 1/27, ****½)
5. Brock Lesnar vs. Finn Balor (Royal Rumble, 1/27, ****½)
6. Adam Cole vs. Aleister Black vs. Matt Riddle vs. Ricochet vs. The Velveteen Dream (NXT, 3/20, ****½)
7. Cedric Alexander vs. Tony Nese (205 Live, 2/19, ****½)
8. Ronda Rousey vs. Sasha Banks (Royal Rumble, 1/27, ****½)
9. Moustache Mountain vs. James Drake and Zack Gibson (TakeOver: Blackpool, 1/12, ****½)
10. Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Samoa Joe vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles (Elimination Chamber, Elimination Chamber Match, 2/17, ****¼)


THE WWE TOP 25 (MARCH)

1. Ricochet (40)
2. Aleister Black (37)
3. Daniel Bryan (23.125)
4. Cedric Alexander (19.5)
5. Drew McIntyre (17.75)
6. Samoa Joe (16.25)
7. Kevin Owens (15.375)
8. Mustafa Ali (14.875)
9. Bobby Lashley (14.25)
T10. Cesaro, Sheamus (12.75)
12. Tony Nese (12.25)
T13. Dean Ambrose, Rowan (11.75)
T15. Andrade, R-Truth, Rey Mysterio (11.5)
T18. Rusev, Shinsuke Nakamura (11.25)
T20. Oney Lorcan, Seth Rollins, Steve Cutler, Wesley Blake (10.75)
24. Tyler Bate (10.5)
25. Finn Balor (10.25)

For the first time this year, there are no women in a monthly Top 25. The month was a bit weak for the women’s side, something that will hopefully change going forward. But even those who worked a lot of matches this month didn’t quite have the quality of matches they were having last month. That isn’t a fault to them, but it is a fascinating point to be sure, considering we’re en route to the biggest women’s match of all time next month at WrestleMania. Hopefully, for their sake, things improve next month. And frankly, it probably should.

Anyhow, you will notice that the top two wrestlers here were way, WAY ahead of the pace. That’s because Ricochet and Aleister Black were used SO MUCH on three different brands. So it goes for them, and so they lead the pack this month as 1 and 2 respectively. That shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, and it will be interesting to me to see what happens next month. I’m not expecting that workload to be as heavy again this coming month as it was last, but they’re certainly great performers.

It shouldn’t be too surprising to see that Daniel Bryan is getting more and more traction now. Arguably the best wrestler in the world, Bryan has been on an absolute tear of late and should only see his progression continue to trend upward as the year goes on.

Someone you should maybe keep your eye on going forward now? Tony Nese. Nese had an excellent month of March and could very well become Cruiserweight Champion at WrestleMania. Should he do that, we’ll see if he can pick up from Buddy Murphy’s excellence and keep the ball rolling on 205 Live.

Anyhow, it’s time to reveal the NEW Top 25 with March out of the way.


THE WWE TOP 25 (THROUGH MARCH)

25. Jeff Hardy
Last Month: 11 | Points: 25.5

Jeff Hardy takes a bit of a tumble after a solid finish last month. But, Hardy still managed to sneak right into the 25th spot. His workload was significantly lessened this month and that, in all likelihood, is part of why this tumble happened, to be sure. Now, what will come for him in April? That’s yet to be seen. There will likely be a lot of reshuffling going around this month, so we shall see if he can maintain his mainstay status in the WWE Top 25 after April comes and goes.

24. Tony Nese
Last Month: N/A | Points: 26.25

Here’s someone we might want to pay attention to going forward. Tony Nese, the new Cruiserweight Champion, makes his first appearance in the Top 25 after an outstanding month of March. His showing was topped off with an absolute banger against Cedric Alexander in the #1 Contender’s Tournament Final on 205 Live. Now that Nese won the championship from Buddy Murphy at WrestleMania, big things could come Nese’s way and he could very well make an ascension.

WWE

WWE

23. Kofi Kingston
Last Month: 14 | Points: 27.75

The NEW WWE Champion finished 23rd in the month of March, but don’t expect that to stay the same going forward. Kofi Kingston certainly has earned his stripes and will no doubt be a continuous mainstay in this Top 25 now that he has the coveted title. And after that showing against Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania, he got off to an incredible start in April that may put him in Top 10 territory.

22. Nia Jax
Last Month: 9 | Points: 28.25

Nia Jax took quite the fall after finishing ninth last month, but Jax still managed to stay within the Top 25. It will be interesting to see where she and the other women, quite frankly, fall in this Top 25 going forward. The women’s division on both shows is likely to go through a serious reshuffling period and time will tell to see how things shake out. Nonetheless, three months in and Jax still remains as one of three women to be featured in every month’s Top 25 so far.

21. Mustafa Ali
Last Month: N/A | Points: 29.375

Mustafa Ali makes his return to the Top 25 after being out with an injury in the month of February. He was part of my then-pick for MOTY last month at Fastlane, in the Triple Threat match for the WWE Championship between he, Daniel Bryan and Kevin Owens. He’s got ample opportunity to make some moves next month with things opening up for him and the rest of the SmackDown Live crew. So we’ll see what happens with the man now known as just ‘Ali.’

20. Cesaro
Last Month: N/A | Points: 30.25

Cesaro makes his way back into the Top 25 after being out of it in January. Cesaro was part of some solid tag efforts and the Gauntlet Match that helped bring Kofi Kingston to WrestleMania. And for those performances, he slides on his way up. Cesaro will be a hard name to project going forward, as the SmackDown tag division is quite loaded and not everybody gets their reps. Perhaps things will be clearer after WrestleMania and after the Superstar Shakeup for the man known as The Swiss Cyborg.

19. Adam Cole
Last Month: 18 | Points: 30.5

Adam Cole hangs around in the WWE Top 25 this month, falling just one spot to 19th. Cole had a remarkable showing in the 5-way match that helped him earn his NXT Championship opportunity against Johnny Gargano at TakeOver: New York. By now you probably know that result, and you can probably project a better finish for him in April. But it’s pretty clear that big things await Cole in April and beyond if this past month was any indication.

T17. Bayley, The Velveteen Dream
Last Month: 5 (Bayley) / 11 (Dream) | Points: 32

Our first time of the month features a pair of, well, polar opposites in Bayley and The Velveteen Dream. Bayley was a bit of a victim of circumstance, as she had just one less match than her tag team partner, Sasha Banks, going into the month of April. She still shined and has been quite the revelation this year. And the hope going forward for her is that she continues to get that shine as the year 2019 progresses.

Dream, meanwhile, was a product of less workload, as well. Dream competed in the epic 5-way match that Adam Cole won, but there wasn’t much left on the board for him. Like other NXT-ers, he certainly has now run into this problem more than once, and will likely continue to do so, just because of how the brand works. But obviously, Dream remains at the top of his game and has the merit to prove it.

16. Sheamus
Last Month: 20 | Points: 32.75

Like his tag team partner Cesaro, Sheamus finds himself in the Top 25, and has moved up all the way to 16th after finishing 20th last month. Sheamus still has the workload edge over his tag team partner Cesaro, as you will notice that the two finished with the same score in the month of March. Those early matches are helping his cause to say the very least, as he’s certainly proving to be a case where quantity is aiding him in a big way.

15. Seth Rollins
Last Month: 16 | Points: 33

Seth Rollins finally returned to action this past month, and Rollins was able to ascend up one spot to 15th. Rollins made his work count this past month and should be primed for an even better April, now that he has conquered the beast and become the WWE Universal Champion. So expect to see Rollins right around where he was in January, and not so much in the middle of the pack now.

14. Sasha Banks
Last Month: 8 | Points: 33.5

Sasha Banks held a slight advantage over her tag team partner Bayley. As a result of that, Banks has arrived here at 14th. She took a dip from the 8th spot in the poll, and a lot of that has to simply do with the quality of the matches she was in. But, she still is obviously one of the best in-ring talents in WWE right now. So she should continue to be in good shape as the month of April progresses.

T12. Bobby Lashley, Cedric Alexander
Last Month: 23 (Lashley) / N/A (Cedric) | Points: 33.75

We’ve got our second tie in this month’s Top 25. One side features someone who’s been a mainstay, and the other features a newcomer to the poll this month.

Bobby Lashley moved all the way up to 12th thanks in large part to workload and the quality of his work. He was very solid, competing in a great six-man tag with Drew Mac and Baron Corbin against The Shield at Fastlane. His work against Finn Balor in the match that won him the Intercontinental Championship again was also quite good, and set the table for this big move up 11 spots from last month’s finish at 23rd. What’s to come is yet to be seen in April, but Lashley has certainly been consistently good so far in 2019.

Thanks to a strong run in the Cruiserweight Championship #1 Contender’s Tournament, Cedric Alexander soars into the Top 25. And he’s all the way up at 12th after his run to the finals of the tournament. He was ultimately disposed of by the eventual new champ in Tony Nese, but indisputably had the best match of the tourney against Nese and a really great match against Akira Tozawa as well. There’s no telling if he’ll be off the island yet, but if he is, expect Cedric to be a mainstay here, because he certainly has the talent to deliver in big spots.

WWE

WWE

11. Dean Ambrose
Last Month: 15 | Points: 34.25

As he nears the end of his WWE career, Dean Ambrose has continued to hover around the same spot he’s been in all year. Ambrose finished the month of March ranked 11th in the WWE Top 25, just 1.25 points shy of the 10th spot in the rankings. Ambrose had some very solid outings this month, including the Shield reunion six-man tag at Fastlane. Dean certainly got a lot of flack going into 2019, but he’s certainly been very, very solid as he finishes up his near seven-year run with the company.

10. Samoa Joe
Last Month: 10 | Points: 35.5

Samoa Joe’s 2019 continues to be a strong success. And once again, Joe claims the 10th spot on the rankings. Joe became the United States Champion this past month and partook in some excellent contests on SmackDown Live and Fastlane. Joe’s first run as a champion in WWE doesn’t look like it’s going to end soon. And if his work this year is any indication, he’s going to continue to be a success story as he nears the twilight of his career.

9. Tyler Bate
Last Month: 7 | Points: 37.5

Falling two spots down to 7th is Tyler Bate. Bate had a good month of March, but certainly was not his strongest. He finished 24th in the overall rankings for March, just ahead of Finn Balor. If he collected more points, he likely would’ve finished higher than 9th. But there is of course no shame in being in this spot. He’s been getting a lot of singles opportunities on NXT UK and is still making the most of them from a consistency standpoint. I would reckon though that will have to step his game up in a big way in April, as others with more workload may overtake him soon if he does not.

8. Drew McIntyre
Last Month: 22 | Points: 38.5

Drew McIntyre was a big riser this month after falling all the way down to 22nd in February. McIntyre performed very well on Raw from an in-ring standpoint, and thus finds himself back in the Top 10 at 8th. His matches against the members of The Shield, both in six-man action and singles action, were more than enough for him to ascend up the ladder again. We shall see how things play out in April, as it looks like he had gotten hurt this past week on SmackDown. If that’s the case, Mac could very well fall down in the rankings yet again.

7. Rey Mysterio
Last Month: 6 | Points: 39.125

We are three months into the year 2019, and Rey Mysterio is still a Top 10 performer in WWE. Kinda crazy to say isn’t it? Rey, like Joe, partook in a lot of great SmackDown Live matches and had a hand in the US Championship Match at Fastlane that garnered a rather high rating of 4.25. He may have fallen down one spot from last month, but with a score of 39.125, he is still among the best of the best right now. While an injury may spur him for a little bit, there’s no denying that Mysterio is in the midst of a renaissance that is still trudging on to this moment.

WWE

WWE

6. Johnny Gargano
Last Month: 2 | Points: 42.125

Johnny Wrestling will likely find himself back in the Top 5 next month, but for right now, he’s just shy of the 5th spot in the rankings. Gargano partook in some main roster matches that helped boost his cause this month. While he did not partake in the sensational 5-way match that boosted his peers, he did wrestle in some awesome tag team matches in the Dusty Classic. We will likely see him ascend up the ladder after the month of April, but his status remains as one of the best talents around.

5. Andrade
Last Month: 3 | Points: 42.625

Andrade drops down to 5th from 3rd, but there’s no denying the year he’s having. Even with limited action, Andrade continues to excel in the spots that he’s given. He hasn’t had one dud yet and that will likely continue on as the year progresses. His highlights were much like Joe’s and Rey’s, as the three, along with R-Truth, were intertwined in the 4-ways and tag matches on SmackDown Live and at Fastlane. There are few better talents in the world better than Andrade, and he just continues to prove that week in and week out.

4. Daniel Bryan
Last Month: 11 | Points: 46.375

You should probably get used to this sight, folks. Daniel Bryan is finally in the Top 5 of the WWE Top 25 rankings. Bryan got into another gear in March, partaking in my current MOTY (with WrestleMania weekend not being accounted for quite yet) and quite a lot of other quality matches. There’s no other real way of saying that he’s the best of his generation and even in 2019, after all that’s been done, he just continues to prove exactly that.

3. Finn Balor
Last Month: 1 | Points: 52

For the first time all year, Finn Balor is not in the #1 spot. Balor drops down to 3rd after gaining just 10.25 points in the month of March. His workload was solid, but some of what he did just didn’t really hit as much as it did in January and February. Still, Balor has been one of the best TV workers all year and now that he’s Intercontinental Champion again, he should continue to have great performances and title defenses going forward.

2. Aleister Black
Last Month: 17
| Points: 58.75

WWE

WWE

Aleister Black finds himself up at #2 after a super heavy workload in March. Black made the most of that workload, gaining 37 points in the matches that he was involved in. He, like his tag team partner, competed on three different brands and that’s starting to really show in the amount of growth he’s had from last month, jumping up 15 spots to the 2nd spot in the rankings. He’s having a great year and while his workload is now likely going to decrease a bit, we should still see him among the top workers in the company in this rankings list.

1. Ricochet
Last Month: 4
| Points: 70.375

Greetings to your new #1 in the WWE Top 25: Ricochet! Ricochet made serious waves this past month, gaining FORTY points to jump Finn Balor and take his spot as the #1 wrestler in WWE. And it’s really hard to deny when you look at all that he did this month. He and Aleister Black got into the Dusty Classic Final and won. He performed marvelously in the 5-way match to determine Gargano’s opponent at TakeOver: New York. His matches on Raw and SmackDown Live have all hit for me. He’s being booked like a star because that’s exactly what he is. And right now, he has a humongous lead that will be hard to swipe from him if how things have gone are any indication.

The 2019 WWE Top 25: February

Welcome, one and all, to the second edition of the WWE Top 25!

February is now done and dusted, and we’re continuing on the road to WrestleMania. There was plenty of in-ring action to go around, thanks to the usual spurts of WWE TV, as well as Halftime Heat and the Worlds Collide event. And after a loud shakeup, the new WWE Top 25 has some new faces joining the fray.

Before we begin, in case you’re in need of a refresher, here’s January’s WWE Top 25 post. And in case you’re a REALLY new face to the WWE Top 25, here’s my ‘Preseason’ edition that lays out the grading system.

Now, we’re in February, so we’re going to do things a little bit differently to start things off here. This post will be a little bit lengthier as a result. I’m going to lay out the following inside this post, in order:

  • The Top 10 TV matches for FEBRUARY ONLY

  • The Top 10 matches for FEBRUARY ONLY

  • The Top 10 TV matches for ALL of 2019, to this point

  • The Top 10 matches for ALL of 2019, to this point

  • The WWE Top 25 for FEBRUARY ONLY

  • The CUMULATIVE WWE Top 25, which will take center-stage of this post

So, let’s start this post off, shall we?


TOP 10 TV MATCHES (February)

1. Johnny Gargano vs. The Velveteen Dream (NXT, 2/20) - ****¼
2. Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton (Gauntlet Match, SmackDown Live, 2/12) - ****¼
3. Drew Gulak vs. Matt Riddle (NXT, 2/6) - ****
4. Bobby Roode/Chad Gable vs. The Revival (Raw, 2/11) - ****
5. Bobby Lashley/Lio Rush vs. Finn Balor/Ricochet (Raw, 2/18) - ***¾
6. Noam Dar vs. Tony Nese (No Disqualifications, 205 Live, 2/12) - ***¾
7. Adam Cole vs. Ricochet (NXT, 2/13) - ***¾
8. Aleister Black vs. Andrade (SmackDown Live, 2/19) - ***½
9. DIY vs. The Revival (Raw, 2/18) - ***½
10. Aleister Black vs. Roderick Strong (NXT, 2/20) - ***½


TOP 10 MATCHES (February)

1. Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton (Elimination Chamber Match, Elimination Chamber, 2/17) - ****¼
2. Johnny Gargano vs. The Velveteen Dream (NXT, 2/20) - ****¼
3. Bryan vs. Kofi vs. Hardy vs. Joe vs. Styles vs. Orton (Gauntlet Match, SmackDown Live, 2/12) - ****¼
4. Drew Gulak vs. Matt Riddle (NXT, 2/6) - ****
5. Black/Ricochet/Dream vs. DIY/Adam Cole (Halftime Heat, 2/3) - ****
6. Bobby Roode/Chad Gable vs. The Revival (Raw, 2/11) - ****
7. Buddy Murphy vs. Akira Tozawa (Elimination Chamber, 2/17) - ****
8. The Boss and Hug Connection vs. Fire and Desire vs. The IIconics vs. The Riott Squad vs. Carmella/Naomi vs. Nia Jax/Tamina (Elimination Chamber Match, Elimination Chamber, 2/17) - ****
9. Tyler Bate vs. The Velveteen Dream (Worlds Collide, 2/2) - ****
10. Bobby Lashley/Lio Rush vs. Finn Balor/Ricochet (Raw, 2/18) - ***¾


TOP 10 TV MATCHES (2019)

1. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio (SmackDown Live, 1/15) — ****¾
2. Johnny Gargano vs. The Velveteen Dream (NXT, 2/20) - ****¼
3. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio (2/3 Falls, SmackDown Live, 1/22) — ****¼
4. Bryan vs. Kofi vs. Hardy vs. Joe vs. Styles vs. Orton (Gauntlet Match, SmackDown Live, 2/12) - ****¼
5. Drew Gulak vs. Matt Riddle (NXT, 2/6) - ****
6. Bobby Roode/Chad Gable vs. The Revival (Raw, 2/11) - ****
7. Andrade/Samoa Joe vs. Mustafa Ali/Mysterio (SmackDown Live, 1/8) — ****
8. Cedric Alexander vs. Hideo Itami (205 Live, 1/9) — ****
9. Bobby Lashley vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins (Raw, 1/14) — ****
10. Baron Corbin vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Finn Balor vs. John Cena (Raw, 1/14) — ****


TOP 10 MATCHES (2019)

1. Ricochet vs. Johnny Gargano (TakeOver: Phoenix) — ****¾
2. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio (SmackDown Live, 1/15) — ****¾
3. Asuka vs. Becky Lynch (Royal Rumble, 1/27) — ****½
4. Brock Lesnar vs. Finn Balor (Royal Rumble, 1/27) — ****½
5. Ronda Rousey vs. Sasha Banks (Royal Rumble, 1/27) — ****½
6. Moustache Mountain vs. James Drake/Zach Gibson (TakeOver: Blackpool) — ****½
7. Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton (Elimination Chamber Match, Elimination Chamber, 2/17) - ****¼
8. Johnny Gargano vs. The Velveteen Dream (NXT, 2/20) - ****¼
9. Undisputed Era vs. War Raiders (TakeOver: Phoenix) — ****¼
10. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio (2/3 Falls, SmackDown Live, 1/22) — ****


So, now that that’s out of the way, it’s time to showcase the February Top 25. This will be done in a condensed matter, so as to not create too much havoc here. I’ll be doing this monthly, and will have a couple of blurbs below on my thoughts on what happened this month. Anyways, on to it here.

THE WWE TOP 25, FEBRUARY

1. The Velveteen Dream (19.5)
T2. Jeff Hardy, Ricochet (18.5)
4. Aleister Black (18)
5. Adam Cole (17.75)
6. Lio Rush (16.25)
7. Daniel Bryan (15.5)
8. Johnny Gargano (15.25)
9. Randy Orton (15)
10. Tyler Bate (14.75)
T11. Bayley, Finn Balor (14.25)
13. Humberto Carrillo (13.5)
T14. AJ Styles, Drew Gulak, Kofi Kingston, Samoa Joe (12)
T18. Sasha Banks, Tommaso Ciampa, Dash Wilder, Scott Dawson (11)
T22. Nia Jax, Tony Nese (10.5)
24. Cedric Alexander (10.25)
25. Dominik Dijakvoic (8.25)

The Velveteen Dream got his first taste of championship gold to cap off an outstanding performance in the month of February. For Dream’s efforts this month, he became the top performer in the WWE Top 25 this month. Dream worked seven matches, more than anybody this month. He starred in the epic six-man tag on Halftime Heat, and then reached the finals of the Worlds Collide Tournament, a tourney that he won by defeating Tyler Bate in a sensational contest. Then, he capped it off by winning the NXT North American Championship away from Johnny Gargano in the second-best TV match of the month. A well-deserved honor for Dream, to be sure.

Maybe you’re a little surprised to see Jeff Hardy up there. I was a little bit too, but Hardy was part of some pretty great TV matches this month. He partook in the epic Gauntlet Match, was part of a great six-man tag post-Elimination Chamber and was in a fun match with his brother Matt Hardy against The Bar to close the month.

Hardy shares the honor of second place with none other than Ricochet. Remember when we were talking about match volume for him last month? Well, getting serious burn on Raw, SmackDown Live AND NXT will absolutely help The One and Only going forward. The same can be said about Aleister Black, who finished out the month at #4. Adam Cole got the nod at #5 after a heck of a run in Worlds Collide, a great performance in Halftime Heat, and partook in a great match with the aforementioned Ricochet on NXT TV.

Lio Rush was nothing if not consistent this month. Rush worked two really fun matches with Finn Balor, was involved in a tag match with Bobby Lashley against Finn and Ricochet, and was involved in the Handicap Match at Elimination Chamber where Finn won the IC Title.

Daniel Bryan’s ascent up these rankings should be fun to follow, as he was #7 this month. As we mentioned with Black and Ricochet, you shouldn’t be too surprised going forward if Johnny Gargano makes a big run. Randy Orton had essentially the same luxury as Jeff Hardy, but partook in one less match, which is why he found himself 9th. And Tyler Bate certainly had a great month between NXT UK showings and the Worlds Collide Event.

Going down the rest of the rungs here, we don’t find too many other surprises. But there was one shift at the end. Dominik Dijakovic kicked Mandy Rose out of the Top 25 after a tremendous match against Keith Lee on the final episode of NXT TV in February. Talk about coming down to the wire.


JUST MISSED THE CUT

Cesaro - 18 Points
Akira Tozawa - 17.25 Points
Lio Rush - 16.75 Points
AJ Styles, Sarah Logan - 15.75 Points
Liv Morgan, Trent Seven - 15.25 Points
Jordan Devlin, Mandy Rose, Nikki Cross - 15 Points

Now, the moment you’ve ALL been waiting for…

Presenting: The WWE Top 25, CUMULATIVE!


25. RANDY ORTON
Last Month:
NR | Points: 19
Notable Showing: Elimination Chamber Match (Elimination Chamber, 2/17)

Randy Orton isn’t working as much as he used to, but Orton made the most of every chance he got last month to get himself in the Top 25.

It started in a very solid singles match against Mustafa Ali at the beginning of the month. Then, Orton… okay, yes, he was in the Gauntlet Match for like, 30 seconds at most. But if you’re in a match, you get the points, so he earned 4.25 points for that effort. Then he was in the Elimination Chamber and had a very solid showing in what was a very good match. Orton rounded things out with a good showing in the six-man tag match on the penultimate SmackDown Live of February.

Orton should be a fascinating case going forward. Like we mentioned, he’s obviously not working as much as he used to. But, he did have a match every single week but one in February. So, will we see that kind of output in March? Perhaps we will, and if we do, we could see The Viper slither up the rungs.

T23. BECKY LYNCH, BOBBY LASHLEY
Last Month:
5th (Becky, -18) // 15th (Lashley, -8) | Points: 19.5
Notable Showing: vs. Finn/Ricochet w/ Lio Rush (Raw, 2/18)

We’ve got ourselves a tie at 23rd.

Becky Lynch has the unfortunate honor of having the biggest drop of anyone in the rankings. Considering she had no matches in the month of February though? It’s not too surprising that she took this pitfall. Given the scope, you should expect a steady rise back up the charts as time goes on for her.

Bobby Lashley, meanwhile, falls down to 23rd after sitting at 15th last month. Lashley’s best effort was in a tag team match with Lio Rush against the team of IC Champion Finn Balor and Ricochet. Other than that though, the cupboard ran pretty dry. His IC Championship Handicap Match was solid enough, but his six-man tag with Drew McIntyre and Baron Corbin against Balor, Kurt Angle and Braun Strowman was a lengthy match that missed the mark.

But considering how things have gone for both of these two, I wouldn’t expect to see either of them tied in the same spot after March.

22. DREW MCINTYRE
Last Month:
9th (-13) | Points: 19.75
Notable Showing: vs. Dean Ambrose (No Disqualifications, Raw, 2/25)

2019 has been a mixed bag for Drew McIntyre, but his stock certainly took a downturn. After placing 9th in the January rankings, McIntyre stands 22nd in the rankings after the month of February.

His best performance certainly came in a No DQ match on the final episode of Raw in February. Before that though was a lot of not-so-good. Part of that is perhaps due with how stale the Raw upper-card has gotten over the past few months, but like with many other cases: I can only grade what I see in front of me. And he had four matches that were given two stars or less this month.

Drew Mac has a chance to right the ship and do better in March. By the looks of things, he may very well have that chance. There’s plenty of potential there for better, but he had the second biggest drop of anyone in the rankings, and he did so despite wrestling five matches this month. So “disappointing” is definitely the word for Drew’s February.

21. HUMBERTO CARRILLO
Last Month:
NR | Points: 20.25
Notable Showing: vs. Velveteen Dream (Worlds Collide, 2/2)

Humberto Carrillo is becoming a bit of a cult favorite on 205 Live, and for good reason.

Carrillo has been shining for a bit now. He nearly made it into the Top 25 in January, but fell just a little short. But there was no denying him after his February. He performed very well in the Worlds Collide event, shining especially against the winner, Velveteen Dream. He had a good match against TJP, in what wound up being TJP’s final match with the company, and was in a fun tag on NXT with newcomer Stacey Ervin Jr. against the high-energy tag team known as The Street Profits.

Reading between the lines, a big run in the Cruiserweight Championship #1 Contender’s Tournament could be in the works for Carrillo. He’s starting off against the great Oney Lorcan, which could absolutely help his cause for March. He’s a rising star, and you should probably be paying lots of attention to if you already aren’t.

20. SHEAMUS
Last Month:
14th (-6) | Points: 20.5
Notable Showing: vs. DIY w/ Cesaro (SmackDown Live, 2/19)

While his teammate Cesaro is on the outside looking in this month, Sheamus remains inside the Top 25 after February has come and gone.

Sheamus worked two matches this month, and that’s all he needed to be in the mix. He did slip from 14th to 20th, but a light workload will certainly do that. The Bar definitely performed well in those tag matches, competing against DIY and The Hardy Boyz in some fun TV tags on SmackDown Live.

Everything in the SDL tag scene will become clearer after Fastlane comes and gone, most likely, so we’ll see what happens with Sheamus going forward. But for now, he stays in the mix despite the very light effort in February.

19. RONDA ROUSEY
Last Month:
8th (-11) | Points: 20.75
Notable Showing: vs. Ruby Riott (Raw, 2/18)

It wasn’t the best month for Ronda Rousey.

Despite wrestling five matches in the month of February, two behind the leader in Velveteen Dream, only one of them got a grade of three stars or better from me. She three matches that didn’t go no more than five minutes, dusting up all of Riott Squad in the process. That included a total dud against Ruby Riott at Elimination Chamber, a disappointment in just about every facet.

The two more than made up for it the following night on Raw, but Rousey ended with a whimper in a tag match against Riott Squad with Natalya by her side. The match really just did not hit with me, and as a result, Rousey slid way down to 19th after being 8th last month.

There’s zero telling of what’s to come as far as TV matches go for her this month. It doesn’t appear likely that she’ll be wrestling at Fastlane, so she’s going to have to show out and perform better in March to avoid slipping out entirely. There is plenty of competition behind her, but she’s certainly capable of much better. It wasn’t her fault entirely, but I can only judge what I see. And she had a disappointing month, and found herself just on the inside of the Top 20.

18. ADAM COLE
Last Month:
NR | Points: 21.5
Notable Showing: Halftime Heat Six-Man Tag (Halftime Heat, 2/3)

Much like his other peers from NXT who made their way on this list this month, the only thing stopping Adam Cole from showing up around here was Adam Cole.

Cole had a great month of February that started off in the Worlds Collide event. Cole had some great showings, including a match against Tyler Bate that caught my attention and many others. He also had a very good match against Keith Lee in that tournament that drew attention his way, as well.

Undisputed Era’s leader shined in the Halftime Heat spectacle and had a very good TV match against Ricochet. While he wasn’t pegged for primetime like is other peers, Cole should continue to be a focal point on NXT TV going forward. And hopefully enough to keep him in contention for this spot going forward.

17. ALEISTER BLACK
Last Month:
NR | Points: 21.75
Notable Showing: Halftime Heat Six-Man Tag (Halftime Heat, 2/3)

After a quiet January, Aleister Black has finessed his way into the Top 25.

Black was part of some very good NXT matches this month. He partook in the celebrated Halftime Heat encounter, and also fought Roderick Strong in what was a very good TV match on the penultimate episode of NXT TV in February.

Aleister also jumped into the fold on Raw and SmackDown and had some very good showings there, as well. His match against Andrade, in particular, was a stirring performance, as was his tag match with Ricochet against The Revival on Raw on February 25.

Black certainly has plenty of potential to make moves if this type of production continues. He had a terrific month of February and certainly deserves plenty of recognition for it.

16. SETH ROLLINS
Last Month:
4 (-12) | Points: 22.25
Notable Showing: N/A

Despite not working a single match in February, Seth Rollins still winds up in the rankings.

Rollins now sits 16th after a fabulous month of January that had him all the way up at 4th. But them’s are the breaks when you don’t work at all.

That will likely change come March, as it seems they’re holding him off a bit so that he’s ready to rock for WrestleMania. You should probably expect a better finish for him after March has come and gone as a result.

15. DEAN AMBROSE
Last Month:
7th (-8) | Points: 22.5
Notable Showing: vs. Drew McIntyre (No Disqualifications, Raw, 2/25)

It wasn’t the greatest month for Dean Ambrose, but he still managed to not lose too much ground.

After a Top 10 finish in January, Ambrose finished the month of February at 15th. This with his highest-graded match being 3.25, and it came on the final Monday of the month, no less, in a No DQ match against Drew McIntyre.

Given that it seems in the cards that Ambrose will be working with the same, usual suspects, it is a wonder what will happen to him after March. I’d project a slide here, but honestly, I didn’t expect him to be in the Top 10 and the Top 15 in the first two months of the year. So really, anything is possible as long as he gets the workload and no one behind him catches up to him.

14. KOFI KINGSTON
Last Month:
NR | Points: 22.75
Notable Showing: Gauntlet Match (SmackDown Live, 2/12)

Kofimania is the real deal, baby. Kofi Kingston’s February effort lands him 14th in the WWE Top 25.

Kingston wasn’t supposed to be here, and that means multiple things in this instance. Given how things transpired, it’s probably likely that his spot here would be Mustafa Ali’s. Remember: Ali was tied for 19th last month, having racked up 11.5 points. Given that Kingston picked up 12 points, 23.5 would’ve once again tied Ali with Samoa Joe for a Top 10 appearance.

But that’s purely a what-if. We deal with realities, and the reality was that Kingston had a tremendous showcase this month. Between the Gauntlet Match, the Elimination Chamber and the Six-Man Tag that he was involved in, Kingston showed out in a big way. His performance in the tag team match on the final SmackDown of February sealed up his spot inside the Top 15 and assured him that he’ll continue ticking onward as March approaches.

Given what’s on the horizon, it’s very possible that Kingston could land in the Top 10 very, very soon.

T11. DANIEL BRYAN, JEFF HARDY, THE VELVETEEN DREAM
Last Month:
NR- | Points: 23
Notable Showing:
Bryan - WWE Championship Elimination Chamber Match (Elimination Chamber, 2/17)
Hardy - Gauntlet Match (SmackDown Live, 2/12)
Dream - vs. Johnny Gargano (NXT, 2/20)

We have ourselves a three-way tie featuring some big, big stars. And for the second month in a row, we have a tie at the #11 position.

Daniel Bryan, Jeff Hardy and The Velveteen Dream are all knotted up at 23 points after the month of February. The biggest surprise here may very well be Jeff. It’s well known that Daniel Bryan is the best wrestler on the planet, and February was extremely kind to him in that regard. Bryan worked a lot more than he did in January, and showed out tremendously in each effort he had. Especially so in his segments with Kofi Kingston in the Elimination Chamber and the Gauntlet Match on SmackDown Live. These types of efforts are the norm, and it won’t be surprising if he makes it into the Top 10 after March.

Dream, meanwhile, was merely a victim of lack of opportunity in January. He shined in February, as we already mentioned. He gained serious ground with the seven matches he competed in, notably the one where he became the North American Champion. Velveteen won’t be short on opportunities as TakeOver: New York looms in the distance, so expect him to have a heavy presence here.

Jeff Hardy though? Jeff has been a great TV worker this year and is showing tremendous versatility. He was the second-best worker per #TheMath this past month, tied with Ricochet, as we already profiled. It’s really extraordinary when you put everything into perspective. But Hardy is having a tremendous renaissance in 2019. As long as good fortune continues to bless him, we’ll likely continue to see his name here going forward.

10. SAMOA JOE
Last Month:
19th (+9) | Points: 23.5
Notable Showing: WWE Championship Elimination Chamber Match (Elimination Chamber, 2/17)

Samoa Joe obviously isn’t the worker that he once was. But Joe is still doing well enough and participating enough to get himself Top 10 status after February.

Joe partook in three great matches this past month. He first showed out in the Gauntlet Match before Elimination Chamber. He certainly had a great effort in that, helping Kofi Kingston look like a million bucks. And while he was eliminated early on in the Elimination Chamber match that ensuing Sunday, Joe still received 4.25 points for that match, which helped lift him up in a big way.

What sealed up his spot was the six-man tag that took place two nights after Elimination Chamber. Joe and Co. received enough points to gain serious enough ground to sneak into the Top 10.

What comes next for Joe is yet to be seen. He doesn’t seem to have a Mania feud locked in, given that Mustafa Ali’s status is hanging int he balance, and others appear to be gaining traction. But Joe should likely be able to compete in his first-ever WrestleMania, so we should expect to see him get more opportunities in March as the road to ‘Mania marches on. And so far? You should expect him to make the most of them.

9. NIA JAX
Last Month:
11th (+2) | Points: 25
Notable Showing: Women’s Tag Team Championships Elimination Chamber Match (Elimination Chamber, 2/17)

Nia Jax? In The Top 10? She barely made it possible, but Jax snuck in to get in the mix.

Jax competed in three matches this month and her showings were good enough to put her in this spot. She helped lead her and Tamina to victory in a Triple Threat Tag before Elimination Chamber. Then, Jax competed inside the Elimination Chamber that ensuing Sunday. While she and her partner didn’t become the first-ever Women’s Tag Team Champions, Jax still received four points for the match, which very much helped her cause.

Her match against Bayley on the final Raw of February sealed up her fate. She and Bayley had a strong showing in that singles encounter, the usual for the two of them, as they have great chemistry with each other. Jax probably won’t be short on chances going forward, so she’ll likely be in this standing unless others storm ahead. Right now, she’s tied with Bayley for the second-most women’s matches in 2019 so far, so that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen anytime soon.

8. SASHA BANKS
Last Month:
10 (+2) | Points: 26.25
Notable Showing: Women’s Tag Team Championships Elimination Chamber Match (Elimination Chamber, 2/17)

Sasha Banks took a two-spot increase after a pretty solid month at the office.

Despite the fact that she didn’t participate much in two of the three matches she worked this month, she still obviously received points for being part of two Raw tag team matches. Then there was, of course, her sparkling showing inside the Elimination Chamber, a match that she and her tag team partner Bayley won to become the first WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions.

Banks may have seen herself go up even further had they handed her a match on Raw this past week. However, that honor went to her tag team partner. But it’s evident so far that she remains one of the best in-ring talents in WWE when she gets the opportunity to show it.

7. TYLER BATE
Last Month:
15th (+7) | Points: 27
Notable Showing: vs. Velveteen Dream (Worlds Collide, 2/2)

Jumping into the Top 10 this month is Tyler Bate.

After a great effort as a tag wrestler in January, Bate got a chance to showcase his singles skills in the Worlds Collide event on the first Saturday of February. Needless to say, Bate impressed and impressed a lot. He was responsible for two of the best matches of the entire tournament.

The final against Velveteen Dream was an enthralling contest, and his match with Adam Cole was also fantastic. Efforts against Cedric Alexander and Dominik Dijakovic sprinkled in helped to lift Bate up to this spot.

He did have a match on the final day of TV against Gentleman Jack Gallagher that, quite frankly, didn’t really hit with me. Had it hit with me though, Bate would’ve ascended into the Top 5, and it certainly would’ve been deserved. Now, going forward, it will be about producing hits rather than misses. And if he can do so, expect Bate to be a familiar face on these rankings, especially within the Top 10.

6. REY MYSTERIO
Last Month:
2nd (-4) | Points: 27.625
Notable Showing: vs. Andrade, R-Truth (SmackDown Live, 2/26)

Despite competing in only one match in February, Rey Mysterio stays in the Top 10.

Mysterio battled in a Triple Threat Match on the final episode of SmackDown Live of February. In that match he, Andrade and R-Truth fought over the United States Championship. The match was strong enough to allow Mysterio to stay within this high range and go down to 6th after being at 2nd in February.

There’s obviously no denying what Rey is capable of doing. Even at 44, he’s still among the best in the entire world at the rate that he’s going right now. He will obviously have to see a workload increase if he wants to avoid falling further down the chute. But even still, you have to take stock in just how impressive he is so far in 2019.

5. BAYLEY
Last Month:
11th (+6) | Points: 28.25
Notable Showing: Women’s Tag Team Championships Elimination Chamber Match (Elimination Chamber, 2/17)

The Ace. Is. Back.

As I wrote last month, the perception around Bayley sunk way to the bottom over the last few years. But 2019 has been absolutely kind to her. She had a great January that was compounded by arguably an even better February, which has now propelled her all the way up to the #5 spot on the rankings. She was at 14.5 points last month and 14.25 this month, so we’re really splitting hairs here. But it’s evident to me that her confidence is back in a big way.

She practically got here all by herself, too. In her two tag matches prior to the Elimination Chamber Match, Bayley basically played it solo while Sasha Banks was taken out. She willed her way to a win over Alicia Fox and Nikki Cross, then fell on the sword in a Triple Threat Tag the following week. She and Sasha helped to make the first-ever Women’s Tag Team Titles Elimination Chamber Match a strong success, as did the fact that they went over in the match.

Bayley capped off her month with a very good showcase in a rare singles match against Nia Jax on the final Raw of February.

Not only is Bayley making her mark as a tag team wrestler, she’s also starting to shine yet again in singles competition. Thus far, the only woman who’s been in more matches than her (8) this year is Ronda Rousey (9). And frankly? Bayley hasn’t missed once yet. She earned a reputation as an ‘ace’ in NXT, and it seems like she’s found her confidence on the main roster. At this rate, she’s going to have a superb year and the first two months are a huge indication of that.

4. RICOCHET
Last Month:
18th (+14) | Points: 30.375
Notable Showing: Halftime Heat Six-Man Tag (Halftime Heat, 2/3)

It will be fascinating to see what happens going forward for Ricochet. His workload will probably have to increase for him to stay into the Top 25, but NXT can only provide him so much. That being said, if he can deliver (and the man has YET to not) in the minimal spots that he has, then he has a very steady chance of maintaining his spot in the Top 25 going forward.”

That passage came to us from last month’s edition of the WWE Top 25. At the time, Ricochet was 18th and got into the mix with only one TV match.

Well, suffice it to say, his workload increased by a bundle. Ricochet is up to 4th after a strong showing in the month of February. He finished as the second-best performer of the entire month and his output got him here at this standing.

He, like others who are now in the mix, was boosted by the Halftime Heat showing. Then, like his fellow contemporaries, he got a chance to work Raw and SmackDown Live. He unsurprisingly dazzled in just about every showing, helping to boost his profile in a big way. He had a pretty terrific match with Adam Cole on NXT TV, as well, to help put a bow on a great February.

Given that he’ll be participating in the Dusty Classic, Ricochet should see himself stay up near the top of these rankings after March. He’s only scratching the surface at this point as well too, and he could be in for an absolutely huge year if all goes well.

3. ANDRADE
Last Month:
2nd (-1) | Points: 31.125
Notable Showing: vs. Aleister Black (SmackDown Live, 2/19)

When you work two matches in the entire month of February, and still stand in the Top 3, it says a lot about what you’ve done.

Andrade sits #3 in the WWE Top 25 despite a very minimal workload. He competed in two matches in the final two weeks of the month, working against Aleister Black and then in a Triple Threat US Championship Match against Rey Mysterio and R-Truth. Those were shiny enough performances not to cause him to lose significant ground like some of his peers did.

Andrade’s monster January certainly helped to keep him in this spot. With the action beginning to churn up around him, and things starting to heat up behind him now, he’ll likely need a really strong March to stay in the Top 3. But that being said, there’s a reason why many consider him one of the greatest in-ring talents in the world today.

2. JOHNNY GARGANO
Last Month:
6th (+4) | Points: 34.125
Notable Showing: vs. The Velveteen Dream (NXT, 2/20)

This probably shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. As I predicted last month, the more that Johnny Gargano works, the more he’ll be able to rise in these rankings. And after a strong February, Gargano is all the way up to #2.

It began with Halftime Heat and concluded with an unsuccessful defense of his North American Championship. But Gargano’s match with Velveteen Dream was arguably the best TV match of the month and one of the best on NXT TV in recent memory.

Now that Gargano appears to be splitting time between Raw, SmackDown Live and NXT, March could very well be a big month for him. In addition to that, Gargano will be in the Dusty Classic, and could be in line for some very strong performances. While the #1 man on this list has a big lead, it wouldn’t surprise many if Gargano either catches him or usurps him by month’s end. That’s just the kind of talent he is, and that’s just the kind of talent he’ll continue to be.

1. FINN BALOR
Last Month:
1st (—) | Points: 41.75
Notable Showing: vs. Lashley & Lio Rush (Elimination Chamber, 2/17)

The king stays the king.

Although he didn’t have any super-glowing performances like he did in January, Finn Balor did just enough to not only maintain his spot at the top of the WWE Top 25, but to widen his lead. Last month, he was a mere 3.375 points ahead of both Andrade and Rey Mysterio. But this month, Finn stands 7.625 points ahead of the man in second place, Johnny Gargano.

That will happen when you’re once again a workhorse. Finn worked six matches in February, second-most among all WWE superstars this month. He’s worked 12 total, two more than Tyler Bate and Drew McIntyre, who’ve each worked 10 so far this year. And it’ll especially happen when a majority of your matches are graded three stars or higher. I gave four of Finn’s six matches this month three stars or better.

At this rate, it doesn’t look like this train will stop anytime soon. Finn should continue to be one of the big workhorses of the Raw brand up to and through WrestleMania as Intercontinental Champion. Nobody really poses much of a threat at this juncture to him either, so you should firmly expect him to be at or near the top of this list, unless something drastic happens.

The 2019 WWE Top 25: January

Hello everyone, and welcome to the first official edition of the WWE Top 25!

January has come and gone, and what a month it was in the World Wrestling Federation. There was action aplenty all over, and now that WWE TV has wrapped up for the month, it’s time to take a look at who made the cut for the first set of rankings for the year 2019.

In case you need a refresher on what the WWE Top 25 is, the grading system, and what my projections were for the entire year, here’s a handy link.

As an aside, each month, in addition to the WWE Top 25, I will be unveiling my Top 10 matches for the month as well as my Top 10 TV matches for the month, as well. Given that I am watching each TV show each week, and I am grading what I’m seeing, I think it’s important to showcase the matches that are worthy of praise and recognition. So with that said, before we unveil the rankings, let’s take a look at the matches of the month.

TOP 10 TV MATCHES

1. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio (SmackDown Live, 1/15) — ****¾
2. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio (2/3 Falls, SmackDown Live, 1/22) — ****¼
3. Andrade/Samoa Joe vs. Mustafa Ali/Mysterio (SmackDown Live, 1/8) — ****
4. Cedric Alexander vs. Hideo Itami (205 Live, 1/9) — ****
5. Bobby Lashley vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins (Raw, 1/14) — ****
6. Baron Corbin vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Finn Balor vs. John Cena (Raw, 1/14) — ****
7. The Usos vs. The Bar (SmackDown Live, 1/8) — ***¾
8. Balor/Cena/Rollins vs. Lashley/Ambrose/McIntyre (Raw, 1/7) — ***¾
9. Drew McIntyre vs. Seth Rollins (Raw, 1/21) — ***¾
10. Danny Burch/Oney Lorcan vs. Fabian Aichner/Marcel Barthel (NXT, 1/23) — ***¾

JUST MISSED THE CUT

Ronda Rousey vs. Bayley (Raw, 1/28)
Adam Cole vs. EC3 (NXT, 1/9)
Bianca Belair vs. Nikki Cross (NXT, 1/9)
Finn Balor vs. Jinder Mahal (Raw, 1/14)
Jordan Devlin vs. Travis Banks (NXT UK, 1/23)

TOP 10 MATCHES

1. Ricochet vs. Johnny Gargano (TakeOver: Phoenix) — ****¾
2. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio (SmackDown Live, 1/15) — ****¾
3. Asuka vs. Becky Lynch (Royal Rumble, 1/27) — ****½
4. Brock Lesnar vs. Finn Balor (Royal Rumble, 1/27) — ****½
5. Ronda Rousey vs. Sasha Banks (Royal Rumble, 1/27) — ****½
6. Moustache Mountain vs. James Drake/Zach Gibson (TakeOver: Blackpool) — ****½
7. Undisputed Era vs. War Raiders (TakeOver: Phoenix) — ****¼
8. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio (2/3 Falls, SmackDown Live, 1/22) — ****
9. Women’s Royal Rumble Match (Royal Rumble, 1/27) — ****
10. Men’s Royal Rumble Match (Royal Rumble, 1/27) — ****

JUST MISSED THE CUT

Mustafa Ali/Rey Mysterio vs. Andrade/Samoa Joe (SmackDown Live, 1/8)
Cedric Alexander vs. Hideo Itami (205 Live, 1/8)
Dean Ambrose vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Seth Rollins (Raw, 1/14)
Finn Balor vs. John Cena vs. Baron Corbin vs. Drew McIntyre (Raw, 1/14)

Okay, so we’ve gotten that out of the way. Let’s dive through some quick numbers:

  • There were 92 total matches this month on WWE TV and WWE Network specials

  • There were 70 total matches this month on WWE TV

  • Of the 92 total matches, 40 of them received grades of at least ***½

  • Of the 92 total matches, 17 of them received grades of at least ****

  • Of the 92 total matches, six of them received grades of at least ****½

  • Of those three, two were given ****¾

  • There were no matches given five stars this month

  • 146 wrestlers partook in matches this month

  • Finn Balor and Seth Rollins were the workhorses of the month. Finn and Seth each competed in six matches, the most of anyone in the entire company. Finn had the distinction of competing on Raw, TakeOver: Blackpool AND the Royal Rumble.

I’d like to start by giving some honorable mentions. So, here those are.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

PETE DUNNE, RHEA RIPLEY — 8 points

KALISTO — 8.5 points

BROCK LESNAR, JAMES DRAKE, ZACK GIBSON — 9 points

ASUKA — 9.25 points

BARON CORBIN, JINDER MAHAL — 9.5 points

AKIRA TOZAWA — 10.25 points

And now…

Presenting: The WWE Top 25 for January!


T23. FABIAN AICHNER, MARCEL BARTHEL, NATALYA
Score:
11
Most Notable Match:
Women’s Royal Rumble Match (Natalya, Royal Rumble, 1/27);
vs. Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch (Aichner and Barthel, NXT, 1/23)

We had a three-way tie here to ‘start’ the Top 25.

We’ll start by talking about the tag team of Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner. Those who may not be in the know were likely in the know now after watching these two compete with each other this month. Barthel and Aichner have been prominent faces in the NXT UK brand and have also made stops in NXT as well.

That proved to be the case this month, and these two studs showed out. They had three very fun and good tag matches both across the pond and here in the states. Their best effort was against Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch on the final NXT before TakeOver: Phoenix. If you haven’t seen that match, I highly recommend it. The two teams went full throttle, and Aichner and Barthel showed a lot of promise.

This could definitely be a sign of things to come if they get more screen time like I think that they will. Be on the look out for these two, as they could very well be a contender for Tag Team of the Year at this rate.

Meanwhile, squeezing her way into the Top 25 in January’s Top 25 is Natalya.

Nattie was certainly aided by the fact that she partook in some very solid tag team matches this month. She was part of two terrific ones in fact, as she and Ronda Rousey battled The Boss & Hug Connection on the go-home Raw before the Royal Rumble. Nattie also partook in a six-woman tag featuring Bayley and Nikki Cross, as she and those two clashed with The Riott Squad back on January 14.

It also certainly helped that Nattie was part of the Royal Rumble match, a match that she was the ‘Ironwoman’ of, in fact. Nattie lasted 56:01, which proved to be longer than any other competitor could last in the entire match.

Given that she was on the fringe, and won’t be competing at Elimination Chamber as of now, it’s a wonder if she’s going to make it into February’s Top 25. Particularly because her feud with Dana Brooke likely will not be up to snuff with some of the other women superstars on the roster. That being said, she certainly had her good moments this month, and finessed her way into the Top 25 as a result.

T21. CESARO, NIKKI CROSS
Score:
11.25
Most Notable Match:
w/ Sheamus vs. The Usos (Cesaro, SmackDown Live, 1/8)
vs. Bianca Belair (Nikki Cross, NXT, 1/9)

Next up, a high-quality European duo who find themselves tied up at 21st.

Cesaro had himself yet another high-quality month alongside his buddy Sheamus. The Bar performed well in all three tag team matches that they competed in. Their highmark was at the start, as they faced off with The Usos in an excellent back-and-forth affair on the second SmackDown of the year 2019. Cesaro then went on to compete in a fun tag with Sheamus against The Miz and Shane McMahon at the Royal Rumble.

His month was capped off with a strong showing in the Fatal 4-Way tag that went down this past Tuesday on SmackDown. You’ll notice that Sheamus is not here alongside him. Like his tag partner, Cesaro faced off with The Miz on SmackDown. The difference? I preferred the Sheamus-Miz match to the Cesaro-Miz match, and you’ll see where Sheamus landed on this rankings list later on. But there’s no shame in being here, and I think we’ll continue to see him hang around.

Meanwhile, we have Nikki Cross here alongside The Swiss Cyborg. Cross finished up her run in NXT with a banger against Bianca Belair back on January 9. That match was one of my favorites of the month, even though it didn’t crack the Top 10. Cross then partook in a super fun match on Raw the ensuing Monday. She, along with Bayley and Natalya faced off with The Riott Squad in a match that showcased Nikki for the first time to the WWE main roster audience.

She wrapped up her January with a fine display in the Women’s Royal Rumble. For Nikki, the thing to watch will be her usage rate as well as what brand they decide to keep her on. She’ll be in a match against Boss and Hug on Monday, and that could give her a great start to the month of February.

T19. MUSTAFA ALI, SAMOA JOE
Score:
11.5
Most Notable Match: Ali-Mysterio/Joe-Andrade (SmackDown Live, 1/8)

Yet another tie here, as two fixtures on SmackDown Live made their way into the Top 20.

Mustafa Ali and Samoa Joe might as well be written about together. They were in three matches this month, and they were on opposite sides in each. The first came in an awesome tag team match to start off the month. Ali teamed up with Rey Mysterio, while Joe was in a tandem with Andrade. That match was the 3rd-best TV match of the month, and Ali and Joe were certainly big reasons why.

Later on, these two faced off in a fun singles match before the Rumble. Joe choked Ali out, and based on what would happen next at the Rumble and on SmackDown this past week, it doesn’t seem like this feud will end anytime soon. They both were in the Royal Rumble match, and Ali was able to eliminate Joe from the match.

It looked like Joe was going to break the tie on Tuesday. He was scheduled to face off with Rey, but Andrade attacked Rey before the match could even happen. Now these two will be on opposite ends again in the Elimination Chamber next month. So, it looks like these two will remain tied at the hip. Given what’s transpired already, it won’t be a surprise if we see them near each other again at the end of February.

18. RICOCHET
Score:
11.875
Most Notable Match: vs. Johnny Gargano (TakeOver: Phoenix)

Feast your eyes on the man who got into the Top 25 with only ONE match.

Ricochet holds that distinction this month, and it’s pretty hard to dispute. His match with Johnny Gargano at TakeOver: Phoenix was just outstanding. Both he and Gargano brought out ridiculous tricks and maneuvers, and wowed the PHX crowd with what was, in my opinion, the match of the month in January.

It will be fascinating to see what happens going forward for Ricochet. His workload will probably have to increase for him to stay into the Top 25, but NXT can only provide him so much. That being said, if he can deliver (and the man has YET to not) in the minimal spots that he has, then he has a very steady chance of maintaining his spot in the Top 25 going forward. But he certainly deserves plenty of recognition here.

T15. BOBBY LASHLEY, TRENT SEVEN, TYLER BATE
Score:
12.25
Most Notable Match:
vs. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins (Lashley, Raw, 1/14);
vs. James Drake and Zack Gibson (Seven/Bate, TakeOver: Blackpool, 1/12)

A three-way tie comes up next, as a dynamite tag team is evened up with an ‘allmighty’ force on Monday Night Raw.

Bobby Lashley had himself a very good month. It started in a six-man tag on the first Raw of 2019. Lashley teamed up with Drew McIntyre and Dean Ambrose, as the three faced off with John Cena, Finn Balor and Seth Rollins. Then, Lashley won the IC Title in a banger triple threat with the aforementioned Ambrose and Rollins. That title victory was Lashley’s first in over a decade in WWE, obviously, and certainly helped cement his status in this Top 25 as a result.

Bobby spent just a couple of seconds in the Royal Rumble. But, since I awarded points to everyone in the Rumble, and TRUST ME, that will come up again here shortly, he was able to launch his way up to 15th as a result.

Given that Lashley is the current IC Champion, he’ll likely remain a fixture here for some time. He’ll be defending that belt pretty regularly, and considering who he’s feuding with now, those matches should be good enough to keep him in the mix.

Meanwhile, Trent Seven and Tyler Bate got into the Top 25 despite working only two matches. I can tell you that they were on the outside looking in going into Wednesday. But, their match with the aforementioned Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel on NXT UK was good enough for them to get back into the mix. And it certainly would’ve been a shame had they missed out.

They had one of the best matches of the entire month at TakeOver: Blackpool. They came up short to Zack Gibson and James Drake in the match that crowned the first-ever NXT UK Tag Team Champions. But, that effort was strong enough to have them vying for contention. And unlike Gibson and Drake, they were able to get one more match this month to finesse their way up to 15th.

For them, like others in the NXT brands, workload will be what has to keep them vying for contention. Time will tell to see what happens for them, but for now, they have more than earned their spot in this month’s Top 25.

14. SHEAMUS
Score:
13.75
Most Notable Match: w/ Cesaro vs. The Usos (SmackDown, 1/9)

Sheamus has always been one of WWE’s most consistent performers. So it should come as no surprise that The Celtic Warrior finds himself in a very good spot on these rankings after the month of January.

Sheamus participated in four matches this month. Three of them were tag efforts, the best coming on the second SmackDown of the new year. He and Cesaro faced off with The Usos in a dynamite tag match that was one of the better matches on TV this month. Sheamus would later go on to face The Miz in a pretty fun singles match the next week, and then he and Cesaro took Miz and Shane McMahon on at the Royal Rumble. That one proved to be a fun one, and while Sheamus and Cesaro took the loss, it was still a solid enough effort to help him move up.

Sheamus capped off the month with a very solid showing in the Fatal 4-Way tag on SmackDown this past Tuesday. That match was won by the aforementioned Usos, but The Bar lasted until the final two and the match was entertaining enough for Sheamus to stick himself in this spot. He’s nearly two full points ahead of 15th, so there’s still a pretty sizable gap between he and everyone else.

While he won’t be participating at Elimination Chamber as of now, expect Sheamus to still get enough opportunities on SmackDown so that he can maintain his status as one of the most consistent performers in WWE.

13. HIDEO ITAMI
Score:
14.25
Most Notable Match: vs. Cedric Alexander (205 Live, 1/9)

Well, this is a bit ironic, eh?

Hideo Itami will finish January and his WWE career 13th in the first WWE Top 25.

Hideo participated in four matches, all in the realm of 205 Live, and frankly a lot of them were pretty good. His first match was his best effort, as he and Cedric Alexander had a doozy that saw Itami prove victorious. Then it was on to a triple threat with Akira Tozawa and Kalisto a few days before the Royal Rumble. That one, also, was a solid showing for all three, really.

Itami then performed well enough at the Royal Rumble in an intense Fatal 4-Way for the Cruiserweight Championship. Buddy Murphy proved victorious of course, but Hideo, like the others in the match, were rewarded for the performance. Finally, Itami’s WWE career wrapped up with another solid showing against the aforementioned Tozawa on Tuesday night’s episode of 205 Live.

Hideo Itami’s career in WWE will always be a what if, but make no mistake: Itami went out with a very consistent and legitimately good January.

T11. BAYLEY, NIA JAX
Score:
14.5
Most Notable Match: vs. Ronda Rousey (Bayley, Raw, 1/28);
Women’s Royal Rumble (Nia Jax, Royal Rumble, 1/27)

Not expecting this one? Well, we’re gonna dig on in. Cause there’s lots to chew on.

Let’s start with Bayley. Perception is a mother, and the perception around Bayley has seemed to be all over the place since that ill-fated night at Extreme Rules 2017 (I’m not discussing this further, you know what happened). Some have lost faith. Others have kept up optimism. Bayley’s been able to repay those folks who’ve stuck by her with a very solid effort in January.

As the Women’s Tag Team Championships loom, the truth of the matter is that Bayley’s turning herself into a pretty good tag team wrestler. Those “pointless” tag team matches on Raw only appear to be making her stronger in the department, and she helped herself out with a great showing against The Riott Squad in a legitimately fun six-woman tag. Then, the following week, she along with Sasha Banks battled Natalya and Ronda Rousey. Again, she showed out, and performed well in a big spot.

Then came the Women’s Royal Rumble, and Bayley had one of the best performances of the match. She came in with ferocity, eliminating Ruby Riott and Rhea Ripley, before later tossing Alexa Bliss out with the help her of pal Carmella. She nearly eliminated Charlotte Flair in a hell of a tease, but eventually lost. Still, she was in the Final Four, and looked great in doing so.

Her final showing in January was a brilliant solo effort against the aforementioned Rousey. While Ronda appeared to be a bit shaken and stirred by the crowd reactions in the promo beforehand, Bayley helped carry Ronda to a more than respectable match. She brought out a ton of new, innovative stuff and even used the Bank Statement. In case ANYBODY forgot how good Bayley was, I think she proved that she was still among the best, and did so in spades this month.

Now, let’s move on to Nia Jax. This one’s a little… more controversial. Perception on Nia has certainly been low, but the truth of the matter is that in her spots this month, she did rather well. She played her role against Sasha in a #1 contender’s match well, did fine enough in a match with Tamina against Sasha and Rousey, and ended the month with a solid showing in a tag against Alexa and Mickie James that helped catapult her and Tamina into the Elimination Chamber.

Now, why is she so high here? She was featured both the Men’s and Women’s Royal Rumble matches. She was among the final three in the Women’s Rumble before eventually being eliminated. Then, she showed up in the Men’s Rumble after attacking R-Truth, and ate finishers from Dolph Ziggler, Rey Mysterio and Randy Orton, but did rack up some eliminations beforehand.

Now, here’s the thing. Had Nia Jax just been featured in the Women’s match, she would’ve likely found herself closer to the fringe of the Top 25 instead of where she currently stands: Tied for 11th with a more consistent performer. I did give everyone who participated in the Rumbles four points, since I gave the matches four stars.

So, I couldn’t exclude Nia from that, since she appeared in both Rumbles. I gave Becky Lynch multiple points for appearing in two matches on the show, so fair has to be fair. This is not a situation that will arise again I don’t think, so eventually, there will be some course correction. However, this is where we stand based on the math and the way that the formula has to work.

Debate away, and feel free to bag on it if you want, but Bayley and Nia find themselves JUST on the outside of the Top 10.

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10. SASHA BANKS
Score:
15.75
Most Notable Match: vs. Ronda Rousey (Royal Rumble, 1/27)

The Boss… is back… to the level of greatness that we knew she was capable of.

Sasha Banks is in the Top 10 for the month of January. Banks partook in four matches his month, and almost all of them were absolute hits. Banks’ first match was a singles contest against Nia Jax, which helped Banks get a Raw Women’s Championship opportunity against Ronda Rousey at the Royal Rumble.

Sasha then moved on to team with Ronda against Nia and Tamina. That match was a little rough around the edges, but fear not: Banks still marched on. She partook in a match with her aforementioned pal Bayley against Rousey and Natalya on the go-home show before the Rumble, and it was certainly a sparkling affair.

But The Boss saved her best for last. Banks’ match against Ronda for the Women’s Championship was outstanding. She had been in the middle of the pack beforehand, but despite that, her showing and the grade that match got helped shoot her up into the 10 spot. Even while not competing on Raw the next night, she still did herself enough to be recognized in this fashion. And frankly? I’d expect to get used to that if what’s on the horizon is any indication.

If you forgot just how good Sasha Banks is? Well, January reminded you.

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9. DREW MCINTYRE
Score:
16
Most Notable Match: vs. Baron Corbin, Finn Balor and John Cena (Raw, 1/14)

His stock may not be as high as it was a few months ago, but Drew McIntyre did himself enough to squeak into the Top 10 this month.

McIntyre participated in a bundle of TV matches this month and not once did he miss a beat. Mac’s best showing may have been in the #1 Contender’s Fatal 4-Way, a match that he, Baron Corbin and John Cena lost to Finn Balor. But, McIntyre was certainly good enough to help make that match one of the best TV matches of the month.

McIntyre also partook in matches against Braun Strowman and Seth Rollins, each of which did their job and then some. The match against Seth really stood out, as it helped set the table for the Royal Rumble. Mac’s participation in that match gave him enough points to ascend into the Top 10 and his showing against Braun kept him stable.

I am interested in seeing what happens from here. He may be facing Cena at WrestleMania, but for now appears to be locked in a feud with Strowman, still. Will he stay within range? We’ll have to see. For now, Mac gets to belong in the Top 10.

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8. RONDA ROUSEY
Score:
16.5
Most Notable Match: vs. Sasha Banks (Royal Rumble, 1/27)

Ronda Rousey safely splashed into the Top 10 after a pretty wonderful January.

It didn’t get off to the ‘best’ of starts, as she and Sasha Banks were tasked with facing Nia Jax and Tamina on Raw. That tag match was just okay, and Ronda needed to partake in some… better matches going forward. Luckily, that’s exactly what happened.

It started the following week. Rousey, along with Natalya, took on The Boss and Hug Connection in the main event of Raw. The match was very good, as one might expect, and Rousey had her moments where she flourished.

Then came the Royal Rumble. Rousey and Banks collided in a match for the Raw Women’s Championship. And what a match it was. It certainly helped remind fans how good Sasha is, but it also definitely added to Ronda’s great cache that she’s built up in the last 10 months. It was yet another big time performance on a big time stage, and there’ll be plenty more chances for her to do exactly that again coming.

Rousey capped off her month against Bayley. This match was certainly carried by The Hugger, as Rousey looked… a bit shaken, perhaps by the debacle that happened beforehand where the crowd may, or may not, have shook her up. But points are points, and she was rewarded enough to maintain her spot in the Top 10.

Rousey’s standing will depend on what happens going forward. Will she fight at Elimination Chamber? It’s not looking likely. That could send her down the rankings next month and send others up the ladder. What will happen is yet to be seen, but there’s certainly no doubt that Rousey was among the best in-ring workers in January.

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7. DEAN AMBROSE
Score:
18.5
Most Notable Match: vs. Bobby Lashley and Seth Rollins (Raw, 1/14)

Hello, controversy. How are you?

Dean Ambrose? The Top 10?

Yup.

Ambrose’s stock may be down (and he’s also leaving WWE in April) but he still participated in more good matches than bad ones this month, which is sort of ironic in a way, I guess. He’s certainly a beneficiary of quantity, as he posted five matches on Raw and at the Royal Rumble. He’s also certainly a beneficiary of having those valuable points from the Men’s Royal Rumble match, as well.

But, that being said, he also had some quality showings against Seth Rollins on Raw, was in a very good six-man tag, and partook in a banger of a Triple Threat IC Championship Match on January 14.

This is no doubt one of the more controversial parts of this Top 25, I will admit that. But the formula doesn’t lie. And it says that Ambrose had himself a Top 10 month.

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6. JOHNNY GARGANO
Score:
19.125
Most Notable Match: vs. Ricochet (TakeOver: Phoenix, 1/26)

While opinions may have soured on him in the last couple of months, there’s no doubt that Johnny Gargano is one of the best in-ring workers in the game. And he proved exactly that at the start of the year 2019.

Gargano posted just THREE matches that made tape, and still managed to wriggle into the Top 10. He started off with a solid effort against newcomer Humberto Carrillo on NXT TV. Then, he had an absolutely spectacular match with Ricochet at TakeOver: Phoenix. Certainly, Gargano took himself to another level in this one, showcasing why he’s got the ‘Johnny TakeOver’ designation that he has.

Much like a few others, he was ‘rewarded’ with points for partaking in the Royal Rumble Match. Much like a few others, that sort of thing probably won’t happen again for a while, if ever again this year. But, in fairness, that effort against Ricochet would’ve gotten him into the Top 10 based on how things shook out.

Debate away, but Gargano’s standing shouldn’t come as a surprise.

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NXTop10

The ten greatest matches in Takeover history

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5. BECKY LYNCH
Score:
19.5
Most Notable Match: vs. Asuka (Royal Rumble, 1/27)

The Man is in the Top 5. Who could argue against that?

Becky Lynch came into 2019 white hot, and that’s not stopping any time soon. Lynch competed in four matches this month and hit on every single one of them. She had a really good showing in a triple threat on SmackDown, a solid effort against Peyton Royce, and then had her big night at the Royal Rumble.

She competed in an absolutely awesome match against Asuka to open the show. The match was a killer, with stiffness, high-impact maneuvers and hard hits galore. Lynch may have succumbed to Asuka’s own version of Cattle Mutilation, but that only set the stage for her big moment in the Royal Rumble match. Lynch was victorious, and was outstanding in doing so.

I do suspect that we’ll see Lynch a lot in the Top 10 going forward. She is putting in incredible work at this point in time. There’s no denying her place in WWE, and there’s no denying her place in these rankings either.

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4. SETH ROLLINS
Score:
22.25
Most Notable Match: Men’s Royal Rumble Match

The winner of the 2019 Royal Rumble has landed himself in the Top 5. And who could possibly be surprised? Seth Rollins went on a tear last year and that momentum seems to be rolling into 2019.

Rollins performed at a high level in TV matches this month. He never was given a grade below ***1/4, and shined brightly in some multi-man matches on Raw. Rollins was part of an awesome Triple Threat Intercontinental Championship Match that saw Bobby Lashley prove victorious (and featured Dean Ambrose), as well as a great six-man tag team match on the first Raw of 2019.

Rollins definitely had his moments this month, but I think he definitely shined the brightest in the Royal Rumble Match. He ‘overcame’ the odds and won after coming in at #10. I will say that I am looking forward to some more singles matches for Rollins this month. He had three of them, two against Ambrose, one against Drew McIntyre on the Raw go-home show. Given that now it’s in stone that he’ll face Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship, I imagine he’ll get plenty of burn going forward. Time to see what he can do.

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T2. ANDRADE, REY MYSTERIO
Scores:
24.125
Most Notable Match: Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio (SmackDown Live, 1/15)

It’s almost ironic that these two find themselves paired together, given how the month played itself out. But, Andrade and Rey Mysterio find themselves here tied for second place in the first edition of the WWE Top 25.

Many fans were longing for Andrade to finally be able to showcase his touted talents on the main roster. For a while, he was kind of stuck in purgatory due to timing issues, among other things. But anybody who has watched him, dating back to his AAA days in Mexico, knows that he’s a prodigy and an incredible talent. Well, Andrade absolutely got his shine on in January, alright. He lasted all the way until the Final Four in the Royal Rumble Match, a possible sign of things to come for him this year if all goes well.

But Andrade really shined against the man he’s tied up with here. Rey Mysterio was his dance partner three times on the three SmackDowns on the way to the Royal Rumble. Once in a tag team match, and twice in singles matches, one being a 2/3 falls match. And the first encounter they have may have been the best match to ever air on SmackDown.

Both Rey and Andrade brought out the best in each other, using innovative offense as well as high-flying and high-impact maneuvers. They took fans’ breaths away on more than one occasion, and each seem poised for bigger and better things. And frankly, we’ll all be better for it if that’s indeed the case.

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1. FINN BALOR
Score:
27.5
Most Notable Match: vs. Brock Lesnar (Royal Rumble, 1/27)

What a start to 2019 for Finn Balor. 2018 saw the beloved Balor try to find his footing again after spending time on the shelf from 2016-2017. While Balor definitely got plenty of work in, there was a sense that there was still plenty left to be desired. Well, Finn and WWE capitalized on that for sure.

Balor was arguably the biggest workhorse of the month. He worked six matches in total and even worked on two different continents. He was part of the first NXT UK TakeOver in Blackpool, having put on a dazzling display against Jordan Devlin, a superstar that Finn actually had a hand in training out in Ireland.

Finn was consistently great on TV. He took part in four TV matches this month, two in one night back on January 14. I gave TV matches that Finn participated in no worse than ***3/4, including two four-star showings in a six-man tag on January 7 and a Number One Contender’s Fatal 4-Way on January 14. Finn absolutely shined in both of those showings, winning the right to face Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble.

And no match displayed the type of abilities that Balor possesses more than that encounter against Lesnar. The match was a full-on sprint and Finn showed tremendous heart, offense and ability. It was, in my opinion, Finn’s best WWE match ever, even dating back to his days in NXT.

Simply put, Finn Balor was one of the best around in January. If he can keep up this kind of effort with this type of workload? Look out, because he could very well stay atop the rankings for a very long time at this current rate.


The 2019 WWE Top 25: "Preseason" Edition

Hello out there. Welcome to what’s hoping to be a staple of The Barber’s Chair Network’s wrestling coverage for the entirety of 2019. I give to you a new premise, aptly titled the WWE Top 25.

Out of the gate, you might have some questions. The good news is, I have answers for you. So, let me get this started here.

What is the WWE Top 25?

Great question! The WWE Top 25 is going to be a list, published right here to The Barber’s Chair Network, of the top performers in WWE, month-by-month. At the conclusion of each month, I will publish the list. This will continue on and progress all the way through. You might see superstars rise, you might see superstars fall. You might see them completely fall out of the rankings. Think of it like the college football and basketball polls. Only it will just be one person “voting.”

How are the rankings determined?

These rankings are going to be determined on match quality. That’s it, that’s all. I will be watching matches on WWE’s weekly TV programs and WWE Network events, grading the matches (0 stars-5 stars) and calculating their scores thereafter. Superstars eligible for these rankings will have to have competed on Raw, SmackDown Live, NXT, 205 Live AND NXT UK. If any NXT brands are created within the next 12 months, those superstars will become eligible to be used as well.

What is the grading system and how is it calculated?

This grading system will be calculated very simplistically and easily. I will be weighting certain thresholds differently than others. Here is how it’s going to go:

  • If a superstar’s match is graded 0-*3/4, they will be given 0.25 points.

  • If a superstar’s match is graded **-**3/4, they will be given 0.5 points.

  • If a superstar’s match is graded ***-****1/4, then they will be given between 3-4.25 points, depending on the star rating they receive. This allows for those who have good-great matches to receive their due while not completely overweighting their performances.

  • If a superstar’s match is graded ****1/2, then they will be given 9 points. The 4.5-star rating will be multiplied by 2.0 to weight for quality.

  • If a superstar’s match is graded ****3/4, then they will be given 11.875 points. The 4.75-star rating will be multiplied by 2.5 to weight for quality.

  • Finally, if a superstar’s match is graded the FULL FIVE *****, then they will be given 15 points. The 5-star rating will be multiplied by 3.0 to weight for quality.

Also, it probably goes without saying, but those who are part-timers will likely fall short of being high to very high on these rankings lists, month-to-month and by the end of the year. The more matches you wrestle, the higher your score will be. But, you also will have to show out as well in order to get up way high.

So, I hope that explains everything. I used this formula for individual performances at TakeOver and it came away with pretty good results. It’s all obviously in the eye of the beholder. I don’t consider myself an ace star rater or anything of that but I figure this could be a fun project.

Are you really going to be watching EVERYTHING?

I sure as hell hope so!


So, anyways, it’s time for me to produce my “Preseason” Top 25. This is the only edition of the rankings that will be completely rooted in superficial BS. These rankings are based on how I think 2019 will look by the the time December 31, 2019 comes around. So, anyways, with that said, let’s roll with the WWE Top 25, Preseason Edition.

25. Bayley

Okay, if you follow me… did you really expect anything else here? But on a serious note, I think Bayley does have a standout 2019. The fact that Women’s Tag Team Championships are on the way greatly help her and her tag team partner (whom you’ll see shortly) in a big way. The one thing I will say, and this pertains to the entire Raw women’s division, is that opportunities are going to be interesting to sort out… for several reasons. Most of which will be explained later. But do I think The Hugger will be back to form? You bet.

24. Velveteen Dream

Velveteen Dream is probably going to have another great year. 2018 was a breakout year for the youngster and he just had his best singles match ever against Tommaso Ciampa at TakeOver: WarGames 2018. Velveteen has no doubt shined in the big spots and how many TV matches he gets will go a long way towards determining where Dream is going to be. That type of stuff can be variable if you’re not the champ and not on Undisputed Era, so I have him 23rd to start. But I can see a Top 15 finish for sure.

23. Shayna Baszler

Shayna is one of NXT’s best big match performers. As the brand’s Women’s Champion, she’s no doubt going to get plenty of big matches to perform in naturally. She’s shown a great ability to work with just about anybody, and her series with Kairi Sane was legit great. I don’t think working with the new crop that NXT has is going to hurt her at all, whatsoever. And a probable call up for the rumored 4HW vs. 4HW feud wouldn’t either.

22. Sasha Banks

‘The Boss’ finds herself 22nd on my ‘preseason’ Top 25. Banks had a great start to 2018 and I’d definitely argue that if her rivalry with Bayley actually came to fruition she’d have been even higher on anybody’s Wrestler of the Year lists. Banks can have great matches with anybody and that much is absolutely certain. If big opportunities come her way, you just know she’s going to take the spotlight and make it her own. Like Bayley, Banks should see a resurgence in 2019. So long as a couple of factors go her way.

21. Pete Dunne

The UK Champion finds himself 21st on my rankings list. Dunne is likely going to be in NXT UK for good now since he wrapped up all his indie dates just a short while ago. So his opportunities will be increased big time. But the question is… how many are there going to be? They’re running a TakeOver soon and I figure there’ll be more on the way, but just how many? Will he have opportunities over in the States on the regular NXT brand? Dunne is a great talent no doubt and could go way high on this list. But we’ll see how everything plays itself out.

20. Drew McIntyre

Drew Mac has a legitimate shot at being one of the biggest faces on the Raw brand. I thought he had a good not great year this past year that was obviously hurt by the fact that he was… well, hurt at the start of it. He’s not yet had that standout match but had some good matches with Seth Rollins, Kurt Angle and a few others. If he gets that shot as being the top heel then we’ll probably see a huge year. That is yet to be seen, though.

19. Ronda Rousey

Ronda Rousey has no doubt shined this year. She’s arguably one of the top performers in the company and the entire industry. She’s yet to have a bad match. So why in the world is she 19th? A couple of reasons here. For one, Ronda doesn’t ALWAYS wrestle on TV. She’s had maybe one or two singles matches so far on Raw, and has otherwise competed in tag matches. So the lack of opportunities will probably hurt her in the end. And secondly… the great unknown. Everyone KNOWS that she’s going to be here through WrestleMania. But what about after that? Is she going to stick it out for the whole year? She’s made comments that might have you believe she might not be TOO long for this. So just how long is she going to be around here? No one REALLY knows. So despite the fact that she’s a great worker, I’m putting her 19th and letting things happen from there.

18. Ricochet

NXT’s North American Champion had an AWESOME first eight months in the brand. He showed out in the NA Title Match and performed at a super high level against Velveteen Dream and Adam Cole. He also didn’t miss against Pete Dunne on TV and in the 3-way against Dunne and Cole either. As with Dream, the TV match # is important to watch here, but he’s a huge star and attraction for the brand so he could wind up finishing way higher than 18th.

17. Mustafa Ali

Opportunities aren’t going to be hard to come by for one of 205 Live’s greatest success stories anymore. Mustafa Ali is off the 205 Live island and is officially on SmackDown Live, and he’s already being thrust in with some of the brand’s biggest performers. Ali is a prime candidate to have a US Championship run and could have some banger TV matches as a result. Expect another big year for Ali.

16. Matt Riddle

This is easily my most ambitious pick. But I think I’ll be repaid for it in the end. Matt Riddle is a wrestling prodigy and going to NXT was huge for him and the brand. He’s wrestled all over the world and had absolute bangers just about everywhere. So do I foresee that happening in NXT? Absolutely. Riddle being on numerous TakeOver cards should be the expectation and he’ll likely have PLENTY of TV matches going forward. With the kind of performer he is, I wouldn’t even be shocked if he somehow got into the Top 10 by year’s end, bro.

15. Finn Balor

Finn Balor might be one of WWE’s most consistent performers. He was pretty easily in the Top 10-15 performers for WWE this year and was one of their best TV match workers. Balor could have big things on his way if he gets more opportunities and due to his current positioning on Monday Night Raw, that’s a strong possibility. While some fans crave a lot more for Finn, I think they may very well get their wish. I think he’s going to have another great year.

14. The Miz

Like the aforementioned Finn Balor, Miz always shows out in TV matches which is going to help his cause and then some. He’s also showcased himself greatly on PPVs and is easily one of the most consistent workers in the company. Which is a crazy thought, ain’t it? Miz should definitely find himself very high on this list by year’s end and will likely get off to a great start in the first month of the year.

13. Kyle O’Reilly

Like his fellow Undisputed Era mates, Kyle O’Reilly is one of the best in the world. O’Reilly produced NOTHING but hits last year tagging alongside Roderick Strong as the best tag team on the entire planet. O’Reilly doesn’t always get singles match opportunities which may ‘hurt’ his chances of climbing up but you definitely could’ve made a strong case for him to be Top 10 in WWE last year. KOR should continue that momentum in 2019 and, of course, keep shredding, Kyle. Keep shredding.

12. Andrade “Cien” Almas

Andrade had a huge start to 2018, partaking in two of the matches of the year against Johnny Gargano and Aleister Black. And… then he got called up to WWE and… well… the opportunities thinned themselves out. It’s unfortunate, because it’s obvious that Almas is one of the greatest wrestlers on planet Earth. But such is life. I think that changes course however in 2019 and we get a huge year out of Almas, who has a shot to be as good as Top 5 if they let him.

11. Charlotte Flair

There is no better big match performer than Charlotte Flair. Despite a few hiccups in the middle of the year, she showed OUT. Flair had a great match against Asuka at WrestleMania. Then, she turned around and had an incredible series with Becky Lynch that elevated the two of them. She closed out with a monster showing in the TLC match at TLC for the SmackDown Live Women’s Championship. She’s ALWAYS going to get opportunities on TV and at PPVs, so she’s going to be one of the top performers this year. That’s a safe bet.

10. Adam Cole

Perhaps nobody broke out as much as Adam Cole did in 2018. He was thought to be the weakest of the talents in Undisputed Era in the ring. All he did was have great matches at every single TakeOver and had some tremendous showings on TV, as well. Cole and the rest of UE are going to get numerous NXT TV matches so it’s a safe bet that Cole is going to shine and shine brightly.

9. Tommaso Ciampa

The current NXT Champion shined very brightly this year. Ciampa was injured and off TV for much of the start of the year but had great showings against Johnny Gargano, Aleister Black and, recently, Velveteen Dream. Because he should continue to be a huge mainstay at the top, predicting big things for Ciampa is a very safe bet. He starts 9th, but Top 5 isn’t out of the question.

8. Asuka

Given that she’s Women’s Champion now and might have the avenue to herself if Charlotte and Becky move to Raw, Asuka has a chance to be the ace of the SDL women’s division. As a result, you find her here at this spot. The Empress is going to get her due now and has always been a high-level talent. I would suspect that she’s duking it out for the crown of best women’s wrestler in the company by year’s end.

7. Johnny Gargano

What’s the only thing stopping Johnny Gargano from being near the top again? Probably just himself or bad writing. Granted, the latter happened at the end of 2018 and really nuked his chance of being Top 5 or even Top 1. But his TakeOver resume is undoubtedly amazing and he’s a safe bet to have incredible matches any time he’s on TV. It all really depends on how everything is portrayed and how everything is pieced together. If it all goes well, Johnny Wrestling will once again be one of the best wrestlers under the WWE umbrella.

6. Becky Lynch

Do I foresee big things for The Man? I mean, do I want to say no? Have you seen what she does to people who dare cross her? Becky had a phenomenal run in the back half of 2018, but her early stuff definitely would’ve limited her if I did a rankings list like this for 2018 since she was barely on television for the first four months of the year. But that’s not going to be the case in 2019. Becky is the biggest star in the company and whether it’s on SmackDown or Raw, she’s GOING to get her shots. She hasn’t missed lately and with banger possibilities coming up against Ronda Rousey and maybe some of her old friends on Raw coming up, Becky will be right back up here soon enough.

5. AJ Styles

The face of SmackDown Live has been nothing if not consistent since he got to WWE. Styles may have had his moments in 2018, but he’s still without a doubt an elite in-ring worker. With fresh faces on SmackDown for him to possibly work with (I don’t foresee him going to Monday Night Raw in a Superstar Shakeup, but it’s certainly not an unreasonable thought) he could have a chance to piece together yet another great year. The only thing that might stop him? Styles is 41 going on 42 and he might wind up working a little bit of a lighter schedule, therefore limiting his chances of getting enough points to be up this high.

4. Roderick Strong

Roddy Strong had a phenomenal 2018, so is he destined to do the same in 2019? I’d argue yes. He’s the best in-ring worker in Undisputed Era (although he is definitely closely followed by at least two of his comrades). He’s also one half of what I believe to be the greatest tag team in the entire wrestling world right now alongside his UE buddy, Kyle O’Reilly. Also, I think rather highly of him as a singles wrestler and he cashed in on all of his chances in 2018. 2019 should see him get even larger amounts of success, so I think Strong has a great chance of being near the top again.

3. Seth Rollins

Rollins was a very popular pick for Wrestler of the Year in 2018 and it’s easy to see why. He went beast mode at the start of the year and was incredibly consistent in the spring and summer. The last few months have soured people a little bit with some dull and repetitive matches with Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose. But, with that said, it’s still probable that he has an outstanding 2019. He’ll get his chances on TV and at PPVs, and Seth should be able to cash in.

2. Buddy Murphy

Are you a little surprised? Maybe you shouldn’t be. Buddy Murphy pieced together an absolutely incredible 2018 and it’s arguable that he was the greatest story of 2018. Forgotten in NXT, Murphy took a huge leap in becoming one of the biggest stars on the 205 Live brand. The current Cruiserweight Champion had standout matches with just about everyone (Kalisto, Mustafa Ali, Cedric Alexander, etc.) I am putting him very high on this list because of two reasons: One, he’s very young and while it might be hard to replicate a year like his 2018, he’ll no doubt have his chances. And secondly, I foresee him getting off the 205 Live island at some point by the time he eventually drops his championship. So an abundance of chances against top-level workers could come his way.

1. Daniel Bryan

After a three-year absence from the ring, Daniel Bryan returned with a vengeance in 2018. Bryan may have been ‘sterile’ in some eyes but he was producing at a high level. As time wore on, Bryan found his comfort zone and it really started at SummerSlam. By November, Bryan looked like the old Daniel Bryan or, hell, the old American Dragon. His matches with AJ Styles and Brock Lesnar were at a ridiculously high caliber. It is the opinion of this writer and probably many more that by the time 2020 is about to come around, Daniel Bryan will once again be known as the best wrestler in the company and arguably the best wrestler in the world. If he already isn’t right now.