Monday, January 7, 2019

An Elite caliber of athlete: the Top 100 Wrestlers of 2018 #20-16

This week we work our way through the final twenty names on the Top 100 Wrestlers of 2018 countdown. We start today, so be prepared to take a peak at the best wrestlers in the world today as voted on by this site's loyal readers!

Image credit: Young Bucks on Twitter.
20. Matt Jackson and 19. Nick Jackson

If you told me seven years ago when Generation Me left TNA that they would become two of the biggest stars to never sign with WWE, I would have laughed. Their trajectory seemed to be towards the biggest dog in town, but instead they focused their time first on the independents, and then on ROH and New Japan. Their friendship with Kenny Omega lead to The Elite and now they have produced the first non-WWE pay-per-view in nearly twenty years to draw a 10,000+ house and are major partners in their own wrestling venture, All Elite Wrestling. And while the brothers wrestled less in 2018 than they did in 2017, it seems obvious they accomplished a ton with their more limited appearances, bolstered by Being the Elite. The future seems very, very bright for the Young Bucks.

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18. Ricochet

At the beginning of the year, I wasn't sure if Ricochet would reach this high on the list. He spent the first few months of 2018 on the shelve, working at the Performance Center without any appearances. He finally made his NXT debut right before Wrestlemania. He failed to win the newly minted North American title upon his debut, but from the day he set foot in NXT, his trajectory was towards that title and an ongoing war with Adam Cole and The Undisputed Era. He took that title midway through the year and has been defending it ever since, most recently in a great match against Tyler Breeze. Ricochet is the kind of talent you almost don't want to see move up to the WWE main roster, because it seems so unlikely they will deliver anything with his skills there. That being said, I expect he has a long road in NXT still ahead, most likely with contention for the company's prime title by mid-year.

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17. Adam Cole

Adam Cole ranks higher than anyone else in the Undisputed Era on this list, an interesting feat considering of the group, his title record is far weaker. Though he impressively won the North American title and helped retain the tag titles on the same night, he would only hold the North American belt for a few months while the tag titles have remained with the Era for all but thirteen days of 2018. He's still clearly the groomed star of the unit. Yet after over a year on NXT television, it feels like the Undisputed Era are treading in place with Tommaso Ciampa as NXT champion and Cole nowhere in contention for it. If handled correctly, the unit could make a Shield level main roster debut post-Wrestlemania, but in the mean time it seems like Cole will continue his leadership role even without a personal belt to defend.

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16. Braun Strowman

Look, I agree with everyone that said Braun Strowman should be the undisputed WWE Universal Champion. WWE spent months building him into an absolute beast, a dominant force that seven men couldn't slow for long at Money in the Bank. Yet what should have been his main event arrival was botched with a horrendous heel turn and an abysmal cash in, especially when you consider just how entertaining Strowman can be inside the ring. His injury still has him off television for the most part, but unless he takes a surprising win at Royal Rumble, I cannot begin to guess what 2019 has in store for the Monster Among Men. And that's pure insanity towards a man with the fan support, both diehard and young, to be a secure star for the company for years ahead.

The Bucks, Ricochet, Cole and Strowman. I know I ranked a few of those talents higher on my personal list, but I cannot argue with the fan votes. Who do you think deserved a shot at the top ten?

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