Thursday, January 3, 2019

From an NXT star lost in the main roster shuffle to the man of many names: the Top 100 Wrestlers of 2018 #50-36

Our countdown continues for the rest of the week and the next and today it moves onto the wrestlers ranked in the first part of the second half of our list! Let's check out the names!

50. Andrade "Cien" Almas

Almas seemed lost in the shuffle when he was called up to the main roster and despite a few solid matches hasn't really been given much to do still. He's got a ton of upside, but falls in the shadows of other heels on Smackdown Live.

49. Xander Killen

His babyface work at 3XW and CEW doesn't compared to his vicious heel promos in SCW, but Xander has started to make a solid name for himself as a top up-and-comer in Iowa wrestling and beyond.

48. Tyler Bate

He finishes the year becoming a WWE exclusive talent and it couldn't happen to a better guy. Bate has shown himself to be a classy sort at a young age and continues to be a talent with a huge future in the business.

Image credit: NJPW.
47. Evil

Hampered a bit by injury, the King of Darkness remains the most solid and stable upper midcard talent in New Japan. It seems doubtful he will ever move to the main event tier there, but he's got a solid future in any promotion he wants to make his home.

46. Nick Aldis

He held the NWA title for eleven of the twelve months of the year and defended it around the world against a great array of talent. He's playing the dastardly heel most of the time, but Aldis shows that he's a far greater talent than TNA ever let him show.

45. Fenix

Fenix is an amazing talent and one of the best high flyers in the business, but probably will never exit the shadow of his brother Penta El Zero Miedo. Still, he managed to main event ALL IN which may make him a likely target for All Elite Wrestling in the new year.

44. Xavier Woods

Woods comes out well ahead of his New Day brethren on this list, I suspect because of his entertainment factor. There's few stars as consistently fun in the ring as the Up Up Down Down star.

43. David Starr

To quote his introduction: "The cream in your coffee, your favorite wrestler’s favorite wrestler, the Jewish cannon, the physical embodiment of charisma, the most entertaining man in professional wrestling, the Bernie Sanders of professional wrestling, the best of the best, Mr Americanrana, Davey Wrestling, the 104 minute man, the main event, “he’s really good at Twitter”, the king of taunts, The Product" David Starr. It's an insane list for an incredibly talented star, a consummate journeyman wrestler whose grown into an internationally known superstar. He's starting off his New Year with a free match streamed to Youtube against Pac, which should get him off to an equally bright 2019.

Image Credit: WWE.
42. Alexa Bliss

Injury certainly hampered Alexa on this list, coupled with the fact that she'll never be the best wrestler on WWE's roster. She's incredibly skilled at building stories but her bell to bell performances have never matched many of the talents on this list. Still Alexa has a ton of talent to keep her going into the future, whether she wrestles again anytime soon or not.

41. Shane Hollister

Personal issues brought "The Shug" out of retirement, but his run since in SCW has been nothing short of magic. Hollister works a heavily strike based offense that allows him to look believable in conflicts with foes twice his size. An independent veteran, I encourage everyone to seek out his appearances in SCW in the coming months.

40. Dezmond Xavier

Like his tag partner Zachary Wentz (#64), Dezmond takes high-flying to another stratosphere, hitting moves I wouldn't think a normal human could ever manage. I suspect some of this is related to their work with CIMA and Oriental Wrestling Entertainment, but they've brought it to America and Impact with a fire that should lead them to big things ahead.

39. Flip Gordon

I don't think Flip was on many people's list of top stars last year. But after signing with ROH and becoming a major featured player on Being the Elite, he's risen to be a household name for a lot of wrestling fans. Flip's still young with a ton of upside and a lot of talent. With at least another year on his ROH contract, expect him to become a foundation of the promotion in 2019.

38. Gyasi (JAH-C)

Whether as one-half of Vicious and Delicious or on his own, JAH-C made a name for himself in Iowa and Minnesota this year. As he continues to expand his wrestling horizons, he and his tag partner will hopefully see a lot more traveling in their future!

Image credit: Photos by Manning.
37. JT Energy

Personally, I rank JT Energy as the talent with the most upside on the Iowa independents. He has mastered the art of being a heel at a ridiculously young age and only grows better with each and every appearance in the ring. He's now a regular for three Iowa promotions and made his debut for the biggest, The Wrestling Revolver. With more eyes on him in 2019, here's hoping he and his partner JAH-C can get a ton more bookings!

36. Johnny Impact / Mundo / Hennigan

Impact Wrestling still has issues at the top of the card despite a stacked roster. Impact still doesn't quite feel right as the top player there, which even Impact fans took note of when they voted Sami Callihan wrestler of the year. But the former John Morrison has an uncanny control of his own body, a great style in the ring and the abs of a god. It will be interesting to see what 2019 brings for him in Impact, Lucha Underground and MLW.

With that, we are now almost two-thirds of the way through our list! Have any talents on this list surprised or shocked you? Are any of these names ones you still need to check out? Hit me with your comments and let me know!

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