My Top 25 Pro Wrestlers (2019-2020) by Anthony S. DiSalvatore
It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these countdowns. If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ve seen me do countdowns on several things related to wrestling. No matter the subject, I always enjoy a good countdown. Like most of you, I was excited to read this year’s list of Top 500 pro wrestlers (I don’t normally follow these things, but it’s kind of a big deal around the office). I was shocked and appalled to find that Jon Moxley made it to the top spot. I’ve been watching wrestling for close to 25 years, and I’m confident I can do a better job than those marks. As always, there’s criteria to consider. Mine has to deal with in-ring ability, stage presence, and breakout star potential. Don’t take it personally if your favorite wrestler appears low on this list. There are only so many spots. Let’s see how this goes!
1.) Daniel Bryan
On a list of best wrestlers over the last year, who better to place at the top spot than the best wrestler in the world? That’s not an exaggeration. Bryan is the most technically sound wrestler anywhere and has undeniable charisma. He may currently be on hiatus right now, but Smackdown badly needs him. His opening match with Drew Gulak at Extreme Rules this year is a solid match of the year candidate. Even with all the accolades he’s earned in his career, I still feel like he doesn’t get enough credit, so he’s made it to the top spot!
2.) Randy Orton
This list is based on 2019-20, but this entry is primarily based on Randy’s 2020 work alone. During the pandemic era, wrestling has been pretty tough to watch even for me. There are only a couple of reasons for me to watch Raw every week, and Randy Orton’s one of them. You just never know what he’ll do next! His current version of the Legend Killer gimmick, combined with 22 years of wrestling experience makes for some compelling television. He’s carrying the entire show.
3.) Brock Lesnar
This should piss a few people off! You all know the rules, Brock Lesnar shows up when he wants, And he showed up on this list! You Twitter marks will just have to deal with it. In terms of wrestling ability, nobody comes close, save for an old college roommate of his who may show up later on. He’s the top draw anywhere and deserves to be on this list just for that reason, but he’s also the one most directly responsible for turning Drew McIntyre into the star he is now. We all knew the potential was there, but after Brock lost to him at Wrestlemania, we all knew he had arrived. Brock gets all the credit for that. Normally, part-timers would be disqualified, but as always, Brock gets a pass.
4.) Bobby Lashley
Even I’m surprised Bobby made it this high! I put him here based solely on potential. We all know he looks incredible, but up until this year, WWE hadn’t done much with him. Once he ditched Rusev’s wife and joined MVP’s crew, things have totally changed. Bobby is now all business, and he’s always been a legit fighting machine. Once he’s done with Apollo and friends, Brock Lesnar should be his next logical step.
It’s time for the first entry from AEW on this list! Don’t expect to see too many of them, since top tier talent is very hard to find on that roster. I’ll try to keep this short, but MJF has all the potential in the world. He’s the only oasis I can find in the barren wasteland that is AEW television. They may still be treating him like an afterthought most of the time, but he does finally have a title match against Moxley at All Out. When he wins the title, AEW will finally have a chance to reach the next level.
6.) Rhea Ripley
If you’ve watched any WWE television lately, you know they’re pushing the ladies division pretty hard. NXT has by far the best women’s division in all of wrestling, and Rhea is the star. I couldn’t tell you why she’s still on the NXT roster, especially since she had a banger of a match with Charlotte at Wrestlemania, but I suppose she’s needed there. With Bayley and Sasha currently running roughshod over every other woman on the roster, it’s only a matter of time before Rhea puts a stop to all that.
7.) Karrion Kross
I’ll be honest, I haven’t seen much of this guy. But he has something to him, and I’m not talking about that useless bimbo who accompanies him. If it were up to me, they’d be separated on screen, but he has the size, flashy entrance, and menacing attitude. It’s possible that he could have placed higher, but as I said my sample size is admittedly small and he’s currently out with an injury.
8.) Seth Rollins
Another guy who probably should have placed higher, but he’s not doing much at the moment. He can do everything in the ring, he looks incredible, and he can talk, but this year has been rough for him. He can’t seem to get away from Rey Mysterio and Dominic and he hasn’t challenged for a title or done anything memorable for a good long time. It’s not his fault! This gimmick he has is pretty rotten and it’s gotten stale, so Rollins didn’t place as high as he could have.
Another appearance by AEW on this list, and this time it’s the best tag team in all of wrestling. Nobody can touch these guys as far as technique, and they’ve recently added Tully Blanchard of all people as their manager! They have nowhere to go but up, just as soon as the executives over there realize what they have in front of them. Time will tell if they ever win the AEW tag team titles, but I’d say it’ll happen sooner rather than later.
10.) Roman Reigns
Roman would have placed higher if he hadn’t been on hiatus for the last five months. If you saw Summerslam, you know he’s back in the fold now and challenging for Bray Wyatt’s title. We all know it’s only a matter of time before he wins it back. Oh, and he’s one of the biggest stars in all of wrestling. I’d be a complete idiot if I left him off. The only question is, will we get that heel turn we’ve all been waiting for? I think it’s coming soon based on his actions last week, and when it does Roman will be the talk of the entire wrestling industry.
11.) Sammy Guevara
Here’s one that’s bound to shock a few people! I’ve developed a bit of a reputation lately for being quite the AEW hater, but I love this boy for a lot of the same reasons I love MJF! He’s young, nice looking to the point it’s maddening, and a freaky athlete. Jericho may be a train wreck at this point, but Guevara has benefited immensely from whatever Jericho’s teaching him. He’ll be a major star in AEW for the next 10 years, as long he doesn’t go near any swimming pools and protects his knees. The last year for him has been up and down, from the football field thing to being suspended for reasons I can’t talk about here, but he’s still growing up. I have high hopes for him
12.) Damian Priest
This dude sticks out like a sore thumb on NXT, and I mean that in the nicest of ways. He’s at least six inches taller than everyone else, and he’s built like a brick shithouse. He also has the agility to throw kicks Luchasaurus only dreams of, which makes him even more unique. His promos are great for being new at this. He just won the NXT North American title in the Takeover ladder match, and I think he’ll be a major star for WWE on Smackdown in the next year.
13.) Hangman Adam Page
Page could have easily placed inside the top five on this list, if he weren’t stuck in a tag team with Kenny Omega that nobody in the world cares about. We’re all still currently waiting on him to pull the trigger on a heel turn, but it’s been so long I’m not sure anybody would care at this point. Aside from the ass backwards booking from the marks in the AEW office, Hangman has a ton of potential. He looks great, he can talk, and he still gets some of the best crowd reactions even though he’s surrounded by douchebags. Would have been higher if he were on his own.
The reigning NXT UK champion is next! This reign has no end in sight, and it was only a matter of time before Walter came up. I compare him to a Terminator every time I see him. I love his ring style and his no nonsense attitude. He throws chops like shotgun blasts. Unfortunately, he’s been stranded in Europe thanks to the stupid pandemic, which is why he didn’t place higher than this. Once he’s bored of being champion and decides to hand the title back, there’s a lot of main roster opponents I’d love to see him in a match with. Roman Reigns would be ideal, but I don’t think Brock Lesnar is out of the question either. I don’t know about his running mates, but Walter definitely has something special about him.
15.) Baron Corbin
Much like Brock Lesnar, any time somebody tries to give Corbin credit for anything, it’s met with resounding boos. Well, this is my list, and thank you all for proving my point! Corbin should have gotten into wrestling sooner because he’s a natural heel. I’ve made comparisons to Vickie Guerrero in the past when talking about Corbin, because all he had to do was show up and you couldn’t hear yourself think from all the boos. He’s not bad in the ring either. He has a lot of agility for a big man and has a legit boxing background. It’s easy to make an argument that he’s the top heel on Smackdown. I just can’t deal with this stupid king thing, so Corbin loses some ground on this list.
16.) Drew McIntyre
I don’t like Drew’s direction lately, but I can’t argue he’s been a star since he beat Brock. The problem is he peaked right then, so he has nowhere to go but down. He’s been built up as a world beater, but Randy Orton’s really the only one besides Brock who could believably beat him during this run he’s been on. His presentation has been wildly inconsistent too. One week, he comes out joking around, then the next he’s back to being deadly serious. I’m not sure what’s going on there. They need some better quality opponents for him to match up with for him to move up a few spots. One fluke win over Randy Orton isn’t gonna cut it.
17.) Jungle Boy
Or, if you prefer, Jack Perry! This kid’s got natural babyface fire and knows how to take a beating. He won’t become AEW champion any time soon, but that’s mostly because he’s trapped in a tag team nobody cares about. Are you seeing a pattern yet? Just imagine if Jericho wanted to be serious and help build this boy instead of the guy with his hands in his pockets. Jungle Boy is still learning, but he’s the perfect rival for MJF as world champion. Just watching their match from Double or Nothing this year. They have great chemistry together!
18.) Gallows & Anderson
Luke and Coral, we hardly knew ye. The fact that these guys work for Impact and made it this far up here is a testament to how good they are as a team. Between Luke’s size and Coral’s ring work, these guys really have no weaknesses as a team, except maybe for promos. They could be the best tag team in pro wrestling, but they also work for Impact, which nobody watches anymore. I guess they aren’t Luke & Coral anymore, but I miss them on Raw every week. The only question is, if they win the Impact tag team titles and hold them for three years, but nobody is around to see it, did it really take place? I hope they find whatever it is they’re looking for.
19.) Velveteen Dream
I still think that’s a dumb name, but I can’t deny this kid has a lot going for him. He has great stage presence and selling ability for such a young guy. He’s got a great understanding of psychology for his age, not to mention I can tell he borrowed a lot of his ring style from Randy Savage, who still has a special place in my heart. He’s had his ups and downs, but he could be the biggest star NXT has ever had if he’s booked properly. I can see him becoming NXT’s Michael Jackson if they don’t screw him up!
20.) Chad Gable
He may be wrestling under another name right now, but when I’m around he’s Chad Gable. In terms of ring ability, nobody can touch him. Not even Daniel Bryan! The problem is, he can’t get booked to save his life, and when he does, it’s usually a quick loss. He has natural babyface appeal, but a recent heel turn and alliance with Baron Corbin has him on the card more than he has been in a long time. I can’t believe they’ve ruined an Olympian like this. I wanted to place him higher, but I just couldn’t do it given the way they’ve treated him.
21.) Shelton Benjamin
I told you he’d show up eventually! We’ve known for a long time that Shelton may be the only one who’s able to really kick Brock’s ass, but this placement has to do entirely with Shelton’s alliance with MVP and Bobby Lashley. Both these guys have managed to turn their careers around completely, which means Shelton’s now getting booked every week and everybody gets to see what he can do! And he hasn’t aged a day. His only weakness is his promos. It’ll only be a matter before the Hurt Bizness has the tag team titles. It’s their best course of action since THEY LET LUKE AND CORAL LEAVE.
22.) Jake Hager
If we’re talking wrestling, nobody on the AEW roster can touch Jake Hager in the ring. We all know he has a speech impediment and dresses like he sells bibles, but he’s great as a muscle man for Jericho’s clan. He’s so good, he even carried Moxley to what some people called a technical masterpiece. And he’s so huge, he always looks like he’s wrestling midgets. He looks like Andre the Giant next to these guys! He may be sleeping at the foot of Jericho’s bed right now, but what happens when he decides to go off on his own and challenge for the AEW title? Unfortunately for those of us who appreciate actual wrestling, Hager’s role in AEW has been limited to this point, which is why he barely made the cut. Please don’t hurt me Hager!
Where to begin with Elias? He’s jacked, has a ton of charisma, and gets some of the most consistent crowd reactions today. His promo style reminds me of The Rock. When you’re that good at reading a crowd, you don’t need to be the best in the ring. He makes up for his lack of technical skill by being super aggressive. I’m all for it, but he can’t seem to get out of his own way. Injuries have slowed him down a ton, but I’m still carrying a torch for him. If only Jeff Hardy hadn’t hit him with a car earlier this year.
24.) The CONspiracy Victims
For those of you who don’t know, that’s my name for Cesaro & Nakamura. They got that name in the first place because they’ve been held down as a team until right just now, so they were never going to make it very high on this list. They were just thrown together randomly one week and predictably struggled, but it looks like they’ve finally found their feet as the current tag team champions. Cesaro is another guy who reminds me of the Terminator. Nakamura’s English isn’t great, but he clearly has some legit fighting background. I need to research more. They’re the most technically sound team on Smackdown, and I know they’d take a lot of pride in that. I just couldn’t leave them off after everything we’ve been through together. PLEASE don’t leave for Impact!
25.) Cedric Alexander
WHAT?! Yes, Cedric has enough charisma and ability to JUST make this list. There was a time when I wanted to see him wrestle AJ Styles for the WWE title, because I know they’d be great together. Cedric’s been gifted with a lot of natural babyface traits, but he rarely gets a chance to showcase them since he’s trapped in the 24/7 title picture. Will he join MVP’s crew? He’ll go up a few spots if he does. I actually like his team with Ricochet, but I’d like him a lot better on his own. His babyface star potential keeps him just above the common street rabble who didn’t make the cut.
So, what did you think of this list? Did I leave your favorite wrestler off? Who on this list would you replace? Are there some you’d leave off altogether? Are you all pissed that Brock placed super high? Leave some comments!