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Chairshot 50: Top Wrestlers of 2018 (11-50)

Who made the list???

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WWE Charlotte Flair Chairshot 50
The Chairshot 50: eight featured personalities from The Chairshot come together to form the definitive list regarding the very best talents–male and female–in professional wrestling.






First let’s go over who we received lists from.

List of Participants:

  • Denise Salcedo (Xpac 1,2, 360, Greg DeMarco Show guest) Twitter: @_denisesalcedo
  • Greg DeMarco (Owner/Publisher of The Chairshot, Greg DeMarco Show) Twitter: @ChairshotGreg 
  • Mathew Sarpaicone (Puroresu and Joshi Coverage expert) Twitter; N/A
  • Andrew Balaz (Managing Editor of The Charishot, Raw Reaction, POD is WAR) Twitter: @IWCWarChief
  • Joe Dinan (Lucha Libre Weekly Coverage expert)  Twitter: @PhofessorDhamma
  • Eric Ames (News Editor of The Chairshot, Top of the Morning Podcast) Twitter: @E_Ames323 
  • Steve Cook (Top 5 guru) Twitter: @stevecook84 
  • Steven Mitchell (weekly TV Coverage Articles) Twitter: N/A

So for a little criteria clarity. The evaluation period was from 8/31/2017 – 8/31/2018. Some of the criteria was work rate, time spent at the top/main event picture, as well as, the beloved kayfabe aspects of wrestling. Also to be clear, men, women and tag teams (though listed individually) were all eligible for this list.

As you can see from the title this is just 11-50, the Top 10, was decided via Podcast roundtable and may surprise some people with the order.

So without further ado, let’s get to the list.

50. Rush (CMLL)

Rush is CMLL’s biggest stars  his summer feud with L.A. Park nearly doubled CMLL’s weekly Friday night attendance. He’s character so transcending that both New Japan(Naito) and WWE(Almas) have characters that borrowed and are influenced by Rush.  – Denise

49. Brian Cage (Lucha Underground, Impact Wrestling)

Funny story…Cage was accidentally listed at #3 in our initial compilation, and I got crazy excited. He has the size, look, and talent to be #3. Here’s to hoping he makes it there. Judging by the way he is being used early into his IMPACT Wrestling career, he might be headed to the top. – Greg

48. Kento Miyahara (All Japan Pro Wrestling)

While still under most people’s radars, he’s been low key giving us great matches in AJPW that people need to see. One day more people will get to experience his matches. – Mathew

47. Carmella (WWE)

Carmella Smackdown Entrance

The Princess of Staten Island that won the first TWO Women’s Money in the Bank matches, held the briefcase for 200+ days to stay around the main event scene, and then eventually pay it off with a beautiful heel victory. Like her or not, she plays her role well and deserves a Top 50 nod. – Andrew

46. Johnny Mundo/IMPACT/Hennigan ( Impact Wrestling, AAA, Lucha Underground, MLW)

He’s one of the main stars of both Lucha Underground and IMPACT. He’s of one of the guys through his work that has helped IMPACT Wrestling shake the negative stigma. He also held all 3 singles titles for AAA simultaneously.  – Denise

45. Cedric Alexander ( WWE, 205 Live)

WWE Cedric Alexander

Made a strong case for himself when Enzo was the champ (and still employed) and went undefeated in 2018 for this evaluation period, including becoming the champ at WrestleMania. Been a shining star on a brand that floundered a little, but may be bouncing back with Triple H running the show now. – Andrew






44. Becky Lynch (WWE)

The Lass Kicker may be firing herself back up from her fall, but fans still loved her through the struggle. She has always hovered around the title scene, and was truly close at SummerSlam 2018. Her turn on Charlotte was so welcomed, it’s all but ruined WWE’s plans of making her a true Heel, and she could still get that belt back before the end of the year. – Mitchell

43.  Daniel Bryan (WWE)

I feel like he’s still a top worker. WWE has done a good job of putting him on the back burner again but they will never stop believing he’s a B plus player even though he’s proven time and time again he is above that. In a company that pretty much lacks any real draws because the brand is what draws now days, he’s one of the few guys that resonates a bit outside of the wrestling circle, and if he were put in an important main event spot I think, like it did in 2014 before he got hurt, it would show in ratings for his segments. Perhaps if this feud with the Miz is for the title eventually an up tick will be seen, but rest assure if he left for the indy’s whatever company he’d go to would see a huge rise in business. – Joe Dinan

42. Aleister Black (NXT)

Aleister Black

I wasn’t that high on him when he first came on and I think he’s been a bit underappreciated and pushed to the back burner in favor of Ciampa and Gargano. He’s a great worker, and as an avid watcher of MMA around the world, he has realistic looking strikes and hardly messes up. He was just the NXT Champ and had an injury that’s derailed him. But in a company where there are a lot of plain looking guys who all look the same with no gimmick, he has something special, and if only the main roster wasn’t filled with crappy writers he could be something special. – Joe Dinan

41. Shane Strickland (Evolve, MLW, Lucha Underground)

Holding the WrestleCircus briefcase, MLW Heavyweight Championship, Evolve Championship and Lucha Underground Trios Championship during this span, it’s hard to argue that Shane isn’t a top independent draw. He wins gold where ever he goes, so let’s see what the future holds. – Andrew

40. Shayna Baszler (NXT)

Shayna didn’t come to mind for my list, but I don’t blame anybody else for ranking her. She’s trained with Ronda Rousey in MMA for years and there are some similairities there. Both have taken to wrestling like fish to water. Ronda was a bigger star in MMA, and she does have more charisma. Make no mistake, Shayna has every bit as much potential as Ronda. Their eventual match will be pretty intense. – Steve Cook

39. Jinder Mahal (WWE)

Jinder Mahal WWE Bold Prediction

Why isn’t he #1??? I mean c’mon! In all seriousness–nah eff that. The Maha-Freaking-raja deserves far more credit for his performances during this time. – Greg (was there any question who wrote this?)

38. Jay Lethal (ROH)

Constantly delivers great matches and has had Ring of Honor on his back. He’s basically Mr. Consistent and his recent story of avenging all of his losses to finally recapture the ROH World Title was a good one. He’s consistently one of the best workers and connects with the crowd. Aside from that ROH is likely the second biggest promotion in the United States and he’s the champ. – Joe

37. Asuka (WWE)

The Empress of Tomorrow came into 2018 as hot as any wrestler in WWE. She had her undefeated streak, won the inaugural Women’s Royal Rumble and was poised to be SmackDown Women’s Champion. Bad booking may be keeping her down, but there’s no way Asuka didn’t have a Top 50 worthy 2018. – Mitchell

36. Tessa Blanchard (Impact Wrestling, WrestleCircus, Rise, The Crash Lucha Libre)

Arguably the best female wrestler not signed to the WWE, Tessa is still one of the industry’s hottest prospects at the young age of 23. While continuing to travel the world performing, Blanchard earned her first contract with a major company, joining IMPACT Wrestling back in April. Just a mere four months later and a day before our Top 50 cut-off date, she earned her first major title by becoming the IMPACT Knockouts Champion. –  Eric

35. Fenix (AAA, CMLL, WrestleCircus, Impact Wrestling, MLW)

Similar to LA Park and Fenix’s brother Pentagon, when those three, any pairing were headlining a CMLL show the attendance went up making them big players. Fenix won the AAA mega championship at Triplemania, and just co-main evented in CMLL. He’s a prominent figure for Impact and along with his brother, are MLW tag team champions. He’s very hot on the indy scene and is one of the best in ring performers period. He has the potential to be the next Rey Mysterio more than anyone I’ve seen since.  – Joe

34. Kofi Kingston (WWE)

The veteran of The New Day, Kofi is now 37-years old and been with WWE for 12 years (including developmental). Who would have figured that if you watch him in the ring today, maintaining his status as one of the industry’s top high-flyers. Add the continued success of The New Day (I mean, they have now gotten pancakes over) and Kingston is deserving of a Top 50 spot. – Eric

33. Xavier Woods (WWE)

Perhaps one of the most underrated WWE Superstars, we got to see more glimpses of just how talented inside the squared circle Xavier Woods is in the last year-plus. The New Day continues to be one of the company’s most recognizable acts and Woods perhaps the leader of the pack as his UpUpDownDown YouTube channel keeps growing. Don’t sleep on Dr. Watson. – Eric

32. Finn Balor (WWE)

WWE Finn Balor Three Stars

I’m not as high on Finn as most are. I don’t see main event potential with him. I do see a solid upper-card presence for the next decade or so, which is a pretty great place to be. His entrances will always be pretty great whether he’s the Demon or plain old Finn. – Cook

31. Big E (WWE)

While many have called for the group to split up, The New Day continues to add to its gimmick and remain one of WWE’s most popular acts. The muscle of the group, Big E, remains a Superstar that some see a future WWE Champion in. Just when you thought the Power Of Positivity was through, they pull you right back in! – Eric






Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!

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Opinion

Did Sasha Banks Overreact to Her WWE ‘WrestleMania 35’ Loss, or is The Boss on Point?

Is Sasha Banks on the right side of this? Or is she making a mistake?

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Sasha Banks WWE Queen Of The Ring

The pro wrestling world is buzzing over the Sasha Banks situation. “The Boss” went from being a loyal WWE Superstar to evidently being one very disgruntled employee. The change seemed to happen overnight, though there’s no way to truly know that. The fact is that this situation may have been unfolding for much longer than just a weekend.

Speculation online suggests that Sasha and Bayley were promised a match at WWE’s next big event in Saudi Arabia. The duo was to defend their WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships against Natalya and Beth Phoenix in what would have been a very historic bout. 

WWE has received its fair share of criticism over the past year for running events in Saudi Arabia, mostly because of the way that women are treated in that country. Fans made their voices heard while WWE kept insisting that it was all leading somewhere. Evidently that was true.

WWE is not confirming the story so as of now, it’s only a rumor. But it does bring up an interesting set of talking points that fans must consider. Perhaps Sasha Banks has every reason to be upset and maybe the fans should be upset for her. Maybe the world was too quick to rally against her after all. 

Why did a great number of fans turn on her after she disappeared? Was it simply because she was not there to entertain them? Banks’ last WWE appearance was WrestleMania but for many, that’s plenty long enough. 

Banks’ critics felt that she should have just taken the loss and gotten over it. After all, it’s just pro wrestling and at the end of the day, wins and losses don’t really matter. Right? But therein lays one of the problems with this story.

Fans can believe what they want about Sasha, or any other WWE Superstar. But each man and woman has his and her own unique perspective on the business. To assemble a room full of WWE Superstars is to assemble a room full of people that have their own personal motivations for doing what they do. 

Some are inspired by their heroes that came before them. Others are inspired by the promise of greatness that only WWE can bring. But even more see the possibility of major success on an elite level and that is just too much to pass up. But most importantly, many of these men and women simply just want to wrestle.

So why would any WWE fan, or any pro wrestling fan for that matter, presume to know what’s in a talent’s mind and heart? Being famous and traveling the world is an added benefit of working for Vince McMahon but is that truly the endgame for the bulk of the roster? If it is, does that mean those men and women should be vilified for their desire to be celebrities in the business they love?

When fans look at Sasha Banks, what do they see? Do they see a hardworking WWE Superstar that’s living her dream? Or do they see a superficial talent that intends to use WWE as a springboard to her next show business career? Is either possibility right or wrong and if so, who is the ultimate judge of that?

But after nearly seven days of receiving criticism for walking away and supposedly threatening to quit WWE, everything is now changing for Sasha. That’s because of the Saudi Arabia story, which if it’s indeed true, puts a whole new spin on everything.

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Why would WWE give Banks and Bayley its plan to book them at Saudi Arabia, only to change that booking later? This is not the typical last minute booking change at Monday Night Raw. Fans have come to expect that and at this point, the Superstars themselves must certainly expect that as well. 

But if Sasha and Bayley were told that they were to be included in the first ever WWE women’s match in Saudi Arabia, then that’s exactly what should have happened. There should have been no changing of plans, no last minute storyline tweaking. The bout should have been booked and happen as advertised.

It’s one thing to make history in a WWE ring stateside and every woman in the company was surely happy to be part of that history. Of course Vince McMahon’s company could have pulled the trigger on booking women in top spots long before now. But at least WWE is on the right track. At least it’s actually happening. 

But to take those history making moments to a country that has traditionally treated women as secondary citizens, is massive. There’s really no way to overstate the importance of such a moment. WWE must have known that this was a possibility from the moment the company first ran Saudi Arabia in 2018. Patience was the key and now it may pay off. 

If anyone in WWE deserves to get that spot, it’s The Four Horsewomen. WWE constructed this modern women’s division around Sasha, Bayley, Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair. Without that nucleus of stars at the center of it all, the Women’s Evolution may never have gotten off the ground. Any fan that believes the quartet hasn’t earned the right to make history in Saudi Arabia is perhaps missing the big picture. The company has committed to them, just as they have committed to the company. 

But if the Saudi Arabia story is true, then that dynamic is turning upside down. Yes, it’s WWE’s show and the company can book it however Vince McMahon wants. It’s his call and that’s likely not changing any time soon. But just as WWE can change course, so too can Sasha Banks. It’s impossible to know what will happen next. But with any luck, there will be a resolution to this situation sooner rather than later.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Opinion

Carroll: Winners & Losers Of The WWE Superstar Shake-Up

After the Shake-Up, who should be excited and who should worried about the next 12 months?

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Lars Sullivan WWE Superstar Shake-Up

The WWE Superstar Shake-Up provides opportunity for some, and despair for others. Kevin Carroll has your winners and losers!

As has become a tradition dating all the way back to last year, this past week we had ourselves a WWE Superstar Shake-Up. Across both RAW and Smackdown, superstars were shifted from brand to brand, creating an entirely new landscape. With fresh lineups, both of the WWE’s weekly TV shows have bright new futures.

As with most things of this nature, there are winners, and there are losers. I’d like to use this space this week to examine the Superstar Shake-Up, and compare brands to see who came out on top of this shake-up.

WINNER: RAW Tag Team Division

It’s been a pretty long time since we’ve associated the word “winner” with RAW’s tag team scene, but the red brand made two huge acquisitions to bolster the divisions. First of all, they brought over The Usos from Smackdown, which is one of the biggest gets of the entire shake-up. The Usos are arguably the most talented tag team on the whole planet, let alone in WWE. They had been stalwarts of Smackdown for quite some time, and had taken on every single tag team that the blue brand has thrown their way.

It was about time that they received some new challenges, and I expect them to jump right into the tag team title scene. Plus, Usos-Revival? Yes please. In addition to this huge pick-up, RAW also dipped into NXT territory and called up the artists formerly known as the War Raiders to the main roster, where they immediately made an impact by pinning the tag champs Hawkins & Ryder in eight-man tag action.

The newly-named Viking Experience could almost qualify as a loser just based on that name change, but my mouth is watering at the idea of a Viking Experience-Authors of Pain clash, so we’ll keep them out of that list.

LOSER: Andrade

This one was a head-scratcher to me, although some people seemed to prefer El Idolo on the flagship show as opposed to Smackdown. To me, Andrade was just beginning to scratch the surface of what he was capable of on Smackdown. He had yet to capture any sort of gold, but he was far from lost in the shuffle in my eyes.

He very easily could have been Kofi Kingston’s next challenger for the WWE Championship, and I think that he’s going to have to start all over on RAW. RAW is a show overrun with heels, and if Finn Balor is bringing the IC Title to Smackdown, it stands to reason that Samoa Joe will be bringing the US strap to Monday nights, adding another heel to the mix. IT’s going to be a lot harder for Mr. Andrade to shine on RAW.

WINNER: Smackdown Women’s Division

Bayley and Ember Moon, along with Liv Morgan, Mickie James and the debuting Kairi Sane? Sign me up. Smackdown fleeced RAW in the women’s division portion of the Shake-Up, gaining a whole bunch of new talent while only surrendering Naomi to the red brand.

In addition, they’ll still have Becky Lynch sticking around for the foreseeable future, and Charlotte will remain on Tuesday nights. We’re just one Boss away from having the entire Four Horsewomen stable on one show, and while I don’t see it happening, I honestly don’t know what to expect with Sasha Banks at this point so I can’t rule it out either. Either way, this division is STACKED and going to be a whole hell of a lot of fun to watch.

LOSER: Lars Sullivan

I think the big man is more of a fit on RAW, where he could clash with the likes of Braun Strowman and Drew McIntyre and other giant men. Smackdown is more of a smaller man’s show, and I don’t think the fans will be too receptive to Sullivan taking on the likes of Balor, Ali, Kevin Owens, and so forth. I think big Lars is going to slip through the cracks on Tuesday nights.

WINNER: The Fans

We’re going to get to see all sorts of exciting new clashes and matchups now, this Shake-Up actually feels like it changed a major part of the WWE scene. We’ve got AJ Styles and The Miz on RAW, Roman Reigns and Finn Balor on Smackdown, a rejuvenated RAW tag team scene and an absolutely incredible women’s roster on Smackdown. I’d say we’re all winners in this, wouldn’t you?


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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