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Opinion

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






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Opinion

AJ’s Thoughts: Five Potential Returns

With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

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With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

With everything going on with WWE, the one thing we have all been hyped about are all of these returns. Dakota Kai made her return at SummerSlam alongside Io and Bayley and now on last SmackDown, Karrion Kross and Scarlett made their returns in a big way against Drew McIntyre and showed the Hourglass to The Bloodline.

With all of that, there have been things in the pipeline saying Triple H’s foot isn’t off the pedal so these are 5 returns from either NXT, main roster or even Try-Outs that I would love to see happen with the new regime.

1. Johnny Gargano

Now this is a name that people have been saying, “Maybe Impact or MLW” but, what about a return? Gargano didn’t renew his contract, most likely to be with his family which is a valid and amazing reason, will never disrespect that. If he were to return, there would be a handful of great reasons. Maybe a singles run with the Intercontinental or United States but with Ciampa getting limelight in the main roster from RAW, what if we get a tag team reunion?

WWE is hurting for Tag Teams and what better than to scare off The Bloodline, loosen  the stranglehold of championships with some Do It Yourself action. DIY reunion could be amazing, especially with newer faces showing up to get championship aspirations like Kross and Ciampa. Want to break the hierarchy? Do It Yourself.

2. James Storm

This one is a little bit weird and off. On one hand, who doesn’t love the Tennessee Cowboy, Jimmy James Storm? On the other, he is 45 and getting some nagging injuries as of late. So why would I say Triple H should bring James Storm back and give him something for the main roster? One of the things I said for Gargano, we have a lack of something and The Usos might need to watch two things in the rearview.

Watch your Money and your Alcohol.

Beer Money showing up in WWE would be amazing in my personal opinion. The Bloodline jump Roode, someone in a hoodie or jacket comes up and jumps them to even the fight and as soon as one Uso remained in the ring, the figure goes down and the old stomping goes off and we hear “BEER…” and Roode looks around and gets hyped up and shouts, “…MONEY!”

3. Big Cass



Since his departure from WWE, he has done something I have said since they split him off from Enzo. Take him through the Kevin Nash School of How To Big Man. ROH and Impact are great examples that he actually cleaned up and worked on what he has to do to be good in the ring. He can work the microphone, he can work the ring so we got a new big boy to take on the WWE once again.

Now I could have said Enzo and Cass to rejoin but, I’m sure the antics of Enzo will get Cass in deep water along with the fact that I already made two tag team predictions, we don’t need another. Cass brings a lot to the table and was kind of unproven in WWE because he was just the big enforcer to the more charismatic Enzo. Give this man about six months in the ring and you have your next MASSIVE problem in the IC or US Championship scene or even more.

4. Bronson Reed



The big man from down under is a former NXT North American Champion. He looked to have a good push going with that championship but he got release. If you wonder where he went… he actually made a pit stop in Impact Wrestling as JONAH with the most fire theme song in recent history I swear… I will link the theme song and Trips… please. Get rights to this theme song. I will be a bigger Bronson Reed fan.

Bronson to me is the weird man in all of this but, I think with Triple H involved, he could get something going for him with a good singles champion run or a big threat to go through like a gatekeeper of sorts. Big boy with a great amount of athleticism? Can’t really hate on that considering the last time we saw athletic bigger people were Keith Lee and… what was that one guy? Sherman Tank with a Ferrari Engine…?

5. Bray Wyatt

And the last one is the obvious one in all of this. Yes… we have Judgment Day as the somewhat supernatural dark group but we know the true successor of the supernatural and that is “The Eater of Worlds”, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. This time around, I don’t think we will get the Jekyl and Hyde, Mister Rogers gimmick. I believe this time around we get full darkness and mayhem. We get the darkness and the theory of reverting back to your prime.

To make a refresher… Miz went back to being the cocky narcissist after fighting The Fiend. Finn turned back to the Prince and much more. With guys like Edge returning, maybe we see the return of the Heel Ultimate Opportunist, maybe a Fiend fight with AJ Styles to get the TN-AJ perhaps. Possibilities are endless and with a great mind like Wyatt for character and execution, I think Hunter will pick up the phone and Let Him In.

– There are clearly others that I could say, or maybe even didn’t think about, but hey, that’s the Chairshot way of Always Using Your Head. Those are just five returns that could happen and hopefully you read this before RAW or SmackDown and who knows if I get any of these right, maybe I missed an obvious one or maybe we get a giant signing that nobody thought possible. Let me and all of Chairshot know!


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Opinion

King’s Greatest Hits Of Jeff Hardy

As he battles his demons, Chris King looks at some more positive moments in Jeff Hardy’s career!

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Jeff Hardy WWE Smackdown

I’m sure by now you’ve heard the disturbing news that former WWE superstar and recent AEW signee Jeff Hardy, was arrested again for multiple charges including a DUI.  Hardy has had a hard and tragic road of recovery throughout the years in multiple wrestling promotions.

Not too long ago, Hardy walked out on WWE after they were rumored to have offered the former world champion to go to treatment for his substance abuse issues. Hardy refused and said that he was better but, as we saw the demons are still lurking and got the best of him again.

I have seen some nasty comments and even some distasteful memes about the AEW superstar and felt compelled to go against the grain. Instead of kicking a man when he’s down, I’m going to put together a greatest hits for the “Charismatic Enigma.”

Jeff Hardy & The TLC Match

Everyone can say that Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon helped innovate the iconic ladder match and you are right, but Jeff Hardy and his death-defying stunts changed the concept of the match forever. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. Edge & Christian and their iconic TLC match should have their wing in the Hall of Fame. The risks all six superstars took for the adoration of the crowd could have ended all of their illustrious careers. In the words of Vince McMahon, It’s such good shit!

Jeff Hardy Earns The Undertaker’s Respect

On the July 1st, 2002 episode of Monday Night Raw, Hardy delivered the performance of a lifetime nearly winning the WWE Undisputed Championship from The Undertaker in an incredible ladder match. The young up-and-comer was faced with his greatest task yet, challenging for the most prestigious title in sports entertainment. Hardy showed that without a shadow of a doubt he deserved to be in the main event scene, but came within minutes of defeating Taker. At the time of the match, Hardy was still finding his footing as a singles competitor and earned the respect of the champion and legend.

Swanton Bomb From The Heavens

When I think of the daredevil Jeff Hardy, I can’t help but think of this one crazy-as-hell stunt. At WWE One Night Stand 2008, Hardy faced off against the juggernaut Umaga in a falls count anywhere match. This match was so insane as both superstars fought into the parking lot. Hardy is one of the craziest and bravest superstars, hit a Swanton Bomb off a damn stage truck onto Umaga. It’s one of the wildest things you’ll ever see.

Hardy Wins The WWE Championship 

In 2008, Hardy finally made his way to the main event title picture alongside partner Triple H. HHH was Hardy’s mentor in some sort of way which led to the daredevil achieving his lifelong dream of becoming WWE champion. At the 2008 Armageddon pay-per-view, Hardy would face HHH and longtime rival Edge in a triple-threat match for the title. In what was a great match between all three superstars, Hardy delivered a Swanton Bomb to Edge to win the illustrious championship.

Straight Edge Problems For Hardy

The following year, Hardy found himself in the way of young-up-and-comer CM Punk who is looking to make an example out of him. Punk had won the Money in the Bank briefcase for the second year in a row and took advantage of Hardy to win the world title. What started as mutual respect between both superstars changed drastically, when Punk started throwing jabs at Hardy for his drug and substance abuse real-life issues. Punk would form his infamous stable known as the Straight Edge Society. This is a very underrated feud and you should go back and watch it in its entirety. The promos are gold.

The Hardy Boyz Return To WWE

Both Matt and Jeff Hardy found success in multiple other wrestling promotions including Ring of Honor, and TNA during their time away from WWE. Both brothers were struggling with their vices and made poor life choices but straightened up their act over the years. In 2017, the Hardy Boyz would face longtime rivals The Young Bucks in ROH. The following night the adored tag team would make their incredible return to WWE at WrestleMania 33. Matt and Jeff would be named the final team in the Fatal 4-way ladder match for the Raw Tag Team Championships. The pop these two received was insane and very much deserved. They would go on to win the match and win the titles to capitalize on their momentum.

Jeffery Nero Hardy Makes AEW Debut

From 2017-to 2022 Jeff Hardy would find himself pigeonholed in the mid-card title picture. He would have feuds with a plethora of superstars including Samoa Joe, and Randy Orton. Orton and Hardy had a nasty Hell in a Cell match back in 2018. Earlier this year, Hardy was seen running around after the 24/7 Championship, which was disappointing to see. After being genuinely unhappy in WWE, Hardy would make his AEW debut on the March 9th episode of AEW Dynamite. Hardy would come to the aid of his brother and longtime partner.

This week news broke that Hardy had been arrested for multiple charges including a DUI. While it’s easy to beat a man while he’s down, how about we uplift and try to encourage him to get the help he needs.

As a longtime wrestling fan, I have the utmost respect for Hardy and wish him the best of luck in his battle with addiction.


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