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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
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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

The Good, Bad and Ugly: SmackDown Live 12.11.18

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Does the TLC Go Home of SmackDown continue to build excitement, or does it go the way of Raw and help us all get to sleep earlier? Bobby let’s us know how things are shaping up.

 

With Tables, Ladders and Chairs coming up this weekend, we had a semi-sweet Monday Night Raw.  The actual in ring action looked decent.  SmackDown is always looking bright, and tonight shouldn’t disappoint.  What surprises are ahead on the Pre-TLC SmackDown?

The Good

Opening Promo w/ Daniel Bryan to Non-Title Match (WWE Champion) Daniel Bryan vs. Mustafa Ali

Daniel Bryan is solidifying his heel persona by continuing his onslaught on the general public and acting as wrestling’s Smokey the Bear.  Shaming his once devoted fans, causing everyone to react in some way.  Daniel Bryan continues to pile on that his old self is now dead, and all of the fans are idiots.  Cheap pops and heat continued on.  Until luckily it was interrupted by Ali.  Mustafa Ali is a great talent.  He didn’t do much of the talking here.  He mostly fell victim to Daniel Bryan spewing his agenda.  Ali went on to ask Daniel Bryan what’s up with his new attitude, only to be disrespected with a slap to the face.  We saw a little action which gave us a taste of what is to come.  Daniel Bryan looked sharp.  His strikes were well done and was full of energy.  This evil, snapped gimmick is working well for him.  He wore down Ali,working the knee.  Old school, clean wrestling.  Ali had minimal offense but stuck to his high spots.  Even with the multiple interruptions and heavy commercials, this was a Good match.  After some incredible feats, Ali misses an inverted 450.  Daniel Bryan went on to tear Ali apart, making him tap to the “Heel Hook.” Daniel Bryan Wins, a hot opening match. After the match, overkill set in, with Daniel Bryan viciously attacking Mustafa Ali up the ramp.  This wasn’t needed but acted as a callous to Daniel Bryan’s changeover to a heel. 

Randy Orton Promo

Orton wielding a chair went about showing off his previous torture of Rey Mysterio, questioning why anyone would want to have a chair match with a guy like him.  Just as he was about finished, Rey Mysterio attacked him out of nowhere, hitting Orton with a chair and a 619, causing Randy Orton to flee.  Not a bad promo.  Short and effective. 

Rusev and Jeff Hardy vs. Samoa Joe and Shisuke Nakamura

Rusev being involved is Good for business.  These four are some of the best in the business.  Rusev has the abilities to carry the WWE as the Heavyweight Champion. Much like a Bobby Roode, he has had moments of being overlooked, however that can change at any moment like we saw on Raw.  Pairing Shinsuke and Rusev is genius and a guaranteed winner.  WWE just has to let them work and it will be fantastic.  After being interrupted by an untimely dance off from Carmella and R-Truth, Shinsuke Nakamura brutally attacked Jeff Hardy from behind.  Samoa Joe continued the assault on Hardy.  This wasn’t brilliant considering the talent here, but it was entertaining enough.  As the crowd showed everyone, Rusev when finally given the opportunity, delivered and looked Good in there.  He is a great talent all around.  After a devastating kick to the face, Rusev covers Nakamura for the Victory! 

Asuka vs. Charlotte

Going into this, how could it be Bad?  It really can’t right?  First thing, it is a great Main Event, also,having Becky Lynch come out after the contenders were already in the ring was also great.  Charlotte looked completely flawless and confident.  This was very physical.  Asuka not to be outdone did some outstanding work.  Asuka kept after “The Queen” working her arms and beating her down. Charlotte and Asuka went back and forth most of the match.  Charlotte finally trapped Asuka into a “Figure 4” but getting reversed.  The two went back and forth fighting every second. This match was action packed.  Asuka repeatedly kicked Charlotte in the face, until Charlotte hits a spear.  After landing on her feet from a blocked moonsault, Charlotte then kicked out of a roll up from a countered “Figure 4”.  Asuka hit the “Asuka Lock” that was countered sending Charlotte and Asuka to the floor. Charlotte then when psycho, Getting Disqualified for using her Kendo Stick.  Before Charlotte could go too far, Becky Lynch got her back, only to get attacked by Asuka.  Asuka went crazy with the Kendo Stick staking her claim of dominance.  Asuka Win!    

THE BAD:  N/A

THE UGLY

New Day Rap Battle:  Usos vs. The Bar

This style of promo has potential.  It can be really Ugly or really Good.  Depending how much cheese is involved vs.actual humor.  The New Day came out looking dapper and ready for the festivities. They are always ready to party.  The Bar had their Run DMC track suits and Flavor Flav clocks for decor.  That’s where it ended with a cheese filled “Ice Ice Baby” to remedy their horrendous rap abilities.  The Uso’s surprisingly were also not great at this.  This was a completely ridiculous,worthless segment.  Chalk this up as Ugly. 

Miz Promo (Shane McMahon and Miz vs. The Vegas Boys

Begging is just ridiculously over the top, especially in the current SmackDown setting.  It’s cheap.  The Miz and Shane are both Good typically on the mic.  This was a smooth promo,however out of the blue Miz calls out a ref for a tag match.  This match was horrible.  Shane had more botches than I have ever seen.  This was absolutely Ugly all around.  Shane ended the debauchery by submission for the victory. 

Tally

Good:  4

Bad:  0

Ugly:  2

Final Results:  Good(ish)

Although the Good outweighed the Ugly on this one, we had some pretty Ugly moments.  More than I have seen on SmackDown in sometime.  This wasn’t their strongest show among the past few weeks, but it worked. The highlight of the night was the Main Event!  TLC is Sunday and I would say thanks to SmackDown, we are ready to roll! 

 

How did you feel about this past SmackDown? Let us know on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!

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Opinion

Can a Queen of the Ring Event Work in Today’s WWE?

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Sasha Banks WWE Queen Of The Ring

Rumors are swirling about WWE bringing back a throwback event for the next all-women’s PPV.  A Queen of the Ring tournament sounds like a good idea as a focal point for the PPV considering the ever-evolving Women’s Evolution.

Many fans remember the King of the Ring, which was considered one of the big five PPVs for WWE back in the 1990s.  King of the Ring had its ups and downs, but it was mostly known for the birth of Austin 3:16.  The iconic moment still stands the test of time twenty two years later, however others such as Owen Hart, Triple H, and Edge certainly benefited from the once-prestigious tournament.

After Brock Lesnar’s win in 2002, King of the Ring slowly began to fade out.  The last tournament was in 2015,where Bad News Barrett would later become King Barrett to celebrate the win.  Before that was the infamous King Sheamus, who won the one prior back in 2010.

The allure and beneficial factor of King of the Ring definitely dissipated by the time it was brought back.  King of the Ring used to be a big deal, meaning that the winner was definitely en route to a huge push or a WWE Championship opportunity down the road.  The accolade was something that a few men could add to their list of accomplishments.

So let’s fast forward to now with these Queen of the Ring ideas.  Could this really work in today’s WWE that is struggling to create lasting moments and new stars?

It depends on the commitment factor for the company; and that lies on the success and reception of the event if it did happen.  There is certainly use for it, as the tournament can be used to elevate talent such as Ruby Riott, Peyton Royce, or Sasha Banks.  On the flip side, it wouldn’t be no surprise if someone such as Alexa Bliss or Mandy Rose could take the win to garner extra heat for their respective character.  That would certainly work, as Bliss is an example of someone who is very much over and the company seems to be completely behind her.

Consistency also matters, in which it is crucial to make the Queen of the Ring idea work.  That goes hand in hand with the storytelling aspect that the company has been struggling with for some time now.  Gaps in logic with missed opportunities have done more harm than good, and with Evolution’s success, it wouldn’t be fair to the women if Queen of the Ring was one and done thanks to those poor factors.

Queen of the Ring is a great idea that could certainly help the Women’s Division.  Having the tournament at the Women’s PPV would create interest for fans that want something to look forward to.  There is no doubt that the talent would shine during the Queen of the Ring – even the potential for possible Match of the Year candidates is high at an event such as this. 

WWE has all of the tools to make this a success if at all possible this is true.  Overall, it would be beneficial for the Women’s Division, and it will help the Evolution become full circle –something that the Division is meant to be.


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

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