WWE Mid-Year Round Table: Who was Most Outstanding Wrestler?

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The sudden shift due to the coronavirus pandemic also allowed some non-wrestler characters to shine. Who did you choose as the Best Non-Wrestler Character (manager, commentator, etc.) for the first half of 2020 in WWE?

KP: At first, I struggled to think of who I would pick, but then I was like, “Oh duh! Samoa Joe!” The man is a gift on commentary. He’s so insightful when it comes to breaking down exactly why the performers are doing what they’re doing, and it like peels back the curtain in a good way. We get to learn more about what we should be watching for. It reminds me of Nigel McGuinness on commentary in that way, except Joe has to promote the stories more than the moves on Raw, which he still does. Also, he’s so good at putting over the heels without being annoying with it and taking away from the wrestlers themselves.

DA: Ever since his return to the WWE, MVP has been on a roll. In less than two months, he was able to secure the WWE championship opportunity that had eluded Bobby Lashley for 13 years (and in the process, end that god-awful storyline with Lana). He is very confident on the mic and is
not afraid to put over wrestlers he believes in, even if they may directly oppose him and Lashley.
If that doesn’t earn him the title as Best Non-Wrestler Character, then I don’t know what will.

SS: Is there any other answer than Zelina Vega? She has been masterful in her position. She commands the camera every time she’s on it. She’s the perfect leader for two of WWE’s best in Andrade & Angel Garza. This trio is nearly unstoppable.

CJ: Paul Heyman. Fans have grown tired of Brock Lesnar over the last few years, but that shouldn’t obscure his advocate’s consistent brilliance on the microphone. Sure, he isn’t on TV as much as other strong candidates like Zelina Vega or……Zelina Vega, but the man whose next bad promo would be his first had delivered every time we have seen him on our screens.

JV: Samoa Joe. This indeed should count. Joe has wrestled once in 2020 and his transition to the WWE announcing team has been a flawless one. I would enjoy seeing Joe take the rest of the year off from active wrestling and stay on commentary. Let his body heal a bit and then have him unleash his wrestling skills with a vengeance next year.

From the Rumble match to the Boneyard Match to “The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever,” WWE had some pretty well-received matches through the first six months. What was your Best Match?

KP: I really enjoyed the Triple Threat Match at NXT TakeOver: In Your House between Io Shirai, Rhea Ripley, and Charlotte Flair. Shirai and Sasha Banks are the two best wrestlers on this planet, in my humble opinion, and it was a treat to watch Shirai win such a big match to become a champion for the first time in WWE.

DA: On Jun. 26, 205 Live dedicated an entire episode to one match. In the space of 20 minutes
Isaiah “Swerve” Scott and Tony Nese had what was possibly the best match the brand has seen thus far in 2020. Nese and Swerve had been feuding since before the Interim Cruiserweight Championship Tournament, but this particular match was where they proved why the WWE universe should pay attention to them. I highly suggest you go and check out this match, it will be worth your time.

SS: The “Firefly Fun House Match” at WrestleMania. It wasn’t *technically* a match, but whatevs. It was highly entertaining. Cena was able to poke fun at himself. The Fiend was the perfect mirror for Cena. I loved every second of it.

CJ: Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles (Finals of the Intercontinental Championship Tournament, Jun. 8). I know you’re probably shocked that “The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever” didn’t get my vote (in fairness, that match was pretty good), but Daniel Bryan and A.J. Styles’ clinic on an early June SmackDown not only represented a high point of the Performance Center shows, but was also the WWE’s Match of the Year so far. Honorable mentions go to Drew McIntyre vs. Seth Rollins at Money in the Bank, Bryan vs. Drew Gulak at Elimination Chamber, and Io Shirai vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley at NXT TakeOver: In Your House.

JV: Io Shirai vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley at NXT TakeOver: In Your House. Flip a coin between this and Daniel Bryan vs A.J. Styles for the Intercontinental Championship on SmackDown. The Randy Orton vs Edge match, as great as it was, ended up being too long for me. The triple threat women’s main event at the last NXT TakeOver was an incredible bout. I hope we see more of these types of matches over the course of 2020. Especially if Io comes out on top.