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

WWE, Asuka (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)
WWE, Asuka (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images) /
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Even though we could break this up into pre-COVID and post-COVID events, let’s combine them. What took your vote for Best Event considering the last three months of largely crowdless shows?

KP: I’m going with the Royal Rumble. I love Rumbles, and there were four things I especially loved at this year’s event: Bianca Belair getting to shine at the beginning of the Women’s Rumble, Edge’s return, Drew McIntyre’s elimination of Brock Lesnar and eventual win, and then the barnburner between Becky Lynch and Asuka. That was a hell of a night.

DA: The 205 Live episode that had “Swerve” vs. Nese.

SS: NXT TakeOver: Portland. NXT has been pretty meh since this show. It’s been a watered-down version of its former self. Johnny Gargano turned on Tomasso Ciampa, which fans either loved or hated. Rhea Ripley vs. Bianca Belair and the BroserWeights becoming tag team champs are memorable matches.

CJ: NXT TakeOver: In Your House. Even though the weekly NXT shows have jumped the shark a bit since moving to the USA Network, the TakeOver supercards have remained very good, and NXT TakeOver: In Your House continued that tradition. Aside from the underwhelming Velveteen Dream vs. Adam Cole NXT Championship match, all the matches reached at least three stars, and we finally saw Io Shirai win the NXT Women’s Championship.

JV: WrestleMania 36. Granted it wasn’t the same and it had some lags here and there, WrestleMania still ended up being a solid show. Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley and Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins were the best matches in the ring, while the Boneyard Match between The Undertaker and A.J. Styles was marvelous.

One aspect of professional wrestling that draws fans in are the promos. While criticized for the formulaic nature of many of their promos, some wrestlers have broken through. Who had the Best Promo?

KP: My memory fails me a lot with these lists, but Bray Wyatt’s promo on John Cena before WrestleMania 36 was special. It was like the first BIG promo without a crowd, and it was just so haunting to watch Wyatt go IN on someone who called him entitled and, Jose Mourinho reference incoming, a specialist in failure. Wyatt is one of the best talkers, no doubt.

DA: Many, including myself, always wondered why we were watching the watered-down version of the unhinged Nikki Cross…that is, until the May 25 episode of RAW. The IIconics were
in the ring cutting a promo when they were interrupted by then-WWE Women’s Tag Team
Champion Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross. When Cross tried to speak, Peyton Royce immediately tried
to shut her down. This led to one of the most heartfelt and gut-wrenching promos of this year.
Cross talked about how she uprooted her life and moved from Glasgow, Scotland to the United
States to pursue her dream. She reminded The IIconics that while they had each other, she was
alone until her friendship with Alexa Bliss. It wasn’t the most eloquent of promos, but in a matter
of minutes you understood who Nikki Cross was, who she is at the moment, and the dynamic she
has with Alexa Bliss.

SS: I’m sure most fans will say Edge or Becky Lynch’s promos, but I’m going with Kevin Owens’ promo on the go-home RAW before WrestleMania 36. KO is one of the very best on the mic, especially when it’s about something he’s truly passionate. This promo was scathing, to say the very least. All the best promos are rooted in truth and KO proved it here.

CJ: Edge’s return promo on the Jan. 27 edition of RAW. All of Edge’s promos since coming out of retirement at the Royal Rumble have been A+ stuff for the most part, but that first promo he cut after returning still stands out as the best. Edge’s passionate words on that January night also made Randy Orton’s subsequent assault of him all the more effective. Too bad that great segment eventually led to two boring-to-good matches on pay-per-view.

JV: Another Edge promo, but from the Jun. 22 edition of RAW. The fire displayed in this promo was as pure as it gets. He and Randy Orton have done a masterful job with garnering fan investment with their mic work and in-ring performances. Edge has always been an above average talker, so this promo wasn’t too much of a surprise. I think the best is coming down the road for him in the next year.