Welcome back to The Nerd/Out Top 100 Wrestlers of the year. In case you didn’t see the first installment of this list, allow us to explain what’s going on. Together with Mark Out Entertainment, we here at Nerdopotamus have formed a wrestling committee. Their goal was to put together a list of the best wrestlers in the world. The qualifying period was from final bell of WrestleMania 31 to final bell of WrestleMania 32.
Anything that came before or after is irrelevant, and did not factor into the decision-making process.
Today, we will be joined by a few members of the Nerd/Out wrestling committee. As always, we’ll introduce them when the time comes.
To kick things off, we take you to Scott Kolich (Nerdo regular):
What’s there to say about Brock Lesnar that hasn’t already been covered by Nerdo in the five part series? While wrestling part-time, he has been the most unstoppable force in the WWE. With his mouthpiece Paul Heyman hyping up his matches, they all have the big match feel, and the schedule he wrestles allows him to be a top drawing special attraction. He’s been on a winning streak since SummerSlam.
His matches with The Undertaker are dope. Only reason he’s not a top ten guy is his limited availability to WWE. But there is nothing on the roster that can seemingly stop The Beast from taking you to Suplex City!
What sets Kota Ibushi apart from the others on this list is that his biggest headline came from outside the ring. Despite having stellar performances in DDT and NJPW, Kota decided to step away from both companies and work freelance. He started his own company Ibushi Pro Wrestling Research Institute.
Mind you, he chose to step away from New Japan after winning the 2015 New Japan Cup, which he used to unsuccessfully challenge AJ Styles for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
He has also signed on to compete in WWE’s Global Cruiserweight Tournament.
For this entry, we take you back to Scott Kolich:
Scary. Sexy. Talented. Just three of the words I would use to describe Asuka. Since she came into NXT, she has run through the entire women’s division in dominating fashion. Whether it’s with the Asuka lock or the big Asuka kick, the rest of the division just seems to not quite be at her level.
Capping the qualifying period by putting Bayley to sleep in Dallas and capturing the NXT women’s title, the sky is the limit and the future is incredibly bright for the Empress.
You ever just wanna kick the shit out of someone, but you can’t? Luckily, Katsuyori Shibata has no such restrictions as he has been able to engage some of the best New Japan has to offer in some of the most hard hitting matches this year. Breaking in with Tanahashi and Nakamura can feel overshadowing, but Shibata has been successful taking his own path.
A path that just happens to involve throwing brutal headbutts and kicking people in the chest. If you’re a fan of strong style, check out his matches with Ishii from this past years, as they are instant classics. He has also had bangers with Kojima and Tenzan, with Nagata soon to follow. Nakamura may have left, but Shibata may be a suitable heir to the King of Strong Style.
For this entry, we take you back to Fre:
Tough and hard. Nah, its not a tagline to the next Brazzers flick, but the motto to the way Ishii lives his life. Easily one of, if not, the toughest man in the roster, Ishii has made a habit out of engaging in brutal, hard hitting wars with much of the roster. Ishii dominated as the NEVER Openweight Champion until losing his title to Katsuyori Shibata at Wrestle Kingdom 10, but it did not slow down his success.
Ishii went on to win the ROH Television Title from Roderick Strong earlier this year and had two of the best matches in the New Japan Cup tournament with EVIL and Naito respectively.
The Stone Pitbull is ravenous and he’s gonna straight up BITE U.
I don’t think there are any two wrestlers who have picked up more momentum during our qualifying period. Jason Jordan signed with the WWE in 2011. He was in their developmental when it was FCW, and only like twelve people in Florida watched the television that they put out. He could never make much of an impression on his own. He spent some time as enhancement talent. He eventually got some TV time in a tag team with Tye Dillinger, but that didn’t work out.
Normally, that’d be a bad thing, but in Jason Jordan’s case, not working in a team with Tye Dillinger is the best thing that ever happened to him. Not long after he split from The Perfect 10, Jordan met Chad Gable. Gable wanted to be his new partner, but Jordan didn’t see it. Week in and week out, he would turn Gable down. Chad stayed ready, willing, and Gable, however, and eventually it happened.
Jason Jordan broke down and American Alpha was born (they didn’t get their name until very recently). They started as heels, but quickly got over. Then they got hot. Like white hot. Their breakthrough came at NXT TakeOver: Respect when they put in a absolutely fantastic performance against Baron Corbin and Rhyno in The Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.
They went on to close out our qualifying period by winning the NXT Tag Team Championships from The Revival at NXT TakeOver: Dallas (as you can see in the picture above).
For this entry, we take you back (for the final time) to Scott Kolich:
Joe is gonna kill you! Joe is gonna kill you!
That chant can be heard throughout any arena hosting a wrestling event with Samoa Joe on the card. He finished out the qualifying period in a bloody battle with Finn Balor for the NXT title where the referees kept trying to patch him up and he was growing more pissed by the moment. He then took that anger out on Finn, but still managed to come up just short.
Since his debut, he’s been tearing it up, quickly shedding the TNA stink after being a stalwart in the X division for seemingly forever. He hasn’t missed a beat, even becoming rejuvenated since joining NXT. A rejuvenated Joe is a scary proposition for wrestlers not named Samoa Joe, as his athleticism and power is not easily matched, and his mat work is brilliant.
The Samoan Submission Machine is in fantastic position to have a breakout year in WWE/NXT.
For this entry, we take you back to Jerry Mascolo:
Kushida = Japanese Marty McFly. What else do I gotta say?
NOTE: If you’re looking for a taste of Kushida’s in-ring ability, click HERE to see him take on Will Ospreay. It’s from after the qualifying period ended, but it is absolute fire.
For this entry, we take you back to Joey Finnegan:
If you’re wondering why there’s only two words, you need to watch the video below. It’s an incredible match. Then click HERE and learn something.
Or do it the other way around. I don’t know. I’m not your father.
For this entry, we take you back (for the final time) to Joey Finnegan:
All right, this is for all those who are still with us. The ones who didn’t get sucked into Pentagon Junior versus Vampiro. You went to the end of today’s list, even though the final entry is Roman Reigns. That means you’re either a fan of his, or you want to know what we could possibly say to justify placing him on here.
He’s a 3-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion, and all of those wins came within the qualifying period. Open debate amongst committee members managed to take that accomplishment down to 21. Logically, he should have been higher. Love him or hate him, he is the guy. Our qualifying period of time even ended with the true beginning of The Roman Empire.
That’s all for day eight of our list. We’re cracking the Top 20 tomorrow, so keep an eye out for numbers 20-11. As always, feel free to question our choices in the comment section.
We’d love to hear from you!
Click HERE for numbers 100-91
Click HERE for numbers 90-81
Click HERE for numbers 80-71
Click HERE for numbers 70-61
Click HERE for numbers 60-51
Click HERE for numbers 50-41
Click HERE for numbers 40-31
Click HERE for numbers 20-1
FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: Courtesy of WWE.com.