Thursday, July 2, 2015

Wrestlers of the Half Year (10-1)

10) Jay Lethal: We start with a man who recently, made a major mark by becoming a double champion. After holding the ROH Television Championship for over 440 days, Jay Lethal met Jay Briscoe in one of, if not the biggest match in ROH history. With the ROH World Championship and TV Titles both on the line in the main event of their "Best in the World" Pay-Per-View, Lethal was able to walk out after a great match with both belts. The guy went from Special K, to Black Machismo to the first double champion in a long time. Impressive stuff.

             9) Drew Galloway: Count Drew Galloway as a guy who left WWE and things got better. Think about this? After years of misuse in the WWE, Galloway now holds multiple titles. As of this writing, he is the current ICW Champion, DGUSA Open the Freedom Gate Champion, OCW Champion, DPW Champion and Evolve Champion. That's a lot of gold for one man. He has been the Evolve Champion for the entirety of 2015, and won a double title match to win the DGUSA belt on March 28th. Not only that, but he also made his return to mainstream television with a debut in TNA. He hasn't had as much success with Impact Wrestling but it's another notch in his solid 2015 belt.

8) Angelico, Ivelisse and Son of Havoc: Lucha Underground has arguably been the best weekly wrestling show on a weekly basis in 2015. One of the very best thing about that show is the tandem of Angelico, Ivelisse and Son of Havoc. What started as a solid pairing between just Havoc and Ivelisse became special when Angelico got involved. They went on to win the Trios Title Tournament and then defeat the Crew to officially win the belts in one of my three favorite Lucha Underground matches all year. They faced them again in a big ladder match that was fantastic as well. They continue to be highly enjoyable with each appearance.

7) Roman Reigns: The start of the year was not very kind to one Roman Reigns. Granted, he racked up a huge accomplishment by winning the Royal Rumble, but it came with a negative reaction. The crowd booed loudly on his whole celebration and things look bad. They would begin to turn around as he started to put on some great matches. He headlined Fast Lane against Daniel Bryan in one of my favorite WWE matches all year. Then, at WrestleMania, he competed with Brock Lesnar, telling a great story in the main event. If that wasn't enough, he would even get a really good match out of the Big Show at Extreme Rules. Throw in a solid Money in the Bank match along with a great Fatal Four Way at Payback, and I'd have to say that Reigns has been killing it in a way I never expected.

6) Roderick Strong: Since I first saw him in 2005, Roderick Strong has been a guy I truly enjoy. I can't believe it has been ten years since I first saw him. Hell, I even watched him win the ROH World Title live from Tyler Black. 2015 has been a banner year for Roddy. He's honestly kind of become the measuring stick on the indies. He currently holds the PWG Championship and one of my ten favorite matches this year saw him successfully defend it against Zach Sabre Jr. He also continues to kill it as "Mr. ROH" over in Ring of Honor. He is first in line at a title shot against Jay Lethal at the next Pay-Per-View. Strong has put on great match after great match in 2015. The man is simply fantastic.

5) Prince Puma: As I stated earlier, Lucha Underground has been fantastic all year long. While there are various entertaining acts on their roster, one man stands at the forefront and that's the champion, Prince Puma. He is the first and only Lucha Underground Champion, and has had nothing but good to great matches. Whether it's against King Cuerno, Big Ryck, Johnny Mundo or anyone else, Puma has been an excellent choice as the champion of the new promotion and has hand a tremendous 2015. Again, he's a guy that you will find on my list of top matches in 2015 and it I do more than 10, you may see him there more than once.

4) AJ Styles: Since first seeing AJ Styles in 2005 with TNA, he's been my favorite male wrestler in the world. After he left TNA, he seems to have found new life in NJPW. He won the IWGP Title but lost it before 2015. To start the year, he had a really good match at Wrestle Kingdom 9 before going back after the IWGP Championship. He defeated the man who beat him for it, Hiroshi Tanahasi, in February. Since then, he's successfully defended it while leading the Bullet Club. His work in NJPW and ROH continues to be great as his career resurgence just stays on a high level in 2015.

             3) Sasha Banks: I didn't think it was possible, but I have a brand new favorite wrestler. Sasha Banks overtook AJ Styles thorugh her passionf or the business and her ability in the ring. After coming up short in winning the NXT Women's Championship at the end of 2014, she won it at TakeOver: Rival in February in a fantastic fatal four way match that cracks my top ten. At the four live NXT shows I attended in Ohio, she had three more really good to great matches. Then, at TakeOver: Unstoppable, she had my singles WWE match of the year against Becky Lynch. I cannot rave enough about that match or Sasha in general. All of it is tremendous and everything about her it great.

2) Seth Rollins: If this list also included 2014, Seth Rollins would easily top it. His heel run has been great and it went over the top early in 2015. He went out and stole the show in a triple threat match against Brock Lesnar and John Cena at the Royal Rumble. He was in a high profile angle with Jon Stewart for a bit. At WrestleMania, despite a loss to Randy Orton in a good match, he cashed in Money in the Bank in the main event and walked out of the biggest show of the year with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. If his title run was being booked better, he'd have the top spot. Instead, he'll have to settle for number two.

1) Kevin Owens: In 2015, there has been nobody better than NXT Champion Kevin Owens. Owens debuted in December 2014 but quickly made an impact by attacking his best friend and NXT Champion at the time, Sami Zayn. They would meed in February for the NXT Title. Owens would nearly kill Sami to win it within two months of his debut. He didn't stop there though. He would make his biggest splash by appearing on Raw and assaulting John Cena before beating him cleanly at Elimination Chamber. Owens also has put on good matches on the main roster against Dolph Ziggler, Cesaro, Neville and others. He may have lost the rematch to Cena but still took him out and even made some waves by powerbombing Machine Gun Kelly through a table on Raw. Owens also beat Zayn again at TakeOver: Unstoppable. He is involved in high profile feuds with John Cena, Finn Balor and even Samoa Joe. There is nobody making more wrestling news than Kevin Owens.