Monday, September 5, 2016

Top Five Favorite Current Singles Performers

5) Katsuyori Shibata/Tomohiro Ishii: Yea, I kind of copped out by having a tie for fifth but whatever. I can't choose between these two. Katsuyori Shibata and Tomohiro Ishii are two of the most consistently great wrestlers in the world. Their style of just beating the fuck out of whoever they're in the ring with almost always produces great matches. When they're actually in the ring together though, it is magic. I've seen them face off about five times and their matches have gotten *****, ****3/4, ****1/2 and ****1/4 twice. That is like, greatest series of matches between two guys ever numbers. Since becoming a key player in NJPW around 2013, Ishii has been their best performer, having ****+ matches all over each year with various opponents.

4) Sami Zayn: Not since Daniel Bryan has a guy been so genuinely likable as Sami Zayn is. I've been a fan of his since his El Generico days, but he's taken his game to another level as Sami Zayn. Sami has been top notch since arriving in NXT/WWE back in 2013. In NXT, he had awesome battles with Cesaro, Tyler Breeze, Adrian Neville and more. Since getting the callup to the main roster, Sami has been at his best. He's had several match of the year candidates in many different match types. From ladder matches to wars with his greatest friend/rival Kevin Owens to good old fashioned straight up matches with guys like AJ Styles. The only other person that you can watch that evokes happiness like Sami is Bayley. He's that much fun. There is no better pure babyface male around.

3) Tetsuya Naito: Thinking about Tetsuya Naito just gets me so mad right now. NJPW has totally fumbled his push. It's a damn shame because since his heel turn in the summer of 2015, Naito has been, FAR AND AWAY, the most entertaining wrestler in the company. His nonchalant attitude is just a joy to watch. He worked his way from a failed babyface push up to most over act in the company and it culminated in him winning the IWGP Heavyweight Title at Invasion Attack last April. It made NJPW feel fresh and was all sorts of fun. He would disrespect the title and he was must-see TV, even if it was just in a meaningless multi-man tag. Unfortunately, NJPW pulled the rug out from under him to go back to the status quo named Kazuchika Okada. Still, Naito continues to be the best thing going in NJPW, despite booking errors.

2) Sasha Banks: In 2015, there weren't many people that outperformed Sasha Banks. She and Bayley stole an entire weekend over the summer that included the Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, John Cena, Seth Rollins, Shinsuke Nakamura and many others. Currently, Sasha had some hiccups on the main roster and wasn't getting featured. When she did though, she reminded us why she's the best female in the company. Her matches at WrestleMania and on the first post-draft Raw were both back to her NXT standards. I find myself getting nervous watching her matches because I don't ever want to see her lose. I feel like a kid watching his favorite again when Sasha Banks wrestles and for that alone, she would make this list. The woman is incredible and I just hope that she stays healthy enough to have the long, successful career that she deserves.

1) AJ Styles: When I first saw him in 2005, AJ Styles became my favorite wrestler. It remained that way through his entire TNA run, even if I mostly stopped watching the company. He went to NJPW and became my favorite performer there. I though I couldn't like him anymore and then he joined the WWE. 2016 has been one of my favorite years in wrestling history because of him. Styles showed up and instantly picked up the WWE style to become the best part of the show. As a babyface or a heel, he's great. It doesn't matter what type of match you throw Styles in or who he faces, it's going to be good. Now, he's beaten John Cena cleanly and looks to be on pace to win the WWE Championship, which is a sentence I wouldn't have thought was possible at the end of last year.