Who's the best wrestler in the WWE? Daniel Bryan? Tyson Kidd? CM Punk? John Cena? (One of these things is not like the others, by the way.)
That's a question that can get you a few different answers, but we haven't seen an article answering this question in a while so I thought it would be fun to offer my own thoughts on the subject. With that in mind, I hope you'll give the list a look and share your opinions on the placements and thoughts on the men both on and not on this list.
To kick things off, we'll start with the honorable mentions:
- Dolph Ziggler: Almost made it, and originally did. Forgot about RVD though, and his inclusion knocked Dolph off the list. Not taking anything away from him. Solid wrestler in his own right.
- Tyson Kidd: Originally not on this list due to injury, but you can rest assured he would have had a solid placing.
- Jack Swagger: One of the more underrated wrestlers, I feel. Very impressive in the ring for a big man, but not moreso than a lot of the men on this list. Still, more often than not expect a solid showing from him.
- Seth Rollins: He's been very impressive, but it's going to take some more time and exposure before he can earn a spot on this list.
- Justin Gabriel: Just missed out on this list, in a particular case not unlike Ziggler. Honestly, the two could be tied for 11th.
Oh, and don't forget to check the volume on your computers. Otherwise you risk blowing some speakers.
The heavyweight champion of the world is touted as one of the most skilled wrestlers in the world and he certainly has reason to be called such. He ranks in at number 10 because of his near-spotless record of bad matches, among other things.
While he's not as smooth as some of the men on this list, ADR delivers his moves with a lot of impact and grace and that has a huge impact on his placement. When executing a German Suplex or hitting one of those beautiful top-rope Enzuigiris, Del Rio looks to do them almost effortlessly. (Except for one time, when he missed the head kick.)
While Del Rio's moveset isn't terribly broader than the one used by Ziggler (who nearly had a spot on this list,) he does have a leg-up in execution with his Superkick and Cross Arm-Breaker coming off beautifully and uniform more often than not. Consistency is the name of the game, ladies and gents!
May seem odd to see someone as big as Sheamus on a list of the best wrestlers in WWE, but if you look at his body of work in recent years, it's hard to find too many bad matches. Sheamus is one of those few guys who has both the look WWE likes and the in-ring skills hardcore fans like, and that gives him an edge over the likes of Dolph and Del Rio.
Say what you want about Sheamus. People have called him a bully, people have called him corny, people have called him overexposed. Another thing you can call him though is a great in-ring competitor. Sheamus moves like a man half his size and puts on great matches with everyone from Daniel Bryan to Big Show with a solid moveset.
When you want to see a good match, you dial 1-800-FELLA.
Mr. Monday Night made his return to WWE at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view last Sunday and followed that up with an impressive performance against Chris Jericho on Monday Night. Despite fears that RVD would become slow and unmotivated, as many have called him out for during his time in Impact Wrestling, many feel that will not be the case, as the two ECW Veterans put on a show-stealer on a night filled with solid matches.
Van Dam comes in this list at number eight. With feet that have been said to have gone to Harvard and Yale, respectively, Rob Van Dam is considered one of the most impressive and innovative stars to ever step foot in a ring. A deadly array of kicks await any opponent unlucky enough to draw a bout with Van Dam, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Hardcore and ladder matches have seen the martial artist pull off some incredible feats, and his in-ring flow has suffered very little with his advanced (in wrestling years,) age. I'm not a huge fan of his, but Rob Van Dam is a great wrestler. No two ways about it.
Cody Rhodes has been a favorite of hardcore fans for years now, and it's for a good reason. In the years we've seen Cody on the main roster, he's developed into one of the most well-rounded competitors in a surprising amount of time. Putting on impressive matches in both the tag team and singles division, the two-time Intercontinental Champion has shown that he's a jack of all trades in the ring.
Whether you need a high-flyer, a striker, or a ground wrestler, Cody Rhodes is the man you want to find, and one of the more interesting things about Cody is his willingness to incorporate the moves of those around him into his moveset. From the uppercut Goldust used to deliver, to the Alabama Slam of his former tag partner Hardcore Holly, Rhodes has even used Dustin's Final Cut finishing maneuver.
Cody's a gifted in-ring performer with the ability to seemingly make every move flow like few others can, but given his last name it's no surprise.
The champ has made his return to in-ring action after several months on the shelf, and it's been nothing but a pleasure to see Christian in the ring. Captain Charisma is considered one of the best veterans WWE has on the roster and it's for good reason. Christian's bag of tricks is seemingly endless, with the ability to adapt to just about any opponent on the roster.
One of the smoother wrestlers on the roster, Christian's in-ring flow is the measuring stick, in my opinion. Matches with the likes of Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes and CM Punk are all proof of that. Whether he needs to be flying through the air, or delivering wicked strikes in the forms of slaps and chops or dropping opponents on their heads, Christian makes the most of every move and it may be that "Late-Game Player" moniker that does it, but when Christian gets going in a match it's rare that you want to see that kind of momentum come to an end.
Blasphemy, right? CM Punk is the fifth best wrestler in the world, despite what some T-Shirts would have you to believe, but there's nothing wrong with that. CM Punk gets it done in the ring. He has chemistry with just about everyone and an extensive moveset helps keep the action intense and interesting.
Not as smooth as some of the men listed here, but what Punk lacks in grace he makes up for in versatility. A jack when it comes to in-ring ability, Punk's implementation of styles is top-notch any way you slice it. Add to that his impressive use of educated hands and feet and you've got a man who may not be the best wrestler in the WWE, but one who may well be the best striker going in the company.
Just edging out the other half of the self-proclaimed Indy Schmucks is the current number one contender to John Cena's WWE Championship. The Indecisive Dragon has a very good chance of leaving SummerSlam with the WWE Championship around his waist, and a good part of that has to do with his in-ring performances over the last few months. Bryan has been money in the ring, pure and simple. His matches with the likes of Ryback, Randy Orton and Seth Rollins have helped to make Bryan the most over Superstar on the roster today.
Bryan is a lot like Punk with the added benefit of a better in-ring flow. Bryan goes from one move to another with little to no loss of momentum, and when said momentum hits a fever pitch he's basically a blur of one move after another. Earlier in this article, I called Christian the measuring stick for smoothness in the WWE. I would take it a step further and call Bryan the blueprint. The guy you watch, you study and you take notes on.
Chris Jericho...what can you say about Chris Jericho? Coming in at number three on the list of best wrestlers in the WWE, Chris Jericho is also one of the older men on this list. Ask any fan, though, and they'll tell you Jericho has never looked better, and it's hard to argue that.
Jericho is one of the most diverse and impressive wrestlers WWE has had walk through it's doors. His in-ring arsenal, along with his look has changed more times than I can count, but it's always been impressive and that's what you get when you come from the time Jericho did—a time when people traveled the world to perfect their craft.
It's very difficult to find a man more technically sound than Jericho on the roster. Very difficult, but not impossible.
Enter The Viper. Randy Orton has been one of the most impressive wrestlers in the WWE for a long time now, and like the veteran Jericho seems to get better with age. Orton's in-ring flow earned him the moniker The Viper and I think it fits. Every move he makes in that ring is precise. Nary a wasted move in that ring. You could make a legit case this is what the third-generation superstar was born to do.
In this list I've called Christian a measuring stick, and I've called Bryan the blueprint in terms of in-ring flow, but in all honesty I have to say that Orton's flow is second to none in the WWE. Simply put, he's the complete product. When you've reached the measuring stick, and you've applied all you can from the blueprint, you're left with Randy Orton.
Not only that, but Orton's moveset is highly extensive, allowing him to counter every move thrown at him with more than just an RKO. Orton is so good in that ring, it's scary, ladies and gentleman. Even scarier is that he's not the best wrestler in the WWE.
The former-United States Champion Antonio Cesaro comes in as the shocker at No. 1, and the best wrestler in the WWE. The Swiss Superman claims that his finisher, The Neutralizer is part strength and part technique. However, I believe that applies to all of Antonio Cesaro's in-ring arsenal, an arsenal more diverse than any other WWE Superstar on the roster today.
You want to see it, Antonio Cesaro will give it to you. High-flying, he can do that. Technical, he can do that. Brawling, he can do that. Power? You're looking at one of the strongest men in the WWE today. He hits all the major wrestling groups like no other superstar on the roster today. It's almost unreal how versatile, how smooth and how unique Antonio Cesaro is in the squared circle.
It's a bold statement, but when it comes to wrestling...it seems like Antonio Cesaro can do anything.
You could make an argument this is a pretty cookie-cutter article. Nothing major, and a lot of opinions thrown out. Still, there are times when it's always fun to get back to basics. When was the last time we saw a good old-fashioned Best Wrestlers in WWE slideshow?
The choice of Antonio Cesaro may seem shocking to some, but keep in mind that the booking of a superstar does not equate to how skilled they are. I'm a huge John Cena fan, but notice that the 13-time World Champion is absent from this list. I think that says it all right there, and I'm not saying that John can't wrestle—not at all.
Still, looking at the roster today, you could make the case that the WWE has never looked better from a wrestling standpoint. Say what you want about PG, about characters; that doesn't influence the skill of the men and women who walk through that curtain night in and night out. For all the criticism that the likes of Dolph Ziggler, Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus get for their promo skills or their characters, you can't deny that when the bell rings, these men deliver on a nightly basis.
Then you take a look at NXT, and you'll notice it's packed with skilled wrestlers. Sami Zayn, Xavier Woods and Oliver Grey, just to name a few. For all the hardcore purists out there, I hope you're sitting in appreciation of what you see night in and night out, and I urge you to ready yourself. It's been said a lot, but I'm going to say it once more. The future of the WWE is brighter. It's brighter, because the present is already extremely bright.