So with only a few days left until 2010 begins, it seems like the perfect time to run down my list of the best wrestlers of the year. Now this is just my opinion, so you may or may not agree with it. Now let's get to the list!
Number X: Kofi Kingston
Kofi is my choice for breakout star of the year, that alone qualifies him for number 10 on my list. But don't think that he just gets in by default.
No, Kofi flat-out exploded this year in the WWE. He transitioned from ECW to Raw which was a move that has stunted many a career in the WWE.
Kofi, however, took it in stride and pushed himself to be perhaps the most entertaining wrestler in the whole company.
A nice change of pace happened in late 2009 where he dropped the Jamaican gimmick and took a more serious approach as he entered his first major feud against Randy Orton.
Kingston shocked everyone with fantastic promo skills and a presence about him that retained his entertaining fun wrestling style as well as the ability for people to take him seriously.
Kofi will be one to watch for some time and in my opinion has future champion painted all over him.
Number IX: John Cena
Cena has had a bit of a seesaw year this year. While he was WWE Champion twice, he didn't really have any major feud of note. Yes, he had an extended battle with Randy Orton that brought us some good matches.
Mostly though, Cena was a stale champion. Hopefully entering 2010 without any championship can allow him to move away from the title scene for a bit and give some added leverage to a fresher face to make some moves.
Cena with all of his detractors has won me over as a fan. I like him in the ring and I do think that he is capable of very memorable matches.
It all depends on who he gets in that ring with. Cena had a strong year but not strong enough to put him any higher on this list.
Number VIII: Kurt Angle
Kurt is a guy that I have a love/hate relationship with. At times during his run with TNA and in particular the Main Event Mafia group he fronted, he can be way too much to take on a weekly basis.
Thankfully, Angle has toned down the outside of the ring antics and went back to be a very solid wrestler. I judge this list on how good you are inside the ring, not doing goofy skits outside of it.
Angle even turned babyface towards the latter end of the year which is allowing him to have fresh matches with some of the new heels. His on going feud with Desmond Wolfe has given TNA some of the best matches of the year, in any company.
Not to mention, Angle also captured yet another TNA Championship victory this year. That's why he's No. 8 on this list.
Number VII: KENTA
Some may say that KENTA didn't have as strong of a year as he's had in the past. Mainly because he didn't spend a lot of time in the United States.
Even though his short stay with ROH produced one of the best matches of the year, maybe even the best.
In Japan, KENTA captured the GHC Jr. Heavyweight Championship for the third time and absolutely tore the house down on more than one occasion going against Katsuhiko Nakajima.
KENTA knows that he's been losing some of his fan base but it hasn't stopped him one bit from continuing to be one of the best Jr. Heavyweights around.
Number VI: Naruki Doi
If Doi ends 2009 still as Dragon Gate's Open The Dream Gate Champion then he becomes the longest reigning champion in company history.
That will include not only a whole year as champion but a whole calendar year as champion which is something very hard to accomplish in wrestling.
Doi has always been a favorite of mine and now he's getting some serious attention in the United States thanks to Dragon Gate USA. His match on their previous PPV against Bryan Danielson has been one of the most talked about matches of the year.
Doi has hit his stride and is having some of the strongest performances of his career. The future looks bright for him without a doubt.
Number V: The Colony
This was hard because I wanted to try and keep this as a singles wrestler list but The Colony were too good this year to pass up naming them as one of the best of 2009.
The "ants" become the hottest babyfaces in CHIKARA and made for some fantastic matches against anyone they faced off against. Add in a Campeonatos de Perejas victory as well as involvement in the biggest angle in the company you end up with the MVP tag team of the indy scene for the entire year.
That certainly gives them credibility to pass over some very big names on this list. The Colony will no doubt provide us with even more tag team greatness in 2010. Don't be surprised to see them on a best of 2010 list this time next year.
Number IV: Randy Orton
Randy Orton was arguably the best heel the WWE had in 2009. From his battles with John Cena over the WWE Championship to one of the company's biggest angles of the year with HHH heading into Wrestlemania.
While the payoff match for that feud was a let down, it didn't stop Orton from cultivating a heel persona like no other.
Not only that but he's stepped up his game in the ring which has allowed him to look less robotic and stuff and more fluid and comfortable. Orton should be a major player next year as well but 2009 will go down has one of his best years.
Number III: Nigel McGuinness/Desmond Wolfe
Nigel started 2009 in the best position possible, champion of his promotion. Nigel was on an epic title reign in ROH before horrible injuries sidelined him and caused him to drop the belt prematurely.
That didn't stop him though as he returned from injury as good as ever and found himself the target of both the WWE and TNA.
Nigel exited ROH with a match against his greatest opponent ever in Bryan Danielson. Nigel quickly popped up on TNA TV under the new moniker, Desmond Wolfe.
As Wolfe, he has quickly asserted himself as one of the companies most bankable stars and has put on fantastic matches against Kurt Angle.
His year-ending PPV match against Angle has certainly cemented himself as a top talent and one of the best wrestlers TNA has ever had under contract.
Here's to an amazing 2010 for a man who has battled through injuries that could have ended his career.
Number II: Davey Richards
I've seen a lot of people give Richards the nod as breakout star of the year. They obviously haven't seen much of his matches outside the year.
Richards erupted on the scene in 2006 where he won both the ECWA Super 8 Tournament and PWG's Battle of Los Angeles Tournament. This year, though, Richards took his rightful place at the throne of indy wrestling fans across the country.
Richards was one half of the best tag team in ROH as well as a tag champion. Richards impressed everyone with some of the best matches in recent memory against men like KENTA, Shingo, and Bryan Danielson.
Richards has become a reliable promo and a wrestler who never gives under 100% in his matches.
Number I: AJ Styles
This is coming from someone who isn't a big AJ Styles fan. This year might have been AJ's best because he's been able to come back from so much in TNA.
When the company first started, he was their big homegrown talent. AJ was NWA World Champion as well as an X-Division and tag team champion.
Unfortunately for him, AJ was turned heel and given a gimmick of being an empty headed lackey for Kurt Angle. It seemed as if AJ was gone for good.
Now, in 2009, AJ is the unquestionable ace of TNA. He's back on top as champion and in recent months given us jaw dropping performances in the main event.
It was easy for me to pick AJ because he's continued to step his game up and bring us fresh and excited matches with opponents he's wrestled 100 times before.
So congratulations AJ Styles, you are the best wrestler of 2009.
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