Wrestling is such a subjective art form, and fans have their own opinion of what wrestling is and when it’s at it’s best, so fans can never fully agree on who is the best and what matches are the best. This goes for any art form, but especially in the world of pro wrestling that is so diverse, as one person's opinion of brilliance can be completely different to someone else’s, which means wrestling fans will never run out of anything to discuss or enjoy.
Today we are going to scan the professional wrestling landscape and look at the performers who are either underrated or overrated (in my opinion of course), whether it be from the promotion's perspective or the majority of the fans' perspective.
18 16. Overrated: Roman Reigns
Let’s get this one out of the way nice and early. Roman Reigns isn’t rated highly by most wrestling fans, despite his huge improvements, but by WWE’s standards, Reigns is one of the best performers on the planet, and with his current baby face alignment, we all know that just isn’t true. With the way fans know the backstage workings of the industry more now than ever, we know how they are trying to book Reigns, and the majority (or at least vocal fans) can’t take his Superman booking seriously. If he was turned into a heel and allowed to properly play to his strengths, then Roman would be considered a highlight of the program, but fans have seen it all before with John Cena, and the way WWE rate him, no one truly buys it.
17 15. Underrated: Tyler Bate
Tyler Bate, the first ever WWE United Kingdom Champion is just 19 years of age, which means it’s quite understandable why he is underrated, but in just a few short appearances on the WWE network, Tyler has already gained a massive following, due to his understated charisma and talent in the ring which is far beyond his years. We still don’t exactly know how the WWE-UK relationship is going to work, as we have no further details on the weekly show, but in 2 matches on NXT, Bate has already proven that he has the potential to be a huge star for whichever WWE brand he is assigned to work on. With many years left to grow and develop, Bate may become one of the best workers in the world, but for now his talent remains overlooked by many fans, especially those who were behind guys like Mark Andrews, Trent Seven and Pete Dunne in the UK Tournament.
16 14. Overrated: Andrade “Cien” Almas
This may just be a case of Almas taking time to adapt to the American wrestling scene, or it may be the way that WWE has booked him thus far, but something about the former La Sombra just isn’t clicking in NXT. Almas has a great look (especially when you consider he wrestled his whole career in a mask), and a fantastic move set, so it’s confusing as to why he isn’t getting over with the Full Sail crowd. His work in Mexico was impeccable, as he had many classic matches on his way to the main event scene, and maybe the hype was always too much to live up too, as fans just simply don’t care enough about his current character to invest their time and emotion into. Hopefully, as I’m a huge fan of his, Almas can pull it all together and get hot, because when he does, he will light NXT on fire.
14 13. Underrated: Sami Zayn
Sami Zayn is arguably the best in ring worker on Monday Night RAW, and he has a knack for storytelling through selling and facial expressions that is unmatched in the WWE today, but yet still remains quite underrated in comparison to the top guys like Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens. Since his WWE arrival in 2013, Zayn has had classic matches with everyone he’s encountered from Cesaro to Shinsuke Nakamura, from Kevin Owens to Neville, and is one of the most likeable stars the WWE has had in years. He may not have the stature or marketability like Roman Reigns or John Cena, but it’s about time that people in WWE took Zayn seriously as a top guy, as he could be just as big a star, if not bigger than Daniel Bryan.
13 12. Overrated: Chris Hero
This may happen several times on this list, but just because I am referring to someone as overrated, doesn’t mean I think they’re not great. I have a great deal of respect for what Chris Hero (or Kassius Ohno to NXT fans) has done in the wrestling industry, and I think he is a great talent that is capable of producing great matches, but compared to most independent wrestlers out there today, he just isn’t as diverse or impressive in the ring. Hero’s style revolves around stiff elbows and strong style, but there are so many competitors in the world today who excel at that style, but can also offer fans something else when needing to work a different style of match. I do think that Chris Hero deserves a run at the top in NXT when he arrives, but as far as being the best independent performer in the world, there are more impressive and enjoyable competitors out there.
12 11. Underrated: War Machine
When fans talk about great tag teams in the wrestling world today, the first teams that come to mind are the Revival, The Young Bucks, American Alpha, The Briscoes, ReDragon and even #DIY, but one team that needs to be added to that list is the monstrous duo of Hanson and Raymond Rowe, War Machine. After meeting each other in a tournament for ROH, they decided to team together, and since their inception in 2015, the two have torn it up with every team they’ve faced, from the Bucks to the Addiction to the Killer Elite Squad, earning one reign as Ring of Honor tag team champions. They have also been linked to a potential WWE move, which may be great for their career, as NXT have proven they know how to book great tag teams, but either way, it’s only a matter of time until War Machine cement their spot among the elite teams in the world.
11 10. Overrated: Hideo Itami
KENTA was a huge star in Japan, and as he made his way around the world, he had amazing matches with the likes of Bryan Danielson, and this gained him the reputation as being one of the best and hardest strikers in the entire wrestling industry. Looking to capitalize on this in the way they did with Shinsuke Nakamura in 2016, WWE signed him to an NXT contract and thus, Hideo Itami was born. Since then, Itami has had two major injuries, and in the time that he was performing, he lacked that overwhelming crowd reaction that he garnered on the independents. Fans were still behind him, but due to WWE’s limitations placed on him, Itami hasn’t been anywhere near himself, and if that doesn’t change anytime soon, then it would be best for his career if he moved on, back to Japan or the independents.
10 9. Underrated: Marty Scurll
We are currently in the midst of a wrestling boom in the UK, with promotions such as Progress, WCPW, Rev Pro and ICW, and stars such as Neville, Finn Balor, Zack Sabre Jr. and Will Ospreay rising to the top, it’s easy to see why the Villain would be heavily overlooked by many wrestling fans. If you give the time to watch Scurll’s matches, particularly in Ring of Honor and PWG where he gets to showcase his entire skill set, he is easily one of the most entertaining wrestlers in the world, with a very unique move set. It’s easy to be overshadowed when fellow countrymen like Will Ospreay is becoming an internet sensation, or Zack Sabre Jr. continuing his rise as the best technical wrestler in the world, but if given enough time and exposure, Scurll has the ability to outshine both of them.
9 8. Overrated: Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar is one of the most impressive and decorated combat sport athletes in history, and when he made a shock return to the WWE in 2012, fans were no doubt excited, and he has gone on to have some of the very best matches of his whole career from that point. 2017 has rolled around however, and despite WWE still pushing Lesnar as an unstoppable wrestling machine, fans know better, and see through the dominance, as Brock now utilizes only two moves, which has made him become quite boring. Yes, he is still quite a sight to see, but in terms of wrestling ability, which he had in abundance with matches against the likes of John Cena, Triple H and Kurt Angle have now faded, and his matches don’t just seem as special anymore.
8 7. Underrated: Kyle O’Reilly
Ring of Honor has produced some legendary talents in its 15 years of existence, and some of them have gone on to become huge stars on a much grander stage, but one that is just finding his footing as a main event talent, and one that could follow in such footsteps in Kyle O’Reilly. In his time with the company, he has tagged with Bobby Fish, forming a very successful and formidable team of ReDragon, and in the past year has begun to break out as a solo performer, recently winning his first ROH World Title, before losing it to Adam Cole. With breakout stars all around the world, O’Reilly doesn’t grab headlines because of his understated yet hard hitting, technical style, but given time into a match and storyline, he will wow the fans just as much as anyone, and deserves to be recognized as one of the best performers in the world today.
7 6. Overrated: Noam Dar
When the Cruiserweight Classic was announced, fans were ecstatic that performers like Kota Ibushi, Zack Sabre Jr. and Johnny Gargano were in the tournament, and not many fans outside the UK were overly excited about the youngster Noam Dar. After several forgettable matches, Dar had a great performance alongside Sabre, and is now one of the biggest players in the Cruiserweight division, after he debuted to a huge pop in his home country of Scotland on Monday Night RAW.
6 5. Underrated: Alexa Bliss
Despite defeating fan favorite Becky Lynch to claim her first Championship in the WWE, many fans still had doubts about the skill and overall ability of Alexa Bliss, but she continues to prove herself as one of the strongest characters on Smackdown, with improving promo ability and a great sense of awareness when working the crowd. Her in ring work may be her biggest weakness as we speak, but growing into her heel persona has helped develop that work, as she is now one of the most vicious heels in the entire WWE. With the four horsewomen and Mickie James all in the WWE now, it’s easy to see why Bliss is overlooked, but if Smackdown can continue to give her time to flesh out her character and give her meaningful feuds, Bliss will finally start gaining the respect that she no doubt deserves.
4 4. Overrated: Kenny Omega
Let me start by saying this: I think Kenny Omega is one of the best wrestlers in the world today, but the way that casual fans of Japanese wrestling have rated Omega in the wake of his 6-star match with Okada at Wrestle Kingdom 11 is just a bit too far. Yes, Omega is amazing in the ring and he has great facial expressions while he is performing, but until he can consistently sell the way pro wrestlers should, he will never be the best in the world (that spot, in my mind, is currently occupied by AJ Styles). We know that he is getting better year by year, and if that continues then maybe one day he will hold that spot alone, but the hype surrounding him just needs to cool until he can consistently perform at that level.
3 3. Underrated: Matt Riddle
When Kurt Angle entered the wrestling business after he won an Olympic gold medal, it was unrivaled how quickly he made the transition to the ring, and it has influenced a generation of amateur wrestlers to make the same jump to pro wrestling. In 2015, we saw a similar transition, that of former UFC competitor Matt Riddle, who in just 2 years in the wrestling business has become one of the hottest prospects on the independent scene, with a unique and impressive style all his own. Working for promotions such as Evolve and Rev Pro in the UK, Riddle has quickly become one of the best pure baby faces on the independent scene, with a rapidly improving skill set that could see him become a huge star in the WWE if the two parties were interested in working together.
2 2. Overrated: Dean Ambrose
I may sound like I’m repeating what many, many people have said over the past few years, but what is so exciting about the current version of Dean Ambrose? In The Shield he was a deranged performer, helping his brothers at all costs, and then he transformed into the anti-hero that WWE hasn’t seen since Stone Cold Steve Austin, and he was getting pops from the crowd to match that comparison. But since then, WWE have turned him into something so typically WWE by pushing ‘The Lunatic Fringe’ and his wacky antics, and it is a huge waste of talent. This has affected his matches too, as although JBL often likes to point out how wacky and unpredictable he is, his matches have become stale and boring, often with the same moves and no reason for fans to get excited. If WWE can bring back the no-nonsense Ambrose, they may have a star on their hands, but in his current form, Ambrose will never be a true main event star.
1 1. Underrated: Jay Lethal
When one thinks of Ring of Honor, they look back on the legends we have seen in WWE like Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Daniel Bryan and Samoa Joe, or the current stars such as the Young Bucks or Adam Cole, but one man has been very overlooked through all of this, Jay Lethal. After his stint in TNA where he showed great charisma as a comedy baby face mid card act, he went to Ring of Honor and took his game to a whole new level. He has improved his in ring work and can now work great as a heel or baby face, and is one of the biggest, yet least talked about stars in the wrestling world. Lethal has held both the ROH Television title and the World title for lengthy reigns, and it’s about time that he got the credit he deserves for being one of the top wrestlers around today.
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