The calendar year of 2015 was not the best year for wrestling. TNA had major hits from losing its TV deal with Destination America to mass exodus of talent and a terribly done tournament. ROH had its own problems but WWE has been the focus. From terrible booking to injuries and other issues, the company has had a very rough year that shows the weakness in not building new guys. True, NXT is terrific but the main shows are facing serious ratings falls and other problems.
It comes down to the actual wrestlers and while some guys did their best and gave their all, many others did not. Sure, some were affected by bad booking or presentation but others just weren’t that good in the first place. That’s not counting former huge stars that now have fallen into terrible ruts. We've covered plenty of shortcomings for the WWE in 2015, but it’s not just WWE. TNA gave us plenty of bad stuff too and that’s not counting the indies. Here are the 15 worst in-ring competitors of 2015 that weren't on the WWE main roster. Some can be seen as a total waste, others not living up to potential and how they contributed to a bad 2015.
14 Baron Corbin
He has a decent look but the way WWE is trying to give him a Goldberg-style push is just doing more harm than good. His short matches show how poor he is, just punches and kicks, “power” moves that do little good and the fans turned on him because of that. He works better as a heel but not standing well anyhow and moved into a bad feud with Rhyno. His “End of Days” finisher is nowhere as epic as it’s made out to be and his battles with Samoa Joe showcased how vastly undeveloped Corbin is. He’s now feuding with Apollo Crews and who knows, may develop into a decent guy but right now, he’s a “monster” underserving of such a push and proof even NXT has a few duds amid their gems.
It’s obvious that “Total Divas” is the only reason she’s with the company. Since her breakup with Naomi, it’s been showcased how Cameron just can’t wrestle, her ring work being atrocious. Witness her NXT match with Asuka that’s one of the worst bouts of the entire year and the crowd didn’t hold back their feelings on how bad it was. She’s taken time off supposedly for training but it wouldn’t be at all surprising if she’s let go as she’s proof of how too many Divas rely on looks and not talent to get ahead but even that has limits.
12 Jeff Hardy
Hardy has been coasting for a few years now, the “daredevil style” hiding how bad his in-ring work has become and if it’s not a ladder bout or such, he’s just not that notable. That was highlighted this year as he and Matt won the TNA tag team titles but their reign was cut short when Jeff stupidly crashed his motorcycle and broke his ankle, a dumb move when you know your company is counting on you.
He returned for a storyline forced to become ECIII’s assistant and then helping Matt win the World title before hitting the indie circuit as his old “Willow the Wisp” persona, once more leaving TNA high and dry. So aside from poor matches, Jeff also wrecked storylines via his bad injury and showing once more how that “daredevil” side cuts off the promise of his stardom.
11 Ken Anderson
The poster child for a once-promising star marred by injuries and his own attitude, Anderson continued that trend in 2015. After time off for what seemed his hundredth injury, Anderson returned to TNA to feud with ECIII and Tyrus, showing once more that bad ring work and shaving Tyrus’ head. Various forgettable feuds followed with a program with Bram and then matches in the World Title tournament that were taped months in advance and showed him losing once more. It’s amazing how badly this guy has fallen and 2015 was a low year even for him to remind you of the wasted potential.
10 Solomon Crowe
This isn't about attacking the performer for his previous work, as Sami Callihan has proven on the indie scene that he can hack it. However his time in NXT left a lot to be desired and perhaps it just wasn't a fit. He made his television debut early in the year, attacking CJ Parker. His hacker gimmick was dreadful and he couldn't make himself stand out on a talented roster. Crowe requested and received his release from the company in November.
8 Lei’D Tapa
Once again, TNA tried to push this woman as a serious worker and once again, the fans didn’t buy it. If anything, she looked worse than ever stalking the ring, gangly and not well coordinated and an offense that consisted of punches, kicks and just tossing folks around. She barely talked and her battles with Awesome Kong were less “big ladies fighting” and more just messy brawls. Her attempts to push herself more didn’t work on fans and that the GWF stuff was dropped fast just served to hurt her more. She may have an impressive look but the woman just can’t back it up in the ring no matter how many times TNA tries.
7 Mahabali Shera
Khoya began the year by joining James Storm's group The Revolution on Impact. He would turn face later in the year, changing his name to Mahabali Shera. He never seemed to understand he was a heel, as he would be seen high fiving fans on his way to the ring, going against pro wrestling 101. His in-ring work was subpar and his offense at times looked really weak. He was a part of TNA's worst match of the year, their 12-man Gauntlet match at Bound For Gold match, but perhaps the blame should go on management for that one.
6 Jeff Jarrett
Always a guy who thinks he’s a much bigger star than he truly is, Jarrett reached new heights of arrogance this year. He managed to convince TNA that they’d be best served allowing his new Global Force Wrestling to “invade” for a storyline that lasted only two months and gave some damn poor feuds in the process. He conned them into creating a “King of the Mountain” title just for him to win and use like a real belt while doing rough promos that couldn’t decide if he was the heel or face.
His in-ring work showed his age and how he’s not really suited for the main event while GFW’s attendance became the biggest joke in the business. Not only bad in the ring, Jarrett ended up doing more damage to TNA at a time when they needed all the help they could get and once more showed his massive ego at work.
5 Bull Dempsey
Simply put, Bull Dempsey wasn't bringing what fans today expect out of a wrestler. While Dempsey was billed as a monster heel for a lot of the year, he didn't wow you in the ring and didn't make you think he was worthy of an undefeated streak. The announcers even seemed bored watching his matches. Dempsey was soon turned face and given a far more ridiculous gimmick of an overweight guy who eats too much. It seems management soon wised up and saw the lack of quality in his work.
4 Mojo Rawley
Mojo Rawley already has perhaps the worst finisher in all of wrestling, His gimmick involved him getting super excited all the time and Rawley hasn't really proven he can work any kind of match other than a squash match. Rawley has a very limited offense and you would think a guy who used to play in the NFL could come up with a more devastating looking offense other than using his rear end every other move. Rawley eventually joined up with Zack Ryder to formThe Hype Bros, probably NXT's way of saying he couldn't cut it on his own.
3 Alex Riley
Alex Riley's career derailed a few years ago and he hasn't been able to recover. Riley was sent down to NXT to be an announcer which tells you a lot about what WWE thought of him as a wrestler. Riley hasn't been able to click down at Full Sail University. He's wrestled sparingly at NXT this year but has failed to impress in any capacity. He just seems very out of place in an environment that has raised our standards for what we expect to see in NXT.
2 Hulk Hogan
Since Hogan is no longer under contract with WWE, and is essentially a brand on his own, he qualifies for the rough year he had. While Hogan's struggles have nothing to do with in-ring action, you could say he caused some tremendous damage for the business due to the racist comments that were leaked on an audio tape. Hogan's had ups and downs throughout the years and this was certainly a down year. Hopefully 2016 can be a year of redemption for the Hulkster.
1 Eva Marie
She's spent the year on NXT, so she qualifies for this list (and wins in a landslide.)Even those who love redheads (like myself) have a hard time investing in Eva Marie. Sure, her antics on “Total Divas” can be fun in a trainwreck kind of way but in the ring, she’s utterly horrible. She can’t wrestle despite all her training from Brian Kendrick. She can’t talk, her promos stilted and just isn’t entertaining.
Okay, I take that back, the video montages of her non-stop botching in the ring are pretty hysterical. But that just shows how bad she is, obvious how it’s only her looks and reality TV fame pushing her along as she has nothing else to offer. Easily the worst wrestler on the current roster and no surprise she tops this list.