Monday, January 5, 2015

The 80 Elite Wrestlers of 2014

I've already released Year in Reviews for WWE, TNA, the Indies, & New Japan Pro Wrestling however I've yet to release a list that encompasses the entire world of Pro Wrestling. Until now, that is. This is the first ever Pro Wrestling Truth "Elite 80" list. It pretty much speaks for itself as it is a list of the Top 80 Wrestlers in the World in 2014. I'm planning to make this a yearly thing if all goes well so be sure to tweet me your thoughts after checking it out.

1) Shinsuke Nakamura - Delivered consistently amazing performances throughout the entire year. Made the IWGP Intercontinental Title feel just as important as the IWGP Heavyweight Title. Held the IC Title on three different occasions throughout the year and closed out the year with the title around his waist. Best overall performer in the world today.

2) Ricochet - Dominated every promotion he stepped foot in. Won New Japan's Best of Super Juniors Tournament by defeating Rysuke Tagachi in the semi-finals and KUSHIDA in the finals. Won PWG's Battle of Los Angeles by defeating Chris Sabin, TJ Perkins, Kenny Omega, Johnny Gargano, & Roderick Strong. Ended Johnny Gargano's record breaking reign as Open The Freedom Gate Champion.

3) AJ Styles - Began the year as TNA World Champion. Returned to the Indies & New Japan in 2014 and went on a hot streak immediately. Defeated Kazuchika Okada to become the IWGP Heavyweight Champion. Had a classic match with Minoru Suzuki at the 2014 G1 Climax Tournament. 2014 was Styles' best year in quite some time.

4) Brock Lesnar - Broke The Undertaker's streak at WrestleMania 30. Destroyed John Cena for the WWE Championship on two separate occassions. Closing out the year as one of the most dominant champions in WWE history.

5) Kazuchika Okada - The Rainmaker solidified his spot as the future of New Japan this year by winning arguably the best G1 Climax Tournament in history. He held the IWGP Heavyweight Title for several months before losing it to AJ Styles in a remarkable match.

6) Kyle O'Reilly - Possibly the most well rounded man on this list when it comes to success and in-ring ability. Won prestigious titles in both singles & tag team divsions across the world. Defeated Adam Cole for the PWG World Championship in May. Held the ROH World Tag Team Titles with Bobby Fish on two occassions throughout the year. Debuted for New Japan and won the Super Juniors Tag Team Tournament alongside Fish. Defeated Alex Shelley & KUSHIDA to become the IWGP Junior Tag Team Champions. Closed out the year with both the ROH & IWGP Tag Team Titles around his waist.

7) John Cena - Had another landmark year as he won the WWE Championship for the 15th time and despite losing to Brock Lesnar, he did a phenomenal job of making him look like a monster and delivered some of his best mic work yet. Had outstanding matches against the likes of Cesaro, Bray Wyatt, & Seth Rollins.

8) Adam Cole - Spent half the year as the reigning ROH & PWG World Champion. Continues to be the best heel on the Independent Scene. Played a major role in the two best American stables, Mount Rushmore in PWG and The Kingdom in ROH.

9) Sami Zayn - Took WWE NXT by storm this year. Nearly every match he had was a MOTY candidate. Closed out the year by finally winning the NXT World Title

10) Seth Rollins - Began the year delivering MOTY candidate after MOTY candidate with The Shield before shocking the world and turning on them. Went under Triple H's and wing and won the Money in the Bank briefcase. Delivered arguably the best feud of the year in WWE against Dean Ambrose. Headlined four PPV's through the course of the year.

11) Michael Elgin - Achieved his long awaited goal of winning the ROH World Championship by defeating Adam Cole. Defended the title as often as possible afterwards before losing it under unfortunate circumstances. Had an awesome run as AAW Tag Team Champions alongside Ethan Page.

12) Katsuyori Shibata - Didn't have a bad match the entire year. Delivered an impressive performance at the G1 Climax by annihilating nearly everyone in his path. A dominant year for Shibata despite not winning any championships.

13) Hiroshi Tanahashi - Held both the IWGP Heavyweight Title and Intercontinental Title on two separate occasions during the year. Dethroned AJ Styles to become the IWGP Heavyweight Champion in October. Will headline NJPW's biggest PPV of the year as he defends his championship against Okada on January 4th, 2015.

14) Jay Briscoe - Became only the second man to ever hold the ROH World Championship more than once. Went undefeated for the second straight year.

15) Dolph Ziggler - The workhorse of WWE in 2014. Held the Intercontinental Title on two separate occassions. Delivered multiple MOTY candidates throughout the year.

16) Dean Ambrose - Made WWE worth watching during some of it's worst slumps during the latter part of the year. Came into his own after leaving The Shield. Took part in WWE's Feud of the Year with Seth Rollins.

17) Kota Ibushi - Dominated the Junior heavyweight division by defending the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title against all challengers including the winner of the Best Of The Super Junior's Tournament, Ricochet. Ibushi increased his weight and entered the heavyweight division in the latter part of the year before announcing his intentions to win the Intercontinental Title.

18) Randy Orton - Began the year as WWE Champion & headlined WrestleMania as such. Continued to be a top dog in WWE and produced many remarkable matches throughout the year.

19) Daniel Bryan - Broke the glass ceiling in WWE by defeating Triple H, Randy Orton, & Batista all in one night and winning the WWE Championship in the main event of the 30th Anniversary of WrestleMania. The American Dragon saw his brightest hour in the first half of the year, but saw his darkest in the second half of the year as he was out due to injury.

20) KUSHIDA - Accomplished the rare feat of holding the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Titles and the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title at the same time. One of the best junior heavyweights around.

21) Bobby Roode - Began the year in a great feud with Kurt Angle. Turned face and won fans over by ending Bobby Lashley's dominant reign as TNA World Champion. The best thing in TNA during the majority of the year.

22) Biff Busick - Had a classic series of technically based matches in the Combat Zone with Drew Gulak which some call the McGuinness/Bryan rivalry of this generation of Indy Wrestlers. Held the CZW World Championship during the year. Was a major part of Beyond Wrestling's success as he delivered many outstanding bouts there against the likes of Matt Tremont and Mike Bailey.

23) Zack Sabre Jr - Made a worldwide impact by having an impressive stay in the US where he had must-see bouts against Kyle O'Reilly, Adam Cole, Biff Busick, and Timothy Thatcher. Won IPW UK's Super 8 tournament. Had outstanding matches in England with Shinsuke Nakamura and Prince Devitt (Finn Balor). One of the most unique wrestlers in the world today.

24) Uhaa Nation - Revolutioned what it means to be a big man in pro wrestling. Created alot of buzz thanks to his breathtaking combination of power and agility. Wrestled around the world in companies such as PWG, Evolve, AAW, & Dragon Gate Japan. Closed out the year as PCW World Champion in the UK.

25) Candice LeRae - Focal point of PWG throughout the year. Defeated The Young Bucks with partner Joey Ryan in a match that saw her shed blood thanks to a piledriver on the floor and a thumbtack filled superkick. One half of the PWG World Tag Team Champions. Also held the Dreamwave Tag Team Championships and the FSU Tag Team Championships with Joey Ryan. Defeated Ivelisse to become the FWE Women's Champion in October

26) ACH - One of the biggest fan favorites on the Indies. Had awesome matches nearly everywhere he went. From PWG to AIW, ACH rocked the scene this year. His most notable match was his bout with Jay Lethal in ROH over the TV Title in which he proved himself to be the future of Ring of Honor.

27) Ivelisse - The workhorse of women's wrestling in 2014. Had an awesome reign as Shine Champion during the year in which she defended the belt successfully against Su Yung, Allysin Kay, & Mercedes Martinez. Went to a remarkable 60 minute draw with Serena Deeb at SHINE 20. Defeated Maria Kanellis to become the FWE Women's Champion in October. Made her AAA debut in November and went 2-1 in the promotion competing solely in tag matches. Ranked #7 in the PWI Female 50.

28) Bobby Lashley - Had arguably his best year in pro wrestling yet as he improved drastically and became the TNA World Champion. His reign as champion was fantastic and he delivered great match after great match.

29) Drew Galloway - Returned to the Indies in late July and immediately began collecting championships. Won the ICW Championship by defeating Jester. Won the Evolve Championship by defeating Chris Hero on October 8th. Galloway defended the Evolve title multiple times throughout the year in several outstanding bouts against the likes of Roderick Strong, Rich Swann, & Tony Nese. Galloway also defended the title outside of Evolve against names such as Stevie Richards & Jimmy Rave and he even took the title to England where he defended the title against Davey Boy Smith Jr.

30) Bxb Hulk - The focal point of Dragon Gate Japan throughout the year. Won the Open The Freedom Gate Championship by defeating YAMATO on July 20th and defended it against the likes of Akira Tozawa, Naruki Doi, & Cyber Kong to close out the year.

31) Cesaro - One of the hardest workers in WWE in 2014. Delivered multiple outstanding matches as well as winning the first ever Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania.

32) Adrian Neville - Held the WWE NXT Tite for the majority of the year. Delivered some of the best matches of the year in the form of his title defenses. The future of highflying in WWE.

33) Kongo Kong - One of the most dominant IWA Mid-South Champions in history. Won the title in May and his been undefeated since. Successfully defended the championship against the likes of BJ Whitmer, John Wayne Murdoch, Dale Patricks, Shane Mercer, Hy Zaya, & others.

34) Ethan Page - Competed prominently in AIW & AAW where he had many must-see matches against the likes of Johnny Gargano & Eddie Kingston. His singles efforts were remarkable however he also was part of two outstanding tag teams during the year. The first being his team with Michael Elgin called "Men of the Year". He & Elgin held the AAW Tag Team Titles for the majority of the year before having to surrender them due to Elgin's visa problems. Meanwhile, Page teamed with Josh Alexander to form Monster Mafia. He & the #WalkingWeapon not only debuted for ROH in a showstealing performance vs ReDRagon, they also had a fantastic cage match with The Young Bucks in IWL.

35) Caleb Konley - Held both the PWX and Wrestleforce championships simultaneously early in the year. Currently one half of the DGUSA Tag Champs with Tony Nese. Went 4-0 defending the DGUSA Tag Titles at WWN China.

36) Roderick Strong - Strong worked towards winning the PWG Title nearly all year and finally did just that in December by defeating Kyle O'Reilly at "Black Cole Sun" in a Guerrilla Warfare Match. Outside of PWG, Strong worked with alot of young talents in ROH such as Cedric Alexander & Adam Page which resulted in some fresh first time matches that put both men on the map. Roddy is an asset to every promotion he wrestles for.

37) Bobby Fish - Competed primarily in Tag Team competition with Kyle O'Reilly where they won gold in ROH & New Japan. Had great singles contests in PWG with TJ Perkins and Cedric Alexander. One of the most underrated wrestlers around today.

38) Alex Shelley - Spent part of the year injured however he still found success with partner KUSHIDA by winning the IWGP Junior Tag Team Titles and wrestling on live PPV for ROH in December.

39) Cheerleader Melissa - Dominated the world of Women's Wrestling throughout the year with a combination of success and consistently awesome matches. Accomplishments include holding the Shimmer Championship, the APW Women's Championship, and the PWR Women's Championship. Ranked #4 in the PWI Female Top 50 in 2014.

40) Havok - The only woman on this list to make a huge impact on both the Independent Scene while also making her name on mainstream wrestling. Made her long awaited debut for Shimmer, held the WSU World Championship, and debuted for TNA Impact Wrestling and won the Knockouts Championship quickly after. Havok continues to stand out from the pack. Ranked #13 in the PWI Female 50.

41) Bully Ray - Delivered the goods in both singles & tag competition in TNA. Took part in the two best angles the company ran in 2014, those being the Dixie being put through a table angle and the Tag Team Title series.

42) Roman Reigns - The man who is undoubtedly the future of WWE. Had an awesome performance at the Royal Rumble and gained a big victory over Randy Orton at SummerSlam before suffering an injury that kept him out of action for the remainder of the year.

43) Drew Gulak - One of the best technicians in the world today. Took part in a classic series of bouts with Biff Busick in CZW that some are calling the Bryan/McGuinness rivalry of this generation. Held the CZW World Championship during the year. Debuted for PWG in impressive fashion against Kyle O'Reilly. Also had great matches for Beyond Wrestling.

44) Jay Lethal - One of the best heel storytellers in ROH. Held the TV Title for the majority of the year after aligning himself with Truth Martini. Made ACH a star with their two bouts in the late summer. Defended the TV Title against all comers including KUSHIDA, Tomasso Ciampa, & Matt Sydal (Evan Bourne).

45) Johnny Gargano - Gargano had a bit of an off year in 2014 however there's no doubting he's still one of the best wrestlers out there because he always delivers great matches.

46) AR Fox - Best highflyer in the world. Didn't accomplish as much as he did in 2013 due to being set back by an injury during the summer, but he delivered many jaw dropping performances that he's become known for.

47) Mia Yim - Came into her own in 2014, won the NWA FUW Women's Championship and the Shine Tag Team Championship w/ Leva Bates. Closed out the year winning the Shine Championship by defeating Ivelisse at WWN In China in arguably the biggest victory of her career. Ranked #20 in the PWI Female 50.

48) Jeff Hardy - Continued to deliver the daredevilish performances that he's been known for doing for over a decade. His World Title Match against Lashley was great and he was also involved in the epic series of matches over the TNA Tag Team Titles with The Wolves and Team 3D.

49) Eric Young - Won the TNA World Championship for the first time after many years of hard work in the company. He had a very good reign which put his underrated wrestling ability on display.

50) Davey Richards - The American Wolf broke into the mainstream wrestling world in big fashion by winning the TNA World Tag Team titles alongside Eddie Edwards and gaining victories over The Hardys and Team 3D in remarkable fashion. He also had memorable encounters on the Indies against John Wayne Murdoch in IWA Mid-South and he closed out the year with an outstanding match in AAW against Uhaa Nation.

51) Trevor Lee - The Breakout Star of 2014. Holds victories over Michael Elgin, Adam Cole, Chris Hero, & Cedric Alexander. Had a remarkable 2/3 Falls Match with Andrew Everett in CWF Mid Atlantic that went over an hour. Made it to the semi-finals of PWG's Battle of Los Angeles Tournament. Closed out the year as one half of the CWF Mid Atlantic Tag Team Champions.

52) Kevin Steen/Owens - Had outstanding matches during the first half of the year across the Indies in PWG, ROH, CZW, House of Hardcore, Beyond Wrestling, & other promotions. Signed to WWE and debuted in December in impressive fashion by defeating CJ Parker despite having a broken nose.

53) Eddie Edwards - One half of the best tag team in mainstream wrestling. Took part in the classic tag title series in TNA against Team 3D & The Hardys. Also competed on the Indies on a few occassions for Beyond Wrestling & CZW. Big year for Eddie as he broke into the mainstream.

54) JT Dunn - One half of the Juicy Product tag team alongside David Starr. They held the CZW, FIP, WSU, & NYWC Tag Team Titles all at the same time during the year. Dunn also had many tremendous singles encounters, most notably his bouts against Chris Hero at Beyond Wrestling.

55) Josh Alexander - Made a name for himself in singles and tag competition throughout the year. Teamed with Ethan Page under the name Monster Mafia and debuted for ROH in an impressive showing against ReDragon as well as facing The Young Bucks in an unforgettable Steel Cage Match for IWL. Had an outstanding year in AIW where he had great matches against the likes of Michael Elgin and Tim Donst.

56) Paige - Began the year with an outstanding match against Emma at NXT's first Takeover event. Debuted on the main roster of WWE by defeating AJ Lee for the Divas Title which she would go on to hold twice during the year.

57) Sheamus - Really proved how good he is this year by delivering consisently solid in-ring performances. His intensity in the ring is unmatched. Won the United States Championship and defended it successfully for several months. The most memorable part of his reign came with his epic series of matches with Cesaro. Suffered an injury near the end of the year that kept him out of action during December, but is expected back in early 2015.

58) Samoa Joe - Returned to X Divsion prominence in 2014 by winning the title and having great matches against Low Ki & Kaz Hayashi including a show stealer at TNA's biggest show of the year, Bound For Glory. Joe once again reiterated what set the X Division apart in the early days of TNA.

59) Takahashi - Helped AJ Styles become IWGP Heavyweight Champion thus joining Bullet Club in the process. Won the NEVER OpenWeight Championship on June 29th and held it until October.

60) Bray Wyatt - Stayed near the top of the card in WWE almost a year as he feuded with John Cena, Chris Jericho, & Dean Ambrose. One of the most intriguing characters they've had in a long time.

61) Drake Younger - Began the year becoming the #1 Contender to the PWG World Title by defeating Kyle O'Reilly, Chris Hero, & Johnny Gargano. Won CZW's Best of the Best Tournament by defeating AR Fox & Biff Busick. Began reffing for WWE in the latter part of the year.

62) Hirooki Goto - Started the year with a big victory over Shibata in his return to New Japan which led to the two forming a tag team. Goto & Shibata challenged Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows for the IWGP Titles early in the year and were unsucessful however they would avenge that loss by winning the World Tag League, defeating Anderson & Gallows in the finals

63) Luke Harper - Huge year for Harper as he ventured from Bray Wyatt's sidekick to tag team competition to singles competition. Did awesome in every role he was placed in.

64) Rich Swann - One of the most underrated highflyers today. Delivered consisently good performances across the board in PWG, DGUSA, & Evolve.

65) LuFisto - Won WSU Championship on May 10th by defeating Athena. Held the title throughout the year defending against the likes of Allysin Kay among others. Current Lucha POP Women's champion and NSPW Champion. Ranked #5 in the PWI Female Top 50 in 2014.

66) Cedric Alexander - Continued to prove himself as the future of ROH by delivering consistently great performances. Held both the PWX & Wrestleforce titles during the year. Had an amazing series of matches with Caleb Konley that rocked the Carolina Indy Scene.

67) Tommaso Ciampa - The Sicilian Psychopath began the year as ROH TV Champion however he lost it and went completely nuts in the latter part of the year. Had a wild NO DQ Match with Cedric Alexander to close out the year. Ciampa looks to have his sights set on the World Title going into 2015.

68) Tetsuya Naito - Had a great rivalry with Ishii in NJPW which resulted in several MOTY candidate bouts. Wasn't able to follow up his big year in 2013 where he won the G1 Climax by putting gold around his waist however he did have a very good match with Kazuchika Okada.

69) Tony Nese - Saw much success in tag team competition this year. Won the DGUSA Tag Titles with Caleb Konley in September and defended them successfully on several occasions to close out the year. Also held the FWE Tag Titles with Jigsaw for one day during the year.

70) Austin Aries - Won the X Divsion Title yet again this year and had a memorable series of matches for it with Senada before cashing it in for a World Title shot against Lashley at Destination X. Aries was unsuccessful in that attempt, but he definitely looked strong in defeat and gave Lashley one of his best matches yet.

71) Mike Bailey - Made waves with his outstanding matches against Biff Busick in Beyond Wrestling & C*4. Earned a victory over Kevin Steen early in the year and also debuted for CZW in impressive fashion.

72) Tyson Kidd - Re-established himself as one of the best in WWE by having awesome matches in NXT and on the main roster in the latter part of the year against Dolph Ziggler & Cesaro.

73) Alberto Del Rio/El Patron - Del Rio began the year in WWE before departing and return to the Indies and Mexico where he defeated El Texano, Jr to become the AAA World Heavyweight Champion.

74) Akira Tozawa - One of the best wrestlers in Dragon Gate. Came into the year as one half of the Open The Twin Gate Champions alongside Shingo Tagaki and held them until July. Delivered outstanding matches throughout the year.

75) Kimber Lee - Competed in multiple outstanding intergender matches throughout the year. Most notably her match with Drew Gulak at Beyond Wrestling. Held the WSU Tag Team Titles with Annie Social which they won by defeating Jessica Havok & Sassy Stephie at WSU Mutiny in February. Formed the tag team Kimberbombs with Cherry Bomb and competed with her across the Indie scene in Smash Wrestling, SHIMMER, & SHINE. Ranked #28 in the PWI Female 50.

76) Kenny Omega - Found great success in the DDT promotion in Japan where he teamed with Ibushi to win the KOD Tag Team Championships as well as the KOD Six Man Tag Team Championships with Daisuke Sasaki. Returned to PWG and made it to the semi-finals of their Battle of Los Angeles tournament. Returned to NJPW to close out the year where he joined the Bullet Club.

77) Low Ki - Returned to TNA and found great success by delivering impressive matches and winning the X Division Championship.

78) Brian Cage - Continues to be a must-see talent because of his impressive combination of power & agility. Returned to TNA for one night only for their Destination X special which aired on Spike TV. Began his rise back to the top of PWG by defeating Uhaa Nation, Tomasso Ciampa, & Biff Busick to close out the year.

79) James Storm - Had one of the best TNA feuds of 2014 against Gunner. Changed his persona and began a stable with Senada, Manik, & Abyss which led to him winning the TNA World Tag Team Titles.

80) Veda Scott - Made headlines thanks to her bloody cage match with Gregory Iron at AIW's Battle of the Sexes Event. Worked for ROH throughout the year accompanying RD Evans & Moose although she eventually turned on him live on PPV at Final Battle.

Check out our Indy & New Japan Year in Review by clicking here.
Check out our WWE Year in Review by clicking here.
Check out our TNA Year in Review by clicking here.


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