If you have followed me before, or are even somewhat familiar with me at all, you would know that I am a huge professional wrestling fan. Ever since I would watch wrestling with my dad and my nana (grandmother) when I was about 4 or 5, I’ve been a huge fan ever since. Sometimes even aspiring to become a professional wrestler, but I never had the drive for it despite being pretty athletic. Even still, I would watch wrestling almost religiously throughout the years, following such promotions as the AWA, NWA, WCCW, WCW, ROH, Impact, PWG, NJPW, AEW, and, of course, the WWE. Over the years, I have watched these and various other promotions, entertained by the spectacle and athleticism that these men and women have displayed as they lay their bodies on the line for our entertainment.
And though 2020 was one hell of a year, and by all logical rights no promotions anywhere across the world should have run any kinds of shows, much less their weekly television shows and major wrestling cards, numerous promotions did – and I am glad that they did. Even more so in 2020 than most other years, these men and women put their bodies and health in jeopardy for our amusement, and in doing so provided us with some of the most unique, original, and entertaining wrestling matches I have seen in decades. But, like most other forms of entertainment, I certainly have my favorites that I have seen over the year. And that’s what this list is – My 10 Favorite Wrestlers of 2020. My only qualification to be on this list is that these particular wrestlers would have had to have performed at least one match in 2020 – and, oh boy, did these wrestlers certainly perform this year.
Honorable Mentions: Bray Wyatt, Chris Jericho, MJF, Rush, Thunder Rosa
Adam Cole (WWE NXT)
Ever since Adam Cole joined the WWE under its NXT brand, he has consistently been one of the best workers that the Black & Yellow brand has seen – and 2020 was no different. Some of Cole’s best matches of the year include his loss to Keith Lee at The Great American Bash for the NXT Championship, his War Games match at NXT War Games alongside the rest of the Undisputed Era vs Pat McAfee and Team McAfee (by the way, another honorable mention for Pat McAfee for surprising the hell out of me with how good he was), and the match with Finn Balor at Super Tuesday.
Becky Lynch (WWE)
Before Becky Lynch took a leave of absence from the WWE to give birth the her and Seth Rollins daughter (congrats to the couple, she is super adorable), she continued showing fans why she has ascended to her position as The Man with a few notable matches in 2020. Her WrestleMania match against Shayna Baszler was quite impressive, her match at the Royal Rumble against Asuka showcased why the two women are at the top of the game in the WWE, and her match against Kairi Saine on Monday Night Raw showed why Lynch is The Man.
Drew McIntyre (WWE)
I’ve been a fan of Drew McIntyre ever since he first joined the WWE back in 2007. But it took him leaving the WWE and honing his skills in the independents before coming back and realizing his full potential. Now, looking at McIntyre, it’s easy to see why he was pegged early on as a future star. Matches against Randy Orton at Hell In A Cell, his match against AJ Styles and The Miz in a Triple Threat match at TLC: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs, and his phenomenal performance and win at the Royal Rumble cemented his status as one of the best wrestlers of the year, as well as my personal favorite.
Jon Moxley (AEW)
When Dean Ambrose left the WWE in 2019, I knew he would turn up in AEW as Jon Moxley, everyone could tell that he was primed for something special there. Since then, he surprised no one when he captured the AEW World Championship and went on to have a banner year, showing everyone how underutilized he was in the WWE. His win against Chris Jericho for the title at AEW Revolution set the stage for his year while matches against Eddie Kingston at AEW Full Gear and his even title loss to Kenny Omega on AEW Dynamite are just a few stunning examples of why Moxley was on top of his game in 2020 – and better in AEW away from the constraints of the WWE.
Keith Lee (WWE)
Even though Keith Lee hasn’t had quite as memorable time on the main roster of the WWE as he did in NXT, there have been glimpses of his glory (no pun intended) and show promise as to a positive career in the WWE. His match against Dominik Dijakovic at NXT TakeOver: Portland for the NXT North American Championship was simply incredible, his performance at the Royal Rumble, be it ever so brief, was an example of what he could do, and his match against Randy Orton at Payback are perfect examples of what kind of star Lee is. Then there’s the aforementioned match against Adam Cole at The Great American Bash to consider as well.
Kenny Omega (AEW)
When Kenny Omega first joined AEW, I had hoped that we would once again see his “Cleaner” gimmick that made him such an appealing character in NJPW. And even though he was completely entertaining during his time in AEW and as a tag team alongside “Hangman” Adam Page, it wasn’t until recently that he started letting his old personality shine through. But earlier matches in 2020 such as his match alongside Page against Frankie Kazarian & Scorpio Sky on AEW Dynamite for the AEW Tag Team Championships, their title defense of the tag belts against The Young Bucks at AEW Revolution, his defense of the AAA Mega Championship at AAA Triplemania against The Laredo Kid, and his aforementioned win over Jon Moxley on AEW for the AEW World Championship are just some examples of why he had a stellar year.
Roman Reigns (WWE)
I’m not gonna lie, I was one of the many fans who thought that Roman Reigns would always be better as a heel than a face – even if the WWE would still continue to push him to the moon. And after seeing him return after a brief leave of absence due to the global pandemic and seeing his work as the Tribal Chief, our beliefs were well founded. Go back and look at his matches against Braun Strowman and The Fiend in a triple threat match at Payback, his match against his cousin Jey Uso at Clash of Champions, and his TLC match against Kevin Owens at TLC: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs to take in, not only his in-ring athleticism, but also his ability to tell and sell the story inside the ropes to see what I mean.
Tetsuya Naito (NJPW)
For years, Tetsuya Naito has been one of the best performers in NJPW. As the leader of Los Ingobernables de Japon, he and his stable have been featured prominently in the promotion and have often delivered some of the best matches on most NJPW cards they are featured on. This year, Naito delivered some more jaw-dropping performances across 2020 in matches such as his two matches versus former stablemate EVIL for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship and the IWGP Intercontinental Champion Dominion in Osaka-Jo Hall and Summer Struggle in Jinju, trading wins with Naito ultimately ending up with both belts after Summer Struggle, as well as at Power Struggle in November, as well as his match against KENTA in February at New Beginning in Osaka to see what he has brought to New Japan in 2020.
The Hurt Business (WWE)
While The Hurt Business is stable rather than a single wrestler, this group comprised of leader MVP, Bobby Lashley (the current United States Champion), and Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander (the current Raw Tag-Team Champions) have consistently been the most entertaining part of Monday Night Raw all year long. From the groups formation in February until the end of the year, The Hurt Business have shown incredible in-ring work, impeccable mic skills, and have this overall presence that lets you know that The Hurt Business isn’t here to fool around, but that they are here to show the WWE roster and Universe that they are living up to their name as they bring their best to the ring and the mic every time they appear on screen.
WALTER (WWE NXT UK)
Seriously! What can I say about WALTER that you haven’t heard already? Word is that the WWE want him for the main roster, but he prefers WWE NXT UK because he prefers living in Europe. And if you look at his body of work across a limited amount of dates in 2020 with and without his stable, Imperium, you can see why Vince and company want him on Raw or SmackDown. From his early match against Joe Coffey at NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool II defending his NXT UK Championship to his match alongside Imperium versus the Undisputed Era at NXT Worlds Collide, WALTER has proven his mettle in the ring. But look no further than his title defense against Ilja Dragunov on NXT UK TV in October to see him and Dragunov leave it all in the ring as they batter and beat and bloody each other is one of the best pure old-school wrestling matches I have ever seen.