This list will look at the best WWE superstars from RAW and Smackdown LIVE in the first six months of 2018. Based on character, match quality and their success so far this year, we rank who climbed to the top of WWE.
Honorable Mentions: Daniel Bryan, Asuka, Kevin Owens, Rusev, Alexa Bliss
10. The New Day
2018 may not be the best year by a longshot for the New Day, but that doesn’t mean they are still clearly the top of the tag team division. Kofi, Xavier, and Big E are often the most entertaining parts of weekly viewing on Smackdown LIVE, and that’s saying something since they’ve been around for so long now. With funny and creative character work, along with sometimes under-appreciated and stellar in-ring work, the New Day is a long way from losing what makes them great.
9. Ronda Rousey
With only two matches to her name, it might seem a little early to have Ronda on this list. However, if you think that, I’m going to guess you haven’t watched those two matches. Ronda is just so good at being a wrestler, it’s scary. The fact that someone, an “outsider” from the UFC, was able to pick up this career and main event focus so quickly may upset you, but it’s time to face the facts. Ronda is easily one of the biggest stars in WWE right now, one of the most naturally gifted wrestlers ever, and is set to take over the women’s division. If you’re willing to give her a chance, I have no doubt you will be a Rousey fan in no time.
8. Roman Reigns
Booooooooo. Alright, now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about how good Roman is. Okay, okay, hush now. I get it, he is very unpopular and his never ending push is annoying. But, he is really great at getting reactions, and that matters. When booked the right way, a match is instantly bigger because he is in it. Now, we can argue what his role should be in the company, but we can’t deny that Reigns is one of WWE’s biggest stars and the main event picture would feel empty without him. His in-ring work goes unappreciated often, but all the while the “Big Dog” is constantly trying to win over a crowd that may never love him. Good luck Roman.
7. Samoa Joe
Samoa Joe’s early half of 2018 was a rocket boost to stardom. Out of the names on this list, Joe’s promos may have been the most significant in terms of being constantly great. There’s just a legitimate threat whenever Joe is on screen, and that makes his character work so well. The best part is that it’s easy to imagine championships in the near future for Joe, and more importantly, more fantastic character and promo work. Just squeeze in a few more top tier matches and you’ll be near the top of this list very, very soon.
6. Charlotte Flair
The top woman in WWE is currently title-less, but that hasn’t stopped her from being the clear leader of the women in WWE this year. Her lead up Wrestlemania placed her as the clear queen of WWE, both in terms of character and in-ring talent. Add in possibly the best women’s match in Mania history, and now Charlotte’s beginning to 2018 adds up to being pretty fantastic. She has slipped since dropping the belt to a cash in from Carmella, however a resurgence can’t be far away for someone who’s only one or two months away from another title reign at any time.
5. The Miz
The heel we all love, The Miz has been so underrated for so long he may be drifting towards the appreciation he desperately deserves. The Miz this year has finally moved back to Smackdown and away from the Intercontinental title that has been so kind to him, which leaves him up in the air in terms of what’s next. However, The Miz is a feud machine and seems to make every match he’s in much better in terms of story. Of course, if the second half of 2018 gives us Miz/Daniel Bryan, then don’t be shocked to see the Awesome One as one of the best parts of WWE this entire year. In fact, he might be that already.
4. Shinsuke Nakamura
His feud with AJ Styles may not have been everything we dreamt about, but that fact also probably clouds just how good this year has been to Shinsuke so far. A win in one of the best Royal Rumbles we have ever seen is good enough on its own to get Nakamura on this list, but add in a much needed heel turn, and you have the components of one of the best developments of 2018. Nakamura’s attitude shift made the conclusion to his feud with Style must-watch television, and gives us all hope that the King of Strong Style may regain his throne soon.
3. Seth Rollins
The best in-ring performer in WWE when he is firing on all cylinders may just be Rollins. It seemed for a time that Rollins would never reach the hype he provided at the beginning of his heel run two years ago, but now he has seemingly found his natural babyface self. This is a product of just pumping out great matches on RAW every week. While the main event still eludes Monday Night Rollins, his run with the IC belt and series of great matches has made sure every fan realizes it’s only a matter of time until Seth returns to the top of the mountain. Plus, his promos as “Grand-Slam” Rollins show just how far he’s come in terms of giving consistently good mic work.
2. Braun Strowman
Braun Strowman is a fantastic spectacle in WWE. A monster that is easy to cheer for, and a freak athlete who can still shine as a character. The only thing holding back Strowman is the lack of direction WWE seems to have with him sometimes, but the “Monster” in the Bank surely has plans to become a monstrous champion. However, if Strowman has proven anything so far it’s that he doesn’t need a belt to be one of the biggest names in WWE. Braun Strowman could be the clear star of 2018 when all is said and done, but for now there is one man still out of his grasp.
1. AJ Styles
The champ who runs the camp, the face that runs the place, and so on, and so on. In short, AJ Styles is the best in the WWE and has been for a while now. On a consistent basis, Styles makes magic happen in the ring, so much so that he still may be one of the best wrestlers on the whole planet, let alone in this company. Styles is captivating as a hardworking and determined champion, who is perfectly fine keeping the top of the ladder in WWE occupied for now. If anyone wants to catch the phenomenal one in 2018, they better hope that somehow he slows down in the second half of the year. Might have to wait a while though.
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