As the end of the year fast approaches, now is the time to look back on the year that was and reminisce on everything that made 2019 so great, including WWE's most talked-about talents!
Tumblr recently released a variety of lists reviewing the best of 2019. Among the categories was top actors and actresses, video games, and even memes. Pro wrestling has always had a strong presence on Tumblr and 2019 was no exception. The following list will look at Tumblr's top 10 pro wrestlers of the year and feature my analysis for each selection. Let's get to it!
Despite debuting on WWE's main roster in 2016, Bayley might have had her best year yet in 2019. She and Sasha Banks started off the year by becoming the first-ever WWE Women's Tag Team Champions, and once that reign came to an end, she jumped ship to SmackDown Live and reignited her singles career. She then won the women's Money in the Bank Ladder match in May before cashing in the contract to capture the SmackDown Women's Championship for the first time in her career later that night.
WWE's resident hugger didn't do much as champion after that, but she did successfully reinvent herself as a heel in the fall. That led to her becoming a two-time SmackDown Women's Champion on the premiere episode of SmackDown on FOX and cementing her heel turn on that same show (complete with a fresh haircut and new attire). She's been doing excellent work alongside Sasha since then and has shown no signs of slowing down any time soon.
9. Alexa Bliss
Alexa Bliss had nothing short of a tumultuous year in WWE in 2019. She entered the year injured and hosted her own talk show called Moment of Bliss until she was cleared to compete again. Unfortunately, the show was no good, but at least she had the honor of hosting WrestleMania 35 before returning to the ring on the next night's Raw.
By the summer, she and Nikki Cross had officially become allies. Although they were unsuccessful in their attempts to win the SmackDown Women's Championship from Bayley, they did unseat The IIconics as WWE Women's Tag Team Champions in August. The dynamic duo had a nice little run with the twin titles and dropped them to The Kabuki Warriors at Hell in a Cell two months later. Bliss had to miss time from the ring after that due to another injury, but now that she's back and better than ever, she could be holding gold again sooner rather than later.
The streak of women's wrestlers in the countdown continues with Charlotte Flair at No. 8. Interestingly enough, she won more titles this year than she did last year, yet none of her reigns exceeded the one-month mark. First, she knocked off Asuka for the SmackDown Women's Championship in shocking fashion on an episode of SmackDown in March. The Flair family scion put the gold up for grabs in the main event of WrestleMania 35, and while she didn't walk away victorious, she can forever say she was a part of history.
The rest of 2019 was a total roller coaster for her. She won and lost the SmackDown Women's title in a matter of minutes at Money in the Bank due to Bayley cashing in her Money in the Bank briefcase. She beat Bayley for the belt many months later, only to lose it back to Bayley on the subsequent SmackDown. Thankfully for Flair, she has returned to Raw and will have new challenges awaiting her there. She's teased challenging for the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship and could very well win it by the beginning of 2020 if she can settle on a proper partner.
7. Sasha Banks
The Boss is back in blue, and Sasha Banks wouldn't have it any other way.
It can be argued that Banks should have turned heel years ago, but better late than never. To her credit, however, she was still very popular as a babyface when she won the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship with Bayley back in February, as well as when she fought Ronda Rousey for the Raw Women's Championship at the Royal Rumble. The time she took off from WWE after WrestleMania 35 ended up being the best thing for her.
Banks resurfaced on the Raw after SummerSlam with a new look and attitude, laying waste to Raw Women's Champion Becky Lynch in vicious fashion. Their feud didn't end in The Boss reclaiming the title, but their series of matches was excellent, nonetheless. She has since settled into a nice role for herself as the accomplice of current SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley on the blue brand.
6. Jon Moxley
Jon Moxley has been a man reborn since surfacing in All Elite Wrestling at May's Double or Nothing pay-per-view. He's been so buzz-worthy in 2019 that he's the sole star on this list to not be in WWE at the moment. He made an immediate splash at the event by attacking Chris Jericho and Kenny Omega and hasn't looked back.
So far in AEW, Moxley has remained undefeated in singles competition and has knocked off the likes of Joey Janela, Shawn Spears, Michael Nakasawa, Darby Allin and even Omega himself in the main event of Full Gear. Recently, Moxley has expressed intent in challenging for Jericho's AEW World Championship, and if he wins, expect him to be even more talked-about than he already is.
5. Finn Balor
On the subject of career resurgences, Finn Balor has come a long way from where he was at the onset of 2019. He kicked off the year by pushing Brock Lesnar to his limit for the Universal Championship at the Royal Rumble and winning the Intercontinental Championship on two separate occasions soon after. Neither of his runs with the title were particularly memorable, and after being squashed by "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt at SummerSlam, he wasn't seen again for another two months.
Balor made his grand comeback in early October, not on SmackDown but rather NXT. His return to the black-and-gold brand took many fans by surprise and caused many to speculate what brought him back. He eventually turned heel by betraying Johnny Gargano and set his sights on the NXT Championship. He has yet to go for the gold, but it's merely a matter of time before he does.
With wins over Matt Riddle and Tommaso Ciampa, he's already well on his way to reclaiming his throne atop NXT.
4. Dean Ambrose
Yes, The Lunatic Fringe appears twice on this list, and for good reason. As popular as he's been as Jon Moxley, he was still fairly popular toward the end of his run as Dean Ambrose in WWE earlier this year. His 2019 didn't get off to the strongest start due to his loss of the Intercontinental Championship and quick elimination in the Royal Rumble match, but when rumors ran rampant that he was on his way out of the company, fans rallied behind him more than they had in years.
The rest of his run in WWE wasn't anything special, and if anything, he was featured a lot less on Raw and wasn't even included on the card for WrestleMania. That didn't stop fans from begging him to stay and giving him multiple standing ovations in his final appearances for the company. He likely won't be back in WWE any time soon, but as previously noted, at least he's currently killing it in AEW.
3. Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns' WWE future was uncertain when he announced in October 2018 that his leukemia had returned and that he'd be gone from in-ring action indefinitely. It took all of four months for him to return, and at WrestleMania 35, he conquered Drew McIntyre in his first major match back.
Most fans assumed he would have re-entered the world title picture by now, but that has yet to be the case. Instead, he's been dealing with (and defeating) the likes of Elias, Shane McMahon, Erick Rowan and King Corbin. While he hasn't won any championships, he's done a tremendous job of winning over his detractors from the past five years. Those who hated hits guts originally have come around to liking him, likely because of how he hasn't been shoved down the throats of fans lately.
Here's hoping his good fortunes will carry on into 2020.
2. Seth Rollins
Right above Reigns' Shield stablemate is Seth Rollins, who has been riding high all year long. He kicked off his 2019 with a bang by winning the men's Royal Rumble match and went on to slay The Beast Incarnate, Brock Lesar, for the Universal Championship at WrestleMania 35. That win somewhat cemented him as the face of Raw, except that the fans didn't exactly take to him in that role.
Rollins' reigns as Universal Championship sadly left a lot to be desired, as his feuds with Lesnar and Baron Corbin dragged on longer than they should have while his rivalry with AJ Styles was short-lived. Even the stuff he did with "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt in the fall was horrible and did Rollins no favors. He was booked to win more often than not, which was good, but the booking of his character was poor.
If nothing else, WWE is attempting to turn the hated a contingent of the fans have for him into a positive by allowing him to go back to his heel roots. His first few months of 2020 will be very interesting to follow, to say the least.
1. Becky Lynch
Becky Lynch barely edges out her soon-to-be husband for the No. 1 spot, and is it really all that surprising when you consider the remarkable year she's had?
She too won a Royal Rumble match back in January and punched her ticket to the main event of WrestleMania 35. Like Rollins, she also walked out of The Show of Shows with gold around her waist, but unlike her main squeeze, she's managed to maintain her popularity with the fans for the most part (as well as her title).
Lynch has taken on all comers to her championship and has set back every single one of them. Regardless of whether it was Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Lacey Evans, Natalya or Ronda Rousey, all of them were beaten when The Man came around. Her current direction is unknown, but with the Raw Women's title still in her possession, you have to assume that 2020 will be just as successful for her as 2019 was.
Be sure to check out all of Tumblr's 2019 Year in Review lists here.