To become the next big WWE Superstar or Diva, you need to be constantly working on your game and getting better in every facet of pro-wrestling and these eight people have gone the extra mile in 2015 and are all currently reaping the rewards of their improvement.
All eight of these Superstars and Divas showed potential before 2015 but have all gone to the next level and cemented their futures within the WWE.
Before the list is unveiled, it’s worth noting that this list is predicated on improvement from people within the WWE from last year. Which means the likes of Chad Gable, Dash Wilder, Scott Dawson and Dana Brooke who have all broken out in NXT in 2015 won’t be on this list as they weren’t established in the WWE in 2014.
With the list narrowed down to eight, there are a few people unlucky to miss out and they will get a mention here.
Secondly, Nikki Bella is another one who has improved massively in the ring, but misses out given how much time she’s had on the roster to improve and get to this level. John Cena is in a similar boat with his in ring work going to a whole new level in 2015.
Thirdly, Xavier Woods doesn’t make this list only because it seems like he’s been at this level for a while now and just needed an opportunity to show it.
Finally, Tyler Breeze has really established himself as a performer in 2015, becoming a reliable top name in NXT while becoming a lot more diverse in the ring.
Without further ado, here are the eight people that made the cut.
Note: Eva Marie will not be on this list because going from a model who can’t wrestle to a model who can take a couple of bumps still doesn’t make her worthy of being in the WWE.
Number Eight: Cesaro
Cesaro is probably the best wrestler in the WWE and possibly the world, but has made this list for slowly becoming the sports-entertainer to match his wrestling ability. Cesaro has always been incredible to watch, but without charisma and a connection to the fans, he was never much more than a good hand. Turning face in 2015 has been a blessing for Cesaro who has become one of the most popular Superstars in the WWE. In the last year, Cesaro has found the link he was missing and the Cesaro Section just proves that. 2016 could be his year.
Number Seven: Baron Corbin
Baron Corbin still has a long way to go as far as in-ring wrestling is concerned, but he has gone from the silent, squash match king to someone who really knows how to work a crowd. In his few opportunities to have longer matches, he’s shown he can hold his own, but he’s still going to need a lot of work to make it as a super heavyweight in the WWE. The jury is still out on Corbin, but his improvement in 2015 has been undeniable. By this time next year, he needs to have a few stellar singles matches under his belt to really establish himself.
Number Six: Sasha Banks
The only reason Sasha Banks isn’t higher on this list is because she was already amazing in 2014, which just goes to show you how good she is to go to a whole new level this year. Kevin Owens’ incredible debut year is the only thing that is going to stop Sasha Banks from winning the Breakout Star of 2015 Slammy Award because there is no Divas Revolution without what Sasha has done in NXT. The NXT women’s division sparked the change up on the main roster, there is no questioning that, but Sasha Banks has been in every single notable women’s match in NXT this year and she continues to show that she might just be the most talented asset, male or female, the WWE has – and she’s only 23!
Number Five: Becky Lynch
If someone asked you who Becky Lynch was in 2014, you’d either say you didn’t know or you’d say that NXT girl who can’t jig. Late in the year she aligned herself with the aforementioned Boss of NXT and from there, everything changed. Becky was always a good wrestler, but she was always a little awkward with everything she did be it in the ring or on the mic, she has really streamlined and smoothed her performances in 2015, culminating in a breakout, match of the year candidate with Sasha Banks at NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable. She still has a lot of work to do to get better on the mic, but Becky Lynch is going to be a massive player in this women’s division for years to come and could even make this list again next year, she has that much upside.
Number Four: Big E
Any long time NXT fan knows Big E was always entertaining, but this man has put the ‘E’ in sports-entertainment this year. The New Day could be on this list as a whole, but Kofi has been first-class for years now and Woods just needed a chance to shine. By comparison, Big E has gone from a good wrestler who goes in and does his thing, to a much more reliable wrestler who’s entertaining from start to finish. His match with Dolph Ziggler on Raw this week was a perfect example. JBL believes Big E has all the natural ability to be a World Champion, who knows, maybe he’s right.
It’s almost hard to put into words how much Bayley has improved in her time with WWE. In 2013, the potential was painfully obvious, but she was still raw and learning. In 2014, she was starting to put the pieces together, but still was a little awkward in the ring and not very confident on the microphone. The latter was smoothed over though because her microphone work being a little awkward almost suited her character. But 2015 has been the year Bayley arrived. The storyline of the NXT Women’s Division in 2015 was all revolved around Bayley’s ascension to the top of NXT and she has earned everything she has gotten. It’s almost unfathomable to think that in 2014, Bayley was nothing special in the ring, having matches where she was being carried by the likes of Sasha and Charlotte and in 2015, she’s having match of the year candidates, including the best singles match of 2015 alongside Sasha at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn. Bayley was always going to get better and better but her improvements have been remarkable.
Number Two: Roman Reigns
Are there still people out there who don’t think Roman can wrestle or cut a promo? Anyone who thinks that now is simply in denial. Yes, Reigns was not ‘ready’ to main-event Wrestlemania last year, but he did it and he had the best match of the night, mind you. Ever since that night, Reigns has gone on a streak of quality pay-per-view match after quality pay-per-view match. He even turned a Last Man Standing Match with the Big Show into a really good match! Roman Reigns can almost be compared to Batista in 2006, coming off a Wrestlemania main event and just getting better exponentially. Hell, Roman is much better than Batista was back then. His promo work has improved, his ring presence has improved and he adds new moves to his arsenal almost every time we see him. There is no longer a question over whether Reigns can cut it. He is a legitimate WWE main eventer.
Number One: Alexa Bliss
Don’t think many expected Alexa Bliss to be atop this list, but she is. Her improvements have been rapid. Even around Wrestlemania time this year, she wasn’t worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as the Four Horsewomen of NXT, but now she well and truly should be. She spent a lot of 2014 getting better in the ring and she is still doing so in 2015, but it’s her transformation as a performer that brings her to the number one position. What even was her gimmick as a face? She liked glitter, skirts and smiling? Now, she is legitimately the best heel in the entirety of NXT, Kevin Owens handing his crown to Alexa. Nobody is better at drawing legitimate heel heat than she is and she turned Blake and Murphy from an alright face tag team into heels worthy of being NXT Tag Team Champions. You have to ask yourself what is this list about? Improvement – Roman Reigns, Bayley, Big E and so on have all improved enormously, but you could make a case for why all of them were always going to get to the next level, whereas Bliss’ rise through NXT has been more unexpected. Bayley is the clear number one woman in NXT right now, but Alexa Bliss is now number two and would be a justified NXT Women’s Champion.