2018 Mid Year Report Card

*This was cobbled together a week before NJPW’s Dominion and reflects where I thought they stood prior to the event*.

In years past I kept this to only the WWE, IMPACT and a few select indy names.  This year the WWE, IMPACT, ROH, Lucha Underground, NJPW and others will be considered as well.  It should be noted that anyone in developmental, or who competes infrequently,  or is otherwise unremarkable will not be included for the sake of time and convenience on my part.

Yes, wrestlers who appear early in each category get a higher mark than those who appear at the end.  For example, Kazuchika Okada is your best wrestler so far in the “A’s” category.  That’s the A+ of the group.  Whoever is at the end is in the A- territory.  So there is strength within each category.


They Get an ‘A’
– In the midst of the greatest IWGP Heavyweight Championship run in companies history, Kazuchika Okada is the top guy going today.  Pentagon is the current Lucha Underground and former IMPACT World Champ.  While he lost the ROH World Championship, Cody Rhodes did sell out his indy show with his best friends, and had a MOTY Contender early on.He’s collecting some major titles, so you have to give the nod to Austin Aries.  They win gold in two major promotions, with three different divisions, plus The Young Bucks sold out All In.  Will Osprey is concurring the Junior Heavyweights.  Alexa Bliss survived bad storytelling and some far-better-than-they-should matches with Nia Jax to have the best half year for women.


They Get a ‘B’
A.J. Styles finally won at WrestleMania and is having a long reign but his match quality with chief rival Shinsuke Nakamura have been bad.
He beat Cody Rhodes for the title, so Dalton Castle earned this place here, despite his less than impressive reign since.  Eddie Edwards and Sami Callihan are having the feud of the year.  Allie is IMPACT’s top Knockout.  Winning two different title shots and the IMPACT World Tag Team titles gets Eli Drake here.  He finally won the X-Division Championship so Matt Sydal has earned his ‘B’. Kenny Omega is on the verge of being an A.     Su Yung is the new top dog in the Knockout Division.  He won the United States Championship so Jay White gets here.  Marty Scurll is having top tier matches in two promotions.  Seth Rollins has stabilized the Intercontinental Championship. The Uso’s are the best tag team going in the WWE.  Being the top heel has The Miz moving along.  Beating Asuka and retaining at WrestleMania carried Charlotte Flair.   Intercontinental Champ Tetsuya Naito whips his way in.  The Undisputed Era aren’t beating anyone with huge name value but all three active members have gold.    oVe is consistently having top notch matches no matter who they face.   Brian Cage is undefeated but still hasn’t won major gold.

They Get a ‘C’
Taiji Ishimori has had the third best year by a light heavyweight outside of Osprey and Sydal.   Moose will main event Slammiversary.  He’s a Survivor now so Johnny Impact missed time.   Z&E both came back strong in 2018 winnin their first IMPACT Tag titles.  LAX is a core work group for IMPACT.  After returning last year, Petey Williams continues his impressive comeback.   So Cal Uncensored are a top trios in wrestling . He just lost his TV title but Kenny King is deserving.  Missing over a month for no reason hurt Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas stock.  The match big match quality that Roman Reigns has done in recent years have dropped off.  IWGP Tag Champs  Evil and Sanada prepare for the Bucks.   He’s the UK Champ but Pete Dunne isn’t known to defend it. Ricochet just debuted in NXT.    Aleister Black is having a lackluster run with the NXT belt.  Keith Lee exploded on the indies on his own. Tommaso Ciampa, and Johnny Gargano have the best feud in all the WWE right now but that’s not saying much. Jeff Hardy is the United States Champ.  Elias is mostly must see T.V.   Minoru Suzuki held both the NEVER and Intercontinental belts in NJPW.  Moving up a weight class shows  Zack Sabre Jr. has guts.   Lars Sullivan is poised for an NXT Championship run this year.  She’s still fun to watch, so Rosemary gets a C.  Velveteen Dream continues to impress, while Nikki Cross is the best women’s worker in NXT.  Tessa Blanchard  will show the world she’s legit in NXT.  EC3 looks good but he hasn’t done anything since leaving IMPACT.   The Briscoes look to defend against MCMG.   Daniel Bryan returned to the ring, but has yet to impress like he used to.   The New Day are still entertaining five years in.   Best of the Super Juniors Winner Hiromu Takahashi gets a C; let’s see if he can get the Junior Heavyweight title.  He’s putting on great matches in IMPACT, even if he’s not winning often so that’s a C for Dezmond Xavier.  He’s running his own promotion and wrestling in two others, so props to Tommy Dreamer.   Taya Valkyrie is back and kicking ass.  Being Team Cody is good business for Adam PageBeretta had a solid in ring 2018, while partner Chuck Taylor is having his best year ever so far.  Colt Cabana finally got another shot at the NWA Title in China.  Jay Lethal, Johnathan GreshamMatt Taven and Silas Young are consistent.  Crusierweight Champion Cedric Alexander is doing some decent work with the belt.   Sumie Sakai won the first ever Women of Honor Championship.   Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn are barely in the ‘Cs’.  Ember Moon has been solid but unimpressive since her call up.  Where’s  The Bar been?  El Hijo Del Fantasma is having a better career in Mexico than IMPACT but a title is a title.    Samoa Joe is a big fight loser.   We’re asking if Asuka can rebound, yikes.  Killer Elite Squad still go at a great pace even if they aren’t winning big ones.   Hirooki Goto and Hiroshi Tanahashi are still doing work in NJPW.  While Juice Robinson continues to improve each and every year.   Kota Ibushi is to Kenny Omega, as Alisha and Candice LaRae are to Eddie Edwards and Johnny Gargano.    Guerilla’s of Destiny are still grinding in the six man tag divisions.    El Deperado is having a decent first half with solid wrestling .   Trent Seven can make an impact in NXT.  What happened to Kairi Sane?  Despite winning the NXT Women’s belt,  Shayna Baszler fails to impress.   Fallah Bahh and KM are the best comedy act in IMPACT.

They Get a ‘D’
He should of gotten an ‘F’ but Mike Kanellis got the biggest win of his life by getting clean.  Props.  Emma is reviving her career but isn’t doing any favors for how fans perceive her.     The Rusev Day joke is dead.  As is Shinsuke Nakamura’s main event push.   The Cult of Lee are having good matches but can’t get big wins.    I love Bushi’s mask.  He’s a legend but Jushin Liger is doing little else.     Kiera Hogan was a healthy scratch for months.  She can’t win any major in two different companies which explains Madison Rayne‘s place.  Oney Lorcan can at least keep matches relevant even if he’ll never do anything.  Tyler Bate had a much better 2017.  They were tag champs but since losing them,  The MCMG has lost all their steam.  Not ‘where’, or ‘who’ but why is Punishment Martinez?  Lost some big matches but Shane Taylor is on the upswing.   Roppongi 3k keep losing big matches.  The Kingdom lost a lot of their hype in 2018, but have had good matches.  She’s a gatekeeper but what is Kelly Klein keeping fans from?     Bobby Roode can’t gain traction.  Why  Dolph Ziggler keeps re-signing is beyond us.  Drew McIntyre should of stayed in Orlando.  We love you, but  Goldust last’s few years are being wasted.  Kane’s biggest win wasn’t in wrestling.    Kongo Kong has yet to have a great match in IMPACT.   No Way Jose is Adam Rose with better/worse hair.   Despite being a champ, Nia Jax can’t string together good matches.  She has a great look but Ruby Riot is being wasted.  Same with Sasha BanksAiden English is liked because he sucks.  The Bludgeon Brothers are champs in a division the WWE doesn’t care about.  Hey, remember Randy Orton?    I miss Drew Gulak‘s suit gimmick.  Same with Jack Gallagher, but also not really.  The Iconics haven’t impressed, and neither have SmackDown Women’s Champ Carmella.   Sonya Deville got to have a Ronday Rousey segment.   Bad Luck Fale is a Bullet Club member, as is Chase Owens.   David Finlay is getting better, so that’s something.   Hiroyoshi TenzanTomohiro Ishii and Michael Elgin are spinning their wheels.   Taichiro Maki is all substance and no steak.  Henare is no longer a Young Boy.   Yoshi Hashi is tag fodder.  KUSHIDA had a slow first half.     Yoshinobu Kanemaru is nothing better than a hanger on in the Junior’s division right now.  Their new terrible name is all I need to give  War Raiders a ‘D’.  He’s still good but Kassius Ohno isn’t doing anything in NXT.    Bianca Belair‘s biggest match this year was on social media.   Dakota Kai and Lacey Evans are good hands but nothing more so far.  Toru Yano‘s comedy bit isn’t carrying him now.   Braun Strowman won the RAW Tag Titles with a child. Flip Godon‘s most notable piece of news for the year is that he’s a silly Flat Earther.  Buddy Murphy is getting a second life as a “SWOL” Cruiserweight.  Mustafa Ali is the worst Saiyan ever.


They Get an ‘F’
Gaining back his last name didn’t help Apollo Crews.  Some how NXT didn’t save Danny Burch Natalya, Becky Lynch, Naomi, and Mickie James are all just fodder for the new Flavor of the Month in the Women’s Division.  The Dawgs are so generic that I’m not completely sure that’s the name of Rhett Titus and Will Ferrera’s team.   Titus O’Neil is still the WWE’s most award winning father.   What happened to Akira Tozawa?  And Kalisto for that matter?  Moving brands is the most relevant thing Baron Corbin has probably ever done.   Authors of Pain are nowhere to be seen.  His sister have made more of an impression than Bobby Lashley has so far in the WWE.  Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy being champions of a division Vince McMahon hates is somehow less impressive than Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder still being employed.  Breezeange and the Ascension were doing so well when they were on the show Vince forgot was on.  Gran Metalik used to be a future legend.  Used to be.   The “Where’s Catering” crew is getting bigger every day with Curtis Axel, Bo Dallas, Heath Slater and club president RhynoChad Gable joining Titus World Wide at this point would be a step up.  The Revival have yet to do anything relevant since both men tapped out to DIY in NXT.  No matter how big Jinder Mahal gets, he won’t get big enough to escape this grade.  At least Dana Brooke is trying.  I think Bayley‘s all but quit at this point.  Mojo Rawley still weeps at night, clutching his Andre Battle Royal Trophy.  Sarah Logan has a generic name, which is shocking, considering how generic the writing for the company has become.   The leader of Sanity’s highest profile match was with Alt-Right celeb Scott Baio.  Shocked that Lince Dorado is still around.  I still don’t believe Liv Morgan and Mandy Rose are different wrestlers, and if you try to argue otherwise, I’m putting you with Flip in the Flat Earthers Corner.  Hideo Itami is a NOAH legend, and now an under card nobody.  Somehow Big Cass‘ former tag team partner is still more successful and talented than he is.  Remember, The Club left NJPW and turned down IMPACT for them to be glorified jobbers.  R-Truth gets an F, he knows why.  My bad.  I don’t think Sin Cara counts anymore.   Shelton Benjamin (see The Club).   Mark Andrews needs his skateboard.  The award for Perfect F goes to Tye Dillinger.   Like her accent, we too don’t know where Lana has gone.   When your fake breakup is more over than you ever were, then you know you get an ‘F’, right Nikki Bella?  They may look nothing alike but Street Profits and Heavy Machinery are going to have the same careers.  We can lump Cezar BononiFabian Aichner, TM61, Riddick Moss and Tino Sabbatelli together in the “I thought they got fired?” category.  He’s done next to nothing and has the worst smile in wrestling, so  Kona Reeves is here.  Lio Rush killed his career with one tweet.  Joey Daddiego is a 39 year old who’s still learning. Ariya Daivari got jobbed out on a house show to rookies.  The Brian Kendrick is still irrelevant in the division and company.  TJP is as generic as a top ten list these days.  Top Ten Reasons why TJP Sucks.  Tony Nese gets an ‘F’ for his abs being his gimmick.  He’s a fan favorite but he’s a glorified jobber still and that’s why Cheeseburger is last.

Oh wait.

Remember Wesley Blake?

They Get an ‘Incomplete’
Abyss has largely been absent as his career winds down.  For some reason  Chandler Park just disappeared; perphaps taking care of Grandma Jenny?   Grado just came back with KatarinaNoam Dar hasn’t wrestled for some time due to an injury.  Homicide had big plans for the second half.  Is former 2x IMPACT Tag Champ Scott Steiner sticking around?  Sonjay Dutt was sidelined with injuries but now his backstage role has taken priority.  Alisha Edwards and Candice LaRae are glorified valets for now.  Diamante, Bobby Fish, Dean Ambrose, Jason Jordan, Alicia Fox, Hikuleo and Tamina Snuka are coming back from injuries.   The Colons are still around but one was dealing with a major injury.  Brie Bella has yet to make a formal decision about un-retiring after her pregnancy.  Big Show, and Bully Ray should consider retiring.   Rocky Romero‘s biggest highlights for the year so far include commentary and managing. Sienna‘s still on her long road to recovery.  Chris Jericho is wrestling less than Brock Lesnar it feels like.  Also, fuck Lesnar.  Ronda Rousey has a lot still to prove.  Neville left but it’s the WWE who just can’t quit him.


Nominees of the Half-Year

Matches of the Mid-Years
– Tetsuya Naito vs. Kazuchika Okada at WrestleKingdom 12
– Marty Scurll vs. Will Osprey at Sakura Genesis.
– Sami Callihan vs. Eddie Edwards at IMPACT vs. Lucha Underground
– Cody Rhodes vs. Kenny Omega at SuperCard of Honor


Feuds of the Mid-Year
– oVe vs. LAX
– Sami Callihan vs. Eddie Edwards
– Cody Rhdoes vs. Kenny Omega
– Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano


Tag Teams of the Mid-Year
– The Uso’s
– Young Bucks
– Sanada and Evil


Break Out Star of the Mid Year
– Keith Lee
– Velveteen Dream
– Taiji Ishimori
– Jay White


Comeback of the Mid Year
– Joe Doering
– Teddy Hart
– Daniel Bryan
– Rich Swann


Male Wrestler of the Mid Year
– AJ Styles
– Eli Drake
– Cody Rhodes
– Austin Aries


Female Wrestler of the Mid Year
– Alexa Bliss
– Sumie Sakai
– Allie
– Mercedes Martinez


News Story of the Mid Year
– Laurel Van Ness quits IMPACT hours after winning title.
– Scott D’Amore and Don Callis shake up IMAPCT’s roster.
– Lucha Underground and IMPACT Wrestling do a joint show.
– WWE runs controversial show in Saudi Arabia


Awards of the Mid-Year

Match of the Mid-Year
– Cody Rhodes vs. Kenny Omega (ROH’s Supercard of Honor)

Feud of the Mid-Year
– Sami Callihan vs. Eddie Edwards (IMPACT)

Non-Wrestler of the Mid-Year
– Zelina Vega

Tag Team of the Mid-Year

Breakout Star of the Mid-Year
– Keith Lee

Comeback of the Mid-Year
– Joe Doering

Male Wrestler of the Mid-Year
– Austin Aries

Female Wrestler of the Mid-Year
– Mercedes Martinez

News Story of the Mid-Year
– IMPACT’s drastic roster shakeup