It’s been a pretty slow week in the wrestling world. Coming off of last week where we had Superstar Shakeup toss wrestlers across brands, the week prior being post Wrestlemania fallout, and the week before that being lead up to the culmination of Wrestlemania. Despite the Greatest Ever Royal Rumble in Saudi Arabia taking place tomorrow, it doesn’t even feel like there’s a big show happening.
So in light of that, I give you my first listicle!
Now that the dust has settled after the Superstar Shakeup and post-Mania call-ups, the rosters are ripe with new (and old) talent. There’s so much opportunity to make future legends and Hall of Famers. Some of these wrestlers have already made huge waves in NXT or even on the indies but now’s their chance to shine in front of millions of new eyes. With that, here are 5 wrestling acts to keep your eyes on.
5. Big Cass
I never thought I would say this after the embarrassing feud he had with former superstar Enzo Amore, but Big Cass is a star in the making. After tearing his ACL and being out for 9 months, Big Cass has made his return. His first target? Daniel Bryan. The mere fact that they would put him up against this generation’s most popular wrestler speaks wonders of what they see in him. Not to mention he’s 7 feet tall (and you can’t teach that), which certainly gets Vince McMahon very excited. On SmackDown Live this week, he came out on Miz TV to explain why he laid out Daniel Bryan and gave quite an impressive promo. Miles better than anything he seemed capable of before his injury. He reminded me a lot of Edge while delivering that promo, and comparisons to an 11-time world champion are certainly a good thing. Keep it up, big guy.
4. The IIconics
The duo that is also iconic. Billie Kay and Peyton Royce made their debut last week on Smackdown Live and boy was it a memorable one. After some back and forth banter with Charlotte, they took it to the next level and laid the SmackDown on her ass. This led Carmella to cash in and take her Women’s Championship. Their “mean girls” shtick works so well between the two and it’s so very convincing. If one of them wins the women’s title, I can see them doing as Lay-Cool did about a decade ago and simply share it. I also think they could be the spark that could bring forth the very first Women’s Tag Team titles.
3. The Authors of Pain
A new chapter is about to be written by The Authors of Pain. They made their debut the Raw after Mania and decimated Rhyno and good-father Heath Slater. They’re literally the biggest tag team in WWE right now, with Akam at a staggering 6’3 290 lbs and Rezar at an even more impressive 6’4 330 lbs. I’m betting tomorrow at the Greatest Royal Rumble, Hardy and Wyatt will win the Raw tag titles and set up a feud with the Authors of Pain almost immediately. I could even see them as an unbeatable force, maybe even beating out The New Day’s record-breaking title reign. AoP are already cemented as NXT legends, being NXT Tag Team Champs and winners of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic and they’re only 24 and 23 years old. It’s time they take control of the tag team division on Raw.
2. Drew McIntyre
The man once known as the chosen one has made his way back to the WWE. Although he already held the Intercontinental and Tag Team titles once each, you probably don’t remember it as his original run isn’t very memorable. I think the most memorable thing about him is his original theme song, “Broken Dreams.” After he left, he made a big name for himself on the indies and became a coveted performer. This led him to sign with NXT last year, and in just a few months won the NXT championship. Like Cass, he’s certainly a big guy at 6’5 290lbs, but he’s far more cut. He looks like a bronze god. And he can TALK. He proved this week that he’s a force to be reckoned with both in the ring and on the mic. He’s had a goal of becoming the first British WWE world champion, and I 100% believe he will achieve that. Here’s him cutting one of my favorite promos of all time.
1. Andrade “Cien” Almas
Andrade is perhaps the best in-ring worker on the main roster right now. Formerly known as La Sombra, he was a founding member of one of the biggest factions in all of wrestling today: Los Ingobernables. He has started to bring the mask he wore as La Sombra back for his big NXT Takeover entrances, and since doing that I’ve noticed more of a fire in him. With her by his side, he won the NXT championship from Drew McIntyre last August. She plays the advocate role incredibly well and elevates him to feel like an even bigger deal. In NXT, he earned himself a 5* rated match while successfully defending his NXT title. This was no small feat, as it was the first 5* match for anything WWE since 2011. The addition of Zelina Vega as a mouthpiece catapulted him to be a main-event talent. He does everything Alberto Del Rio did but infinitely better (with a bonus of not being a piece of shit with a flaky attendance record). He’s getting ready to debut on SmackDown Live and after the Superstar Shakeup, the potential for more quality matches is insanely high. Cien vs Cesaro, Cien vs Daniel Bryan, Cien vs Jeff Hardy, Cien vs AJ Styles. He’s only 28 and isn’t even at his peak yet. I eagerly await his debut, as it’s going to be the biggest quake of the shakeup.
I’m going to be tweeting during the Greatest Royal Rumble tomorrow during the day, so feel free to catch my thoughts and follow me on Twitter @Dembrae.
Images provided by WWE.com.